Tracking regional brain growth up to age 13 in children born term and very preterm

Deanne K. Thompson, Lillian G. Matthews, Bonnie Alexander, Katherine J. Lee, Claire E. Kelly, Chris L. Adamson, Rod W. Hunt, Jeanie L.Y. Cheong, Megan Spencer-Smith, Jeffrey J. Neil, Marc L. Seal, Terrie E. Inder, Lex W. Doyle, Peter J. Anderson

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21 Scopus citations


Serial regional brain growth from the newborn period to adolescence has not been described. Here, we measured regional brain growth in 216 very preterm (VP) and 45 full-term (FT) children. Brain MRI was performed at term-equivalent age, 7 and 13 years in 82 regions. Brain volumes increased between term-equivalent and 7 years, with faster growth in the FT than VP group. Perinatal brain abnormality was associated with less increase in brain volume between term-equivalent and 7 years in the VP group. Between 7 and 13 years, volumes were relatively stable, with some subcortical and cortical regions increasing while others reduced. Notably, VP infants continued to lag, with overall brain size generally less than that of FT peers at 13 years. Parieto–frontal growth, mainly between 7 and 13 years in FT children, was associated with higher intelligence at 13 years. This study improves understanding of typical and atypical regional brain growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number696
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


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