Cerebral metabolite differences in adolescents with low birth weight: assessment with in vivo proton MR spectroscopy

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Abstract

Background

Children with very low birth weight (VLBW) have a significantly increased risk of later neurodevelopmental problems, while infants born small for gestational age (SGA) at term are also at some risk of developing neurological impairment.

Objective

To investigate possible brain metabolite differences in adolescents with VLBW, SGA at term and controls by proton in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) at 1.5 T.

Materials and methods

MR spectra were acquired from volumes localized in the left frontal lobe, containing mainly white matter (54 subjects). Peak areas of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), choline (Cho) and creatine (Cr) were determined, and the peak area ratio of NAA to Cr, total Cho to Cr, or NAA to Cho calculated. Probabilistic neural network (PNN) analysis was performed utilizing the chemical shift region containing resonances from NAA, Cho and Cr as inputs.

Results

No significant difference in the peak area ratios could be found using the Kruskal-Wallis test. By application of PNN, a correct classification of 52 of the 54 adolescents with a sensitivity and specificity exceeding 93% for all groups was achieved.

Conclusion

Small, yet systematic, differences in brain metabolite distribution among the groups were confirmed by PNN analysis.

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