Edinburgh Imaging

19 Mar 18. Being born early

Video on the effect of being born early on children and young people.

Being born too soon or too small affects around 15 million babies around the world each year.


Speakers on the video include Professor James Boardman, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health and Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences. 

Hear about research that is leading to discoveries of new ways to help children who were born premature reach their full potential in life.


Hear from James Boardman about how research focuses on answering three main questions:

- What is the effect on brain development and the long term outcome?

- How can we identify babies who may benefit from early therapies in improving the outcome?

- What is it about being born early that leads to risk (and resilience) for brain development?


How MRI has helped carry out the above research

Brain scans gained from MRI have deepened our understanding of the effects of early birth on the developing brain.

Hear how having scans done at our Edinburgh Imaging Facility RIE on babies at their premature birth date and again at their full term birth date, has allowed researchers to work with physicists to create a 'brain atlas'. This allows us to focus on known regions of the brain that subserve different functions, and which regions are altered by premature birth. Adding this information to maps of brain connectivity allows researchers to ask questions on how brain connections change in relation to preterm birth.

Current studies include the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort (TEBC) study that follow babies right up to adulthood, with further information available on their website

Hear also from Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson who is a Developmental Psychologist working on the follow up phases of the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort (TEBC) study, which includes designing and evaluating new supports for children and families .