Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Brief Communications

Neuropsychological Functioning in Girls with Premature Adrenarche

A. Tissota1a2 c1, L.D. Dorna1a2, D. Rotensteina3, S.R. Rosea2a4, L.M. Sontag-Padillaa5, C.L. Jillarda6, S.F. Witchela7a8, S.L. Bergaa9, T.L. Loucksa9 and S.R. Beersa10

a1 Division of Adolescent Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

a2 University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio

a3 Pediatric Alliance, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

a4 Division of Endocrinology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

a5 RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

a6 Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina

a7 Division of Endocrinology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

a8 Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

a9 Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

a10 Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Contemporary research indicates that brain development occurs during childhood and into early adulthood, particularly in certain regions. A critical question is whether premature or atypical hormone exposures impact brain development (e.g., structure) or function (e.g., neuropsychological functioning). The current study enrolled 40 girls (aged 6–8 years) diagnosed with premature adrenarche (PA) and a comparison group of 36 girls with on-time maturation. It was hypothesized that girls with PA would demonstrate lower IQ and performance on several neuropsychological tasks. The potential for a sexually dimorphic neuropsychological profile in PA was also explored. No significant univariate or multivariate group differences emerged for any neuropsychological instrument. However, effect size confidence intervals contained medium-sized group differences at the subscale level. On-time girls performed better on verbal, working memory, and visuospatial tasks. Girls with PA showed improved attention, but not a sexually dimorphic profile. These results, though preliminary, suggest that premature maturation may influence neuropsychological functioning. (JINS, 2012, 18, 151–156)

(Received September 16 2010)

(Revised September 02 2011)

(Accepted September 02 2011)


c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Abbigail Tissot, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, ML 4000, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039. E-mail: