Neonatal basal ganglia and thalamic volumes: Very preterm birth and 7-year neurodevelopmental outcomes

Wai Yen Loh, Peter J. Anderson, Jeanie L.Y. Cheong, Alicia J. Spittle, Jian Chen, Katherine J. Lee, Charlotte Molesworth, Terrie E. Inder, A. Connelly, Lex W. Doyle, Deanne K. Thompson

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BackgroundThis study aims to (i) compare volumes of individual basal ganglia nuclei (caudate nucleus, pallidum, and putamen) and the thalamus between very preterm (VP) and term-born infants at term-equivalent age; (ii) explore neonatal basal ganglia and thalamic volume relationships with 7-year neurodevelopmental outcomes, and whether these relationships differed between VP and term-born children.Methods210 VP (<30 weeks' gestational age) and 39 term-born (≥37 weeks' gestational age) infants underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging at term-equivalent age, and deep gray matter volumes of interest were automatically generated. 186 VP and 37 term-born children were assessed for a range of neurodevelopmental measures at age 7 years.ResultsAll deep gray matter structures examined were smaller in VP infants compared with controls at term-equivalent age; ranging from (percentage mean difference (95% confidence intervals) -6.2% (-10.2%, -2.2%) for the putamen, to -9.5% (-13.9%, -5.1%) for the caudate nucleus. Neonatal basal ganglia and thalamic volumes were positively related to motor, intelligence quotient, and academic outcomes at age 7 years, with mostly similar relationships in the VP and control groups.ConclusionVP birth results in smaller basal ganglia and thalamic volumes at term-equivalent age, and these smaller volumes are related to a range of 7-year neurodevelopmental deficits in VP children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-978
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • basal ganglia
  • neurodevelopmental disorders
  • neurophysiology
  • preterm birth

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