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Executive Function in Adolescents Born Extremely Premature and Extremely Low Birth Weight

executive function adolescents from www.YourTherapySource.com/blog1Pediatrics published research on 228 adolescents who were extremely preterm (EP; <28 weeks) birth and extremely low birth weight (ELBW; <1000 g).   Each participant was assessed with multiple executive function (EF) tasks, and parent- and self-ratings of behavioral EF. The Rey Complex Figure and Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function parent report were also administered at age 8 years, to determine if there was a change in scores between childhood and adolescence.

The results indicated the following:

1.  EP/ELBW adolescents performed more poorly than controls in the following areas – verbal processing speed, attentional control, cognitive flexibility, and goal-setting but not psychomotor reaction time.

2.  group differences were similar across tasks.

3.  during childhood to late adolescence, EP/ELBW children improved their accuracy of the Rey Complex Figure copy more than controls.

4.  parent report indicated that executive behaviors were largely stable over time in both groups.

The researchers concluded that adolescents born EP/ELBW have poorer EF skills across multiple domains than controls and recommend multidomain, longitudinal assessments in this high-risk population.

Reference:  Executive Function in Adolescents Born <1000 g or <28 Weeks: A Prospective Cohort Study.  Alice C. Burnett, Shannon E. Scratch, Katherine J. Lee, Jeanie Cheong, Karissa Searle, Esther Hutchinson, Cinzia De Luca, Mary-Ann Davey, Gehan Roberts, Lex W. Doyle, and Peter J. Anderson , on behalf of the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group
Pediatrics 2015; 135:4 e826-e834; published ahead of print March 23, 2015, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3188

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