Determinants of neurobehavioral outcome in low-birth-weight infants

E. Lipper, K. Lee, L. M. Gartner, B. Grellong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The relative importance of (1) birth weight, gestational age, and head circumference at birth, and (2) appropriateness of birth weight and head circumference to gestational age in the predictability of neurobehavioral outcome was evaluated in 127-low-birth-weight infants at 7 months of age. Lower absolute birth weights, shorter gestational ages, and smaller head circumferences at birth correlated with poorer outcome (Bayley Scales of Infant Development and abnormal neurologic examination) at the corrected chronologic age of 7 months (r = .28 to .42, all P<.005). The incidence of low scores on the Mental Development Index and of severe neurologic deficit was significantly higher in small-head-circumference-for-gestational-age infants than in appropriate-head-circumference-for-gestational-age infants (both, P<.05). In the absence of small head circumference, small-for-gestational-age infants had similar incidences of low Bayley scores and abnormal neurologic examinations as did appropriate-for-gestational-age infants. These observations suggest that head circumference at birth may be the single most important variable for subsequent neurobehavioral outcome, and that both birth weight and gestational age may simply be markers of fetal head growth in their relationship to later outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-505
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes


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