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1.  Individual and Center-Level Factors Affecting Mortality Among Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
Pediatrics  2013;132(1):e175-e184.
OBJECTIVE:
To examine factors affecting center differences in mortality for extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants.
METHODS:
We analyzed data for 5418 ELBW infants born at 16 Neonatal Research Network centers during 2006–2009. The primary outcomes of early mortality (≤12 hours after birth) and in-hospital mortality were assessed by using multilevel hierarchical models. Models were developed to investigate associations of center rates of selected interventions with mortality while adjusting for patient-level risk factors. These analyses were performed for all gestational ages (GAs) and separately for GAs <25 weeks and ≥25 weeks.
RESULTS:
Early and in-hospital mortality rates among centers were 5% to 36% and 11% to 53% for all GAs, 13% to 73% and 28% to 90% for GAs <25 weeks, and 1% to 11% and 7% to 26% for GAs ≥25 weeks, respectively. Center intervention rates significantly predicted both early and in-hospital mortality for infants <25 weeks. For infants ≥25 weeks, intervention rates did not predict mortality. The variance in mortality among centers was significant for all GAs and outcomes. Center use of interventions and patient risk factors explained some but not all of the center variation in mortality rates.
CONCLUSIONS:
Center intervention rates explain a portion of the center variation in mortality, especially for infants born at <25 weeks’ GA. This finding suggests that deaths may be prevented by standardizing care for very early GA infants. However, differences in patient characteristics and center intervention rates do not account for all of the observed variability in mortality; and for infants with GA ≥25 weeks these differences account for only a small part of the variation in mortality.
doi:10.1542/peds.2012-3707
PMCID: PMC3691533  PMID: 23753096
mortality rates; outcome; NICU; preterm infants; extremely preterm infants
2.  Ten-Year Review of Major Birth Defects in VLBW Infants 
Pediatrics  2013;132(1):49-61.
OBJECTIVE:
Birth defects (BDs) are an important cause of infant mortality and disproportionately occur among low birth weight infants. We determined the prevalence of BDs in a cohort of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants cared for at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network (NRN) centers over a 10-year period and examined the relationship between anomalies, neonatal outcomes, and surgical care.
METHODS:
Infant and maternal data were collected prospectively for infants weighing 401 to 1500 g at NRN sites between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2007. Poisson regression models were used to compare risk of outcomes for infants with versus without BDs while adjusting for gestational age and other characteristics.
RESULTS:
A BD was present in 1776 (4.8%) of the 37 262 infants in our VLBW cohort. Yearly prevalence of BDs increased from 4.0% of infants born in 1998 to 5.6% in 2007, P < .001. Mean gestational age overall was 28 weeks, and mean birth weight was 1007 g. Infants with BDs were more mature but more likely to be small for gestational age compared with infants without BDs. Chromosomal and cardiovascular anomalies were most frequent with each occurring in 20% of affected infants. Mortality was higher among infants with BDs (49% vs 18%; adjusted relative risk: 3.66 [95% confidence interval: 3.41–3.92]; P < .001) and varied by diagnosis. Among those surviving >3 days, more infants with BDs underwent major surgery (48% vs 13%, P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS:
Prevalence of BDs increased during the 10 years studied. BDs remain an important cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality among VLBW infants.
doi:10.1542/peds.2012-3111
PMCID: PMC3691532  PMID: 23733791
birth defects; prematurity; Neonatal Research Network; low birth weight
3.  Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Spontaneous Intestinal Perforation or Surgical Necrotizing Enterocolitis 
Objective
To determine if extremely low birth weight infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis have a higher risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors (secondary outcome) at 18–22 months corrected age compared to infants with spontaneous intestinal perforation and infants without necrotizing enterocolitis or spontaneous intestinal perforation.
Study Design
Retrospective analysis of the Neonatal Research Network very low birth weight registry, evaluating extremely low birth weight infants born between 2000–2005. The study infants were designated into 3 groups: 1) Spontaneous intestinal perforation without necrotizing enterocolitis; 2) Surgical necrotizing enterocolitis (Bell's stage III); and 3) Neither spontaneous intestinal perforation nor necrotizing enterocolitis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the association between the clinical group and death or neurodevelopmental impairment, controlling for multiple confounding factors including center.
Results
Infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis had the highest rate of death prior to hospital discharge (53.5%) and death or neurodevelopmental impairment (82.3%) compared to infants in the spontaneous intestinal perforation group (39.1% and 79.3%) and no necrotizing enterocolitis/no spontaneous intestinal perforation group (22.1% and 53.3%; p<0.001). Similar results were observed for neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors. On logistic regression analysis, both spontaneous intestinal perforation and surgical necrotizing enterocolitis were associated with increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment (adjusted OR 2.21, 95% CI: 1.5, 3.2 and adjusted OR 2.11, 95% CI: 1.5, 2.9 respectively) and neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors (adjusted OR 2.17, 95% CI: 1.4, 3.2 and adjusted OR 1.70, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.4 respectively).
Conclusions
Spontaneous intestinal perforation and surgical necrotizing enterocolitis are associated with a similar increase in the risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and neurodevelopmental impairment among extremely low birth weight survivors at 18–22 months corrected age.
doi:10.1038/jp.2013.128
PMCID: PMC3877158  PMID: 24135709
spontaneous intestinal perforation; necrotizing enterocolitis; extremely low birth weight; neurodevelopmental impairment
4.  Outcomes of Small for Gestational Age Infants < 27 Weeks’ Gestation 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(1):55-60.e1-3.
Objective
To determine whether small for gestational age (SGA) infants <27 weeks gestation is associated with mortality, morbidity, growth and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ corrected age (CA).
Study design
This was a retrospective cohort study from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network’s Generic Database and Follow-up Studies. Infants born at <27 weeks’ gestation from January 2006 to July 2008 were included. SGA was defined as birth weight <10th percentile for gestational age by the Olsen growth curves. Infants with birth weight ≥10th percentile for gestational age were classified as non-SGA. Maternal and infant characteristics, neonatal outcomes and neurodevelopmental data were compared between the groups. Neurodevelopmental impairment was defined as any of the following: cognitive score <70 on BSID III, moderate or severe cerebral palsy, bilateral hearing loss (+/− amplification) or blindness (vision <20/200). Logistic regression analysis evaluated the association between SGA status and death or neurodevelopmental impairment.
Results
There were 385 SGA and 2586 non-SGA infants. Compared with the non-SGA group, mothers of SGA infants were more likely to have higher level of education, prenatal care, cesarean delivery, pregnancy-induced hypertension and antenatal corticosteroid exposure. SGA infants were more likely to have postnatal growth failure, a higher mortality and to have received prolonged mechanical ventilation and postnatal steroids. SGA status was associated with higher odds of death or neurodevelopmental impairment [OR 3.91 (95% CI: 2.91–5.25), P<0.001].
Conclusion
SGA status among infants <27 weeks’ gestation was associated with an increased risk for postnatal steroid use, mortality, growth failure and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ CA.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.12.097
PMCID: PMC3947828  PMID: 23415614
extremely preterm infants; neurodevelopmental follow-up
5.  Late-Onset Sepsis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants from Singleton and Multiple Gestation Births 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;162(6):1120-1124.e1.
Objectives
To describe and compare incidence of late-onset sepsis (LOS) and demographic and clinical characteristics associated with LOS in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants from singleton and multiple births and to examine the heritability in susceptibility to LOS among VLBW twins by comparing same-sex with unlike-sex twin pairs.
Study design
We studied infants with birth weight 401–1500 grams cared for at clinical centers of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network 2002–2008. Only the first episode of LOS was examined. Stepwise logistic regression models were fitted separately for singleton and multiple pregnancies to examine the maternal and neonatal factors associated with LOS. LOS due to only gram-negative bacteria among singleton and multiple pregnancies was also examined in separate models. The heritability of LOS was estimated by examining concordance of LOS between twins from same-sex and unlike-sex pairs.
Results
LOS occurred in 25.0% (3797/15,178) of singleton and 22.6% (1196/5294) of multiple VLBW infants. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most common infecting organisms, accounting for 53.2% of all LOS episodes in singletons and 49.2% in multiples. E. coli and Klebsiella species were the most commonly isolated gram-negative organisms, and Candida albicans was the most commonly isolated fungus. Concordance of LOS was not significantly different between same-sex and unlike-sex twin pairs.
Conclusions
LOS remains a common problem in VLBW infants. The incidence of LOS is similar for singleton and multiple infants. Similar concordance of LOS in same-sex and unlike-sex twin pairs provided no evidence that susceptibility to LOS among VLBW infants is genetically determined.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.11.089
PMCID: PMC3633723  PMID: 23324523
Heredity; preterm infants; twins
6.  Use of Antihypotensive Therapies in Extremely Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2013;131(6):e1865-e1873.
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the relationships among blood pressure (BP) values, antihypotensive therapies, and in-hospital outcomes to identify a BP threshold below which antihypotensive therapies may be beneficial.
METHODS:
Prospective observational study of infants 230/7 to 266/7 weeks’ gestational age. Hourly BP values and antihypotensive therapy use in the first 24 hours were recorded. Low BP was investigated by using 15 definitions. Outcomes were examined by using regression analysis controlling for gestational age, the number of low BP values, and illness severity.
RESULTS:
Of 367 infants enrolled, 203 (55%) received at least 1 antihypotensive therapy. Treated infants were more likely to have low BP by any definition (P < .001), but for the 15 definitions of low BP investigated, therapy was not prescribed to 3% to 49% of infants with low BP and, paradoxically, was administered to 28% to 41% of infants without low BP. Treated infants were more likely than untreated infants to develop severe retinopathy of prematurity (15% vs 8%, P = .03) or severe intraventricular hemorrhage (22% vs 11%, P < .01) and less likely to survive (67% vs 78%, P = .02). However, with regression analysis, there were no significant differences between groups in survival or in-hospital morbidity rates.
CONCLUSIONS:
Factors other than BP contributed to the decision to use antihypotensive therapies. Infant outcomes were not improved with antihypotensive therapy for any of the 15 definitions of low BP investigated.
doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2779
PMCID: PMC3666108  PMID: 23650301
extremely preterm infant; antihypotensive therapy; blood pressure; hypotension
7.  Pharmacokinetics and Safety of a Single Intravenous Dose of myo-Inositol in Preterm Infants of 23 to 29 weeks 
Pediatric research  2013;74(6):721-729.
Background
Myo-inositol given to preterm infants with respiratory distress has reduced death, increased survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and reduced severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in 2 randomized trials. Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies in extremely preterm infants are needed prior to efficacy trials.
Methods
Infants of 23–29 weeks gestation were randomized to a single intravenous (IV) dose of inositol at 60 or 120 mg/kg or placebo. Over 96 h, serum levels (sparse sampling population PK) and urine inositol excretion were determined. Population PK models were fit using a nonlinear mixed effects approach. Safety outcomes were recorded.
Results
A 1-compartment model that included factors for endogenous inositol production, allometric size based on weight, gestational age (GA) strata and creatinine clearance fit the data best. The central volume of distribution was 0.5115 l/kg, the clearance 0.0679 l/kg/h, endogenous production 2.67 mg/kg/h and the half life 5.22 h when modeled without the covariates. During the first 12 h renal inositol excretion quadrupled in the 120 mg/kg group, returning to near baseline after 48 h. There was no diuretic side-effect. No significant differences in adverse events occurred between the 3 groups (p > 0.05).
Conclusions
A single compartment model accounting for endogenous production satisfactorily described the PK of IV inositol.
doi:10.1038/pr.2013.162
PMCID: PMC3962781  PMID: 24067395
8.  Early sepsis does not increase the risk of late sepsis in very low birth weight neonates 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;162(5):942-948.e3.
Objective
To examine whether preterm very low birth weight (VLBW) infants have an increased risk of late-onset sepsis (LOS) following early-onset sepsis (EOS).
Study design
Retrospective analysis of VLBW infants (401-1500 g) born September 1998 through December 2009 who survived >72 hours and were cared for within the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. Sepsis was defined by growth of bacteria or fungi in a blood culture obtained ≤72 hr of birth (EOS) or >72 hr (LOS) and antimicrobial therapy for ≥5 days or death <5 d while receiving therapy. Regression models were used to assess risk of death or LOS by 120d and LOS by 120d among survivors to discharge or 120d, adjusting for gestational age and other covariates.
Results
Of 34,396 infants studied 504 (1.5%) had EOS. After adjustment, risk of death or LOS by 120d did not differ overall for infants with EOS compared with those without EOS [RR:0.99 (0.89-1.09)] but was reduced in infants born at <25wk gestation [RR:0.87 (0.76-0.99), p=0.048]. Among survivors, no difference in LOS risk was found overall for infants with versus without EOS [RR:0.88 (0.75-1.02)], but LOS risk was shorter in infants with BW 401-750 g who had EOS [RR:0.80 (0.64-0.99), p=0.047].
Conclusions
Risk of LOS after EOS was not increased in VLBW infants. Surprisingly, risk of LOS following EOS appeared to be reduced in the smallest, most premature infants, underscoring the need for age-specific analyses of immune function.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.11.027
PMCID: PMC3622770  PMID: 23295144
Very low birth weight; early-onset sepsis; late-onset sepsis
9.  Elevated Temperature and 6-7 Year Outcome of Neonatal Encephalopathy 
Annals of neurology  2013;73(4):520-528.
OBJECTIVE
Determine if higher temperature after hypoxia-ischemia is associated with death or IQ < 70 at 6-7 yr among infants treated with intensive care without hypothermia.
DESIGN/METHODS
Control infants (non-cooled, n=106) of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network hypothermia trial had serial esophageal and skin temperatures over 72hrs. Each infant's temperature was ranked to derive an average of the upper and lower quartile, and median of each site. Temperatures were used in logistic regressions to determine adjusted associations with death or IQ < 70 at 6-7yrs. Secondary outcomes were death, IQ < 70, and moderate/severe CP. IQ and motor function were assessed with Wechsler Scales for Children and Gross Motor Function Classification System. Results are odds ratio (OR, per °C increment within the quartile or median) and 95% confidence interval (CI).
RESULTS
Primary outcome was available for 89 infants. At 6-7yrs death or IQ < 70 occurred in 54 infants (37 deaths, 17 survivors with IQ < 70) and moderate/severe CP in 15 infants. Death or IQ < 70 was associated with the upper quartile average of esophageal (OR 7.3, 95% CI 2.0-26.3) and skin temperature (OR 3.5, 95% 1.2-10.4). CP was associated with the upper quartile average of esophageal (OR 12.5, 95% CI 1.02-155) and skin temperature (OR 10.3, 95% 1.3-80.2).
CONCLUSIONS
Among non-cooled infants of a randomized trial, elevated temperatures during the first post-natal days are associated with increase odds of a worse outcome at 6-7yrs.
doi:10.1002/ana.23843
PMCID: PMC3720800  PMID: 23595408
encephalopathy; hypoxia-ischemia; hyperthermia; cerebral palsy
11.  Vitamin A Supplementation in Extremely Low- Birth-Weight Infants: Subgroup Analysis in Small-for-Gestational-Age Infants 
American journal of perinatology  2013;30(9):771-780.
Objective
Preterm infants with intrauterine growth restriction are at increased risk of respiratory distress syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). A randomized clinical trial by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network demonstrated that vitamin A supplementation in extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW) preterm infants requiring early respiratory support decreased the risk of developing BPD.
Study Design
A subgroup analysis of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants from the original NICHD trial was performed to test the hypothesis that in infants requiring early respiratory support, vitamin A supplementation decreases the relative risk of BPD or death in premature SGA infants to a greater extent than in gestational age–equivalent vitamin A–treated appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) infants.
Results
Although vitamin A supplementation significantly increased serum retinol concentrations in AGA ELBW infants (median [5th percentile, 95th percentile]: 16.3 [−7.0, 68.8] versus 2.4 [−13.9, 55.1]; p < 0.001), no increases were noted in SGA ELBW infants.
Conclusions
Given the limited power of this analysis due to a low number of SGA infants, these data did not provide evidence to support the hypothesis that vitamin A supplementation in preterm SGA infants requiring early respiratory support decreases the relative risk of BPD or death as compared with preterm AGA infants.
doi:10.1055/s-0032-1333410
PMCID: PMC3923571  PMID: 23329565
vitamin A; IUGR–intrauterine growth restriction; BPD–bronchopulmonary dysplasia; SGA–small for gestational age; AGA–appropriate for gestational age
12.  Characteristics of extremely low birth weight infant survivors with unimpaired outcomes at 30 months of age 
Objective
To evaluate characteristics of unimpaired outcome in ELBW survivors.
Study Design
ELBW infants (n=714) with 30 months’ assessments were analyzed. Logistic regression was used to develop a model for the binary outcome of unimpaired versus impaired outcome.
Results
Thirty-three percent of infants had an unimpaired outcome. 17% of ELBW survivors had a Bayley II Mental Developmental Index score of ≥101 and 2% had a score of ≥116. Female gender, use of antenatal steroids, maternal education ≥ high school and absence of major neonatal morbidities were independent predictors of unimpaired outcome. The likelihood of an unimpaired outcome in presence of major neonatal morbidities was higher in infants exposed to antenatal steroids.
Conclusions
The majority of unimpaired ELBW survivors had cognitive scores shifted towards the lower end of the normal distribution. Exposure to antenatal steroids was associated with higher likelihood of an unimpaired outcome in infants with major neonatal morbidities.
doi:10.1038/jp.2013.71
PMCID: PMC3903461  PMID: 23807719
extremely low birth weight; unimpaired outcome; outcome; antenatal steroids; cerebral palsy
13.  Hypothermia: Novel Approaches for Premature Infants 
Early human development  2011;87(Suppl 1):S17-S18.
Hypothermia for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy has recently permeated clinical practice for term infants. Speculation regarding a neuroprotective benefit of hypothermia for premature infants with HIE has been raised as a need for further research. Hypothermia for other indications including necrotizing enterocolitis with the hope of tissue preservation following injury is less well studied. A summary of evidence for hypothermia and premature infants is presented in this brief report.
doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2011.01.004
PMCID: PMC3058821  PMID: 21277717
Infant; premature; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; hypothermia; necrotizing enterocolitis
15.  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.
Objective
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.05.048
PMCID: PMC3465479  PMID: 22748517
examiner training; neurodevelopmental outcome; inter-rater agreement
16.  Outcome of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Congenital Heart Defects in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Neonatal Research Network 
Pediatric cardiology  2012;33(8):1415-1426.
Little is known about the outcomes of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) preterm infants with congenital heart defects (CHDs). The aim of this study was to assess the mortality, morbidity, and early childhood outcomes of ELBW infants with isolated CHD compared with infants with no congenital defects. Participants were 401–1,000 g infants cared for at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network centers between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2005. Neonatal morbidities and 18–22 months’ corrected age outcomes were assessed. Neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) was defined as moderate to severe cerebral palsy, Bayley II mental or psychomotor developmental index < 70, bilateral blindness, or hearing impairment requiring aids. Poisson regression models were used to estimate relative risks for outcomes while adjusting for gestational age, small for gestational-age status, and other variables. Of 14,457 ELBW infants, 110 (0.8 %) had isolated CHD, and 13,887 (96 %) had no major birth defect. The most common CHD were septal defects, tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary valve stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta. Infants with CHD experienced increased mortality (48 % compared with 35 % for infants with no birth defect) and poorer growth. Surprisingly, the adjusted risks of other short-term neonatal morbidities associated with prematurity were not significantly different. Fifty-seven (52 %) infants with CHD survived to 18–22 months’ corrected age, and 49 (86 %) infants completed follow-up. A higher proportion of surviving infants with CHD were impaired compared with those without birth defects (57 vs. 38 %, p = 0.004). Risk of death or NDI was greater for ELBW infants with CHD, although 20% of infants survived without NDI.
doi:10.1007/s00246-012-0375-8
PMCID: PMC3687358  PMID: 22644414
heart defects; congenital; follow-up studies
17.  Neurobehavioral Disinhibition Predicts Initiation of Substance Use in Children with Prenatal Cocaine Exposure 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2012;126(1-2):80-86.
Background
In previous work we (Fisher et al., 2011) examined the emergence of neurobehavioral disinhibition (ND) in adolescents with prenatal substance exposure. We computed ND factor scores at three age points (8/9, 11 and 13/14 years) and found that both prenatal substance exposure and early adversity predicted ND. The purpose of the current study was to determine the association between these ND scores and initiation of substance use between ages 8–16 in this cohort as early initiation of substance use has been related to later substance use disorders. Our hypothesis was that prenatal cocaine exposure predisposes the child to ND, which, in turn, is associated with initiation of substance use by age 16.
Methods
We studied 386 cocaine exposed and 517 unexposed children followed since birth in a longitudinal study. Five dichotomous variables were computed based on the subject’s report of substance use: alcohol only; tobacco only; marijuana only; illicit substances and any substance.
Results
Cox proportional hazard regression showed that the 8/9 year ND score was related to initiation of alcohol, tobacco, illicit and any substance use but not marijuana use. The trajectory of ND across the three age periods was related to substance use initiation in all five substance use categories. Prenatal cocaine exposure, although initially related to tobacco, marijuana and illicit substance initiation, was no longer significant with ND scores in the models.
Conclusion
Prenatal drug exposure appears to be a risk pathway to ND, which by 8/9 years portends substance use initiation.
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.04.014
PMCID: PMC3439586  PMID: 22608010
neurodevelopmental disinhibition; substance use initiation; prenatal cocaine exposure
18.  Blood stream infection is associated with altered heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine immune responses in very low birth weight infants 
Objective
Sepsis in older children and adults modifies immune system function. We compared serotype-specific antibody responses to heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) in very low birth weight infants (<1500g,VLBW) with and without blood stream infection (BSI) during their birth hospitalization.
Patients and Methods
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data for the Neonatal Research Network study of PCV7 responses among VLBWs. Infants received PCV7 at 2, 4, and 6 months after birth with blood drawn 4–6 weeks after 3rd dose. Serotype antibodies were compared between infants with or without a history of BSI. Regression models were constructed with birth-weight groups and other confounding factors identified in the primary study.
Results
244 infants completed the vaccine series and had serum antibody available; 82 had BSI. After adjustment, BSI was not associated with reduced odds of serum antibody ≥0.35μg/mL.
Conclusions
BSI was not associated with reduced odds of WHO-defined protective PCV7 responses in VLBWs.
doi:10.1038/jp.2013.5
PMCID: PMC3722279  PMID: 23370608
VLBW; immune response; vaccine; sepsis; blood stream infection
19.  Executive Summary of the Workshop on Infection in the High Risk Infant 
For newborn infants in intensive care units, the morbidity and mortality from infection continues to be a major burden despite advances in neonatal care. Infants are at risk for early onset, late onset, as well as hospital acquired infections. Research studies are needed to optimize timely diagnosis and treatment, and develop patient-specific and system-wide strategies to prevent perinatal and neonatal infections. To address the knowledge gaps that preclude optimal, evidence-based care in this critical field, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) organized a workshop in August 2008. In this paper we provide a summary of the discussions, focusing on major knowledge gaps, and prioritized suggestions for research in this area.
doi:10.1038/jp.2009.199
PMCID: PMC3038782  PMID: 20072133
infant; infection; newborn; sepsis
20.  Are Outcomes of Extremely Preterm Infants Improving? Impact of Bayley Assessment on Outcomes 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;161(2):222-8.e3.
Objectives
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.01.057
PMCID: PMC3796892  PMID: 22421261
21.  Cytokines and Post-hemorrhagic Ventricular Dilation in Premature Infants 
American journal of perinatology  2012;29(9):731-740.
Objective
To determine in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants if elevated blood inteferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) are associated with need for shunt following severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), or with ventricular dilation following milder grades /no IVH.
Study design
Whole blood cytokines were measured on postnatal days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21. Maximum IVH grade in the first 28d, and shunt surgery or ventricular dilation on subsequent ultrasound (28d -36 w PMA) were determined.
Results
Of 902 infants in the NICHD NRN Cytokine study who survived to 36w/discharge, 3.1% had shunts. Of the 12% of infants with severe (Gr III–IV) IVH, 26% had a shunt associated with elevated TNF-α. None of the infants without IVH (69%) or with Gr I (12%) or II (7%) IVH received shunts, but 8.4% developed ventricular dilation, associated with lower IFN-γ and higher IL-18.
Conclusion
Statistically significant but clinically non-discriminatory alterations in blood cytokines were noted in infants with severe IVH who received shunts and in those without severe IVH who developed ventricular dilation. Blood cytokines are likely associated with brain injury but may not be clinically useful as biomarkers for white matter damage.
doi:10.1055/s-0032-1316443
PMCID: PMC3619127  PMID: 22773292
Infant; premature; Cytokines; Hydrocephalus; Intraventricular hemorrhage; Intracranial hemorrhage
22.  Hypothermia for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy in Infants ≥ 36 weeks 
Early human development  2009;85(10 Suppl):S49.
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a serious condition affecting infants which can result in death and disability. This is a summary of pathogenesis of HIE, animal studies of cooling for hypoxic and ischemic models, human hypothermia trials, and the American Academy of Pediatrics publication on hypothermia for HIE. Hypothermia for neonatal HIE is continuing to evolve as a therapy. Studies, gaps in knowledge and opportunities for research are presented herein.
doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2009.08.015
PMCID: PMC2813680  PMID: 19762176
23.  Candida Virulence Properties and Adverse Clinical Outcomes in Neonatal Candidiasis 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;161(3):441-447.e2.
Objective
To determine if premature infants with invasive Candida infection caused by strains with increased virulence properties have worse clinical outcomes than those infected with less virulent strains.
Study design
Clinical isolates were studied from 2 populations; premature infants colonized with Candida (commensal, n=27), and those with invasive candidiasis (n=81). Individual isolates of C. albicans and C. parapsilosis were tested for virulence in each of 3 assays: phenotypic switching, adhesion, and cytotoxicity. Invasive isolates were considered to have enhanced virulence if they measured more than 1 SD above the mean for the commensal isolates in at least 1 assay. Outcomes of patients with invasive isolates with enhanced virulence were compared with those with invasive isolates lacking enhanced virulence characteristics.
Results
61% of invasive isolates of C. albicans and 42% of invasive isolates of C. parapsilosis had enhanced virulence. All C. albicans cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) isolates (n=6) and 90% of urine isolates (n=10) had enhanced virulence, compared with 48% of blood isolates (n=40). Infants with more virulent isolates were younger at the time of positive culture and had higher serum creatinine.
Conclusions
Individual isolates of Candida species vary in their virulence properties. Strains with higher virulence are associated with certain clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.02.051
PMCID: PMC3419788  PMID: 22504098
C. albicans; C. parapsilosis; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment; phenotypic switch; adhesion; cytotoxicity
24.  Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Extremely Preterm Infants 
Background
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.
Objectives
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/DBP.0b013e31825fd0af
PMCID: PMC3434239  PMID: 22926660
Autism; Prematurity; Screening
25.  Spontaneous Intestinal Perforation in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants: Association with Indometacin Therapy and Effects on Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 18-22 months Corrected Age 
Background
Spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) is associated with the use of postnatal glucocorticoids and indometacin in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. We hypothesized: 1) an association of SIP with the use of antenatal steroids (ANS) and indometacin either as prophylaxis for IVH (P Indo) or for treatment of PDA (Indo/PDA) and 2) an increased risk of death or abnormal neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants with SIP at 18-22 months corrected age.
Design/Methods
We retrospectively identified ELBW infants with SIP in the Neonatal Research Network’s generic database. Unadjusted analysis identified the differences in maternal, neonatal and clinical variables between infants with and without SIP. Logistic regression analysis identified the adjusted odds ratio for SIP with reference to ANS, P Indo and Indo/PDA. Neurodevelopmental outcomes were assessed among survivors at 18 to 22 months corrected age.
Results
Indo/PDA was associated with an increased risk of SIP (adjusted OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.25,2.08), while P Indo and ANS were not. SIP was independently associated with an increased risk of death or NDI (adjusted OR−1.85; 95% CI 1.32,2.60) and NDI among survivors (adjusted OR−1.75, 95% CI 1.20,2.55).
Conclusion
Indometacin used for IVH prophylaxis and ANS were not associated with the occurrence of SIP in ELBW infants. Indometacin used for treatment of symptomatic PDA was however associated with an increased risk of SIP. ELBW infants with SIP have an increased risk of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes.
doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-300659
PMCID: PMC3753803  PMID: 22684157
extremely low birth weight infant; intestinal perforation; indometacin; cerebral palsy

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