Preterm Birth and the Development of the Corpus Callosum: Influence on Cognitive and Motor Outcomes in Late Childhood

Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Preterm infants are at high risk for white matter injury and abnormal corpus callosum (CC) development. However, the long-term structural and functional consequences are not yet fully understood. This study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare CC development in very preterm (VPT) and full-term (FT) born children and examined relations with cognitive and motor outcomes in late childhood. Data were drawn from a regionally representative cohort of 107 VPT infants (gestation) born between December 1998-2000 and a comparison group of 110 FT born children. Children underwent MRI (T1-weighted structural and diffusion tensor imaging) and neurodevelopmental assessment at age 12 years. Total and sub-regional measures of callosal surface area (mm2) and indices of white matter microstructure [fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), axial diffusivity (AD) and mean diffusivity (MD)] were extracted from masks manually traced on the mid-sagittal slice of T1-weighted images. General cognitive and motor outcomes were assessed with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV) and Movement ABC-2, respectively. VPT children demonstrated reduced size and deficient microstructural integrity of the CC, particularly in the most anterior and posterior regions. Altered CC development was additionally associated with increased risk of cognitive and motor impairment in the VPT group. Findings suggest that the neurological consequences of VPT birth are persistent and associated with poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes in late childhood.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Lori Markson

Committee Members

Deanna Barch, Desiree White


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7FJ2DXM

This document is currently not available here.