Neuropsychological Outcomes at 19 Years of Age Following Extremely Preterm Birth.


Children born extremely preterm (EP) (<26 weeks’ gestation) have lower cognitive scores and an increased rate of cognitive impairment compared with their term-born peers. However, the neuropsychological presentation of these EP individuals in adulthood has not been described. The aim of this study was to examine neuropsychological outcomes in early adulthood after EP birth in the 1995 EPICure cohort and to investigate if the rate of intellectual impairment changed longitudinally.A total of 127 young adults born EP and 64 term-born controls had a neuropsychological assessment at 19 years of age examining general cognitive abilities (IQ), visuomotor abilities, prospective memory, and aspects of executive functions and language.Adults born EP scored significantly lower than term-born controls across all neuropsychological tests with effect sizes (Cohen’s d) of 0.7 to 1.2. Sixty percent of adults born EP had impairment in at least 1 neuropsychological domain; deficits in general cognitive functioning and visuomotor abilities were most frequent. The proportion of EP participants with an intellectual impairment (IQ <70) increased by 6.7% between 11 and 19 years of age (P = .02). Visuospatial functioning in childhood predicted visuomotor functioning at 19 years.Adults born EP continue to perform lower than their term-born peers in general cognitive abilities as well as across a range of neuropsychological functions, indicating that these young adults do not show improvement overtime. The prevalence of intellectual impairment increased from 11 years into adulthood.

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