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Publication Date: 
December, 2005
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This article explores the influence on brain development, as well as the neurological and behavioral outcomes, of the preterm and very preterm infant. It also briefly covers the influence of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), multiple births, gestational age, and birth weight on development as well as giving a more in depth review of literature that evaluates the impact of preterm birth and very preterm birth on brain development and neurological and behavioral outcomes. Finally, a case study is presented based upon the experience of a woman who delivered one twin at 24 weeks who survived and presently shows no significant abnormalities.


Ajayi-Obe, M., Saeed, N., Cowan, P.M., Rutherford, M.A., & Edwards, A.D. (2000). Reduced development of cerebral cortex in extremely preterm infants. The Lancet, 356(9236), 1162-1165.

Anderson, P. & Doyle, L. (2003). Neurobehavioral outcomes of school-age children born extremely low birth weight or very preterm in the 1990s. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 289, 3264-3272.

Bernasko, J., Lynch, L., Lapinski, R., & Berkowitz, R. (1997). Twin pregnancies conceived by assisted reproductive techniques: maternal and neonatal outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 89(3), 368-372.

Bryan, E. (2003). The impact of multiple preterm births on the family. BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 110(Suppl. 20), 24-28.

Cusson, R. (2003). Factors influencing language development in preterm infants. JOGNN, 32(3), 402-409.

Goldberg, S. & DiVitto, B. (1983). Born too soon. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company.

Grasby, D.O., Esterman, A., & Marshall, P. (2003). Ultrasound grading of cerebral ventricular dilatation in preterm neonates. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 39, 186-190.

Hack, M., Flannery, D., Schluchter, M., Cartar, L., Borawski, E., & Klein, N. (2002). Outcomes in young adulthood for very-low-birth-weight infants. The New England Journal of Medicine, 346(3), 149-157.

Hughes, M., Shults, J., McGrath, J. & Medoff-Cooper, B. (2002). Temperament characteristics of premature infants in the first year of life. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 23(6), 430-435.

Mouradian, L., Als, H., & Coster, W. (2000). Neurobehavioral functioning of healthy preterm infants of varying gestational ages. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 21(6), 408-416.

Olivennes, F., Kadhel, P., Rufat, P., Fanchin, R., Fernandez, H., & Frydman, R. (1996). Perinatal outcome of twin pregnancies obtained after in vitro fertilization: comparison with twin pregnancies obtained spontaneously or after ovarian stimulation. Assisted Reproductive Technology, 66(1), 105-109.

Peterson, B., Anderson, A., Ehrenkranz, R., Staib, L., Tageldin, M., Colson, E., Gore, J., Duncan, C., Makuch, R., & Ment, L. (2003). Regional brain volumes and their later neurodevelopmental correlates in term and preterm infants. Pediatrics, 111(5), 939-948.

Peterson, B., Vohr, B., Staib, L., Cannistraci, C., Dolberg, A., Schneider, K., Katz, K., Westerveld, M., Sparrow, S., Anderson, A., Duncan, C., Makuch, R., Gore, J., & Ment, L. (2000). Regional brain volume abnormalities and long-term cognitive outcome in preterm infants. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 284(15), 1939-1947.

Stewart, A.L., Rifkin, L., Amess, P.N., Kirkbride, V., Townsend, J.P., Miller, D.H., Lewis, S.W., Kingsley, D.P.E., Moseley, I.F., Foster, O., & Murray, R.M. (1999). Brain structure and neurocognitive and behavioural function in adolescents who were born very preterm. The Lancet, 353, 1653-1657.

Torrioli, M., Frisone, M., Bonvini, L., Luciano, R., Pasca, M., Lepori, R., Tortorolo, G., & Guzzetta, F. (2000). Perceptual-motor, visual and cognitive ability in very low birthweight preschool children without neonatal ultrasound abnormalities. Brain and Development, 22, 163-168.

Wocadlo, C. & Rieger, I. (2000). Very preterm children who do not cooperate with assessments at three years of age: skill differences at five years. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 21(2), 107-113.

Send correspondence to: Mari Fullmer, MA at 3695 La Entrada, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. Email: womynwise@hotmail.com Ms. Fullmer is a recent graduate of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute.