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Early developmental care for preterm neonates: a call for more research
  1. J Sizun1,
  2. B Westrup2,
  3. and the ESF Network Coordination Committee
  1. 1NICU, Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital, Brest, France
  2. 2Department of Woman and Child Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Sizun
    NICU, Paediatric Department, University Hospital, 29609 Brest, France;


Developmental care is the use of a range of medical and nursing interventions to decrease the stress of preterm neonates in neonatal intensive care units. This article reviews the theory underlying such interventions and research based data in different scientific fields, including neuroscience, developmental and family psychology, medicine, and nursing. The conclusion is that more research is needed.

  • NICU, neonatal intensive care unit
  • NIDCAP, Neonatal individualised developmental care and assessment programme
  • RCT, randomised controlled trial
  • VLBW, very low birthweight
  • developmental care
  • outcome
  • brain development

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  • Sponsored by the European Science Foundation—European Medical Research Council. JS is supported by the CNP Foundation.

  • Considerable support came from the European Science Foundation Network Coordination Committee “Research on early developmental care for premature neonates”: C Amiel-Tison, Port-Royal, Baudeloque, Paris, France; J V Browne, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, USA; M Cuttini, Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, Rome, Italy; G Greisen, Department of Neonatology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; D Haumont, Neonatal Unit, St Pierre University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium; P S Hüppi, Unité de Développement, Hôpital des Enfants, Genève, Switzerland; H Lagercrantz, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; K Stjernqvist, Department of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden; I Warren, Winnicott Baby Unit, St Mary’s Hospital, London, UK.