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Hum Mov Sci. 2019 Feb;63:138-147. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2018.11.015. Epub 2018 Dec 8.

Brief reaching training with "sticky mittens" in preterm infants: Randomized controlled trial.

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Physical Therapy Section, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil.
School of Physical Therapy, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.
Departament of Physical Therapy, Federal University of Sao Carlos, Sao Carlos, SP, Brazil.
Physical Therapy Section, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil. Electronic address:



To examine whether a brief reaching training with sticky mittens was effective to improve reaching behavior in newly reaching preterm infants.


In this randomized controlled trial, twenty four 5-month-old (±16-week-old corrected age) preterm infants were randomly allocated into experimental or control groups. Infants were assessed three times in a single session: pretraining (immediately before training), posttraining (immediately after training), and retention (4 min after the posttraining). During training, infants in the experimental group wore open fingers Velcro covered mittens. Training consisted of one 4-minute session of stimulated reaching using Velcro covered toys. Controls did not receive the training. During assessments, infants were placed in a baby chair and toys without Velcro were offered at their midline for 2 min. Number of total reaches, proximal adjustments and distal adjustments of reaching were primary outcomes. Grasping was a secondary outcome.


Groups were similar in the pretraining. In the posttraining, trained infants performed greater amount of total reaches and bimanual reaches than untrained infants. Greater amount of bimanual reaches in trained infants was maintained in the retention test. Distal adjustments and grasping outcome were not influenced by the training.


A brief-term training with open fingers sticky mittens benefited reaching behavior and favored retention of increased bimanual reaches in newly reaching late preterm infants. However, it was not sufficient to influence hand openness and early grasping.


Infant development; Motor activity; Motor learning; Premature birth

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