Among pre-term neonates with white matter injury, impairment of thalamic development persists into childhood, independent of total brain development. This interaction between white matter injury and thalamic growth can be used to predict cognition at school age.
Why this matters
Pre-term birth is increasing, but despite advances in neonatal care, many of these children have significant delays in neurodevelopment compared to their term-born peers.
White matter injury (WMI) has been implicated in many of the cognitive and motor deficits in these children, with the thalamus being a key region of interest.
However, the relationship between early-life WMI, school-age thalamic volume, and neurodevelopmental outcomes has not yet been characterized.