A comparison of neurobehavioral performance of healthy term and low-risk preterm infants at term

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1992 May;34(5):417-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1992.tb11454.x.


The neurobehavioral performance of a group of low-risk preterm and healthy term infants was assessed at term using the standardized Einstein Neonatal Neurobehavioral Assessment Scale. There was greater similarity than dissimilarity between the two groups; however, preterm infants demonstrated less consistent following to face and voice, and less sustained rooting and grasp reflexes. Preterm infants were more likely to have a more sustained asymmetric tonic neck reflex, a greater popliteal angle and evidence of tremor. These results support the view that processing capability appears to mature on an intrinsically programmed time- and environment-independent pathway, with environmental exposure challenging this adaptive capacity and modifying performance--predominantly with respect to reflexive elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / physiology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / physiopathology
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Neurologic Examination*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Tremor / physiopathology