Valérie Datin-Dorrière

Ph.D, MD

2018/09-2021/07

Ph.D student

Paris Cité University

Executive learning of school-age very preterm (VPT) children

Supervised by Nicolas Poirel & Arnaud Cachia

VPT children ( < 33 GA) are at risk of neurodevelopmental sequelae, especially executive deficit. Computerized executive training of all three EFs or focused on working memory has already been proposed to VPT children with inconstant results. Targeted training of inhibitory control (IC), at the center of cognitive processes and school learning, has never been tested in VPT children. During this thesis' work, we have, in study number 1, explored visual global/local attention abilities, which are critical cognitive processes for school learning. We have highlighted a deficit of global processing in VPT children compared to same age (10 years) term control children, and a preservation of the local processing. An IC deficit since the presence of 3 visual distractors was also demonstrated in VPT children. In Study n°2, we proposed a computerized training targeted on CI (2 tasks: Color Stroop and Stop signal, 20 sessions of 15 min, 5 weeks) to 34 VPT children and 35 CTRL of 10-year-old, with cognitive-behavioral evaluation, genetic and multimodal MRI; in pre-test (T0) and post-test (T1). MRI analysis focused on the sulcal morphology of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), known to be associated with IC efficiency. At T0, VPT children showed lower IC efficiency than CTRLs. At T1, there was no improvement on the 2 tasks trained in VPT, while CTRL progressed at the Color Stroop (not to the Stop Signal). Interestingly, VPT had a significant gain in the management of global interference and in Simon test and Alouette test (reading test) at T1. The sulcal morphology of the ACC was found to be a factor with a significant effect on the efficiency of most tasks. Further analyses (functional and diffusion MRI, GWAS) will allow to better understand the possibilities and benefits of targeted IC training in VPT children.

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PUBLICATIONS

Datin-Dorrière, V., Borst, G., Guillois, B., Cachia, A., Poirel, N. (2020). The forest, the trees, and the leaves in preterm children: The impact of prematurity on a visual search task containing three-level hierarchical stimuli. European Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 30, 253–260. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-020-01510-x