Executive function stable in extremely preterm, low birth weight children
Executive function (EF) appears to be stable and age-appropriate in extremely preterm (EP) and extremely low birth weight (ELBW) children, a new study has shown. On the other hand, academic outcomes are poorer in these children.
The study included 180 children born either EP or ELBW. Most of the patients (61 percent; n=110) were classified as normal during both assessment time points at 8 and 18 years of age, according to the Behavioural Regulation Index (BRI).
In comparison, 15 percent (n=27) had persistently higher scores, 12 percent (n=22) had remitting difficulties and 12 percent (n=21) experienced late-onset difficulties. Taken together, the BRI showed that majority of the participants had stable EF and only 24 percent changed categories between the two assessment time points.
According to the Metacognition Index (MCI), 53 percent (n=94) were typical at both time points while 16 percent (n=28) had persistent difficulties. Remitting and late-onset difficulties were reported in 13 (n=23) and 19 (n=34) percent, respectively.
The MCI also showed that majority of the participants had stable EF while only 32 percent switched categories from the first to the second assessment time point.
In terms of academic performance in reading, spelling and math, participants who classified as typical in MCI and BRI outperformed the late-onset and persistent difficulties subgroups.
Moreover, those in the remitting subgroup according to BRI performed better than those with persistent difficulties in all academic outcomes, and better than those with late-onset difficulties in reading and spelling.