Altered long-range alpha-band synchronization during visual short-term memory retention in children born very preterm

Sam M Doesburg, Urs Ribary, Anthony T Herdman, Steven P Miller, Kenneth J Poskitt, Alexander Moiseev, Michael F Whitfield, Anne Synnes, Ruth E Grunau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Children born very preterm, even when intelligence is broadly normal, often experience selective difficulties in executive function and visual-spatial processing. Development of structural cortical connectivity is known to be altered in this group, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) evidence indicates that very preterm children recruit different patterns of functional connectivity between cortical regions during cognition. Synchronization of neural oscillations across brain areas has been proposed as a mechanism for dynamically assigning functional coupling to support perceptual and cognitive processing, but little is known about what role oscillatory synchronization may play in the altered neurocognitive development of very preterm children. To investigate this, we recorded magnetoencephalographic (MEG) activity while 7-8 year old children born very preterm and age-matched full-term controls performed a visual short-term memory task. Very preterm children exhibited reduced long-range synchronization in the alpha-band during visual short-term memory retention, indicating that cortical alpha rhythms may play a critical role in altered patterns functional connectivity expressed by this population during cognitive and perceptual processing. Long-range alpha-band synchronization was also correlated with task performance and visual-perceptual ability within the very preterm group, indicating that altered alpha oscillatory mechanisms mediating transient functional integration between cortical regions may be relevant to selective problems in neurocognitive development in this vulnerable population at school age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2330-2339
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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