UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Girls and Boys Born before 28 Weeks Gestation: Risks of Cognitive, Behavioral, and Neurologic Outcomes at Age 10 Years

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Nervous System Diseases | Neurology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Pediatrics | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


OBJECTIVES: To compare the prevalence of cognitive, neurologic, and behavioral outcomes at 10 years of age in 428 girls and 446 boys who were born extremely preterm.

STUDY DESIGN: A total of 889 of 966 eligible children previously enrolled in the multicenter Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns Study from 2002-2004 were evaluated at 10 years of age. Children underwent a neuropsychological battery and testing for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and parents reported on their child's behavior, development, and seizures.

RESULTS: Of the children, 28% of boys and 21% of girls exhibited moderate to severe impairment on summary measures of cognitive abilities. Boys had a higher prevalence of impairment than girls in nearly all measures of cognition, were more than twice as likely to have microcephaly (15% in boys, 8% in girls), and require more often assistive devices to ambulate (6% in boys, 4% in girls). In contrast, boys and girls had comparable risk for a history of seizure (identified in 10% of the cohort) or epilepsy (identified in 7% of the cohort). The boy-to-girl ratio of ASD (9% in boys, 5% in girls) was lower than expected compared with the overall US autism population.

CONCLUSIONS: In this contemporary cohort of children born extremely premature and evaluated at school age, boys had higher prevalence of cognitive, neurologic, and behavioral deficits than girls. The ratio of boys to girls among those with ASD deserves further study as does the perinatal environmental-genetic interactions that might contribute to male preponderance of deficits in this high-risk sample.


autism, cognition, executive function, extremely low gestational age newborns, late childhood, microcephaly, motor impairment, neurological follow-up

DOI of Published Version



J Pediatr. 2016 Jun;173:69-75.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.02.048. Epub 2016 Mar 19. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of pediatrics

PubMed ID