38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Neurodevelopmental sequelae in preterm born children are generally considered to result from cerebral white matter damage and noxious effects of environmental factors in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Cerebral white matter damage is associated with sensory processing problems in terms of registration, integration and modulation. However, research into sensory processing problems and, in particular, sensory modulation problems, is scarce in preterm children. Aim: This review aims to integrate available evidence on sensory modulation problems in preterm infants and children (<37 weeks of gestation) and their association with neurocognitive and behavioral problems. Method: Relevant studies were extracted from PubMed, EMBASE.com and PsycINFO following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Selection criteria included assessment of sensory modulation in preterm born children (<37 weeks of gestation) or with prematurity as a risk factor. Results: Eighteen studies were included. Results of this review support the presence of sensory modulation problems in preterm children. Although prematurity may distort various aspects of sensory modulation, the nature and severity of sensory modulation problems differ widely between studies. Conclusions: Sensory modulation problems may play a key role in understanding neurocognitive and behavioral sequelae in preterm children. Some support is found for a dose-response relationship between both white matter brain injury and length of NICU stay and sensory modulation problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0170828
Pages (from-to)e0170828
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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