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Abstract #0888

Development of Somatosensory Cortical Responses in the Preterm Period Characterized with fMRI and a Novel Robotic Device

Tomoki Arichi1, 2, Alessandro Allievi3, Alejandro Melendez-Calderon3, Nora Tusor1, 2, Libuse Pazderova1, 2, Hilary Toulmin1, Serena J. Counsell4, Etienne Burdet3, A. David Edwards1, 3

1Centre for the Developing Brain, Kings College, London, United Kingdom; 2MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom; 3Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom; 4Centre for the Developing Brain, King's College London, London, United Kingdom

The preterm period is characterized by a dramatic sequence of brain maturation, as evidenced by the ontogeny of resting state networks. We describe a similar sequence of maturation in the spatial and temporal properties of somatosensory cortical functional responses in human preterm infants, using BOLD fMRI and a novel wrist stimulating robotic device. With increasing age and degrees of ex-utero exposure, functional responses were found be faster and more bilateral in spatial location, suggesting that this maturation may be activity dependent.