The aim of this study is to examine the effect of age correction on the developmental assessment scores of preterm infants, using for the first time, the Mullen scales of early learning (MSEL) test. Participants included 110 preterm infants (born at a gestational age of ≤ 34 weeks) at ages 1, 4, 8, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months. The corrected age-based MSEL composite score and each of the five MSEL scale scores were significantly higher than chronological age-based scores at all ages. These corrected scores were significantly higher than the chronological scores regardless of gestational age whether weight was, or adequate or small for gestational age. Larger differences between corrected and chronological age-based scores significantly correlated with earlier gestational age and with lower birth weight between 1 and 24 months but not at 36 months. Using chronological age-based scores yielded significantly more infants identified with developmental delays than using corrected age-based scores. The findings indicate that clinicians and researchers, as well as family members, should be aware of and acknowledge the distinction between corrected and chronological ages when evaluating preterm infants in research and clinical practices.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Shalem Fund , Grant no. 90 (NY), the Harris Foundation (NY) , the Milton Rosenbaum Foundation for Psychiatric Research (SEF) , the Teva-NNS Neuroscience scholarship (MY) , and the Artery Chair in Personality Studies endowed by Goldberg, Geller and Luria (NY) .
- Chronological age
- Cognitive development
- Corrected age
- Mullen scales of early learning
- Preterm infants