Fetal heart rate variability mediates prenatal depression effects on neonatal neurobehavioral maturity.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) as a tool to assess the risk of later developmental disabilities. The study subjects were 209 low birth-weight and/or premature infants admitted to the NICU at the Nagasaki University Hospital, Nagasaki, Japan. These infants were examined using the NBAS at 36-38 (NBAS36), 40-42 (NBAS40) and 44-46 weeks (NBAS44) of postmenstrual age, and their developmental outcome was measured using standardized assessments at 5 years of age. Based on the results of diagnosis at 5 years of age, subjects were classified into three groups: Normal, Mild Disability and Severe Disability groups. Multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that lower Motor cluster scores for all assessment periods and lower Orientation cluster scores in the NBAS40 and NBAS44 were significantly associated with an increased risk of both Mild and Severe Disability. Also, the Range of State cluster scores for the NBAS44 were significantly related to the risk of Mild Disability, and the Reflexes cluster scores in the NBAS40 and NBAS44 were the best predictor of Severe Disability. In outcome prediction using the estimated regression coefficients, 94-97% of the subjects in the Normal group, 50-78% in the Mild Disability group and 71-85% in the Severe Disability group were correctly classified. The NBAS could help clinicians to develop a management protocol for infants at risk for developmental disabilities as well as to identify neonates at risk of developmental disabilities.