ACTIFIER II: The Dynamics of Non-Nutritive Suck in Neonates and Infants

L Seibel, S Barlow, D Finan, S Stumm, S Ponnaboyina, R Shantha


Time series analysis of cycle period in normal, full-term infants ranging in age from 4 days to 6 months, indicated that qualitatively different behavior patterns are produced for shorter non-nutritive suck (NNS) bursts versus longer bursts (Finan & Barlow, 1998).  Longer NNS bursts exhibited lower cycle period variability and became the predominant mode with increased subject age.  Cycle period variability decreased with age.  Its seems reasonable to propose that the more traditional forms of infant suck analysis (magnitude, frequency, etc) would benefit from the addition of contemporary neurophysiologic methods to reveal patterns of sensorimotor control during the course of non-nutritive suck dynamics.  The current report considers the ontogenesis of NNS dynamics in preterm babies using the new ACTIFIER II technology which allows for simultaneous recording and analysis of biomechanical and electrophysiological data during NNS.  Cribside recordings of NNS behavior, including intraluminal pressure of the silicone WeeSoothie pacifier coupled to the ACTIFIER II, along with electromyographic recordings from up to 4 muscle sites were completed in a group of preterm and term infants.