Neonatology News Fall 2023

October 31, 2023

Non-Invasive Approach Predicts Retinopathy of Prematurity Earlier

A team led by Isabelle De Plaen, MD, neonatologist at Lurie Children's, found that imaging the capillaries in the nailbed of preemies within the first month of life can identify infants at high risk for developing retinopathy of prematurity. This screening could eliminate the need to evaluate all premature infants with eye exams about a month later. “Abnormal systemic vascular development starts much earlier than we thought. By measuring the nailbed capillary density soon after birth we can identify premature infants at higher risk for developing ROP long before it is detectable by an eye exam,” said Dr. De Plaen. Findings were published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Dr. De Plaen recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue this work. 

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Lurie Children’s Joins Neonatal Research Network

Lurie Children’s was recently selected to join the Neonatal Research Network. This network, established in 1986, has performed many of the major clinical trials that set the standard of care in neonatology. Now one of 15 sites nationally, the team will soon start recruiting for three ongoing randomized clinical trials (Budesonide in Babies, cycled phototherapy and management of the PDA). The network will entertain proposals for additional clinical trials that can only be accomplished with this diverse and robust set of academic neonatology programs. Aaron Hamvas, MD, Division Head of Neonatology at Lurie Children’s, is the site Principal Investigator, with Daniel Robinson, MD, and Raye-Ann DeRegnier, MD, as Co-Investigators. The Neonatal Research Network is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Studying Influences on Child Health from Pregnancy to Age 2

Lurie Children’s partnered with Northwestern University to study early life exposures and health trajectories in children, with a focus on individuals who have historically been under-represented in clinical research. The Chicago Perinatal Origins of Disease (CPOD) research initiative and the Founders’ 400 study will follow mothers and their infants from early pregnancy to age 2 years and will capture information on social determinants of health, samples from the home environment, and a variety of biospecimens from mother, infant, and household members. The cohort will provide a foundation for understanding genetic and environmental influences on childhood health in a diverse population and establish new approaches to support children's healthy growth and development. Principal Investigators from Lurie Children’s include Leena B. Mithal MD, MSCI, from Infectious Diseases and Tonia Branche, MD, MPH, from Neonatology.