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Vacancy Announcement: NICHD Director
NIH is seeking exceptional candidates for the position of NICHD Director. The Director provides leadership to a complex organization that conducts and supports biomedical and behavioral research—nationally and internationally—disseminating and communicating the results to further the health of children, adults, families and communities, and people with physical and developmental disabilities.


HIV Transmission from Mother to Child: From Epidemic to Near Elimination
Children are most likely to get HIV from their mothers in one of three ways: in the womb, during birth, or from breastfeeding or breast milk. NICHD research has helped establish safe and effective ways to prevent this type of HIV transmission. Check out our infographic to learn more.


Study Shows that Many U.S. Middle and High Schools Start Too Early
NICHD's Dr. Lynne Haverkos shares her thoughts on the importance of sleep for students' overall health and on how parents can help their kids catch enough Zs.


NIH supports new studies to find Alzheimer’s biomarkers in Down syndrome
The National Institutes of Health has launched a new initiative to identify biomarkers and track the progression of Alzheimer’s in people with Down syndrome.


Taming the Stress of Work vs. Family: A Q&A with Dr. Rosalind King
Reducing the stress of competing work and family demands is the focus of the Work, Family, and Health Network. Dr. Rosalind King explains why this research is so important for families.


U.S. hospitals miss followup for suspected child abuse
Many U.S. hospitals may be missing the chance to find out if babies and toddlers have been physically abused. Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health found a large difference in whether hospitals followed long-standing guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics to order additional x-rays for children suspected of being victims of abuse.


NCMRR Research Expands Options for Wounded Veterans and Other Amputees
Technological advances and new understanding of human motion have produced better prostheses for wounded veterans and other amputees. NICHD’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research supports these efforts.


US stillbirth rates unchanged after move to discourage elective deliveries before 39 weeks
The recommendation to delay delivery of otherwise healthy infants until at least the 39th week of pregnancy does not appear to have increased stillbirths in the United States, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.


Screening programs may miss many cases of life-threatening newborn infection
The drug-susceptible form of Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacterium that inhabits the body, may account for a greater number of infections among hospitalized newborns than the antibiotic-resistant form, according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Anti-HIV drug for adults is safe, effective in children exposed to nevirapine in the womb
HIV-infected children exposed in the womb to nevirapine, a drug used to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, can safely and effectively transition to efavirenz, a similar drug recommended for older children and adults, according to a study funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health.


It’s All About Potential: Down Syndrome Athlete and Advocate Highlights Ability Where Others See Disability
David Egan is widely recognized as a Down syndrome role model and advocate. He explains what has inspired him, what he has accomplished, and what he still hopes to do.


NIH researchers link single gene variation to obesity
A single variation in the gene for brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) may influence obesity in children and adults, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Two doses of chickenpox vaccine confer long-term protection in children on anti-HIV therapy
Children infected with HIV since birth benefit from two doses of the chickenpox vaccine, particularly when the first dose is given at least three months after the initiation of anti-HIV treatment, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Down Syndrome Research Across the Lifespan: A Q&A with NICHD Experts
In observance of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Melissa Parisi, M.D., Ph.D., and Sujata Bardhan, Ph.D., of NICHD’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch, discuss recent scientific progress and the importance of collaboration to improve the health of those affected by Down syndrome.


New Online Training for Media-Smart Youth Program Leaders
NICHD has recently released an on-demand webinar for community leaders interested in starting a local Media-Smart Youth program, designed to teach young people about nutrition, physical activity, and media’s influence on their health.


Scan after newborn cooling treatment predicts outcome at age 6 or 7, NIH study shows
Brain scans taken of newborns who received cooling treatment after blood or oxygen deprivation to the brain can predict the extent of a child’s recovery by 6 or 7 years of age, according to a study by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research network.


Program for parents helps sustain learning gains in kids from Head Start to kindergarten
An instructional program for parents helps young children retain the literacy skills and positive learning behaviors acquired in Head Start through to the end of the kindergarten year, according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Church programs increase HIV testing, treatment in rural Nigeria, NIH study finds
In an effort to boost HIV testing, as well as the use of anti-HIV therapy among pregnant women in rural villages, researchers supported in part by NICHD assessed the effectiveness of a church-based screening program in Southern Nigeria.


NIH-funded researchers identify safe level to treat low blood sugar in newborns
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have shown that treating hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, in newborns according to current recommendations is safe and appears to prevent brain damage. 


Blood test for chlamydia may predict pregnancy outcomes
A blood test that detects antibodies to the sexually transmitted bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis may be helpful in screening infertile women for pregnancy outcomes, according to a new study.


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.


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.


Standard treatment better than proposed alternative for unexplained infertility
Treatment with clomiphene, a standard therapy for couples with unexplained infertility, results in more live births than treatment with a potential alternative, letrozole, according to a study of more than 900 couples conducted by a National Institutes of Health research network.


Obese Young Women Less Likely to Use Birth Control
Obese young women may be less likely to use birth control than their normal-weight peers, placing them at greater risk for unintended pregnancy, according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


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.


Rehabilitation Research at NICHD
Rehabilitation medicine includes efforts to improve function and minimize impairment due to illnesses or injuries. Learn more about NICHD’s rehabilitation research.


Insects recognize thousands of different tastes, not just basic categories like salty and sweet
Ever wonder why regular and diet soda taste so different? Both are sweet, but new research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may explain how you can tell one from another. The study, published in the September 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows for the first time that the moth brain can detect and interpret thousands of individual tastes, not just broad categories of taste as was previously thought.


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.


Short bouts of activity may offset lack of sustained exercise in kids
Brief intervals of exercise during otherwise sedentary periods may offset the lack of more sustained exercise and could protect children against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a small study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.


Helping Your Child Improve Reading Skills
In his recent article in The Huffington Post, Dr. Guttmacher highlights the importance of reading every day with children.


How Does Reading Work?
Children learn to read by building a number of skills. Learn more about how reading works in this slideshow.


Large percentage of youth with HIV may lack immunity to measles, mumps, rubella
Between one-third and one-half of individuals in the United States who were infected with HIV around the time of birth may not have sufficient immunity to ward off measles, mumps, and rubella—even though they may have been vaccinated against these diseases. This estimate, from a National Institutes of Health research network, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on a study of more than 600 children and youth exposed to HIV in the womb.


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.


Pelvic pain may be common among reproductive-age women, NIH study finds
A high proportion of reproductive-age women may be experiencing pelvic pain that goes untreated, according to a study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City.


Guttmacher retiring as director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today that he will retire from his position effective September 30, 2015. Dr. Guttmacher has led NICHD for nearly six years.


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.


Pet care may help adolescents better care for their own type 1 diabetes
Getting an adolescent with diabetes to look after a living animal, specifically a pet fish, may also encourage them to take better care of their diabetes, according to a study of youth with type 1 diabetes, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.


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.


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.


Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes
NIH seeks input on a proposed new research program to assess biological, chemical, psychosocial, and other environmental influences on child health outcomes. Join one of NIH’s webinars to learn more.


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.


NICHD grantees outline causes and treatments for infertility
For those who dream of being parents, pregnancy problems can be tremendously frustrating and disappointing. In recent decades, scientists have developed a wide range of approaches to help struggling couples have healthy babies. And NIH-funded studies are continuing to search for even better ways to overcome the challenges of infertility.


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.


NIH researchers find key regulator of interactions between brain networks
Stimulating a type of brain cell receptor launches a series of events that ultimately lead to the receptor’s deactivation in a subset of cells important for coordinating the activity of brain networks, report a team of scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


NICHD hosts two-day career development workshop for trainees
The NICHD recently hosted 15 scholars at a 2-day retreat focused on building study design, grant-writing, and presentation skills. The participants all were recipients of NIH funding supplements that aim to diversify the research workforce and offer one-time researchers opportunities to re-enter the field.


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.


Eating the placenta after birth carries no health benefits, new study finds
It may be trendy, but a new study has concluded there are no benefits to eating the placenta. In this NICHD podcast, the study author explains the rationale behind this controversial practice and describes what the science has found.


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.


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.


Neuroscience Research Resources
NICHD supports a variety of research projects and networks that are useful to neuroscientists. Find a detailed list here.                                                    


Hann Selected as NICHD Associate Director for Extramural Research
Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today that Della M. Hann, Ph.D., has been named NICHD Associate Director for Extramural Research. Dr. Hann joins NICHD from the NIH Office of Extramural Research, where she has served as deputy director since 2010.


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.


NIH funded scientists identify key intermediary between protein synthesis, circadian rhythms
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered how a major pathway that initiates protein synthesis does so by using an enzyme as a go-between to activate the body’s internal clock.


Pelvic Floor Disorders: A Q&A with Dr. Susan Meikle
Many patients with pelvic floor disorders won’t tell their health care provider because they are embarrassed or think their provider can’t help. In this Q&A, gynecologist Dr. Susan Meikle says that progress is being made in treating pelvic floor disorders, and she encourages people to talk to their doctors.


Animals’ presence may ease social anxiety in kids with autism
When animals are present, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have lower readings on a device that detects anxiety and other forms of social arousal when interacting with their peers.


NIH launches new Spanish-language site for child health and human development
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched a Spanish-language website that provides free information on health topics, including maternal and infant care, obesity, HIV/AIDS, fertility/infertility, and pregnancy.


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.


NICHD’s Alan Hinnebusch elected into National Academy of Sciences
Dr. Hinnebusch studies yeast to gain insights into the circumstances under which the information contained in a gene is ultimately translated into a protein. He is best known for the discovery that, in response to environmental stress conditions, cells control which genetic information is translated into proteins.


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.


Time with Parents is Key for Adolescents, Study Suggests
The more time mothers spend participating in activities with their adolescent children, the less likely these kids engage in delinquent behavior, such as skipping school or shoplifting, according to a study published in the April 2015 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.


Two treatments yield similar results for children after cardiac arrest
A large-scale, multicenter study has shown that emergency body cooling does not improve survival rates or reduce brain injury in infants and children with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest more than normal temperature control.


Annual Report Highlights Population Health Research Findings
In its 2014 annual report, NICHD’s Division of Intramural Population Health Research takes stock of research progress and defines future directions.


Income levels affect the structure of a child’s brain, NIH-funded study shows
Growing up poor affects the brain. That’s the conclusion of researchers from nine universities across the country who’ve completed the largest study of its kind to date.


Adults physically abused as children not more likely to physically abuse their children
Contrary to conventional wisdom, adults who were physically abused as children were no more likely to abuse their own children than were other adults their age. That’s the conclusion of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.


In Search of Answers for Those Struggling With Infertility
During National Infertility Awareness Week 2015, Dr. Alan Guttmacher explores the latest research in an article in the Huffington Post.


Vitamin E deficiency could lead to brain damage, zebrafish study suggests
Lack of vitamin E may contribute to cognitive disorders by robbing brain cells of a substance important for their structure, according to a study of zebrafish funded by the National Institutes of Health.


NICHD Funds Research on Child Maltreatment
​​Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., the head of the Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the NICHD, has dedicated her career to thinking about how to take care of children in difficult circumstances. Learn more about NICHD-funded research on child maltreatment.​


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.