Neuroplasticity reduced in teens born prematurely

December 10, 2012
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."

Explore further: Teenagers' brains affected by preterm birth

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

Related Stories

Teenagers' brains affected by preterm birth

November 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

September 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 in the October ...

Premature birth may increase risk of epilepsy later in life

October 3, 2011

Being born prematurely may increase your risk of developing epilepsy as an adult, according to a new study published in the October 4, 2011, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Recommended for you

Brain activity may predict risk of falls in older people

December 7, 2016

Measuring the brain activity of healthy, older adults while they walk and talk at the same time may help predict their risk of falls later, according to a study published in the December 7, 2016, online issue of Neurology.

Knowing one's place in a social hierarchy

December 7, 2016

When you start a new job, it's normal to spend the first day working out who's who in the pecking order, information that will come in handy for making useful connections in the future. In an fMRI study published December ...

Deep brain stimulation may not boost memory

December 7, 2016

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of areas in the brain known to be involved in making memories does not improve memory performance, according to a study by Columbia University researchers published December 7 in Neuron. The study ...

When neurons are 'born' impacts olfactory behavior in mice

December 7, 2016

New research from North Carolina State University shows that neurons generated at different life stages in mice can impact aspects of their olfactory sense and behavior. The work could have implications for our understanding ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.