Calculation difficulties in children of very low birth weight, A neural correlate (2001) by E. B. Isaacs1, C. J. Edmonds1, A. Lucas1 and D. G. Gadian2

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Summary: Learning difficulties, including problems with numeracy, are common in Western populations. Many children with learning difficulty are survivors of preterm birth. Although some of these children have neurological disabilities, many are neurologically normal, and the latter group provides us with an important opportunity to investigate the neural bases of learning problems. We have conducted a neuroimaging study of adolescent children who had been born preterm at 30 weeks gestation or less, to investigate the relationship between brain structure and a specific difficulty in arithmetic calculation. Using voxel-based morphometry, we have been able to demonstrate that there is an area in the left parietal lobe where children without a deficit in calculation ability have more grey matter than those who do have this deficit. To our knowledge, this is the first report establishing a structural neural correlate of calculation ability in a group of neurologically normal individuals.

Neurogenesis Continues in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

and Is Suppressed by Premature Birth (2013)

by Sabrina Malik, Govindaiah Vinukonda, Linnea R. Vose, Daniel Diamond, Bala B. R. Bhimavarapu, Furong Hu, Muhammad T. Zia, Robert Hevner, Nada Zecevic, and Praveen Ballabh.

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Summary: Premature infants exhibit neurodevelopmental delay and reduced growth of the cerebral cortex. However, the underlying mechanisms have remained elusive. Therefore, we hypothesized that neurogenesis in the ventricular and subventricular zones of the cerebral cortex would continue in the third trimester of pregnancy and that preterm birth would suppress neurogenesis .... Hence, glutamatergic neurogenesis continues in the premature infants, preterm birth suppresses neurogenesis, and hypoxia-mimetic agents might restore neurogenesis, enhance cortical growth, and improve neurodevelopmental outcome of premature infants.