A new approach to the neurological assessment of the preterm and full-term newborn infant

Brain Dev. 1980;2(1):3-14. doi: 10.1016/s0387-7604(80)80003-9.


A method has been developed for the neurological assessment of the newborn infant comprising a carefully selected series of neurological and neurobehavioral items. It is applicable to preterm as well as full-term infants within 24 hours of birth, and can also be repeated sequentially on the same infant. The whole examination is recorded directly on a single sheet which also contains detailed instructions and diagrams. Individual items are scored on a 5-point scale, but no attempt has been made to compute a single total score, as it was thought more advantageous to document a pattern for individual groups of signs. Pilot studies have already demonstrated its sensitivity to perinatal factors such as drugs, asphyxia and infection. The examination can be rapidly documented by residents with no special training in newborn neurology. This method should provide a practical and objective means of monitoring the neurological status of the newborn infant, and also a baseline for longitudinal studies of neurological function in the newborn and developing infant.

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / complications
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neurologic Examination / methods*
  • Posture