Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between cortical development and cerebral electrical activity at early gestational ages. Methods: We obtained EEGs (7.2 ± 3.8 days) and MR brain images (3.2 ± 2.9 days) after birth in 17 <30 week gestation infants without evidence of focal brain injury The EEGs were assessed for discontinuity and characteristic maturational features (delta brush, occipital and temporal sawtooth); cortical development was quantified from MR scans using a specially designed computer programme to measure cortical folding. Results: The inter-burst interval shortened and cortical folding increased with increasing post-menstrual age (PMA). In contrast, the minimum duration of bursts was independent of PMA and cortical folding. Delta brush (8-20 Hz activities) was seen at all PMAs; temporal and occipital sawtooth activities were always more prominent than delta brush but were seen less frequently with increasing PMA and complexity of cortical folding. Conclusion: There was a positive correlation between some but not all maturational features of the preterm neonatal EEG and the complexity of whole brain cortical folding and PMA. These relationships were strong for the inter-burst interval, a global measure of maturation, but not strongly seen for regional features such as occipital and temporal sawtooth within this gestational age range. Significance: Combining neurophysiological examination with detailed neuroimaging gives insights into developmental changes occurring in the very preterm brains and suggests further comparative studies focusing on measures of focal brain development at different gestational ages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Sensory Systems
- Physiology (medical)