In this increasingly digital world, we must strive to better understand how technology and media affect development, health outcomes, and interpersonal relationships from infancy through adolescence. NICHD has a longstanding commitment to research on these topics.
NICHD issues News Releases and Media Advisories to the news media. Spotlight and Research Feature articles explain NICHD research findings and public health issues to the general public. An Item of Interest is a short announcement of relevant information, such as a notable staff change.
Science Update: Masking doesn’t appear to interfere with children’s ability to follow nonverbal IQ test instructions, NIH-funded study suggests
Under appropriate conditions, protective face coverings can successfully be used during intelligence testing without interfering with the ability to understand the test administrator’s instruction, suggests a small study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Groups of young children scored comparably on a test measuring nonverbal intelligence whether they or the test administrators wore masks. The findings help to allay concerns that face masks may interfere with testing by hiding administrators’ facial expressions.
Science Update: Children more likely to become friends when they sit next to each other in school, NIH-funded study suggests
Even though they encounter multiple classmates during school each day, primary school children are much more likely to become friends with classmates they sit next to rather than other children in the class, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests. The results imply that by assigning seats, teachers have a disproportionate influence on the friendships their students form.
Media Advisory: Mandatory masking in schools reduced COVID-19 cases during Delta surge
NIH-funded study compared more than 1.1 million students across nine states.
Science Update: Children born during pandemic may experience slight neurodevelopmental delays, NIH-funded study suggests
Infants born during the pandemic—regardless of whether their mothers had COVID-19 during pregnancy—scored slightly lower on certain tests of neurodevelopment at 6 months old, compared to a similar group of infants born before the pandemic, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that children born during the pandemic may need long-term monitoring to rapidly identify any future lags in development. The researchers theorized that maternal stress resulting from the pandemic could have effects on children’s neurodevelopment.
Spotlight: Selected NICHD Research Advances of 2021
Read about NICHD’s research findings and activities from 2021.
Science Update: Infants’ brains may respond to faces, other visual stimuli earlier than previously thought, NIH-funded study suggests
Specialized regions in infant brains appear to respond to visual information in much the same way adult brains do, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Located in the visual cortex, these brain regions selectively process faces, bodies, or scenes. Previously, researchers had believed that it took years for these regions to develop before they would function like an adult’s visual cortex. The findings may provide information helpful for understanding disorders in which facial recognition is impaired, such as autism spectrum disorder and bipolar disorder.
Media Advisory: In-person school during COVID-19 must address needs of underserved communities
NIH commentary highlights community engagement in research design and implementation.
Science Update: Anticipation of racial bias protects Korean American youth from mental health effects of discrimination, NIH-funded study suggests
For Korean American youth, parental advice to anticipate occasional racial bias from the larger society protected against the mental health effects of discrimination, suggests an NIH-funded study. In addition, for U.S.-born Filipino Americans, having parents who taught them to take pride in their ethnicity and to be wary of forming relationships with other groups was protective against discrimination’s mental health effects.
Director's Corner: Empowering Kids in Challenging Times
Drs. Diana W. Bianchi and Bill Riley co-write a blog for Children’s Health Day on October 4, 2021.
Science Update: Weekly COVID-19 testing helps reduce transmission in schools for children with disabilities
Findings from NICHD-supported study may aid special education classes across the country.
Media Advisory: Open, expressive family life may reduce effects of social deprivation among adopted children
An environment in which family members support one another and express their feelings can reduce the effects of social deprivation on cognitive ability and development among adopted children, suggests a small study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. In contrast, rule-driven households where family members are in conflict may increase an adopted child’s chances for cognitive, behavioral and emotional difficulties.
Media Advisory: Video coaching program may improve parenting skills and children’s school readiness
A video and coaching intervention program for at-risk mothers and infants increases parent-child interactions and helps to improve children’s social, emotional and language development, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Media Advisory: Plant compound reduces cognitive deficits in mouse model of Down syndrome
The plant compound apigenin improved the cognitive and memory deficits usually seen in a mouse model of Down syndrome, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. Apigenin is found in chamomile flowers, parsley, celery, peppermint and citrus fruits. The findings raise the possibility that a treatment to lessen the cognitive deficits seen in Down syndrome could one day be offered to pregnant women whose fetuses have been diagnosed with Down syndrome through prenatal testing.
Item of Interest: NICHD Selects Six Infrastructure Centers to Promote Rehabilitation Research
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development recently selected six centers for its Medical Rehabilitation Research Resource Network.
Item of Interest: Biospecimens from National Children’s Study pilot now available
Environmental, biological samples span the period from preconception to early childhood.
Item of Interest: James A. Griffin, Ph.D., named new Chief of NICHD’s Child Development and Behavior Branch
James A. Griffin, Ph.D., named new Chief of NICHD’s Child Development and Behavior Branch
Media Advisory: Maternal obesity linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in children, NIH study suggests
Maternal obesity may increase a child’s risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to an analysis by NICHD researchers.
Spotlight: A Decade of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) Research
NICHD marks a 10-year partnership with WALTHAM® PetCare Science Institute, a division of Mars, to support research exploring the impact of interactions between animals and human companions.
Release: High amounts of screen time begin as early as infancy, NIH study suggests
Children’s average daily time spent watching television or using a computer or mobile device increased from 53 minutes at age 12 months to more than 150 minutes at 3 years, according to an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.