May 23 2017

Do the Effects of Neonatal Caffeine Therapy Persist in Middle School?

snapshot science

The Finding:

Caffeine therapy can help premature babies breathe stronger and sooner on their own. When a group of caffeine-treated premature babies reached middle school, the therapy appeared to reduce their risk of motor impairment – building on earlier follow-ups that show the treatment’s safety, efficacy, and developmental benefits for the babies at one-and-a-half years old.

Why it matters:

About half of all premature babies will have apnea of prematurity, in which they experience difficulty breathing, hypoxic episodes (repetitive drops in their blood oxygen levels), and a higher risk for developing long-term disabilities like cerebral palsy. Previous follow-ups to this trial show that caffeine therapy helps to reduce the rate of these conditions when the babies reach 18 months. For parents, the important question remains: Do the treatment’s long-term benefits outweigh its long-term risks? According to this most recent follow-up, there seem to be no adverse effects.

Who conducted the study:

The Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity (CAP) Trial Group involves an international array of investigators from Canada, Australia, and the UK, and its lead author is Barbara Schmidt, MD, an attending neonatologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

How they did it:

More than 11 years ago, the researchers began to randomly assign 2,000 premature babies (who all weighed just 1 to 3 pounds) to either caffeine therapy at a dose equivalent to six cups of coffee, or placebo. The researchers followed these children’s academic performance, motor skills, and behavior over the years to find out how the caffeine therapy affected their mental and physical development.

Quick thoughts:

“The totality of our findings over the past decade reassures us that neonatal caffeine therapy is effective and safe when used as it was in the Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity trial,” Dr. Schmidt said.

What’s next:

“Future research is required to evaluate whether longer therapy beyond the first discharge home from the neonatal unit is beneficial,” according to Dr. Schmidt. “A second question would be the examination of higher doses of caffeine.”

Where the study was published:

JAMA Pediatrics

Who helped fund the study:

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research supported the study.

Where to learn more:

You can read the study online at JAMA Pediatrics’ website and learn more about Dr. Schmidt’s research in pre-term babies on Cornerstone.

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May 19 2017

Sports Medicine Research Award, Concussion Research Collaboration, Stephan Grupp, PAS Meeting, Type 1.5 Diabetes

CHOP Research In the NewsOur latest research news roundup carries a hint of summer and exciting new beginnings: As more than 70 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia experts traveled to sunny California for the annual Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting, back at home, sports medicine research ramped up with new investigations into how we can protect kid’s health on (and off) the field. Keep reading for more of this week’s headlines, and learn how our researchers are staying active at the center line of pediatric research.

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May 16 2017

Five Things to Know About How Orexin Affects Stress Resilience

orexinWhat’s going on inside our bodies and brains when we respond to stress? Previously, we covered research into powerful little neuropeptides called orexins that may help regulate an individual’s vulnerability to stress. Now, we dug into fresh research from the lab of Seema Bhatnagar, PhD, an associate professor in the division of Stress Neurobiology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and conducted by Laura Grafe, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Grafe studies how orexins regulate behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to repeated stress. (Or, in other words, how animals behave when exposed to a stressor multiple times.) The exciting research of Dr. Grafe and her colleagues appeared recently in Neuroscience. When we chatted with Drs. Bhatnagar and Grafe, we learned five fascinating facts about how orexin can affect an individual’s stress response – and what that might mean about building resilience.

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May 11 2017

How Can We Improve Nurse Response Times to Bedside Alarms?

alarm fatigueThe Finding:

When it comes to bedside alarms for conditions like low oxygen saturation, tachycardia, or cardiac arrhythmias, four main factors contribute to faster nurse response times:

  • Nurses responded faster to patients on complex care service and those without family members at their side.
  • Nurses responded faster if they had less than 1 year of experience, had a 1 to 1 assignment, or had previously responded to the same patient’s alarm.
  • Nurses responded fastest to lethal arrhythmia alarms.
  • For each hour that passed in a nurse’s shift, response time got a little bit slower.

When the researchers looked only at actionable alarms (these are the important ones we would not want anyone to miss), the average response time was very fast: under one minute.

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May 09 2017

Scientific Symposium Emphasizes Future Directions of Research Institute

symposiumSynapses were firing throughout the conference room in the Colket Translational Research Building as attendees at the 2017 Research Institute Scientific Symposium held May 2 learned about their colleagues’ intriguing research endeavors. The four sessions’ themes aligned smartly with the Research Institute’s strategic planning process and overall mission of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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May 05 2017

Franklin Medal, March for Science, Extra-Uterine Support Device, Bullying Declines, Violence Prevention Initiative

CHOP Research In the NewsA march, a medal, and a media blitz: In this week’s research news, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia investigators made their mark in the history of progressive science in big, bold ways. Here is our rundown of one CHOP expert’s participation at the momentous March of Science, another researcher’s recognition by a beloved science museum, and the womb-like support system that lit up mainstream media because it gave fetal lambs the chance to live.

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May 03 2017

We Push the Boundaries of Science When Research Fields Intersect

Our researchers whose work is at the cross section between injury and neurodevelopmental or intellectual disabilities have a unique vantage point when studying the driving safety of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Research Institute is home to two of the most highly regarded autism and pediatric injury research centers in the world.

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May 02 2017

Getting Into a California State of Mind: PAS Meeting Preview

PAS MeetingIf you’re eager to learn and a creator of change — which pretty much covers everyone here at the Research Institute — then you’ll want to know about what’s happening at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting (PAS), the largest international meeting focusing on research in child health. From May 6 to 9, experts from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will be in San Francisco at PAS as speakers, presenters, participants, and award winners.

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Apr 26 2017

Researchers Recreate the Womb Experience to Transform Care of Very Premature Infants

premature infantEvery child begins life in a paradise built of biological wonders. The umbilical cord tethering the fetus to her mother’s placenta not only enables the exchange of blood gases in place of breathing air, but it also permits her to float and rotate within the warm incubating amniotic fluid while it delivers her every nutritional need as she grows ready for independent life.

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Apr 25 2017

Do Teens With Autism Get Their Driver’s License?

snapshot scienceThe Finding: 

One in three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) acquires an intermediate driver’s license, and the majority does so in their 17th year. An intermediate license permits drivers to travel with restrictions, such as driving curfews and limits on the number of passengers. Teens with ASD who receive their permit are obtaining licenses at nearly the same rate as other adolescents.

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