Parenchymal echogenicities that break down into extensive cystic lesions are generally followed by severe motor deficit. However, the effect of echodensities in the periventricular white matter, so called 'flares', on later development is less well documented. The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of neonatal flares in preterm infants on neurological status and motor competence at 6 years of age and to see to what extent outcome was related to duration of flares. Forty four children with flares, subdivided into three groups according to the duration of flares, and 62 children with normal scans were assessed on Touwen's neurological examination, the Movement ABC, and the British Ability Scales. No differences in cognitive abilities were found between the groups. The results of the motor assessments showed that performance decreased significantly with increasing duration of flares. In addition, there was a suggestion that this trend was stronger in measures assessing lower limb function than those of upper limb. Teachers were also able to identify differences between the groups of children on the basis of their motor performance in school.
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