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Title: The development of executive functions and information processing speeds in toddlers born preterm
Author: Day, K. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 8207
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Cognitive impairments are commonly reported in children born preterm, with particular difficulties in executive functions, information processing and attention. Yet, children that later present with mild to moderate impairments are typically missed in earlier standard developmental assessments. The current longitudinal investigation explores the development of executive function, information processing and attentional abilities in very preterm (< 32 weeks of gestation) and term-born children at 3, 6, 12 and 30 months of age, corrected for prematurity. Performances on established paradigms assessing these cognitive abilities were also compared to the cognitive composite scores of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (third edition) at 12 months and 2 years of age. Very preterm (n = 50) and term-born (n = 81) children were assessed in a multifaceted battery of behavioural, eye-tracking and event related potential tasks, to formulate a detailed understanding of developmental trajectories for executive functions, information processing and attention. Overall, cohort performances were not differentiated within the first year and measures of attention were comparable for both groups over the two years. However, executive function and information processing differences were observed within the very preterm children during the second year assessments. These difficulties were independent of global cognitive performance, and variation on the executive function, information processing and attentional measures was poorly reflected in the Bayley-III cognitive scores at 2 years. In conclusion, very preterm children display difficulties predominantly in executive function abilities by 2 years of age, independent of global cognitive scores. Longer-term follow-up of this cohort will highlight any links between these early deficits and later academic and social outcomes, and can aid in the development of tools for earlier identification of adverse cognitive outcomes in very preterm populations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available