University of Oulu

Auditory event-related potentials as indices of language impairment in children born preterm and with Asperger syndrome

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Author: Jansson-Verkasalo, Eira1,2,3,4
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Finnish, Saami and Logopedics
2Oulu University Hospital, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology
3Oulu University Hospital, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescence
4University of Helsinki, Department of Psychology, Cognitive Brain Research Unit
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2003
Publish Date: 2004-12-19
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium 12 of the Department of Paediatrics, Oulu University Hospital, on December 19th, 2003, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Ph.D. Nicole Bruneau
Docent Teija Kujala


The main objective of the present follow-up study was to investigate auditory processing by using auditory event related potentials (ERPs), and language development to determine whether a correlation exists between auditory ERPs and language development.

Auditory processing was investigated in very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm children and matched controls at mean ages of 4 and 6 years to determine whether there are differences in ERPs between VLBW preterm children and controls. Language development was measured at the mean ages of 2, 4 and 6 years to investigate the developmental course of language learning and to determine whether a relationship exists between ERPs, especially mismatch negativity (MMN), and language development. Auditory ERPs were also measured in children with AS (mean age 9;1 years) and matched controls to assess whether differences can be found between these two groups of children. Language development in children with AS was not investigated for this study.

VLBW preterm children exhibited difficulties in the auditory processing at the level of obligatory ERPs, MMN, late MMN (lMMN) and behavioural tests. Both language comprehension and production were deficient in the preterm group compared to their controls. Lexical development was the most prominent phenomenon differentiating preterm children from their controls. MMN and lMMN amplitudes were attenuated most in children with naming difficulty at the ages of 4 and 6 years. Weak or totally missing MMN at the age of 4 years was mainly found in children with naming difficulties.

Children with AS also displayed abnormalities in auditory processing, as indexed by delayed MMN latency. MMN was most delayed in the right hemisphere and specifically for tones.

In conclusion: VLBW preterm children and children with AS exhibited difficulties in auditory processing. MMN correlated well with language development in preterm children. Therefore, auditory ERPs, especially MMN, should be used in combination with language measures to identify the children at a risk for deficient auditory processing and language delays.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. B, Humaniora
ISSN-E: 1796-2218
ISBN: 951-42-7244-7
ISBN Print: 951-42-7243-9
Issue: 54
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2004. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.