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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.


NIH invests $46 million in technologies to monitor placental health
The National Institutes of Health has announced $46 million in research awards for the Human Placenta Project, an initiative to revolutionize understanding of the placenta. The awards will fund technology development and testing to assess placental function throughout pregnancy, with the ultimate goal of improving pregnancy outcomes and lifelong health.


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.


NICHD Supports Wide Range of Research on the Placenta
The placenta plays a crucial role in human development. Researchers are working to learn more about this poorly-understood organ and its role in pregnancy and lifelong 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.


Researchers design placenta-on-a-chip to better understand pregnancy
National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers and their colleagues have developed a “placenta-on-a-chip” to study the inner workings of the human placenta and its role in pregnancy.


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 the Health of Women
NICHD scientists study several common, sometimes serious conditions to improve the health of women.


2014 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research
NICHD’s Division of Intramural Research releases its 2014 annual report with progress updates from each program and laboratory.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).
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For details and further information on select NICHD News Releases, please see Backgrounders.

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