Volume 60, Issue 9 p. 975-987
Original Article

Atypical resting state neuromagnetic connectivity and spectral power in very preterm children

Nataliia Kozhemiako

Corresponding Author

Nataliia Kozhemiako

Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

These authors contributed equally.

Correspondence

Nataliia Kozhemiako, 2705 250-13450 102 Ave, Surrey, BC, Canada V3T0A3; Email: [email protected]

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Adonay Nunes

Adonay Nunes

Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

These authors contributed equally.Search for more papers by this author
Vasily A. Vakorin

Vasily A. Vakorin

Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Fraser Health, British Columbia Health Authority, Surrey, BC, Canada

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Cecil M. Y. Chau

Cecil M. Y. Chau

Pediatrics Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

B.C. Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Alexander Moiseev

Alexander Moiseev

Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

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Urs Ribary

Urs Ribary

Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Pediatrics Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

B.C. Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

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Ruth E. Grunau

Ruth E. Grunau

Pediatrics Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

B.C. Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada

SMD and REG are co-senior authors.Search for more papers by this author
Sam M. Doesburg

Sam M. Doesburg

Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

SMD and REG are co-senior authors.Search for more papers by this author
First published: 25 February 2019
Citations: 18
Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.

Abstract

Background

Children born very preterm often display selective cognitive difficulties at school age even in the absence of major brain injury. Alterations in neurophysiological activity underpinning such difficulties, as well as their relation to specific aspects of adverse neonatal experience, remain poorly understood. In the present study, we examined interregional connectivity and spectral power in very preterm children at school age, and their relationship with clinical neonatal variables and long-term outcomes (IQ, executive functions, externalizing/internalizing behavior, visual-motor integration).

Methods

We collected resting state magnetoencephalographic (MEG) and psychometric data from a cohort at the age of 8 years followed prospectively since birth, which included three groups: Extremely Low Gestational Age (ELGA, 24–28 weeks GA n = 24, age 7.7 ± 0.38, 10 girls), Very Low Gestational Age (VLGA, 29–32 weeks GA n = 37, age 7.7 ± 0.39, 24 girls), and full-term children (38–41 weeks GA n = 39, age 7.9 ± 1.02, 24 girls). Interregional phase synchrony and spectral power were tested for group differences, and associations with neonatal and outcome variables were examined using mean-centered and behavioral Partial Least Squares (PLS) analyses, respectively.

Results

We found greater connectivity in the theta band in the ELGA group compared to VLGA and full-term groups, primarily involving frontal connections. Spectral power analysis demonstrated overall lower power in the ELGA and VLGA compared to full-term group. PLS indicated strong associations between neurophysiological connectivity at school age, adverse neonatal experience and cognitive performance, and behavior. Resting spectral power was associated only with behavioral scores.

Conclusions

Our findings indicate significant atypicalities of neuromagnetic brain activity and connectivity in very preterm children at school age, with alterations in connectivity mainly observed only in the ELGA group. We demonstrate a significant relationship between connectivity, adverse neonatal experience, and long-term outcome, indicating that the disruption of developing neurophysiological networks may mediate relationships between neonatal events and cognitive and behavioral difficulties at school age.