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The NICHD publishes news releases and other information for the media on the research the Institute conducts and supports. To learn more, choose an item below.

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If you are a member of the media and have questions about an NICHD news release or research, or if you would like to schedule an interview with an NICHD scientist or grantee, please contact the Public Information and Communications Branch at 301-496-5133 or by fax at 301-496-7101.

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For most children with HIV and low immune cell count, cells rebound after treatment
​​Most children with HIV who have low levels of a key immune cell eventually recover levels of this cell after beginning treatment, according to a study by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health. ​


Research Round-up: Endometriosis
​​NICHD supports research on this common gynecologic disease to find effective methods for diagnosis and treatment.


Early parenting classes improve kids’ later behavior
Parents who took part in a program to learn parenting skills during their first pregnancy had children who were better adjusted than parents who didn’t participate in the program. That’s what researchers concluded after evaluating the program 5 to 7 years later.


Anti-herpes drug may help control HIV, NIH study finds
Valacyclovir, a drug commonly used to control the virus that causes genital herpes, appears to reduce the levels of HIV in patients who do not have genital herpes, according to a study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Emory University, Atlanta and Lima, Peru.


Small investment in children’s education yields big results
Our guest today has shown over and over again that a comparatively small investment in children can have a substantial payoff when those children reach adulthood.


Link found between childhood obesity and slower thought processes
A new study has found that extremely overweight or obese children are slower than healthy-weight children to recognize when they have made an error during an ongoing activity, and are slower to correct the error.


Sensitive parenting may boost kids’ later academic, relationship success
Children whose mothers were sensitive to their needs tended to grow up into adults who reached higher levels of academic achievement and to have the most enduring romantic relationships. That’s the conclusion of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health after analyzing data collected over the course of 30 years.


Physical labor, hypertension and multiple meds may reduce male fertility
Working in a physically demanding job, having high blood pressure, and taking multiple medications are among health risks that may undermine a man’s fertility, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Stanford University, Stanford, California.


Q&A with Human Placenta Project Coordinator David Weinberg
Dr. Weinberg answers questions about a new initiative that aims to revolutionize our understanding of the placenta.


Sleepless in America
This documentary, developed in collaboration with NIH, highlights the health risks associated with insufficient sleep.


NIH announces $41.5 million in funding for the Human Placenta Project
The National Institutes of Health has dedicated $41.5 million for an initiative to understand and monitor the development of the human placenta during pregnancy. The funding will support the development of new technologies to assess the health of the placenta as it grows and matures, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of mothers and children.


Bilingualism boosts the brain, NIH study finds
About 22% of school-age children speak a language other than English at home, according to the US Census Bureau. The percentage is even higher, 64%, among Hispanic children. Still, it is commonly believed by some that teaching more than one language to children confuses them. Now, new research shows that in fact, bilingualism actually boosts the brain.


El bilingüismo estimula el cerebro, indica un estudio de los NIH
Casi el 64 por ciento de los jóvenes hispanos en los Estados Unidos hablan dos idiomas, inglés y español. Sin embargo, comúnmente se cree que enseñar más de un idioma a los niños puede crearles confusión. Un nuevo estudio muestra que el bilingüismo estimula el cerebro y que saber cambiar entre dos idiomas es un gran ejercicio mental.


Research Round-up: Advances in Adolescent Health
NICHD studies adolescence with the goal of putting teens on the road to healthy adulthood.


Stillbirth may increase women’s long term risk for depression
Women who deliver a stillbirth—but who have no history of depression—may be at a higher risk for long-lasting depression, conclude researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The depression may last beyond the six months most people require to recover from a major loss and persist for as long as 36 months.


Slideshow: Teen Driving Safety
NICHD examines why teens are at higher risk of crashes and how parents can help improve teens’ safety behind the wheel.


Research Network Helps HIV-Infected Youth
The Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions fights the spread of HIV with research on treatment and prevention in adolescents and young adults in the United States.


Birth Defects Research Findings from the NICHD
Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies born in the United States each year. Learn about recent research findings on birth defects and their causes.


Item of Interest: NICHD Appoints New Health Behavior Branch Chief
NICHD’s Division of Intramural Population Health Research today announced the appointment of Dr. Stephen E. Gilman as the new Acting Chief of the Health Behavior Branch (HBB).


Estudio reafirma seguridad de medicamentos contra el VIH durante el embarazo
Los medicamentos antirretrovirales que se usan para controlar el VIH son un éxito rotundo en la prevención del contagio del virus de madre a hijo. Estos medicamentos no sólo son esenciales para mantener la salud de una mujer embarazada que tenga el VIH, sino que también casi han eliminado la transmisión del VIH de madre a hijo. En los Estados Unidos, la probabilidad de que la madre transmita el virus a su hijo es ahora menos del uno por ciento.


NIH launches tool to advance Down syndrome research
The National Institutes of Health has launched a subsite of DS-Connect: The Down Syndrome Registry for researchers, clinicians, and other professionals with a scientific interest in Down syndrome to access de-identified data from the registry.


Study Reaffirms Safety of Anti-HIV Drugs During Pregnancy
The antiretroviral drugs used to keep HIV at bay are an unqualified success at preventing the spread of the virus from mother to child. The drugs are not only essential for maintaining the health of a pregnant woman with HIV, they have also nearly eliminated the transmission of HIV to her baby. Among U.S. women, the likelihood of a mother passing the virus on to her child is now less than 1%.


New Regulatory Resource to Help Plan International Clinical Trials
One of NICHD’s sister Institutes, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has launched ClinRegs, a public website to help clinical researchers at NIH and in the scientific community at large navigate country-specific, regulatory information as they plan and implement clinical trials.


NIH Scientists Combine Efforts to Advance Birth Defects Research
The Trans-NIH Structural Birth Defects Working Group aims to step up research on birth defects by coordinating efforts at the NIH and beyond.


Obese women need higher or continuous dose for oral contraceptive success
Birth control pills are less effective for obese women. Studies have shown that obesity brings with it hormonal changes that can reduce the pill’s effectiveness.


It’s in the DNA: Animal Models Offer Clues to Human Development
In the evolutionary sense, we have a lot in common with animals. That’s why researchers can learn much from them about human development and birth defects.


NICHD Hosts Upcoming Lecture on Fetal Individualized Medicine
The next NICHD Director’s Lecture at the NIH will feature Diana Bianchi, M.D., from Tufts University School of Medicine. Her talk, titled “Changing Paradigms: From Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis to Fetal Individualized Medicine,” will take place on January 21, 2015, 9:00–10:00 a.m., in Lipsett Amphitheater, at NIH’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.


NIH teams with industry to develop treatments for Niemann-Pick Type C disease
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have entered into an agreement with biotechnology company Vtesse, Inc., of Gaithersburg, Maryland, to develop treatments for Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) and other lysosomal storage disorders.


Cernich appointed director of NICHD’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research
NICHD Director Alan E. Guttmacher announced that, after an extensive national search, Alison Cernich, Ph.D., has been selected as Director of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research.


Longer cooling, lower temperature no improvement for infant oxygen deprivation
The standard treatment for newborns whose brains were deprived of oxygen appears to work better than proposed alternatives, according to a study from a National Institutes of Health research network.


NICHD Recognizes Successes in HIV/AIDS Research and Focuses on Continued Challenges and Opportunities
The NICHD’s Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch is building on its successes in HIV/AIDS research with a greater commitment to research on HIV-associated co-infections and other infectious diseases. We talk with the new Branch chief about the Branch’s successes in HIV/AIDS research and its expanded research mission.


Chronic high blood sugar may be detrimental to the developing brain of young children
Young children who have long-term high blood sugar levels are more likely to have slower brain growth, according to researchers at centers including the National Institutes of Health.


Study finds genetic clue to menopause-like condition in young women
Six young women with a disorder that mimics menopause have gene alterations that hamper the repair of damaged DNA, report researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Item of Interest: NIH Director Issues Statement on National Children’s Study
Today NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins issued a statement on the future of the National Children’s Study, following a report by the National Children's Study Working Group at a public meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Director.


NIH Updates Down Syndrome Research Plan
NIH has made progress in research on Down syndrome since the release of its first research plan 7 years ago. To reflect that progress and lay out future research directions, a newly released, revised plan is now available.


NIH researchers link chromosome region to gigantism
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a duplication of a short stretch of the X chromosome in some people with a rare disorder that causes excessive childhood growth. They believe that a single gene within the region likely has a large influence on how much children grow. 


NICHD and HSC Foundation Event on Military-Connected Children with Special Needs
Military families, researchers, and others came together at a conference to share knowledge about military-connected children with special health care needs.


NICHD Co-Sponsors White House Disability Summit
More than 50 million Americans, about 1 in 5 people, are living with a disability. People with disabilities tend to be less physically active than people without disabilities and have higher rates of corresponding health problems such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension and stroke.


Casi el 55 por ciento de los bebés de EE.UU. duerme con ropa de cama potencialmente peligrosa
A casi el 55 por ciento de los bebés de EE.UU. se les pone a dormir con ropa de cama, lo que aumenta el riesgo de sufrir el síndrome de muerte súbita del bebé o SIDS, por sus siglas en inglés, a pesar de las recomendaciones en contra de esta práctica, según informan los investigadores de los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud (NIH, por sus siglas en inglés), los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) y otras instituciones.


Nearly 55 percent of U.S. infants sleep with potentially unsafe bedding
Nearly 55 percent of U.S. infants are placed to sleep with bedding that increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, despite recommendations against the practice, report researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other institutions.


High-tech analysis of genetic data may yield new test for endometriosis
Using sophisticated computer-based technology to analyze genetic data obtained from uterine tissue, researchers have identified patterns of genetic activity that can be used to diagnose endometriosis, an often-painful condition that occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. The prototype diagnostic method, developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health, can not only distinguish endometriosis from other disorders of the uterus, but can also identify the severity of the disease.


Brain abnormality found in group of SIDS cases
More than 40 percent of infants in a group who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) were found to have an abnormality in a key part of the brain, researchers report. The abnormality affects the hippocampus, a brain area that influences such functions as breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, via its neurological connections to the brainstem. According to the researchers, supported by the National Institutes of Health, the abnormality was present more often in infants who died of SIDS than in infants whose deaths could be attributed to known causes.


Mouse study reveals potential clue to extra fingers or toes
Researchers working with mice have uncovered a potential clue to polydactyly—a birth defect involving extra fingers on the hand or extra toes on the feet. The researchers have found that a mouse version of polydactyly results from a malfunction of the cellular machinery that processes one of the cell’s internal transportation vehicles.


NIH-sponsored study identifies superior drug regimen for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission
For HIV-infected women in good immune health, taking a three-drug regimen during pregnancy prevents mother-to-child HIV transmission more effectively than taking one drug during pregnancy, another during labor and two more after giving birth, an international clinical trial has found.


NICHD Funds Research on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBIs can lead to years of health problems. Read this Q&A with NICHD’s Dr. Mary Ellen Michel to find out how research aims to help people recover from these injuries.


NIH study links ultraviolet filters to pregnancy delays
​​Certain sunscreen chemicals used to protect against ultraviolent rays may impair men’s ability to father children in a timely manner, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health and the New York state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center. But the researchers caution that the results are preliminary and that additional studies are needed to confirm their findings.


20 Years of Protecting Infants During Sleep
​​Dr. Alan Guttmacher writes in the Huffington Post about the NICHD-led Safe to Sleep® campaign and how SIDS has affected his own family.


Inflammation in womb affects brain, behavior of baby mice
When researchers triggered an immune response in the wombs of pregnant mice, their offspring showed signs of brain damage that lasted well into adulthood. The animal’s hippocampus—that’s the part of the brain responsible for memory and spatial orientation—was smaller, and they had poor motor skills and behavioral issues, like hyperactivity.


Parents’ Response to Baby’s Babbling Can Speed Language Development
A new study suggests that how parents respond to their infants’ babbling sounds may foster their infants’ language skills. Playfully mimicking or returning infant babbling lets the child know that he or she can communicate, and this knowledge helps the infant learn the complex sounds that make up speech.


A Look Inside the Brain
The NICHD supports and conducts research on concussions and other traumatic brain injuries as part of its research portfolio on brain development and rehabilitation.


Pregnancy Lifestyle Influences Gestational Diabetes Risk
Nearly half of all cases of diabetes during pregnancy could be prevented if the expecting mothers ate well, exercised regularly, stopped smoking, and maintained a healthy body weight before pregnancy, a new study finds.


Researchers Use Brain Scans to Predict Early Reading Difficulties
Researchers have used brain scans to track how young children learn to read, raising the possibility that the method could be used to diagnose young children with dyslexia and other reading disorders before they experience problems in school. Once identified, the children could be fast-tracked to interventions designed to help them overcome their reading difficulties.


World population to keep growing this century, hit 11 billion by 2100
World population is likely to keep growing throughout the 21st century, reaching 11 billion by 2100, according to results of a new study. That’s about 2 billion higher than previous estimates. The revised forecast uses statistical methods to combine government data and expert forecasts for trends such as mortality rates, fertility rates, and international migration.


October is SIDS Awareness Month
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the NICHD-led Safe to Sleep® campaign (formerly the Back to Sleep® campaign), which was created to raise awareness about ways to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


Study casts doubt on plans to scale up preterm birth treatment in low resource settings
A study by a National Institutes of Health research network calls into question plans to increase access to steroid treatment for pregnant women in low resource settings at high risk for preterm birth. The study concluded that the treatment—a standard, life-saving practice in high income countries such as the United States—could potentially cause harm in low resource settings where many births take place outside the advance care hospitals that are standard in high income countries.


NICHD Blogs about Safe Infant Sleep on
Dr. Shavon Artis shares public health information and personal stories from parents to help infants sleep safely.


NIH Grantee Honored With 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
National Institutes of Health grantee William E. Moerner of Stanford University in California shares the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on optical microscopy that has opened the understanding of molecules by allowing researchers to see how the molecules work close up.


Integrated approach helps obese women limit weight gain during pregnancy
It’s normal for most women to gain weight during pregnancy, but gaining too much weight can pose serious health risks for mother and baby. Now researchers funded in part by the National Institutes of Health have found that an integrated program offering support and nutrition counseling succeeds where the traditional approaches failed and helps keep women from adding too much weight during pregnancy.


Las medidas en cucharadas contribuyen a muchos errores de dosificación en los medicamentos para niños
Según los investigadores financiados por los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud, usar una cucharadita o una cucharada para dar los medicamentos a los niños duplica la probabilidad de que los padres den una dosis incorrecta. Los autores del estudio recomiendan que en lugar de usar cucharaditas o cucharadas, todos los medicamentos líquidos se les den a los niños en mililitros.


NICHD Launches Media-Smart Youth® Teen Leaders Program
The NICHD is now accepting applications for its Media-Smart Youth® Teen Leaders Program. Teen leaders can play a meaningful role in the lives of youth in their community by educating them about media, nutrition, and physical activity.


Success rate for vaginal delivery high even after prolonged labor
NIH researchers have concluded that women who experience prolonged labor have an excellent chance for a successful vaginal delivery. However, the researchers did find a slightly increased risk of complications for mothers and babies. The researchers advised women and their health care practitioners to weigh the increased benefits of vaginal delivery against the slightly increased risk.


Exploring Factors That Influence Child Development
The NICHD’s Section on Child and Family Research investigates the effects of biology, family, environment, and culture on growing children.


NICHD Training Programs
Behind every NICHD investigator is a team of students and trainees, learning the ropes one experiment at a time.


NIH awards $35 Million for Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X
The National Institutes of Health is making funding awards of $35 million over the next five years to support the Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X program. Investigators at these centers will seek to better understand Fragile X-associated disorders and work toward developing effective treatments.


Encouraging Healthy Child Development with Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!
The Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! initiative promotes developmental and behavioral screenings for children and support for families and providers who care for them.


Back to School: NICHD Podcasts Feature Research on Education and Health
Three recent podcasts feature research on the importance of preschool education and early acquisition of language skills for later health.


August Wrap-Up: Promoting Safe and Healthy Pregnancies
The NICHD delivered information on pregnancy health during August through a variety of online and social media platforms.


Catherine Spong appointed NICHD Deputy Director
NICHD Director Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., announced that after a rigorous national search, Catherine Y. Spong, M.D., has been selected as Deputy Director of the NICHD. For the past two years, Dr. Spong has served as the inaugural NICHD Associate Director for Extramural Research and the Director of the Division of Extramural Research.


Spoon Measurements Contribute to Many Child Drug-Dosing Errors
Using a teaspoon or a tablespoon to give children medicine doubled parents’ chances of giving an incorrect dose, according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Scientists plug into a learning brain
Learning is easier when it only requires nerve cells to rearrange existing patterns of activity than when the nerve cells have to generate new patterns, a study of monkeys has found. The scientists explored the brain’s capacity to learn through recordings of electrical activity of brain cell networks. The study was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.


An Aspirin a Day for Preeclampsia Prevention
Low-dose aspirin use may prevent preeclampsia in pregnant women at high risk for the condition. Learn the facts about this serious condition and who may benefit from this recommendation.


Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Exercise May Reduce Risk of Gestational Diabetes
A series of studies suggests potential ways that women may lower their risk of developing gestational diabetes.


Test reliably detects inherited immune deficiency in newborns
A newborn screening test for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) reliably identifies infants with this life-threatening inherited condition, leading to prompt treatment and high survival rates, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Poor Early Language Skills May Be Linked to Kids’ Behavior Problems
Anyone who deals with young children knows that kids act up—and act out—from time to time. But some kids have more trouble than others when it comes to controlling their impulses. Now researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have uncovered an important clue to the thought processes underlying some children’s persistent problem behavior.


Maternal malnutrition during pregnancy could provide clue to offspring heart disease
Based on a study of fetal sheep, scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health believe they may have found a clue to the heightened risk of heart disease seen in people who were born at low birthweight to mothers malnourished during pregnancy. The finding one day may lead to new ways to treat or even prevent heart disease in this group of people.


Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Newborns: Research to Improve Outcomes
Our Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch supports research on improved care for pregnant women and newborns and better treatment for pregnancy-related complications and neonatal diseases.


NICHD Podcasts Feature Research on Maternal Smoking
Three recent podcasts feature research on smoking during pregnancy and its links to later health and behavior problems in children.


NIH Institutes Commit $2 Million to Small Businesses to Promote Placental Research
This month the NICHD and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) reissued two funding announcements, inviting grant applications for the development of methods to assess placental development and function. The Institutes intend to commit an estimated total of $2 million to small businesses in 2015 to support this research.


Year-round preventive treatment reduces malaria risk in young children
A year-round preventive drug treatment substantially reduces young children’s risk of contracting malaria and poses no serious risk of adverse events, according to a study by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


NIH scientists visualize structures of brain receptors using subcellular imaging
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have created high-resolution images of the glutamate receptor, a protein that plays a key role in nerve signaling. The advance, published online in the journal Nature on August 3, 2014, opens a new window to study protein interactions in cell membranes in exquisite detail.


Study Could Lead to New Therapies for Epilepsy, Depression
A new study has succeeded in creating detailed images of one group of receptors—the glutamate receptors—and this discovery may lead to therapies for these and other diseases and conditions.


First CRC Patient’s Genetic Disease Unraveled
Clinical Center researchers have identified the genetic defect underlying the disease for the first admitted patient at the Hatfield Clinical Research Center.


Training Can Improve Learning for Adolescents with Traumatic Brain Injury
A new therapy promises to shorten the recovery time for young people who have suffered a brain injury. It’s called “gist training,” and it involves getting the essence from complex information instead of memorizing facts.


NICHD Helps Build Research Capacity in Africa
In an effort to strengthen research in sub-Saharan Africa, the NICHD supported the training of researchers and administrators from 32 African countries on aspects of good grantsmanship. The materials from the training—tutorials, videos, and slides—are now online.


La salud de los inmigrantes mexicanos empeora poco después de entrar a los Estados Unidos
Según un estudio patrocinado por los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud, en promedio, la salud de los inmigrantes mexicanos empeora en un lapso de uno a dos años de su ingreso a los Estados Unidos. Los investigadores concluyeron que una vez que entran a los Estados Unidos, las tensiones por el trabajo mal remunerado, las viviendas sobre-habitadas, e incluso la travesía para llegar al país, perjudican la salud de la mayoría de los inmigrantes.


Common gene variants account for most genetic risk for autism
Most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found. Heritability also outweighed other risk factors in this largest study of its kind to date.


Science in 3D
The NIH 3D Print Exchange is a new public resource that promotes health and science applications of 3D printing.


"Mississippi Baby" Now Has Detectable HIV, Researchers Find
The child known as the “Mississippi baby”—an infant seemingly cured of HIV that was reported as a case study of a prolonged remission of HIV infection in The New England Journal of Medicine last fall—now has detectable levels of HIV after more than two years of not taking antiretroviral therapy without evidence of virus, according to the pediatric HIV specialist and researchers involved in the case.


Young adults more likely to attend college
American young adults are more racially and ethnically diverse, more likely to graduate from high school, and attend college, and less likely to smoke than previous generations, according to a report by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. However, the young adults have more student debt than generations past, earn less than their counterparts in the year 2000, and more than 1 in 5 are obese, the report says.


Together, NICHD & International Sorority Fight Childhood Asthma
Asthma is a serious condition affecting millions of Americans, including many children. The NICHD partnered with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to teach children and caregivers about effective asthma management.


New treatment increases pregnancy rate for women with infertility disorder
The drug letrozole appears to be more effective than the standard drug clomiphene for helping women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to achieve pregnancy, according to a large study from a research network supported by the National Institutes of Health.


"Cool" Kids More Likely to Have Problems as Young Adults
If you weren’t one of the cool kids during your early teen years, chances are you wanted to be like them. Now a new study has found that it’s not so cool to have been cool after all. When they reached adulthood, a sample of formerly cool kids were much more likely than their uncool peers to have relationship problems, major problems with alcohol and substance use, and even to have run afoul of the law.


June Wrap-Up: Promoting Men’s Health
In observance of Men’s Health month, the NICHD highlighted important men’s health information and resources throughout the month of June.


NICHD announces the implementation of a "select pay" funding policy
Funds are available to support meritorious applications of high general programmatic significance or that focus on the recently announced high priority topics identified by the NICHD Vision process.


Research Continues on Genetics of Prostate Cancer
Dr. Constantine Stratakis’s work has focused on developmental endocrinology and genetics, and it has led him to find a gene variation that appears to increase the risk for prostate cancer.


New Research on Male Contraceptive Methods
Most forms of contraception target the female reproductive system to prevent pregnancy. However, NICHD research may lead to new contraceptive methods that control fertility in men.


3 Key Ways Dads Can Help Baby Sleep Safe
This infographic has important tips to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related causes of infant death.


Men’s Health is the Focus in June
This Men’s Health Month, the NICHD joins with other government agencies and nonprofit organizations to raise awareness of men’s health issues and to highlight men’s health resources.


Bullying Decreases among Middle School and High School Students
A new study found that bullying among students in grades six through ten declined significantly between 1998 and 2010. Fighting among students also declined, although less dramatically.


Hormone treatment restores bone density for young women with menopause-like condition
Researchers have found that hormone replacement therapy in young women with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) led to increases in their bone mineral density, restoring levels to normal.


Podcast: Head Start offers boost for kids with least academic stimulation
Head Start is a program which provides low-income children with preschool education, health care, and nutrition services. A recent analysis of a national study on Head Start shows that 1 year of the program improves children’s math, literacy, and vocabulary skills.


May Wrap-Up: Promoting Women’s Health
In observance of National Women’s Health Week, the NICHD highlighted important information about women’s health throughout the month of May.


Dr. Lisa Halvorson New Chief of Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch
Lisa M. Halvorson, M.D., has been named the new Chief of the Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch (GHDB), effective June 15, 2014, announced Dr. Catherine Spong, M.D., Director of the Division of Extramural Research.


How Can You Improve a Woman’s Health? Study the Health of Populations.
From infertility to problems in pregnancy, the NICHD’s Epidemiology Branch tackles health issues from a population perspective.


NIH Scientist wins presidential award for stem cell research
Todd Macfarlan, Ph.D, a biologist at the National Institutes of Health, was one of 102 researchers who received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.


El ejercicio puede reducir el riesgo de la diabetes Tipo 2 luego de haber tenido una diabetes gestacional
Según un estudio realizado por investigadores de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud y otras instituciones, el ejercicio por sí solo puede ayudar a prevenir la diabetes gestacional, que se produce en las mujeres durante el embarazo, progresando a la diabetes Tipo 2 en algún tiempo después de dicho embarazo.


Estudio de los NIH vincula los niveles altos de colesterol a una fertilidad disminuida
Los niveles altos de colesterol pueden perjudicar la fertilidad en las parejas que intentan lograr un embarazo, según indica un estudio realizado por investigadores de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud, la Universidad de Búfalo (Nueva York), y la Universidad de Emory, en Atlanta.


Exercise may cut risk of type 2 diabetes after prior gestational diabetes
Exercise alone may help prevent gestational diabetes—which occurs in women during pregnancy—from progressing to Type 2 diabetes in the time after pregnancy, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


NIH study links high cholesterol levels to lower fertility
High cholesterol levels may impair fertility in couples trying to achieve a pregnancy, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the University at Buffalo (New York), and Emory University in Atlanta.


Podcast: Estudio de los NIH vincula los niveles altos de colesterol a una fertilidad disminuida
Las parejas con un nivel alto de colesterol son las que más se demoraron en lograr el embarazo.


NICHD-Supported Research Sheds Light on a Family of Genes Involved in Dyslexia, Respiratory Health, and Organ Position
NICHD-supported scientists observe connections among seemingly unrelated conditions.


NICHD Podcast Round-up
Listen to these latest podcasts to learn more about NICHD-supported research, what the findings may mean for patients and members of the public, as well as what direction future studies might take.


Early childhood education programs linked to improved adult health
Can the preschool experience improve people’s health long after they’ve finished school and embarked on their adult lives? Researchers publishing in Science have found that disadvantaged children who attended a high-quality early childhood development program had, on average, become much healthier adults than those without the benefit of such a program. The researchers examined data from the Abecedarian program—funded by the National Institutes of Health, and created to determine whether an early intervention program for children born into poverty could promote healthy growth and development.


Podcast on Women’s Health: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going
Drs. Alan Guttmacher and Janine Clayton discuss past advances in women’s health research and possible future directions.


April Wrap-Up: Raising Infertility Awareness
The NICHD spent the last month highlighting activities and information related to infertility.


Learning about Infertility Research at the NIH
Three reproductive health scientists at the NICHD share their perspectives on future directions in infertility research.


Oxytocin promotes social behavior in infant rhesus monkeys
The hormone oxytocin appears to increase social behaviors in newborn rhesus monkeys, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Parma in Italy, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The findings indicate that oxytocin is a promising candidate for new treatments for developmental disorders affecting social skills and bonding.


Infertility Awareness: Share the Facts
Infertility affects millions of Americans—both men and women. Learn the facts this National Infertility Awareness Week and share answers to common questions with this infographic from the NICHD.


La aspirina no previene la pérdida de embarazo, según un estudio de los NIH
Se halló un aumento en la tasa de bebés que nacen vivos en un subgrupo de participantes.


Podcast: Mothers pass smoking on to daughters
NIH-funded analysis identifies patterns of nicotine use across generations.


Breaking the Cycle: Research Aims to Prevent Child Abuse
The NICHD joins other agencies and organizations to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the importance of preventing child abuse and counteracting its negative impacts.


Dr. Yvonne T. Maddox to serve as Acting Director of NIMHD
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) announced today the appointment of Dr. Yvonne T. Maddox, Ph.D., as NIMHD's acting director. This appointment follows Dr. John Ruffin's announcement last month of his retirement from federal service and as director of NIMHD after 24 years.


Gene linked to excess male hormones in female infertility disorder
A variant in a gene active in cells of the ovary may lead to the overproduction of androgens—male hormones similar to testosterone— occurring in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health. The discovery may provide information to develop a test to diagnose women at risk for PCOS and also for the development of a treatment for the condition.


Podcast: Lactation consultants increase breastfeeding rate
NIH funded study shows mothers breastfeed longer after consultant visits.


Podcast: Low birthweight could complicate drug response later in life
NIH-funded study finds low birthweight could reduce overall effectiveness of drug treatments.


Seeking New Treatments for Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus—the endometrium—grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis affects millions of American women, yet many women can’t get a timely diagnosis or find effective treatments.


Join NICHD on April 23 for a Twitter chat on Infertility
For National Infertility Awareness Week, this April 20–26, the NICHD joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (OWH), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Organization for a Twitter chat on infertility.


Aspirin does not prevent pregnancy loss, NIH study finds
A daily low dose of aspirin does not appear to prevent subsequent pregnancy loss among women with a history of one or two prior pregnancy losses, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


NICHD video highlights locusts’ contribution to understanding the nervous system
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health are uncovering clues on how the brain and nervous system functions—from an unlikely source. NICHD neuroscientist Mark A. Stopher, Ph.D., studies locusts and other insects to gain insights into the workings of the human nervous system. Dr. Stopfer is an investigator in the NICHD’s Unit on Sensory Coding and Neural Ensembles.


Podcast: Childhood obesity often starts before the age of 5
NIH-funded study finds primary risk of obesity among children who enter kindergarten overweight.


Dr. Robert E. Cooke, Driving Force Behind NICHD’s Founding, Dies at 93
Dr. Robert E. Cooke, a member of the Presidential Task Force that laid the groundwork for the founding of the NICHD, died at his home on Martha’s Vineyard on February 2. He was 93 years old.


Podcast: Teens who rode with an intoxicated driver more likely to drive impaired themselves
NICHD Research Developments podcast with Dr. Bruce Simons-Morton.


The Family Life Project Releases Synthesis of Early Findings
A new publication provides the first 3 years of results from the NICHD’s Family Life Project. The project’s purpose is to shed light on childhood development in rural areas, with a focus on understanding how poverty and the family affect children’s development in such settings.


NIH opens research hospital to outside scientists
Ten projects that will enable non-government researchers to conduct clinical research at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. were announced today. Through these three-year, renewable awards of up to $500,000 per year, scientists from institutions across the United States will collaborate with government scientists in a highly specialized hospital setting. The NIH Clinical Center is the largest hospital in the nation devoted entirely to clinical research.


Se ha comprobado que dos cirugías para el prolapso pélvico son igualmente efectivas y seguras
Los científicos de la red de investigación de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud han determinado que dos tratamientos quirúrgicos para una forma de hernia pélvica que afecta a las mujeres tienen las mismas tasas de éxito y seguridad. Un tratamiento con ejercicios guiados para fortalecer los músculos pélvicos no agregaron beneficios a ninguna de las cirugías.


Two surgeries for pelvic prolapse found similarly effective, safe
Two surgical treatments for a form of pelvic hernia affecting women have similar rates of success and safety, scientists in a National Institutes of Health research network have found. A guided exercise therapy to strengthen pelvic muscles did not add to the benefits of either surgery.


Podcast: Good home environment protects youth against stress
NIH funded study finds protection from stress reduces health problems.


March is Trisomy Awareness Month: Time to Get "DS Connected"
The NICHD highlights DS Connect™: The Down Syndrome Registry, which allows people with Down syndrome and their family members to share health information and to advance research.


Altos niveles de plastificantes en los varones se han vinculado con el embarazo retrasado de sus parejas
Las mujeres cuyas parejas masculinas tienen altas concentraciones de tres formas comunes de ftalatos, químicos que se encuentran en una amplia gama de productos de consumo, tardan más tiempo en quedarse embarazadas que las mujeres de parejas en las cuales el hombre no tiene altas concentraciones de dichas sustancias químicas, según los investigadores de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud y otras instituciones.


High plasticizer levels in males linked to delayed pregnancy for female partners
Women whose male partners have high concentrations of three common forms of phthalates, chemicals found in a wide range of consumer products, take longer to become pregnant than women in couples in which the male does not have high concentrations of the chemicals, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


NIH researchers identify mutation linked to severe form of Cushing’s syndrome
Mutations in a gene containing part of the information needed to make an enzyme that provides energy for governing basic cell functions appear to contribute to a severe form of Cushing’s syndrome, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and nine European research institutions.


Public Comment: DRAFT NIH Research Plan on Down Syndrome 2014
The NIH Down Syndrome Working Group, formed in 2006 and led by the NICHD, aims to coordinate ongoing and new research related to Down syndrome across the NIH.


Podcast: Stress response varies by race, ethnicity
Young parents in poverty are disproportionately affected by stress.


NIH Directors talk to C-SPAN audience about research progress
Recently, NICHD Director Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” along with 3 other NIH Institute Directors. Dr. Guttmacher and his colleagues and provided background on their respective Institutes, reported on new research findings, and took calls from viewers.


NIH Observes Rare Disease Day on February 28
Part of the NIH mission is to research and treat rare diseases—to make them even rarer. Learn more about NIH’s Rare Disease Day and the NICHD’s rare disease activities.


Un estudio de los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud (NIH) revela que los jóvenes nacidos con VIH pueden tener un mayor riesgo de enfermedad cardíaca
Casi la mitad de los adolescentes que han tenido VIH desde su nacimiento puede estar en mayor riesgo de enfermedades cardiovasculares, incluyendo ataques al corazón y derrames cerebrales más adelante en sus vidas, según un estudio de la red de los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud.


Youth born with HIV may have higher heart disease risk, NIH network study shows
Nearly half of adolescents who have had HIV since birth may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease — including heart attack and stroke — later in life, according to a National Institutes of Health network study.


The NICHD Continues the Fight to Eliminate Prenatal and Infant Infections
In February 1994, a study showed that an anti-HIV drug could reduce the transmission of HIV from mothers to their newborn infants. Twenty years later, the NICHD continues its research efforts to find even more effective ways to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and other infections.


Solving a Puzzle in the Brain
An often unsung contributor to scientific advances is the junior researcher—whether a recent college graduate or even a high school student. Recently, a group of these scientists at the NICHD laid the groundwork for the discovery of a new type of cell in the brain.


NICHD and Spelman College: Working Together for Women’s Wellness
The NICHD and Spelman College will “Power Up!” for The Wellness Revolution Summit 2014, one activity in their collaboration on research and women’s health activities.


NIH research network finds many youth have high levels of HIV
More than 30 percent of young males who had sex with other males and who were subsequently enrolled in a government treatment and research network were found to have high levels of HIV, reported researchers from the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


Una investigación de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud (NIH) revela que muchos jóvenes tienen altos niveles de VIH
Más del 30 por ciento de los hombres jóvenes que tuvieron relaciones sexuales con otros hombres y que posteriormente se inscribieron en una red de tratamiento e investigación del gobierno tenían altos niveles de VIH, informaron los investigadores de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud y otras instituciones.


40 Years of Research from Liver to Brain
Dr. Kuo-Ping (K.P.) Huang found the NICHD to be such an ideal place to do research when he arrived in 1973 that he stayed for more than 40 years. In that time, he made major discoveries related to the regulation of sugar storage and brain function. To mark his January 2014 retirement, the NICHD takes a look back at his prolific career.


NICHD podcast features research on youth violence
The December 2013 NICHD Research Perspectives features research on youth violence. Guests discuss types of violence, environmental and biological risk factors, characteristics of effective interventions, and tips for parents and caregivers to help prevent or stop youth violence.


Teaming Up Against Birth Defects
One newborn of every 33 born in the United States has a birth defect. During this Birth Defects Prevention Month, the NICHD highlights the importance of collaboration in birth defects research. Working together, scientists can find solutions to these complex problems more quickly than they could alone.


Drivers engaged in other tasks about 10 percent of the time
Drivers eat, reach for the phone, text, or otherwise take their eyes off the road about 10 percent of the time they are behind the wheel, according to a study using video technology and in-vehicle sensors.


Los conductores están ocupados en otras actividades aproximadamente un 10 por ciento del tiempo
Los conductores comen, buscan el teléfono, envían mensajes de texto, o de alguna manera retiran la vista del camino aproximadamente 10 por ciento del tiempo cuando manejan, según un estudio que utilizó la tecnología del video y sensores en el vehículo.


The Flu is Nothing to Sneeze at: Especially During Pregnancy
It’s that time of year again: Flu season. For most people, the flu means a few days of discomfort. But for pregnant women, the flu can be serious. Learn more about how pregnant women can reduce their risk for and the severity of the flu.


Revised autism screening tool offers more precise assessment
An updated screening tool that physicians administer to parents to help determine if a very young child has autism has been shown to be much more accurate than earlier versions at identifying children who could benefit from further evaluation, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Enzyme that produces melatonin originated 500 million years ago, NIH study shows
An international team of scientists led by National Institutes of Health researchers has traced the likely origin of the enzyme needed to manufacture the hormone melatonin to roughly 500 million years ago.


NIH and NFL tackle concussion research
The National Institutes of Health has selected eight projects to receive support to answer some of the most fundamental problems on traumatic brain injury, including understanding long-term effects of repeated head injuries and improving diagnosis of concussions.


NIH and The Weight of the Nation for Kids
This year, HBO released the documentary series The Weight of the Nation for Kids, in association with NIH, the CDC, and other partners.


Fumar tabaco y consumir drogas durante el embarazo puede duplicar el riesgo de muerte fetal
Según un estudio financiado por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud, fumar tabaco o marihuana, tomar analgésicos bajo receta médica o utilizar drogas ilegales durante el embarazo se asocia con un aumento del doble o incluso del triple de riesgo de muerte fetal.


Tobacco, drug use in pregnancy can double risk of stillbirth
Smoking tobacco or marijuana, taking prescription painkillers, or using illegal drugs during pregnancy is associated with double or even triple the risk of stillbirth, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Making Medicines Safer for Children: NICHD-Supported Research in Pediatric Pharmacology
Did you know that the majority of drugs given to infants and children have never been tested in those populations? The NICHD has been a leader in supporting pediatric pharmacology research for more than 2 decades, providing evidence that when it comes to medication, children are not just little adults.


NeuroBioBank gives researchers one-stop access to post-mortem brains
To expedite research on brain disorders, the National Institutes of Health is shifting from a limited funding role to coordinating a Web-based resource for sharing post-mortem brain tissue. Under a NIH NeuroBioBank initiative, five brain banks will begin collaborating in a tissue sharing network for the neuroscience community.


NICHD Video Interview: 2013 Nobel laureate describes his route to the award
Dr. Randy Schekman sat down with NICHD to describe his research, talk about the role of NIH in supporting his discoveries, and discuss his plans for the future.


Two copies of mutant gene may trigger rare adrenal disorder
Many cases of a rare disorder of the adrenal glands appear to result from two copies of a mutant gene, according to a research team made up of scientists in France and at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.


World AIDS Day 2013: Focus on Adolescents and Young Adults
The NICHD joins the world community in celebrating the accomplishments to date in reducing and eliminating HIV/AIDS worldwide, with a focus on efforts related to enabling a new AIDS-free generation of teens and young adults.


NICHD October/November podcast promotes safe sleep environment for infants
The October/November NICHD Research Perspectives focuses on the importance of a safe sleep environment to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related causes of infant death.


November is National Native American Heritage Month
As Tribes, communities, and agencies celebrate the culture and heritage of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIs/ANs), the NICHD highlights a unique collaboration aimed at reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related causes of infant death in AI/AN communities.


Picture This: NICHD Support for Neuroscience Research
This week, thousands of neuroscientists from around the world—many of them supported by the NICHD and other NIH Institutes and Centers—are gathering at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. This Spotlight highlights the diverse areas of neuroscience research that the NICHD supports.


NICHD and Spelman College Partner on Wellness Initiative
NICHD and Spelman College have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on projects to promote the health of Spelman students, faculty, and staff. These health projects will include nutrition, fitness education, and physical activity promotion.


Let’s Talk About SIDS
Research shows that advice from a health care provider has a significant effect on parents’ safe sleep practices, including room sharing instead of bed sharing. The NICHD highlights this and other research and activities on reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death during SIDS Awareness Month.


Redefining the Term
Two leading health care provider associations are recommending a change in the definition of a “full-term” pregnancy. This change is based on NICHD research efforts in pregnancy and childbirth and has far-reaching effects.


Research Funding News: Interim Guidance on Resumption of NIH Extramural Activities Following the Recent Lapse in Appropriations
A new policy has been posted on the NIH Web site that provides information for the extramural community on how NIH is resuming operations after the government shutdown.


Beyond Back Sleeping
In 2012, the NICHD, with the support of its campaign collaborators, created the Safe to Sleep® campaign as an expansion of the highly successful Back to Sleep campaign to better address the changing landscape of infant mortality. But why?


Aproximadamente el 14 por ciento de los bebés comparte la cama con un adulto o con un niño
El porcentaje de encargados de cuidados nocturnos que informaron que un lactante suele compartir la cama con los padres, otro adulto o un niño, aumentó a más del doble entre 1993 y 2010, según los investigadores de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud y de otras instituciones.


NIH researchers identify candidate drug to treat Batten disease
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have identified a potential new drug that could help in the treatment of a form of Batten disease, a fatal childhood disorder. The researchers tested the drug in mice with the disease and found that it slowed the loss of coordination seen in the disorder, and extended the animals’ life span.


Researchers discuss increase in percentage of infants who share bed with adult or child
In this Research Conversation, Drs. Marian Willinger and Eve Colson explain the findings reported in the NIH news release, Roughly 14 percent of infants share bed with adult or child. Sharing a bed, with an adult or another child, increases an infant’s risk of death from sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS or other sleep-related causes.


Roughly 14 percent of infants share bed with adult or child
The percentage of nighttime caregivers who reported that an infant usually shares a bed with a parent, another adult, or a child more than doubled between 1993 and 2010, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


Safe to Sleep® Campaign Launches Website
The NICHD-led Safe to Sleep® campaign's new website offers information, resources, and tools to help spread the word about reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death among parents, caregivers, and health care providers.


Media Availability: Federal agencies ask for help communicating infant death risks
In recognition of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, the federal agencies focused on infant health and safety, ask all organizations who reach families and health care providers through media, print, and education to show infants sleeping alone, on their backs, and in a clutter-free crib, bassinet, or play yard.


NICHD September podcast describes genomic sequencing for newborn screening
The September NICHD Research Perspectives featured a discussion on NIH grants for projects investigating genomic sequencing as a diagnostic tool to screen newborns for health disorders. On September 4, the NICHD and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) awarded $5 million to fund studies on the potential for the new technology. The September podcast is an excerpt from the news conference in which officials at the NICHD and NHGRI described this new project.


September Is Newborn Screening Awareness Month
For the last 5 decades, the NICHD has played a key role in newborn screening, from developing new technologies, to ensuring safety, to following screened individuals to ensure proper treatment. As we mark the 50th anniversary of newborn screening, the NICHD highlights some of its research and accomplishments.


Getting Safe Infant Sleep Messages into Native Communities
As part of its Healthy Native Babies Project, the NICHD and its collaborators release a tailored packet of training materials and activities that will help get safe infant sleep messages into Native communities.


Intramural reorganization brings renewed focus to population health
What was formerly known as NICHD’s Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research (DESPR) has been reorganized and is now known as the Division of Intramural Population Health Research.


NIH Launches Down Syndrome Registry
A newly launched, national Down syndrome registry will allow individuals with Down syndrome and their families, researchers, and health care providers to share information and resources and collaborate to learn more about this condition.


NIH launches first national Down syndrome registry
The National Institutes of Health has launched DS-Connect, a Web-based health registry that will serve as a national health resource for people with Down syndrome and their families, researchers, and health care providers.


NIH program explores the use of genomic sequencing in newborn healthcare
Can sequencing of newborns’ genomes provide useful medical information beyond what current newborn screening already provides? Pilot projects to examine this important question are being funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both parts of the National Institutes of Health.


Aumento del riesgo de déficits neurológicos y cognitivos en jóvenes con VIH
Más del 65 por ciento de los jóvenes infectados con VIH sufrían un deterioro leve a moderado de las habilidades de motricidad fina, la memoria y otras habilidades cognitivas, aunque no lo suficiente como para afectar el funcionamiento cotidiano de la mayor parte de ellos, de acuerdo con el estudio de la red de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud.


Increased risk of neurological, cognitive deficits in youth with HIV
More than 65 percent of HIV-infected youth had mild to moderate impairments in fine-motor skills, memory, and other cognitive skills, although not enough to affect day-to-day functioning for most, according to a National Institutes of Health network study.


NICHD podcast features research on adrenal gland disorders
This month’s NICHD Research Perspectives podcast focuses on adrenal gland disorders and research conducted by NICHD staff at the NIH Clinical Center.


NICHD Research Weighs in on Weight Gain during Pregnancy
A recent NICHD study reveals that too much weight gain during pregnancy puts mothers and infants at risk for complications.


NICHD grantees discover how placenta protects itself from virus infection
In this Research Conversation, NICHD’s Dr. John Ilekis interviewed NICHD grantees Yoel Sadovsky and Dr. Carolyn coin about their discovery that cells of the placenta secrete tiny, balloon like structures called vesicles.


Lab animal study suggests smoking during pregnancy places descendants at risk for asthma
For this research conversation, NICHD’s Dr. Tonse Raju spoke with grantee Dr. Virender Rehan on his study of rats given nicotine during their pregnancies.


Anti-HIV drugs may protect against puberty delays in HIV-infected children
For children who have been HIV-infected since birth, current anti-HIV drug regimens may protect against the delays in puberty that had been seen in HIV-infected children taking older regimens, according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Los fármacos anti-VIH podrían proteger a los niños infectados con VIH de la pubertad tardía
En los casos de niños infectados por el VIH desde su nacimiento, los tratamientos de fármacos contra el VIH que se utilizan hoy en día pueden proteger contra la pubertad tardía que se había presentado en los niños infectados por el VIH sometidos a los tratamientos médicos más antiguos, de acuerdo con los investigadores financiados por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud.


Raju named new chief of Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch
Tonse N. K. Raju, M.D., was named Chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch (PPB) on August 8, 2013.


NIH intends to continue support for Extramural-Intramural Collaborations
In a Notice of Intent, officials at NICHD and other NIH institutes and centers announced that they plan to continue a program supporting research collaborations between Extramural researchers (those outside the NIH) and Intramural researchers (those within the NIH). The effort seeks to foster projects that make the resources of the NIH Clinical Center available to Extramural researchers.


National Breastfeeding Month and NICHD Research
Breastfeeding provides important health benefits to both mothers and babies. During National Breastfeeding Month, the NICHD highlights some of its breastfeeding research.


Valerie Maholmes named Chief of NICHD Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch
Dr. Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., has been appointed Chief of the new Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch, as announced in an email from Dr. Catherine Spong, M.D., Director of the Division of Extramural Research.


Getting the Facts on PHACS, the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study
Treatment with antiretroviral drugs has nearly eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the United States. But what are the effects of early treatment with those powerful drugs? What is the course of the disease in infants who become infected? PHACS is uncovering the answers to these important questions.


Maternal smoking during pregnancy linked to children’s behavior problems, NIH funded study shows
In this research conversation, NICHD’s Dr. James Griffin talks with grantee Dr. Leslie Leve on her study, which found a strong association between a mother’s smoking during pregnancy and the chances that her child would have behavioral problems in school.


NIH grantee develops new technology to recognize words via brain activity patterns
Dr. Brett Miller spoke with NICHD grantee Dr. Tom Mitchell, on using computers to recognize spoken words by analyzing the brain activity patterns of listeners.


Rapid test allows for earlier diagnosis of tuberculosis in children
A new test for diagnosing tuberculosis (TB)in children detects roughly two-thirds of cases identified by the current culture test, but in a fraction of the time, according to the results of a study in South Africa supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Un examen rápido permite obtener un diagnóstico precoz de la tuberculosis en los niños
Un nuevo examen para el diagnóstico de la tuberculosis (TB) en los niños detecta aproximadamente dos tercios de los casos identificados por el examen de cultivo actual, pero en una fracción del tiempo, de acuerdo con los resultados de un estudio realizado en Sudáfrica con el apoyo de los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud.


Anti-HIV drugs in pregnancy not linked to children’s language delays
The combinations of anti-HIV drugs recommended for pregnant women do not appear in general to increase their children’s risk for language delay, according to a study from a National Institutes of Health research network.


Breathing Life into Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Research
CDH is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the diaphragm doesn’t form correctly, allowing the organs in the abdomen to move into the chest. NICHD research aims to understand how CDH occurs and how it can be treated.


Annual “America’s Children” report on child well-being topic of NICHD’s July podcast
This month’s NICHD Research Perspectives features the report America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-being. Each year, 22 federal agencies collaborate to produce the report, a convenient reference for policymakers, the public, and anyone with in an interest in the nation’s children. It compiles key data about child and adolescent well-being in a variety of areas.


Checking In on America’s Children
The annual federal report on the health and well-being of the nation’s children shows both gains and room for improvement.


Federal report shows drop in proportion of children in US population
The number of children living in the United States declined slightly, as did the percentage of the U.S. population who are children, according to the federal government’s annual statistical report on the well-being of the nation’s children and youth.


Media-Smart Youth Program Launches Revamped Website
The site features the revised and upgraded curriculum and train-the-trainer guides that activity leaders can use to conduct this unique after-school education program, which is designed to make youth ages 11 to 13 aware of how media can influence their nutrition and physical activity decisions.


Understanding the Threat of Indoor Pollution from Cooking
The World Health Organization lists household air pollution (HAP) from cooking fires and inefficient stoves as the world's leading environmental cause of death. A new report highlights gaps in knowledge about HAP and identifies research priorities.


Only half of U.S. youth meet physical activity standards, NIH study shows
Only about half of U.S. adolescents are physically active five or more days of the week, and fewer than 1 in 3 eat fruits and vegetables daily, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


Según un estudio de los NIH, sólo la mitad de los jóvenes cumplen con los estándares de actividad física de los Estados Unidos
Sólo la mitad de los adolescentes estadounidenses realizan actividad física cinco o más días a la semana y menos de 1 de cada 3 comen frutas y verduras todos los días, de acuerdo con los investigadores de los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud.


U R GR8, Dad!
Right on the heels of Father’s Day, the text4baby program expands to include messages for dads and dads-to-be.


Experts describe research needed to reduce air pollution from stoves in developing world
In the June NICHD Research Perspectives, NIH researchers and other experts described the health risks of indoor air pollution caused by cooking fires in the developing world and the research that needs to be undertaken to solve this problem.


Participants sought for NIH study of adrenal disorder
Adults who have congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a disorder of the adrenal glands, may be eligible to take part in a study at the National Institutes of Health on the effectiveness of a new pump which delivers missing adrenal hormones in a manner more closely matching their release by the adrenal glands.


In a Healthy Pregnancy, Let the Baby Set the Delivery Date
NICHD Director Dr. Alan Guttmacher discusses reasons it’s best, in a healthy pregnancy, to wait until 39 weeks or later to deliver.


Dr. Lisa Freund New Branch Chief for Child Development and Behavior Branch
Dr. Lisa Freund, Ph.D., has been named the new Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch, as announced in an email from Dr. Catherine Spong, M.D., Director of the Division of Extramural Research.


Stroke prevention, treatment, and research topic of NICHD May podcast
In the May NICHD Research Perspectives, NICHD researchers and grantees discussed how to reduce the risk for stroke, current stroke treatments, and research on how best to rehabilitate stroke patients.


Preeclampsia Awareness Month
Organizations marked National Preeclampsia Awareness Month in May. The NICHD follows up with highlights of its research on preeclampsia, its mechanisms, and possible ways to prevent or treat the condition.


2012 Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Annual Report
One of the largest intramural divisions within the NIH, the NICHD’s DIR studies a diverse range of topics from molecular and cellular processes, to developmental endocrinology and genetics, to obstetric and perinatal research, to pediatric imaging. These and other research areas are the focus of the 2012 DIR Annual Report.


A molecular explanation for age-related fertility decline in women
Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have a new theory as to why a woman’s fertility declines after her mid-30s. They also suggest an approach that might help slow the process, enhancing and prolonging fertility.


Research Funding News: New policy on NIH grant awards, new NICHD funding strategies
A new policy has been posted on the NIH Web site regarding NIH Fiscal Operations for the remainder of FY 2013 in light of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6), signed by President Obama on March 26, 2013, and the sequestration provisions of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act.


New syndrome linked to a somatic HIF2A mutation
A team of NIH researchers, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Utah (Salt Lake City) and Tufts Medical Center (Boston), have identified a new syndrome involving two rare neuroendocrine tumors and a rare blood disease. The syndrome was observed in four female patients who had multiple paraganglioma and somatostatinoma tumors and the blood disease polycythemia.


Flu in pregnancy may quadruple child’s risk for bipolar disorder
Pregnant mothers’ exposure to the flu was associated with a nearly fourfold increased risk that their child would develop bipolar disorder in adulthood, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings add to mounting evidence of possible shared underlying causes and illness processes with schizophrenia, which some studies have also linked to prenatal exposure to influenza.


Progress on Pelvic Floor Disorders (PFDs)
In observance of National Women’s Health Week, the NICHD looks back at 15 years of research on PFDs.


Just in Time for Mother’s Day: Let the Baby Set the Delivery Date!
The NICHD’s National Child and Maternal Health Education Program and its coordinating committee members unite to let mothers know that they should wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver their babies unless medically necessary.


Teaching Youth to be Media Smart
The NICHD’s Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active® program teaches young people how to be smart media consumers and make good choices about nutrition and physical activity.


Women’s, Men’s brains respond differently to hungry infant’s cries
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have uncovered firm evidence for what many mothers have long suspected: women’s brains appear to be hard-wired to respond to the cries of a hungry infant.


'Preventing shaken baby syndrome' topic of NICHD April podcast
In the April NICHD Research Perspectives, NICHD director Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher talks with researchers about recognizing the forerunners of shaken baby syndrome and other forms of infant abuse, and how episodes of such abuse can be prevented.


Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research 2012 Annual Report
This NICHD Division recently released its annual report highlighting research that covers a range of topics, from understanding fertility and preventing birth defects to promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors and developing new ways to analyze data.


Membrane remodeling: Where yoga meets cell biology
Cells ingest proteins and engulf bacteria by a gymnastic, shape-shifting process called endocytosis. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health revealed how a key protein, dynamin, drives the action.


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
This April, the NICHD joins in efforts to raise awareness about preventing child abuse and neglect during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.


Anti-HIV therapy appears to protect children’s hearts, NIH network study shows
For children who have had HIV-1 infection since birth, the combination drug therapies now used to treat HIV appear to protect against the heart damage seen before combination therapies were available, according to researchers in a National Institutes of Health network study.


Harnessing Research to Combat Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
STDs and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have affected health and human relationships throughout history. For STD Awareness Month this April, the NICHD highlights some of its research efforts related to STDs and STIs.


Global Consortium Identifies Best Management of Endometriosis
The World Endometriosis Society Consortium, a global collaboration that includes experts from and grantees of the NICHD, has published a consensus statement about the best ways to manage endometriosis.


New genetic link found between normal fetal growth and cancer
Two researchers at the National Institutes of Health discovered a new genetic link between the rapid growth of healthy fetuses and the uncontrolled cell division in cancer. The findings shed light on normal development and on the genetic underpinnings of common cancers.


Drug safety for children and pregnant women topic of March NICHD Director’s Podcast
Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a drug, physicians can use their best judgment to prescribe it to their patients—whether or not their patients are similar to those who took part in the clinical trials. Physicians can also prescribe drugs for diseases or conditions other than those for which they were originally tested.


Los acontecimientos estresantes en la vida pueden incrementar el riesgo de muerte fetal, según un estudio de la red de los NIH
Las mujeres embarazadas que experimentaron estrés personal, financiero, emocional o de otro tipo en el transcurso del año antes del parto tuvieron una mayor probabilidad de muerte del feto, según los investigadores que realizaron el estudio de la red de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud.


Stressful life events may increase stillbirth risk, NIH network study finds
Pregnant women who experienced financial, emotional or other personal stress in the year before their delivery had an increased chance of having a stillbirth, say researchers who conducted a National Institutes of Health network study.


XLNT! The Text4baby Program Celebrates 3 Years
In only a few years, the text4baby program has grown to more than 500,000 subscribers. This evidenced-based text messaging service allows for new moms and new moms-to-be to get timely health information and encourages them to follow prenatal and postnatal care recommendations.


Delay in shifting gaze linked to early brain development in autism
At 7 months of age, children who are later diagnosed with autism take a split second longer to shift their gaze during a task measuring eye movements and visual attention than do typically developing infants of the same age, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Wireless, implanted sensor broadens range of brain research
A compact, self-contained sensor recorded and transmitted brain activity data wirelessly for more than a year in early stage animal tests, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Backwards signals appear to sensitize brain cells, rat study shows
When the mind is at rest, the electrical signals by which brain cells communicate appear to travel in reverse, wiping out unimportant information in the process, but sensitizing the cells for future sensory learning, according to a study of rats conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


March Is Trisomy Awareness Month
The term “trisomy” refers to conditions characterized by having 3 copies of a chromosome, instead of the usual 2-copy pair. An extra chromosome causes health problems ranging from mild intellectual and developmental disability, to severe physical problems. During Trisomy Awareness Month, the NICHD highlights the important role research plays in helping families and patients address challenges associated with trisomy conditions, such as Down syndrome.


Panel supports maintaining the current diagnostic approach for gestational diabetes mellitus
An independent panel convened this week by the National Institutes of Health has concluded that despite potential advantages of adopting a new diagnostic approach for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), more evidence is needed to ensure that the benefits outweigh the harms. The panel recommended following the current diagnostic approach until further studies are conducted.


Toddler ‘Functionally Cured’ of HIV Infection, NIH-Supported Investigators Report
A two-year-old child born with HIV infection and treated with antiretroviral drugs beginning in the first days of life no longer has detectable levels of virus using conventional testing despite not taking HIV medication for 10 months, according to findings presented today at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta.


Researchers describe role of trace minerals in health for February podcast
Trace minerals are minerals that the body needs in very small amounts: too little, or too much, can cause serious health problems. The February 2013 NICHD Research Perspectives featured efforts to better understand the role of iron and copper, two minerals important for human health.


February is International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month
The NICHD supports a number of efforts to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and other infections during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, both in the United States and in other countries. Current NICHD-supported studies are exploring better methods of prevention and treatment of these infectious diseases.


First grade math skills set foundation for later math ability
Children who failed to acquire a basic math skill in first grade scored far behind their peers by seventh grade on a test of the mathematical abilities needed to function in adult life, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Las habilidades matemáticas de primer grado establecen las bases para la capacidad matemática más tarde
Los niños que no pudieron adquirir una habilidad matemática básica en el primer grado están calificados muy por detrás de sus compañeros de séptimo grado en una prueba de habilidades matemáticas necesarias para desenvolverse en la vida adulta, según los investigadores financiados por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud.


February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month
During National Children’s Dental Health Month, the NICHD reminds parents and caregivers that developing healthy habits goes beyond proper brushing and flossing and regular dental care. Balanced nutrition—especially getting enough calcium—can help children achieve a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.


NICHD Director’s podcast features research on adolescent health behavior
The January 2013 NICHD Research Perspectives features adolescent health research undertaken by scientists in the institute’s Prevention Research Branch.


NIH launches study of long-term effects of blood glucose during pregnancy
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health plan to determine whether elevated blood sugar during pregnancy, a less-severe condition than gestational diabetes, influences later levels of body fat in children and development of diabetes in mothers after giving birth.


Lack of iron regulating protein contributes to high blood pressure of the lungs
A protein known to regulate iron levels in the body has an unexpectedly important role in preventing a form of high blood pressure that affects the lungs, and in stabilizing the concentration of red cells in blood, according to a study in mice by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


Immune system protein in semen boosts HIV spread in female genital tissue
An immune system protein normally found in semen appears to enhance the spread of HIV to tissue from the uterine cervix, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


Carrying Pregnancy to 39 Weeks: Is It Worth It? Yes!
New videos from the NICHD’s National Child and Maternal Health Education Program explain why it’s important not to induce labor for nonmedical reasons before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Find out why it’s worth it for both mother and baby.


Kutlesic named director of NICHD global health office
Vesna Kutlesic, Ph.D., became Director of the NICHD’s Office of Global Health on December 30, 2012.


Birth Defects Prevention Month and NICHD Research Advances
Understanding the causes of birth defects has been a primary goal of the NICHD since its establishment. During Birth Defects Prevention Month, the NICHD reflects on its research in structural birth defects as well as the significant advancements made to date in determining the causes, prevention, and treatments of birth defects.


NIH clinical trial begins for treatment of rare, fatal neurological disorder
Government, industry, academia, and patient groups collaborate on Niemann-Pick Type C research.


Signore named to new extramural division leadership position
Caroline Signore, M.D., M.P.H., has been named Deputy Director of the Division of Extramural Research (DER), a newly created post, which she will assume January 27.


A Promising New Therapy for a Childhood Coordination Disorder
​Developmental coordination disorder, a disorder that impairs the development of a child’s motor coordination, can cause some children to fall behind their peers in terms of motor and coordination skills. NICHD-supported researchers are exploring technologies to assist children with this sometimes debilitating neurological disorder. [Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University]


Celebrating 20 Years of Medical Rehabilitation Research
A new publication highlights the NICHD’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) 20th anniversary symposium, which commemorated the establishment of the NCMRR, described its activities, and featured the scientific advances in rehabilitation research that came from its support.


December NICHD Director’s podcast features primate research
The December 2012 NICHD Director’s podcast is now online. This month’s podcast focuses on the research of NICHD’s Laboratory of Comparative Ethology. Ethology is the study of human and animal behaviors and ethologists tend to study animals in their natural settings. Much of lab’s research is conducted at the NIH Animal Center located on a 509-acre expanse of farmland in rural Montgomery County, about 30 miles from the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Lab researchers study rhesus macaques and a few other non human primates. An important component of the lab is an open-air enclosure that houses a free-ranging troop of rhesus macaques.


NIH study uncovers details of early stages in muscle formation and regeneration
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have identified proteins that allow muscle cells in mice to form from the fusion of the early stage cells that give rise to the muscle cells.


Benefits of higher oxygen, breathing device persist after infancy
By the time they reached toddlerhood, very preterm infants originally treated with higher oxygen levels continued to show benefits when compared to a group treated with lower oxygen levels, according to a follow-up study by a research network of the National Institutes of Health that confirms earlier network findings, Moreover, infants treated with a respiratory therapy commonly prescribed for adults with obstructive sleep apnea fared as well as those who received the traditional therapy for infant respiratory difficulties, the new study found.


Scientific Vision: The Next Decade
The NICHD embarked upon a collaborative process in 2011 to create a scientific Vision, identifying the most promising scientific opportunities for the Institute and its partners to pursue over the next decade. The newly published Scientific Vision statement presents the results of that process and outlines scientific goals for the coming decade.


November NICHD Director’s podcast now available
The November 2012 NICHD Director’s podcast is now online. This month’s podcast featured presenters from a recent NICHD Exchange program, “Sleep: the ABC’s of Zs.” The NICHD Exchange is a series of quarterly meetings in which NICHD administrators and scientists present relevant findings designed to spur thought provoking conversations to inform the NICHD research effort.


New test offers more information on genetic causes of stillbirth
A more precise method for examining a fetus' genetic material may help detect abnormalities in 40 percent more cases of stillbirth than does the traditional method, according to a National Institutes of Health network study.


NICHD reorganizes extramural program
​Alan Guttmacher, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) announced a number of changes to streamline the institute’s organizational structure and accelerate the exchange of scientific ideas.


NICHD vision statement now available online
A document charting a research course for the many collaborators who share an interest in promoting the science concerning human development through the life span, child health, women's health, and rehabilitation research is now available online.


Research for a Lifetime: Commemorating the NICHD’s 50th Anniversary
On October 17, 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed into law the legislation establishing the NICHD to examine “the complex process of human development from conception to old age.” The Institute marks its golden anniversary with Research for a Lifetime, an all-day scientific colloquium to highlight the Institute’s mission, accomplishments, and future research directions.


Prenatal intervention reduces learning deficit in mice
​Mice with a condition that serves as a laboratory model for Down syndrome perform better on memory and learning tasks as adults if they were treated before birth with neuroprotective peptides, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


World AIDS Day and NICHD HIV/AIDS Research
​According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 34 million people around the world are living with HIV, and about 10% of them are children. On World AIDS Day, the NICHD reflects on its progress and its continuing efforts to keep these children healthy, to preserve the health of HIV-positive mothers, and to prevent new cases of HIV among children and adults.


HIV treatment reduces risk of malaria recurrence in children, NIH funded study shows
​A combination of anti-HIV drugs has been found to also reduce the risk of recurrent malaria by nearly half among HIV-positive children, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Health Literacy and the NICHD
​The ability to understand and use health information—called health literacy—is vital for staying healthy, but many Americans just don’t understand the information that health organizations produce, and many health organizations are not skilled at creating health information tailored to different publics. Research supported by the NICHD and other agencies and organizations is helping to identify ways to improve health literacy, which can help individuals and families make informed decisions about their health and help them to stay healthy.  


Evidence-based Methodology Workshop on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
​PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women and is linked to a variety of health problems. The NICHD and the NIH Office of Disease Prevention are convening a workshop to evaluate the best evidence currently available on PCOS diagnosis criteria, causes, long-term health consequences, and management and prevention.


PCBs, other pollutants may play role in pregnancy delay
​Couples with high levels of PCBs and similar environmental pollutants take longer to achieve pregnancy in comparison to other couples with lower levels of the pollutants, according to a preliminary study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


20 percent of youth with HIV didn’t know they were infected at first sexual experience
​Roughly 20 percent of youth who have had HIV since birth did not know their HIV status when they first became sexually active, according to a study by a National Institutes of Health-supported research network.


HPV vaccine may benefit HIV-infected women
​Women with HIV may benefit from a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), despite having already been exposed to HPV, a study finds. Although many may have been exposed to less serious forms of HPV, more than 45 percent of sexually active young women who have acquired HIV appear never to have been exposed to the most common high-risk forms of HPV, according to the study from a National Institutes of Health research network.


Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)—NIH Consensus Development Conference (Rescheduled)
​GDM is common, affecting about 7% of pregnant women in the United States. There is current debate in the obstetrical community about the best method for diagnosing this condition, to optimize pregnancy and later health outcomes for mothers and their children. To address this issue, the NICHD and the NIH Office of Disease Prevention are sponsoring a consensus development conference to evaluate available scientific evidence on the benefits and risks of various screening and diagnostic approaches for GDM, an important first step toward delivering optimal care to pregnant women who might be at risk for GDM.


NIH establishes Down syndrome patient registry
​A new Down syndrome patient registry will facilitate contacts and information sharing among families, patients, researchers and parent groups. The National Institutes of Health has awarded a contract to PatientCrossroads to operate the registry. The company has created patient-centric registries for muscular dystrophy and many rare disorders.


October NICHD Director's podcast now online
​The October 2012 NICHD Research Perspectives, the NICHD’s monthly podcast, is now online. The podcast features discussions of research of a study on a treatment to reduce the risk of preterm birth and the new Safe to Sleep campaign.


Preeclampsia Research at the NICHD
​Preeclampsia, characterized by a sudden spike in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, can affect the health of both mother and baby. Finding ways to detect, treat, and prevent preeclampsia and its negative health outcomes are priorities for the NICHD. This spotlight describes some of the Institute's current research activities and findings related to preeclampsia.


NIH study shows drug fails to prevent preterm birth in high risk group
​A formulation of the hormone progesterone, shown to be effective in women at risk for another preterm birth because they had a prior preterm birth, was not found to be effective in preventing preterm birth for women in their first pregnancy who have a short cervix, according to a National Institutes of Health network study.


NICHD Director's Statement: Births: Preliminary Data for 2011
​Preterm births have fallen for the fifth straight year in a row, reported the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in one of its recent National Vital Statistics Reports. This welcome decline was seen for all groups, and for each stage of pregnancy.


After diabetes during pregnancy, healthy diet linked to reduced type 2 diabetes risk
​By sticking to a healthy diet in the years after pregnancy, women who develop diabetes during pregnancy can greatly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health has found.


Después de la diabetes del embarazo, una dieta saludable está ligada a un menor riesgo de diabetes tipo 2
Un estudio respaldado por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud ha encontrado que, al seguir una dieta saludable en los años después del embarazo, las mujeres que desarrollan diabetes durante el embarazo pueden, en gran medida, reducir su riesgo de desarrollar diabetes tipo 2.


Study shows benefits, drawbacks, for women's incontinence treatments
​Oral medication for treating a type of incontinence in women is roughly as effective as Botox injections to the bladder, reported researchers who conducted a National Institutes of Health clinical trials network study, with each form of treatment having benefits and limitations.


NICHD and Its Collaborators Launch Expanded Infant Mortality Awareness Campaign
​​The NICHD and its collaborators launched the Safe to Sleep campaign to inform parents and caregivers about ways to reduce the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Safe to Sleep builds on the successes of the Back to Sleep campaign, which began in 1994, and includes messages about safe sleep environment, breastfeeding, and infant health.


September NICHD Director's podcast now available
​The September 2012 NICHD Research Perspectives, the NICHD’s monthly podcast, is now online. The podcast features discussions of research on how a gene found in a rare cancer increases red blood cell production, the involvement of “dark matter” DNA in the body’s response to day and night cycles, and on cesarean delivery versus labor for preterm infants.


Spong named first NICHD associate director for extramural research
​Alan Guttmacher, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) announced that Catherine Y. Spong, M.D., has been named Associate Director for Extramural Research at the NICHD after a rigorous national search. Dr. Spong previously has served as the Chief of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch.


NIH Science Education Conversation Series
​The NIH kicks off a new seminar series on science education, during which speakers and attendees can interact and discuss worldwide research, policy, and science education practices. The inaugural seminar, Thinking Differently about How We Teach Science: Why Should NIH Care and What Can NIH Do?, will occur on September 27, 2012.


Vaginal delivery safe for head first births before 32 weeks
​Infants born to mothers attempting to deliver vaginally before the 32nd week of pregnancy are as likely to survive as those delivered by a planned cesarean, provided the fetus is in the head-first position, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


Dark Matter DNA active in brain during day–night cycle
​Long stretches of DNA once considered inert dark matter appear to be uniquely active in a part of the brain known to control the body’s 24-hour cycle, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


Rare Cancers Yield Potential Source of Tumor Growth
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered a genetic mutation that appears to increase production of red blood cells in tumors. The discovery, based on analysis of tissue from rare endocrine tumors, may help clarify how some tumors generate a new blood supply to sustain their growth, the researchers explained.​


Understanding Typical & Atypical Development: Research at the Heart of the NICHD Mission
​Birth abnormalities, broadly defined to include structural, functional, and metabolic problems that are present at birth, are a major cause of death and disease. The NICHD's Developmental Biology, Genetics, and Teratology (DBGT) Branch supports efforts to increase our understanding of the biological processes and mechanisms controlling both typical and atypical development. Many of these research efforts are made possible through collaborations among scientists with diverse research backgrounds. This spotlight highlights the Branch's work through an example of one such collaboration.


NICHD's Mofenson Recognized as Federal Employee of the Year
​Lynne Mofenson, M.D., Chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch, received the Federal Employee of the Year Award from the Partnership for Public Service. The award is one of nine Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals bestowed on public servants who make "high-impact contributions to the health, safety and well-being of Americans."


Los NIH expanden la cobertura de su iniciativa para que los bebés duerman más seguros
Los funcionarios de los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud anunciaron hoy que la campaña nacional de EE.UU. para reducir el riesgo del síndrome de muerte súbita del lactante ha entrado en una nueva fase y ahora abarca todo relacionado con el sueño y las muertes súbitas e inesperadas de los bebés.


NIH Expands Safe Infant Sleep Outreach Effort
​The U.S. national campaign to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome has entered a new phase and will now encompass all sleep-related, sudden unexpected infant deaths, officials of the National Institutes of Health announced today.


Family Problem-Solving Sessions Help Teens Better Manage Diabetes
​A clinic-based program for adolescents with type 1 diabetes and their families helped the teens develop the healthy behaviors needed to control their blood sugar levels, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found.


Extra Zs Spell Better Health
​Between work/school, errands, and social activities, sleep is often the first thing we cut back on to make room in a busy schedule. Yet sleep is critical to overall health and to restoring health after an illness or injury. The NICHD pursues research on the mechanisms of sleep, its effects on body functions, and the impact of its absence. Back to school time often requires some adjustments to schedules, including sleep schedules. As families get back into the school mode, the Institute highlights its research on the many aspects of sleep and health.


August NICHD Director's Podcast Now Online
​The August 2012 NICHD Research Perspectives, the NICHD’s monthly podcast, is now online. The August podcast features research on how the stresses of poverty may affect learning in young children, the effects of fetal alcohol exposure, and how the ability to estimate quantities changes across the lifespan.


NIH Awards $100 Million for Autism Centers of Excellence Program
​The National Institutes of Health has announced grant awards of $100 million over five years for the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) research program, which will feature projects investigating sex differences in autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, and investigating ASD and limited speech.


Stresses of Poverty may Impair Learning Ability in Young Children
​The stresses of poverty—such as crowded conditions, financial worry, and lack of adequate child care—lead to impaired learning ability in children from impoverished backgrounds, according to a theory by a researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health. The theory is based on several years of studies matching stress hormone levels to behavioral and school readiness test results in young children from impoverished backgrounds.


NIH seeks Proposals to Study Genomic Sequencing in Newborn Period
​The National Institutes of Health is seeking proposals for research projects on the implications of information obtained from sequencing the genome to identify diseases in newborns. The intent of funding such projects is to further the understanding of disorders that appear during the newborn period and to improve treatments for these diseases.


Research on Breastfeeding & Breast Milk at the NICHD
​​Breastfeeding offers benefits to both mothers and babies. Not only does human milk provide essential calories, vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive components for optimal growth, health, and development, but the process of breastfeeding also helps mother-infant bonding. To mark World Breastfeeding Week, the NICHD describes some of its current research and research findings on breastfeeding and breast milk.


NICHD's Ongoing Research on HIV/AIDS
​​The NICHD joined the international community at AIDS 2012, a gathering of more than 20,000 leading HIV/AIDS researchers, public health experts, policy makers, individuals and members of communities affected by HIV/AIDS, and media representatives. A number of NICHD scientists participated in this important event. This spotlight highlights some recent NICHD-funded findings on HIV/AIDS.


New Video Highlights NIH Investment in Zebrafish Research
​As they strive to develop new treatments for birth defects, or to prevent them, scientists at the National Institutes of Health have found a big ally in a small fish. An NIH video shows how the zebrafish, Danio rerio, is a valuable resource for scientists trying to understand the intricate process by which a fertilized egg develops into a fully formed individual, and the numerous diseases and conditions that can result when even a tiny part of the process goes wrong.


Slide Show: NIH Zebrafish Facility
​Slide Show: NIH zebrafish facility


Cognitive Changes may be only Sign of Fetal Alcohol Exposure
​Most children exposed to high levels of alcohol in the womb do not develop the distinct facial features seen in fetal alcohol syndrome, but instead show signs of abnormal intellectual or behavioral development, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and researchers in Chile.


July NICHD Director's Podcast Now Online
​The July 2012 NICHD Research Perspectives, the NICHD’s monthly podcast, is now online. This month’s podcast features research sponsored by the NICHD’s Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch. This month’s guests, Branch Chief Dr. Lynne Mofenson and Dr. Bill Kapogiannis, reported on findings to reduce the occurrence of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the safety of one of the new anti HIV drugs, tenofovir, during pregnancy, and the risk of bone loss among young men newly diagnosed with HIV.


Federal Report Shows Drops in Infant Mortality, Preterm Birth Rates
The infant mortality rate, the preterm birth rate, and the adolescent birth rate all continued to decline, average mathematics scores increased for 4th and 8th grade students, the violent crime victimization rate among youth fell, as did the percentage of young children living in a home where someone smoked, according to the federal government’s annual statistical report on the well-being of the nation’s children and youth.


Following the Footsteps of Our Nation's Future
The annual federal report card on the well-being of the nation's children and youth includes both good news and not-so-good news: the number of adolescent mothers and preterm births dropped while the number of children living in poverty increased. This year marks the 16th annual report in the America's Children series.


June NICHD Director's Podcast Now Online
The June 2012 NICHD Research Perspectives—NICHD' monthly podcast series—features discussions of a treatment that reduces the body temperatures of infants who experience oxygen deficiency at birth, the effectiveness of progesterone as a treatment for the infertility associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, and the influence that engaging the attention of young children with autism has on their language development.


Ability to Estimate Quantity Increases in First 30 Years of Life
One of the basic elements of cognition―the ability to estimate quantities―grows more precise across the first 30 years or more of a person’s life, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Research at the NICHD
Birth defects are structural or functional abnormalities present at birth that can cause physical, intellectual, or emotional problems. Birth defects caused by alcohol or drug use during pregnancy are an important focus of the NICHD’s research agenda. This Spotlight describes some of the Institute’s current research on birth defects caused by these types of prenatal exposures.


For Young Children with Autism, Directing Attention Boosts Language
An intervention in which adults actively engaged the attention of preschool children with autism by pointing to toys and using other gestures to focus their attention results in a long term increase in language skills, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Saving Lives in the Golden Minute
Through its Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research, the NICHD has partnered with U.S. and international organizations and stakeholders to help reduce neonatal deaths in the developing world by training skilled birth attendants through the Helping Babies Breathe® (HBB) initiative. The HBB training program is now active in more than 30 countries and is earning recognition from the public health community for its effectiveness at addressing newborn resuscitation needs.


Adding Nevirapine to HIV Regimen Halves Newborn Transmission Rate
Adding the drug nevirapine to the regimen given to newborns of women diagnosed with HIV shortly before or during labor halves the newborns' risk of contracting the virus, according to findings by a National Institutes of Health research network.


Children Exposed to HIV in the Womb at Increased Risk for Hearing Loss
Children exposed to HIV in the womb may be more likely to experience hearing loss by age 16 than are their unexposed peers, according to scientists in a National Institutes of Health research network.


Extra Treatment During Prolapse Repair Reduces Incontinence Rate
Surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse often carries a risk of incontinence. To avoid scheduling a second surgery, some women may opt to have a second procedure to reduce incontinence at the time of their prolapse repair surgery.


NIH Study Finds HIV-Positive Young Men at Risk of Low Bone Mass
Young men being treated for HIV are more likely to experience low bone mass than are other men their age, according to results from a research network supported by the National Institutes of Health. The findings indicate that physicians who care for these patients should monitor them regularly for signs of bone thinning, which could foretell a risk for fractures. The young men in the study did not have HIV at birth and had been diagnosed with HIV an average of two years earlier.


Focus on Infertility Research at the NICHD
Infertility is a broad term used to define any condition that prevents a man or woman from conceiving a child or that interferes with carrying a pregnancy to term. In this Spotlight, the NICHD describes some of its research activities and recent findings related to infertility causes and treatments for both men and women.


Health Benefits all Nations, HHS Secretary Tells NICHD Global Network
Secretary Sebelius addressed the researchers at the Network's Annual Steering Committee meeting this month. The Network, established by the NICHD and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to prevent maternal and infant deaths and illnesses worldwide. Scientists from developing countries, together with those in the United States, lead teams that identify the health needs of an area and address those needs through randomized clinical trials to test treatments and interventions.


Rene Marks 50 Years of Service
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (l) recently recognized Dr. Anthony Rene at the HHS offices in Washington, D.C., for 50 years of federal service.


Focus on Children's Mental Health Research at the NICHD
At the NICHD, researchers provide insight into many aspects of children's development, including their mental and emotional health. This research ranges from traumatic brain injury's effect on children's behavior to depression among young victims of cyber bullying. The Institute also works within children's many environments—schools, communities, homes—to understand ways of encouraging and promoting children's mental health.


Benefits of Hypothermia for Infants Continue through Early Childhood
A treatment to reduce the body temperatures of infants who experience oxygen deficiency at birth has benefits into early childhood, according to a follow-up study by a National Institutes of Health research network.


Transcript: Newborn Hypothermia Treatment
Transcript of an audio news briefing about Newborn Hypothermia Treatment.


NICHD Launches New Director's Podcast Series
This month, the institute launched NICHD Research Perspectives, a new podcast series. Each month, NICHD Director Alan E. Guttmacher will talk with NICHD scientists and program staff about findings from their areas of expertise. The series provides a means for researchers to go beyond the descriptions in news releases, to discuss the implications of the research, what the findings may mean for patients and members of the public, as well as what direction future studies might take.


NICHD Research on Women's Health
The term "women's health" covers many topics ranging from disease prevention, to pregnancy and childbirth, to gynecological diseases, to illnesses that affect women uniquely. Following last week's celebration of National Women's Health Week, the NICHD highlights its diverse portfolio of research and collaborative efforts on the many aspects of women's health.


NIH Study of Spina Bifida Surgery Recognized as 'Trial of the Year'
The Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) has selected the NICHD Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) as its 'Trial of the Year.'


Progestin Treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome may Reduce Pregnancy Chances
The hormone progestin, often given as a first step in infertility treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), appears to decrease the odds of conception and of giving birth, according to a study by a National Institutes of Health research network.


Paralyzed Individuals Use Thought-Controlled Robotic Arm to Reach & Grasp
In an ongoing clinical trial, a paralyzed woman was able to reach for and sip from a drink on her own – for the first time in nearly 15 years – by using her thoughts to direct a robotic arm. The trial, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, is evaluating the safety and feasibility of an investigational device called the BrainGate neural interface system. This is a type of brain-computer interface (BCI) intended to put robotics and other assistive technology under the brain's control.


NIH Obesity Research Featured in HBO's The Weight of the Nation
Obesity is one of today's most pressing health issues facing this country. On May 14 and 15, 2012, HBO premieres The Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary exploring the personal costs of and scientific advances related to obesity. The series reflects years of research supported by the NIH, including the NICHD, that has helped shape our understanding of obesity, as well as ways to prevent and treat it at every stage of life.


NIH releases Research Plan on Painful Vulvar Condition
Vulvodynia is a group of conditions that cause vulvar pain, sometimes debilitating pain. The NIH recently released its research plan for learning more about this disorder, its features, and its possible treatments.


Anti-HIV Drug Use During Pregnancy does not Affect Infant Size, Birth Weight
Infants born to women who used the anti-HIV drug tenofovir as part of an anti-HIV drug regimen during pregnancy do not weigh less at birth and are not of shorter length than infants born to women who used anti-HIV drug regimens that do not include tenofovir during pregnancy, according to findings from a National Institutes of Health network study. However, at 1 year of age, children born to the tenofovir-treated mothers were slightly shorter and had slightly smaller head circumference—about 1 centimeter each, on average—than were infants whose mothers did not take tenofovir.


NIH Statement on World Asthma Day 2012 - May 1, 2012
On World Asthma Day 2012, we at the National Institutes of Health stand with the Global Initiative for Asthma to renew our dedication to improving the quality of life for the millions of people living with asthma.


Audio Briefing: NIH Researchers Develop Nanoprobe Treatment for Animal Model of Cerebral Palsy
The Chief of NICHD's Perinatology Research Branch and his colleagues recently held a news briefing to describe a prototype treatment for an animal model of cerebral palsy. The researchers injected a bacterial toxin into the uteruses of pregnant rabbits. Like human patients with cerebral palsy, the baby rabbits developed a severe disability affecting their ability to move. When injected with nanoparticles carrying an anti-inflammatory drug, the baby rabbits recovered much of their movement ability.


Minority Health Month & NICHD Activities
On April 25, 2012, the NICHD and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will host a event at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va.–the "Asthma Capital" of the United States–to raise awareness about asthma and other health issues that affect children from minority groups. During this National Minority Health Month, the NICHD also highlights some of its other efforts to understand and improve minority health, especially among women and children.


Distracted Driving Awareness Month & NICHD Research on Young Drivers
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the message from the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations is crystal clear: stop using cell phones while driving. NICHD-funded research reveals that other factors, such as restricting driving at night and encouraging parents to set driving limits, also help reduce the number of crashes and fatal crashes among teen drivers.


Audio Briefing: New Genes Associated with Common Childhood Obesity Identified
NIH-supported researchers have identified locations at two genes, which, when mutated, appear to increase the likelihood of common childhood obesity. The findings are from a large meta analysis of studies previously conducted in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Earlier studies have identified genes associated with obesity in extremely obese youth and in adults, but the current study is the first to identify two genes associated with the less severe, more common form of obesity. Although environmental factors such as diet and exercise play a strong role in common childhood obesity, the current study shows that genetic factors also contribute to the condition.


Bilingual Children Switch Tasks Faster than Speakers of a Single Language
Children who grow up learning to speak two languages are better at switching between tasks than are children who learn to speak only one language, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. However, the study also found that bilinguals are slower to acquire vocabulary than are monolinguals, because bilinguals must divide their time between two languages while monolinguals focus on only one.


Los niños bilingües alternan tareas más rápido que aquellos que hablan un solo idioma
Según un estudio financiado en parte por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud, los niños que crecen aprendiendo a hablar dos idiomas son mejores para alternar tareas que los niños que aprenden a hablar sólo un idioma. Sin embargo, el estudio también encontró que las personas bilingües son más lentas para adquirir un vocabulario que las monolingües, ya que las bilingües deben dividir su tiempo entre los dos idiomas, mientras que las monolingües se centran en uno sola.


NICHD Director's Lecture Series: "Biomechanical Basis of Concussion: Monitoring Head Impacts in Sports"
The 2012 NICHD Director's Lecture Series continues with a focus on traumatic brain injury resulting from head impacts during sports and other activities. Dr. Richard M. Greenwald, founder and president of Simbex, LLC, and adjunct associate professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, shares his expertise on this topic with NICHD staff and others.


NIH Study Finds Women Spend Longer in Labor Now Than 50 Years Ago
Authors S. Katherine Laughon and Branch Ware were available last week for a news briefing to explain the results of their recent study on changing labor patterns.


NIH Study Finds Women Spend Longer in Labor Now Than 50 Years Ago
Women take longer to give birth today than did women 50 years ago, according to an analysis of nearly 140,000 deliveries conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The researchers could not identify all of the factors that accounted for the increase, but concluded that the change is likely due to changes in delivery room practice.


Endometriosis Awareness Month & NICHD Research
Millions of women in the United States have endometriosis, a condition in which the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. Endometriosis is associated with severe pain and infertility. During this National Endometriosis Awareness month, the NICHD highlights some of its research and research findings on this complex topic.


Video Presentation: Role of Research in Understanding, Preventing, & Treating Birth Defects
Item of Interest: Video Presentation: Role of Research in Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Birth Defects


NIH Brain Imaging Study Finds Evidence of Basis for Caregiving Impulse
Distinct patterns of activity--which may indicate a predisposition to care for infants--appear in the brains of adults who view an image of an infant face--even when the child is not theirs, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Germany, Italy, and Japan.


New Report on Iron & Malaria Available
​The Iron and Malaria Project, a partnership between the NICHD, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements and other organizations, began in 2007 to examine the factors that affect the safety and effectiveness of interventions to prevent and treat nutritional iron deficiency in the context of malaria and other infections. The Project released a technical report that provides a full assessment of current scientific knowledge and possible research directions related to iron supplementation for populations in malaria-prone regions.


NIH Study Links Childhood Cancer to Developmental Delays in Milestones
Infants and toddlers who have been treated for cancer tend to reach certain developmental milestones later than do their healthy peers, say researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Italy.


NICHD HIV/AIDS Research & National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
​HIV/AIDS impacts millions of women and girls across the United States. On National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day--March 10--organizations aim to raise awareness about some of the unique features of HIV/AIDS in women and girls and to focus on effective prevention methods and treatment regimens. The NICHD highlights some of its research activities related to HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness in women and girls.


NIH Coordinating Group Seeks Comments on Fragile X Research Plan
The NIH Fragile X Research Coordinating Group invites all who are interested to comment on the current National Institutes of Health Research Plan on Fragile X syndrome and associated disorders.


Release of the 2011 Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Annual Report
​The NICHD's DIR recently released its annual research report, highlighting research achievements of DIR scientists during the last year.


Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumors in rats
Treatment with vitamin D reduced the size of uterine fibroids in laboratory rats predisposed to developing the benign tumors, reported researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Genomic Medicine Series Provides Convenient Reference on Ethics, Potential of New Field
A recently completed series on medical genomics--the study of how genes interact with each other and with various non-genetic factors--provides a reference for physicians and scientists. The series, appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, was edited by W. Gregory Feero, M.D., Ph.D., Special Advisor to the Director for Genomic Medicine at the National Human Genome Research Institute and Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


Variation in Brain Development Seen in Infants with Autism
Patterns of brain development in the first two years of life are distinct in children who are later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), according to researchers in a network funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study results show differences in brain structure at 6 months of age, the earliest such structural changes have been recorded in ASDs.


NIH Conference on Phenylketonuria (PKU) Research Advances
​The NICHD joins the NIH Offices of Rare Diseases Research and Dietary Supplements in co-sponsoring a conference on phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disorder of metabolism and one of the first conditions detected through newborn screening programs. At this public event, diverse participants will discuss research advances in PKU and will help shape the future of PKU research.


NIH Study Links High Levels of Cadmium, Lead in Blood to Pregnancy Delay
Higher blood levels of cadmium in females, and higher blood levels of lead in males, delayed pregnancy in couples trying to become pregnant, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other academic research institutions.


Research on Concussions: Keeping Your Head in the Game
​Concussions were once thought of as just a bump on the head, especially for those who played sports. But research shows that concussions are actually a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with both short- and long-term effects, some of them serious. The NICHD supports a broad range of research programs and projects to understand, identify, and treat concussions and other forms of TBI.


Hirschfeld Named Director of National Children's Study
Steven Hirschfeld, M.D., Ph.D., has been named Director of the National Children’s Study. He has served as the study's Acting Director since August 2009.


NIH Study Shows Caffeine Consumption Linked to Estrogen Changes
Asian women who consumed an average of 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day--the equivalent of roughly two cups of coffee--had elevated estrogen levels when compared to women who consumed less, according to a study of reproductive age women by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


The Long-Lasting Effects of Preterm Birth
​​Recent findings from three NICHD-supported studies show that the effects of preterm birth don’t end once the infant leaves the neonatal intensive care unit. Effects on an infant’s stress system, social interactions, brain patterns, and cognition last well into childhood.


High Animal Fat Diet Increases Gestational Diabetes Risk
Women who consumed a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol before pregnancy were at higher risk for gestational diabetes than women whose diets were lower in animal fat and cholesterol, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University.


NIH Announces Funding for New Learning Disabilities Research Centers
Funding for four centers to conduct research on the causes and treatment of learning disabilities in children and adolescents has been provided by the National Institutes of Health.


Public Comment Period Opens for Research Plan on Vulvodynia
​The draft Research Plan on Vulvodynia is now available for public comment. Those who have comments can e-mail them directly to


NICHD Director's Lecture Series: "Pharmacogenomics: Beyond Biomarkers"
​The NICHD Director's Lecture Series continues into 2012 with a focus on pharmacogenomics, the study of genes, inheritance, and their effects on individuals' response to drugs. Dr. Richard M. Weinshilboum, from the Mayo Clinic, shares his expertise in pharmacogenomics with NICHD staff and others.


NICHD Posts Map of State-by-State Funding for Research
​An interactive map with information about NICHD funding for research projects in the United States is now available on a new page of the NICHD Web site,at:


Vitamin D May Improve Bone Health in those Taking Anti-HIV Drug
Vitamin D may help prevent hormonal changes that can lead to bone loss among those being treated for HIV with the drug tenofovir, according to the results of a National Institutes of Health network study of adolescents with HIV.


NIH Study Shows HIV-Exposed Children at High Risk of Language Delay
Children exposed to HIV before birth are at risk for language impairments, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


Audio Briefing: Annual Cost of Fibroid Tumors in the United States
Uterine fibroids are common non-cancerous tumors that affect the majority of American women at some point in their lives. Fibroids may be painful and result in such reproductive problems as infertility, miscarriage, and early labor.


Long-term Health Effects of Extremely Low Birth Weight
​​Although some of the long-term health risks faced by preterm infants are well known, others remain unclear. An NICHD-funded 14-year study compared rates of chronic health conditions—including obesity and asthma—during adolescence for preterm infants born at extremely low birth weight and for term infants born at normal birth weight to help define health outcomes and risks for these children.


Study Shows Additional Benefits of Progesterone in Reducing Preterm Birth Risk
An analysis of five previous studies has uncovered additional evidence of the effectiveness of progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone, in reducing the rate of preterm birth among a high-risk category of women.


Placental, Pregnancy Conditions Account for Most Stillbirths
Half of all stillbirths result from pregnancy disorders and conditions affecting the placenta, according to results reported by a National Institutes of Health network established to find the causes of stillbirth as well as ways to prevent or reduce its occurrence.


Slide Show: NIH Hosts 5K Run to Raise Awareness of Infant Mortality
The NICHD Division of Special Populations recently cosponsored a 5-Kilometer Run/Walk/Roll to raise awareness of infant mortality, one of the most important indicators of a nation's health. The event was cosponsored by First Candle, the NIH Office of Research Services, the NIH Recreation and Welfare Association, the NIH Federal Credit Union, National Healthy Start, Inc., the Baltimore City Healthy Start; the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


NIH Grantee Honored for Pioneering Research on Gene Networks
A long-term grantee of the National Institutes of Health has been awarded the International Prize for Biology from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


Steroids Boost Survival, Reduce Brain Injury for Infants Born at 23 Weeks
Prenatal steroids--given to pregnant women at risk for giving birth prematurely--appear to improve survival and limit brain injury among infants born as early as the 23rd week of pregnancy, according to a study by a National Institutes of Health research network.


NICHD Recruits Associate Director for Extramural Research
The NICHD is conducting a national search for an Associate Director for Extramural Research. This position offers a unique and exciting opportunity for an extremely capable individual to develop and implement an overall vision for the Institute's extramural research activities, which include more than 3,100 projects and involve 130 staff members.


World AIDS Day: NICHD Research on HIV/AIDS
​​World AIDS Day, commemorated on December 1, marks a day of global unification in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In a recent presentation at the NIH, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton shared a vision for turning the tide on HIV/AIDS, drawing on 30 years of U.S. leadership in the fight against the disease and recent scientific advances. The NICHD highlights some of its research activities in HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness.


NICHD Highlights Neuroscience Research
​​Neuroscience research plays a critical role in advancing the NICHD mission of improving the health of children, adults, families, and populations across the lifespan. The NICHD Director showcased some innovative research findings from the Institute's neuroscience research portfolio at the 41st annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.


Cholesterol Levels Elevated in Toddlers Taking Anti-HIV Drugs
Toddlers receiving anti-HIV drugs have higher cholesterol levels, on average, than do their peers who do not have HIV, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


NIH Grantee to Receive White House Mentoring Award
A training program for high school girls co-founded by longtime NIH grantee Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., will receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, the White House announced in mid-November.


NIH Statement on World Pneumonia Day
November 12 is World Pneumonia Day, a day set aside to raise public awareness of the millions of childhood deaths that pneumonia causes each year and to encourage efforts to prevent and treat this deadly disease. Pneumonia is an infection occurring in one or both lungs, caused by any number of infectious organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. Pneumonia kills almost 1.6 million children each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Childhood pneumonia remains a serious health risk but is less widespread in the United States and other developed countries.


Collaborating to Improve the Health of Native Babies
​​The Healthy Native Babies Project, a collaboration between the NICHD’s Back to Sleep campaign and representatives from five Northern Tier Indian Health Service Areas, focuses on spreading safe sleep messages and sharing other infant health information in American Indian/Alaska Native communities.


Graduated Drivers Licensing Programs Reduce Fatal Teen Crashes
Programs that grant privileges to new drivers in phases--known as graduated licensing programs--dramatically reduce the rate of teen driver fatal crashes, according to three studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.


NIH-Funded Study Finds Dyslexia Not Tied to IQ
Regardless of high or low overall scores on an IQ test, children with dyslexia show similar patterns of brain activity, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health. The results call into question the discrepancy model--the practice of classifying a child as dyslexic on the basis of a lag between reading ability and overall IQ scores.


Study of Youth to Seek Origins of Heart Disease Among African-Americans
Researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health are undertaking a preliminary study to identify the early origins of heart disease among African-Americans. The new feasibility study will enroll children and grand children of participants taking part in the largest study of heart disease risk factors among African-American adults, the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), in Jackson, Miss.


Math Disability Linked to Problem Relating Quantities to Numerals
Children who start elementary school with difficulty associating small exact quantities of items with the printed numerals that represent those quantities are more likely to develop a math-related learning disability than are their peers, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Audio Briefing: NICHD Scientists Identify Risk Factors for Teen Driving Accidents
Newly licensed teen drivers have higher crash rates than do older drivers and the teens are much more likely to engage in risky maneuvers that increase the gravitational force on their vehicles, reported a team of scientists from the NIH and other institutions. Publishing in the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers were led by Bruce Simons-Morton, Ed.D, M.P.H., Chief, of the Prevention Research Branch in the NICHD's Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research. Although the risky behaviors declined shortly after the teens received their licenses, the behaviors were much more prevalent than they were for the adult drivers in the study.


NIH Researchers Show How Anti-HIV Drug Acts to Block Herpes Virus
An anti-HIV drug also discovered to stop the spread of the genital herpes virus does so by disabling a key DNA enzyme of the herpes virus, according to findings by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


HHS Agencies Express Support for Infant Safe Sleep Recommendations
Representatives of the agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with a focus on infant health and safety today expressed their support for the new infant safe sleep recommendations issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).


Safe Sleep for All Babies
​​With the release of updated safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the NICHD marks Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month by expanding its efforts to reduce SIDS risk and other sleep-related causes of infant death.


NIH Research Highlights Health Impact of Indoor Pollution from Cooking
​​Indoor air pollution from inefficient stoves is a leading cause of death and disease in developing countries. The NICHD joins the NIH and other global partners to understand and address the health impact of this unique problem.


Inefficient Developing World Stoves Contribute to 2 Million Deaths a Year
An international effort to replace smoky, inefficient household stoves that people commonly use in lower and middle income countries with clean, affordable, fuel efficient stoves could save nearly 2 million lives each year, according to experts from the National Institutes of Health.


Down Syndrome Consortium Formed
The National Institutes of Health has joined with organizations interested in Down syndrome to form a consortium that will foster the exchange of information on biomedical and biobehavioral research on the chromosomal condition.


Two NICHD Grantees Awarded National Medal of Science
Two grantees of the NICHD's Reproductive Sciences Branch were among the seven researchers named by President Obama as recipients of the National Medal of Science, an honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors.


NICHD Advisory Council Weighs in on Scientific Vision
​​At the 145th meeting of the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council, members provided important feedback to the NICHD Director on concepts from the Institute’s draft scientific Vision statement.


Porter Named NICHD Clinical Director
Forbes D. Porter, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed Clinical Director of the Division of Intramural Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


Violence During Pregnancy Linked to Reduced Birth Weight
Pregnant women who are assaulted by an intimate partner are at increased risk of giving birth to infants of reduced weight, according to a population-level analysis of domestic violence supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Research Advances in Pediatric, Adolescent, & Maternal HIV/AIDS
​​As the NICHD continues its efforts to improve prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and related diseases in infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant women, several recent research findings help to advance the field.


Members Appointed to Blue Ribbon Medical Rehabilitation Research Panel
Thirteen scientists have been appointed to a blue ribbon panel that will review medical rehabilitation research at the National Institutes of Health.


Gene Replacement Treats Copper Deficiency Disorder in Mice
Gene therapy plus an injection of copper dramatically improved survival in mice with a condition that mimics the often fatal childhood disorder Menkes disease, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


Uterine Stem Cells Used to Treat Diabetes in Mice
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have converted stem cells from the human endometrium into insulin-producing cells and transplanted them into mice to control the animals' diabetes.


Preschoolers' Understanding of Quantity Linked to Math Ability
Preschoolers with a strong ability to estimate quantities are more likely to score higher on tests of basic number skills than are their peers with less ability to estimate quantities, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Constantine A. Stratakis Named New NICHD Intramural Director
​​Constantine A. Stratakis, M.D., D.Sc, has been named Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


Former NICHD Center Director Passes Away
Sumner J. Yaffe, M.D., a former center director at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, has passed away.


National Children's Study Research Day at NIH
​​The NICHD invites potential research collaborators to come learn about the progress and protocols of the National Children's Study on August 24, 2011, at Natcher Conference Center on the NIH main campus.


National Children's Study Upgrading Data Gathering, Analysis
The National Children's Study is changing its approach to informatics--the science of classifying, cataloging, storing, analyzing, and retrieving information, study officials announced today.


Brain Electrical Activity Spurs Insulation of Brain's Wiring
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered in mice a molecular trigger that initiates myelination, the process by which brain cell networks are reinforced with an insulating material called myelin that speeds their ability to transmit messages.


New Online Education Activity for Pharmacists
​​The NICHD’s Back to Sleep campaign launches an online continuing education activity to teach pharmacists about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and about reducing babies’ risk for SIDS.


NIH Scientist who Advanced Understanding of Preeclampsia Passes Away
An NIH scientist whose landmark collaborations led to a major advance in understanding a potentially fatal disorder of pregnancy has passed away.


Researchers Develop Mouse with 'Off Switch' in Key Brain Cell Population
NIH-funded scientists have developed a strain of mice with a built-in off switch that can selectively shut down the animals' serotonin-producing cells, which make up a brain network controlling breathing, temperature regulation, and mood. The switch controls only the serotonin-producing cells, and does not affect any other cells in the animal's brains or bodies.


NIH Researchers Trace Early Journey of Modulating Cells in Brain
Key cells in the brain region known as the hippocampus are formed in the base of the brain late in fetal life and undertake a long journey before reaching their final destination in the center of the brain shortly after birth, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


NIH-Funded Study Proposes New Method to Predict Fertility Rates
Researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health have developed a new statistical technique to forecast changes in fertility rates. The new method mathematically compensates for uncertainty and is expected to allow governments to plan more reliably for the infrastructure and social services needed to accommodate large-scale population changes.


NIH Meeting on Vulvodynia: Setting a Research Agenda
​​The NICHD and the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health recently hosted a meeting on vulvodynia, with the goal of setting a research agenda for this chronic pain disorder.


Zinc 'Sparks' Fly from Egg within Minutes of Fertilization
At fertilization, a massive release of the metal zinc appears to set the fertilized egg cell on the path to dividing and growing into an embryo, according to the results of animal studies supported by the National Institutes of Health.


A Check-up for U.S. Children
​Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics releases findings from its annual snapshot of the health and well being of the nation’s children.


Federal Report Shows Drop in Adolescent Birth Rate
The adolescent birth rate declined for the second consecutive year, preterm births declined for the third consecutive year, adolescent injury deaths declined, and fewer 12th graders binge drank, according to the federal government's annual statistical report on the well-being of the nation's children and youth.


NIH Effort Seeks to Identify Measures of Nutritional Status
The National Institutes of Health has undertaken a new program to discover, develop and distribute measures of nutritional status. The Biomarkers of Nutrition for Development (BOND) Program brings together experts in the field of nutrition to provide advice to researchers, clinicians, program- and policymakers, on the role of food and nutrition in health promotion and disease prevention.


Benefits of Early Childhood Program Last through Adulthood
Children who attended an intensive preschool and family support program attained higher educational levels, were more likely to be employed, and less likely to have problems with the legal system than were peers who did not attend the program, according to a study funded by the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


Women Sought for NIH Study of Infertility Disorder
Young women in the Washington, D.C., area who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are encouraged to take part in a study at the National Institutes of Health on the possible role of the adrenal glands in the disorder.


NIH Statement on the New Crib Safety Standards
On June 28th, new mandatory safety standards for infant cribs will take effect, helping to ensure a safe sleep environment for infants in the United States. The new standards released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) require manufacturers and retailers to meet new safer crib standards, which include stopping the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional, drop side cribs. According to the CPSC, the new standards will ensure that mattress supports are made stronger, that crib hardware is more durable, and that crib safety testing is more rigorous.


NICHD Scientists Featured in Endometriosis Article
In a recent issue of NIH News in Health, two NICHD scientists explained the challenges of understanding and preventing endometriosis, a condition causing pain and infertility in many women.


NIH Researchers Slow Immune Attack on Ovaries in Mice
In a study of mice, researchers have slowed an immune system attack on the ovaries. The mice developed a disorder resembling primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a menopause-like condition that affects women under the age of 40, sometimes years or even decades before normal menopause. The study was conducted by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).


Difficulty Estimating Quantity Linked to Math Learning Disability
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered that the innate ability to estimate quantities is impaired in children who have a math learning disability.


Key step identified in Legionnaire's disease infection process
NIH researchers have uncovered a key step in the biochemical sequence the bacterium which causes Legionnaire's disease uses to reproduce inside the cells it infects.


20 Years of Discovery and Innovation at the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR)
​Since it was established 20 years ago, NCMRR-supported research has led to discoveries and advances that have improved health outcomes for those with disabilities and chronic conditions.


NIH Study Addresses Concerns about High Folate Levels
Taking folic acid supplements or eating fortified grain products is unlikely to worsen problems related to low levels of vitamin B12, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and five other institutions in the United States, Ireland and Norway.


Vaccines are Safe for Children with Urea Cycle Disorders
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that vaccines are safe for children diagnosed with a group of diseases known as urea cycle disorders.


30 Years of Milestones
​As the NIH and the scientific community commemorate the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of what is now known as AIDS, the NICHD highlights some of the key moments in pediatric, adolescent, and maternal AIDS research.


Study Shows 19 Percent of Young Adults have High Blood Pressure
Roughly 19 percent of young adults may have high blood pressure, according to an analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health.


NIH Study Finds Increased Death Risk for Early Term Births
Infants born in the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy have a higher risk of dying before age 1 than do infants born between 39 and 40 weeks, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the March of Dimes.