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Abstract #1751

A 3D surface based correlation analysis of the putamen and thalamus in premature neonates

Yi Lao 1 , Yalin Wang 2 , Jie Shi 2 , Rafael Ceschin 3 , Marvin D. Nelson 1 , Ashok Panigrahy 3 , and Natasha Lepore 1

1 Department of Radiology, University of Southern California and Children's Hospital, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States, 2 School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Temp, Arizona, United States, 3 Department of Radiology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh UPMC, Pittsburgh, pennsylvania, United States

Finding the neuroanatomical correlates of prematurity is vital to understanding which structures are affected, and in designing treatments. Studies revealed that deep gray matter alterations, notably on the thalamus, are important indicators of prematurity. However, little is known about the association of altered thalamic development with other deep gray matter disturbances, and no study was able to localize the association within the sub-nuclei of the gray matter. Here, using brain structural MRI, we tested the hypothesis that thalamic alterations due to prematurity is associated with that of the ventral striatum. We performed a novel 3D correlation of the thalamus and its allied ventral striatum structures using 17 preterm and 19 term-born neonates, in terms of the surface determinant and radial distance. The results are then compared with previously found group differences in the same dataset, to obtain a more comprehensive assessment of the deep gray matter involvement in premature injuries. Our results showed that some of the regional abnormalities on the thalamus are associated with the alterations in ventral striatum, possibly due to the disturbance on the development of the shared cortical-striatum-thalamus pathway. These findings extend knowledge gained from traditional volume based analyses of neonates in the literature, and provide anatomical evidence to the concept of 'encephalopathy of prematurity'.

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