Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Research Publications

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    Brain tissue microstructural and free-water composition 13 years after very preterm birth
    Kelly, C ; Dhollander, T ; Harding, IH ; Khan, W ; Beare, R ; Cheong, JLY ; Doyle, LW ; Seal, M ; Thompson, DK ; Inder, TE ; Anderson, PJ (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2022-07-01)
    There have been many studies demonstrating children born very preterm exhibit brain white matter microstructural alterations, which have been related to neurodevelopmental difficulties. These prior studies have often been based on diffusion MRI modelling and analysis techniques, which commonly focussed on white matter microstructural properties in children born very preterm. However, there have been relatively fewer studies investigating the free-water content of the white matter, and also the microstructure and free-water content of the cortical grey matter, in children born very preterm. These biophysical properties of the brain change rapidly during fetal and neonatal brain development, and therefore such properties are likely also adversely affected by very preterm birth. In this study, we investigated the relationship of very preterm birth (<30 weeks' gestation) to both white matter and cortical grey matter microstructure and free-water content in childhood using advanced diffusion MRI analyses. A total of 130 very preterm participants and 45 full-term control participants underwent diffusion MRI at age 13 years. Diffusion tissue signal fractions derived by Single-Shell 3-Tissue Constrained Spherical Deconvolution were used to investigate brain tissue microstructural and free-water composition. The tissue microstructural and free-water composition metrics were analysed using a voxel-based analysis and cortical region-of-interest analysis approach. Very preterm 13-year-olds exhibited reduced white matter microstructural density and increased free-water content across widespread regions of the white matter compared with controls. Additionally, very preterm 13-year-olds exhibited reduced microstructural density and increased free-water content in specific temporal, frontal, occipital and cingulate cortical regions. These brain tissue composition alterations were strongly associated with cerebral white matter abnormalities identified in the neonatal period, and concurrent adverse cognitive and motor outcomes in very preterm children. The findings demonstrate brain microstructural and free-water alterations up to thirteen years from neonatal brain abnormalities in very preterm children that relate to adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.
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    Investigating brain structural maturation in children and adolescents born very preterm using the brain age framework
    Kelly, C ; Ball, G ; Matthews, LG ; Cheong, JL ; Doyle, LW ; Inder, TE ; Thompson, DK ; Anderson, PJ (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2021-12-18)
    Very preterm (VP) birth is associated with an increased risk for later neurodevelopmental and behavioural challenges. Although the neurobiological underpinnings of such challenges continue to be explored, previous studies have reported brain volume and morphology alterations in children and adolescents born VP compared with full-term (FT)-born controls. How these alterations relate to the trajectory of brain maturation, with potential implications for later brain ageing, remains unclear. In this longitudinal study, we investigate the relationship between VP birth and brain development during childhood and adolescence. We construct a normative 'brain age' model to predict age over childhood and adolescence based on measures of brain cortical and subcortical volumes and cortical morphology from structural MRI of a dataset of typically developing children aged 3-21 years (n = 768). Using this model, we examined deviations from normative brain development in a separate dataset of children and adolescents born VP (<30 weeks' gestation) at two timepoints (ages 7 and 13 years) compared with FT-born controls (120 VP and 29 FT children at age 7 years; 140 VP and 47 FT children at age 13 years). Brain age delta (brain-predicted age minus chronological age) was, on average, higher in the VP group at both timepoints compared with controls, however this difference had a small to medium effect size and was not statistically significant. Variance in brain age delta was higher in the VP group compared with controls; this difference was significant at the 13-year timepoint. Within the VP group, there was little evidence of associations between brain age delta and perinatal risk factors or cognitive and motor outcomes. Under the brain age framework, our results may suggest that children and adolescents born VP have similar brain structural developmental trajectories to term-born peers between 7 and 13 years of age.
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    Mathematical performance in childhood and early adult outcomes after very preterm birth: an individual participant data meta-analysis
    Jaekel, J ; Anderson, PJ ; Bartmann, P ; Cheong, JLY ; Doyle, LW ; Hack, M ; Johnson, S ; Marlow, N ; Saigal, S ; Schmidt, L ; Sullivan, MC ; Wolke, D (WILEY, 2021-12-15)
    AIM: To investigate the strength of the independent associations of mathematics performance in children born very preterm (<32wks' gestation or <1500g birthweight) with attending postsecondary education and their current employment status in young adulthood. METHOD: We harmonized data from six very preterm birth cohorts from five different countries and carried out one-stage individual participant data meta-analyses (n=954, 52% female) using mixed effects logistic regression models. Mathematics scores at 8 to 11 years of age were z-standardized using contemporary cohort-specific controls. Outcomes included any postsecondary education, and employment/education status in young adulthood. All models were adjusted for year of birth, gestational age, sex, maternal education, and IQ in childhood. RESULTS: Higher mathematics performance in childhood was independently associated with having attended any postsecondary education (odds ratio [OR] per SD increase in mathematics z-score: 1.36 [95% confidence interval {CI}: 1.03, 1.79]) but not with current employment/education status (OR 1.14 per SD increase [95% CI: 0.87, 1.48]). INTERPRETATION: Among populations born very preterm, childhood mathematics performance is important for adult educational attainment, but not for employment status.
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    ADHD symptoms and diagnosis in adult preterms: systematic review, IPD meta-analysis, and register-linkage study
    Robinson, R ; Girchenko, P ; Pulakka, A ; Heinonen, K ; Lahdepuro, A ; Lahti-Pulkkinen, M ; Hovi, P ; Tikanmaki, M ; Bartmann, P ; Lano, A ; Doyle, LW ; Anderson, PJ ; Cheong, JLY ; Darlow, BA ; Woodward, LJ ; Horwood, LJ ; Indredavik, MS ; Evensen, KA ; Marlow, N ; Johnson, S ; de Mendonca, MG ; Kajantie, E ; Wolke, D ; Raikkonen, K (SPRINGERNATURE, 2022-01-07)
    BACKGROUND: This study examined differences in ADHD symptoms and diagnosis between preterm and term-born adults (≥18 years), and tested if ADHD is related to gestational age, birth weight, multiple births, or neonatal complications in preterm borns. METHODS: (1) A systematic review compared ADHD symptom self-reports and diagnosis between preterm and term-born adults published in PubMed, Web of Science, and PROQUEST until April 2021; (2) a one-stage Individual Participant Data(IPD) meta-analysis (n = 1385 preterm, n = 1633 term; born 1978-1995) examined differences in self-reported ADHD symptoms[age 18-36 years]; and (3) a population-based register-linkage study of all live births in Finland (01/01/1987-31/12/1998; n = 37538 preterm, n = 691,616 term) examined ADHD diagnosis risk in adulthood (≥18 years) until 31/12/2016. RESULTS: Systematic review results were conflicting. In the IPD meta-analysis, ADHD symptoms levels were similar across groups (mean z-score difference 0.00;95% confidence interval [95% CI] -0.07, 0.07). Whereas in the register-linkage study, adults born preterm had a higher relative risk (RR) for ADHD diagnosis compared to term controls (RR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.12, 1.41, p < 0.001). Among preterms, as gestation length (RR = 0.93, 95% CI 0.89, 0.97, p < 0.001) and SD birth weight z-score (RR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.80, 0.97, p < 0.001) increased, ADHD risk decreased. CONCLUSIONS: While preterm adults may not report higher levels of ADHD symptoms, their risk of ADHD diagnosis in adulthood is higher. IMPACT: Preterm-born adults do not self-report higher levels of ADHD symptoms, yet are more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis in adulthood compared to term-borns. Previous evidence has consisted of limited sample sizes of adults and used different methods with inconsistent findings. This study assessed adult self-reported symptoms across 8 harmonized cohorts and contrasted the findings with diagnosed ADHD in a population-based register-linkage study. Preterm-born adults may not self-report increased ADHD symptoms. However, they have a higher risk of ADHD diagnosis, warranting preventive strategies and interventions to reduce the presentation of more severe ADHD symptomatology in adulthood.
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    Temporal changes in rates of active management and infant survival following live birth at 22-24 weeks' gestation in Victoria
    Boland, RA ; Cheong, JLY ; Stewart, MJ ; Doyle, LW (WILEY, 2021-02-16)
    BACKGROUND: Management of livebirths at 22-24 weeks' gestation in high-income countries varies widely and has changed over time. AIMS: Our aim was to determine how rates of active management and infant survival of livebirths at 22-24 weeks varied with perinatal variables known at birth, and over time in Victoria, Australia. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a population-based cohort study of all 22-24 weeks' gestation live births, free of lethal congenital anomalies in 2009-2017. Rates of active management and survival to one year of age were reported. 'Active management' was defined as receiving resuscitation at birth or nursery admission for intensive care. RESULTS: Over the nine-year period, there were 796 eligible live births. Overall, 438 (55%) were actively managed: 5% at 22 weeks, 45% at 23 weeks and 90% at 24 weeks' gestation, but rates of active management did not vary substantially over time. Of livebirths actively managed, 263 (60%) survived to one year: 0% at 22 weeks, 50% at 23 weeks and 66% at 24 weeks. Apart from gestational age, being born in a tertiary perinatal centre and increased size at birth were associated with survival in those actively managed, but sex and plurality were not. Survival rates of actively managed infants rose over time (adjusted odds ratio 1.09 per year; 95% CI 1.01-1.18; P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Although active management rates did not change substantially over time in Victoria, an overall increase in infant survival was observed. With increasing gestational age, rates of active management and infant survival rapidly rose.
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    Translating antenatal magnesium sulphate neuroprotection for infants born < 28 weeks' gestation into practice: A geographical cohort study
    Doyle, LW ; Spittle, AJ ; Olsen, JE ; Kwong, A ; Boland, RA ; Lee, KJ ; Anderson, PJ ; Cheong, JLY (WILEY, 2021-02-02)
    BACKGROUND: Magnesium sulphate was introduced for fetal neuroprotection in Australia in 2010. The aim of this study was to determine how often antenatal magnesium sulphate is used currently and its association with cerebral palsy in children born <28 weeks' gestation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Participants comprised all survivors born <28 weeks' gestational age in the state of Victoria in 2016-17, and earlier, in 1991-92, 1997, 2005. Rates of cerebral palsy, diagnosed at two years for the 2016-17 cohort, and at eight years in the earlier cohorts, were compared across eras. Within 2016-17, the proportions of children exposed to antenatal magnesium sulphate were determined, and rates of cerebral palsy were compared between those with and without exposure to magnesium sulphate. RESULTS: Overall, cerebral palsy was present in 6% (11/171) of survivors born in 2016-17, compared with 12% (62/499) of survivors born in the three earlier eras (odds ratio (OR) 0.48, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.25-0.94; P = 0.032). Data were available for 213/215 (99%) survivors born in 2016-17, of whom 147 (69%) received magnesium sulphate. Data on cerebral palsy at two years were available for 171 (80%) survivors with magnesium data. Cerebral palsy was present in 5/125 (4%) children exposed to magnesium sulphate and in 6/46 (13%) of those not exposed (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.08-0.96; P = 0.043). CONCLUSIONS: Antenatal magnesium sulphate is being translated into clinical practice for infants born <28 weeks' gestation, but there is room for improvement. It is associated with lower rates of cerebral palsy in survivors.
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    Psychiatric disorders in individuals born very preterm / very low-birth weight: An individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis
    Anderson, PJ ; de Miranda, DM ; Albuquerque, MR ; Indredavik, MS ; Evensen, KA ; Van Lieshout, R ; Saigal, S ; Taylor, HG ; Raikkonen, K ; Kajantie, E ; Marlow, N ; Johnson, S ; Woodward, LJ ; Austin, N ; Nosarti, C ; Jaekel, J ; Wolke, D ; Cheong, JL ; Burnett, A ; Treyvaud, K ; Lee, KJ ; Doyle, LW (ELSEVIER, 2021-11-27)
    BACKGROUND: Data on psychiatric disorders in survivors born very preterm (VP; <32 weeks) or very low birthweight (VLBW; <1500 g) are sparse. We compared rates of psychiatric diagnoses between VP/VLBW and term-born, normal birthweight (term/NBW) control participants. METHODS: This individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis pooled data from eligible groups in the Adults born Preterm International Collaboration (APIC). Inclusion criteria included: 1) VP/VLBW group (birth weight <1500 g and/or gestational age <32 weeks), 2) normal birth weight/term-born control group (birth weight >2499 g and/or gestational age ≥37 weeks), and 3) structured measure of psychiatric diagnoses using DSM or ICD criteria. Diagnoses of interest were Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Anxiety Disorder, Mood Disorder, Disruptive Behaviour Disorder (DBD), Eating Disorder, and Psychotic Disorder. A systematic search for eligible studies was conducted (PROSPERO Registration Number 47555). FINDINGS: Data were obtained from 10 studies (1385 VP/VLBW participants, 1780 controls), using a range of instruments and approaches to assigning diagnoses. Those born VP/VLBW had ten times higher odds of meeting criteria for ASD (odds ratio [OR] 10·6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2·50, 44·7), five times higher odds of meeting criteria for ADHD (OR 5·42, 95% CI 3·10, 9·46), twice the odds of meeting criteria for Anxiety Disorder (OR 1·91, 95% CI 1·36, 2·69), and 1·5 times the odds of meeting criteria for Mood Disorder (OR 1·51, 95% CI 1·08, 2·12) than controls. This pattern of findings was consistent within age (<18 years vs. ≥18 years) and sex subgroups. INTERPRETATION: Our data suggests that individuals born VP/VLBW might have higher odds of meeting criteria for certain psychiatric disorders through childhood and into adulthood than term/NBW controls. Further research is needed to corroborate our results and identify factors associated with psychiatric disorders in individuals born VP/VLBW. FUNDING: Australia's National Health & Medical Research Council; CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal deNível Superior) - International Cooperation General Program; Canadian Institutes of Health Research Team Grant; National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq); Academy of Finland; Sigrid Juselius Foundation; Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation; European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme: Project RECAP-Preterm; European Commission Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course: structures and processes (DIAL); Neurologic Foundation of New Zealand; MRC programme grant; Health Research Council of New Zealand; National Institutes of Health, USA; The Research Council of Norway; Joint Research Committee between St. Olavs Hospital and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU); Liaison Committee between Central Norway Regional Health Authority and NTNU.
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    Preterm and term-equivalent age general movements and 1-year neurodevelopmental outcomes for infants born before 30weeks' gestation
    Olsen, JE ; Allinson, LG ; Doyle, LW ; Brown, NC ; Lee, KJ ; Eeles, AL ; Cheong, JLY ; Spittle, AJ (WILEY, 2018-01-01)
    AIM: To examine the associations between Prechtl's General Movements Assessment (GMA), conducted from birth to term-equivalent age, and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 12 months corrected age, in infants born very preterm. METHOD: One hundred and thirty-seven infants born before 30 weeks' gestation had serial GMA (categorized as 'normal' or 'abnormal') before term and at term-equivalent age. At 12 months corrected age, neurodevelopment was assessed using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS); Neurological, Sensory, Motor, Developmental Assessment (NSMDA); and Touwen Infant Neurological Examination (TINE). The relationships between GMA at four time points and 12-month neurodevelopmental assessments were examined using regression models. RESULTS: Abnormal GMA at all time points were associated with worse continuous scores on the AIMS, NSMDA, and TINE (p<0.05). Abnormal GMA before term and at term-equivalent age were associated with increased odds of mild-severe dysfunction on the NSMDA (odds ratio [OR] 4.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.55-11.71, p<0.01; and OR 4.16, 95% CI 1.55-11.17, p<0.01 respectively) and abnormal GMA before term with increased odds of suboptimal-abnormal motor function on the TINE (OR 2.75, 95% CI 1.10-6.85, p=0.03). INTERPRETATION: Abnormal GMA before term and at term-equivalent age were associated with worse neurodevelopment at 12 months corrected age in children born very preterm. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Abnormal general movements before term predict developmental deficits at 1 year in infants born very preterm. General Movements Assessment before term identifies at-risk infants born very preterm.
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    Rates of early intervention services in children born extremely preterm/extremely low birthweight
    Mills, IS ; Doyle, LW ; Cheong, JLY ; Roberts, G (WILEY, 2018-01-01)
    AIM: To determine the rates of early intervention (EI) service use in extremely preterm (EP, <28 weeks' gestation) or extremely low birthweight (ELBW, <1000 g) infants between 1991 and 2013, and identify biological or socio-economic factors associated with receiving EI. METHODS: Participants comprised consecutive EP or ELBW survivors born in 1991-1992, 1997 or 2005 in Victoria, Australia, and randomly selected, matched term-born controls. The main outcome measure was parent-reported EI participation up to 8 years of age. Neurodevelopmental outcomes and socio-economic risk factors were compared with EI participation to identify associations among the preterm groups. RESULTS: The rates of EI were higher in the preterm groups than the control groups overall (odds ratio 4.29, 95% confidence interval 3.28, 5.59, P < 0.001), and the rates of EI rose significantly over time - from 42% in the 1991-1992 preterm cohort to 64% in the 2005 preterm cohort. Among the preterm groups, post-natal corticosteroid therapy, cystic periventricular leukomalacia and surgery in the newborn period were all independently associated with increased odds of receiving EI. Increased severity of disability was associated with higher rates of EI. The majority (95%) of preterm children with a physical impairment received EI, compared with only 73% of children with a cognitive impairment alone. EI participation rates were independent of social risk. CONCLUSION: EI participation is high in the EP population, and rates of EI use have increased over time. Contrary to previous reports, social risk factors were not found to be associated with EI use.
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    Neurobehaviour at term-equivalent age and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years in infants born moderate-to-late preterm
    Spittle, AJ ; Walsh, JM ; Potter, C ; Mcinnes, E ; Olsen, JE ; Lee, KJ ; Anderson, PJ ; Doyle, LW ; Cheong, JLY (WILEY, 2017-02-01)
    AIM: To examine the association between newborn neurobehavioural assessments and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years in infants born moderate-to-late preterm (MLPT). METHOD: Two-hundred and one infants born MLPT (born 32-36+6 wks' gestation) were assessed with the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination (HNNE) and NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS), with suboptimal performance defined as scores lower than the 10th centile. Development was assessed at 2 years corrected age with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development 3rd Edition, with delay defined as scores less than 1 standard deviation (SD) below the mean. The relationships between neurobehaviour at term and Bayley-III cognitive, language, and motor scales at 2 years were examined using linear regression. RESULTS: Increased odds for cognitive delay were associated with suboptimal HNNE total scores (odds ratio [OR] 2.66; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14-6.23, p=0.020) and suboptimal NNNS excitability (OR 3.01; 95% CI 1.33-6.82, p=0.008) and lethargy (OR 4.05; 95% CI 1.75-9.31, p=0.001) scores. Suboptimal lethargy scores on the NNNS were associated with increased odds of language (OR 5.64; 95% CI 1.33-23.85, p=0.019) and motor delay (OR: 6.86; 95% CI 1.64-28.71, p=0.08). INTERPRETATION: Suboptimal performance on specific aspects of newborn neurobehavioural assessments is associated with neurodevelopmental delay at 2 years in children born MLPT.