Displacement of brain regions in preterm infants with non-synostotic dolichocephaly investigated by MRI


Andrea UJ Mewes, Lilla Zöllei, Petra S Hüppi, Heidelise Als, Gloria B McAnulty, Terrie E Inder, William M Wells, and Simon K Warfield. 2007. “Displacement of brain regions in preterm infants with non-synostotic dolichocephaly investigated by MRI.” Neuroimage, 36, 4, Pp. 1074-85.


Regional investigations of newborn MRI are important to understand the appearance and consequences of early brain injury. Previously, regionalization in neonates has been achieved with a Talairach parcellation, using internal landmarks of the brain. Non-synostotic dolichocephaly defines a bi-temporal narrowing of the preterm infant's head caused by pressure on the immature skull. The impact of dolichocephaly on brain shape and regional brain shift, which may compromise the validity of the parcellation scheme, has not yet been investigated. Twenty-four preterm and 20 fullterm infants were scanned at term equivalent. Skull shapes were investigated by cephalometric measurements and population registration. Brain tissue volumes were calculated to rule out brain injury underlying skull shape differences. The position of Talairach landmarks was evaluated. Cortical structures were segmented to determine a positional shift between both groups. The preterm group displayed dolichocephalic head shapes and had similar brain volumes compared to the mesocephalic fullterm group. In preterm infants, Talairach landmarks were consistently positioned relative to each other and to the skull base, but were displaced with regard to the calvarium. The frontal and superior region was enlarged; central and temporal gyri and sulci were shifted comparing preterm and fullterm infants. We found that, in healthy preterm infants, dolichocephaly led to a shift of cortical structures, but did not influence deep brain structures. We concluded that the validity of a Talairach parcellation scheme is compromised and may lead to a miscalculation of regional brain volumes and inconsistent parcel contents when comparing infant populations with divergent head shapes.