Anterior cingulate and frontal lobe white matter spectroscopy in early childhood of former very LBW premature infants.
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Neurometabolic sequelae of children born at very LBW (VLBW) are not well characterized in early childhood. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) and developmental assessments were acquired from children age 18-22 mo (16 VLBW/7 term) and 3-4 y (12 VLBW/8 term) from the anterior cingulate and left frontal periventricular white matter. Metabolites obtained included combined N-acetylaspartylglutamate and N-acetylaspartate (NAA), total choline-containing compounds (Cho), combined glutamate and glutamine (Glx), combined creatine and phosphocreatine (Cr), myoinositol (mI), and the following ratios: NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr, Glx/Cr, mI/Cr, and NAA/Cho. Significant differences were present only in white matter: at 18-22 mo, NAA was decreased in VLBW children (p < 0.04), and at 3-4 y, VLBW children showed lower Cr (p < 0.01), lower NAA/Cho (p < 0.005), higher Glx/Cr (p < 0.02), and higher Cho/Cr (p < 0.005). On developmental testing, VLBW children scored lower on language expression (p < 0.05) and on the A-not-B test of early executive function (p < 0.01) at 18-22 mo and had lower verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) (p < 0.005), performance IQ (p < 0.04), and several measures of early executive function including the bear-dragon test (p < 0.004), gift delay (p < 0.07), and summary categorization score (p < 0.03) at 3-4 y. VLBW children may have neurometabolic and developmental abnormalities that persist at least through early childhood.