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J Pediatr. 2014 May 16. pii: S0022-3476(14)00344-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.04.016. [Epub ahead of print]

Reduction in Developmental Coordination Disorder with Neonatal Caffeine Therapy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Melbourne and The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
  • 2Division of Neonatology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • 3Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
  • 4University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.
  • 5University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
  • 6Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • 7University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.
  • 8Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 9Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



To determine the effect of neonatal caffeine treatment on rates of developmental coordination disorder (DCD).


Children in the Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity trial were assessed for motor performance (Movement Assessment Battery for Children [MABC]), clinical signs of cerebral palsy, and Full-Scale IQ at 5 years of age by staff who were unaware of the children's treatment group. DCD was defined as MABC <5th percentile in children with a Full-Scale IQ >69 who did not have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.


There were 1433 children with known MABC corrected-age percentile as well as known Full-Scale IQ at 5 years and cerebral palsy status, of whom 735 had been randomly assigned to caffeine and 698 to placebo therapy. The rate of DCD was lower in those treated with caffeine (11.3%) than in the placebo group (15.2%) (OR adjusted for center and baseline covariates, 0.71, 95% CI, 0.52-0.97; P = .032).


Neonatal caffeine therapy for apnea of prematurity reduces the rate of DCD at 5 years of age. As more children have DCD than have cerebral palsy, this is an important additional benefit from neonatal caffeine treatment.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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