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Early Hum Dev. 2010 Jan;86(1):7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2009.12.001. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Massage therapy improves neurodevelopment outcome at two years corrected age for very low birth weight infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and Newborn Section, Hospital de ClĂ­nicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. <>



Long term effects of massage therapy in very preterm newborns infants are still to be described. Few studies evaluated neurodevelopment just at six months, and included late preterm infants.


To study the effect of massage therapy on neurodevelopment of very low birth weight infants at two years corrected age.


Newborns with birth weight between >or= 750 and <or= 1500 g and gestational age <or= 32 weeks were randomly assigned to massage therapy by mothers plus skin-to-skin care (Intervention Group) or just skin-to-skin care (Control Group) during their hospital stay. Growth and neurodevelopment outcome were evaluated at 2 years corrected age.


We followed 73 newborns (35 in Intervention Group, and 38 in Control Group). Both groups were similar in neonatal data. Growth at 2 years corrected age was similar in both groups. Intervention Group had borderline higher Psychomotor Development Index and significantly higher Mental Development Index scores than Control Group.


We suggest that massage therapy by mothers combined to skin-to-skin care during neonatal hospital stay improves neurodevelopment outcome at 2 years corrected age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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