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Cognitive Outcomes for Extremely Preterm/Extremely Low Birth Weight Children in Kindergarten

  • Leah J. Orchinik (a1), H. Gerry Taylor (a2), Kimberly Andrews Espy (a3), Nori Minich (a2), Nancy Klein (a4), Tiffany Sheffield (a3) and Maureen Hack (a2)...


Our objectives were to examine cognitive outcomes for extremely preterm/extremely low birth weight (EPT/ELBW, gestational age <28 weeks and/or birth weight <1000 g) children in kindergarten and the associations of these outcomes with neonatal factors, early childhood neurodevelopmental impairment, and socioeconomic status (SES). The sample comprised a hospital-based 2001–2003 birth cohort of 148 EPT/ELBW children (mean birth weight 818 g; mean gestational age 26 weeks) and a comparison group of 111 term-born normal birth weight (NBW) classmate controls. Controlling for background factors, the EPT/ELBW group had pervasive deficits relative to the NBW group on a comprehensive test battery, with rates of cognitive deficits that were 3 to 6 times higher in the EPT/ELBW group. Deficits on a measure of response inhibition were found in 48% versus 10%, odds ratio (95% confidence interval) = 7.32 (3.32, 16.16), p < .001. Deficits on measures of executive function and motor and perceptual-motor abilities were found even when controlling for acquired verbal knowledge. Neonatal risk factors, early neurodevelopmental impairment, and lower SES were associated with higher rates of deficits within the EPT/ELBW group. The findings document both global and selective cognitive deficits in EPT/ELBW children at school entry and justify efforts at early identification and intervention. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1067–1079)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: H. Gerry Taylor, W.O. Walker Building, Suite 3150, 10524 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106. E-mail:


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