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Revista Paulista de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0103-0582


RIECHI, Tatiana Izabele J; MOURA-RIBEIRO, Maria Valeriana L.  and  CIASCA, Sylvia Maria. Impact of preterm birth and low birth weight on the cognition, behavior and learning of school-age children. Rev. paul. pediatr. [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.4, pp.495-501. ISSN 0103-0582.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of preterm birth with low birth weight on neurodevelopment, cognition, and academic learning of school-age children. METHODS: This cross-sectional study enrolled 120 school-age children with ages between six and 15 years old, attending Elementary Schools, and socio-economically paired. All of them underwent neuropsychological, neurological and academic assessments. The Purpose Group (PG) was formed by 60 children born with gestational age <37 weeks and birthweight <2500g. The Control Group (CG) had 24 children who were siblings of the PG subjects, and 36 school-age children who were neighbors and colleagues of the PG subjects. The following tools were used for assessment: WISC III, Bender Gestalt Test, Trail Making, Rey Complex Figure, Luria Nebraska-C Neuropsychological Test, Rutter's Behavioral Scale A2, Child Behavior Checklist and Test of School Performance. Statistical comparison between groups used Fisher, Mann-Whitney and ANOVA tests. RESULTS: PG children presented impairments in the following areas: visual-motor coordination (87% of PG children), general psychomotor development (75%), visual-constructive skill (73%), mathematical thinking (66%), tactile-kinesthetic skill (65%) and visual memory (60%), all with a p-value=0.001. The Intellectual Quotient of the PG subjects was, in average, 10 points lower than CG children. CONCLUSIONS: The school-age subjects born prematurely and with low birth weight displayed specific brain functional alterations associated to cognitive-behavioral and learning disorders.

Keywords : child development; premature birth; neuropsychology; cognition.

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