INTRODUCTION: Infants born extremely preterm (<28 weeks of gestation) are at risk of significant neurodevelopmental sequelae. In these infants birth coincides with a period of rapid brain growth and development, when the brain is also vulnerable to a range of insults. Mapping these changes is crucial for identifying potential biomarkers to predict early impairment.
METHODS: In this study we use surface-based spectral matching techniques to find an intrasubject longitudinal surface correspondence between the white-grey matter boundary at 30 and 40 weeks equivalent gestational age in nine extremely preterm born infants.
RESULTS: Using the resulting surface correspondence, we identified regions that undergo more cortical folding of the white-grey matter boundary during the preterm period by looking at changes in well-known curvature measures. We performed Hotelling T(2) statistics to evaluate the significance of our findings.
DISCUSSION: The prefrontal and temporal lobes exhibit most development during the preterm period, especially in the left hemisphere. Such correspondences are a promising result as longitudinal measurements of change in cortical folding could provide insightful information about the mechanical properties of the underlying tissue and may be useful in inferring changes during growth and development in this vulnerable period.
- Cerebral Cortex/anatomy & histology
- Gestational Age
- Gray Matter/anatomy & histology
- Infant, Extremely Premature/growth & development
- Infant, Newborn
- Longitudinal Studies
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
- White Matter/anatomy & histology