The Brown Center For The

Study Of Children At Risk

Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk
50 Holden Street
Providence RI 02908

Academic Administration:
(401) 453-7640

Clinical Services:
(401) 274-1122
x8936 or x8935

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Amy Salisbury, PhD - Assistant Professor

Dr. Salisbury is an Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Pediatrics.  Her fetal studies program examines fetal and infant neurobehavioral development.  Fetal neurobehavior is assessed to determine neurologic integrity and behavioral stability of the fetus at various points in development.  Measurement of fetal neurobehavior is accomplished by monitoring and recording fetal heart rate, motor activity, behavioral state, and responsiveness to extra-uterine stimuli.  Dr. Salisbury and her colleagues have developed an organized method of assessing fetal neurobehavior, called the Fetal Neurobehavior Coding System (FENS).  The FENS was patterned after the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS) for at-risk infants.  The two methods are used across development for a cohesive assessment of neurobehavioral development.

Assessment of neurobehavior can be used for many purposes.  In current research the FENS Is being used to study the effects of fetal exposure to antidepressant medications, maternal depression, and maternal smoking, as well as buprenorphine and methadone treatment of heroine addiction.

Dr. Salisbury’s research focus uses prenatal and postnatal neurobehavioral data within a larger biopsychosocial framework.  The main goal is to examine why and how children develop mental illness.  This includes consideration of variables that contribute to resilience in those children that do not develop a psychiatric diagnosis.  This approach requires measurement of the infant-parent system, including physiology, genetics, behavior, social communication, and the environment.  Results from this work should contribute to better prevention and treatment options in child and family psychiatry.

Selected Publications

  • Salisbury, A., Duncan Fallone, M., Lester, B.,  Neurobehavioral Assessment From Fetus to Infant:  The NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale and the Fetal Neurobehavior Coding System. 2005, Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities Research Review 11 (1), 14-20.
  • Salisbury, A., Yanni, P., LaGasse, L., Lester, B.,  2004.  Maternal-Fetal Psychobiology: A Very Early Look at Emotional Development.  In Emotional Development: Recent Research Advances, J. Nadel, D. Muir, (Eds).  Oxford University Press.
  • Salisbury, A., Law, K., LaGasse, L., Lester, B., Maternal-Fetal Attachment. 2003. JAMA 289 (13), 170.
  • Salisbury, A., Law, K., LaGasse, L., Lester, B., Maternal-Fetal Attachment. JAMA 2003; 289(13):170
  • Salisbury, A., Duncan Fallone, M., Lester, B., 2005. Neurobehavioral Assessment From Fetus to Infant: The NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale and the Fetal Neurobehavior Coding System. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev 2005; 11(1): 14-20.
  • Salisbury, A.L., Lester, B.M., Seifer, R., LaGasse, L., Bauer, C., Shankaran, S., Bada, H., Wright, L., Liu, J., and Poole, K. Prenatal Cocaine Use and Maternal Depression: Effects on Infant Neurobehavior, Neurotox Teratol, 2007;29:331-340.
  • Salisbury, A.L., Ponder, K.L., Padbury, J.F. and Lester, B.M. Fetal Effects of Psychoactive Drugs. Clinics in Perinatology, 2009, 36(3):595-619.