Association of Very Preterm Birth or Very Low Birth Weight With Intelligence in Adulthood: An Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis

Authors: Robert Eves, Marina Mendonça, Nicole Baumann, Yanyan Ni, Brian A. Darlow, John Horwood, Lianne J. Woodward, Lex W. Doyle, Jeanie Cheong, Peter J. Anderson, Peter Bartmann, Neil Marlow, Samantha Johnson, Eero Kajantie, Petteri Hovi, Chiara Nosarti, Marit S. Indredavik, Kari Anne I. Evensen, Katri Räikkönen, Kati Heinonen, Jennifer Zeitlin, Dieter Wolke,
Issue: 2021
Themes:
Link to Publication (External Site)

Question Is very preterm birth or very low birth weight vs term birth associated with intelligence in adulthood?

Findings In this meta-analys is of individual participant data from 8 cohorts comprising 2135 adults with and without very preterm birth or very low birth weight in 7 countries, IQ was significantly lower among adults who were born very preterm or with very low birth weight compared with adults who were born at term, with a mean between-group difference of approximately 12 IQ points. Lower gestational age, lower birth weight z scores, the presence of neonatal bronchopulmonary dysplasia or intraventricular hemorrhage, and lower maternal educational levels were significantly associated with lower IQ among adults born very preterm or with very low birth weight.

Meaning This individual patient data meta-analysis suggests that very preterm birth or very low birth weight may be associated with a clinically relevant difference in IQ, relative to term birth, in adulthood.