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

By Sue Ludwig

“This information provided a foundation of understanding on how closely the brain and skin are connected and influenced by experiences in the NICU” – Lisa Snisky, MSOTR/L, CNT, IBCLC, NTMTC 

Topic:  The Skin and The Brain and Neonatal Care 

Release: Available now on-demand  

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 Bios: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. 

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

CE Credit:1 hour for OT, PT, SLP  

Level: Intermediate 

Fee:$57 or Free for Members 


  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. 

Click here to take this course now.   

“Wow! Dr. Visscher made the very complicated relationships of the skin, nerves and brain so understandable!” – Anne Marie Nelson, PT, CNT, NTMTC 

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