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Q&A with NICHD Acting Director Catherine Spong, M.D.
Dr. Cathy Spong became NICHD’s acting director on October 1, 2015. Here she shares her plans for the year and her thoughts on what makes NICHD so unique.


Drug used to treat HIV linked to lower bone mass in newborns
Infants exposed in the womb to a drug used to treat HIV and reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to child, may have lower bone mineral content than those exposed to other anti-HIV drugs, according to a National Institutes of Health study.


NIH study finds racial, ethnic differences in fetal growth
Current standards for ultrasound evaluation of fetal growth may lead to misclassification of up to 15 percent of fetuses of minority mothers as being too small, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other institutions.


Scan may identify best candidates for fetal spina bifida surgery
Fetuses with enlarged ventricles—the fluid-filled cavities inside the brain—may be less likely than their counterparts to benefit from surgery in the womb to treat spina bifida, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Teaching Fathers to Keep Babies Safe
The Safe to Sleep® campaign launches a Fatherhood Initiative with the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity encouraging African American men to share safe sleep messages in their families and communities.


Rates of survival increasing for extremely preterm infants, NIH network finds
Extremely preterm infants, those born before the 28th week of pregnancy, are surviving in greater numbers and escaping serious illness, according to a comprehensive review of births in a National Institutes of Health research network.


NICHD Launches New Data Sharing Resource to Accelerate Scientific Findings, Improve Health
NICHD recently launched the NICHD Data and Specimen Hub (DASH), a centralized resource for researchers to store and access de-identified data from NICHD-funded research studies for secondary research use.


Fetal ECG readings offer no advantage over heart rate monitoring during labor
A new technology that tracks the electrical activity of the fetal heart offers no advantages over conventional technology in preventing birth complications, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health.


Many new mothers report no physician advice on infant sleep position, breastfeeding
Many new mothers do not receive advice from physicians on aspects of infant care such as sleep position, breastfeeding, immunization and pacifier use, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Exploring Population Dynamics
NICHD’s Population Dynamics Branch supports research on a range of topics, including the factors that make populations rise and fall, such as fertility and mortality. We checked in with branch chief Rebecca Clark to learn more about the branch’s work.


“Safe to Sleep” expert offers advice on reducing sudden infant death
In the U.S., more than 3,500 infants die each year from sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, and from what experts describe as “other sleep-related causes of infant death.” Sparing families this incomprehensible tragedy has been a long-term goal of the National Institutes of Health.


Addressing Infants’ Critical Care Needs: A Q&A with Dr. Tonse Raju
In this Q&A, Dr. Tonse Raju discusses the unique needs of newborns in intensive care and how NICHD is encouraging small businesses to help bring to market medical devices that serve the specialized needs of these infants.


Federal report shows drop in preterm birth rate
The number of American infants born before the 37th week of pregnancy dropped slightly in 2013, as did the percentage of children with asthma under the age of 17. The percentage of teens who experienced a major depressive episode increased. These and other findings are described in America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015.


Breath of Life: NICHD Research Provides Hope for Infants with Oxygen Deprivation
Max, age 3, is alive thanks to a cooling therapy for infants born with oxygen deprivation, a technique that was developed from NICHD research. Today, the institute’s research efforts aim to continue improving treatments and help more infants facing similar circumstances.


Umbilical cord ‘milking’ improves blood flow in preterm infants
A technique to increase the flow of blood from the umbilical cord into the infant’s circulatory system improves blood pressure and red blood cell levels in preterm infants delivered by cesarean section, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Studying the Growing Brain: A Q&A on the C-MIND Study
The NICHD-supported Cincinnati MR Imaging of Neurodevelopment (C-MIND) study is building a catalogue of hundreds of brain images from infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Two of the study’s lead researchers discuss what it took to set up this valuable resource on human brain development—and what the images show.


Antibiotic approved for treating infant abdominal infections
​The antibiotic meropenem was approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration for treating abdominal infections in children less than 3 months of age.


Could cutting the umbilical cord too soon stress newborns?
How soon after a baby is born should the practitioner wait to cut the umbilical cord? That simple question has no easy answer.


NICHD Launches Pinterest Site to Share Health Information with the Public
NICHD is now on Pinterest. With about one in four American adults using Pinterest to access and share information, this new page is an opportunity to effectively communicate with the public about NICHD’s important research and educational initiatives.


Promoting maternal interaction improves growth, weight gain in preemies
An intervention to teach mothers of preterm infants how to interact with their babies more effectively results in better weight gain and growth for the infants, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.
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