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author:("band, Carla")
1.  Prevalence of Suicidal Thoughts and Attempts Among Pregnant Pakistani Women 
To determine the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and attempts and to identify demographic variables and mental health correlates such as anxiety/depression and domestic violence among pregnant women in an urban community in Pakistan.
Cross sectional data from a prospective cohort study are presented.
Women enrolled in an antenatal care clinic and followed to delivery in an urban area of Pakistan
Cohort of pregnant women in Pakistan.
1,369 pregnant women were enrolled and interviewed regarding various maternal characteristics and pregnancy outcomes, and were asked specific questions about suicidal thoughts and attempts and administered the Aga Khan University Anxiety Depression Scale at 20–26 weeks of gestation.
Main outcome measures
Suicidal thoughts and attempts, verbal, sexual or physical abuse.
Overall, 148 of the 1369 (11%) women studied had considered suicide. Of these, 148 women, 67 (45%) had attempted suicide. Eighteen percent of the women were classified as having depression/anxiety, almost half (48%) reported experiencing verbal abuse and 20% reported physical/sexual abuse. Women who had anxiety/depression or had experienced verbal or physical/sexual abuse were significantly more likely to have had suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Women at greatest risk for having suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt were those who were depressed/anxious and had experienced some form of domestic abuse. With the high prevalence of these conditions, attention should be given to the establishment of effective mental health treatment programs for pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC3918941  PMID: 21050149
Suicidal thoughts; suicide attempts; pregnancy; abuse; anxiety/depression
2.  Prevalence of Anxiety, Depression and Associated Factors among Pregnant Women of Hyderabad, Pakistan 
The International journal of social psychiatry  2009;55(5):10.1177/0020764008094645.
Few studies have examined the relationship between antenatal depression, anxiety and domestic violence in pregnant women in developing countries, despite the World Health Organization's estimates that depressive disorders will be the second leading cause of the global disease burden by 2020. There is a paucity of research on mood disorders, their predictors and sequelae among pregnant women in Pakistan.
To determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression and evaluate associated factors, including domestic violence, among pregnant women in an urban community in Pakistan.
All pregnant women living in identified areas of Hyderabad, Pakistan were screened by government health workers for an observational study on maternal characteristics and pregnancy outcomes. Of these, 1368 (76%) of eligible women were administered the validated Aga Khan University Anxiety Depression Scale at 20–26 weeks of gestation.
18 percent of the women were anxious and/or depressed. Psychological distress was associated with husband unemployment (p=0.032), lower household wealth (p=0.027), having 10 or more years of formal education (p=0.002), a first (p=0.002) and an unwanted pregnancy (p<0.001). The strongest factors associated with depression/anxiety were physical/sexual and verbal abuse; 42% of women who were physically and/or sexually abused and 23% of those with verbal abuse had depression/anxiety compared to 8% of those who were not abused.
Anxiety and depression commonly occur during pregnancy in Pakistani women; rates are highest in women experiencing sexual/physical as well as verbal abuse, but they also are increased among women with unemployed spouses and those with lower household wealth. These results suggest that developing a screening and treatment program for domestic violence and depression/anxiety during pregnancy may improve the mental health status of pregnant Pakistani women.
PMCID: PMC3875176  PMID: 19592433
Pregnancy; depression; anxiety; Pakistan; measurement
3.  Improving the Neonatal Research Network Annual Certification for Neurologic Examination of the 18–22 month Child 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;161(6):1041-1046.e2.
To describe the Neonatal Research Network’s (NRN) efforts to improve the certification process for the Follow-up Study neurologic exam and to evaluate inter-rater agreement before and after two annual training workshops.
Study design
The NRN Follow-up Study is a multi-center observational study that has examined more than 11,500 infants from 1998–2010 and born ≤ 26 weeks gestational age at 18 – 22 months corrected age for neurodevelopmental outcome. The percentages of examiners who agreed with the Gold Standard examiner on four neurodevelopmental outcomes on the initial training video and a test video were calculated. Consistency among examiners was assessed with the first-order agreement coefficient (AC1) statistic.
Improvements in agreement among examiners occurred between 2009 and 2010 and between initial training and test. Examiner agreement with the Gold Standard during the initial training was 83% – 91% in 2009 and 89% – 99% in 2010. Examiner agreement on the workshop test video increased from 2009 to 2010 with agreement reaching 100% for all four neurodevelopmental outcomes examined in 2010. AC1 values for the four neurodevelopmental outcomes on the training videos ranged from 0.64 – 0.82 in 2009 and 0.77 – 0.97 in 2010.
We demonstrate the importance of annual certification and the benefits of evaluation and revision of certification protocols to achieve high levels of confidence in neurodevelopmental study outcomes for multi-center networks.
PMCID: PMC3465479  PMID: 22748517
examiner training; neurodevelopmental outcome; inter-rater agreement
4.  Protective Factors Can Mitigate Behavior Problems After Prenatal Cocaine and Other Drug Exposures 
Pediatrics  2012;130(6):e1479-e1488.
We determined the role of risk and protective factors on the trajectories of behavior problems associated with high prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE)/polydrug exposure.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study enrolled 1388 children with or without PCE, assessed through age 15 years. Because most women using cocaine during pregnancy also used other substances, we analyzed for the effects of 4 categories of prenatal drug exposure: high PCE/other drugs (OD), some PCE/OD, OD/no PCE, and no PCE/no OD. Risks and protective factors at individual, family, and community levels that may be associated with behavior outcomes were entered stepwise into latent growth curve models, then replaced by cumulative risk and protective indexes, and finally by a combination of levels of risk and protective indexes. Main outcome measures were the trajectories of externalizing, internalizing, total behavior, and attention problems scores from the Child Behavior Checklist (parent).
A total of 1022 (73.6%) children had known outcomes. High PCE/OD significantly predicted externalizing, total, and attention problems when considering the balance between risk and protective indexes. Some PCE/OD predicted externalizing and attention problems. OD/no PCE also predicted behavior outcomes except for internalizing behavior. High level of protective factors was associated with declining trajectories of problem behavior scores over time, independent of drug exposure and risk index scores.
High PCE/OD is a significant risk for behavior problems in adolescence; protective factors may attenuate its detrimental effects. Clinical practice and public health policies should consider enhancing protective factors while minimizing risks to improve outcomes of drug-exposed children.
PMCID: PMC3507246  PMID: 23184114
behavior problems; cumulative risks; prenatal cocaine exposure; protective factors
5.  Are Outcomes of Extremely Preterm Infants Improving? Impact of Bayley Assessment on Outcomes 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;161(2):222-8.e3.
To compare 18- to 22-month cognitive scores and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in 2 time periods using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Neonatal Research Network assessment of extremely low birth weight infants with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition (Bayley II) in 2006–2007 (period 1) and using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (Bayley III), with separate cognitive and language scores, in 2008–2011 (period 2).
Study design
Scores were compared with bivariate analysis, and regression analyses were run to identify differences in NDI rates.
Mean Bayley III cognitive scores were 11 points higher than mean Bayley II cognitive scores. The NDI rate was reduced by 70% (from 43% in period 1 to 13% in period 2; P < .0001). Multivariate analyses revealed that Bayley III contributed to a decreased risk of NDI by 5 definitions: cognitive score <70 and <85, cognitive or language score <70; cognitive or motor score <70, and cognitive, language, or motor score <70 (P < .001).
Whether the Bayley III is overestimating cognitive performance or whether it is a more valid assessment of emerging cognitive skills than the Bayley II is uncertain. Because the Bayley III identifies significantly fewer children with disability, it is recommended that all extremely low birth weight infants be offered early intervention services at the time of discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit, and that Bayley scores be interpreted with caution.
PMCID: PMC3796892  PMID: 22421261
6.  Mental, social, and physical well-being in New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington, 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: implications for public health research and practice related to Healthy People 2020 foundation health measures on well-being 
Well-being is now accepted as one of four cross-cutting measures in gauging progress for Healthy People 2020. This shift to population indicators of well-being redresses notions of health that have focused on absence of illness (negative health) as a primary or sufficient indicator of positive functioning. The purpose of this study was to estimate mental, social, and physical well-being in three US states using new measures piloted on the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey System (BRFSS). Baseline estimates were provided for states overall, and within states for demographic subgroups, those with chronic health conditions or disabilities, and those with behavioral risk factors.
Ten validated questions designed to assess mental (e.g., satisfaction with life, satisfaction with life domains, happiness), physical (e.g., satisfaction with energy level), and social dimensions (e.g., frequency of social support) of well-being were selected with state input for inclusion on BRFSS. 18,622 individuals responded to the BRFSS surveys administered by New Hampshire (N = 3,139), Oregon (N = 2,289), and Washington (N = 13,194). Multivariate adjusted proportions of positive responses to well-being items were examined.
After adjustment for confounders, about 67% of adults in these states had high levels of well-being, including >80% reporting experiencing happiness. Most adults were satisfied with their work, neighborhood, and education, but significant differences were seen in subgroups. Well-being differed by demographic characteristics such as marital status, health behaviors, chronic conditions, and disability status, with those who reported a disability and smokers consistently experiencing the worst well-being.
Well-being is accepted as one of four cross-cutting measures in gauging progress for Healthy People 2020. Well-being differs by important sociodemographic factors and health conditions (e.g., age, employment, smoking, disability status). These findings provide baseline estimates for the three states to use in gauging improvements in well-being and can serve as a model for other state-level or national surveillance systems. These findings also assist states in identifying vulnerable subgroups who may benefit from potential interventions such as those in the National Prevention Strategy that focus on enhancing well-being where such disparities exist.
PMCID: PMC3852954  PMID: 24063647
7.  Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Extremely Preterm Infants 
Extremely preterm (EP) infants screen positive for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) at high rates. However it is not clear whether this is due to high rates of ASD in EPs or to high rates of false positive screens for ASD in children with a high rate of underlying neurodevelopmental impairments. Combining a parent questionnaire designed to distinguish developmental delay from ASD with direct observation of infant behavior may more accurately screen for ASD in EPs.
To determine rates of positive screen for ASD at 18–22months(m) in EPs using three screens; to determine factors associated with a positive screen.
554 infants born <27 weeks were screened at 18–22m using the Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test, 2nd edition, Stage 2 (PDDST-II) and the response to name and response to joint attention items from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Infants with severe cerebral palsy, deafness and blindness were excluded. Associations between positive screen and neonatal/infant characteristics were determined.
113/554 (20 %) had ≥1 positive screen. 10% had a positive PDDST-II, 6% response to name, 9% response to joint attention; in only 1% were all 3 screens positive. Positive screen was associated with male gender, more hospital days, white race, lower maternal education, abnormal behavioral scores, and cognitive/language delay.
The use of three screens for ASD in EPs results in higher screen positive rates than use of one screen alone. Diagnostic confirmation is needed before true rates of ASD in EPs are known.
PMCID: PMC3434239  PMID: 22926660
Autism; Prematurity; Screening
8.  Translating Medical Evidence to Promote Informed Health Care Decisions 
Health Services Research  2011;46(4):1200-1223.
To examine the effects of a community-based intervention on decisions about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening using multiple measures of informed decision making (IDM).
Data Sources/Study Setting
Nonequivalent control group time series design collecting primary data in late 2004 and 2005.
Study Design
We developed a multimodal intervention designed to convey the medical uncertainty about the benefits of PSA screening and early treatment and the limited predictive ability of both the PSA test and pathological specimens collected from prostate biopsy. We examined (1) patients' recognition that there is a decision to be made about PSA screening, (2) prostate cancer knowledge levels, (3) their preferred and actual levels of participation in decision making about screening at three points in time, and (4) screening decision.
Data Collection
Baseline data collection occurred in community-based organizations. These organizations served as recruiting sources and as sites for the intervention. We collected follow-up data by mail with telephone reminders.
Principal Findings
Our intervention was associated with greater recognition of the PSA test as a decision to be made, levels of knowledge, both preferred and actual levels of involvement in decision making, but did not have an impact on the screening decision.
Community-based interventions can influence key measures of IDM about PSA screening.
PMCID: PMC3165184  PMID: 21352225
Decision making; prostate cancer screening; level of involvement; patient–provider communication
9.  Long-Term Impact of Maternal Substance Use during Pregnancy and Extrauterine Environmental Adversity: Stress Hormone Levels of Preadolescent Children 
Pediatric research  2011;70(2):213-219.
Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) is associated with blunted stress responsivity within the extrauterine environment. This study investigated the association between PCE and diurnal salivary cortisol levels in preadolescent children characterized by high biological and/or social risk (N = 725). Saliva samples were collected at their home. Analyses revealed no group differences in basal evening or morning cortisol levels; however, children with higher degrees of PCE exhibited blunted overnight increases in cortisol, controlling for additional risk factors. Race and caregiver depression were also associated with diurnal cortisol patterns. While repeated PCE may contribute to alterations in the normal or expected stress response later in life, sociodemographic and environmental factors are likewise important in understanding hormone physiology, especially as more time elapses from the PCE. Anticipating the potential long-term medical, developmental, or behavioral effects of an altered ability to mount a normal protective cortisol stress response is essential in optimizing the outcomes of children with PCE.
PMCID: PMC3686483  PMID: 21546861
10.  Maintaining Participation and Momentum in Longitudinal Research Involving High-Risk Families 
Journal of Nursing Scholarship  2012;44(2):120-126.
The purpose of the current study was to identify and describe strategies available to optimize retention of a high-risk research cohort and assist in the recovery of study participants following participant dropout.
Design and Methods
The Maternal Lifestyle Study (MLS), which investigated the effects of prenatal substance exposure (cocaine or opiates) on child outcome, is a prospective longitudinal follow-up study that extended from birth through 15 years of age. Retention strategies to maximize participation and factors that might negatively impact compliance were examined over the course of five follow-up phases.
At the conclusion of the 15-year visits, MLS had successfully maintained compliance at 76%. Retention rates did not differ by exposure group.
Maintaining ongoing participation of enrolled study subjects is a critical element of any successful longitudinal study. Strategies that can be used to reengage and maintain participants in longitudinal research include persistence, flexibility with scheduling, home visits, long-distance trips, increased incentives, and development of a computerized tracking system. Establishing rapport with families and ensuring confidentiality contributed to overall participant retention. The use of multiple tracking techniques is essential.
Clinical Relevance
Researchers are challenged to maintain participants in longitudinal studies to ensure the integrity of their research.
PMCID: PMC3366028  PMID: 22458928
Longitudinal research; participant retention; tracking; compliance
11.  Evolution of Encephalopathy during Whole Body Hypothermia for Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy 
The Journal of Pediatrics  2011;160(4):567-572.e3.
To examine the predictive ability of stage of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) for death or moderate/severe disability at 18 months among neonates undergoing hypothermia.
Study design
Stage of encephalopathy was evaluated at <6 hr of age, during study intervention and at discharge among 204 participants in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network Trial of whole body hypothermia for HIE. HIE was examined as a predictor of outcome by regression models.
Moderate and severe HIE occurred at <6 hrs of age among 68% and 32% of 101 hypothermia group infants and 60% and 40% of 103 control group infants, respectively. At 24 and 48 hrs of study intervention, infants in the hypothermia group had less severe HIE than infants in the control group. Persistence of severe HIE at 72 hrs increased the risk of death or disability after controlling for treatment group. The discharge exam improved the predictive value of stage of HIE at < 6hrs for death/disability.
On serial neurological examinations, improvement in stage of HIE was associated with cooling. Persistence of severe HIE at 72 hours and an abnormal neurological exam at discharge was associated with a greater risk of death or disability.
PMCID: PMC3299861  PMID: 22050871
Neurological examinations; neonates; clinical biomarker; death; disability
12.  Technical Implementation of a Multi-Component, Text Message–Based Intervention for Persons Living with HIV 
JMIR Research Protocols  2012;1(2):e17.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be severely and disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome) epidemic in the United States. Effective antiretroviral therapy has altered the HIV epidemic from being an acute disease to a chronic, manageable condition for many people living with HIV. The pervasiveness, low cost, and convenience of Short Message Service (SMS) suggests its potential suitability for supporting the treatment of conditions that must be managed over an extended period.
The purpose of this proof-of-concept study was to develop, implement, and test a tailored SMS-based intervention for HIV-positive MSM. Prior studies do not routinely provide sufficiently detailed descriptions of their technical implementations, restricting the ability of subsequent efforts to reproduce successful interventions. This article attempts to fill this gap by providing a detailed description of the implementation of an SMS-based intervention to provide tailored health communication messages for HIV-positive MSM.
We used archives from the SMS system, including participant responses to messages and questions sent via SMS, as the data sources for results reported in this article. Consistent with the purpose of this article, our analysis was limited to basic descriptive statistics, including frequency distributions, means and standard deviations.
During the implementation period, we sent a total of 7,194 messages to study participants, received 705 SMS responses to our two-way SMS questions of participants, and 317 unprompted SMS message acknowledgements from participants. Ninety two percent of participants on antiretroviral therapy (ART) responded to at least one of the weekly medication adherence questions administered via SMS, and 27% of those had their medication adherence messages changed over the course of the study based on their answers to the weekly questions. Participants who responded to items administered via SMS to assess satisfaction with and use of the messages reported generally positive perceptions, although response rates were low overall.
Results confirm the technical feasibility of deploying a dynamically tailored, SMS-based intervention designed to provide ongoing behavioral reinforcement for HIV-positive MSM. Lessons learned related to text programming, message delivery and study logistics will be helpful to others planning and implementing similar interventions.
PMCID: PMC3626151  PMID: 23612237
short message service; SMS; text message; mobile phone; mHealth; HIV; tailored messaging
13.  Serial Pediatric Symptom Checklist Screening in Children with Prenatal Drug Exposure 
To examine screening results obtained by serial annual behavioral assessment of children with prenatal drug exposure.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study enrolled children with prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) at birth for longitudinal assessments of developmental, behavioral, and health outcomes. At 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 years of age, caregivers rated participants on the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC). Serial PSC results were compared to an established broad-based behavioral measure at 9, 11, and 13 years. PSC results were analyzed for 1,081 children who had at least 2 annual screens during the 5-year time span. Most subjects (87%) had 4 or more annual screens rated by the same caregiver (80%). PSC scores (and Positive screens) over time were compared at different time points for those with and without PCE. Covariates, including demographic factors and exposures to certain other substances, were controlled.
Children with PCE had significantly higher scores overall, with more Positive screens for behavior problems than children without PCE. Children with PCE had more externalizing behavior problems. Children exposed to tobacco pre- and post-natally also showed higher PSC scores. Over time, PSC scores differed slightly from the 8-year scores, without clear directional trend. Earlier PSC results predicted later behavioral outcomes.
Findings of increased total PSC scores and Positive PSC screens for behavioral concerns in this group of children with prenatal substance exposure support the growing body of evidence that additional attention to identification of mental health problems may be warranted in this high-risk group.
PMCID: PMC3069136  PMID: 21200328
Behavior disorder; child behavior; mental health; screening; prenatal cocaine exposure; Pediatric Symptom Checklist
14.  Preadolescent behavior problems after prenatal cocaine exposure: Relationship between teacher and caretaker ratings (Maternal Lifestyle Study) 
Neurotoxicology and teratology  2010;33(1):78-87.
We previously reported an association between prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) and childhood behavior problems as observed by the parent or caretaker. However, these behavior problems may not manifest in a structured environment, such as a school setting.
We determined whether there is an association between PCE and school behavior problems and whether ratings of behavior problems from the teacher differ from those noted by the parent or caretaker.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study, a multicenter study, enrolled 1388 children with and without PCE at one month of age for longitudinal assessment. Teachers masked to prenatal drug exposure status completed the Teacher Report Form (TRF/6-18) when children were 7, 9, and 11 years old. We also administered the Child Behavior Checklist-parent report (CBCL) to the parent/caretaker at same ages and then at 13 years. We performed latent growth curve modeling to determine whether high PCE will predict externalizing, internalizing, total behavior, and attention problems at 7 years of age and whether changes in problems' scores over time differ between those exposed and non-exposed from both teacher and parent report. Besides levels of PCE as predictors, we controlled for the following covariates, namely: site, child characteristics (gender and other prenatal drug exposures), family level influences (maternal age, depression and psychological symptomatology, continuing drug use, exposure to domestic violence, home environment, and socioeconomic status), and community level factors (neighborhood and community violence).
The mean behavior problem T scores from the teacher report were significantly higher than ratings by the parent or caretaker. Latent growth curve modeling revealed a significant relationship between intercepts of problem T scores from teacher and parent ratings; i.e., children that were rated poorly by teachers were also rated poorly by their parent/caretaker or vice versa. After controlling for covariates, we found high PCE to be a significant predictor of with higher externalizing behavior problem T scores from both parent and teacher report at 7 years (p=0.034 and p=0.021, respectively) in comparison to non-PCE children. These differences in scores from either teacher or caregiver were stable through subsequent years or did not change significantly over time. Boys had higher T scores than girls on internalizing and total problems by caretaker report; they also had significantly higher T scores for internalizing, total, and attention problems by teacher ratings; the difference was marginally significant for externalizing behavior (p=0.070). Caretaker postnatal use of tobacco, depression, and community violence were significant predictors of all behavior problems rated by parent/caretaker, while lower scores on the home environment predicted all behavior outcomes by the teacher report.
Children with high PCE are likely to manifest externalizing behavior problems; their behavior problem scores at 7 years from either report of teacher or parent remained higher than scores of non-exposed children on subsequent years. Screening and identification of behavior problems at earlier ages could make possible initiation of intervention, while considering the likely effects of other confounders.
PMCID: PMC3011027  PMID: 20600844
15.  Prenatal Cocaine Exposure and Body Mass Index and Blood Pressure at 9 Years of Age 
Journal of hypertension  2010;28(6):1166-1175.
Prenatal cocaine exposure has been linked to intrauterine growth retardation and poor birth outcomes; little is known about the effects on longer-term medical outcomes, such as overweight status and hypertension in childhood. Our objective was to examine the association between prenatal cocaine exposure and body mass index and blood pressure at 9 years of age among children followed prospectively in a multi-site longitudinal study evaluating the impact of maternal lifestyle during pregnancy on childhood outcome.
This analysis includes 880 children (277 cocaine exposed and 603 with no cocaine exposure) with blood pressure, height, and weight measurements at 9 years of age. Regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationship between prenatal cocaine exposure and body mass index and blood pressure at 9 years of age after controlling for demographics, other drug exposure, birth weight, maternal weight, infant postnatal weight gain, and childhood television viewing, exercise and dietary habits at 9 years. Path analyses were used to further explore these relationships.
At 9 years of age, 15% of the children were pre-hypertensive and 19% were hypertensive; 16% were at risk for overweight status and 21% were overweight. A small percentage of women were exposed to high levels of prenatal cocaine throughout pregnancy. Among children born to these women, a higher body mass index was noted. Path analysis suggested that high cocaine exposure has an indirect effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure that is mediated through its effect on body mass index.
High levels of in-utero cocaine exposure are a marker for elevated body mass index and blood pressure among children born full term.
PMCID: PMC2874425  PMID: 20486281
Prenatal cocaine exposure; Body mass index; Childhood hypertension; Overweight; Obesity
16.  Validation of the Functional Status II questionnaire in the assessment of extremely-low-birthweight infants 
The increased survival of infants born at extremely low birthweight (ELBW) has been associated with significant morbidity, including higher rates of neurodevelopmental disability. However, formalized testing to evaluate these problems is both time-consuming and costly. The revised Functional Status questionnaire (FS-II) was designed to assess caregivers’ perceptions of the functional status of children with chronic diseases.
We evaluated the reliability and validity of the FS-II for ELBW infants at 18 to 22 months corrected age using data from the US Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network (NRN). Exploratory factor analyses were conducted using data from the network’s first follow-up study of 1080 children born in 1993 to 1994 (508 males, 572 females [53%]), and results were confirmed using data from the next network follow-up of 4022 children born in 1995 to 2000 (1864 males, 2158 females [54%]).
Results suggest that a two-factor solution comprising measures of general health and independence is most appropriate for ELBW infants. These factors differed from those found among chronically ill children, and new, more appropriate scales are presented for screening ELBW survivors. Both scales demonstrated good internal consistency: Cronbach’s α=0.87 for general health and α=0.75 for independence. Construct validity of the scales was assessed by comparing mean scores on the scales according to scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, second edition (BSID-II), and medical conditions.
As hypothesized, infants with greater functional impairments according to their BSID-II scores or medical conditions had lower scores on the general health and independence scales, supporting the validity of the scales.
PMCID: PMC3031102  PMID: 19459909
17.  The Relationship between Behavior Ratings and Concurrent and Subsequent Mental and Motor Performance in Toddlers Born at Extremely Low Birth Weight 
Journal of early intervention  2010;32(3):214-233.
When predicting child developmental outcomes, reliance on children's scores on measures of developmental functioning alone might mask more subtle behavioral difficulties especially in children with developmental risk factors. The current study examined predictors and stability of examiner behavior ratings and their association with concurrent and subsequent mental and motor performance in toddlers born at extremely low birth weight. Toddlers were evaluated using the Behavior Rating scale (BRS) and the mental and psychomotor indexes of the Bayley-II at 18 and 30 months corrected age. BRS total and factor scores showed moderate stability between 18 and 30 months. These scores also predicted 30-month Mental Scale and Psychomotor Scale scores above and beyond prior mental and motor performance. Our findings suggest that early behavior ratings are associated with child mental and motor performance; therefore, behavior ratings might be useful in identifying toddlers at developmental risk and who might benefit from early intervention.
PMCID: PMC2952951  PMID: 20948978
extremely low birth weight; Bayley; behavior ratings; performance
18.  Predicting Time to Hospital Discharge for Extremely Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2009;125(1):e146-e154.
As extremely preterm infant mortality rates have decreased, concerns regarding resource utilization have intensified. Accurate models to predict time to hospital discharge could aid in resource planning, family counseling, and perhaps stimulate quality improvement initiatives.
For infants <27 weeks estimated gestational age (EGA), to develop, validate and compare several models to predict time to hospital discharge based on time-dependent covariates, and based on the presence of 5 key risk factors as predictors.
Patients and Methods
This was a retrospective analysis of infants <27 weeks EGA, born 7/2002-12/2005 and surviving to discharge from a NICHD Neonatal Research Network site. Time to discharge was modeled as continuous (postmenstrual age at discharge, PMAD), and categorical variables (“Early” and “Late” discharge). Three linear and logistic regression models with time-dependent covariate inclusion were developed (perinatal factors only, perinatal+early neonatal factors, perinatal+early+later factors). Models for Early and Late discharge using the cumulative presence of 5 key risk factors as predictors were also evaluated. Predictive capabilities were compared using coefficient of determination (R2) for linear models, and AUC of ROC curve for logistic models.
Data from 2254 infants were included. Prediction of PMAD was poor, with only 38% of variation explained by linear models. However, models incorporating later clinical characteristics were more accurate in predicting “Early” or “Late” discharge (full models: AUC 0.76-0.83 vs. perinatal factor models: AUC 0.56-0.69). In simplified key risk factors models, predicted probabilities for Early and Late discharge compared favorably with observed rates. Furthermore, the AUC (0.75-0.77) were similar to those of models including the full factor set.
Prediction of Early or Late discharge is poor if only perinatal factors are considered, but improves substantially with knowledge of later-occurring morbidities. Prediction using a few key risk factors is comparable to full models, and may offer a clinically applicable strategy.
PMCID: PMC2951502  PMID: 20008430
19.  Educational Impact of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program in Low-Risk Delivery Centers in a Developing Country 
The Journal of pediatrics  2008;154(4):504-508.e5.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) in improving knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy of nurse midwives in low-risk delivery clinics in a developing country.
Study design
We used the content specifications of the NRP material applicable to college-educated nurse midwives working in low-risk clinics in Zambia to develop performance and self-efficacy evaluations focused on principles of resuscitation, initial steps, ventilation, and chest compressions. These evaluations were administered to 127 nurse midwives before and after NRP training and 6-months later.
After training, written scores (knowledge evaluation) improved from 57% ± 14% to 80% ± 12% (mean ± SD; P < .0001); performance scores (skills evaluation) improved the most from 43% ± 21% to 88% ± 9% (P < .0001); self-efficacy scores improved from 74% ± 14% to 90% ± 10% (P < .0001). Written and performance scores decreased significantly 6 months after training, but self-efficacy scores remained high.
As conducted, the NRP training improved educational outcomes in college-educated practicing nurse midwives. Pre-training knowledge and skills scores were relatively low despite the advanced formal education and experience of the participants, whereas the self-efficacy scores were high. NRP training has the potential to substantially improve knowledge and skills of neonatal resuscitation.
PMCID: PMC2909779  PMID: 19058815
Infant mental health journal  2008;29(6):570-587.
Effects on a family of a child with chronic illness have been described. The Impact on Family Scale (IOF) was developed to measure these effects. The impact of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with neurodevelopmental impairment on families is unknown. This study determined IOF scores for families of ELBW infants with increasing degree of impairment at 18 months and identified factors that increase vulnerability to impact. A total of 3,849 ELBW infant survivors born at the 16 centers of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network between January 1993 and February 2001 were assessed at 18 to 22 months. Infants were divided into four groups by degree of impairment. IOF scores were analyzed by impairment group. Multivariate analyses assessed effects of impairment, social/demographic factors, unmet service needs, and resource utilization on the IOF. A total of 1,624 (42.2%) infants had moderate/severe impairment. Increasing severity of impairment was associated with higher IOF scores. Severity of impairment contributed 6% of variance to the IOF scores. Twenty-one percent of variance was contributed by additional medical needs, low socioeconomic status (SES), and lack of social support. Although increasing severity of impairment impacts families of ELBW infants, significantly more impact is contributed by additional medical needs, low SES, and lack of social support.
PMCID: PMC2749276  PMID: 19779585

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