Neuroplasticity reduced in teens born prematurely

Neuroplasticity reduced in teens born prematurely
Adolescents who were born prematurely have reduced neuroplasticity, which may explain their motor, learning, and memory difficulties, according to a study published in the Nov. 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

(HealthDay)—Adolescents who were born prematurely have reduced neuroplasticity, which may explain their motor, learning, and memory difficulties, according to a study published in the Nov. 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

To examine motor cortex neuroplasticity, Julia B. Pitcher, Ph.D., from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues used a noninvasive transcranial technique to induce long-term depression-like neuroplasticity in adolescents who had been born early preterm (32 weeks or less), later preterm (33 to 37 weeks), or term (38 to 41 weeks).

The researchers found that, in response to brain stimulation, both preterm groups had reduced long-term depression-like neuroplasticity as well as low salivary cortisol levels. Compared with term-born young adults, term-born adolescents had enhanced neuroplasticity.

"These findings provide a possible mechanistic link between the altered brain physiology of preterm birth and the subsequent associated behavioral deficits, particularly in learning and memory," Pitcher and colleagues conclude. "They also suggest that altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function due to preterm birth may be a significant modulator of this altered neuroplasticity."

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Teenagers' brains affected by preterm birth

Nov 13, 2012

New research at the University of Adelaide has demonstrated that teenagers born prematurely may suffer brain development problems that directly affect their memory and learning abilities.

Insulin sensitivity lower in adults born preterm

Sep 27, 2012

(HealthDay)—Middle-aged adults who were born preterm, even moderately preterm (32 to 36 weeks' gestation), are less insulin sensitive compared with adults who were born at term, according to research published ...

Recommended for you

Turning off depression in the brain

14 hours ago

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Rapid whole-brain imaging with single cell resolution

14 hours ago

A major challenge of systems biology is understanding how phenomena at the cellular scale correlate with activity at the organism level. A concerted effort has been made especially in the brain, as scientists are aiming to ...

User comments