Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Document Type


Date of this Version



Hindawi Publishing Corporation, International Journal of Pediatrics Volume 2012, Article ID 581538, 9 pages


Copyright © 2012 Steven M. Barlow et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License


The nonnutritive suck (NNS) is an observable and accessible motor behavior which is often used to make inference about brain development and pre-feeding skill in preterm and term infants. The purpose of this study was to model NNS burst compression pressure dynamics in the frequency and time domain among two groups of preterm infants, including those with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS, N = 15) and 17 healthy controls. Digitized samples of NNS compression pressure waveforms recorded at a 1-week interval were collected 15 minutes prior to a scheduled feed. Regression analysis and ANOVA revealed that healthy preterm infants produced longer NNS bursts and the mean burst initiation cycle frequencies were higher when compared to the RDS group. Moreover, the initial 5 cycles of the NNS burst manifest a frequency modulated (FM) segment which is a significant feature of the suck central pattern generator (sCPG), and differentially expressed in healthy and RDS infants. The NNS burst structure revealed significantly lower spatiotemporal index values for control versus RDS preterminfants during FM, and provides additional information on the microstructure of the sCPG which may be used to gauge the developmental status and progression of oromotor control systems among these fragile infants.