Cognitive control deficits in adolescents born with very low birth weight (≤ 1500 g): Evidence from dichotic listening

Research Area: Research Year: 2013
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: preterm; cognitive control; dichotic listening; top-down; cortical thickness
Authors: Bless, Josef J.; Hugdahl, Kenneth; Westerhausen, Rene; Løhaugen, Gro C.; Eidheim, Ole Christian; Brubakk, Ann-Mari; Skranes, Jon; Gramstad, Arne; Håberg, Asta K.
The objective of the paper is to explore bottom-up auditory and top-down cognitive processing abilities as part of long-term outcome assessment of preterm birth. Fifty-five adolescents (age 13–15) born with very low birth weight (VLBW) were compared to 80 matched controls born to term, using three consonant-vowel dichotic listening (DL) instruction conditions (non-forced, forced-right and forced-left). DL scores were correlated with cortical gray matter thickness derived from T1-weighted structural MRI volumes using FreeSurfer to examine group differences also in the neural correlates of higher cognitive processes. While showing normal bottom-up processing, VLBW adolescents displayed impaired top-down controlled conflict processing related to significant cortical thickness differences in left superior temporal gryus and anterior cingulate cortex. Preterm birth with VLBW induces fundamental changes in brain function and structure posing a risk for long-term neurocognitive impairments. Deficits emerge in situations of increasing cognitive conflict and can be related to measures of executive functions as well as morphology.
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