Very low birth weight is associated with brain structure abnormalities and cognitive function impairments: A systematic review

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Abstract

Very low birth weight (VLBW) children are at risk of structural brain abnormalities and neurocognitive deficits. Since survival rate of the very low birth weight infants has increased over the past decade, a better understanding of the long-term neurocognitive outcomes is needed. The present systematic review investigated the association between VLBW and cognitive function as well as brain structure. PubMed/Medline, Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science databases were searched up from January 2000 to January 2015. The study was restricted to the articles that were about VLBW and its association with cognitive function and brain structure. The initial search yielded 721 articles. There were 44 studies eligible for inclusion after applying the exclusion criteria: 24 follow-up, 14 cohort, and 6 longitudinal studies. Based on this systematic review, we suggest that VLBW is positively related to several cognitive problems and brain structure abnormalities. These findings provide evidence about the importance of early assessment of cognitive development and brain structure to identify at-risk children and provide their specific requirements as early as possible.

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