BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Very preterm infants (birth weight,
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this prospective study of 47 preterm infants of 24-30 weeks' gestation, brain MR imaging was performed at term-equivalent age. Infants underwent T1- and T2-weighted imaging for volumetric analysis and DTI. General movements were assessed at 10-15 weeks' postterm age, and neurodevelopmental outcomes were evaluated at 2 years by using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development Ill.
RESULTS: Nine infants had aberrant general movements and were more likely to have adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes, compared with infants with normal movements. In infants with aberrant movements, Tract-Based Spatial Statistics analysis identified significantly lower fractional anisotropy in widespread white matter tracts, including the corpus callosum, inferior longitudinal and fronto-occipital fasciculi, internal capsule, and optic radiation. The subset of infants having both aberrant movements and abnormal neurodevelopmental outcomes in cognitive, language, and motor skills had significantly lower fractional anisotropy in specific brain regions.
CONCLUSIONS: Aberrant general movements at 10-15 weeks' postterm are associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes and specific white matter microstructure abnormalities for cognitive, language, and motor delays.