Vol. 11, No. 2, 2005 Page 6


Teenagers who were born prematurely show reductions in hippocampal volume, according to a recent study by researchers in Spain.

Mónica Giménez and colleagues used optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to compare 22 adolescents with a history of prematurity to 22 control subjects who were born at full term. They report, "VBM analysis showed significant left hippocampal and bilateral thalamic reductions in subjects with a history of prematurity…. We also observed a reduction in hippocampal volume, with left posterior predominance." The researchers say reduction in left hippocampal gray matter correlated with verbal memory deficits in the premature group.

"Our results suggest that left hippocampal tissue loss may be responsible for memory impairment," they say, "and is probably related to the learning disabilities that subjects with a history of prematurity present during schooling."

Last year, a magnetic resonance imaging study by Allan Reiss and colleagues (see related article, Crime Times, 2004, Vol. 10, No. 4, Page 2) found reductions of both white and gray matter in the brains of eight-year-old boys born prematurely.


"Hippocampal gray matter reduction associates with memory deficits in adolescents with history of prematurity," M. Giménez, C. Junque, A. Narberhaus, X. Caldu, P. Salgado-Pineda, N. Bargallo, D. Segarra, and F. Botet, Neuroimage, Vol. 23, No. 3, November 2004, 869-77. Address: M. Giménez, Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

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