It has been suggested that the cry may reflect the neurophysiologic integrity of the infant and relate to later developmental outcome. In this study, the cry was recorded at term conceptional age in 18 preterm and 13 term infants using a standardized procedure and analyzed by high-speed computer. At 18 months of age, a significant number of infants were correctly classified as scoring high or low on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development based on the mean and variability in the fundamental frequency, variability in the first formant, and the amplitude of the cry. At 5 years of age, a significant number of infants were correctly classified on the McCarthy General Cognitive Index and on the verbal, perceptual-performance, and quantitative subscales based on the variability of the fundamental frequency, variability of the first formant, and amplitude and duration of the cry. Although preliminary, this study supports the potential use of the cry as a noninvasive measure to detect developmental outcome in the infant at risk.

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