Reduced brain size in kids with low birth-weight linked to poor academic performance

Washington, June 11 (ANI): A new study has found that babies born with very low birth weight result in poor academic achievement in future.

An analysis of recent data from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of 97 adolescents who were part of study begun with very low birth weight babies born in 1982-1986 in a Cleveland neonatal intensive care unit has tied smaller brain volumes to poor academic achievement.

More than half of the babies that weighed less than 1.66 pounds and more than 30 percent of those less than 3.31 pounds at birth later had academic deficits. (Less than 1.66 pounds is considered extremely low birth weight; less than 3.31 pounds is labeled very low birth weight.)

Lower birth weight was associated to smaller brain volumes in some of these children, and smaller brain volume, in turn, was tied to academic deficits.

Researchers also found that 65.6 percent of very low birth weight and 41.2 percent of extremely preterm children had experienced academic achievement similar to normal weight peers.

The research team-led by Caron A.C. Clark, a scientist in the Department of Psychology and Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon-detected an overall reduced volume of mid-brain structures, the caudate and corpus callosum, which are involved in connectivity, executive attention and motor control.

The findings are published in the journal Neuropsychology. (ANI)

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