Corpus callosal associations with cognitive and motor abilities in school-age children cooled for neonatal encephalopathy

Georgia Geary, Sally Jary, James Tonks, Richard Lee-Kelland, Jade Thai, Jon Brooks, Marianne Thoresen, Frances Cowan, Ela Chakkarapani

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Posterpeer-review


Background: Some infants cooled for neonatal encephalopathy (NE) have motor and cognitive impairments at schoolage
despite the absence of cerebral palsy (CP). The corpus callosum (CC) carries transcallosal fibres connecting
different cortical regions and may influence motor and cognitive function. We hypothesized that cooled children may
have changes in the structure of the CC that is associated with their impairments.
Objective: To compare the surface area of the CC between cooled children aged 6-8 years and controls, and
determine associations with motor and cognitive scores.
Design/Methods: In a case-control study, 23 cases aged 6-8 years, cooled for NE and without CP, and 20 age, sex
and social class matched controls underwent psychometric (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children,WISC-IV), motor
(Movement Assessment Battery for Children,MABC-2) and brain MRI assessments. The CC and the cross-sectional
supratentorial brain surface area were measured manually from the mid-sagittal T1 mprage image. The CC was
segmented into three equal parts: frontal, mid and occipital. We further divided the mid segment into anterior 1/3rd
and posterior 2/3rds, as the posterior 2/3rds carry motor fibres.(Fig 1)
Results: All cases had a normally appearing CC on neonatal MRI. No focal lesions were seen on the childhood MRI.
Cases, compared to controls, had significantly smaller total CC, frontal, occipital and anterior 1/3rd of mid CC segment
areas, but a comparable area of the posterior 2/3rds of the mid segment. (Table 1) Controlling for cross-sectional
brain area, sex and age, cases had a significantly smaller anterior 1/3rd of mid CC (β= -0.07cm2 (95% CI: -0.11, -
0.02). On multiple linear regression significant independent predictors were: total CC area for verbal comprehension
and processing speed; case and male sex for perceptual reasoning; occipital segment area for working memory; total
CC area and case for full-scale IQ. No association was found between CC areas and motor function.(Table 2)
Conclusion(s): In the cooled children without CP, the anterior 1/3 of the mid CC segment was smaller, but the
posterior segment was of normal size compared to matched controls. WISC-IV subscale scores but not MABC-2
subscale scores were associated with CC size, suggesting that the development of CC influenced cognitive function.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Structured keywords

  • CRICBristol


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