Spastic diplegia in preterm-born children: Executive function impairment and neuroanatomical correlates

Maria Chiara Di Lieto, Paola Brovedani, Chiara Pecini, Anna Maria Chilosi, Vittorio Belmonti, Franco Fabbro, Cosimo Urgesi, Simona Fiori, Andrea Guzzetta, Silvia Perazza, Elisa Sicola, Giovanni Cioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The neuropsychological literature on preterm-born children with spastic diplegia due to periventricular leukomalacia is convergent in reporting deficits in non-verbal intelligence and in visuo-spatial abilities. Nevertheless, other cognitive functions have found to be impaired, but data are scant and not correlated with neuroimaging findings. Aims This study analyzes the neuropsychological strengths and weaknesses in preterm-born children with spastic diplegia (pSD) and their relationships with neuroanatomical findings, investigated by a novel scale for MRI classification. Methods and procedures Nineteen children with pSD, mild to moderate upper limb impairment and Verbal IQ > 80, and 38 normal controls were evaluated with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery (NEPSY-II), assessing Attention/Executive Functioning, Language, Memory, Sensorimotor, Social Perception and Visuospatial Processing domains. The MRIs were quantitatively scored for lesion severity. Outcomes and results The results showed that, beyond core visuo-spatial and sensory-motor deficits, impairments in attention and executive functions were present in more than half of the sample, particularly in children with damage to the anterior corpus callosum. Conclusions and implications The findings are discussed in terms of clinical and rehabilitative implications tailored for pSD subgroups diversified for neuropsychological and neuroanatomical characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-126
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 18 2016


  • Children
  • Executive functions
  • Neuroanatomical correlates
  • Neuropsychological profile
  • Preterm spastic diplegia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spastic diplegia in preterm-born children: Executive function impairment and neuroanatomical correlates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this