Physiotherapy - Research Publications

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    Survey of neurodevelopmental allied health teams in Australian and New Zealand neonatal nurseries: Staff profile and standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessment
    Allinson, LG ; Doyle, LW ; Denehy, L ; Spittle, AJ (WILEY, 2017-06-01)
    AIMS: The primary aim of this study was to establish how many neonatal nurseries in Australia and New Zealand had a neurodevelopmental allied health team, to ascertain the disciplines involved, their qualifications and experience. The secondary aim was to evaluate which standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessments were currently being implemented, and the existing practice in relation to their use. METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional survey, sampling 179 eligible public and private hospital neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and special care nurseries (SCNs) throughout Australia and New Zealand, was purpose-developed and administered electronically from the 5th April to 23rd July 2013. RESULTS: A total of 117 units (65%) overall, and 26 of 26 (100%) NICUs responded to the survey. NICUs had more neurodevelopmental allied health staff than SCNs, with physiotherapists and speech pathologists the most common disciplines. Physiotherapists were more likely to administer standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessments in NICUs, while medical staff were more likely to do so in SCNs. A wide variety of standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessment tools were used, with Prechtl's General Movements Assessment the most common in the NICUs (50%) and the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination the most common in the special care units (25%). Standardised neurobehavioural assessments were not administered in 22% of SCNs. CONCLUSIONS: Although neurodevelopmental allied health teams and standardised neurobehavioural/neurological assessments are valued by many, there was little consistency across Australian and New Zealand neonatal nurseries.
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    Predictive value of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children - Second Edition at 4years, for motor impairment at 8years in children born preterm
    Griffiths, A ; Morgan, P ; Anderson, PJ ; Doyle, LW ; Lee, KJ ; Spittle, AJ (WILEY, 2017-05-01)
    AIM: To assess the predictive validity at 4 years of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children - Second Edition (MABC-2) for motor impairment at 8 years in children born preterm. We also aimed to determine if sex, cognition, medical, or social risks were associated with motor impairment at 8 years or with a change in MABC-2 score between 4 years and 8 years. METHOD: Ninety-six children born at less than 30 weeks' gestation were assessed with the MABC-2 at 4 years and 8 years of age. Motor impairment was defined as less than or equal to the 5th centile. The Differential Ability Scales - Second Edition (DAS-II) was used to measure General Conceptual Ability (GCA) at 4 years, with a score <90 defined as 'below average'. RESULTS: There was a strong association between the MABC-2 total standard scores at 4 years and 8 years (59% variance explained, regression coefficient=0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.69-0.91, p<0.001). The MABC-2 at 4 years had high sensitivity (79%) and specificity (93%) for predicting motor impairment at 8 years. Below average cognition and higher medical risk were associated with increased odds of motor impairment at 8 years (odds ratio [OR]=15.3, 95% CI 4.19-55.8, p<0.001, and OR=3.77, 95% CI 1.28-11.1, p=0.016 respectively). Sex and social risk did not appear to be associated with motor impairment at 8 years. There was little evidence that any variables were related to change in MABC-2 score between 4 years and 8 years. INTERPRETATION: The MABC-2 at 4 years is predictive of motor functioning in middle childhood. Below average cognition and higher medical risk may be predictors of motor impairment.
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    Neurobehaviour at term-equivalent age and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years in infants born moderate-to-late preterm
    Spittle, AJ ; Walsh, JM ; Potter, C ; Mcinnes, E ; Olsen, JE ; Lee, KJ ; Anderson, PJ ; Doyle, LW ; Cheong, JLY (WILEY, 2017-02-01)
    AIM: To examine the association between newborn neurobehavioural assessments and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years in infants born moderate-to-late preterm (MLPT). METHOD: Two-hundred and one infants born MLPT (born 32-36+6 wks' gestation) were assessed with the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination (HNNE) and NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS), with suboptimal performance defined as scores lower than the 10th centile. Development was assessed at 2 years corrected age with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development 3rd Edition, with delay defined as scores less than 1 standard deviation (SD) below the mean. The relationships between neurobehaviour at term and Bayley-III cognitive, language, and motor scales at 2 years were examined using linear regression. RESULTS: Increased odds for cognitive delay were associated with suboptimal HNNE total scores (odds ratio [OR] 2.66; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14-6.23, p=0.020) and suboptimal NNNS excitability (OR 3.01; 95% CI 1.33-6.82, p=0.008) and lethargy (OR 4.05; 95% CI 1.75-9.31, p=0.001) scores. Suboptimal lethargy scores on the NNNS were associated with increased odds of language (OR 5.64; 95% CI 1.33-23.85, p=0.019) and motor delay (OR: 6.86; 95% CI 1.64-28.71, p=0.08). INTERPRETATION: Suboptimal performance on specific aspects of newborn neurobehavioural assessments is associated with neurodevelopmental delay at 2 years in children born MLPT.
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    Neonatal basal ganglia and thalamic volumes: very preterm birth and 7-year neurodevelopmental outcomes
    Loh, WY ; Anderson, PJ ; Cheong, JLY ; Spittle, AJ ; Chen, J ; Lee, KJ ; Molesworth, C ; Inder, TE ; Connelly, A ; Doyle, LW ; Thompson, DK (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-12-01)
    BackgroundThis study aims to (i) compare volumes of individual basal ganglia nuclei (caudate nucleus, pallidum, and putamen) and the thalamus between very preterm (VP) and term-born infants at term-equivalent age; (ii) explore neonatal basal ganglia and thalamic volume relationships with 7-year neurodevelopmental outcomes, and whether these relationships differed between VP and term-born children.Methods210 VP (<30 weeks' gestational age) and 39 term-born (≥37 weeks' gestational age) infants underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging at term-equivalent age, and deep gray matter volumes of interest were automatically generated. 186 VP and 37 term-born children were assessed for a range of neurodevelopmental measures at age 7 years.ResultsAll deep gray matter structures examined were smaller in VP infants compared with controls at term-equivalent age; ranging from (percentage mean difference (95% confidence intervals) -6.2% (-10.2%, -2.2%) for the putamen, to -9.5% (-13.9%, -5.1%) for the caudate nucleus. Neonatal basal ganglia and thalamic volumes were positively related to motor, intelligence quotient, and academic outcomes at age 7 years, with mostly similar relationships in the VP and control groups.ConclusionVP birth results in smaller basal ganglia and thalamic volumes at term-equivalent age, and these smaller volumes are related to a range of 7-year neurodevelopmental deficits in VP children.
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    A Novel Way to Measure and Predict Development: A Heuristic Approach to Facilitate the Early Detection of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
    Marschik, PB ; Pokorny, FB ; Peharz, R ; Zhang, D ; O'Muircheartaigh, J ; Roeyers, H ; Bolte, S ; Spittle, AJ ; Urlesberger, B ; Schuller, B ; Poustka, L ; Ozonoff, S ; Pernkopf, F ; Pock, T ; Tammimies, K ; Enzinger, C ; Krieber, M ; Tomantschger, I ; Bartl-Pokorny, KD ; Sigafoos, J ; Roche, L ; Esposito, G ; Gugatschka, M ; Nielsen-Saines, K ; Einspieler, C ; Kaufmann, WE (SPRINGER, 2017-05-01)
    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Substantial research exists focusing on the various aspects and domains of early human development. However, there is a clear blind spot in early postnatal development when dealing with neurodevelopmental disorders, especially those that manifest themselves clinically only in late infancy or even in childhood. RECENT FINDINGS: This early developmental period may represent an important timeframe to study these disorders but has historically received far less research attention. We believe that only a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach will enable us to detect and delineate specific parameters for specific neurodevelopmental disorders at a very early age to improve early detection/diagnosis, enable prospective studies and eventually facilitate randomised trials of early intervention. In this article, we propose a dynamic framework for characterising neurofunctional biomarkers associated with specific disorders in the development of infants and children. We have named this automated detection 'Fingerprint Model', suggesting one possible approach to accurately and early identify neurodevelopmental disorders.
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    Continuum of neurobehaviour and its associations with brain MRI in infants born preterm
    Eeles, AL ; Walsh, JM ; Olsen, JE ; Cuzzilla, R ; Thompson, DK ; Anderson, PJ ; Doyle, LW ; Cheong, JLY ; Spittle, AJ (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-10-01)
    BACKGROUND: Infants born very preterm (VPT) and moderate-to-late preterm (MLPT) are at increased risk of long-term neurodevelopmental deficits, but how these deficits relate to early neurobehaviour in MLPT children is unclear. The aims of this study were to compare the neurobehavioural performance of infants born across three different gestational age groups: preterm <30 weeks' gestational age (PT<30); MLPT (32-36 weeks' gestational age) and term age (≥37 weeks' gestational age), and explore the relationships between MRI brain abnormalities and neurobehaviour at term-equivalent age. METHODS: Neurobehaviour was assessed at term-equivalent age in 149 PT<30, 200 MLPT and 200 term-born infants using the Neonatal Intensive Care UnitNetwork Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS), the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination (HNNE) and Prechtl's Qualitative Assessment of General Movements (GMA). A subset of 110 PT<30 and 198 MLPT infants had concurrent brain MRI. RESULTS: Proportions with abnormal neurobehaviour on the NNNS and the HNNE, and abnormal GMA all increased with decreasing gestational age. Higher brain MRI abnormality scores in some regions were associated with suboptimal neurobehaviour on the NNNS and HNNE. The relationships between brain MRI abnormality scores and suboptimal neurobehaviour were similar in both PT<30 and MLPT infants. The relationship between brain MRI abnormality scores and abnormal GMA was stronger in PT<30 infants. CONCLUSIONS: There was a continuum of neurobehaviour across gestational ages. The relationships between brain abnormality scores and suboptimal neurobehaviour provide evidence that neurobehavioural assessments offer insight into the integrity of the developing brain, and may be useful in earlier identification of the highest-risk infants.
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    Physiological stress responses in infants at 29-32 weeks' postmenstrual age during clustered nursing cares and standardised neurobehavioural assessments
    Allinson, LG ; Denehy, L ; Doyle, LW ; Eeles, AL ; Dawson, JA ; Lee, KJ ; Spittle, AJ (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-11-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To compare the physiological stress responses of infants born <30 weeks' gestational age when undergoing clustered nursing cares with standardised neurobehavioural assessments in neonatal nurseries. DESIGN/METHODS: Thirty-four infants born <30 weeks' gestation were recruited from a tertiary neonatal intensive care unit. Heart rate (HR) and oxygen saturation were recorded during clustered nursing cares and during standardised neurobehavioural assessments (including the General Movements Assessment, Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination and Premie-Neuro Assessment). Two assessors extracted HR and oxygen saturations at 5 s intervals, with HR instability defined either as tachycardia (HR >180 beats per minute (bpm)) or bradycardia (HR <100 bpm). Oxygen desaturations were defined as SpO2<90%. Physiological stability was compared between nursing cares and neurobehavioural assessments using linear (for continuous outcomes) and logistic (HR instability and oxygen desaturation) regression. RESULTS: Compared with clustered nursing cares HR was lower (mean difference -5.9 bpm; 95% CI -6.5 to 5.3; P<0.001) and oxygen saturation higher (mean difference 2.4%; 95% CI 2.1% to 2.6%; P<0.001) during standardised neurobehavioural assessments. Compared with clustered nursing cares neurobehavioural assessments were also associated with reduced odds of tachycardia (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.86), HR instability (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.85) and oxygen desaturation (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.70). CONCLUSIONS: Standardised neurobehavioural assessments are associated with less physiological stress than clustered nursing cares in infants aged 29-32 weeks' postmenstrual age, and are therefore possible without causing undue physiological disturbance in medically stable infants.
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    Task-specific gross motor skills training for ambulant school-aged children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review
    Toovey, R ; Bernie, C ; Harvey, AR ; McGinley, JL ; Spittle, AJ (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-08-01)