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Authors

  1. Head, Lauren M. BSN

Abstract

Preterm birth is associated with long-term deficits in executive functioning and cognitive performance. As advances in neonatal care enable more preterm infants to survive, development of strategies to address high rates of neurodevelopmental disabilities and poor academic achievement in preterm infants are crucial. Evidence suggests that infants' brains are plastic in nature and, therefore, can be shaped by the environment. Kangaroo care has become popularized as a means of modifying the stress of the NICU environment. However, few studies have examined whether kangaroo care affects neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants. This review examined available literature that investigated the effect of kangaroo care on cognition in preterm infants. Current evidence suggests that short-term benefits of kangaroo care are associated with improved neurodevelopment. However, few studies have examined the long-term impact of kangaroo care on cognitive outcomes in preterm infants. To address neurological disparities in children born preterm, research using kangaroo care as a strategy to improve neurodevelopment in preterm infants is warranted.