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Premature Infants Have Smaller Brains; Do They Normalize Over Time?

The brains of premature infants are smaller than those of full-term babies, even when measured at the same developmental stage after birth, according to recent studies of brain images at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Woman's Hospital. A number of recent studies have associated educational disadvantages with low birth weight, a hallmark of premature delivery. This deficiency continues into adulthood. One surprising report that came out in 2000 showed that newborns weighing less than 5.5 pounds are nearly four times more likely to drop out of high school by age 19 than siblings born in the normal weight range. The study did not examine physiological differences.

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