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Infants born prematurely are prone to chronic neurologic deficits including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cognitive delay, behavioral problems, and neurosensory impairments. In affected children, imaging and neuropathological findings demonstrate significant damage to white matter. The extent of cortical damage has been less obvious. Advances in the understanding of telencephalon development provide insights into how systemic intrauterine insults affect the developing white matter, subplate, and cortex, and lead to multiple neurologic impairments. In addition to white matter oligodendrocytes and axons, other elements at risk for perinatal brain injury include subplate neurons, GABAergic neurons migrating through white matter and subplate, and afferents of maturing neurotransmitter systems. Common insults including hypoxia-ischemia and infection often affect the developing brain differently than the mature brain, and insults precipitate a cascade of damage to multiple neural lineages. Insights from development can identify potential targets for therapies to repair the damaged neonatal brain before it has matured.


Shenandoah Robinson. Systemic prenatal insults disrupt telencephalon development: implications for potential interventions. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B. 2005 Nov;7(3):345-63

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PMID: 16061421

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