Neurological development of low birthweight infants
Presberg, Marian Sue
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The purpose of this study was to observe the patterns of neurological recovery in low birth weight infants (less than 1500g) over the first twelve months of life. The Ameil-Tison Neurological Evaluation as well as demographic and perinatal predictor variables were utilized in observation of the recovery of these infants. The sample of infants studied was the 1978-1981 cohort in the Longitudinal Infant Follow-up and Evaluation program at the Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.;The first step in this study was to provide coherent and reliable scales within the Ameil-Tison Evaluation, since the exam was not published with norms regarding the reliability and validity of the evaluation. An initial set of a priori scales was analyzed to acquire consistently high alpha coefficients of.6 or greater. The scales that remained consistently high were (1) Head Circumference; (2) Behavior; (3) Passive Tone (both from the items on the evaluation and clinician ratings of tone) and (4) Reflexes. These scales were then compared to the demographic and perinatal predictor variables in a multiple regression equation to determine the proportion of variance accounted for, on a month by month basis, by the predictor variables.;The results of the study suggest that for this sample, the first six months of development reflect abnormalities in muscle tone, alertness, the sleep wake cycle and reflexes. In general, after the first half of the year, the infants' neurological status quickly displays a more normal pattern. Perinatal variables play a much more important role in the earlier part of the year, closer to the perinatal event. These findings indicate that if an infant is still displaying a large number of neurological abnormalities after the sixth month of life, early intervention should be strongly considered.