Purpose: To investigate the relationship between volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in infants born less than 30 weeks gestation and early motor development at 6 months adjusted age.
Methods: Twenty infants born preterm and 4 born at term (control) underwent MRI with volumetric analysis and MRS prior to neonatal intensive care unit discharge. Infants were assessed using the Bayley Scale of Infant Development at 6 months adjusted age.
Results: At 6 months, infants born preterm with low motor scores had a reduction in their subcortical gray matter. No differences were detected in other brain structures. N-acetylaspartate/choline correlated with white matter (R = 0.45, P = .03), gray matter (R = 0.43, P = .04), and cerebellar volume (R = 0.6, P = .002) but not with 6-month motor performance.
Conclusion: There is an association between diminished subcortical gray matter volume and low motor scores. Our data suggest that volumetric MRI performed prior to hospital discharge may have some role in counseling parents about potential motor delays.