Premature Babies Eventually Catch Up With Vocabulary

Filed under: In The News

Credit: Getty Images

A premature baby's exposure to pain, oxygen and the environment can harm his or her immature brain.

But not to worry. Researchers say preemies are generally able to catch up in their ability to identify the names of things by their 16th birthdays.

There have been conflicting reports on developmental deficits among children born weeks or months before their due dates.

"This leaves one on a high note, that some of these kids do well," Gerry Taylor, a professor of pediatrics at Case Western who was not involved in the study, tells the Reuters news service.

Canadian and American researchers compared more than 300 children born early and weighing less than 3 pounds to 41 children who were born after a full-length pregnancy of 37 weeks.

In terms of what's called receptive vocabulary -- where kids are shown pictures of objects and asked to identify the correct picture for a given word -- the preemies generally caught up with everyone else by age 16.

Taylor tells Reuters premature children perform better on some tests and worse on others because the risk for brain damage when babies are born early is higher for some parts of the brain and lower for others.

"Some areas of the brain sustain more insult than others," Taylor tells Reuters.

The findings of this latest research "were encouraging, because we always focus on the negative" aspects of being born prematurely, lead researcher Thuy Mai Luu, a pediatrician and clinical researcher at Sainte-Justine University Health Center in Montreal, tells Reuters.

Luu adds that her results show that a subset of preemies performs normally on some language and problem-solving tests.

"It's amazing that even with these areas of difficulty the children are able to compensate quite well, make use of their strengths, and go on to achieve," Taylor tells Reuters.
AOL Answers is no longer available
AOL Answers is closed

AOL Answers is no longer available.

As AOL continues to grow and evolve we are taking necessary actions to ensure our efforts and resources are
focused on the areas where we can create the maximum amount of value for our loyal consumer base. As a result
we have decided to sunset AOL Answers. Thank you for your participation in this site. If you have an AOL-related
question (passwords, account information, etc.), please visit our AOL Help site at help.aol.com.

FollowUs

Flickr RSS

TheTalkies

AskAdviceMama

AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.
AOL Answers is no longer available
AOL Answers is closed

AOL Answers is no longer available.

As AOL continues to grow and evolve we are taking necessary actions to ensure our efforts and resources are
focused on the areas where we can create the maximum amount of value for our loyal consumer base. As a result
we have decided to sunset AOL Answers. Thank you for your participation in this site. If you have an AOL-related
question (passwords, account information, etc.), please visit our AOL Help site at help.aol.com.