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Cognitive Development Stable for Low Birth Weight Infants

Petriina Munck, from the Turku University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues studied a regional cohort of 120 VLBW children born between 2001 and 2004 and assessed them using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition, at 2 years of corrected age, and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised at the age of 5 years. The Mental Development Index (MDI) and the full-scale IQ (FSIQ) were assessed in the VLBW cohort and compared with a group of 168 randomly selected healthy term control children born in the same hospital.

The researchers found that, in the VLBW group, the mean MDI ± standard deviation (SD) was 101.2 ± 16.3 and the mean FSIQ was 99.3 ± 17.7, compared with 109.8 ± 11.7 and 111.7 ± 14.5, respectively, in the term group. There was significant correlation between the two scores; 83 percent of those VLBW children who had significant delay (−2 SD or less) on the MDI also had delays in FSIQ. Likewise, 87 percent of children who were in the average range of MDI were also within the average range of the FSIQ.

"Good stability of cognitive development over time was found in VLBW children and in term children between the ages of 2 and 5 years," the authors write.

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For very low birth weight babies, there is good stability of cognitive development over time, with a strong correlation between assessments at 2 years of corrected age and at age 5, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in Pediatrics.

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