Prediction of the Development of Low Birth Weight Preterm Infants by a New Neonatal Medical Index

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A new neonatal medical index (NMI) was used to predict the mental and motor development of low birth weight, preterm infants up to 3-years-old. The NMI is a summary score of only a few clinically salient items that are readily available on brief chart review. The sample consisted of 512 of 608 infants randomly assigned to the control group of the eight-site Infant Health and Development Program and on whom the complete set of developmental outcome measures was available. The developmental tests administered were the Bayley Scales at 12 and 24 months and the Stanford-Binet at 3 years. The findings indicated the NMI was predictive of later cognitive and motor development, and in infants born weighing less than 1500 g, the effects of neonatal medical complications continued to adversely influence these children's development to at least 3 years of age. In the heavier babies the developmental effects of sociodemographic factors predominated by 24 months and beyond.

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