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Children's Brain Development Benefits from Longer Gestation

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      Abstract

      Disruptions to brain development associated with shortened gestation place individuals at risk for the development of behavioral and psychological dysfunction throughout the lifespan. The purpose of the present study was to determine if the benefit for brain development conferred by increased gestational length exists on a continuum across the gestational age spectrum among healthy children with a stable neonatal course. Neurodevelopment was evaluated with structural magnetic resonance imaging in 100 healthy right-handed 6- to 10-year-old children born between 28 and 41 gestational weeks with a stable neonatal course. Data indicate that a longer gestational period confers an advantage for neurodevelopment. Longer duration of gestation was associated with region-specific increases in gray matter density. Further, the benefit of longer gestation for brain development was present even when only children born full term were considered. These findings demonstrate that even modest decreases in the duration of gestation can exert profound and lasting effects on neurodevelopment for both term and preterm infants and may contribute to long-term risk for health and disease.

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          At its simplest, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) involves a voxel-wise comparison of the local concentration of gray matter between two groups of subjects. The procedure is relatively straightforward and involves spatially normalizing high-resolution images from all the subjects in the study into the same stereotactic space. This is followed by segmenting the gray matter from the spatially normalized images and smoothing the gray-matter segments. Voxel-wise parametric statistical tests which compare the smoothed gray-matter images from the two groups are performed. Corrections for multiple comparisons are made using the theory of Gaussian random fields. This paper describes the steps involved in VBM, with particular emphasis on segmenting gray matter from MR images with nonuniformity artifact. We provide evaluations of the assumptions that underpin the method, including the accuracy of the segmentation and the assumptions made about the statistical distribution of the data. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            1simpleWomen and Children's Health and Well-Being Project, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California Irvine Orange, CA, USA
            2simpleDepartment of Pediatrics, University of California Irvine Orange, CA, USA
            3simpleDepartment of Radiological Sciences, University of California Irvine Irvine, CA, USA
            4simpleCenter for Functional Onco-Imaging, University of California Irvine Irvine, CA, USA
            5simpleDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California Irvine Orange, CA, USA
            6simpleDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cedars Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, CA, USA
            Author notes

            Edited by: Frederic Dick, University of California at San Diego, USA

            Reviewed by: Christine Charvet, Cornell University, USA; Natacha Akshoomoff, University of California at San Diego, USA

            *Correspondence: Elysia Poggi Davis, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California Irvine, 333 The City Boulevard, West Suite 1200, Orange, CA 92868, USA. e-mail: edavis@ 123456uci.edu

            This article was submitted to Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, a specialty of Frontiers in Psychology.

            Journal
            Front Psychol
            Front. Psychology
            Frontiers in Psychology
            Frontiers Research Foundation
            1664-1078
            09 February 2011
            2011
            : 2
            3111445
            21713130
            10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00001
            Copyright © 2011 Davis, Buss, Muftuler, Head, Hasso, Wing, Hobel and Sandman.

            This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

            Counts
            Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 55, Pages: 7, Words: 5744
            Categories
            Psychology
            Original Research

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