Tune in here for the below episodes: iTunes, Google Podcast, Overcast, RSS Feed, and SoundCloud.
December: Repetitive noxious stimuli during early development affect acute and long-term mechanical sensitivity in rats.
Clinical studies have shown that newborns can experience up to 14 painful procedures each day of admission at the neonatal intensive care unit. There is evidence that these early experiences can cause changes to the developing nervous system affecting, amongst other things, nociception in adulthood. Preterm infants are at particular risk from repeated noxious procedures owing to the extensive developmental and functional changes taking place in the CNS at that time. In this episode, we meet Dr. Nynke van den Hoogen, who during her time at Maastricht University, used an animal model to assess whether the number of neonatal noxious events has an affect on acute and long-term mechanical sensitivity. Related Article.
November: Cumulative psychosocial risk and early child development: Using the Childhood Psychosocial Adversity Scale.
Cumulative exposure to psychosocial adversity in the early years of life can have an adverse effect on early child development (ECD). Focus on ECD is growing globally, yet to date, the bulk of research on adverse psychosocial experiences and child development has taken place in high-income, Western countries, despite a large burden in developing countries. This month, we meet Early Career Investigator Dr. Annie Berens, a pediatric resident at the University of California San Francisco. She created the Childhood Psychosocial Adversity Scale, a novel measure of cumulative risk which has had its first application in Bangladesh. Have a listen! Related Article.
October: Circulating cytokines as a predictor of childhood epilepsy.
A number of clinical variables are used to predict the likelihood of childhood epilepsy, however, additional predictors are needed to improve patient stratification for those at the highest risk of recurrent seizures. In this episode, we meet Adam Numis from the University of California San Francisco, who set out to assess the utility of circulating cytokines as a predictor of childhood epilepsy. He performed a longitudinal study of newborns at risk of neonatal encephalopathy, revealing an association between circulating levels of particular inflammatory cytokines and the later development of epilepsy. Related Article.
September: Placental clearance/synthesis of neurobiomarkers GFAP and UCH-L1 in healthy term neonates and those with moderate–severe neonatal encephalopathy.
Neonatal encephalopathy (NE) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality and affects around 1.5/1000 live term births. Predicting the severity and outcome of neonates with NE is therefore vital in order to provide the best care for neonates with NE, and a biochemical marker obtained at birth would therefore be useful to bolster the current scoring system. In this episode, Geoff Marsh speaks to Early Career Investigator Dr. Imran Nazir Mir, from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. He's just published a paper testing the utility of two potential candidate proteins for determining the presence and severity of hypoxic NE, and to understand where these molecules are synthesized and cleared. Related Article.
August: Adrenal function links to early postnatal growth and blood pressure at age 6 in children born extremely preterm.
For term-born infants, low birth weight has been shown to correlate with a broad array of adverse cardiometabolic outcomes, and excess glucocorticoid exposure has been linked to these relationships. Also, intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) in term-born infants has been linked to subsequent increases in adrenal androgen activity. In this episode, we meet Kristi Watterberg, a professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico who evaluated the relationship between preterm birth to salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) at age 6, and assessed the relationship of cortisol and DHEA with blood pressure and measures of adiposity. The results suggest interventions to improve the cardiometabolic outcomes of infants born extremely preterm. Related Article.
July: Comparison of fetal growth by maternal prenatal acetaminophen use.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are used in an estimated 70% of pregnancies. Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol is found in a large number of OTC and prescription drugs. Given its prevalence and its ability to freely cross the placenta, researchers are now focusing on the safety of maternal exposure to this drug and its effects on fetal health. There have been inconsistent results in both human and animal studies on the short and long-term effects of acetaminophen use during pregnancy. In this episode, we meet Early Career Investigator, Melissa Smarr, an assistant professor at the Emory University School of Public Health as she describes her study into the effects of prenatal acetaminophen use on fetal growth. Related Article.
June: Enhanced early prediction of clinically relevant neonatal hyperbilirubinemia with machine learning.
Almost 10% of newborn infants develop significant hyperbilirubinemia, and many require phototherapy treatment. This is costly and can increase the likelihood of patients developing allergic diseases. However the costs of not treating neonatal jaundice can be more severe as it can cause lifelong disability. Precise patient monitoring and deliberate treatment assignment are therefore essential for at-risk neonates. In this episode, we meet Sven Wellman, then of the University of Basel's Children Hospital in Switzerland. He and his team developed an online tool that uses machine learning methods to accurately predict neonates at risk of developing clinically relevant hyperbilirubinemia. Related Article.
May: In vivo textural and morphometric analysis of placental development in healthy & growth-restricted pregnancies using magnetic resonance imaging.
Placental dysfunction is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children. Yet, despite its central importance, there is a lack of tools to assess in vivo placental health. Ex vivo evaluation of placentas has shown there to be micro-architectural changes with fetal growth restriction (FGR), but currently there are no tools to assess this before birth. In this episode, we speak with this month's Early Career Investigator- Prof. Nickie Andescavage from George Washington University, who recently performed an advanced textural and morphometric of Magnetic Resonance images of the in vivo placenta in healthy and high-risk pregnancies. Related Article.
April: A multilevel-based research framework on congenital Zika syndrome.
In 2015, Brazil experienced an unprecedented epidemic of zika virus infection. Concurrently, there was an increased incidence of children born with primary congenital microcephaly. Researchers quickly suspected a link between the zika virus infection in pregnant women and congenital microcephaly due to the so-called congenital Zika syndrome (CZS). With the impending threat of a second outbreak, Marcio Leyser from the University of Iowa proposes a multilevel-based research framework for CZS, based on the multifaceted aspects of the disease. Related Article.
April: Genetic variation in CRHR1 is associated with short-term respiratory response to corticosteroids in preterm infants at risk for bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) is a form of Chronic lung disease and results from extreme pre-term birth. Systemic corticosteroid therapy is used postnatally to reduce the severity of BPD, however there is a large range in the phenotypic response to this treatment. In this episode, we speak to Tamorah Lewis, a neonatologist at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, who aimed to identify pharmacogenetic variants associated with the clinical response to systemic corticosteroid treatment. Related Article.
March: Time-restricted feeding causes irreversible metabolic disorders and gut microbiota shift in pediatric mice.
Metabolic syndrome has been a growing problem in recent decades in both adult and pediatric populations. Time-restricted feeding (TRF), has been shown to attenuate metabolic disorders and obesity in adults. It is thought to be superior to surgical interventions and other dietary patterns as it is non-invasive, and does not lead to unbearable hunger. However, there is a lack of data on its effects in pediatric populations. n this episode, we meet Dr. Dandan Hu, who during her time at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, carried out an experiment using a paediatric mouse model to assess the effects of TRM on their metabolism and microbiota. The results were unexpected. Related Article.
February: Association between metabolite composition and metabolic risk across adolescence.
Metabolomics has the potential to identify specific targets for primary prevention of metabolic disease. Studies in adults have shown that lean vs obese people show distinct differences in their metabolite composition, sometimes preceding the development of established risk factors associated with metabolic disease. The literature in paediatric populations, however is scant. In this episode, we speak to Prof. Wei Perng, who during her time at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, examined the associations between metabolite composition and metabolic risk across adolescence. Click here and here for related articles.
January: Ambient pollutants and urgent visits for asthma: A Study in New York City neighborhoods.
Pediatric asthma is a chronic, heterogeneous disease that can be triggered by environmental exposures, leading to urgent medical visits. Numerous studies have demonstrated increases in emergency department visits and hospitalizations in association with increasing concentrations of outdoor ambient pollutants. Social and environmental stressors have also been shown to be associated with a stronger relationship between environmental pollutants and asthma development and symptoms. In this study, Dr Lovinski-Desir from Columbia University Medical Center and her team aimed to determine if the relationship between ambient pollutants and urgent visits for asthma varied between New York City. Related Article.