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Special Topic Course 23: The Skin and The Brain and Neonatal Care

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Speaker: Marty O. Visscher, PhD
Marty O. Visscher

Topic: The Skin and The Brain and Neonatal Care

Course Description: The skin and brain originate from the same embryonic tissue, namely ectoderm. Gestation is a remarkable interplay among neonatal biological systems. At full-term, the processes converge to full functionality for respiration, gestation and resilience to potentially damaging environmental factors and poised to rapidly accelerate neurodevelopment. Touch is the first sense to come on line. The relationship between the skin and the brain will be explored. Emphasis is on the use of skin-based modalities to reduce stress and facilitate neonatal neurodevelopment as a function of gestational age.

Speaker Bio: Marty O. Visscher, PhD is an expert in neonatal skin development and repair, infant skin adaptation, and noninvasive biophysical measurement of skin properties. Her research areas include skin maturation in premature and full-term infants, vernix biology, neonatal skin and environmental interactions, neonatal innate immunity via analysis of skin surface biomarkers, and the use of quantitative multimodal imaging methods for measuring skin condition. Her current research projects include the investigation of Skin Maturation in Premature Infants and the Impact of Sunflower Seed Oil Massage on Neonatal Skin Barrier Development in Rural Nepal. Dr. Visscher has conducted numerous major research projects in the NICU setting. She has collaborated with health care professionals to understand and mitigate pressure related injuries in hospitalized patients and to identify best practices for skin care.

0-5 min: Introduction to topic, dedication, objectives
5-15 min: Skin structure and function
15-30 min> Comparison of full-term and premature infant skin characteristics
30-45 min: Anatomy and physiology of the skin sensory system
45-50 min: Stress, Cortisol, summary of skin and brain
50-60 min: Strategies for neonatal neurodevelopment
60-63 min: Learning assessment

Marty O. Visscher, PhD
Financial Disclosures: No relevant disclosures.
Nonfinancial disclosures: No relevant disclosures.

Conflict of Interest: There is no conflict of interest for anyone with the ability to control content for this activity.

Target Audience: OT, SLP, PT, RN, MD and Neonatal professionals

Level: Intermediate


  1. Define neonatal skin physiology, including development, adaptation, and properties as a function of gestational age and time from birth.
  2. Identify the relationships between the skin and the brain during early life.
  3. List potential strategies to facilitate neonatal neurodevelopment with emphasis on the unique role of the neonatal therapist.

Instructional Method: Recorded webinar, lecture, videos, pictures, and PowerPoint slides. Learning assessment and course evaluation follow course.

Course Completion Requirements: The learner must view the entire webinar, complete the course evaluation and complete the post webinar learning assessment with at least 80% to receive education credit. Login and logout times will be recorded and documented.
Following completion of this course physical therapists, nurses and other disciplines will receive a certificate of completion and a zip file containing information necessary to submit to their individual state for education credit. Zip file will include course bibliography. Physical therapists are responsible for knowing and adhering to their state’s deadlines, rules and regulations.

Registration information:

In order to obtain access to the course, click the “Register now” button at the bottom of the screen. You are required to be a NANT member in good standing to have access to this course. You may also purchase this courses as a non-member by clicking the “Buy Now” button at the bottom of the screen.

For ADA accommodations, please call NANT Customer Service for more information at (866) 999-5524.

Cancellation Policy: Click HERE to review NANT’s Course Cancellation Policy.

Continuing Education Information*

AOTA CEUs: National Association of Neonatal Therapists® (NANT) is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Course approval ID # 01720. This Distance Learning-Independent Course is offered at 0.1 CEUs (Intermediate Level, Foundational Knowledge, and Occupational Therapy Service Delivery). AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.

ASHA CEUs: Learners must complete the entire course in order to receive ASHA CEUs. No partial credit awarded. ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.
ASHA CE Registry users: NANT will submit your ASHA CEU credit to ASHA on your behalf. ASHA CEUs may take up to 100 days to appear on your ASHA Transcript.

Non-ASHA CE Registry users: Maintain your course records and please keep your registry status current in your NANT account. Update your NANT account with your ASHA number if your registry status changes. NANT is not responsible for tracking your registry usage.

PT CE Credit: This activity has been approved by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for 1.0 CCUs for PTs and PTAs.

NANT is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Physical Therapy as an approved provider of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant continuing education.

*NANT 10 attendees who previously viewed this educational content may retake this course and receive CE Credit.

Questions regarding CE credit should be directed to the National Association of Neonatal Therapists at or (866) 999-5524.

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