Clinical long-term follow-up and imaging of the brain

The Low Birth Weight research group focuses on the clinical long-term follow-up (from birth to adulthood) of children with low birth weight using advanced MRI techniques, as well as cognitive intervention in terms of computer-based working memory training. The research group is led by Associate Professor Kari Anne I. Evensen.

The group cooperates closely with the MR Centre where quantitative MRI methods (3D structural MRI, DTI, MRS, fMRI) are used to study the connection between observations of the brain (volume, surface area, thickness of the cerebral cortex, structure of white matter, brain networks), pre- and perinatal risk factors and clinical outcomes (cognition, mental health, vision, motor functions, growth and physical health) in preterm born children with very low birth weight, term born children with low birth weight and term born children with normal birth weight.

A follow-up study in cooperation with researchers at the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo, have studied brain development in childhood using MRI and cognitive assessments of normal children in Trondheim and Oslo, recruited from the national Mother-Child Cohort Study and in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The Trondheim part of the study includes follow-up of about 50 preterm children examined by using the same methods.

At the moment, we have the following research projects:

Normal early brain development

  • Studies of the development of the immature brain in relation to the development of cognitive, mental health, motor and other clinical functions in healthy children, youth and adults.

Perinatal brain injury – the effect on brain development and brain functions

  • Studies of how perinatal brain injury and cognition, mental and physical health changes throughout childhood and youth into adulthood and further into the ageing process in preterm children and/or children with low birth weight.
  • Studies of the correlation between structural deviations in the brain and various types of neurological, motor, neuropsychological, behavioural and mental health difficulties.

The research group is interdisciplinary and has close cooperation with several clinical departments at St. Olavs Hospital, as well as other departments and faculties at NTNU.

Nationally we cooperate with the University of Oslo and Sørlandet Sykehus HF, and our international network includes research groups in Europe and the USA. 

The research group is part of The Adults Born Preterm International Collaboration (APIC) which consists of leading research groups from several European countries, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. This research collaboration includes data sharing and joint publications. So far 3 papers are published/in press.

NTNU by the Low Birth Weight group is also partner in the EU project (2017-2020): Research on European Children and Adults born Preterm (RECAP).

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 733280.

The aim of RECAP is to promote health and well-being for children and adults born preterm and to study underlying factors of risk and resilience. A main intention is to harmonise and combine European follow-up datasets of children and adults born preterm. 

Wed, 03 May 2017 14:17:54 +0200
MR images of brains

The research group:

In addition there are several PhD candidates and medical research students attached to the group. So far eight PhDs have been completed, and six projects are ongoing.