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Sucking behaviour in infants born preterm and developmental outcomes at primary school age.

Sucking behaviour in infants born preterm and developmental outcomes at primary school age.
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Wolthuis-Stigter MI, Da Costa SP, Bos AF, Krijnen WP, Van Der Schans CP, Luinge MR,


Wolthuis-Stigter MI, Da Costa SP, Bos AF, Krijnen WP, Van Der Schans CP, Luinge MR, (click to view)

Wolthuis-Stigter MI, Da Costa SP, Bos AF, Krijnen WP, Van Der Schans CP, Luinge MR,

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Developmental medicine and child neurology 2017 04 22() doi 10.1111/dmcn.13438
Abstract
AIM
To determine the association between sucking in infants born preterm and developmental outcomes at 5 years.

METHOD
Thirty-four infants were included (mean gestational age 30wks 4d, mean birthweight 1407g). The Neonatal Oral-Motor Assessment Scale was used longitudinally from 37 to 50 weeks postmenstrual age. At 5 years, we assessed motor skills, intelligence, language, verbal memory, and behavioural problems. Linear regression analyses were performed to test whether aspects of sucking behaviour predicted these developmental outcomes. Where linear regression was not appropriate, Spearman’s correlation coefficients were calculated between sucking and developmental outcomes.

RESULTS
Sucking was associated with total motor skills (B [unstandardized correlation coefficient for normally distributed data]=22.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.61 to 38.71), balance (Spearman’s ρ=0.64, p<0.001), total intelligence (B=-1.16, 95% CI -1.89 to -0.44, B=10.48, 95% CI 0.39 to 20.71, B=-2.22, 95% CI -3.42 to -1.02), verbal intelligence (B=-0.95; 95% CI -1.83 to -0.07, B=-2.02; 95% CI -3.55 to -0.49), performance intelligence (B=-1.34, 95% CI -2.13 to -0.54, B=12.36, 95% CI 1.13 to 23.60, B=-2.37, 95% CI -3.75 to -0.96), and language (B=-1.78, 95% CI -3.36 to -0.19). All associations were in the same direction: the better the sucking, the higher the test scores. Verbal memory and behavioural problems were not associated with sucking. INTERPRETATION
Abnormal sucking between 42 weeks and 50 weeks postmenstrual age may reflect abnormal neurological functioning in children born preterm.

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