Early intervention improves cognitive outcomes for preterm infants: randomized controlled trial

Pediatrics. 2010 Nov;126(5):e1088-94. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-0778. Epub 2010 Oct 11.


Objective: The goal was to examine the effectiveness of an early intervention on cognitive and motor outcomes at corrected ages of 3 and 5 years for children with birth weights (BWs) of <2000 g.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial of a modified version of the Mother-Infant Transaction Program was performed. Outcomes were assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised at 3 and 5 years, respectively. McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities and the grooved pegboard test were used to test motor outcomes at 5 years.

Results: A total of 146 infants were assigned randomly (intervention group: 72 infants; control group: 74 infants). The mean BWs were 1396 ± 429 g for the intervention group and 1381 ± 436 g for the control group. After adjustment for maternal education, a nonsignificant difference in Mental Developmental Index scores at 3 years of 4.5 points (95% confidence interval: -0.3 to 9.3 points) in favor of the intervention group was found, whereas the intervention effect on full-scale IQ scores at 5 years was 6.4 points (95% confidence interval: 0.6-12.2 points). Significantly more children in the intervention group had IQ scores of ≥ 85 at 3 and 5 years. There were no differences between the groups with respect to motor outcomes.

Conclusion: This modified version of the Mother-Infant Transaction Program improved cognitive outcomes at corrected age of 5 years for children with BWs of <2000 g.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00222456.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / growth & development
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Wechsler Scales / statistics & numerical data*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00222456