Deanne Kim Thompson1,2, Terrie E. Inder1,3, Gehan Roberts1, Jeremy Lim1, Lex W. Doyle1,4, Peter J. Anderson1, Gary F. Egan2
1Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; 2Florey Neurosciences Institute, Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; 3Department of Pediatrics, St Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, USA; 4Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Royal Women's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Motor dysfunction is commonly associated with preterm birth, but its neurological correlates are not well understood. Corpus callosum alterations have been implicated in impaired motor functioning. Structural and diffusion MR imaging at term equivalent age was used to assess differences between very preterm 5 year-olds with (n=20) and without motor impairment (n=69). Corpus callosum area, tract volume, and diffusion measures were obtained. Children with motor impairment demonstrated significantly lower mean, axial and radial diffusivity and higher FA within the callosal tracts, particularly posteriorly. These findings suggest that motor impairment common to very preterm children is partially explained by altered posterior callosal development.