The NICHD's research portfolio encompasses topics including pediatric critical care, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and TBI rehabilitation, and prevention of pediatric injury.
The NICHD supports research on pediatric critical care. As more medically fragile and disabled children live longer after the onset of illness or injuries, there is increasing need for research to evaluate longer-term outcomes after pediatric critical care. Relevant research activities seek to answer questions about the relationship of pediatric critical care practice to child health and disability. Research studies focus on linking pediatric critical care medicine and science to the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of childhood disabilities. For instance, choice of ventilator and cardiovascular support techniques, choice of pharmacologic agents in sedation and analgesia, and their longer-term effects on child health and development are all emerging issues within pediatric critical care research. Because the use of resources is such a central issue in most pediatric critical care services, comparisons of nursing hours and other measures of service consumption are of interest in weighing the eventual benefits for children and families.
The Institute also supports research to understand all aspects of TBI and stroke, including their underlying mechanisms, and to develop and assess medical rehabilitation therapies and interventions related to improving function, quality of life, and outcomes for stroke and TBI patients. In addition, the program supports efforts related to secondary conditions of TBI and stroke, such as muscle atrophy, speech and language problems, pain, and psychological and psychosocial effects of these conditions.
In the Division of Intramural Population Health Research, the Health Behavior Branch (HBB) conducts research related to injury prevention. HBB investigators have established a comprehensive program of research on the causes and prevention of motor vehicle crashes. This research includes naturalistic studies with instrumented vehicles, experimental studies using driving simulators and test tracks, and evaluation studies of the effects of the Checkpoints Parental Management Program. In addition, HBB investigators studied the integration of individually tailored health communications in the pediatric primary care setting, which may offer an innovative and effective way to reduce injury in young children. The Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch in the Division of Extramural Research also supports research in these areas. Some recent findings from NICHD and NICHD-supported researchers include the following:
The NICHD supports a number of research and training networks, which include:
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