Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH): NICHD Research Goals

The NICHD conducts and supports research on many aspects of CAH. The institute maintains a leading role in this field with ongoing studies into the genetics and the treatment of CAH, and the links between CAH and other conditions, such as hypoglycemia and metabolic syndrome.

NICHD research efforts related to CAH span topics including:

  • The genetics of CAH. NICHD researchers have studied the parents of children with CAH to look for genetic patterns.
  • Prenatal treatment of CAH. NICHD researchers were the first to test the idea that giving dexamethasone to pregnant women at risk of carrying infants with CAH could reduce or prevent male-like external genitals in female newborns. Additional research on this and other treatments is ongoing.
  • Insulin and blood sugar regulation. Research has found that children with classic CAH have higher-than-normal insulin levels and may have lower than normal blood-sugar levels during physical stresses. Research is ongoing to understand the effects of both of these phenomena and how they might affect people with CAH over their lifetimes.
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