Early sensitivity training for parents of preterm infants: Impact on the developing brain

Jeannette Milgrom, Carol Newnham, Peter J. Anderson, Lex W. Doyle, Alan W. Gemmill, Katherine Lee, Rod W. Hunt, Merilyn Bear, Terrie Eleanor Inder

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126 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

After birth, preterm infants face a stressful environment, which may negatively impact early brain development and subsequent neurobehavioral outcomes. This randomized controlled trial involving 45 women with infants <30-wk gestation, assessed the effectiveness of training parents in reducing stressful experiences. Intervention consisted of 10 sessions in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Postintervention, at term-equivalent (40-wk postmenstrual age), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed to evaluate brain structure and development. Quantitative volumetric techniques were used to estimate overall and regional brain volumes for different tissue types including CSF, CGM, DNGM, UWM, and MWM. DTI was used to evaluate the integrity and maturation of white matter by ADC and FA. Maturation and connectivity of white matter, characterized by diffusion MR measures of ADC and FA, were significantly enhanced in the intervention group, who displayed greater restriction in ADC and increase in FA. There were no significant effects on either brain volumes or on short-term medical outcomes. Thus, sensitivity training for parents in the NICU is associated with improved cerebral white matter micro-structural development in preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-335
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Volume67
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

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