Visual memory and learning in extremely low-birth-weight/extremely preterm adolescents compared with controls: A geographic study

Carly S. Molloy, Michelle Wilson-Ching, Lex W. Doyle, Vicki A. Anderson, Peter J. Anderson, Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Background Contemporary data on visual memory and learning in survivors born extremely preterm (EP; <28 weeks gestation) or with extremely low birth weight (ELBW; <1,000 g) are lacking. Methods Geographically determined cohort study of 298 consecutive EP/ELBW survivors born in 1991 and 1992, and 262 randomly selected normal-birth-weight controls. Results Visual learning and memory data were available for 221 (74.2%) EP/ELBW subjects and 159 (60.7%) controls. EP/ELBW adolescents exhibited significantly poorer performance across visual memory and learning variables compared with controls. Visual learning and delayed visual memory were particularly problematic and remained so after controlling for visual-motor integration and visual perception and excluding adolescents with neurosensory disability, and/or IQ <70. Male EP/ELBW adolescents or those treated with corticosteroids had poorer outcomes. Conclusion EP/ELBW adolescents have poorer visual memory and learning outcomes compared with controls, which cannot be entirely explained by poor visual perceptual or visual constructional skills or intellectual impairment. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-331
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Low birth weight
  • Preterm
  • Visual learning
  • Visual memory

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