Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 222, Issue 2, pp 799–812 | Cite as

The association of children’s mathematic abilities with both adults’ cognitive abilities and intrinsic fronto-parietal networks is altered in preterm-born individuals

  • J. G. Bäuml
  • C. Meng
  • M. Daamen
  • N. Baumann
  • B. Busch
  • P. Bartmann
  • D. Wolke
  • H. Boecker
  • A. Wohlschläger
  • C. Sorg
  • Julia JaekelEmail author
Original Article


Mathematic abilities in childhood are highly predictive for long-term neurocognitive outcomes. Preterm-born individuals have an increased risk for both persistent cognitive impairments and long-term changes in macroscopic brain organization. We hypothesized that the association of childhood mathematic abilities with both adulthood general cognitive abilities and associated fronto-parietal intrinsic networks is altered after preterm delivery. 72 preterm- and 71 term-born individuals underwent standardized mathematic and IQ testing at 8 years and resting-state fMRI and full-scale IQ testing at 26 years of age. Outcome measure for intrinsic networks was intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC). Controlling for IQ at age eight, mathematic abilities in childhood were significantly stronger positively associated with adults’ IQ in preterm compared with term-born individuals. In preterm-born individuals, the association of children’s mathematic abilities and adults’ fronto-parietal iFC was altered. Likewise, fronto-parietal iFC was distinctively linked with preterm- and term-born adults’ IQ. Results provide evidence that preterm birth alters the link of mathematic abilities in childhood and general cognitive abilities and fronto-parietal intrinsic networks in adulthood. Data suggest a distinct functional role of intrinsic fronto-parietal networks for preterm individuals with respect to mathematic abilities and that these networks together with associated children’s mathematic abilities may represent potential neurocognitive targets for early intervention.


IQ in adulthood Mathematic abilities in childhood Fronto-parietal intrinsic networks Preterm birth 



We thank all current and former members of the Bavarian Longitudinal Study Group who contributed to general study organization, recruitment, and data collection, management and subsequent analyses, including (in alphabetical order): Stephan Czeschka, Claudia Grünzinger, Christian Koch, Diana Kurze, Sonja Perk, Andrea Schreier, Antje Strasser, Julia Trummer, and Eva van Rossum. Most importantly, we thank all our study participants for their efforts to take part in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors report no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.


This study was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG JA 1913/2-1 to J. J.), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF 01ER0801 to N.B. and D.W., BMBF 01EV0710 to A.M.W., BMBF 01ER0803 to C.S.) and the Kommission für Klinische Forschung, Technische Universität München (KKF 8765162 to C.S). We are grateful to the staff of the Department of Neuroradiology in Munich and the Department of Radiology in Bonn for their help in data collection.

Supplementary material

429_2016_1247_MOESM1_ESM.docx (827 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 827 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Bäuml
    • 1
    • 2
    • 9
  • C. Meng
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Daamen
    • 3
    • 4
  • N. Baumann
    • 5
  • B. Busch
    • 4
  • P. Bartmann
    • 4
  • D. Wolke
    • 5
    • 6
  • H. Boecker
    • 3
  • A. Wohlschläger
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Sorg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 8
  • Julia Jaekel
    • 5
    • 7
    • 10
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeuroradiologyKlinikum rechts Der Isar, Technische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  2. 2.TUM-NIC Neuroimaging Center Technische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.Functional Neuroimaging Group, Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital BonnBonnGermany
  4. 4.Department of NeonatologyUniversity Hospital BonnBonnGermany
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  6. 6.Warwick Medical SchoolUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  7. 7.Department of Child and Family StudiesUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  8. 8.Department of PsychiatryKlinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  9. 9.Institute of Medical PsychologyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  10. 10.Department of Developmental PsychologyRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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