Relation of cranial ultrasound abnormalities in low-birthweight infants to motor or cognitive performance at ages 2, 6, and 9 years


* Correspondence to first author at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 420 Guardian Drive Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


This study sought to determine whether neonatal cranial ultrasound abnormalities are related to motor and cognitive outcomes in low-birthweight (LBW, <2000g) children without major motor or cognitive disability. The relation of neonatal cranial ultrasound abnormalities to motor performance and general cognitive ability at ages 2, 6, and 9 years was examined in a prospectively followed regional cohort of LBW children, excluding those with major disability, and controlling for other risk factors. Compared with children without ultrasound abnormalities, children with abnormalities indicative of ischemic white-matter injury had poorer motor performance at all three ages and, at age 2, lower general cognitive ability. The latter finding was not seen when motor performance was also controlled for. It was concluded that in LBW children without major motor or cognitive disability, ischemic white-matter injury indicated by neonatal cranial ultrasound abnormalities adversely affected motor performance at ages 2, 6, and 9 years, but not general cognitive ability.