NIH Study of Spina Bifida Surgery Recognized as 'Trial of the Year'

The Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) has selected the NICHD Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) as its 'Trial of the Year.'

The study examined outcomes from two treatments for spina bifida, an abnormality of birth in which the spinal column fails to close around the spinal cord. Spina bifida affects three to four out of every 10,000 live births in the United States. With myelomeningocele, the most serious form of spina bifida, the spinal cord protrudes through an opening in the spinal column.

MOMS compared outcomes from the standard treatment, surgery after the baby is born, to outcomes from a newer treatment—surgery to repair the defect while the baby is still in the womb. The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers at three clinical institutions, the George Washington University Biostatistics Centers, and the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch of the NICHD.

In presenting the award, the Society for Clinical Trials recognized NICHD author Catherine Spong, Chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, and the study authors for overcoming recruitment difficulties, and ensuring the responsible introduction of this surgery into clinical practice. Dr. Spong received the award at the SCT Annual Meeting in Miami.

The results from MOMS were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at

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