Neurocognitive and school performance outcomes of low birth weight infants were examined prospectively at the University of Rhode Island, and Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI. The total 188 patients (39 healthy full-term and 149 preterm infants) were classifed at birth as a) healthy, b) sick, without neurologic complication, c) small for gestational age, and d) neurologically abnormal. Neurologic follow-up was performed at discharge, 18 months, 30 months, 4 years, and 8 years. Both full-term and healthy preterm groups were normal during the 8-year period. Preterms with neurological abnormality in the neonatal period did most poorly, 45% remaining abnormal at 8 years, and requiring significantly more academic accommodations in school. Reading and math scores were lowest for neurologically suspect or impaired preterm groups. [1]

COMMENT. Neonatal neurologic morbidity in preterm infants adversely compromises cognitive and academic performance during early childhood.