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The mission of the Epidemiology Branch (EB) is to:
- Design and conduct investigator-initiated and collaborative epidemiologic research focusing on reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric health endpoints to identify etiologic mechanisms, at risk subgroups, and interventions aimed at maximizing health and preventing, diagnosing and/or treating disease.
- Provide service to the Division, Institute, NIH, DHHS, and the profession via consultation, collaboration, and assistance to advance the scientific discipline of epidemiology and the goals of the Institute.
- Recruit highly qualified students and trainees at various stages of their careers to position them for professional careers in reproductive, perinatal and pediatric epidemiologic research.
Epidemiology Branch Staff Scientist Position (PDF - 52 KB)
- Researchers compared labor patterns in contemporary practice in the Consortium on Safe Labor to approximately 50 years ago in the Collaborative Perinatal Project. Dr. Laughon and colleagues found that the first stage of labor, which is the time it takes for the cervix to fully dilate before pushing begins, increased by 2.6 hours for first-time mothers during this time frame. For women who had previously given birth, this early stage of labor took two hours longer in recent years than for women in the 1960s. (Laughon et al., American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2012). PMID: 22542117
- Epidemiologic studies have shown that diets high in added sugars, particularly in liquid form, result in an increased risk for dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, well-known risk factors for hormone and ovulatory disorders. While animal models have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages increase estradiol levels, there have been no adequately powered prospective studies in humans assessing the relationship between dietary intake and reproductive hormones. Researchers found that women who consumed on average one cup or more of sugar-sweetened beverage per day had 16% higher total estradiol and 13% total free estradiol compared to women who consumed less after adjusting for age, BMI, diet and physical activity, but found no statistically significant association between sugar-sweetened beverages and sporadic anovulation. PMID: 23364018
- A hopeful message to women who are complicated by gestational diabetes in pregnancy. Although they are at exceptionally high risk for developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, adapting a healthful dietary pattern may lower the risk substantially. Dr. Cuilin Zhang and her colleagues found that women adhered most closely to these diet patterns (Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, or Healthy Eating Index; scores in the top 25 percent) lowered their risk for type 2 diabetes more than 40% when compared to the least compliant group (lowest 25 percent) (Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012, 172(20):1566-72. PMID: 22987062)
- Do newborns have more complications when mom has asthma? In an original research article published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2013.06.012], Mendola et al. hypothesized that the newborns of asthmatic mothers would experience more complications compared to newborns whose mothers did not have asthma. The study team analyzed electronic medical record data from a large contemporary obstetric cohort, the Consortium on Safe Labor (2002-2008), with 223,512 singleton deliveries at ≥ 23 weeks of gestation including more than 17,000 pregnancies complicated by maternal asthma. Risk was increased for preterm delivery at each week after 33 completed weeks of gestation; as well as for growth restriction; neonatal intensive care unit admission; jaundice; and breathing complications including respiratory distress syndrome, transient tachypnea of the newborn, and asphyxia. This study highlights a connection between maternal asthma and neonatal health, showing that maternal asthma is associated with a broader set of neonatal complications than previously thought. PMID: 23916153