Very preterm children at risk for developmental coordination disorder have brain alterations in motor areas

Deborah Dewey, Deanne K. Thompson, Claire E. Kelly, Alicia J. Spittle, Jeanie L.Y. Cheong, Lex W. Doyle, Peter J. Anderson

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Brain alterations in very preterm children at risk for developmental coordination disorder were investigated. Methods: Infants born very preterm with gestation age <30 weeks or birthweight <1250 g were recruited from Royal Women's Hospital Melbourne from 2001 to 2003. Volumetric imaging was performed at term equivalent age; at seven years, volumetric imaging and diffusion tensor imaging were performed. At seven years, 53 of 162 children without cerebral palsy had scores ≤16th percentile on the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-Second Edition and were considered at risk for developmental coordination disorder. Results: At term equivalent age, smaller brain volumes were found for total brain tissue, cortical grey matter, cerebellum, caudate accumbens, pallidum and thalamus in children at risk for developmental coordination disorder (p < 0.05); similar patterns were present at seven years. There was no evidence for catch-up brain growth in at-risk children. At seven years, at-risk children displayed altered microstructural organisation in many white matter tracts (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Infants born very preterm at risk for developmental coordination disorder displayed smaller brain volumes at term equivalent age and seven years, and altered white matter microstructure at seven years, particularly in motor areas. There was no catch-up growth from infancy to seven years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1649-1660
Number of pages12
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Brain alterations
  • Brain growth
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Motor areas
  • Very preterm children

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