TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who had a very low
birth weight are more likely to have memory and attention problems
than those who had a low to normal birth weight, a new study
It included 103 adults who had a very low birth weight (less
than 3.3 pounds) and 105 adults who weighed more than that at
birth. The participants, aged 21 to 30, completed tests that
assessed their thinking skills, including vocabulary, ability to
understand words, memory and IQ.
Adults with a very low birth weight scored lower or performed
less quickly on tests of general intelligence, executive
functioning, attention and visual memory, compared to those with
low to normal birth weights, the Finnish researchers said.
For example, participants with a very low birth weight scored an
average 8.4 points lower on IQ tests.
The study also found that adults with a very low birth weight
were more likely to have received remedial education while in
school, but their average school grades and their number of years
of education achieved were the same as those with low to normal
The study appears in the Dec. 6 print issue of the journal
"While we know babies born severely preterm generally achieve lower cognitive test scores, this is one of the first studies to look at how severely low birth weight impacts executive functioning, such as attention and visual memory, when these babies become young adults," study author Katri Raikkonen, a professor at the University of Helsinki, said in a journal news release.
The March of Dimes has more about
low birth weight.