Progress on Theme 4

Improving Child and Adolescent Health and the Transition to Adulthood

Highlighted Programs and Activities

  • NEW: Infectious diseases (including COVID-19) in children and adolescents
    NICHD has accelerated research on emerging (e.g., COVID-19) and re-emerging infectious diseases that affect pregnant women, infants, children, and adolescents. Learn more: RFA-OD-20-023.
  • NEW: NICHD workshop: Navigating Pediatric to Adult Care: Lost in Transition
    NICHD, with support from the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, held a virtual workshop September 30, 2020-October 1, 2020, to explore high-priority research topics related to services and support for the transition from pediatric to adult care. Nearly 900 individuals attended the workshop virtually. Visit the video link to view the workshop.
  • Prevention and treatment of childhood obesity
    Identifying early risk factors and sensitive time periods for exposure to risks and preventive approaches for obesity in childhood and adolescence is a priority for NICHD. This information can help researchers develop and test novel interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity. Learn more: R01HD104708; R01HD086259; R01HD095910; ZIAHD008983; and others.

Selected Recent Advances

  • Identifying genetic causes of stillbirth (PMID: 32786180)
    This research suggests that whole exome sequencing could provide information for counseling families that experience stillbirth and to inform medical care of future pregnancies.
  • Early sleep problems linked to autism diagnosis among at-risk children (PMID: 32375538)
    Researchers found that sleep problems among children who have a sibling with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may further raise the likelihood of an ASD diagnosis, compared to at-risk children who do not have difficulty sleeping.
  • Lower language skills link early adversity to later mental health problems (PMID: 31046468)
    About one-half of adults in the United States have experienced early childhood adversity, which can include abuse and neglect, exposure to violence, family poverty, and deprivation, such as a lack of learning and social opportunities. Researchers studied the pathways linking early deprivation to mental and behavioral problems and found that the link between deprivation and mental health problems was mediated by language ability. These results suggest that early interventions to increase language skills could lower children’s later risk for mental health problems.
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