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Cognitive maturation in preterm and term born adolescents
  1. Matthew Allin (matthew.allin{at}iop.kcl.ac.uk)
  1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, United Kingdom
    1. Muriel Walshe (m.walshe{at}iop.kcl.ac.uk)
    1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, United Kingdom
      1. Adele Fern (a.fern{at}iop.kcl.ac.uk)
      1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, United Kingdom
        1. Chiara Nosarti (c.nosarti{at}iop.kcl.ac.uk)
        1. Institute of Psychiatry, United Kingdom
          1. Teresa Rushe (teresa.rushe{at}manchester.ac.uk)
          1. University of Manchester, United Kingdom
            1. Marion Cuddy (m.cuddy{at}iop.kcl.ac.uk)
            1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, United Kingdom
              1. John Wyatt (john.wyatt{at}uclh.org)
              1. University College, London, United Kingdom
                1. Larry Rifkin (l.rifkin{at}iop.kcl.ac.uk)
                1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, United Kingdom
                  1. Robin Murray (r.murray{at}iop.kcl.ac.uk)
                  1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, United Kingdom

                    Abstract

                    Background: Adolescence is a critical period of brain structural reorganisation and maturation of cognitive abilities. This relatively late developmental reorganisation may be altered in individuals who were born preterm.

                    Methods: We carried out longitudinal neuropsychological testing in 94 very preterm individuals (VPT; before 33 weeks’ gestation) and 44 Term-born individuals at mean ages of 15.3 years (adolescence) and 19.5 years (young adulthood).

                    Results: Full-scale, verbal and performance IQ and phonological verbal fluency were significantly lower in the VPT group than the Term group at both ages. Repeated-measures ANOVA showed only one group by timepoint interaction, for semantic verbal fluency (F=10.25; df=107; p=0.002). Paired-sample t-tests showed that semantic verbal fluency increased significantly in the Term group over adolescence (t=-5.10; df=42; p<0.001), but did not increase in the VPT group (t=0.141; df=69; p=0.889). For verbal IQ, there was a significant interaction between timepoint and sex (F=4.48; df=1; p=0.036), with paired-sample t-tests showing that verbal IQ decreased in males between adolescence and adulthood (t=3.35; df=71; p=0.001), but did not change significantly in females (t=0.20; df=52; p=0.845)

                    Conclusion: Decrements of intellectual functioning in VPT individuals persist into adulthood. Additionally, there is a deficit in the adolescent maturation of semantic verbal fluency in individuals born VPT.

                    • adolescence
                    • neurodevelopment
                    • neuropsychology
                    • preterm
                    • verbal fluency

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