Late preterm birth and neurocognitive performance in late adulthood: A birth cohort study

Kati Heinonen, Johan G. Eriksson, Jari Lahti, Eero Kajantie, Anu Katriina Pesonen, Soile Tuovinen, Clive Osmond, Katri Räikkönen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: We studied if late preterm birth (34 weeks 0 days-36 weeks 6 days of gestation) is associated with performance on the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Neuropsychological Battery (CERAD-NB) in late adulthood and if maximum attained lifetime education moderated these associations. METHODS: Participants were 919 Finnish men and women born between 1934 and 1944, who participated in the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study. They underwent the CERAD-NB at a mean age of 68.1 years. Data regarding gestational age (late preterm versus term) were extracted from hospital birth records, and educational attainment data were gathered from Statistics Finland. RESULTS: After adjustment for major confounders, those born late preterm scored lower on word list recognition (mean difference: -0.33 SD; P =.03) than those born at term. Among those who had attained a basic or upper secondary education, late preterm birth was associated with lower scores on word list recognition, constructional praxis, constructional praxis recall, clock drawing, Mini-Mental State Examination, and memory total and CERAD total 2 compound scores (mean differences: >0.40 SD; P values <.05), and had a 2.70 times higher risk of mild cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination score: <26 points) (P =.02). Among those with tertiary levels of education, late preterm birth was not associated with CERAD-NB scores. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings offer new insight into the lifelong consequences of late preterm birth, and they add late preterm birth as a novel risk factor to the list of neurocognitive impairment in late adulthood. Our findings also suggest that attained lifetime education may mitigate aging-related neurocognitive impairment, especially among those born late preterm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e818-e825
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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