Atkinson J, Birtles D, Wattam-Bell J, Wilkinson A, Braddick O, 2007, "Comparison of direction-reversal (DR-) and orientation-reversal (OR-) VEPs shows early dorsal vulnerability in healthy premature infants" Perception 36 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Comparison of direction-reversal (DR-) and orientation-reversal (OR-) VEPs shows early dorsal vulnerability in healthy premature infants
J Atkinson, D Birtles, J Wattam-Bell, A Wilkinson, O Braddick
Previously we have found measures of visual cortical function, including OR-VEPs, to correlate with the extent of perinatal brain damage in very premature infants and predict later visuo-cognitive outcome. Here we find, in healthy premature infants, normal development of orientation responses but delayed directional motion responses. DR- and OR-VEPs were measured at 2 - 4 months corrected age in seventeen prematurely born infants (<33 weeks gestation, normal cerebral ultrasound), and twenty-six term-born controls. For 8 Hz OR, VEP signal : noise ratio (S : N) showed flat regression with age, and no difference between the groups. In contrast, 2 Hz DR S : N increased linearly with age, and was significantly lower for the prematures, implying approximately 4 weeks delay in development of the directional response. We conclude that motion processing provides a sensitive indicator of deleterious effects of preterm birth, possibly reflecting subtle white-matter anomalies, not detectable by ultrasound. We discuss this in relation to dorsal stream vulnerability, indicated by impaired global motion sensitivity relative to form in many neurodevelopmental disorders, eg autism, hemiplegia, fragile-X.
[Supported by Medical Research Council grant G0601007.]
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