Non-right-handedness in children born extremely preterm: Relation to early neuroimaging and long-term neurodevelopment

Alise A van Heerwaarde, Laura T van der Kamp, Niek E van der Aa, Linda S de Vries, Floris Groenendaal, Marian J Jongmans, Rian J C Eijsermans, Corine Koopman-Esseboom, Inge-Lot C van Haastert, Manon J N L Benders, Jeroen Dudink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective This study aimed to define the prevalence and predictors of non-right-handedness and its link to long-term neurodevelopmental outcome and early neuroimaging in a cohort of children born extremely preterm (<28 weeks gestation). Methods 179 children born extremely preterm admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of our tertiary centre from 2006–2013 were included in a prospective longitudinal cohort study. Collected data included perinatal data, demographic characteristics, neurodevelopmental outcome measured by the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development at 2 years and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children at 5 years, and handedness measured at school age (4–8 years). Magnetic resonance imaging performed at term-equivalent age was used to study overt brain injury. Diffusion tensor imaging scans were analysed using tract-based spatial statistics to assess white matter microstructure in relation to handedness and neurodevelopmental outcome. Results The prevalence of non-right-handedness in our cohort was 22.9%, compared to 12% in the general population. Weaker fine motor skills at 2 years and paternal non-right-handedness were significantly associated with non-right-handedness. Both overt brain injury and fractional anisotropy of white matter structures on diffusion tensor images were not related to handedness. Fractional anisotropy measurements showed significant associations with neurodevelopmental outcome. Conclusions Our data show that non-right-handedness in children born extremely preterm occurs almost twice as frequently as in the general population. In the studied population, non-right-handedness is associated with weaker fine motor skills and paternal non-right-handedness, but not with overt brain injury or microstructural brain development on early magnetic resonance imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0235311
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Early online date6 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020


  • preterm birth
  • Handedness
  • neurodevelopment


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-right-handedness in children born extremely preterm: Relation to early neuroimaging and long-term neurodevelopment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this