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Sensorimotor Interventions Improve Growth and Motor Function in Preterm Infants

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Purpose: To assess the effect of an oral (O+O), a tactile/kinesthetic (T/K+T/K), and a combined (O+T/K) intervention on preterm infants’ weight gain and motor function and to determine whether the combined O+T/K intervention has an additive/synergistic effect on outcomes.

Design/Sample: Seventy-five preterm infants were randomized into an O+O intervention consisting of oral stimulation, a T/K+T/K intervention involving whole body stimulation, an O+T/K intervention, and a control group. Interventions were administered for 15 minutes, twice a day, for ten days.

Outcomes: Weight gain, motor function.

Results: The O+O and T/K+T/K groups had greater weight gain during the intervention period than did controls (p ≤.025). The T/K+T/K and O+T/K groups had better motor function than did controls (p ≤.017).

Conclusion: Single and combined interventions improved growth and motor function. The combined intervention, because of the shorter duration of each modality, did not lead to additive/synergistic effects, suggesting that the duration of the sensorimotor input is as important as its target in achieving defined outcomes.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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