Objective To explore the association between brain maturation, injury, and volumes at term-equivalent age with 2-year development in moderate and late preterm children. Study design Moderate and late preterm infants were recruited at birth and assessed at age 2 years using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at term-equivalent age and qualitatively assessed for brain maturation (myelination of the posterior limb of the internal capsule and gyral folding) and injury. Brain volumes were measured using advanced segmentation techniques. The associations between brain MRI measures with developmental outcomes were explored using linear regression analyses. Results A total of 197 children underwent MRI and assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition. Larger total brain tissue volumes were associated with higher cognitive and language scores (adjusted coefficients per 10% increase in brain size; 95% CI of 3.2 [0.4, 5.6] and 5.6 [2.4, 8.8], respectively). Similar relationships were documented for white matter volumes with cognitive and language scores, multiple cerebral structures with language scores, and cerebellar volumes with motor scores. Larger cerebellar volumes were independently associated with better language and motor scores, after adjustment for other perinatal factors. There was little evidence of relationships between myelination of the posterior limb of the internal capsule, gyral folding, or injury with 2-year development. Conclusions Larger total brain tissue, white matter, and cerebellar volumes at term-equivalent age are associated with better neurodevelopment in moderate and late preterm children. Brain volumes may be an important marker for neurodevelopmental deficits described in moderate and late preterm children.
- Magnetic resonance imaging