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Adult IQ prediction for very premature children possible by 2 years of age!

Posted:  Friday, August 21, 2015

Studies have found that children born very low birth weight (VLBW) or very premature have impaired cognitive capabilities in childhood and adulthood. However, thanks to a Bavarian study, it is now possible to predict the adult IQ of preemies. Researchers found that the adult IQ of children born very premature or VLBW can be predicted by 2 years of age. Ironically, the IQ of adults born full term can be predicted only by 6 years of age.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, followed children, born between 1985–86, from birth into adulthood. The researchers used developmental and intelligence tests (IQ) to assess cognition at 6 time points: 5 months, 20 months, 4 years, 6 years, 8 years and 26 years of age.

Two-hundred-and-sixty babies, born either premature or VLBW, were compared to 229 full term babies. The results were independent of sex, income or education. These results were compared to the control group of adults who were born healthy in the same obstetric wards.

The researchers observed that premature or VLBW babies scored low on cognitive tests but beat the odds to improve in adulthood. The researchers found that many persistent problems with cognition can be detected at 2 years of age. The lead researcher concluded saying, “Early identification of cognitive problems in these children may help to plan specialised therapeutic and educational interventions to help them and their families.”

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