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It's not for life: preterms can catch up with the rest of them
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

Preterm babies with very low birth weights display a range of developmental disabilities during the first couple of years of life

Preterm babies with very low birth weights display a range of developmental disabilities during the first couple of years of life.

Even at age eight, one-fifth will have major cognitive problems, half require individual assistance in the classroom, and 20 per cent are in special education.

But it's a legacy that diminishes with time. By the time preterm children reach the age of 14 or 15 years, nearly three-quarters of them graduate from high school in America, and more than 40 per cent are enrolled in college programmes.

It's a shift that is endorsed by a new study of preterm, and low birth weight, children which proves that they show a continuing improvement in verbal and IQ test scores over time. Only those that also suffered significant central nervous system injury at birth failed to show progress.

(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003; 289: 705-11).


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