A new study suggests that children who were born late preterm are not at increased risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities compared with their term-born peers. The findings are important, say the authors, because previous, more limited studies have reported that former late preterm infants are more likely to be diagnosed with school-age behavior and learning problems, and some researchers have suggested that their development should be closely monitored. For the new study, the researchers considered all children born in Rochester, Minn., from 1976 to 1982 who remained in the area for five years. They used medical and school records to compare 256 late preterm (34 up to 37 weeks) and 4,419 term (37 up to 42 weeks) children for ADHD and learning disabilities in reading, written language and math. The authors found no significant difference between the two groups through age 19 for ADHD or the learning disabilities. The study was funded by the NIH and appears in Pediatrics.
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