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Impaired Neurocognitive Abilities in Young Adults Linked to VLBW

By Grant Law Office on December 26, 2011

Very Low Birth Weight, or VLBW, is dangerous for the health of a newborn, and, according to a recent study published in Neurology, its effects may continue through young adulthood. According to, the study concludes that newborns with VLBW tend to have deficiencies in neurocognitive abilities once they become young adults. It is no surprise that severely preterm births are already associated with impaired mental faculties in children, but there are not many studies that follow-up on these results as the children grow older. “Neurocognitive Abilities in Young Adults with Very Low Birth Weight” is that follow-up study.

Within this study, as part of the Helsinki Study of Very Low Birth Weight Adults, two groups of more than 100 adults each were subjected to a battery of tests. One group included young adults who had been born with VLBW and the other included young adults who had normal birth weight. The tests evaluated general cognitive ability in addition to executive functioning and related abilities. Academic performance was also considered. The study concluded that:

  1. The VLBW group performed slower or scored lower than the non-VLBW control group in expressive language abilities, general intelligence tests, verbal fluency, visual scanning, copy and immediate recall, and psychomotor speed.
  2. The VLBW group more frequently participated in remedial education in school than the control group, although it found no significant differences in self-reported academic performance (probably due to their participation in remedial education).

It was also concluded that VLBW may impair the brain’s ability to resist or repair issues related to brain injury. Additionally, the study found that VLBW adults are more likely to suffer from chronic disease, participate in less healthy living, and even have higher mortality rates.

VLBW in a newborn can lead to serious medical conditions and lower quality of life, even into adulthood. It is only with proper prenatal screening and care that a doctor can prevent circumstances which would cause a VLBW birth. If your child has suffered injury and/or illness as the result of negligence on the part of a physician, the dedicated Atlanta birth injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C., can help you and your child obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact our offices today to learn more about your legal rights and options at (404) 995-3955.

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