Consequence of Preterm Birth in Early Adolescence: The Role of Language on Auditory Short-term Memory
This study tested the hypothesis that preterm early adolescents’ short-term memory is compromised when presented with increasingly complex verbal information and that associated neuroanatomical volumes would differ between preterm and term groups. Forty-nine preterm and 20 term subjects were evaluated at age 12 years with neuropsychological measures and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). There were no differences between groups in simple short-term and working memory. Preterm subjects performed lower on learning and short-term memory tests that included increased verbal complexity. They had reduced right parietal, left temporal, and right temporal white matter volumes and greater bilateral frontal gray and right frontal white matter volumes. There was a positive association between complex working memory and the left hippocampus and frontal white matter in term subjects. While not correlated, memory scores and volumes of cortical regions known to subserve language and memory were reduced in preterm subjects. This study provides evidence of possible mechanisms for learning problems in former preterm infants.
from the Journal of Child Neurology