Pediatrics published research on 60 preterm infants (range 25-33 weeks) without cerebral palsy. The infants were videotaped and movement was analyzed until 17 weeks post term. General movements were established as normal or abnormal. When the children were then 7-11 years old, intelligence testing was performed. Results indicated that if general movements were normal by 8 weeks post term, IQ scores were in the normal range. Abnormal general movements after 8 weeks post term were associated with lower IQ scores.
Makes me wonder about the role of physical therapy and our attempts to change the quality of infant movement. An interesting research study would be to compare two groups of children who are preterm. One group receives NDT based therapy until at least 8 weeks post term and the control group does not. Years later, measure IQ scores. Would the NDT group have higher IQ scores? Could you imagine the possibilities if the answer was yes!
Reference: Bruggink, Janneke L. M., Van Braeckel, Koenraad N., Bos, Arend F.
The Early Motor Repertoire of Children Born Preterm Is Associated With Intelligence at School Age Pediatrics 2010 125: e1356-e1363