Comparison of structural magnetic resonance imaging and development in toddlers born very low birth weight and full-term.
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Research suggests that regional structural differences can be associated with the neurodevelopmental impairments faced by children born very low birth weight. However, most studies have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during the neonatal period or during adolescence. The current study used structural MRI to examine relationships between regional volume differences in toddlers (18-22 months adjusted age) born very low birth weight (n = 16) and full-term (n = 10) and neurodevelopmental outcomes, including cognition, language, and early executive functioning. Compared with the full-term group, the very low birth weight group had larger third ventricles and smaller cerebral white matter, thalamus, hippocampus, cerebellum white matter, and anterior cingulate volume. Additionally, a significant interaction was found between language and early executive function scores and cerebral white matter volumes between groups, suggesting that young children born very low birth weight can have different trajectories in the growth and development of overall brain structure.