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Volumetric MRI and MRS and Early Motor Development of Infants Born Preterm

Gadin, Erlita MD; Lobo, Michele PT, PhD; Paul, David A. MD; Sem, Kanik; Steiner, Karl V. PhD; Mackley, Amy RNC; Anzilotti, Kert MD; Galloway, Cole PT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823e069d
Research Articles

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.

The authors suggest that MRI performed on infants born preterm may in the future enable prediction of those who will experience motor problems at age 6 months. More studies with larger numbers of infants are needed.

Departments of Pediatrics and Neonatology (Drs Gadin and Paul and Ms Mackley) and Radiology (Dr Anzilotti), Christiana Care Health System, Newark, Delaware; Departments of Physical Therapy (Drs Lobo and Galloway) and Electrical & Computer Engineering (Dr Steiner and Mr Sem), University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware; Department of Pediatrics (Drs Gadin and Paul), Thomas Jefferson University/Nemours Children's Clinics, Wilmington, Delaware.

David A. Paul, MD, 4745 Ogletown Stanton Rd, MAP 1, 217, Newark, DE 19713 (

Grant Support: NIH NICHD R01 HD051748-02; Clinical Trial NCT00679471.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.