Cortical activation during KMC in very preterm newborns
The data were collected to assess the functional activation of preterm newborns’ cerebral cortex during kangaroo mother care. Possible effects of gestational age and previous kangaroo mother care experience were also considered. Fifteen preterm newborns were recruited (gestational age: 24-32 weeks). Cortical activation was assessed in frontal, motor and primary somatosensory cortices after 15 and 30 minutes of kangaroo mother care, by multichannel near-infrared spectroscopy (gestational age at assessment: 30-36 weeks). Both oxy- and deoxy-haemoglobin variations were analyzed by t-test. Possible effects of gestational age and previous kangaroo mother care experience on cortical activation were studied by regression analysis. After 15 minutes, bilateral activations (oxy-haemoglobin increase) were observed in frontal, somatosensory and motor cortices. After 30 minutes, the right motor and primary somatosensory cortices were found activated. Deoxy-haemoglobin increased after 15 minutes, returning to baseline at 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, there was a positive effect of gestational age at assessment on both haemoglobin concentrations and a negative effect of previous kangaroo mother care on deoxy-haemoglobin increase. Motor and somatosensory cortices, particularly on the right side, showed significant activation during kangaroo mother care. Kangaroo mother care seems to benefit activated cortical areas by improving oxygen supply.