Learning disability in 10- to 16-year-old adolescents with very low birth weight in Japan

Keiko Tanabe, Koji Tamakoshi, Saya Kikuchi, Jun Murotsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of infants with very low birth weight (VLBW, i.e., weight less than 1,500 g) in Japan. However, the effect of VLBW on subsequent behavioral development and mental health remains unknown. Subjects enrolled were 57 individuals (13.4 ± 1.9 years old) with VLBW (VLBW group), including 23 small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants (i.e., the SGA/VLBW group) and 34 appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) infants (the AGA/VLBW group). The control group was 29 individuals born AGA at term. We used the questionnaires, the Pupil Rating Scale Revised (PRS) to screen for learning disabilities and the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) to examine the presence of depression. The PRS score in the VLBW group was significantly lower than that of the control group (p < 0.001). Suspected learning disabilities (LD, defined by a score below 65 points on the PRS) were found in 6 out of the 56 subjects in the VLBW group (10.7%), whereas none were found in the 29 control subjects (p = 0.074). The frequency of suspected LD children was higher in the SGA/VLBW group (4 out of 22 evaluated infants, 18.2%) than that in the AGA/VLBW group (2/34, 5.9%). The frequency of suspected LD in the non-verbal field was significantly higher (p = 0.02) in the SGA/VLBW group (18.2%) than in the AGA/ VLBW group (0%). However, CDI score did not significantly differ between groups. These findings suggest that VLBW and fetal growth restriction may pose a risk for LD among adolescents with VLBW.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Learning disabilities
  • Small for gestational age
  • Very low birth weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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