Correlations of thalamic reductions with verbal fluency impairment in those born prematurely


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Abstract

Prematurity is associated with reduced brain volume, and the thalamus is among the structures most affected. We used a voxel-based morphometry analysis of gray matter to map regional atrophy in the thalamus in a sample of 30 adolescents with antecedents of very preterm birth. The preterm sample was compared with 30 controls matched by age, sex, handedness and sociocultural status. Individuals with very preterm birth differed from controls in several thalamic nuclei, and semantic and phonetic fluency showed different correlation patterns with brain volume. Semantic fluency achieved significant correlations with more thalamic nuclei than phonetic fluency. These results agree with functional magnetic resonance imaging studies showing that semantic fluency involves more cerebral regions than phonetic fluency.

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