Better survival rates but lower IQ for preterm infants

Recently, Reuters published an article highlighting a new scientific publication of Twilhaar et al in collaboration with Danone Nutricia Research.

Despite improvements in neonatal care, leading to better survival, preterm infants still have increased chances of having a lower IQ compared to term born infants.

This was shown in the study of Sabrina Twilhaar et al, who performed a meta-analysis and meta-regression of 71 studies (7752 VP and 5155 term controls).

The investigators showed a large 0.86 SD difference in IQ between Very Preterm (VP)/Extreme Preterm (EP) and term born children, which was stable in children born between 1990-2008. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) explained 65% of the variance in intelligence across studies.

BPD was found to be the most important risk factor for poor academic performance and may be a crucial target for (nutritional) interventions to improve outcomes. Read more on academic performance of preterm infants here

Find the full publication here 1

Twilhaar ES, Wade RM, de Kieviet JF, van Goudoever JB, van Elburg RM, Oosterlaan J. Cognitive Outcomes of Children Born Extremely or Very Preterm Since the 1990s and Associated Risk Factors. J. February 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.5323