Extreme prematurity and intra uterine growth restriction effects in brain network topology at school age

Higher risk for long-term behavioral and emotional sequelae, with attentional problems (with or without hyperactivity) is now becoming one of the hallmarks of extreme premature (EP) birth and birth after pregancy conditions leading to poor intra uterine growth restriction (IUGR) [1,2]. However, little is know so far about the neurostructural basis of these complexe brain functional abnormalities that seem to have their origins in early critical periods of brain development. The development of cortical axonal pathways happens in a series of sequential events. The preterm phase (24-36 post conecptional weeks PCW) is known for being crucial for growth of the thalamocortical fiber bundles as well as for the development of long projectional, commisural and projectional fibers [3]. Is it logical to expect, thus, that being exposed to altered intrauterine environment (altered nutrition) or to extrauterine environment earlier that expected, lead to alterations in the structural organization and, consequently, alter the underlying white matter (WM) structure. Understanding rate and variability of normal brain development, and detect differences from typical development may offer insight into the neurodevelopmental anomalies that can be imaged at later stages. Due to its unique ability to non-invasively visualize and quantify in vivo white matter tracts in the brain, in this study we used diffusion MRI (dMRI) tractography to derive brain graphs [4,5,6]. This relatively simple way of modeling the brain enable us to use graph theory to study topological properties of brain graphs in order to study the effects of EP and IUGR on childrens brain connectivity at age 6 years old.

Presented at:
21st Annual Meeting International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, April 20-26,2013

 Record created 2013-04-04, last modified 2019-01-17

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