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1.  Home-based, early intervention with mechatronic toys for preterm infants at risk of neurodevelopmental disorders (CARETOY): a RCT protocol 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14(1):268.
Background
Preterm infants are at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, including motor, cognitive or behavioural problems, which may potentially be modified by early intervention. The EU CareToy Project Consortium (http://www.caretoy.eu) has developed a new modular system for intensive, individualized, home-based and family-centred early intervention, managed remotely by rehabilitation staff. A randomised controlled trial (RCT) has been designed to evaluate the efficacy of CareToy training in a first sample of low-risk preterm infants.
Methods/Design
The trial, randomised, multi-center, evaluator-blinded, parallel group controlled, is designed according to CONSORT Statement. Eligible subjects are infants born preterm without major complications, aged 3-9 months of corrected age with specific gross-motor abilities defined by Ages & Stages Questionnaire scores. Recruited infants, whose parents will sign a written informed consent for participation, will be randomized in CareToy training and control groups at baseline (T0). CareToy group will perform four weeks of personalized activities with the CareToy system, customized by the rehabilitation staff. The control group will continue standard care. Infant Motor Profile Scale is the primary outcome measure and a total sample size of 40 infants has been established. Bayley-Cognitive subscale, Alberta Infants Motor Scale and Teller Acuity Cards are secondary outcome measures. All measurements will be performed at T0 and at the end of training/control period (T1). For ethical reasons, after this first phase infants enrolled in the control group will perform the CareToy training, while the training group will continue standard care. At the end of open phase (T2) all infants will be assessed as at T1. Further assessment will be performed at 18 months corrected age (T3) to evaluate the long-term effects on neurodevelopmental outcome. Caregivers and rehabilitation staff will not be blinded whereas all the clinical assessments will be performed, videotaped and scored by blind assessors. The trial is ongoing and it is expected to be completed by April 2015.
Discussion
This paper describes RCT methodology to evaluate CareToy as a new tool for early intervention in preterm infants, first contribution to test this new type of system. It presents background, hypotheses, outcome measures and trial methodology.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01990183. EU grant ICT-2011.5.1-287932.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-268
PMCID: PMC4287225  PMID: 25319764
Early intervention; Preterm infants; RCT; Tele-rehabilitation; ICT; Medical bioengineering; Neurodevelopmental disorders
2.  New Techniques in the Study of the Brain Development in Newborn 
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.01069
PMCID: PMC4299644  PMID: 25653608
magnetic resonance imaging; cranial ultrasound; neurodevelopmental outcome; diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); tractography
3.  Safety and efficacy of topiramate in neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia (NeoNATI) 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:144.
Background
Despite progresses in neonatal care, the mortality and the incidence of neuro-motor disability after perinatal asphyxia have failed to show substantial improvements. In countries with a high level of perinatal care, the incidence of asphyxia responsible for moderate or severe encephalopathy is still 2–3 per 1000 term newborns. Recent trials have demonstrated that moderate hypothermia, started within 6 hours after birth and protracted for 72 hours, can significantly improve survival and reduce neurologic impairment in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. It is not currently known whether neuroprotective drugs can further improve the beneficial effects of hypothermia. Topiramate has been proven to reduce brain injury in animal models of neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. However, the association of mild hypothermia and topiramate treatment has never been studied in human newborns. The objective of this research project is to evaluate, through a multicenter randomized controlled trial, whether the efficacy of moderate hypothermia can be increased by concomitant topiramate treatment.
Methods/Design
Term newborns (gestational age ≥ 36 weeks and birth weight ≥ 1800 g) with precocious metabolic, clinical and electroencephalographic (EEG) signs of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy will be randomized, according to their EEG pattern, to receive topiramate added to standard treatment with moderate hypothermia or standard treatment alone. Topiramate will be administered at 10 mg/kg once a day for the first 3 days of life. Topiramate concentrations will be measured on serial dried blood spots. 64 participants will be recruited in the study. To evaluate the safety of topiramate administration, cardiac and respiratory parameters will be continuously monitored. Blood samplings will be performed to check renal, liver and metabolic balance. To evaluate the efficacy of topiramate, the neurologic outcome of enrolled newborns will be evaluated by serial neurologic and neuroradiologic examinations. Visual function will be evaluated by means of behavioural standardized tests.
Discussion
This pilot study will explore the possible therapeutic role of topiramate in combination with moderate hypothermia. Any favourable results of this research might open new perspectives about the reduction of cerebral damage in asphyxiated newborns.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN62175998; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01241019; EudraCT Number 2010-018627-25
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-144
PMCID: PMC3478965  PMID: 22950861
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; Therapeutic hypothermia; Topiramate

Results 1-3 (3)