At a GLANCE, Teachers, Microbiomes



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Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Health in Egypt

Egyptian life expectancy at birth was 73.20 years in 2011, or 71.30 years for males and 75.20 years for females. Egypt spends 3.7 percent of its gross domestic product on health including treatment costs 22 percent incurred by citizens and the rest by the state. In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 4.66% of the country’s GDP. In 2009, there were 16.04 physicians and 33.80 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants.

As a result of modernisation efforts over the years, Egypt’s healthcare system has made great strides forward. Access to healthcare in both urban and rural areas greatly improved and immunisation programs are now able to cover 98% of the population. Life expectancy increased from 44.8 years during the 1960s to 72.12 years in 2009. There was a noticeable decline of the infant mortality rate (during the 1970s to the 1980s the infant mortality rate was 101-132/1000 live births, in 2000 the rate was 50-60/1000, and in 2008 it was 28-30/1000).

The total number of Egyptians with health insurance reached 37 million in 2009, of which 11 million are minors, providing an insurance coverage of approximately 52 percent of Egypt’s population.





Please see the wonderful global collaborators pictured below!

GLANCE 1st Founding Committee Meeting

Posted on 02 JULY 2019

In January, EFCNI announced the founding of GLANCE, the Global Alliance for Newborn Care on the annual Parent Organisations Meeting.  After thorough planning and preparations, the first GLANCE Founding Committee Meeting took place in Munich. 14 international parent representatives from Europe, Turkey, Africa, Australia, the United States, Canada and Mexico as well as four EFCNI members, had been working hard in a two days meeting to make progress in structural and organisational regards, settling for areas of activities and deciding on first global awareness campaigns.  Moreover, the group could also elaborate a global Call to Action with eight demands to advance the care for babies born too soon, too small or too sick and the support given to their families.

“My work with EFCNI has not only shown me the disparities in neonatal healthcare we are facing in Europe. In fact, I learnt that there are worldwide issues we, as a European based organisation, are not able to  tackle. We simply cannot speak for babies and families in Asia, Africa or South America, as we do not have any first-hand information about the most pressing needs and are lacking contacts and spokespersons on site. Therefore, we must establish a strong global network to efficiently join forces and to become a powerful voice for these children and their parents.”, stated EFCNI-Chairwoman Silke Mader.

GLANCE strives to expand its network of collaborating partners  in the future, to represent sick newborns and their parents in each region/continent.  We would like to thank all participants of this meeting for their valuable and inspiring input, for the insightful talks and constructive debates. With a lot of work ahead we are certain that together, we have the power to make an impact, helping babies born too soon, too small or too sick and their families – worldwide!

*** Website to be launched in November 2019

GLANCE, the Global Alliance for Newborn Care,  is a global network to represent the interests of babies born too soon, too small or too sick and their families. Initiated and coordinated under the umbrella of EFCNI, GLANCE aims at including parents, from all parts of the world to exchange knowledge and experience. GLANCE aspires to decrease the burden of afflicted families and their preterm and sick newborns to help them thrive beyond survival.


The GLANCE Founding Committee presenting the Call to Action: 1st row (f.l.t.r.): Eleni Vavouraki (Ilitominon, Greece), Nicole Thiele (EFCNI, Germany), Silke Mader (EFCNI, Germany), Ilein Bolaños (Con amor vencerás, Mexico), Ilknur Okay, (El Bebek gül Bebek, Turkey) 2nd row (f.l.t.r.): Silvia Kolossa (EFCNI, Germany), Sarah Fuegenschuh (EFCNI, Germany), Oleksandra Balyasna (Early Birds, Ukraine), Mandy Daly (INHA, Ireland), Kylie Pussell (Miracle Babies Foundation, Australia), Asta Radzevičienė (Neisnesiotukas, Lithuania), Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez (Preemie Parent Alliance, USA), Paula Guerra (XXS – Associação Portuguesa de Apoio ao Bebé Prematuro, Portugal), Livia Nagy (Melletted a helyem Egyesület alelnöke, Hungary), Alisson McNulty (TinyLife, Northern Ireland), Selina Bentoom (AFPNC, Ghana), Fabiana Bacchini (CPBF, Canada), Aurelia Abenstein (EFCNI, Germany), not in picture: Nina Nikolova (Our premature babies, Bulgaria)



Like each of us, every Warrior has unique abilities and needs. As research related to the educational  needs of our preterm birth Neonatal Womb Warriors progresses,  our ability to enhance Warrior well being will empower us to identify, create, expand and make available priceless educational tools for the preemie survivor toolbox. Thank you teachers! We appreciate the important contributions you will make to our Warrior community and to our global Community at large.

Preterm Birth Information for Education Professionals

Welcome to the Preterm Birth Information for Education Professionals home page. These five learning resources have been developed to improve your knowledge and confidence in supporting prematurely born children in the classroom.

*** The site allows you to  navigate through the resources by selecting an image for each subject!


  1. What is preterm birth?  
  • To define preterm birth
  • To understand that the more preterm a baby is born, the greater the risk of developmental problems later in life


  1. Educational outcomes following preterm birth
  • To understand that children born preterm are at risk of special educational needs and poor academic attainment
  • To identify which school subjects children born preterm are most likely to struggle with.


  1. Cognitive and motor development following preterm birth 
  • To understand that children born preterm may have difficulties with IQ, processing speed, working memory, and hand-eye coordination
  • To understand how these difficulties may impact on learning


  1. Behavioural, social and emotional outcomes following preterm birth 
  • To understand that children born preterm may be withdrawn, anxious, and inattentive, and have difficulties developing relationships with their peers
  • To understand that children born preterm don’t tend to be disruptive so their needs may be overlooked in the classroom


  1. How can education professionals support preterm children? 
  • To understand what kind of strategies might be helpful for supporting children born preterm
  • To understand that preterm birth is a risk factor and an individual assessment is always necessary to provide appropriate support




Does being born preterm matter at secondary school?

By Maria Burke – 28 March 2019

Research into preterm children’s long-term development and learning could inform strategies for teachers to support their progress.

Children born before 34 weeks gestation are more likely to have poorer reading and math skills than those born at full term, although not every child born prematurely will experience learning or developmental challenges. As medical science advances and more babies survive premature birth, an average primary class will include two preterm children. What does this mean for secondary school teachers, and science teachers, in particular?

David Odd, a neonatal consultant at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, has studied the impact of premature birth on school performance. He recently reported that preterm children have a higher risk of needing special educational support and achieving low GCSE scores than those born at full term, although the impact of prematurity appears to diminish the longer children are at school. He also found that infants born before 32 weeks gestation have the highest risk of poor school outcomes.

What’s more, school entry dates are based on children’s actual birthdates rather than their due dates, which appears to have a measurable impact on preterm students’ exam results in adolescence. David reports that, consequently, this may ‘limit adulthood opportunities’. There is evidence that placing a preterm child in the ‘correct’ school year reduces the possibility of special educational needs (SEN).

‘[The education system] is only just starting to consider the best ways to support these ex-preterm infants as they grow,’ David comments. ‘Preterm birth is common and most teachers will have ex-preterm infants in their classrooms. Training may be useful, but recognition of this group of vulnerable infants is certainly important. Recognising their “true age” and that they have higher risk of additional needs would perhaps be the first step.’ David strongly supports flexibility on school admission age for this group, as his results suggest that this may lead to improved late educational outcomes, particularly for those born extremely preterm.

Struggles with math and science

Preterm children experience particular difficulties with working memory and hand-eye coordination (visuospatial awareness), according to research by Samantha Johnson, a developmental psychologist at the University of Leicester, and Camilla Gilmore, who studies mathematical cognition at the University of Loughborough. This could be why some preterm children find maths challenging at primary level, as reported by the Premature Infants’ Skills in Mathematics (PRISM) study.

Samantha and her colleagues are currently researching mathematics attainment in secondary school (PRISM-2). Early evidence shows that preterm students are still at higher risk of lower attainment than their term-born peers. In particular, they found that students born very preterm tend to struggle more with many aspects of maths, including basic number skills, arithmetic and algebra. ‘Given the close relationship between science and mathematics, it’s likely that science education might also be an area of difficulty,’ Camilla adds.

  • A preterm birth occurs before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.
  • Each year around 60,000 babies are born preterm in the UK (7% of all births).
  • Of these: 5% are born before 28 weeks (extremely preterm); 11% at 28–32 weeks (very preterm); and 85% at 32–37 weeks (moderate to late preterm).


The team found that the attainment of very preterm children showed little change from primary to secondary school compared with their peers. ‘Although very preterm children don’t seem to catch up with their peers by secondary school, they also don’t seem to fall further behind,’ says Camilla.

Samantha and Camilla believe that students born very preterm who struggle with maths may need different types of support compared with other students who have difficulties. ‘They may benefit from particular strategies that reduce the working memory demands of classroom activities, or extra support with visuospatial skills,’ Camilla says. ‘For example, science subjects may have particularly high visuospatial demands, such as reading information from graphs, drawing diagrams or carrying out practicals, and some preterm children may struggle with this.’

How useful is labelling?

Disclosing preterm birth status would help to identify those who could benefit from more support, says Jenny Retzler, a developmental psychologist at the University of Huddersfield. Jenny explains there is evidence that preterm children with attention problems don’t always receive the SEN support they require. ‘This is thought to partly be down to the fact that these symptoms tend to be tricky to observe,’ Jenny comments. ‘For example, they have difficulty paying attention, or with schoolwork, rather than disruptive behaviour. Jenny points to research suggesting that the majority of teachers and educational psychologists think disclosing preterm birth status could be helpful. ‘Few felt it would cause any negative effects due to labelling,’ she notes.

Jane Essex, a chemistry education lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, disagrees. ‘[Identification] has no meaningful predictive capacity, and provides no guidance on how education should be conducted,’ she says. Jane thinks teachers should only use functional labels to guide practice. Prematurity might be only one reason for slower processing ability. She believes that making adjustments to help a child learn shouldn’t depend on cause but rather their functional significance in learning. ‘So slow processing speeds mean that lists or instructions need to be short, repeated and supported with icons, signs and writing to make them more memorable.’

Rob Butler, a special school science teacher for 20 years, also has reservations. ‘A diagnosis is really only useful to the school if it provides a set of strategies to help the child. There is also a danger that it sets parents up to expect provision that they might not receive, especially within a stretched mainstream school.’

However, many teachers report that they don’t know enough about the difficulties preterm children may face and lack confidence in supporting them, says Samantha. Her team is working with teachers, educational psychologists, parents and young adults born preterm to design an online training resource for teachers. This resource provides information about preterm birth and how it can affect long-term development and learning as well as strategies for teachers to support learning. A recent evaluation of this resource found that teachers’ knowledge and confidence increased after use, Camilla reports. The great news is that this training material will be freely available for teachers ‘very soon’.


The Global Health Network Annual Report 2019 is Now Available to Read Online

Please check out this informative, colorful and progressive publication that describes The GHN as follows:

“The Global Health Network supports health professionals to lead research in the world’s most challenging settings and enables organizations to share best practice and know-how around the globe.

The Global Health Network enables health workers in the world’s most vulnerable regions to undertake health research to drive sustainable health improvements. This is achieved by delivering research capacity development and career support to research teams and frontline healthcare workers, no matter where they are or how resource-constrained their environment”.




The ideal strategy of weaning from nasal continuous positive airway pressure in preterm infants: are we there yet?

Islam Nour – Department of Pediatrics/Neonatology, Mansoura University Children’s Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt – Department of Pediatrics/Neonatology, Mansoura University Children’s Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt

First published: 25 December 2018

The ideal strategy of weaning off nCPAP is not established. Premature discontinuation may lead to atelectasis, apnoea and bradycardia, respiratory distress, prolonged oxygen therapy and ultimately lung injury 1. On the other hand, undue prolonged therapy increases the risk of nasal trauma, gastric distension, pneumothorax and agitation 2.

Previous studies showed conflicting results. Amatya et al. 3 found that more infants in the gradual wean group were successfully weaned off nCPAP as compared with the sudden wean group, with no difference in respiratory morbidity, weight gain, days on nCPAP and length of hospital stay. In contrast, Eze et al. 4 demonstrated that weaning CPAP in very preterm infants via sprinting (gradual increasing spontaneous breathing off nCPAP) versus weaning pressure down were comparable, regarding successful weaning and the occurrence of common neonatal morbidities. Jensen et al. have shown no difference in weight gain velocity from randomisation to 40 weeks PMA and in secondary outcomes between preterm infants born before 32 weeks of gestation, randomised to sudden weaning versus pressure weaning from nCPAP. The discrepancy in the findings of the Jensen et al.’ study and previous studies may be related to differences in gestational age and the severity of respiratory dysfunction, as infants enrolled in Jensen et al. and Amatya et al.’ studies had higher gestational age [median GA 30 (29–31), mean 28.7 ± 1.8 weeks, respectively], compared to Eze et al. [median 26.5 (23.6–30.6) weeks] and had less severe respiratory dysfunction as the need for surfactant was 36, 20%, respectively versus 63–73% in Eze et al. study.

More infants <28 weeks of gestation at birth were successfully weaned from nCPAP during the first attempt in the pressure wean group compared with the sudden wean group. Similarly, Soe et al. 5 found that pressure weaning was more effective than cycling off nCPAP in infants born 24–27 weeks of gestation but not in infants over 28 weeks of gestation at birth. This may indicate that pressure weaning is more appropriate in these infants or that they should have different readiness to wean from nCPAP criteria such as lower FiO2 requirements, lower nCPAP pressure and older postnatal age.

This is the largest RCT to date to compare sudden wean and pressure wean of very preterm infants from CPAP. However, the results of this study should be interpreted with caution, due to some limitations such as:

  • This study has adopted stability criteria for readiness to wean from nCPAP with a relatively high nCPAP pressure <8 cm H2O, in contrast to 4–6 cm H2O used in previous studies 3, 6. We assume that this high pressure may not be ideal for infants born before 28 weeks of gestation;
  • The authors used weight gain velocity from randomisation to term‐equivalent corrected gestational age as a primary outcome. However, weigh gain velocity in preterm infants is not only related to successful weaning off nCPAP but related to many other factors including initial weight percentile, sepsis, cardiovascular disease, feeding intolerance, necrotizing enterocolitis and respiratory requirements 7.

Where do we go from here? In preterm infants <32 weeks of gestation, sudden discontinuation and gradual pressure weaning strategies seem to be equally effective approaches for weaning from nCPAP, and pressure wean may be preferred in infants who <28 weeks of gestation. However, future studies are warranted for refinement of readiness to wean from nCPAP criteria and to study the influence of different nCPAP weaning strategies on long‐term pulmonary and neurodevelopmental outcomes.


URL to the full review on the EBNEO web site-


Homeward Bound: The Discharge of a Technology-Dependent Infant from the NICU

Abstract: Peer Reviewed

Valerie Boebel Toly, PhD, RN, CPNP,, and Carol M. Musil, PhD, RN, FAA

Purpose: An estimated 3.1% of infants discharged from the NICU require ongoing life-saving medical technological equipment such as supplemental oxygen and feeding tubes. The study purpose was to examine mothers’ psychological well-being (e.g., presence of depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms) during the three months following their technology dependent infant’s discharge from the NICU. Methods: A longitudinal, descriptive study design was employed to examine maternal psychological well-being a three time points; 2-3 weeks prior to discharge, one and three months post discharge. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 19 mothers of infants dependent on medical technology being discharged from a large Midwest Level 4 NICU in the United States. Results: The total scores for maternal depressive symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms indicated over one third of the mothers were experiencing psychological distress at discharge. Nearly one half were at increased risk for clinical depression and PTSD and warranted referral for mental health assistance one month post-discharge. Conclusions: A large percentage of study participants reported considerable psychological distress. It is vitally important to perform mental health assessments prior to the discharge of technology-dependent infants prior to discharge and at regular intervals following discharge and refer for mental health assistance as needed. Such finding indicate the critical need to offer enhanced transition services and education as well as assessment of discharge readiness by the interdisciplinary NICU team.

FULL ARTICLE: egypt.7.jpg  Source:




Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor) Mar 27 2019

Artificial placenta based life support technology breaks its 4 minute mile

A major advancement in pioneering technology based around the use of an artificial womb to save extremely premature babies is being hailed as a medical and biotechnological breakthrough.

Recently published in the medical publication, The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study presents world first data demonstrating the ability of an artificial placenta based life support platform to maintain extremely preterm lamb fetuses (600­700g); equivalent to a human fetus at 24 weeks of gestation.

Head of WIRF’s Perinatal Research Laboratories and Local Chief Investigator, Associate Professor Matt Kemp, said that whilst previous research had demonstrated the feasibility of extended survival with artificial placenta technology in late preterm fetuses, there was no published evidence that demonstrated the use of the platform to support extremely preterm fetuses the eventual clinical target of this technology.

“For several decades there has been little improvement in outcomes of extremely preterm infants born at the border of viability (21­24 weeks gestation),” Assoc Prof Kemp said.

“In the AJOG study, we have proven the use of this technology to support, for the first time, extremely preterm lambs equivalent to 24 weeks of human gestation in a stable, growth normal state for five days.

“This result underscores the potential clinical application of this technology for extremely preterm infants born at the border of viability. In the world of artificial placenta technology, we have effectively broken the 4 minute mile.”

Assoc Professor Matt Kemp said the latest findings represent a significant milestone in the technology’s future implementation into clinical use.

“If we are to improve outcomes for babies born at the border of viability we must recognize that they are not ‘small babies’; rather, they are a unique patient demographic that, due to their extremely underdeveloped lungs and limited cardiovascular capacity, require an entirely different treatment approach from older preterm infants.

“The technology was designed to revolutionize the treatment of severely premature newborns. The goal is to offer a bridge between a natural womb and the outside world to give babies born at the earliest gestational ages more time for their fragile lungs to mature.

“With additional refinement, what today might be considered as futuristic technology might soon not be so futuristic and might be standard of care.”

The EVE Therapy project brings together leading academic researchers from the Women and Infants Research Foundation, The University of Western Australia and Tohoku University Hospital, Japan, and is undertaken in close partnership with one of Japan’s foremost biomedical technology companies, Nipro Corporation.




Johns Hopkins University and University of Manitoba Faculty Awarded Grant to Study Prelacteals’ Impact on Neonatal Microbiome July 8, 2019

In many countries, ritual foods, such as honey and animal milk, are commonly given to newborns before they are first breastfed or early in life. These foods, called prelacteals, may undermine the benefits newborns would otherwise receive from exclusive breastfeeding. Dr. Alain Labrique of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Dr. Meghan Azad of the University of Manitoba received a grant awarded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “Call-to-Action” to participants of the 2018 Grand Challenges meeting in Berlin, Germany. Building on Labrique and Azad’s prior work, in Bangladesh and Canada, respectively, the study will assess whether prelacteals affect the populations of bacteria in the newborn gut (the microbiome), a first step to understanding how this may affect development and survival.

Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding helps maintain healthy growth in infants and protects them against infections. The gut microbiome is intrinsically involved in both of these processes.  However, in Bangladesh and many other low-resource countries, it is a common cultural practice to give newborns ritual foods, like honey or animal milk, before breastfeeding begins. Labrique and Azad hypothesize that prelacteals interfere in the development of an optimal gut microbe, which, in turn, impedes newborn development.

To test this, they will use a long-standing population research site in rural Bangladesh ( and compare the types and amounts of bacteria in the gut using stool samples from 300 prelacteal-fed or exclusively breastfed infants at 7 days, 28 days and 3 months of life. They will also analyze prelacteal composition to search for pathogens, heavy metal contaminants, as well as examine bacterial populations in the breastmilk and on the skin of the mothers. The study will enable them to quantify the potentially negative impact of this widespread cultural practice, common to over a billion people across the Gangetic floodplain in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives of the Gates Foundation fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Meeting participants in Berlin were invited to identify a major global health challenge and submit a two-page proposal describing how they would solve it. “Prelacteals: A Source of Infection and Microbiome Disruption?” will help foster a new collaboration that links cutting-edge population research and state-of-the-art laboratory science, the results of which could lead to important future policy implications.

Labrique, an associate professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School, is an infectious disease epidemiologist and a globally recognized leader in developing and testing innovations to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. Azad, a Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics & Child Health at the University of Manitoba, is an expert in the developmental origins of chronic disease, including asthma, allergies, obesity and diabetes. She uses a trans-disciplinary approach to bridge the traditional pillars of research. Azad also serves as a research scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM).





Preterm babies are less likely to form romantic relationships in adulthood

Posted on 17 July 2019

Adults who were born preterm (under 37 weeks gestation) are less likely to have a romantic relationship, a sexual partner and experience parenthood than those born full term. The meta-analysis by researchers at the University of Warwick with data from up to 4.4 million adult participants showed that those born preterm are 28% less likely to ever be in a romantic relationship.

  • A study of up to 4.4m adult participants has shown that those who were born preterm (under 37 weeks gestation) are less likely to form romantic relationships, have sexual relations or experience parenthood than those who were born full term
  • Research from the University of Warwick suggests it’s partly due to pre-term birth being associated with being more often withdrawn and shy, socially excluded and less likely to take risks in adolescence
  • More needs to be done in schools and by parents to encourage social interactions at younger ages, so when they transition to adulthood they are more likely to meet someone and increase their wellbeing

A meta-analysis conducted by researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick, Association of Preterm Birth/Low Birth Weight with Romantic Partnership, Sexual Intercourse and Parenthood in Adulthood: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’ , was published in JAMA Open on 12 July. They have found that adults who were born pre-term are less likely to form romantic relationships than full-term peers.

In the analysis 4.4 million adult participants those born preterm were 28% less likely to form romantic relationships and 22% less likely to become parents, when compared to those born full term.

Those studies that looked at sexual relations of pre-term children found that they were 2.3 times less likely to ever have a sexual partner when compared to full terms.

Those adults who were born very (<32 weeks gestation) or extremely preterm <28 weeks gestation) had even lower chances of experiencing sexual relationships, finding a romantic partner or having children at the same age as those born full term, with   the  extremely pre-term born adults being 3.2 times less likely to ever having sexual relations.

Close and intimate relationships have been shown to increase happiness and well-being both physically and mentally. However, studies also show that forming those relationships is harder for pre-term born adults, as they are usually timid, socially withdrawn and low in risk-taking and fun seeking.

Despite having fewer close relationships, this meta-analysis also revealed that when preterm born adults had friends or a partner, the quality of these relationships was at least as good in preterms compared to full term born adults.

First author of the paper, Dr Marina Goulart de Mendonça from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick comments:

“The finding that adults who were born pre-term are less likely to have a partner, to have sex and become parents does not appear to be explained by a higher rate of disability. Rather preterm born children have been previously found to have poorer social interactions in childhood that make it harder for them to master social transitions such as finding a partner, which in turn is proven to boost your wellbeing.”

The senior author, Professor Dieter Wolke, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick adds: “Those caring for preterm children including parent’s health professionals and teachers should be more aware of the important role of social development and social integration for pre-term children. As preterm children tend to be more timid and shy, supporting them making friends and be integrated in their peer group will help them to find romantic partners, have sexual relationships and to become parents. All of which enhances wellbeing.”

Paper available to view at: JAMA Network Open  Full list of authors: Marina Mendonca, Ayten Bilgin, Dieter Wolke


Music helps to build the brains of very premature babies

unicef.jpgUniversité de Genève (UNIGE) –Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) demonstrate how music specially composed for premature infants strengthens the
development of their brain networks and could limit the neurodevelopmental delays that often affect these children.



Sharing stories offers immeasurable potential for healing individually, within our families and for our healthcare provider, research,  technology, and other Neonatal Womb community members. Choose conversation, writing, dance,  art, music, exercise, meditation, therapy or follow your unique guidance to explore your preterm birth experience. Celebrate you, your journey and those that share your journey…..


Integrating infant mental health into the neonatal intensive care unit

April 3, 2019  –  Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Psychotherapists attend to mental health needs of NICU families, specifically focusing on the developing relationship between babies and parents.

Bringing a baby into the world involves many firsts — mothers and fathers are discovering their new roles, babies are learning what it means to live outside the womb, and the family is forging a relationship and bonding. What happens when this time of uncertainty is complicated by medical issues?

Many infants born premature or with other complications often forego their first weeks or months at home for a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. The NICU is designed to deliver critical medical care to babies in need but can be traumatic for infants and their families, alike. In the Early Childhood Mental Health Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, clinical psychologists Marian Williams, PhD, Patricia Lakatos, PhD, and a team of infant-family mental health specialists work towards greater mental health awareness in the NICU.

Infants may not be the first age group called to mind in discussions of mental health. Yet, for babies in critical medical condition, Dr. Lakatos says an “infant mental health-informed perspective” could reduce stress and improve bonding with parents. This means not only focusing on the physical needs of the child but also the emotional and mental needs, not an easy task for newborn infants who cannot make their voices heard.

In an article published in Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, Dr. Lakatos, Dr. Williams, and co-authors Tamara Matic, MD, and Melissa Carson, MD, advocate for a third component of the NICU family — the relationship between baby and parents. “A lot of mental health work in NICUs currently focus on either the mental health of parents or on the baby’s development,” says Dr. Williams, who is also the Director of the Stein Tikun Olam Infant-Family Mental Health Initiative at CHLA. “We also want to focus on the relationship between babies and their parents.”

Many parents of children in intensive care units experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which can threaten bonding with a newborn baby. In order to support the developing relationship between parents and their new baby, the CHLA infant mental health team turned to a model of intervention that has demonstrated success in families who have undergone trauma. Child-Parent Psychotherapy — or CPP — addresses the parent-child relationship directly, nurturing and advocating for it in its own right.

With funding from the Stein Tikun Olam Infant-Family Health Initiative, Drs. Williams and Lakatos, and the team were able to adapt CPP to the NICU setting at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Their publication describes how the established, evidence-based CPP model can be used to nurture developing infant-parent relationships in the NICU. While it has been implemented in other settings, CPP is not commonly integrated into NICU patient care.

CPP is a flexible model that has multiple levels of intervention, depending upon individual family needs. Sessions with trained CPP providers can vary in number or duration, with the aim of restoring a developmental trajectory for parent and child. CPP providers advocate for mental health needs of parents and babies, working alongside their medical and social work colleagues. “When babies are in the hospital, we need to think about them, their parents, and their relationships,” says Dr. Lakatos.

Appropriately, NICU medical staff focus on the acute physical needs of the child. Dr. Williams sees clinical psychologists in a necessary, complementary role. “These babies are eventually going home,” she says. “They are missing out on their bonding time, but there is great potential for resilience. Being mindful of the stressors these families are facing helps them feel understood and can set them on a positive trajectory.”

Materials provided by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.



KAT’S Corner

On September 1, 2019 we are launching a 36 day Instagram at handle-katkcampos honoring the 36 countries we have  highlighted in the Neonatal Womb Warriors blog for the past 3 and ½ years. We identified 36 global fashion “trends” for Fall 2019 and paired them with a country we have “visited” to date.  The pairing was blind (two sets of folded up paper with fashion and country names chosen blindly from two separate bowls) and we are including an item made by or representing each country somewhere in the photo shoot.  Although this Instagram series is meant to be a fun tribute illustrating our gratitude and love for the community at large, the healthcare challenges related to preterm birth are extremely serious. Our goal is to continue to shine a light on our amazing global preterm birth community so that we can work together to identify our  needs and resources, create solutions, support and enhance the wellbeing of ALL of our community partners.

Surfing In Egypt


Coral Surfing Egypt-Published on Aug 23, 2016












Our efforts to gain information regarding our Neonatal Womb community in the Russian Federation was difficult, as gaining information in general outside of the US currently seems to be. Our’s and yours beat together within the rhythms of the universe, the water that touches your shores falls as rain on our garden flowers, the air we breathe is ours to share.

 We cherish you, our family.





Russia or the Russian Federation is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019[update], including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia’s capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod.

The Russian Constitution guarantees free, universal health care for all its citizens. In practice, however, free health care is partially restricted because of mandatory registration. While Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health care workers than almost any other country in the world on a per capita basis, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the health of the Russian population has declined considerably as a result of social, economic, and lifestyle changes; the trend has been reversed only in the recent years, with average life expectancy having increased 5.2 years for males and 3.1 years for females between 2006 and 2014.


Estimated number of preterm births per 100 live births  Rate: 7% RANK: 155

(US Rate: USA – 12% Rank: 54)




The changes in preemie care that may have helped the world’s smallest babies survive

By Dr. Shailja Mehta – Jun 3, 2019

What is believed to be the world’s smallest newborn baby to survive entered the world nearly four months earlier than planned, weighing 8.6 ounces – about the size of a juice box.

Baby Saybie was born at the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego. She was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where care is given to newborns who need special attention, and finally sent home after 5 months of treatment.

Premature babies like Saybie, who were unlikely to survive if they were born just a few decades ago, are thriving thanks to advances in modern medicine.

Dr. Jonathan Blau, a neonatologist at Staten Island University Hospital, told ABC News that the NICU usually handles the monitoring and treatment of newborns who are at risk for survival. A NICU team usually consists of a neonatologist, a specialized nurse, and a respiratory specialist who arrive and prepare a baby warmer even before the baby is delivered. When the baby is born it is taken to a warmer where heat and oxygen are provided.

Very small premature babies like Saybie are usually hooked up to a tube connected to a breathing machine, and a team constantly monitors their heart rate and blood pressure. “They also get medicines, hydration through IVs, x-rays, and antibiotics,” said Dr. Blau.

All babies undergo dramatic body system changes after birth. Some of these include breathing on their own, changes in the heart structure and direction of blood flow in large vessels. Healthy babies born after 9 months of gestation typically do not need medical help to go through these changes. But premature babies or those with health problems can have difficulty making that transition into the world.

Survival rates for premature babies vary based on the length of pregnancy, weight and sex of the baby, and whether they received a specific medication to help quicken their lung maturity before birth.

A developing fetus goes through important growth throughout pregnancy, including in the final months and weeks, according to the CDC. For example, the brain, lungs, and liver develop during the final weeks of pregnancy. Babies born too early, especially before 32 weeks, have higher rates of death and disability. In 2015, preterm birth and low birth weight accounted for about 17% of infant deaths.

According to Dr. Blau, preemies born at 24 weeks now have a 50% chance of survival. That chance goes up with increasing gestational age. Once the fetus reaches 28 weeks, over 90% of preterm babies survive.

It has been standard to provide lifesaving treatment to a baby born at 24 weeks, according to Dr. Blau, but now doctors are using new technology to try to save babies born ever earlier in some cases.

Care for premature babies has developed immensely over the last few decades, and it’s hard to believe less than a century ago, preemies were sent home with their parents, often with no medical intervention.

The first American NICUs providing specialized newborn care were designed in 1960s by Dr. Louis Gluck, around the same time doctors were learning more about the spread of infection.

Dr. Gluck’s research showed that bathing babies and washing hands reduced the number of bacterial infections. His discovery transformed the NICU layout from babies isolated in cubicles to one large room filled with newborns in their incubators.

In the 1970s, doctors discovered the benefits of mothers holding their babies after giving birth. Dr. Heidelise Als, a specialist in newborn infant behavior, created the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP), and encouraged family involvement and individualized care plans for each baby.

Families began staying overnight in the hospital, and were encouraged to participate in “skin to skin” bonding, sometimes also called “kangaroo care,” where the baby is held closely or placed on the mother’s chest to maximize skin contact. Increased skin contact in the NICU has many benefits for the baby including reducing stress levels, helping with growth, controlling the heart rate and regulating breathing.

Technology to better treat premature babies continues to be developed today. Earlier this year, a team of scientists at Northwestern created and are testing soft, flexible wireless sensors for babies to monitor their vital functions, replacing long cords, and found that they were just as accurate and allowed better parent-child interaction.

“We have more sophisticated ventilators that have allowed some of the smallest babies to survive,” Dr. Blau said.

With a growing base of professional knowledge about neonatal care and constant improvements in technology, Dr. Blau thinks the future is bright.

“In addition to lifesaving care for our youngest newborns, we will strive to maximize developmental outcomes so these children can live happy and healthy childhoods.”

*** Dr. Shailja Mehta is a Female Pelvic Reconstructive Medicine and Surgery Fellow at Yale University, working with the ABC News Medical Unit


Universal Health Coverage Day 2019


On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) – the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority for international development. In 2017, the international community celebrated 12 December as the first International Universal Health Coverage Day.

International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners. Each year on 12 December, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, champion what we have achieved so far, call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and encourage diverse groups to make commitments to help move the world closer to UHC by 2030.






Neonatology Considerations for the Pediatric Surgeon

Updated: Mar 11, 2019  Author: Ibrahim SI Mohamed, MB, BCh, DISP(Fr); Chief Editor: Robert K Minkes, MD, PhD

Neonatal Gestational Age and Birth Weight

As a prerequisite to determine whether neonates fall into reference ranges, all infants are classified on the basis of gestational age (GA) and birth weight (BW).

Early ultrasonography (US) improved the accuracy of pregnancy dating, but discrepancies in dates, physical examination findings, and size necessitate further evaluation. If antenatal care has been lacking, physical assessment remains the primary clinical determinant of GA. GA is noted in completed weeks after the onset of the last menstrual period (LMP).

A term infant is an infant who is born after 37 completed weeks (i.e., ≥37 0/7 weeks’ gestation). A preterm infant is born before 37 completed weeks (i.e., < 37 weeks’ gestation). A post term infant is born after 42 0/7 weeks’ gestation.

Several terms are used to classify neonates according to BW, as follows:

  • Low birth weight (LBW) neonates weigh less than 2500 g, either because of prematurity, because they are small for their gestational age, or both
  • Very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates weigh less than 1500 g (3 lb 5 oz) at birth [1]
  • Extremely low birth weight (ELBW) neonates weigh less than 1000 g (2 lb 3 oz) at birth

These classifications aid the clinician in predicting clinical courses and outcomes.

Small for gestational age (SGA) neonates are those whose BW is less than the 10th percentile for their gestational age. These infants are more prone to hypoxemia and meconium aspiration during labor. They are also at higher risk for polycythemia and require special attention to prevent hypothermia [2] and hypoglycemia. The placenta should be carefully examined by pathologists. These infants are at increased risk for developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). They often have higher than normal caloric requirements for growth.

Intrauterine growth retardation or restriction (IUGR) is used to describe neonates whose growth is not at the 10th percentile for their gestational age in utero or in neonates in whom the weight percentile is decreasing in relation to GA (ie, crossing the 10th percentile lines); these neonates may be SGA.

Considerable evidence has shown that IUGR and smallness for gestational age can increase the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. This has led to a rapidly growing field: study of the fetal origins of adult diseases.

Large for gestational age (LGA) infants are those whose weight is greater than 90th percentile for their gestational age. These infants are at increased risk for perinatal asphyxia, birth injury, hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, polycythemia, and thrombocytopenia. Infants of mothers with diabetes are often large for gestational age.

These classifications aid the clinician in predicting clinical courses and outcomes.

Small for gestational age (SGA) neonates are those whose BW is less than the 10th percentile for their gestational age. These infants are more prone to hypoxemia and meconium aspiration during labor. They are also at higher risk for polycythemia and require special attention to prevent hypothermia [2] and hypoglycemia. The placenta should be carefully examined by pathologists. These infants are at increased risk for developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). They often have higher than normal caloric requirements for growth.

Intrauterine growth retardation or restriction (IUGR) is used to describe neonates whose growth is not at the 10th percentile for their gestational age in utero or in neonates in whom the weight percentile is decreasing in relation to GA (ie, crossing the 10th percentile lines); these neonates may be SGA.

Considerable evidence has shown that IUGR and smallness for gestational age can increase the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. This has led to a rapidly growing field: study of the fetal origins of adult diseases.

Large for gestational age (LGA) infants are those whose weight is greater than 90th percentile for their gestational age. These infants are at increased risk for perinatal asphyxia, birth injury, hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, polycythemia, and thrombocytopenia. Infants of mothers with diabetes are often large for gestational age.



New doctors’ DNA ages six times faster than normal in first year

Long work hours of intern year associated with accelerated shortening of telomere regions of chromosomes

Date: May 15, 2019 Source: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan


Every summer, tens of thousands of newly minted doctors start the most intense year of their training: the first year of residency, also called the intern year. A new study suggests that the experience will make their DNA age six times faster than normal. And the effect will be largest among those whose training programs demand the longest hours.

In just a few short weeks, tens of thousands of newly minted doctors will start the most intense year of their training: the first year of residency, also called the intern year.

A new study suggests that between now and next summer, that experience will make their DNA age six times faster than normal. And the effect will be largest among those whose training programs demand the longest hours.

The findings about the effect of residency focus on the stretch of DNA called telomeres — which keep the ends of chromosomes intact like the plastic end of shoelaces. The discovery that telomeres shrink in an accelerated way among interns suggest the importance of ongoing efforts to reduce the strain of medical training.

But the researchers say their study also holds implications for other professions and situations that expose people to prolonged stress and months of long hours.

Published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the new study is the first to measure telomere length before and after individuals faced a common prolonged intense experience. It involved 250 interns from around the country who volunteered for the Intern Health Study, based at the University of Michigan, and a comparison group of college students from U-M.

“Research has implicated telomeres as an indicator of aging and disease risk, but these longitudinal findings advance the possibility that telomere length can serve as a biomarker that tracks effects of stress, and helps us understand how stress gets ‘under the skin’ and increases our risk for disease,” says Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., the U-M neuroscientist and psychiatrist who is the study’s senior author and heads the Intern Health Study.

He adds, “It will be important to study how telomere changes play out in larger groups of medical trainees, and in other groups of people subjected to specific prolonged stresses such as military training, graduate studies in the sciences and law, working for startup companies, or pregnancy and the first months of parenting.”

Sen’s team worked with Kathryn Ridout, M.D., Ph.D., the new study’s first author, during the research portion of her residency at Brown University. She is now a psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente in California as well as having an appointment at Brown.

“The current model of intern year training during residency increases trainee stress, which impacts their mental health and wellbeing. These results extend this work and are the first to show that this stress reaches down to the biological level, impacting the well accepted marker of aging and disease risk, telomere length,” says Ridout. “I was particularly surprised to see the relation of number of hours worked to telomere shortening.”

Sen notes that after the discovery that telomeres protect the DNA in chromosomes from damage — a discovery that earned the 2009 Nobel Prize — research on them in humans has focused on taking snapshots of telomere length, mainly in older adults. This has yielded important discoveries about the links between shrunken telomeres and disease.

Ridout analyzed data from dozens of telomere studies for a meta analysis published in 2016 that showed clear links between telomere length and the risk and severity of depression.

In the new study, Sen and his colleagues asked recently graduated medical students to contribute a sample of their DNA before they began their intern year, and then followed up to get another sample at the end of that year. The interns also took a lengthy questionnaire before their training began, and again at several points during and at the end of the intense year.

The results show that some new doctors went into residency with telomeres that were already shorter than their peers. This included those who said their family environment early in life was especially stressful — which echoes previous findings about the impacts of such an upbringing on telomere length.

Those who scored high on personality traits that together are classed as “neuroticism” — being quick to react and slow to relax, and a tendency to respond with negativity — also had shorter telomeres at the start of intern year.

But when the team looked at the results of the DNA tests taken after intern year ended, only one factor that they studied emerged with a clear link to telomere shrinkage: the number of hours the interns worked each week.

On average, all the interns in the study said they worked an average of 64.5 hours a week. But the more the interns worked, and therefore the more days they put in that were at or above the national limit of 16 hours in effect at the time, the faster their telomeres shrank.

“The responses given by some of the interns in these surveys indicated that some were averaging more than 80 hours of work a week, and we found that those who routinely worked that many hours had most telomere attrition,” says Sen. “Those whose hours were at the lower end of the range had less telomere attrition.”

By contrast, the comparison group of 84 first-year U-M undergraduate students experienced no telomere shrinkage, despite also being in a stressful year-long situation of coping with life at an elite institution of higher education. These students were taking part in a study led by Sen’s colleague at the U-M Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, Huda Akil, Ph.D.

Sen’s Intern Health Study has begun collecting DNA samples from many more interns, and is now monitoring their mood, sleep and activity using smartphone apps and commercial activity trackers. He hopes to study the telomeres of future groups of interns to gather more data about how they change over the intern year and how those changes match up with their experiences during the year.

For instance, the frequent changes in shift time — from day to night and back again — during residency has already emerged in Sen’s work as an important factor in mood and circadian disruption. Future studies will explore if this sort of shiftwork increases telomere attrition.

He also hopes that researchers can evaluate whether any practices can protect telomeres from shrinkage or even spur repair and lengthening of these protective stretches of DNA. For now, he says, “Residency directors should do as much as they can to keep their interns’ work hours and workload towards the lower end of the current range.”

And as new doctors prepare to graduate and head into their intern years, he advises them to focus on their mood, sleep and stress-relieving activities as much as they can.

Ridout says she hopes the results will be heeded by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and others. “Having completed residency myself and understanding the stress that can come with this training and extended work hours, I am hopeful these data can help inform the decisions of governing bodies that have been debating the importance of regulating resident work hours,” she says. “Our results suggest that reforms in intern training and work hours with a renewed focus on wellbeing is necessary to protect the health and viability of our physician workforce.”

Story Source: Materials provided by Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Journal Reference: Kathryn K. Ridout, Samuel J. Ridout, Constance Guille, Douglas A. Mata, Huda Akil, Srijan Sen. Physician Training Stress and Accelerated Cellular Aging. Biological Psychiatry, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.04.030




7 Behaviors Common Among Adults Who Went Through Trauma At A Young Age

The Minds Journal- Published on Dec 1, 2018

The intensity of a traumatic incident varies from person to person. Trauma from when one was a child can range from a crippling fear of abandonment to physical abuse and anything between the two. Many adults are forced to deal with the trauma they experienced as children throughout their lives. This article will hold true for whoever has had to face something traumatic as a child. Sometimes, we just hide things because that’s easier than actually dealing with them. We even do this unconsciously in order to protect ourselves at the time. But it is important to deal with these issues so that we can finally be free of that burden. 7 characteristics shared by people who went through trauma at a young age.





Helping Parents Chart Their Path Through Their NICU Journey:                                 

 The Peekaboo ICU Parent App Hitting It’s Mark – Deb Discenza

In just two and a half years since its official debut at the October 2018 National Neonatal Nurses Conference (NANN) in Palm Springs, CA, the Peekaboo ICU free parent app has become an essential “go-to” for preemie parents faced with navigating the uncharted journey of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Available on apple and android devices, its goal is to reduce anxiety for parents by equipping them to understand, document, record, and celebrate their preemie’s story. And indeed, this comprehensive resource is working.

“The app is exceeding our expectations of growth and utility,” said Mark Dolezel, co-founder, producer, and husband of the app’s clinical author, Jodi Dolezel.  With over 13,500 downloads and 9,600-page views per month, Jodi’s dream of providing a credible one-stop resource for NICU has become a reality, primarily in the US, but is also in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South America. No Wi-Fi needed and conveniently accessed at the bedside. A tutorial is available at watch?v=2H5WsjxCjIw.

Jodi was determined to find a way to support and prepare parents to feel comfortable and confident while caring for their child as essential partners with the NICU healthcare team.  In her many years of NICU bedside practice as a nurse, she has seen this is not always the case. “Parents feel alienated,” she said, “out of control and vulnerable at a time when they themselves are physically and emotionally drained. We decided to try to change this.”

So, the app’s first feature was a tool for parents to customize and track their individual preemie’s growth and development, and to journal their preemie’s unique experience. However, because so many parents are having multiples, that additional capacity was soon added.

Next, the Dolezels researched each critical area of knowledge for preemie parents, and organized them into sequential sections.

Navigating the NICU is the essential first step in helping parents understand unfamiliar medical terminology, staff roles, medical equipment, and the intense clinical environment. The Weekly Developmental Guide provides what every parent wants to know what to expect week to week.  They want to know what is considered “normal” and how is my baby progressing towards those norms? Anatomy presents a system-by-system look at each body function relevant to pre-term infants with the option of diving deeper into content regarding complications if they should arise. Growth Tracker allows parents to record and graph ongoing progress of their baby’s head circumference, weight, and length.

This area also promotes strong interaction and discussion points between parents and the healthcare team. With Milestones, parents can capture the moments and achievements they experience with their baby throughout their journey together, all of which can be downloaded and saved as a lifelong keepsake. Steps to Discharge offers a thorough explanation of the achievements required for taking your baby home, which is always a priority for preemie parents. Feeding & Nutrition has tips for successful breastfeeding, a feeding tracker, and pumping logs are essential resources and very helpful for encouraging collaboration with staff. There is a thorough education about the options available to parents, including pasteurized human donor milk and human milk-based fortifiers to ensure optimal nutrition, according to gestational weight. Journaling allows parents to import photos and document their thoughts, experiences, and feelings as often as they’d like.  If desired, they can share these with friends and family through e-mail and social media, setting up a “caring network” while decreasing the burden of endless phone calls. And finally, the Support section provides a guide to parent support organizations all over the country that moms and dads can tap into both before and after discharge.

But Peekaboo ICU is not resting on its laurels. With the success of the app comes “an obligation to continue to find new ways of making it even better and more accessible,” said Jodi.

This will include an After the NICU Section for parents to document appointments, medications, nutrition, procedures, a daily schedule, and notes with HIPPA-compliant server integration for capturing real-time data.  Server integration will also afford synchronization between multiple apps and provide safety backups. Lastly, there will be an option to create a lasting “baby book” with the ability to download the entire content recorded in the app. “We estimate the app is now available in at least 40 hospitals and the number is growing every day,” said Mark. “The number is very likely much higher as individuals using the app are not required to register their location.”

Jodi feels gratified. She says, “We are receiving amazing feedback from nurses, lactations specialists, hospitals and, of course, parents. Nurses tell us the app makes their job easier. Lactation specialists say it encourages moms to track pumping, which often leads to better outcomes. Hospitals call it an invaluable tool they can use because it is non-branded, without advertisement. And parents simply say, ‘thank you.’ “That’s all we need!







Preemies and early arrivals have higher risk of heart disease as adults

June 3, 2019 – by admin – SOURCE: and JAMA Pediatrics, online June 3, 2019.

Babies who are born too soon may be more likely to develop heart disease as adults than full-term infants, a new study suggests.

Adults who were born before 37 weeks gestation were 53 percent more likely to develop heart disease than people who were full-term babies, researchers found. And people who’d been born just a little bit early – at 37 to 38 weeks gestation – were 19 percent more likely to develop heart disease.

Pregnancy normally lasts about 40 weeks, and babies born after 37 weeks of gestation are considered full-term. Babies born prematurely – earlier than 37 weeks – often have difficulty breathing and digesting food in the weeks after birth. Preemies can also encounter longer-term challenges such as impaired vision, hearing and cognitive skills, as well as social and behavioral problems.

Preterm birth has also been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes decades later. But research to date hasn’t conclusively linked an early delivery to an increased risk of so-called ischemic heart disease, which happens with the arteries narrow and limit how much blood and oxygen reach the heart.

For the current study, researchers examined data on more than 2.1 million babies born in Sweden between 1973 and 1994, following them through 2015 to see how many developed heart disease. Only 1,921 of these babies, or less than one percent, went on to be diagnosed with heart disease by ages 30 to 43.

“Preterm birth interrupts the development of the cardiovascular system and other organs, leading to abnormal structure or function of blood vessels and other disorders such as diabetes that can lead to heart disease,” said lead study author Dr. Casey Crump of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

“Our findings were not explained by maternal factors that might contribute to both preterm birth and future heart disease, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and smoking,” Crump said by email. “In addition, we also compared persons born preterm with their siblings who were not, which suggested that the findings were not explained by other risk factors shared within families, but were more likely from direct effects of preterm birth.”

For every 100,000 babies born at full term each year, about 5.9 would develop heart disease as adults, researchers calculated. That compares to about 6.5 of every 100,000 babies born slightly early and 8.8 of every 100,000 preemies.

One limitation of the study is that researchers lacked more detailed clinical data needed to verify the heart disease diagnoses, the study authors note. They also had too few extremely preterm babies to draw firm conclusions about the heart risks associated with delivery earlier than 34 weeks gestation.

Another drawback is that the follow-up period was too brief to detect differences in heart disease rates later in adulthood, when the condition is more commonly diagnosed.

Even so, the results suggest that adults born even a little bit early should take extra precautions to protect the heart, said Dr. Thuy Mai Luu of the University of Montreal and CHU Sainte-Justine in Canada, who co-authored an editorial published with the report.

“Some risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases can be prevented through healthy lifestyle habits including a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, reduced sedentary time, regular physical activity and avoidance of primary and secondary smoke exposure,” Luu said by email.

“This is important to all, but maybe more so for children and adults born preterm,” Luu added. “Given that it is hard to change behaviors, adopting a healthy lifestyle early in childhood is crucial; parents are central to this.”




Study could lead to ‘cognitive therapy in your pocket’

CBM-I via smartphone app could help patients with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions

May 29, 2019  McLean Hospital


People living with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions may soon be able to use a smartphone app to deliver on-demand cognitive bias modification for interpretation (CBM-I), a way to change mental habits without visiting a therapist.

Based on a study by McLean Hospital researchers, individuals with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions may soon be able to use a smartphone app to deliver on-demand cognitive bias modification for interpretation (CBM-I), a way to change mental habits without visiting a therapist.

The study, “Translating CBM-I Into Real-World Settings: Augmenting a CBT-Based Psychiatric Hospital Program,” was published in the journal Behavior Therapy. It shows the potential effectiveness of CBM-I when combined with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in an acute psychiatric setting. It also points the way for adapting this therapeutic approach for use outside the hospital.

The lead researcher of the study is Courtney Beard, PhD, director of McLean’s Cognition and Affect Research and Education (CARE) Laboratory.

Beard described CBM-I as a “class of interventions designed to shift people’s interpretations of ambiguous situations in either a more positive or more negative way.” She explained that “CBM-I tries to address interpretation bias, a mental habit that is implicated in many mental disorders.”

To do this, individuals undergoing CBM-I treatment can be presented with a series of word association questions that address everyday situations.

For example, the CBM-I task may show a patient a situation about a person yawning during their conversation. Then the patient is asked whether that person is “tired” or “bored.” The individual who answers “tired” is told the response is “correct,” and “bored” is incorrect. Through repetition, this type of CBM-I therapy helps the person reframe or reassess these daily ambiguous situations.

“People face countless interactions like this every day in their lives,” Beard said. “If you have a tendency to jump to a threatening or negative conclusion, it can have a huge impact on how you’re feeling and on what you do and how you react. You can get stuck in a cycle that can maintain anxiety or depression.”

For their study, Beard and her colleagues developed and implemented CBM-I to augment CBT-based treatment in a partial hospital setting. They presented patients with word-sentence associations that encouraged patients to endorse positive interpretations and reject negative interpretations.

Study results showed that CBM-I was practical and acceptable to acute psychiatric patients. Many stated that CBM-I bolstered their primary CBT-based care. The study also found that that the word association exercises were successful in helping reframe potentially negative situations.

Based on these results, Beard and her team are moving forward with a National Institute of Mental Health-backed study to develop a smartphone version of CBM-I.

“With the smartphone app, we can offer CBM-I to many more people at one time,” Beard said. “With the app, they can practice new skills, create healthy mental habits, and stop automatically jumping to negative conclusions. And they can do it on demand.”

Beard stated that the app could be particularly helpful for individuals who have just been discharged from a treatment program. “They can use it during the month transition period after they leave the hospital, which is a risky and challenging time for them,” she said.

Beard sees great promise for app-based CBM-I therapy. “It quickly shows people what their brain is doing,” she explained. “The patient sees hundreds of situations in a short amount of time. So, they see how often they jumped to a negative conclusion, and that can be very powerful. It’s kind of like cognitive therapy in your pocket — but a little different and a lot faster.”

Journal Reference: Courtney Beard, Lara S. Rifkin, Alexandra L. Silverman, Thröstur Björgvinsson. Translating CBM-I Into Real-World Settings: Augmenting a CBT-Based Psychiatric Hospital Program. Behavior Therapy, 2019; 50 (3): 515 DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2018.09.002 McLean Hospital. “Study could lead to ‘cognitive therapy in your pocket’: CBM-I via smartphone app could help patients with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2019. <>.



Elvie Pump: Silent & Wearable Breast Pump Review | Channel Mum

Channel Mum      Published on Nov 2, 2018

The Elvie Pump has completely revolutionised expressing breast milk! The pump is wireless and completely silent, the only sound you will hear is the milk trickling into the empty bottle and even that stops once the bottle starts to fill up.


Kat Chat-


A brief update on my healing journey to treat my preverbal PTSD! I have engaged in a few sessions of hypnotherapy, which I found to be a gentle start. My PTSD-related issues frankly seemed to intimidate the therapist.  I realized I wanted to go deeper in a safe environment, and decided to explore additional modalities moving forward. Hypnotherapy may be something I return to in the future as a tool for exploring my internal landscape in relationship to other issues.

Seeking talk-free therapy alternatives appropriate to treat preverbal trauma I identified options that may work well and provide a supportive safe setting for a person with preverbal PTSD. Rolfing, EMDR and Shamanism are three options I may engage in. The first will be Rolfing, and I have identified and connected with a therapist to work with. When she returns to my area, appointments will be set and the adventure will unfold.

Research related to preverbal trauma is sparse and slow to develop. This, like many medical issues for Warriors, will be impacted by the choices we make.  I suggest we explore our challenges with  Spiritual Guidance, Critical Thinking, and a commitment to Manifesting Wellness as we embrace our days, years and lifetime challenges and opportunities.  Let’s share our stories…….


Preterm Birth a Key Risk Factor for Development of Childhood Depression

October 4, 2018


The study investigators observed that low level of urbanization was associated with a lower risk for depression.

Children born preterm may have an increased risk for depression compared with children born full-term, according to study results published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Researchers analyzed data from 21,478 preterm children and 85,903 full-term children born between 2000 and 2010 who were included in the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The mean ages of the preterm children and full-term children were 9.72 and 9.88 years, respectively.

Evaluation of the study population found that preterm birth was the key risk factor for depression.

The risk of depression among preterm children was 2.75 times higher than that seen in full-term children (95% CI, 1.58–4.79; P <.001). Depression rates in full-term children were 0.37, compared with 1.01 in preterm children, per 10,000 person-years. In female preterm children, incidence of depression was 3 times higher compared with full-term children. Preterm children whose parents had blue-collar occupations had a risk for depression 3.4 times higher than full-term children in the same demographic. Preterm children whose parents had occupations other than blue-collar positions had a 6.06-fold higher risk for depression compared with full-term children in the same demographic (blue-collar occupations: 95% CI, 1.04–11.15; P <.05; other occupations: 95% CI, 1.71–21.49; P <.01).

Researchers conclude that “findings of the present study suggest that preterm infants have a significantly higher risk of depression in adolescence compared with full-term infants.” They note that limitations of the study include lack of maternal demographic data and emphasize the need for healthcare providers to recognize the potential for depression in children born prematurely.

Reference: Chiu TF, Yu TM, Chuang YW. Sequential risk of depression in children born prematurely: A nationwide population-based analysis J Affect Disord. 2018; 243:42-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.09.019



Seattle’s Greenlake – an urban woodland walk paradise; a community of trees from all over the world, living together in harmonious beauty. Our spiritual retreat!

Doctors urged to prescribe

woodland-walks for mental health problems


         By Sally Robertson B. Sc. – 06/10/19 Reviewed by Kate Anderson, B.Sc. (Editor)

The Woodland Trust says the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” should be prescribed on the NHS to tackle stress and other mental health problems. According to the charity, hugging trees, listening to bird song and kicking through leaves are all activities that can boost mental health.

The Trust is urging GPs to prescribe forest bathing for mental health conditions and direct patients to their nearest woodland.

Head of innovation at the Woodland Trust, Stuart Dainton, say all family doctors should have the knowledge to point patients towards the nearest suitable woodland where they can absorb nature, informally or as part of a structured program. He is appealing to GPs to make use of the more than 1,000 sites covered by the Trust in the UK.

Stemming from the Japanese art Shinrin-yoku, the practice was devised 40 years ago by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries as part of an initiative to tackle stress among men. The activity involves breathing deeply and absorbing the atmosphere of the forest as a way of yielding calming, rejuvenating and restorative effects.

Participants are encouraged to immerse themselves in the environment and take in the sights, sounds, touch and smells of the forest.

It’s about invigorating the senses by walking in the woods, smelling, listening to the sounds of the woods, touching the ground. We’re almost losing that as a society.” Stuart Dainton. He adds that forest bathing should also be encouraged for children to help fight the “always on” culture prompted by social media.

BBC presenter Kate Humble is calling for schools to conduct lessons outside, referring to how difficult she found education whilst surrounded by four walls: “I find it stultifying and boring and I spent probably more of my school career going ‘How can five minutes feel like five hours?’ There is no reason why math, English literature or any subject cannot be taught outside.” Kate Humble

Forest bathing is now practiced by more than five million Japanese people and has quietly been gaining popularity in the UK. The therapy, which has become a cornerstone of preventative health care in Japanese medicine, has prompted a number of scientific studies that seem to prove its beneficial effects.

Research mainly conducted in Japan and South Korea, has shown that two hours of time spent mindfully exploring a forest can lower blood pressure, reduce the stress hormone cortisol and improve memory and concentration. Studies have also found that trees release substances called phytoncides, which have anti-microbial properties and can boost the immune system.

As a result of these findings, the Japanese government decided to introduce shinrin-yoku as a national health program and now forest therapy is an established practice throughout the world.

An increasing number of companies are now offering structured forest bathing programs that last anything from between a couple of days through to week-long residential stays.

The Forestry Commission, which is the largest proprietor of wooded land, has also announced that it plans to launch nationwide programs. In addition, it provides printable recommendations on how to practice the activity, including tips on how to breathe correctly.

Health benefits of forest bathing

Beneficial effects of forest bathing (that have been scientifically proven) include:

  • Increased natural killer cell count and improved immune system function
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved sleep
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved mood
  • Increased concentration, particularly among children with ADHD
  • Faster recovery from illness or surgery
  • Decreased stress

Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of GPs advises that getting outside can have a “really positive impact” on health: We do know that patients often benefit from non-medical interventions such as an exercise class, learning a skill or joining a community group. This is now referred to as ‘social prescribing,’ and ‘forest bathing’ is one of many activities that people might find beneficial for their overall wellbeing.” Helen Stokes-Lampard

Dainton says that social prescribing through aspects of Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing, is a route to helping the nation destress: “One in four of us are potentially going to suffer from mental health problems. Part of the solution is just getting outside and enjoying nature.”

Forest bathing “practitioner” Faith Douglas points out that forest bathing has been out there for years: “This is something our ancestors did, this is something that cultures do all over the planet — it’s simply being mindful in a natural environment.”

How many people could benefit from forest bathing?

Millions of people are affected by mental health problems every year in the U.S. Statistics on the prevalence and impact of these conditions in the U.S. include the following:

  • Around one-fifth (46.6 million) of adults experience a mental health condition every year
  • Each year, an estimated one in 25 (11.2 million) adults develop a serious mental health problem that significantly limits or disrupts day-today activities
  • Around one in five (21.4%) individuals aged 13 to 18 years develop a severe mental health condition
  • Around 13% of those aged 8 to 15 years develop a severe mental health condition
  • The percentage of adults living with schizophrenia is 1.1%
  • For bipolar disorder, the figure is 2.6%
  • Almost 7% (16 million) adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year
  • About 18% of adults developed an anxiety disorder such as phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Of 20.2 million adults who had a substance abuse problem, 10.2 million also had a mental health illness


Want to give it a go? The National Trust has put together a beginner’s guide to forest bathing: Link-


Published on Feb 17, 2018 – A 4 mints film about kamchatka – surfing in kamchatka & wildlife and adventure.




Comfort Care, Telemed, a little Deepak!



“When people look at clouds they do not see their real shape, which is no shape at all, or every shape, because they are constantly changing. They see whatever it is that their heart yearns for.” A General Theory of Oblivion, Angola’s Jose Eduardo Agualusa, the second African to win the  International Dublin Literary Award (2017).

Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of southcentral Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.


Estimated number of preterm births per 100 live births  

Rate: 12.5% RANK: 44 (US Rate: USA – 12% Rank: 54


The National Health Service is run by the Ministry of Health, the Provincial Governments which run Provincial Hospitals and the Municipal Administrations which run Municipal Hospitals, Health Care Units and Posts. The Municipal Administrations are leading the primary healthcare network. Services are free, but very limited in rural areas. Medicine is regulated by the General Health Inspection and the National Directorate of Health which manage the National List of Essential Medicines. Medicinal products are regulated by the National Pricing System. Tendering for medical products is run by the Centralized Medicine Purchase Authority which also distributes medicine.

USAID reported that the Angolan government has not had much success in developing an effective health care system since the end of the 27-year-long Angolan Civil War in 2002. According to USAID, during the War as many as 1 million people were killed, 4.5 million people became internally displaced, and 450,000 fled the country as refugees. Due to lack of infrastructure and rapid urbanization, the government has been unable to promote programs that effectively address some of the basic needs of the people. Health care is not available in much of the country.

Some improvements were made after the end of the Civil War. According to UNICEF reports in 2005, 2% of the nation’s public expenditures were allotted to health care. That number increased after 2005. Larger problems include the shortage of doctors, the destruction of health care facilities throughout the country, and disparities between rural and urban primary care availability. Public spending on health decreased after 2014.

Census data reported by the CIA reveals that Angola has very few physicians to attend to the medical needs of its population. It is estimated that there are about 0.08 physicians per 1,000 people in Angola.  Due to the length of the Angolan Civil War, nearly an entire generation of Angolans was not given the opportunity to receive any education. This has led to a dramatic decrease of health workers and added to the poor maternal health problem. In response to the shortage of health workers, Cuban  physicians are currently working in the country to improve health overall, as well as to focus on improving maternal health.




Collaboration is the key to healing the planet, our Neonatal Womb preterm birth community, and all who inhabit our HOME … We are presenting perspectives, experiences, hopes, barriers and innovations that may enable us to use Telemedicine to positively impact  our global health care provider shortage. 


angola.spaceAngola is solving its rural health issue with TeleMedicine

By Space in AfricaDecember 7, 2018

In November, Huambo entered the history of telemedicine in Angola, as the first region in the country to have 10 interconnected municipalities, that is, patients who are in a given rural region of the province, where there is no specialized service, may, through telemedicine, conduct medical examinations, consultations or even emergency and emergency interventions without having to travel to the main hospital in urban areas.

The service reduces the patient’s movement and allows the patient to be prepared for a possible hospital transfer, if necessary, thereby increasing the safety and trust of the clinical staff of support hospitals in rural areas. It will also allow these physicians from the peripheries to receive distance education in the most diverse medical areas.

All this, according to His Excellency. the Minister of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies, Eng. José Carvalho da Rocha, was only possible because within the framework of the Angosat Project, which has been developed, it has already begun receiving the compensations that are given by the Russian counterpart, where it has been receiving in terms of frequency capacity 144 MHz in the C band and also 144 MHz in the Ku band.

As a result of this capacity, MTTI, through INFRASAT, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, decided together to carry out this social project. His Excellencies: Governor of Huambo, Dr. Joana Lina Ramos Baptista, Minister of Health, Dr. Sílvia Paula Lutucuta, Secretary of State for Information Technologies, Eng. Manuel Homem, and other representatives of the different sectors participated in the event.

The project started in Huambo and the next provinces to benefit from the Telemedicine consultations are Moxico and Lunda Sul.

The inauguration of the telemedicine services in Moxico took place following the launch of the Nascer Livre para Brilhar campaign, an initiative led by the first lady of the Republic of Angola, Ana Dias Lourenço, in solidarity with the victims of HIV / AIDS, on the 1st of December.

The inauguration also counted on the presence of His Excellency, the minister of Telecommunications and Information Technologies, Eng. José Carvalho da Rocha, and His Excellency. Minister of Health, Dr. Sílvia Lutucuta, as well as Exm. Governor of Moxico, Gonçalves Muandumba, among other governmental entities and members of civil society.

According to Angop, with the inauguration of these services in the hospital, the patient can be taken care of independently of his geographical location, by a specialist who is outside his locality, especially in the specialties of pediatrics, cardiology and surgery.


uc.davis.jpgPediatric Telemedicine – Neonatal Intensive Care

Pediatric subspecialists from the UC Davis Children’s Hospital are immediately available to remote clinicians working in other hospitals that deliver newborns with unanticipated problems.

Pediatric subspecialists, including neonatologists, cardiologists, neurologists and geneticists are available for consultation in cases where newborns are experiencing problems in hospitals that do not have these specialists.

Often, as a result of these telemedicine consultations, infants are able to remain in their local hospital, eliminating the need to transport the infant away from their mother, families and community.

Dr. Kristin Hoffman pioneered the UC Davis NICU webcam program, which provides families with a way to view their infants remotely when they are unable to be in the NICU.

In 2019, UC Davis neonatologist Dr. Kristin Hoffman received a national award for her development of a webcam program in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which enables parents to see their infants remotely when they are unable to be in the NICU.

The webcam program was made possible by a Children’s Miracle Network grant in 2014, and Hoffman was able to increase the number of webcam units and their reach, as well as upgrade the software through another grant in 2018.



*** In the State of Mississippi the preterm birth rate is the highest is the US (Rate 13.6%). Could access to telemedicine change these stats? It’s complicated … in the US… but fixable

Thirty-one of Mississippi’s 64 rural hospitals, or 48 percent, are at “high financial risk,” according to a national report of rural hospitals from independent consulting firm Navigant. This is more than double the rate nationwide, where just 21 percent are listed as being in danger of closing.


Until broadband access improves, telemedicine won’t help rural communities

Health News – May 20, 2019  – Linda Carroll

(Reuters Health) – Telemedicine has been touted as a solution to the dearth of doctors in rural America. But the same places where residents must drive many miles to see a physician often also have limited broadband access, a new study suggests.

About 25 percent of Americans live in rural communities while a mere 10 percent of physicians practice there, said the study’s lead author, Coleman Drake, an assistant professor in the department of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. And making matters worse, people who live out in the country tend to be older and sicker than their urban counterparts.

“Over the last decade especially, there has been considerable interest in the potential for telehealth to make it easier to access healthcare,” Drake said. “We wondered if telemedicine really could help bridge the gap in access to care. And we discovered that in a lot of rural areas, the lack of access to broadband is potentially limiting access to telehealth.”

To see whether telemedicine could make a difference where doctors were sparse, Drake and his colleagues first mapped out the areas where access to primary care physicians or specialists might require driving an hour or more, according to the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Then, to determine access to broadband, the researchers turned to data from the Federal Communications Commission to find out whether people who lived in counties with distant drives to doctors had a way to download data at a speed of at least 25 megabits per second, which is sufficient to support video-based telehealth visits.

Drake and his colleagues discovered that the percentage of subscribers to broadband services decreased with increasing distance from cities, with rates of 96.0 percent in urban counties, 82.7 percent in rural counties and 59.9 percent in counties with extreme access considerations. Further, in counties where there was inadequate access to primary care physicians and psychiatrists (meaning no primary care provider within a 70-minute drive, for example) the subscription rate was 38.6 percent.

Even if the broadband issue were solved, it wouldn’t mean that all barriers to telemedicine would be overcome, Drake said. Right now, “Medicare, with few exceptions, doesn’t reimburse for telemedicine visits from home,” he explained.

What’s needed is for “policy makers at the local, state and federal level who are considering the cost effectiveness of infrastructure expansions to consider that you’re not just letting people get on social media in their spare time, you could also be allowing people to access telemedicine who might otherwise not be able to,” Drake said.

People often underestimate the broadband access problem, said. Dr. Peter Fleischut, chief transformation officer at NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City.

“Technology is not value neutral,” Fleischut said. “It’s critical as each new technology emerges to make sure that it doesn’t worsen disparities. That’s a problem with telemedicine if a segment of the population can’t access it because there isn’t broadband.”

And it’s not just rural counties that have this problem, Fleischut said. Some older buildings in urban areas present challenges, too, he added.

Broadband access isn’t the only issue. “There are always challenges to any new technology,” Fleischut said. “For example, there are regulatory issues involved when you’re crossing state lines. If you see a provider and then cross a state line going home, you can’t have a video visit if the provider isn’t also licensed in your state even though you can have a phone call with that provider. And that’s true even if you’re doing something as simple as a follow-up visit.”

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, online May 20, 2019.


In a related blog post dated Wednesday, May 22, 2019 titled Telemedicine can’t help rural America very much until broadband access improves, researchers conclude”

The researchers found that, in counties with inadequate access to primary care physicians and psychiatrists, the broadband subscription rate was 38.6%. And even if the broadband problem were solved, there are other barriers to telemedicine, according to lead author Coleman Drake: Medicare, with few exceptions, doesn’t reimburse for telemedicine visits from home.”



Telemedicine – Connecting Doctors

Doctors Without Borders India / Médecins Sans Frontières



Neonatology Telehealth Helped Save Baby William’s Life | SSM Health TeleNeonatology

intouch.angola.jpgInTouch Health – Published on Aug 29, 2017

Telehealth in neonatology allows pediatric specialists to provide virtual care to newborn infants directly in neonatal intensive care units. Neonatologists are now able to get to the patient’s bedside in minutes and provide life-saving treatments, when time is of the utmost importance.



Sibling Strong!


‘Long nights on the neonatal unit’a poem by SJ Bliss Baby Charity

The Essential Checklist for Bringing Your Preemie Home

Verywell is a proud partner of The Cleveland Clinic, the #2 rated hospital in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report.       By Trish Ringley, RN | Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician | Updated April 12, 2019

Without a doubt, the most asked question from preemie parents in every NICU, every day, everywhere, is “When will my baby come home?” It’s the one major milestone that every parent longs for, dreams of, obsesses over, and with good reason!

So would it surprise you to find out that when the big day finally comes, when weeks or months of waiting finally come to an end and it’s time to take their sweet bundle of joy home, many parents feel utterly freaked out and totally unprepared?

  • Parenting in the NICU (see full Article)
  • Getting Your Home Ready (see full Article)
  • Getting Your Support Team Ready (see full Article)
  • Getting Yourself Ready (see below)

Here’s something you may not have thought of before: parents of healthy full-term babies try to learn about baby care by hanging out with friends who have babies, or by attending classes, maybe reading books. But they don’t have their own baby to practice with. They don’t have any idea what their baby will actually like or dislike.

So, if there’s one thing to appreciate about the NICU, it’s that you have the opportunity to learn about your baby — your actual, very own baby — before taking him or her home. Lucky you!

We can’t begin to tell you how many parents don’t take the time to really learn their baby while they’re still in the NICU, for all sorts of reasons, good and bad. Maybe it’s NICU staff who keep parents at a distance, or maybe it’s a feeling that the nurses are better at it and should be the ones doing all the cares. Maybe it’s simply impossible to spend much time at the NICU when you have other children at home.

The best way to be ready for your baby at home is to dedicate some time to care for your baby while still in the NICU. Holding your baby is great, and changing diapers is great too, but I’m going to walk you through a bunch of ways you can get to know your baby even better. Then when you go home, you’ll be confident and in charge, like the super boss parent you’ve always dreamed you would be!

You’ll want to learn the following.

  • How to change your baby’s diaper. If you let the nurses know that you want to do as many diaper changes as you can when you’re there, you’re sure to get good at it in no time. Then that’s one less thing to stress you out when you take your baby home.
  • How to feed your baby. For some preemies, this is no big deal, and for others, it is nearly impossible to get them to safely and efficiently get all the milk they need to keep growing. Whichever is the case for your baby, you should be at the NICU practicing all of the different types of feeding you’ll do—breast, bottle, syringe, supplemental nursing system, whatever. You should ask to practice as much as possible, and get all of the help you can while you’re there. See the lactation consultants if you’re breastfeeding or see the occupational therapists or speech-language pathologists if your baby has complicated feedings. And practice, practice, practice.
  • How to take your baby’s temperature, and know what is normal for your baby.
  • How to bathe your baby. Let your nurses know that you want to practice bathing, and ask them to save bath time for you so that you can get the practice you need. All nurses have different ideas about the ideal way to bathe a baby, so be willing to try lots of different ways to see just what you and your baby like best.
  • How to swaddle your baby. Again, nurses have different styles, so try learning from lots of different people and you’re sure to find a few ways that work well for you. Again, the only way to get good at it is to practice.
  • How to mix your baby’s formula or fortified milk. Many preemies need to have extra calories in their diet, and that means parents have to know how to mix up the milk that they’ll be feeding their baby. Don’t wait until the last day to learn how to do this. Ask to help out with mixing up your baby’s milk early on, and you’ll soon become comfortable with the job.
  • How to give medications. If your baby will need any medications, such as multi-vitamins or reflux meds, be sure you have the nurses show you a few different ways to give them to your baby and then practice it yourself.
  • How to soothe your baby. Sometimes it’s hard to have other people telling you what your baby likes when she’s upset because you’d probably rather be figuring that out on your own, in the comfort of your own home. But NICU nurses have tons of experience helping upset babies, and some of them are sure to have figured out some things that work well with your sweet little one. Take the suggestions and use them as needed.
  • How to massage your baby. If you are lucky enough to have someone on staff who can teach you ways to massage your preemie, do it! Parents pay big bucks sometimes to have specialists teach them this, but you may have access to great teachers in your NICU.
  • Find out if you’ll need special equipment at home, and get the training you need. Some babies need special equipment such as oxygen and feeding tubes and will have home health care providers. If your baby will need any of these, try to find out as soon as possible. And start practicing with them as soon as possible! Do not wait until the last day or two to get comfortable with the equipment. Without a doubt, there will be goofs and confusions with any kind of home equipment and it’s better to work through those while you still have the NICU staff right there to help.
  • Infant CPR. Most parents, thankfully, will never need to use CPR skills, but it is a good feeling to know that you would know what to do in the event of an emergency. If your hospital does not have any CPR training available, ask them where you could take a class. 
  • Rooming In. Some hospitals allow rooming in, which is when parents stay at the hospital overnight or for several days, practicing complete independent care of their baby while still in the safety of the hospital setting. It’s great to do if it’s available.


“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality”. Jonas Salk


OP.Angola  Trailer: Rwandan Neonatal Care and the Development of the Non-electric Infant Warmer GHWSP –OPENPediatrics  –  Uploaded on Apr 18, 2019

The Embrace Care is an affordable infant warmer that uses a phase-changing material to keep premature and underweight babies warm for hours without using electricity.


One Hospital’s Success with Early Adoption of the Healthy Work Environment Assessment Tool

Authors Patricia Hickey PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Jean Connor, Dennis Doherty MSN, RN-BC, Kierrah Leger DNP, RN, Jason Thornton – Initial publication: April 16, 2019.

In this video, panelists discuss their research on the health of the work environment. They explain how they applied the Healthy Work Environment Assessment Tool across nursing specialties, and to other healthcare professionals.


In the You Tube below we bow to the contributions of the numerous neonatologists globally who have paved the way towards the development and provision of effective treatment for preterm birth babies.  We recognize the late Dr.  Jerold Lucey, a recipient of numerous honors and awards in pediatrics including the Virginia Apgar Award in Perinatal Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Academy of Medicine Gustav O. Lienhard Award for Advancement of Health Care, the Alfred I. DuPont Award for Excellence in Children’s Health Care, and the John Howland Award. The Howland Award is the highest award given by the American Pediatric Society and is specifically for those who provide distinguished service to pediatrics as a whole. Dr. Lucey, the former Editor-in-Chief of Pediatrics  died on December 10, 2017. In the video Dr. Lucey provides us with insight into the process and time, planning and patience needed to research and  create effective new treatments in medicine.


NICU.University.jpgPublished on Jan 17, 204

An interview with Dr. Jerold Lucey (Founder of Hot Topics) conducted at the Hot Topics Meeting ( in December 2011 regarding the future of brain protection in the neonate.



Heart.angola.jpg HEALTH CARE PARTNERS    seth.angola.jpg

First milk expression within 8 hours related to lactation success for very low-birth-weight infants

Reviewed by James Ives, M Psych (Editor) May 10, 2019

A study led by physician researchers at Boston Medical Center has shown that first milk expression within eight hours of giving birth is associated with the highest probability of mothers of very low-birth-weight infants being able to provide milk throughout hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit. The study results, published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, help better inform perinatal providers and new mothers how to prioritize the many aspects of perinatal care after delivery of a very low-birth-weight infant.

Mother’s milk has many benefits for very low-birth-rate infants, including reduction of necrotizing enterocolitis, sepsis, and chronic lung disease, and improvement in later childhood development. However, mothers of very low-birth-rate infants often have challenges making milk. They are more likely to have complications during or after delivery and comorbid health conditions that affect milk production, such as diabetes. They are also more likely to be separated from their newborn for a prolonged period of time after birth.

Because of these challenges, lactation support for mothers of very low-birth-weight infants is crucial. The World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative suggested milk expression within six hours after birth as one strategy for support. However, evidence for this time period is limited. In addition, milk expression within six hours can be difficult due to the need for intensive monitoring of newborns and/or mothers.

Mothers who have recently delivered very low-birth-weight infants have a number of competing needs. Our data-driven approach to determining optimal time of first milk expression can help providers balance the need for safe maternal care with effective support to create long-term lactation success.”

Margaret G. Parker, MD, MPH, a neonatologist at Boston Medical Center and the study’s corresponding author

The researchers used data from 1,157 mother-baby pairs in nine Massachusetts hospitals. The infants were all very low-birth-weight infants who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit. They found 70 percent of infants whose mothers expressed first milk within eight hours of delivery were being fed any mother’s milk at discharge or transfer, compared with 52 percent of infants whose mothers expressed first milk 9-24 hours after delivery.

The authors note that given these results, randomized control trials are needed to further establish the causal relationship between timing of first milk expression and long-term lactation success among mothers of very low-birth-weight infants.



Next-Level Perinatal/Neonatal Comfort Care Training: Creating an Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Plan for Each Baby and Their Family


Register Now! Next Comfort Care Training in NYC: June 19-21, 2019. Scholarships available.

 The Next-Level Comfort Care Training is a three-day intensive training of seminars and hands-on activity sessions to provide an overview of the methods, elements, and strategies needed to create a comprehensive palliative care plan for the entire perinatal team.


nyp.jpgNeonatal Comfort Care-

New York Presbyterian HospitalLoading....Published on Sep 2, 2015

Video about neonatal comfort care at New York-Presbyterian-Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.



Monthly Clinical Pearl: Prenatal Consults by Neonatologists: A Challenging Part of What We Do

Joseph R. Hageman, MD.

First, I would like to provide a bit of historical perspective for your consideration. It is 1983 and, as neonatologists, we were having more conversations with our maternal-fetal medicine colleagues about extremely premature fetuses at around 24 weeks gestation as well as fetuses with prenatally diagnosed syndromes, chromosomal abnormalities, and congenital anomalies. What seemed to be novel was, with improvements in prenatal recognition and management, and the availability of surfactants and newer modes of assisted ventilation, there seemed to be more we could do to support and potentially improve the overall survival and quality of life of these fetuses before and after they were delivered. So we thought it would be a good idea to organize a multispecialty group or committee to evaluate these maternal-infant dyads and have thoughtful conversations with the parents. We organized a group and began to involve all of the disciplines that were involved in the evaluation of this group of patients. A lot of progress has been made since that time.

A lot of what I learned about each clinical condition was initiated when I was presented with a fetus or newborn who I was going to be caring for in the delivery room and in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As a medical student when I had the opportunity to care for newborns with surgical problems, I learned from my supervisory residents and attending surgeons and the neonatologists. I usually did a bedside clinical conference as well, which included the development of the fetus and the anomaly (e.g., gastroschisis), the presentation in the delivery room with appropriate stabilization, then diagnosis with confirmation if the anomaly was internal (e.g., congenital heart disease), and management. I really enjoyed this care, which included discussions with the parents. This strategy continued during my residency, fellowship and, as an attending neonatologist.

What is interesting is that I think this basic strategy still applies.

  1. Gather the clinical information from the maternal-fetal medicine specialist and discuss a strategy of potential prenatal management, intrapartum and delivery room management. For many of the prenatally diagnosed clinical problems on the list above, preparation and discussion with the  parents are key portions of the management.
  1. Once the clinical plan has been worked out with all of the specialists involved with the evaluation of the fetus’ and the mother’s status, this is reviewed with the parents to confirm they agree with the plan.
  1. Make sure that everyone who will be in the delivery room knows and understands the plan. For example, if the fetus has micrognathia and will potentially be difficult to intubate with orally or nasally, or may need a tracheostomy, it will be important to have a pediatric otolaryngologist in the delivery room to evaluate the infant. Make sure the delivery room resuscitation area in the operating room is prepared with the necessary equipment.
  1. The anticipation of potential problems and their solutions once the baby is delivered is very important. As much as you prepare and anticipate, only so much can be determined prenatally.
  1. Make sure there is an ongoing conversation with the mother-father before, during and after the delivery of the infant.
  1. Preparation for whatever will need to be done once the infant is transported from the delivery room to the NICU is of the utmost importance.
  1. Once the baby is delivered and stabilized, it is important to show her/him to the mother and father and explain what has been done. Since close contact such as skin-to-skin contact may not be possible, the chance for the Mother to touch the baby or hold their hand is important.
  1. The clinical management once the infant is admitted to the NICU can be anticipated so that, if this is a surgical anomaly, the surgeons will know ahead of time and be present for immediate evaluation.
  1. If further diagnostic studies need to be performed, the neonatology team can alert the radiologist ahead of time so things can be organized for the scan, ultrasound, contrast study, MRI, etc. can be performed in a timely fashion.
  1. The plan for postoperative management is in place with the active management team alerted in advance. If they need to be in the delivery room, that can be arranged.
  1. Ongoing communication is of the utmost importance.

This summary is what I have learned beginning about 45 years ago and is based on a fair amount of clinical experiences with about one or more of every one of the clinical problems summarized in the list above.

Once we are aware of a fetus with a clinical issue and our involvement is required, preparation should begin as soon as possible. At present, there are databases to help give us an idea of the short and long term outcomes of fetuses and newborns we will be involved with caring for and it is important to have this information before having a series of discussions with the parents and colleagues. What is also clear from my own clinical experience is that each fetus, newborn and family is unique and I think it is best to also approach each clinical situation in this way.

References: *Data provided Dr. Kelly Nelson Kelly, Attending Neonatologist, University of Chicago.

Joseph R. Hageman, MD, Senior Clinician Educator, Pritzker School of Medicine


WHO.Angola.jpgExecutive Board designates 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife

30 January 2019, Geneva – The Executive Board, today, designated the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and midwife”, in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. This proposal will now be presented to Member States of the 72nd World Health Assembly for consideration and endorsement.

The year 2020 is significant for WHO in the context of nursing and midwifery strengthening for Universal Health Coverage. WHO is leading the development of the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing report which will be launched in 2020, prior to the 73rd World Health Assembly. The report will describe the nursing workforce in WHO Member States, providing an assessment of “fitness for purpose” relative to GPW13 targets. WHO is also a partner on The State of the World’s Midwifery 2020 report, which will also be launched around the same time. The NursingNow! Campaign, a three-year effort (2018-2020) to improve health globally by raising the status of nursing will culminate in 2020 by supporting country-level dissemination and policy dialogue around the State of the World’s Nursing report.

Nurses and midwives are essential to the achievement for universal health coverage. The campaign and the two technical reports are particularly important given that nurses and midwives constitute more than 50% of the health workforce in many countries, and also more than 50% of the shortfall in the global health workforce to 2030. Strengthening nursing will have the additional benefits of promoting gender equity (SDG5), contributing to economic development (SDG8) and supporting other Sustainable Development Goals.




MedicineNet  – PTSD Quiz: Test your IQ of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP on October 31, 2017




I cherish the wisdom of Deepak! He is speaking to us, Warrior Family!                Deepak Chopra: ‘Technology is unstoppable, you can use it to improve your          well-being’

Published on Apr 8, 2019: Deepak Chopra discusses using technology and apps to keep calm, meditate and de-stress.


VISITE ANGOLA | “Praia dos Surfistas – Cabo Ledo”

tv.angolaTalatona TV – Published on Apr 10, 2019-

Fala a sério, não querias estar lá neste exacto momento!?
A Praia dos Surfistas é conhecida como a “Catedral do Surf” em Angola.
A sua beleza ímpar e o seu clima atraem turistas de todas as partes do mundo

WHO, Intuition & Dual Innovations





Estimated number of preterm births per 100 live births  Rate: 5.9% RANK: 174

(US Rate: USA – 12% Rank: 54)


Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.5 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

Sweden ranks in the top five countries with respect to low infant mortality. It also ranks high in life expectancy and in safe drinking water. A person seeking care first contacts a clinic for a doctor’s appointment, and may then be referred to a specialist by the clinic physician, who may in turn recommend either in-patient or out-patient treatment, or an elective care option. The health care is governed by the 21 landsting of Sweden and is mainly funded by taxes, with nominal fees for patients.


PREEMIE STRONGweights.sweden

New studies confirm improved survival of extremely preterm babies

MARCH 26, 2019 by Ivan Couronne

Until the 1980s, doctors estimated the earliest gestational age a baby could be considered viable outside the womb was 28 weeks, Survival rates of extremely preterm infants have improved by leaps and bounds since the 1980s, with US and Swedish studies published this week providing new data on the trend.

Doctors previously estimated the earliest gestational age a baby could be considered viable outside the womb was 28 weeks, when they weigh around 2.2 pounds (one kilogram)—about 12 weeks short of the 40-week length of a normal pregnancy. Babies are considered premature under the 37-week mark.

But over the last nearly 40 years, that 28-week limit has steadily dropped, and now some babies delivered at 24, 23 or even 22 weeks (measured from their mothers’ last menstruation) are able to survive, even as they weigh 1.1 pounds or less.

A Japanese baby who weighed only 9.44 ounces (268 grams) when he was born at 24 weeks made headlines in February: he was headed home in good health after five months in the hospital.

“I’ve been in this business for 40 years, and I’ve seen the threshold of viability move back about one week every 10 years or so in my practice,” Edward Bell, a neonatologist at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, told AFP.

Sweden holds the world record for earliest neonatal viability: 77 percent of babies born between 22 and 26 weeks in 2014 to 2016 survived one year, up from a 70 percent about 10 years before, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

In those 10 years, Sweden standardized its procedures for neonatal advanced life support: immediate intubation at birth, administration of drugs and a quick transfer to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Nearly 90 percent of deliveries in Sweden now occur in one of six hospitals in the country that have top-level NICUs.

“Before, for a baby born at 22 or 23 weeks, an individual doctor could say that it is not worthwhile to do anything,” said Mikael Norman, coauthor of the Swedish study and a neonatologist at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.

For infants younger than 22 weeks, the survival rate has improved from 3.6 percent to 20 percent over the last decade, and for those born at 26 weeks, eight in 10 survive.

US lags behind

Since the 1990s, there have been three major medical advances in the effort to improve premature infant survival.

Artificial surfactants help keep babies’ poorly developed lungs inflated when they exhale, while maternal steroid injections right before birth can speed up fetal lung development (growing as much in one day as what might usually take a week) and improved mechanical ventilation techniques also help premature babies.

These techniques are widely available in developed countries, but significant disparities remain—from country to country and even between various hospitals.

In Britain, France and the United States, about half of extremely preterm infants (less than 26 or 27 weeks) survive, according to studies conducted in the last few years.

And the US system is not equivalent to its Swedish counterpart. American health care is rife with inequalities that can play out in the level of antenatal care pregnant women in different demographics receive.

A study in JAMA shows that geographic racial segregation in the US manifests itself in health care, as premature black infants have a greater likelihood of being born in lower-quality hospitals.

But the survival rate is still improving, even in the very rare instance of babies who are born weighing under 14 ounces, the subject of a third JAMA study—focused on US data—published Monday.

Of infants born between 22 and 26 weeks and weighing less than 14 ounces in 21 US hospitals between 2008 and 2016, 13 percent survived—one of them weighed only 11.6 ounces.

At such a low gestational age, the risk of complications is much higher, as three fourths of children born that early show developmental delays at age two.

All told, “it tells you that survival is possible,” said Bell, a coauthor of one of the US studies.

“One can’t say clearly that these babies should be always resuscitated,” Bell said, “but parents deserve to have this information and probably should have a say in whether they’re resuscitated.”




Inaugural WHO Partners Forum launches new push for collaboration on global health

9 April 2019 – News release – Stockholm

To meet the world’s most pressing health challenges, WHO, governments and global health leaders today called for improved partnerships and resourcing to support WHO’s mission to deliver care, services and protection for billions of people by 2023. The inaugural two-day WHO Partners Forum opens Tuesday (9 April) in Stockholm and will be co-hosted with the Government of Sweden.

The meeting will result in a shared understanding of how to strengthen partnerships and improve effective financing of WHO, with an emphasis on predictability and flexibility.

Global leaders in health and development, representing the public sector, health partnerships and non-State actors, will come together to launch a new era of collaboration and innovation around WHO’s resource needs. Under the Organization’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW13), WHO needs US$14.1 billion between now and 2023.

“WHO is committed to leaving no one behind as we strive for the highest attainable standard of health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “WHO is building stronger and more strategic partnerships with governments, international organizations, philanthropies and the private sector to deliver on the health-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

At the heart of the GPW13 are the “triple billion” goals of ensuring that by 2023, 1 billion more people are benefitting from universal health coverage, 1 billion more people are better protected from health emergencies, and 1 billion more people are enjoying better health and well-being.

Peter Eriksson, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, says: “The first WHO Partners Forum is a historic moment for honest discussions on tackling modern global health threats. If the world is to meet current and future health challenges, we need to ensure WHO is equipped and supported to be able to lead the global response.”

Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, says great advances have been made in global public health in recent decades, but new threats are putting communities, countries and economies at risk.

“Countries and health partners alike must collaborate even closer to respond to health challenges,” says Ms. Hallengren. “Fighting antimicrobial resistance, combating disease outbreaks and providing essential health services for all are keys not only to improving people’s wellbeing, but also to promoting growth and development. Only by coming up with a sustainable model to respond to pressing health threats in all countries will we be able to deliver on the ambition of the SDGs.”

Other participants in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum include leadership of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.



We love.sweden  CUBA cuba.sweden.jpg   

Kat and I want to express our humble gratitude, appreciation, respect for the medical community in Cuba, especially ELAM, the largest medical school in the world. Thank you ELAM for educating a robust global community of health care providers around the world, including US students, at a time when we are experiencing a global health care shortage crisis. The Cuban model for training  primary care physicians is a premier model, influencing healthcare education and care on all corners of the planet. The Neonatal Womb Warriers community is significantly impacted by the Cuban approach to maternal and infant care, an approach that reduces preterm birth as reflected in Cuba’s preterm birth rate 6.4% (per 100 births), Rank: 169 (USA Rate: 12.0%, Rank: 54, Global average 11.1%).


***See our 07/04/16 blog-World Warriors-Cuba-


MEDICC supports students and graduates of Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), the world’s largest medical school, educating socially committed physicians from low-income families in the USA and developing countries.

 MEDICC Deplores Latest US Move Against Cuba

Posted at 10:54hin MEDICC in the Media, Press Releases by medicc2016

April 19, 2019—This week the US administration announced more sanctions against Cuba, in a cruel move that puts at risk the health of people in both our countries. Building upon two MOUs in health signed under Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, scientists and health professionals had begun stepping up cooperation to address diabetes, cancer and other diseases, and prepare to jointly confront threats from new epidemics. Much hope for these initiatives was already dashed by stepped-up hostility from Washington under the current president, who has used drastic limitations in US visas to leave the MOUs in the “dead letter” box.

However, this week US national security adviser John Bolton went further. He announced the US would allow suits in US courts against foreign investors in Cuba if their investments involve Cuban-American properties nationalized by the Cuban government; cap the dollar amounts of family remittances to Cubans on the island; and further limit already-restricted travel by Americans to Cuba.

“This is a bitter day for all of us,” noted MEDICC Executive Director Dr. C. William Keck. “Not only do the new measures hurt ordinary Cubans, they also drive a wedge in the budding and all-important cooperation between our countries begun by professionals and researchers committed to our health.”

“Much can be learned from Cuba’s universal health care, as recently noted a Lancet editorial,” Keck said. “Cuba’s infant mortality, lower and with fewer disparities than our own, is one example. And Cuban biotech innovations could become a lifeline for US patients suffering an array of conditions, from diabetic foot ulcers to lung cancer.”

But, despite clear signals that the majority of Cubans and Americans—including Cuban-Americans—favor rapprochement, this administration is bent on undoing it and demonizing Cuba and the Cuban people in the process. This must beg the question: whose interests does this policy shift serve? Certainly not those of our health, in either country.



Domestic violence and preterm birth is an issue that deserves attention. Prevention of preterm birth is our number one goal because prevention is cost effective, humane, critically necessary and achievable. Identifying the diverse causes of preterm birth creates opportunity to develop policies, resources, treatments, interventions and guidelines focused on prevention. Reducing domestic violence is an issue we CAN impact.

Understanding Abuse and Preterm Birth: What Can Be Done?

April 02, 2019

More than 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse. When a woman becomes pregnant, the frequency and severity of this abuse may be at risk of increasing (1). Domestic abuse has also been shown to increase a woman’s risk of delivering before 37 weeks, potentially putting her child in danger of lifelong complications. On the other side, early delivery is associated with an increased risk of maltreatment for infants born prematurely. Despite this pervasive link between domestic abuse and prematurity, it is rarely acknowledged in prevention education. For our March Collaboratory, we invited researchers, neonatologists and social workers to help us confront this challenging topic and lead a discussion on how we can all come together in the name of prevention.

The event, hosted at UCSF’s Mission Hall and moderated by Laura Jelliffe-Pawlowski, began with PTBi-CA epidemiologist Rebecca Bear, who provided a brief introduction to her work analyzing California hospital records. Bear explained that through her research she saw a correlation between a woman’s history of abuse and whether or not a person had a preterm birth. The results of her research indicated that the rates of preterm birth among women who had experienced abuse were nearly double than those who had not experienced abuse. However, this rate was not found once adjusting for variables such as age. Bear explained that the study was able to shed light on how health issues such as high blood pressure may be the indicator of stress that can be traced back to the violence and the preterm birth.

Human Service Agency Social Worker, Alexis Cobbins, shared her experience working directly with families who suffer from domestic violence and preterm birth. She explained that when child protective services removed a mother’s baby at birth because of the threat of violence from her abusive partner, “the babies’ attachment and bonding were disrupted. It was almost like she was suffering twice. Once from his abuse and then from child protective services – from their lens of keeping the child safe”. Though Alexis noted through her agency’s advocacy efforts they were able to reunite baby and mother, there needs to be a better understanding of how meet the mother’s needs of safety rather than focusing solely on the child.

Hector Santamaria, a social worker at the Human Service Agency, and Artanesha Jackson, a Clinical Social Worker at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, also spoke about their experiences working firsthand with survivors of domestic violence how it related to their preterm births. Hector explained that what is needed is more than a specific intervention but rather, “a change in culture. I think it starts with those difficult conversations within our own families and our own communities.”

Liz Rogers, a Neonatologist and California PTBi researcher, spoke about how babies with complex medical needs are at greater risk of experiencing abuse or neglect and that babies who are born early are at risk of having complex medical needs.  Through her research, she was able to drill down to see which complications of preterm birth increased risk for non-accidental traumas, such as fractures, which indicates abuse or neglect. Rogers noted, “really across the board [of medical complications] there remained a significantly higher risk of non-accidental traumas.”





Randomized Trial of Platelet-Transfusion Thresholds in Neonates

Anna Curley, M.D., Simon J. Stanworth, F.R.C.P., D.Phil., Karen Willoughby, B.Sc., Susanna F. Fustolo-Gunnink, M.D., Vidheya Venkatesh, M.D., Cara Hudson, M.Sc., Alison Deary, M.Sc., Renate Hodge, M.Sc., Valerie Hopkins, B.Sc., Beatriz Lopez Santamaria, M.Sc., Ana Mora, Ph.D., Charlotte Llewelyn, Ph.D., et al.,  for the PlaNeT2 MATISSE Collaborators*

January 17, 2019 N Engl J Med 2019; 380:242-251 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1807320


Platelet transfusions are commonly used to prevent bleeding in preterm infants with thrombocytopenia. Data are lacking to provide guidance regarding thresholds for prophylactic platelet transfusions in preterm neonates with severe thrombocytopenia.


In this multicenter trial, we randomly assigned infants born at less than 34 weeks of gestation in whom severe thrombocytopenia developed to receive a platelet transfusion at platelet-count thresholds of 50,000 per cubic millimeter (high-threshold group) or 25,000 per cubic millimeter (low-threshold group). Bleeding was documented prospectively with the use of a validated bleeding-assessment tool. The primary outcome was death or new major bleeding within 28 days after randomization.


A total of 660 infants (median birth weight, 740 g; and median gestational age, 26.6 weeks) underwent randomization. In the high-threshold group, 90% of the infants (296 of 328 infants) received at least one platelet transfusion, as compared with 53% (177 of 331 infants) in the low-threshold group. A new major bleeding episode or death occurred in 26% of the infants (85 of 324) in the high-threshold group and in 19% (61 of 329) in the low-threshold group (odds ratio, 1.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06 to 2.32; P=0.02). There was no significant difference between the groups with respect to rates of serious adverse events (25% in the high-threshold group and 22% in the low-threshold group; odds ratio, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.78 to 1.67).


Among preterm infants with severe thrombocytopenia, those randomly assigned to receive platelet transfusions at a platelet-count threshold of 50,000 per cubic millimeter had a significantly higher rate of death or major bleeding within 28 days after randomization than those who received platelet transfusions at a platelet-count threshold of 25,000 per cubic millimeter. (Funded by the National Health Service Blood and Transplant Research and Development Committee and others; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN87736839.)


*** Follow-up: April 18, 2019 – N Engl J Med 2019; 380:1584-1585 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1902638

Collecting quality data is key: registries of babies treated for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) can improve health, care, and science


Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a disease of the eye affecting preterm born babies. It is characterised by changes in the developing blood vessels of the retina (the light-sensitive layer in the back of the eye that sends visual signals to the brain). All preterm babies born before around 31 weeks of pregnancy or having a birth weight of less than 1,250g to 1,500g need to have eye examinations by a specialised eye doctor, called ophthalmologist, to check how the vessels in the eye develop.

This ensures that the development of ROP is detected early and can be treated if needed. Since there is a lag period after birth until ROP develops, the first screening usually takes place after four to six weeks following birth. It continues until the ophthalmologist can note that the vessels have fully grown in the outer parts of the eye and any ROP has resolved. Increasingly, photographs of the retina are being taken either by NICU personnel or by staff from the ophthalmology department for the ophthalmologist to evaluate the status of the eye and to document how the vessels develop.

From the point of view of our monthly topic “Data collection and documentation” in February, we are especially interested in the question, how single hospitals can evaluate their patients with retinopathy of prematurity, as they usually have only very few cases within a year. To provide all stakeholders with reliable information and outcomes, systematic collections of reliable data of quality registries focused on ROP for clinical research are of utmost importance as they help that different hospitals can evaluate their cases together and can compare the patients within a country, but even between countries.

We thus would like to present you two national ROP registries, the ROP registry from Germany and the SWEDROP registry from Sweden and talked to the medical experts in charge, Professor Andreas Stahl ( ROP registry), Head of Ophthalmology at the Greifswald University Medical Center, Germany, and Professor Ann Hellström, Professor in Pediatric Ophthalmology, Sahlgrenska Academy, from The Queen Silvia Children´s Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden, and Professor Gerd Holmström (register holder), Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital Uppsala, Sweden.

The German ROP registry is a collaborative network of academic institutions in Germany. It was created as a joint effort to acquire sufficient data of treated infants in a multicentre approach to analyse typical clinical features of infants, epidemiology, and treatment patterns of severe ROP.

SWEDROP is a national quality registry to evaluate screening and treatment for ROP in Sweden and to investigate possible modifications of the present screening guidelines. Almost all infants in Sweden born before a gestational age (GA) of 31 weeks are screened for ROP until the retina is fully vascularised, approximately at 40 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA). SWEDROP is organised through a steering committee where representatives from the University Hospitals (n=7) collaborate and are responsible to capture data from their regions.



Large Shortages in Primary, Specialty Physicians Seen by 2032

Kerry Dooley Young – April 25, 2019

There could be a shortage of 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032, in both primary and specialty care, with burnout potentially affecting retirement timing and a trend toward shorter working hours contributing to the wide range of estimates, a new report shows.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) on Tuesday released its latest outlook on the supply and demand for physicians, which was conducted by IHS Markit, a data analysis and market intelligence firm based in New York and London.

AAMC said in 2015 that it made a commitment to commission annual updates of national physician workforce projections. The 2019 report shows a dearth of primary care physicians by 2032, with a shortage of 21,100 to 55,200 seen in this field.

Among specialty care, the shortage is expected to be in the range of 24,800 to 65,800, including between 1900 and 12,100 medical specialists; between 14,300 and 23,400 surgical specialists, and between 20,600 and 39,100 other specialists such as pathologists, neurologists, radiologists, and psychiatrists, the report shows.

“The United States would need an additional 95,900 doctors immediately if healthcare use patterns were equalized across race, insurance coverage, and geographic location,” the AAMC states in a news release.

Physicians’ decisions on when to retire will play a key role in determining the extent of the future shortage, AAMC said. Physicians between ages 55 and 64 make up 27% of the active workforce, with those older than age 65 accounting for another for 15% of it.

“Thus, over 40% of the physician workforce is at risk for retiring over the next decade,” the AAMC report shows.

And, the toll of burnout on physicians could lead some to accelerate retirement plans, the report authors said, citing Medscape data. The 2018 Medscape National Physician Burnout and Depression Report found 42% of physician respondents reported burnout as a result of causes such as long work hours and excess bureaucratic tasks.

AAMC said it is fielding a physician survey this year to collect data about physician retirement patterns and physician work patterns. This information is intended to address questions of whether high levels of physician burnout may accelerate retirement plans or lead to reduced work hours.

Other issues that AAMC highlighted for further research include the effects of an expected increased supply of physician assistants (PAs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). It is also still unclear how an expected rise in the number of retail health clinics may affect demand for physicians, the report authors said.

The report noted the potential impact of “a trend toward physicians of all ages working fewer hours.” It added that the decline in hours worked appears “particularly large when comparing recent hours-worked patterns of younger physicians relative to physicians of a similar age a decade ago.”





28 weeker micro preemie-Willie’s first diaper change with Mommy

Naturally boost oxytocin levels for Neonatal Bonding | Living Healthy Chicago

LHSweden.jpgLivingHealthyChicago Published on Mar 11, 2019

Oxytocin is naturally occurring hormone that plays a role in social bonding. Today Jackie learns about scent clothes that are helping babies who spend time in the NICU bond with their parents! Find out why scent cloth hearts are making a big difference for the very youngest of patients. Living Healthy Chicago is a health and wellness program that airs Saturday mornings at 9am on WGN. We aim to educate and inspire our viewers to live healthier lives.

One year update after the opening of the NICU in the Teck Acute Care Centre

October 29, 2018

One year ago today, 110 patients were moved into the new Teck Acute Care Centre (Teck ACC) in just five hours. Use this image as both the current Page Image and for News listings.

It was a truly awe-inspiring feat and an auspicious beginning for the newest health-care facility on the BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre campus on Oak Street in Vancouver.

The Singhs were one of a few families who transitioned from the old Neonatal ICU (NICU) to the new one with the opening of the Teck ACC. Baby Harmeher Singh weighed just 450 grams when he was born prematurely. Harmeher and his family experienced an immediate, positive change in both care and environment between the two vastly different spaces.

“Harmeher means God’s blessing, and he truly is God’s blessing to us,” said Harmeher’s mother, Bubblepreet Randhawa. “We’re so thankful that the NICU team saved him and to have been in this bigger private room, where my husband spent the night here and Harmeher’s big brother was able to come visit to spend more time with his baby brother and share mommy-time.”

We’re happy to announce Harmeher is a thriving 13-month old (true age); his corrected age is nine and a half months. He is very intelligent and loves to play with his brother, Gurmeher. “Again, we are so grateful he is healthy and for the care he received. Thank you!”

“The BC Women’s NICU is North America’s first purpose-built unit of its kind, where mothers receive their postpartum care in the same room, from the same NICU nurse, as their newborns who need neonatal intensive care so that these mothers and babies need not be separated after birth,” said Cheryl Davies, chief operating officer, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. “New and expectant mothers and their newborns now have state-of-the-art facilities in the new Teck ACC—an environment that supports our medical care providers and staff to provide the best patient care possible.”

The Teck ACC houses a range of patient care services, including the labour and delivery unit for complex pregnancies, expanded dedicated obstetrical surgical suites, blood transfusion services, centralized medical equipment depot and sterile processing services, the Emergency Department, and more than 200 private patient rooms supporting patient- and family-centred care.

Benefits for patients and their families in the new building are more natural light and access to therapeutic outdoor spaces, and amenities like kitchenettes, laundry, family lounges and play areas.

The Teck ACC is part of the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project to improve care at BC Children’s and BC Women’s hospitals.


The Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children’s Hospital – Video Tour with Michael Bublé    

music.swedenBC Children’s Hospital Foundation Published on Oct 26, 2017

bckids.swedenTake a tour of the Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children’s Hospital, hosted by Michael Bublé. Patients’ and their families’ entire journey—of body, mind and spirit—has been planned and designed in extraordinary detail.



EFONI.Sweden.jpgNew series on cohorts of the Research on European Children and Adults born Preterm (RECAP preterm) project


Our new series presents the cohorts of the EU-funded project „Research on European Children and Adults born Preterm“ (RECAP preterm), which aims at contributing to a better understanding on the long-term effects of preterm birth and thus to an improvement of the follow-up of these children. A research cohort is a group of people who share a defining characteristic, e.g. in the case of RECAP preterm, the cohorts consist of children (and later adults) born very preterm or with very low birth weight (VPT/ VLBW cohorts). This group is then accompanied over time to research the different consequences of preterm birth that can occur. RECAP preterm brings together Europe’s strongest pregnancy, child to adult cohorts and a highly experienced group of organisations and individual researchers.

We start with the ESTONIA I & II cohorts and are delighted to present you a guest article by the expert in charge, Dr Heili Varendi from the University of Tartu.

A guest article by Dr Heili Varendi, associate professor and neonatologist at University of Tartu

The main idea for the cohorts collected in Estonia was to fill a gap – by 2006 there was no national population-based data available about the outcome of very preterm births (VPT) after 7 postnatal days in Estonia. The aim was to collect nationwide data and create a system to assess quality of perinatal and neonatal care.

(c) Dr Heili Varendi, University of Tartu

Paediatricians from three 3rd level maternity units and two regional children hospitals in Estonia initiated a national pilot register for all sick newborns in 2007 – 2008. We also prepared national guidelines for follow-up of high-risk (incl. very preterm) infants until 2 years, that was published in 2008 and had been implemented in 2009. To prepare for these activities, our team collected good examples from Finland and Sweden.

Along with the pilot register, a prospective population-based study of very preterm infants born in 2007-2008 (n= 360) was carried out with follow-up at 2-years corrected age for all VPT (n=155) and at 5 years for a subgroup (n=49) born <1000g and <29 weeks gestational age (Estonia II). For the historical control group, retrospective national perinatal-neonatal data were collected for all very preterm births (n=264) in 2002-2003, and at 5 years assessed the health and development of the subgroup (n=61), born <1000g and <29 weeks GA (Estonia I). We have also collected data about health costs and use of health care resources for all these groups (Estonia I and II, n=624) from birth until 5 years.

Challenges in data collection were: lack of resources (e.g. Tallinn Town Government supported creation of the first database but all paediatricians collected perinatal data on voluntary basis; we applied for a research grant but only received 50% of the requested rate).

It was challenging to select tests for assessment of development; most of the available tests were not translated nor validated in Estonian and Russian.

During last 10 years we have worked to achieve a systematic data collection for high risk newborns from birth to preschool age, and finally, in 2019 we’ll get the opportunity to have a chart for very preterm infants until discharge or 44 postmenstrual weeks included in the Estonian Medical Birth Registry.

Results: With these two cohorts we could see changes in perinatal and neonatal care and outcome of very preterm infants in Estonia. We had the opportunity to compare Estonian results internationally and provide feedback to obstetricians and specialists in neonatal care. We saw positive trend in increase of survival without concomitant rise in severe neonatal morbidity and long-term disability. But we faced different unexpected problems in child development at preschool age. Based on these results we could recommend prolongation of follow-up activities and interventions to extremely preterm children beyond 2 years, until school age.

With our cohorts we hope to help the families with very preterm deliveries by demonstrating what the potential prognosis of their VPT children is to survive and develop until preschool age.






Brilliant Duo’s Affordable Innovations Are Saving Lives of ICU Patients & Preemies!

In a country where 37 per cent of patients on mechanical ventilators get pneumonia and where 50 per cent of babies are born away from well-equipped hospitals, these medical marvels are proven life-savers.

by Tanvi Patel March 1, 2019, 3:56 pm

Nitesh Jangir grew up in Shivnagar village, Rajasthan.

Nachiket Daval, a son of a now-retired naval officer, lived in many parts of India due to the nature of his father’s profession.

Despite their different backgrounds, the two friends-cum-business partners have similar experiences with regards to the prevalent healthcare system in India at both village and district levels.

Nachiket and Nitesh saw upfront how the lack of medical facilities—existing and advanced—spelled doom for the people awaiting their turn at the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Centres.

While Nitesh went on to study engineering, Nachiket pursued design. But, always present back of their minds were the patients sitting at the hospitals waiting for treatments they could neither access and frankly, nor afford.

One of Lung India’s studies found that 37.5 per cent patients on mechanical ventilators in Indian ICUs catch pneumonic infections. In a large number of cases, such infections can be life-threatening.

Another shocking find stated that out of all children born, 53 per cent die under the age of 5 years during the neonatal stage. These studies propelled Nitesh and Nachiket to search for solutions.

And COEO Labs was the result.

Nitesha and Nachiket’s company makes medical devices with the aim to meet the medical needs in critical care. Together, they designed two devices; Saans—a low-skill, low-cost, neonatal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device and VAPCare– an intelligent secretion management device to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).



On a night shift at the hospital we saw an auto come into the emergency department. Three people came out of the auto carrying a new-born. The doctor’s started the medical procedure immediately but they couldn’t save the baby,” Nachiket tells TBI.

The friends later found out that the baby had been a premature who suffered complications due to severe lack of oxygen. Lack of appropriate medical support at the hospital where the baby had been delivered, and the time it took to transfer the baby to another hospital proved fatal for the infant.

In a country where about half of the children born are, at the most, 5-10 km away from a care centre, the number of babies who die due to lack of medical facilities is staggering.

Sometimes deliveries may not always be in a hospital with respiratory support systems for premature babies. In some cases, well-equipped ambulances may do the needful but what of those who cannot afford to wait for an ambulance or where the ambulance too, is does not have the necessary equipment?

“Currently, all neonatal CPAP machines (including bubble CPAPs) require electrical power or compressed gases to function—neither of which is easily available in primary care centres, or during transport in low-resource settings,” says the COEO team.

Saans is the world’s first neonatal CPAP device that can be powered in multiple ways – through direct source electricity (including a vehicle’s electrical supply), a rechargeable battery, compressed gas, or even manual air pumping.

When there is a power cut, as is very frequent in many parts of India and Saans can be operated manually with the help of a standard Bag Valve Mask bag (BVM) (a manual resuscitator) fixed to it. The system, patented by COEO, converts a variable flow of the BVM bag to a continuous and controlled airflow.

Saans, which took over three years testing and finalisation, has already started showing results. Nitesh shares a story which has a permanent place in the team’s heart.

“We deployed a Saans device to a low-resource hospital in Kolar, Karnataka. This hospital has a high volume of premature births but lacks infrastructure to support the existing CPAP machines. A few days after we gave them the device, we got a message from the doctor saying that there was a premature baby admitted to the hospital,” says Nitesh.

The doctor said that they had tried everything they could to save the baby. When nothing else worked, they tried Saans and the baby’s condition improved within two hours. At night, during a power cut, the device continued to work thanks to its manual settings.

“The doctor messaged saying that the baby survived because of Saans and he congratulated the whole team for developing the device.”




Some people say there’s nothing new under the sun. I still think that there’s room to create, you know. And intuition doesn’t necessarily come from under this sun. It comes from within- Pharrell Williams

KAT’S CORNER      cats.corner.swede.jpg

Intuition guided my mom, brother Seth and I to adopt our PTSD cat Gannon. We had been dealing with a rat problem in our garage which my mom, my sister Ciara and I had  passionately attempted to get rid of, but the rats out-smarted us every step of the way. None of us consider ourselves “cat people”(we love big dogs!) but my brother Seth is and had been looking for a cat after his had passed. Thinking a cat may solve the rat issue and that Seth may enjoy a new member of the family one day my mom casually looked at cat adoption information. Scanning cat pictures and bios she was completely taken by Gannon’s handsome and intelligent face, his history of rehabilitation at a local prison and his PTSD status. Gannon, a mane coon – mackerel tabby had been living in the pet store for over a year. Mom located the adoptable cat and we drove to see him late that evening. For my mom and me it was deep love at first sight. Excitedly we informed Seth about Gannon and started a plan for adoption. When we contacted management about adoption, they informed us they wanted Gannon to go to a man. Seth came up from California to finalize the adoption process. A week later we welcomed Gannon into our family and the rest is history. It has taken hard work to create an environment where Gannon (Ganzie) feels safe. His PTSD habits are very similar to our own. He shows us every day he appreciates us, and he demands to lick and clean our hands and give us love bites in exchange for our petting, massages and care. He heals us as we support his healing. Intuition at it’s best……

Nikola Tesla’s Secret of Intuition- Bright Insight

nicola.swedenPublished on Mar 11, 2017

Nikola Tesla utilized an incredibly powerful combination of Intuition and creativity to develop his inventions. Tesla spoke of the energies of the Universe, Frequency and how Intuition made his inventions possible. Tesla utilized Intuition to create his inventions, and established more than 700 patents around the world. Yet, mainstream science seems bent on suppressing this incredible knowledge.


Surf city winterjam 2012 / Varberg

Jonah Lake-Loading…Published on Dec 10, 2012

This is a short mix of a surf gathering/competition held in Varberg Sweden the 9th of December. It’s probably one of, if not, the coldest surfevent ever held in the world. In the morning the temp was below -14´C and some part of the ocean close to shore was ice. During the comp it got warmer up to -4,5´C. Surfers from Sweden, Peru, Costa Rica and Panama entered the competition.

Helsingborg Sweden

Sensors, Pacifiers, Music Therapy


RATE: 7.4  Estimated number of preterm births per 100 live births  RANK: 147

                                              (US Rate: USA – 12% Rank: 54)


Algeria, officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa.[12] Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries.

Health: In 2002, Algeria had inadequate numbers of physicians (1.13 per 1,000 people), nurses (2.23 per 1,000 people), and dentists (0.31 per 1,000 people). Access to “improved water sources” was limited to 92% of the population in urban areas and 80% of the population in the rural areas. Some 99% of Algerians living in urban areas, but only 82% of those living in rural areas, had access to “improved sanitation”. According to the World Bank, Algeria is making progress toward its goal of “reducing by half the number of people without sustainable access to improved drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015”. Given Algeria’s young population, policy favors preventive health care and clinics over hospitals. In keeping with this policy, the government maintains an immunization program. However, poor sanitation and unclean water still cause tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles,  typhoid fevercholera and dysentery. The poor generally receive health care free of charge.


Kat and I were not able to find preterm birth stories to share from Algeria but we did find a very fun love algeria.heart song by Algerian Mok Saib that we are choreographing for a Zumba routine. The beauty of Love and the Zumba community is the recognition and celebration of the oneness of our global family and how our Love for each other has the power to enrich our lives and nourish the planet we live on. A little Music Therapy we can all enjoy!

Mok Saib – Je M’en Fous – موك صايب [Clip Officiel]

48,867,679 views Published on Jan 26, 2018


Most Pervasive Major Diseases in Algeria and their Prevention

June 2017

With 40 million citizens, Algeria is the largest country in Africa, and for the past 40 years, its government has worked hard to improve health care by providing it for free to its citizens. Free health care in Algeria is funded by taxes, social security and economic growth. It has helped millions of Algerians, providing medical care and services to extend the lives of millions. Early intervention through infant vaccines, for instance, has prevented many major diseases in Algeria.

The free system remains lacking. A shortage of doctors means that people seeking medical treatment have long waits and sometimes do not receive proper screening that might prevent curable diseases.

The Algerian government recently passed a new health care bill to improve access for the poor, provide patient e-files to better access medical records, and help in the detection and care of disease. The bill added programs to facilitate organ transplants, tissue and cell transplants and treatments for infertility.

Early detection is key to improving the lives of millions of citizens, as many of the major diseases in Algeria are treatable. Others are preventable. Here are the most major diseases in Algeria, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation:

  • Coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, which results in a reduced blood supply to the heart.
  • Cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain and may cause strokes. High cholesterol is a leading cause of cerebrovascular disease. Cholesterol drugs are expensive in Algeria. Ministers of health since 2002 have tried to lower the cost of these drugs by allowing local pharmaceutical companies to open and manufacture cost-efficient medication.
  • Neonatal preterm birthis another medical issue that causes multiple medical issues and death. Infants born earlier than 37 weeks are considered preemies. Babies born this early are susceptible to heart and lung issues and permanent disabilities including cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and learning disabilities. Some learning disabilities can not be detected until the child reaches school age.
    • Prenatal education can help prevent and improve the chances of full-term births. Some risks that can cause premature birth if left untreated are high blood pressure and diabetes. Early intervention increases the odds that a baby will be born healthy.
  • Diabetes is among the major diseases in Algeria. This silent and sometimes debilitating illness, which can result in blindness, loss of limbs and death, can be treated, and certain diabetes drugs are being produced locally. Proper nutrition and exercise can help prevent diabetes.
  • Congenital anomalies result in the deaths of children within the first month of life, according to the World Health Organization. Those babies who survive will need long-term medical care. Proper diet, prenatal vitamins, vaccines and early screenings can help. Prenatal care has increased over the last several years in Algeria with improved health care.
  • Chronic kidney diseaseis another slow, progressive disease that results in the need for long-term medical care. Medication alone is not enough for the treatment of this disease. In severe cases, people need to go on kidney dialysis to help filter their blood. This process is both painful and expensive. With early monitoring of diabetes and high blood pressure, kidney disease can sometimes be prevented.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is another growing issue in Algeria. There is some early treatment medicine on the market today, but such treatment can only slow down the illness. Alzheimer’s is a growing concern as life expectancy rises in Algeria. The progression of Alzheimer’s diseaseis very slow, causing memory loss and dementia. As the disease worsens, people suffering forget all sense of themselves and their loved ones. People with Alzheimer’s eventually lose the ability to care for themselves in the most basic of functions. People with Alzheimer’s eventually need long-term care, which can put a strain on family and caregivers. There has been an increase in privately-owned nursing homes in Alegria. An estimated 250 nursing homes have opened up thus far, with more expected in the future.

Global Coalition calls for better care and stronger legislation to save babies on the brink of death

PTBi-CA Contributes to Major Global Report Urging Specialized Treatment for Premature InfantsDecember 12, 2018

We are thrilled to have participated in a major global report that recognizes, for the first time, the essential role of parents as partners in the care of sick and small babies throughout every recommendation. The report, Survive and Thrive: Transforming care for every small and sick newbornwas created by UNICEF and WHO, with support from partners including USAID, Every Preemie Scale, Save the Children, LSHTM, and the Gates Foundation. PTBi co-principal Investigator, Linda Franck, contributed to the landmark technical report and explains, “This report could impact our ability to double-down on our efforts to reduce disparities in access and quality of care for all babies needing special care at birth to reduce the unacceptable rates of death and disability worldwide. Transforming care for today’s 30 million vulnerable newborns is the smartest investment we can make in our future.” According to the report, the world will not achieve the global target to achieve health for all unless it transforms care for every newborn. Without rapid progress, some countries will not meet this target for another 11 decades. To save newborns, the report recommends:

  • Providing round-the-clock inpatient care for newborns seven days a week.
  • Training nurses to provide hands-on care working in partnership with families.
  • Harnessing the power of parents and families by teaching them how to become expert caregivers and care for their babies, which can reduce stress, help babies gain weight and allow their brains to develop properly.
  • Providing good quality of care should be a part of country policies, and a lifelong investment for those who are born small or sick.
  • Counting and tracking every small and sick newborn allows managers to monitor progress and improve results.
  • Allocating the necessary resources, as an additional investment of US$ 0.20 cents per person can save 2 of every 3 newborns in low- and middle-income countries by 2030.

Almost three decades ago, the Convention on the Rights of the Child guaranteed every newborn the right to the highest standard of health care, and it is time for countries around the world to make sure the legislative, medical, human and financial resources are in place to turn that right into a reality for every child, the report says.


University of California San Francisco  – Who We Are algeria.cali.flower.jpg  

Mission: Our mission is to eliminate racial disparities in preterm birth and improve health outcomes for babies born too soon, through research, partnerships and education grounded in community wisdom.

Vision: We believe all parents deserve healthy pregnancies, and all newborns deserve healthy starts in life.

People: The California Preterm Birth Initiative lives at the intersection of research, community partnerships and education to create positive change for black and brown families. The UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative is an innovative, multi-year research enterprise funded by Lynne and Marc Benioff. We’re led by Principal Investigator Larry Rand and co-Principal Investigator Linda Franck. Our community advisory boards help to determine our research priorities.

We’re a community of researchers, parents, lactation consultants, doulas, nurses, doctors, community practitioners, public servants and innovative thinkers determined to change this persistent and urgent issue. Our work in California is based in Oakland, Fresno and San Francisco. Our sister project is the East Africa Preterm Birth Initiative.

What We are Facing: More than one-third of infant deaths in California are related to being born too soon, and babies born prematurely who do survive can face a lifetime of health complications. The stark reality of premature birth in California is one of health inequity. While 1 in 12 babies are born too soon, the rate of preterm birth among Black women is 47 percent higher than the rate among all other women. We assert that structural and interpersonal racism along with other key social determinants are important drivers of an epidemic that disproportionately affects women of color in our state, and nationally.

Our Role: Our work is deeply rooted in place, drawing strength from and developing capacity with our academic and community partners in Fresno, Oakland, and San Francisco. We strive to address questions that have been prioritized by women with lived experience of preterm birth and vetted by our community advisory boards.



We spent some time today on the University of Washington Campus where the Cherry Blossoms are in Bloom and Love and Renewal are in the air.  We sprinkled a few pictures from our wander throughout the blog. Spring in the Northwest is finally here! Let’s celebrate!



 Lullaby-Playing Pacifier Helps Premature Babies Thrive UCLA Health Newsroom

U-algeria  UCLA Health      Published on Feb 11, 2019

Babies who are born premature often struggle with feeding and the reflex to suck, breathe and swallow, which is pivotal for their development. And when parents watch their premature newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), they often feel helpless. Now, researchers with the music therapy program at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital are testing whether an unusual device, which plays a lullaby recorded by the baby’s parents when a baby successfully sucks on the connected pacifier, can empower parents by helping them bond with their babies — and strengthen the babies by improving their oral abilities, which play a crucial role in the ability to feed. A family with triplets participated in the research and used the pacifier-activated lullaby (PAL) device to aid in their babies’ development.

Learn more about the music therapy program at :


Forgotten fathers: New dads also at risk for postpartum depression

Study provides an in-depth look at new fathers’ experiences with PPD      Date:  March 7, 2019   Source:  University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Summary: A new study offers an in-depth view of new fathers’ experiences with postpartum depression (PPD). The study explores issues they encounter and how they can move beyond barriers they face in receiving diagnoses and treatment of the little-known phenomenon.

It’s increasingly common to hear about new moms suffering from the baby blues. But what about new dads?

A new UNLV study, published last week in the Journal of Family Issues, offers an in-depth view of new fathers’ experiences with postpartum depression (PPD). The study explores issues they encounter and how they can move beyond barriers they face in receiving diagnoses and treatment of the little-known phenomenon.

Between 5 and 10 percent of new fathers in the United States suffer from PPD, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. One study shows that the risk goes up to 24 to 50 percent for men whose partners suffer from PPD.

A team of researchers, led by UNLV Couple and Family Therapy professor Brandon Eddy, scoured blogs, websites, forums, and chat rooms for first-hand accounts from new dads. Six themes emerged:

  • Needing education. Fathers didn’t know men could suffer from PPD and were surprised to learn others experienced it. Women who saw PPD in men were unsure of what to call it. Men complained about pushback or not receiving information from doctors or therapists, or frustration that the PPD resources they did manage to find focused solely on how to help their wives.
  • Adhering to gender expectations. Many dads felt pressured to espouse traditional “tough guy” stereotypes. In fact, one man who told another father to “suck it up” said he knew it was bad advice but explained that it’s what’s expected of men.
  • Repressing feelings. Men were reluctant to share their feelings for fear of sounding ridiculous or looking weak to their wives, who were the primary caregivers.
  • Overwhelmed. Many of the new dads found it difficult to express their emotions of confusion, exhaustion, helplessness, loneliness, and feeling trapped. Parents often suffer from lack of sleep after birth, which can exacerbate stress and depressive symptoms — making them more irritable to their children’s crying.
  • Resentment of baby. While many fathers expressed joy and excitement for the arrival of their children, others resented their baby’s constant needs and attention. A few talked about suppressing urges to hurt the baby or themselves.
  • Experience of neglect. The dads felt lost, forgotten, and neglected — by their wives, the health care system, and society. One father described “uncomfortably laughing” while reading PPD screening questions typically asked of women during routine checkups: “I began to feel like someone should be asking me the same questions.” Another said men, who must simply wait while women do the hard work of pregnancy and labor and lack an umbilical cord connection to their children, had often shared with him similar stories of struggling with PPD: “There’s no truly acceptable place or context for men to publicly reveal being challenged — much less rocked to the core — by what I call ‘sudden parenthood’.”

Overall, the findings complement previous studies on barriers for fathers suffering from PPD. UNLV researchers said encountering a lack of information and stigma often causes dads to distance themselves from their child and has been associated with marital difficulties.

Previous research elsewhere has found that paternal involvement has many positive outcomes for children, such as boys displaying less hostile behavior then children with absent dads, reduced delinquency for both sexes, considerably higher IQ scores for children in their early development years, and lower levels of emotional distress. That’s on top of studies showing fathers who suffer from PPD report lower levels of communication with their partners, as well as increased rates of substance abuse and domestic violence.

“The expectations society gives to men of what they are supposed to be, what they are supposed to do, and how they do it was a significant factor on how many of these men chose to cope with life stressors,” the UNLV researchers wrote.

“Because men are already less likely than women to seek professional help for depression, it is vital that the stigma of PPD decreases,” they added. “Because paternal involvement is a significant factor in the healthy development of children, it would seem wise to make information about paternal PPD more available in order to combat its negative impact on families.”

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force — an independent coalition of national experts — recently recommended that all women be screened for depression before and after giving birth. There is no current assessment designed to specifically screen men for PPD.

“With the vast amount of research conducted on the importance of paternal involvement and the rising rates of PPD in fathers,” researchers wrote, “it seems logical that fathers should also be included in this recommendation.”

 Story Source:Materials provided by University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Original written by Keyonna Summers. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Journal Reference:Brandon Eddy, Von Poll, Jason Whiting, Marcia Clevesy. Forgotten Fathers: Postpartum Depression in Men. Journal of Family Issues, 2019; 0192513X1983311 DOI: 1177/0192513X19833111

Lullabies soothe NICU babies, and parents, too   

UW MEDICINE/NEWSROOM – March 20, 2019-

Research suggests that parents singing to their children actually lowers blood pressure and helps neural development.

Shannon Turner said that even humming to his daughter, Kassie, seems to calm her.

Shannon Turner claims he can’t carry a tune. His preemie daughter seems to disagree.

Although she’s only 32 weeks old and weighs 3 pounds, Kassie Turner has made her preferences known: When her dad, Shannon, sings in his gravelly baritone, or even hums, her heart rate and blood pressure drop. This simple act soothes Shannon, too.

“I’ve noticed when I’m here, and I start to hum, whether she’s getting her nose mask readjusted (to help her breathe) or her diaper changed, it helps calm her down,” he said.

Lullaby writing and singing give Turner and his wife Danielle a way to bond with Kassie, and to center themselves when their circumstances feel unmanageable.  They arrived Feb. 5 at UW Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), with Danielle experiencing superimposed preeclampsia, a condition caused by hypertension. Kassie was born that same day, two months early, at 28 weeks.

A few weeks later, UW Medicine’s neurologic music therapist Gayle Cloud appeared, asking if they’d like to create a custom lullaby.  She began offering music therapy in the hospital’s NICU four years ago, and has adapted everything from Dave Matthews tunes to standards like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

They chose the melody of “Jesus Loves Me” to reflect their faith and, with Cloud’s help, crafted lyrics to fit their family, adding the names of Kassie’s three siblings into the chorus.

Creating a lullaby is more than a distraction for stressed parents. The positive effects of singing to newborns, especially premature infants, is well-established in the medical community. A 2013 study showed that music decreases the stress response and helps babies devote more energy to neural and other development. The choice of the song didn’t seem to matter, according to the study. Other observations indicate music aids babies’ sucking responses and oxygen saturation.

Cloud has lost track of the number of families she’s worked with.  The diversity of new parents has enabled Cloud to facilitate lullabies in French and Spanish, and even to transform Korean melodies.

“The moms will often tell me they don’t have a singing voice,” she said. “But I always say that the baby loves your voice, no matter what you sound like. Your baby has heard your voice all throughout your pregnancy while in the womb.”

The best music for a baby is live music sung in person by mom or dad, Cloud noted. Live music allows the music therapist and parents to match babies’ mood or heart rate, slowing or softening the lullaby in the moment. Recordings are more difficult to modulate rhythm and volume.

“I thought it was great that we could create this,” Danielle Turner said as Kassie, wrapped in a furry pink snuggly, cooed in her arms. “She will not only have this lullaby in the NICU, but it is something she can treasure for the rest of her life.”

For details about this story or UW Medical Center’s music therapy program, contact Barbara Clements:, 206.221.6706
UW.gates.alger.jpgBill and Melinda Gates Center/UW Washington Campus-Innovation in Process!



Scientists gain new insight on triggers for preterm birth

 University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston-February 12, 2019


A group of scientists have gained new insight on a poorly-understood key player in the timing of labor and delivery. This new information brings scientists closer to being able to prevent preterm births.

A group of scientists led by Ramkumar Menon at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have gained new insight on a poorly-understood key player in the timing of labor and delivery. This new information brings scientists closer to being able to prevent preterm births. This study is in Scientific Reports.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million infants are born too early each year. Complications from preterm birth are the leading cause of death among children under five years old, responsible for about one million deaths each year globally. In the U.S., approximately 1 of every 10 infants was born prematurely in 2017.

When a woman is at the end of her pregnancy, the normal childbirth process begins when the fetus releases chemicals signaling that his/her organs have matured enough for delivery. This chemical release shifts the mother’s hormone levels, which increases inflammation in the uterus and begins labor and delivery.

“There’s another component of the biological clock that contributes to the timing of birth — a type of cell-to-cell communication between the maternal and fetal cells called paracrine signaling,” said senior author Menon, UTMB associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology. “Because little is known about what this type of signaling does during pregnancy, we investigated the role of paracrine signals called exosomes in the timing of labor and delivery.”

The researchers collected blood plasma samples from pregnant mice and isolated the exosomes. Exosomes collected during either early or late pregnancy were injected into a separate group of pregnant mice during the human equivalent of the beginning of the third trimester.

“We showed that injecting a high concentration of late pregnancy exosomes was able to cause labor-associated changes without the other hormonal and chemical triggers usually involved in this process. Injections of the early pregnancy exosomes had no effect,” said Menon. “This shows that exosomes play a more important role in labor and delivery that has never been reported before.”

UTMB’s Samantha Sheller-Miller, the primary author of this work, conducted the animal model experiments that produced this novel finding. Other authors include UTMB’s Jayshil Trivedi as well as Steven Yellon from Loma Linda University.

Story Source: Materials provided by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.


flower.alg.jpgHEALTH CARE PARTNERS partner.jpg

geneNew research identifies potential PTSD treatment improvement-


University of Texas at Austin March 18, 2019

brain.algeria.gifRegions of the brain associated with stress and posttraumatic stress disorder. Credit: National Institutes of Health Researchers may have found a way to improve a common treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by changing how the brain learns to respond less severely to fearful conditions, according to research published in Journal of Neuroscience.

The study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School suggests a potential improvement to exposure therapy—the current gold standard for PTSD treatment and anxiety reduction—which helps people gradually approach their trauma-related memories and feelings by confronting those memories in a safe setting, away from actual threat.

In a study of 46 healthy adults, researchers compared participants’ emotional reactions to replacing an unpleasant electric shock on the wrist with a surprise neutral tone, instead of simply turning off the shocks. Omitting the feared shocks is the current norm in exposure therapy. The participants’ brain activity was measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Their emotional reactions were measured by how much they were sweating from their hands.

Compared with simply turning off the shocks, replacing the feared shocks with a neutral tone was associated with stronger activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex—an area critical for learning safety and inhibiting fear. Replacing the feared shock with a simple tone also lowered participants’ emotional reactions to pictures that previously had been associated with the electric shock when participants were tested the next day.

“This simple treatment of replacing an expected threat with an innocuous sound resulted in a long-lasting memory of safety, which suggests that the brain may be able to better control its fear response by means of a pretty straightforward, nonpharmaceutical intervention,” says lead study author Joseph Dunsmoor, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Dell Medical School.

In the study, Dunsmoor’s team randomly divided participants to two groups—those who had the shock turned off and those who had the shock replaced by a neutral tone. Both groups were exposed to a picture of a face paired with an electric shock on the wrist on day one of the study. The groups were then exposed to the pictures with the shock turned off, or with the shock replaced by the surprising tone. Both groups returned the next day to measure brain activity and emotional reactions to the fear-conditioned pictures.

The researchers measured participants’ brain activity to the fear-conditioned pictures using fMRI scans. They also measured participants’ emotional responses to the threat of receiving an electric shock based on the amount of sweat recorded from a hand.

“It is well known that the brain learns by surprise,” says Dunsmoor. “Our study suggests that replacing expected aversive events with neutral and unexpected events, even a simple tone, is one way to capture attention so that the brain can learn to regulate fear more effectively.”

More information: Joseph E. Dunsmoor et al, Role of human ventromedial prefrontal cortex in learning and recall of enhanced extinction, The Journal of Neuroscience (2019). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2713-18.2019
Journal information: Journal of Neuroscience


Sensors are first to monitor babies in the NICU

N.algerNorthwesternU     Published on Feb 28, 2019

No wires, more cuddles: Sensors are first to monitor babies in the NICU without wires: Soft, flexible sensors provide clinical-grade measurements, allow physical bonding between baby and parent

An interdisciplinary team has developed a pair of soft, flexible wireless sensors that replace the tangle of wire-based sensors that currently monitor babies in hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units and pose a barrier to parent-baby cuddling and physical bonding. After completing a series of human studies, the researchers concluded that the wireless sensors provided data as precise and accurate as that from traditional monitoring systems.



A Friend of ours, a great Nurse and a fellow Zumba instructor, recently posted about her visit to a local retreat center that provides Health Professional Programs, Wellness Programs, Cancer Retreats, etc.  within our local community. Harmony Hill Healing Retreat seeks to transform lives within our Healthcare community  as they “ help physicians, nurses, social workers and other clinicians – as well as entire workplace teams — enhance their own resilience and wellbeing”. If You know of similar programs where you live please share the information with your community as we reach out to support our Healthcare Partners!




Association of Nurse Workload With Missed Nursing Care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Abstract)

Heather L. Tubbs-Cooley, PhD, RN1,2Constance A. Mara, PhD3,4Adam C. Carle, MA, PhD4,5,6; et alBarbara A. Mark, PhD, RN7Rita H. Pickler, PhD, RN8
January 2019 – A Pediatr. 2019;173(1):44-51. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.3619

Key Points-

Question  Does the workload of neonatal intensive care unit nurses influence the likelihood that a nurse will miss necessary care for assigned infants?

Findings  In this study of 136 nurses caring for 418 infants during 332 shifts, increased infant-to-nurse ratio during a shift was associated with increased missed nursing care in about half of the measured missed care items. When a measure of subjective workload was considered, the associations of ratios were mostly attenuated; increased subjective workload was consistently associated with increased missed care.

Meaning  Focusing exclusively on infant-to-nurse ratios to address missed care may be limiting; nurses’ subjective workload is typically unmeasured but has promise for tailored workload interventions.


Importance  Quality improvement initiatives demonstrate the contribution of reliable nursing care to gains in clinical and safety outcomes in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs); when core care is missed, outcomes can worsen.

Objective  To evaluate the association of NICU nurse workload with missed nursing care.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A prospective design was used to evaluate associations between shift-level workload of individual nurses and missed care for assigned infants from March 1, 2013, through January 31, 2014, at a 52-bed level IV NICU in a Midwestern academic medical center. A convenience sample of registered nurses who provided direct patient care and completed unit orientation were enrolled. Nurses reported care during each shift for individual infants whose clinical data were extracted from the electronic health record. Data were analyzed from January 1, 2015, through August 13, 2018.

Exposures  Workload was assessed each shift with objective measures (infant-to-nurse staffing ratio and infant acuity scores) and a subjective measure (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index [NASA-TLX]).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Missed nursing care was measured by self-report of omission of 11 essential care practices. Cross-classified, multilevel logistic regression models were used to estimate associations of workload with missed care.

Results  A total of 136 nurses provided reports of shift-level workload and missed nursing care for 418 infants during 332 shifts of 12 hours each. When workload variables were modeled independently, 7 of 12 models demonstrated a significant worsening association of increased infant-to-nurse ratio with odds of missed care (eg, nurses caring for ≥3 infants were 2.51 times more likely to report missing any care during the shift [95% credible interval, 1.81-3.47]), and all 12 models demonstrated a significant worsening association of increased NASA-TLX subjective workload ratings with odds of missed care (eg, each 5-point increase in a nurse’s NASA-TLX rating during a shift was associated with a 34% increase in the likelihood of missing a nursing assessment for his or her assigned infant[s] during the same shift [95% credible interval, 1.30-1.39]). When modeling all workload variables jointly, only 4 of 12 models demonstrated significant association of staffing ratios with odds of missed care, whereas the association with NASA-TLX ratings remained significant in all models. Few associations of acuity scores were observed across modeling strategies.

Conclusions and Relevance  The workload of NICU nurses is significantly associated with missed nursing care, and subjective workload ratings are particularly important. Subjective workload represents an important aspect of nurse workload that remains largely unmeasured despite high potential for intervention.


The preterm heart: a unique cardiomyopathy?

Pediatric RESEARCH –  Published: 19 January 2019 Adam J. Lewandowski

Preterm birth affects ~10% of births worldwide. Due to current advances in perinatal clinical care, survival rates >90% are regularly achieved for preterm neonates, meaning the population of adults born preterm has risen sharply in recent decades. Consequently, the first opportunities to assess longer-term disease risk of modern cohorts of smaller, more developmentally immature preterm-born survivors are only just emerging. Epidemiological studies have now identified preterm birth as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and early heart failure. This increased risk is believed to be partly due to disrupted organ development as a result of an early transition from a lower resistance placental circulation during foetal development to a higher resistance arterial circulation postnatally, which is exacerbated by preterm-related complications. In line with an increased cardiovascular risk, studies using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging in young adults born preterm were the first to show that they have potentially adverse alterations in both left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) structure and function. More recent studies have demonstrated that the early postnatal period may be a key developmental window during which these cardiac geometric and functional changes first emerge.

In this issue of Pediatric Research, Cox et al. provide further, detailed insight into the remodelling pattern of the preterm heart during the critical postnatal window. Thirty-four preterm infants underwent CMR scans of the LV and RV within the first week following delivery (postnatal age 3–7 days) and 29 were scanned again at term-corrected age (postnatal age 33–136 days; 37–42 weeks’ corrected gestational age). Ten term-born controls underwent the same CMR scan protocol at a single time point (postnatal age 2–7 days). The authors showed that preterm-born individuals had significantly elevated weight-indexed LV mass and LV end-diastolic volume (EDV) at term-corrected age. Furthermore, weight-indexed RV mass and RVEDV trended towards being greater in the preterm group at term-corrected age, which reached statistical significance in the cohort born at 29–32 weeks’ gestational age. Cox et al. used the CMR scans in order to create computational atlases of the LV and RV from end-diastolic phases, demonstrating that preterm hearts have a more globular LV shape with more spherical blood pool. Interestingly, the degree of prematurity, requirement for respiratory support >48 h and the administration of antenatal glucocorticoids were all independently correlated with increased LV wall thickness in the preterm-born infants.

In humans, the heart undergoes substantial remodelling over the first days and weeks of postnatal life, with the RV switching from being a thick-walled chamber that provides two-thirds of cardiac output into the systemic circulation to being the relatively thinner walled, crescent-shaped chamber that supplies the lower pressure pulmonary circulation. Although follow-up of the preterm cohort in the study by Cox et al. was at term-corrected age (37–42 weeks’ corrected gestational age), there was large variation in postnatal age for their second scans (33–136 days). We and others have shown that the LV and RV in both preterm-born and term-born individuals undergoes extensive cardiac remodelling postnatally, thus additional follow-up in the term-born group after several weeks of exposure to the extrauterine environment using the same methodology would be required to fully understand differences in physiological adaptation related to birth gestational age. Nevertheless, Cox et al.’s findings related to ventricular volumes in the preterm group at term-corrected age may be a reflection of the further enhanced physiological adaptation to increased pulmonary venous return in those born at earlier gestations. Given that LV and RV volumes are reduced in those born preterm in childhood and young adulthood, the current study highlights the need for longitudinal cardiac imaging studies tracking the same individuals over time to better understand the evolution of these remodelling patterns throughout development.

Cardiac changes in preterm-born individuals are of clinical concern. In longitudinal studies, the 20% increase in LV mass seen in young adults born moderately preterm based on CMR imaging is equivalent to >50% increased risk of cardiovascular clinical events in later adult life. The 64% increase in LV mass seen in those born at less than 29 weeks’ gestation in the study by Cox et al. is therefore of particular concern if these changes track throughout development. The nature of this myocardial thickening remains to be determined, but animal studies of preterm suggest that both cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and fibrosis are early pathophysiological adaptations, even in the absence of the normal inflammatory and stress signals present in human preterm pregnancies. Studies have also identified that RV systolic function is reduced from early in life,4 with clinically significant reductions in young adulthood that may directly contribute to the onset of clinical heart failure. Indeed, Carr et al. have demonstrated in a large Swedish register-based epidemiological study of 2.67 million individuals that those born preterm are at increased risk of incident heart failure from childhood through to young adulthood, with a fourfold increased risk in those born at 28–31 weeks’ gestation (very preterm) and 17-fold increased risk in those born at <28 weeks’ gestation (extremely preterm). Given the absolute number of incident heart failures was still greater in those born at term, this may be due to the altered myocardial development in those born preterm, as a reduced myocardial reserve would make them more susceptible to acute insults commonly causing early heart failure. In accordance with this hypothesis, we recently demonstrated using echocardiography imaging at prescribed exercise intensities that preterm-born young adults have impaired LV functional response to physical exercise. Additionally, using right heart catheterisation, Goss et al. demonstrated that young adults born preterm were significantly less able to augment cardiac index or right ventricular stroke work during exercise. Despite the independence of the changes in LV and RV structure and function from blood pressure, exposure to the known sustained blood pressure elevation, hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors in preterm-born individuals might have a greater impact over time in these individuals due to this abnormal pattern of cardiac remodelling and reduced myocardial reserve.

The findings from Cox et al. and others have demonstrated the importance of this early postnatal window for growth, development and cardiac remodelling in preterm infants. As such, it may be an ideal period for intervention to prevent future risk of cardiovascular disease. In a hyperoxia-exposed rat model mimicking preterm birth-related stress conditions, early treatment with an angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor antagonist, Losartan, prevented the development of cardiac alterations in later life, including fibrosis and hypertrophy. These findings suggest that intervention in the first days and weeks postnatally can alter the long-term course of cardiac disease risk. Though humans are more likely to be faced with a greater number of confounding variables and environmental factors affecting development and risk throughout life, our previous work has shown the possible benefits of intervention during the early postnatal window using a more practical approach for human infants. By performing a follow-up study in a cohort of preterm-born young adults who had been randomised to different milk feeding diets at birth between 1982–1985, we were able to investigate the potential long-term cardiac remodelling benefits of an exclusive human milk diet in immediate preterm postnatal life. We performed detailed cardiac phenotyping using CMR imaging and computational cardiac atlas formation to explore cardiac remodelling patterns in young adulthood. Comparison of young adults who were fed exclusively human milk versus those who were fed exclusively on formula as infants revealed that the LV and RV end-diastolic and stroke volumes in the group fed exclusively human milk approached values seen in term-born controls, with particularly striking findings for the RV. The findings implicate early preterm postnatal life as a potentially tractable period of cardiovascular development, relevant to long-term outcomes, and support promotion of human milk for the care of preterm infants to reduce long-term cardiovascular risk. Future work is needed to understand potential benefits of different variations of supplemental feeding and fortifiers to support normal growth and development in very and extremely preterm-born neonates. Furthermore, whether other interventions during the perinatal period or throughout life, such as pharmacological and prescribed dietary and exercise advice, can help preferentially reduce adverse cardiac remodelling in preterm-born individuals remains to be determined but should be a primary focus of current research in the field.

In conclusion, Cox et al. provide further evidence of a unique cardiac phenotype in offspring born preterm and should be commended for their sophisticated methodological approach using CMR and cardiac atlas formation in neonates and infants to better define these patterns of geometric remodelling. The increasing body of evidence from animal models and humans born preterm demonstrating a unique cardiac morphology and abnormal functional stress response provides mechanistic insight to the findings from epidemiological studies. On the whole, this supports the notion that being born preterm is associated with a unique cardiomyopathy. Understanding which individuals born preterm are at greatest risk and what leads to the heterogeneity in the preterm cardiac phenotype remains to be further explored, but immediate consideration for long-term clinical cardiovascular follow-up in preterm-born individuals is warranted.

Pediatric RESEARCH: Aims and scope of journal
Pediatric Research publishes original translational research papers, invited reviews, and commentaries on the etiologies and treatment of diseases of children and disorders of development, extending from basic science to epidemiology and quality improvement




Nurse realizes she cared for doctor when he was a preemie baby in the NICU

kiro.7.jpgBy: Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk – Updated: Sep 5, 2018 – 11:41 AM

Nurse realizes she cared for doctor when he was a preemie baby in the NICU

PALO ALTO, Calif. – A nurse at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, had a heartwarming reunion with a premature baby she helped care for when he returned to the hospital as a pediatric resident 28 years later. Probably the most unusual part of the story, though, is Vilma Wong actually remembered Brandon Seminatore and recognized his name

“His last name sounded very familiar,” Wong told the Mercury News.

Seminatore, a second-year pediatric resident, was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit about three weeks ago, according to a post on the hospital’s Facebook page, when Wong asked him who he was.

“I kept asking where he was from and he told me that he was from San Jose, California, and that, as a matter of fact, he was a premature baby born at our hospital. I then got very suspicious because I remember being the primary nurse to a baby with the same last name,’’ Wong told the newspaper.

Wong asked if his father was a police officer, and after a stunned silence, Seminatore asked if she was Vilma.

The young resident said he was shocked when he realized Wong was the primary care nurse who helped keep him alive all those years ago. “Meeting Vilma was a surreal experience,” he said in a hospital statement. “When Vilma recognized my name, it truly sunk in that I was one of these babies. I’ve come full-circle and I’m taking care of babies with the nurse that took care of me.”

Seminatore weighed just 2 pounds and 6 ounces when he was born by emergency C-section at 29 weeks gestation in 1990 and spent 40 days in the NICU, according to hospital officials.

Seminatore immediately alerted his parents, who had attended annual NICU reunions at the hospital over the years, that he had run into Wong. Seminatore’s mother, Laura Seminatore, called Wong and her colleagues “the most wonderful nurses,” and told the Mercury News “they helped calm a lot of fears.”

Her son said he realized after meeting her how much dedication and love Wong has for her career.

“She cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient’s name almost three decades later. Not all of us will get the chance to see our patients grow up, and I was so happy to be able to share that moment with her,” Brandon Seminatore said.

Wong, who has been working as a nurse for 32 years and has no plans to retire, told the Mercury News that she was overjoyed meeting Brandon Seminatore for the second time.

“As a nurse, it’s kind of like your reward.”


surf.alg.jpgThis sleep meditation has been effective and energizing. We recommend you give it a go!

Sleep Meditation: 21 Days of Letting Go, Guided Spoken Meditation for Letting Go of The Past
209,925 views meditate.jpg

Jason Stephenson – Sleep Meditation Music   Published on Feb 8, 2019
30 Minutes spoken sleep meditation followed by 30 minutes of gentle music for sleeping. Wishing you better sleep, peaceful meditations before sleep and inspired living.

kat.corner KAT’S CORNER

While seeking growth along my healing journey it has come to my attention that I have a difficult time acting with the courage to fully enjoy being alive and present in my personal life and therefore in feeling confident about being in charge of my overall wellness and health. I notice some part of my ego that seeks to protect me engages in a pattern of self-sabotage when I begin to feel expanded responsibility and passion in areas related to my personal vitality and presence. On occasion I am hesitant to increase my personal intimacy with myself and others. I seem at times to be afraid that feeling more alive in life may lead to the disappointment of dying or the pain of being fully alive. I believe this may have resulted from my brother’s death  and my painful beginning.  Each day I am working to remind myself that the more I explore the PTSD associated with my birth more repressed feelings may arise in my consciousness. Daily I choose to be aware of my actions and to be kind with myself as I embrace my healing step by step. Healing and wholeness is what I wish for myself and all of my preterm birth brothers and sisters.  Together we can choose courage, optimism, joy and presence.


surf.alg.2.jpgPremier Rassemblement des Surfeurs et Bodyboarder Algérien

First rally of Algerian surfers and Bodyboarder       
Mohamed Meghiref          Published on Mar 18, 2014
Événement organisé par l’association Marenostrum Cherchell le 29 mars 2013.Certes nous sommes loin du stéréotype du surfer californien à la musculature de rêve et aux cheveux dans le vent, les vagues ne font pas un mètre de haut mais, il reste important de saluer l’initiative et d’encourager cette jeunesse qui cherche une échappatoire à sa vie morose. Merci de partager la vidéo.
Event organized by the Marenostrum Cherchell Association on March 29, 2013. Certainly we are far from the stereotype of the Californian surfer with the dream musculature and the hair in the wind, the waves are not a metre high but, it remains important to greet the initiative and to encourage this youth who seeks a loophole in his gloomy life.    Thank you for sharing the video.




Rate: 7.4%     Rank: 146Estimated number of preterm births per 100 live births

(USA – 12%)


Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central and southern Europe It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km (15,940 sq mi) (land area 39,997 km (15,443 sq mi)). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.


Swiss residents are universally required to buy health insurance from private insurance companies, which in turn are required to accept every applicant. While the cost of the system is among the highest, it compares well with other European countries in terms of health outcomes; patients have been reported as being, in general, highly satisfied with it. In 2012, life expectancy at birth was 80.4 years for men and 84.7 years for women, the highest in the world. However, spending on health is particularly high at 11.4% of GDP (2010), on par with Germany and France (11.6%) and other European countries, but notably less than spending in the USA (17.6%). From 1990, a steady increase can be observed, reflecting the high costs of the services provided. With an ageing population and new healthcare technologies, health spending will likely continue to rise.






Humanitarian Neonatology

Many Swiss neonatologists are involved in humanitarian projects in low and middle income countries. The Swiss Society of Neonatology strongly supports such efforts and therefore has decided set up this platform.

Frequently, these projects remain hidden, unless the topic comes up in a random conversation, revealing common interests and similar problems that are all facing when working in different parts of the world – when in fact, one could benefit from the experience of the other, from their contacts, their achievements and their mistakes.

The goal of this platform is to provide information, to offer opportunities to get involved, to share experiences and find synergies. Neonatologists can present their humanitarian projects and invite other medical professionals to join them in their efforts.

Finally, the Swiss Society of Neonatology has decided to set up an Annual Award Program for Humanitarian Neonatology.  Interested medical professionals can apply for a grant of CHF 5‘000.00.




NEO FOR NAMIBIA Helping Babies Survive is a non-profit organization based in Switzerland that focuses on the implementation of simple medical interventions that are known to improve survival rates of newborn infants.

What we do – Simple interventions will save lives

The founders of NEO FOR NAMIBIA – Helping Babies Survive, Prof. Thomas M. Berger, a Swiss pediatrician, neonatologist and pediatric intensivist and his wife Sabine Berger, a pediatric registered nurse, have visited several sub-Saharan African countries (Ivory Coast, the Gambia, Namibia) in the past years to assess neonatal and pediatric care at various hospitals in these countries.

During these visits, they observed recurrent themes: poor infrastructure related to both high acquisition costs and lack of proper maintenance, unreliable supply chains for spare parts and consumables, and shortage of qualified health care professionals.

They are convinced that simple interventions will have a huge impact; any delay will lead to additional, potentially preventable deaths. The time to act is now!

The activities of NEO FOR NAMIBIA – Helping Babies Survive are officially approved by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and supported personally by the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Haufiku. “I highly appreciate the efforts of NEO FOR NAMIBIA – Helping Babies Survive. I am convinced that the proposed interventions will play an important role in reducing neonatal deaths in the Kavango region of Namibia. Potentially, other regions of this country could benefit from this experience. I can guarantee that the Ministry of Health and Social Services of Namibia will support Prof. Berger and his team”.

NEO FOR NAMIBIA focuses on the following aspects of the care of newborn infants:

  • Provide essential equipment to improve neonatal care (including warming beds, consumables appropriate for the use in newborn infants, monitors, devices for respiratory support)
  • Regular teaching of both physician and nursing staff in basic neonatal care, such as thermoregulation, Kangaroo care, neonatal resuscitation, appropriate use of antibiotics, fluid and nutrition management, respiratory care
  • Develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) together with the local health care professionals
  • Support of local champions (physicians and nurses who will train and supervise their peers)







We value medical and psycho-social research related to preterm birth survivors as they age. 


Abstract: A meta‐analysis of neurodevelopmental outcomes at 4–10 years in children born at 22–25 weeks gestation    Sharon Ding – Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


To update our meta‐analysis on neurodevelopmental disability rates in children born at 22–25 weeks gestation. The main outcome measure was rates of neurodevelopmental disability in survivors at age 4–10 years.


We used a peer‐reviewed electronic and grey search to identify articles. Two authors independently reviewed cohorts published after May 2012 with: born ≥1995 in a developed nation; assessed at 4–10 years; prospective; >65% follow‐up; definitions for neurodevelopmental disability as per the EPICure cohort; results reported by gestation. We contacted authors for clarification. Random effects meta‐analysis was used to estimate pooled proportions of neurodevelopmental disability. Within each study, the absolute change in proportions with each week was estimated and then pooled.


We reviewed 3980 records; 21 articles were assessed and six were included. With the previous 9 cohorts, the meta‐analysis now contains 15. Rates of moderate‐to‐severe neurodevelopmental disability were as follows: 42% (95% CI 23,64%; I2 0%) at 22; 41% (95% CI 31,52%; I2 20%) at 23; 32% (95% CI 25,39%; I2 45%) at 24; 23% (95% CI 18,29%; I2 60%) at 25 weeks. The analysis shows a significant decrease in risk of moderate‐to‐severe neurodevelopmental disability between each week (8.1% (95% CI −11.8, −4.5%); I2 0%; p < 0.001).


Physicians can use this high‐quality data to support parents during decision‐making.




Platelet Transfusions in Neonates — Less Is More

  • Thrombocytopenia is common in preterm neonates. At some point during their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, this condition affects up to 73% of infants with a birth weight of less than 1000 g.1 The smallest and most premature infants also have the highest incidence of bleeding; in approximately 30% of neonates born with a weight of less than 1500 g, an intracranial hemorrhage develops, usually in the first week of life.2 Because of the high rates of both thrombocytopenia and bleeding in this population, it has been widely accepted that preterm infants should receive platelet transfusions at higher platelet-count thresholds than those used in older children and adults. However, the specific platelet count below which a platelet transfusion is beneficial has been unknown.
  • Before the trial by Curley and collaborators reported in this issue of the Journal,3 the only randomized trial comparing platelet-transfusion thresholds in preterm neonates had been published 25 years earlier. That trial involved 152 premature neonates who had a birth weight of less than 1500 g and a platelet count of less than 150,000 per cubic millimeter. The neonates were randomly assigned to receive platelet transfusions during the first week of life at a platelet-count threshold of 150,000 per cubic millimeter or to receive no platelet transfusions unless the platelet count was less than 50,000 per cubic millimeter or the neonate had bleeding. The trial showed no significant differences between the two groups in the incidence of the primary composite outcome of new intracranial hemorrhages or worsening of existing intracranial hemorrhages. These results led neonatologists to embrace 50,000 per cubic millimeter as the most frequently used threshold for platelet transfusions in preterm neonates, although limitations in this single randomized trial left room for uncertainty and several unanswered questions, including which transfusion thresholds to use beyond the first week of life and whether platelet counts lower than 50,000 per cubic millimeter were safe in preterm neonates. In the absence of additional trials, surveys and observational studies over the past decade revealed a striking worldwide variability in thresholds for platelet transfusions in neonates.5
  • The trial by Curley et al. was well designed to address critical questions in this field. In this multicenter trial, 660 neonates who had a median gestational age of 26.6 weeks and a median birth weight of 740 g and in whom thrombocytopenia had developed were randomly assigned to receive platelet transfusions at platelet-count thresholds of 50,000 per cubic millimeter (high-threshold group) or 25,000 per cubic millimeter (low-threshold group). The primary outcome was a composite of death or new major bleeding within 28 days after randomization, and bleeding was quantified with the use of a validated neonatal bleeding-assessment tool. A total of 90% of the infants in the high-threshold group and 53% of those in the low-threshold group received at least one platelet transfusion.
  • Surprisingly, infants in the high-threshold group had a significantly higher rate of death or major bleeding within 28 days after randomization than those in the low-threshold group (26% vs. 19%; odds ratio, 1.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.06 to 2.32). In a subgroup analysis, findings were similar in neonates who were born at less than 28 weeks of gestation (the highest-risk group) (Table S4 in the Supplementary Appendix of the article by Curley et al., available with the full text of the article at With regard to secondary outcomes, the incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (defined as dependency on oxygen at 36 weeks of postmenstrual age) was higher among infants in the high-threshold group than among those in the low-threshold group, and rates of major bleeding through trial day 28 were 14% and 11%, respectively.
  • The observation that major bleeding was not more common in the low-threshold group than in the high-threshold group was consistent with previous observational studies showing a poor correlation between the degree of thrombocytopenia and bleeding risk, and it suggests that factors other than the low platelet count account for the high incidence of bleeding among neonates with thrombocytopenia. A total of 37% of infants in the trial underwent randomization on or before day 5 of life, and 59% underwent randomization by day 10, the highest-risk period for bleeding.7 However, 39% of the infants in the trial received one or more platelet transfusions before randomization; this raises important questions about whether the infants received these transfusions during this high-risk period and, if so, for what reasons and at what platelet-count thresholds.
  • The rates of death and bronchopulmonary dysplasia observed to be higher in the high-threshold group than in the low-threshold group also raise obvious questions regarding the mechanisms mediating these adverse effects. Are they related to the presence of adult platelets (which are more reactive than infant platelets) tilting the neonatal primary hemostatic balance toward a prothrombotic state that promotes microthrombosis?8 A previous study that showed increased risks of arterial thrombosis and in-hospital death associated with platelet transfusions among adults with platelet-consumptive disorders provides some support for this hypothesis.9 Or are these adverse events mediated by the increasingly recognized effects of platelets on inflammation,10 a particular concern in neonates with infection, as in approximately 60% of the infants in the trial by Curley et al.?
  • Although the mechanisms underlying the findings are unknown, the trial by Curley et al. is a major advance in neonatal hematology. More than two decades after the first randomized trial comparing platelet-transfusion thresholds in preterm infants, this long-awaited trial provides neonatologists with high-level evidence that should translate into a shift toward restrictive thresholds for prophylactic platelet transfusions in neonates who have not had recent major bleeding (since this trial excluded infants with major bleeding within the previous 72 hours which was either already known or detected on cranial ultrasonography performed within 6 hours before randomization). In clinical practice, recent cranial ultrasonographic findings are not always available when decisions are made regarding platelet transfusions. This raises concerns, particularly for infants during the first week of life. Nevertheless, it is now clear that platelet transfusions may have deleterious effects in preterm neonates, and the evidence from this trial strongly suggests that less is more when it comes to the management of neonatal thrombocytopenia.



Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation Grand Challenge-Leading the Nation’s Journey to Better Health


If all 4 million registered nurses increased their personal wellness and then their families, co-workers and patients followed suit, what a healthier nation we would live in! That is the goal of the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Grand Challenge, an initiative to connect and engage nurses, employers, and organizations around improving health in five areas: physical activity, nutrition, rest, quality of life, and safety.

Nurses are less healthy than the average American. Research shows that nurses are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress, and get less sleep. As the largest and most trusted health care profession, nurses are critical to the health of the nation. Healthy nurses are great role models for their patients, colleagues, families, and neighbors.

  1. Register to join “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Connect”
  2. Take the health assessment survey and get a heat map of your health risks.
  3. Pick your focus area(s), make a health commitment, and participate in health challenges.

                          Activity   Rest   Nutrition  Quality of life    Safety

  1. Connect with others for support, advice, and share successes.
  2. Repeat the survey annually to see how far you’ve come!


To Join Now:



Working Out And Staying Fit In Medical School and Residency!

Antonio J. Webb, M.D.
       Published on Oct 29, 2017

In this video, Dr. Webb discusses working out and staying fit while in residency.


Antonio J. Webb, M.D.
       Published on Oct 29, 2017

In this video, Dr. Webb discusses working out and staying fit while in residency.





Matt Ryan’s Cause: Care and Support for Preterm Babies and Their Families


November 28, 2018

This Sunday, when the Falcons play the Ravens, you’ll see Matt Ryan wearing a new pair of blue cleats. The March of Dimes, a non-profit that works to support the health of mothers and babies, will be printed on his right shoe; Northside Hospital Miracle Babies, a program to support families of preemies born at the Atlanta hospital, will be printed on the left. Ryan’s cleats will be auctioned off to raise money for both organizations through the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats platform, but the Falcons quarterback and dad to nine-month-old twin boys also has a very personal reason behind his choice.

It was a Tuesday morning last January, and we were getting ready to the play the Eagles in last year’s divisional round of the playoffs. I was at work, in a normal quarterbacks’ meeting that we have. I had my phone with me, only because I knew my wife, Sarah, had a doctor’s appointment that day.

We’d found out she was pregnant during training camp, and we were both so excited. It was something that we had been trying for, for a long time. And then when we found out she was having twins, that was a special day, too. We were happy and excited and nervous—all of the things that go along with that.

Twin pregnancies are always high-risk, so Sarah was going in for regular doctor’s appointments bi-weekly, if not more, throughout her entire pregnancy. She went in on this Tuesday morning for what was supposed to be a routine check-up. And then she called me and said she was getting admitted to the hospital.

Sarah had a complication with her pregnancy at 24 weeks and five days.

It was around 8:15 a.m. when I got the call, and I left the Falcons facility and stayed at the hospital with her the rest of the day through the next morning. We were just trying to get as much information as we could. It was still so early in her pregnancy. When they talk to you about the percentages of survival with children being born at that gestational age, that’s a scary and terrifying time.

That week before the Eagles game was touch and go. We were unsure as to what was going on, what was going to happen. The game was a huge opportunity for us as a team, and I was excited about that, but obviously I was most concerned with the well-being of my family. You don’t want to leave; you want to be able to be there and support her in any way that you can. We had reassurance from the doctors that things were stable before I left for Philadelphia, and we were lucky that Sarah was able to have family come down to be with her while I was gone.

After we lost to the Eagles, the next five weeks were basically spent at Northside Hospital, in Room D8. Sarah’s mom, Susie, came and stayed with us, and we alternated staying overnight with Sarah. We watched TV, read books, played cards. She and her mom were really into Gin Rummy, and we oddly played a lot of Uno, which was just kind of a brainless way to pass the time. It’s not easy having to be on bed rest, not able to leave a room for six weeks, but not once was Sarah restless or angry or anything like that. She’s incredibly selfless.

The one thing we both learned through this process is that each day that the babies were able to stay inside was huge. So each day that passed, each week that passed, the amount of development for our boys was monumental. We’re so fortunate she was able to keep them in there as long as she did, to give our boys a really good chance. Sarah has an unbelievable strength to her that I knew was there, but when you go through something like that, it opens your eyes to it even more.

Feb. 21 started out like every other day in the hospital. I left to get in a workout, and I got a call in the early afternoon that Sarah was uncomfortable. I went back, and the doctors and nurses got her a little bit more comfortable. We ordered some take-out salads for dinner around 6 p.m. By 7 p.m., she was in labor. I think anybody who has been in the room when children are born knows it’s an unbelievable experience. With our boys being premature, we also had a little bit of a crew in the room. The hospital had a team of five or six nurses and doctors each, waiting to take them up to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Our boys were born at 30 weeks and six days. Marshall was first, weighing 2 lbs., 15 oz. Seven minutes later, Johnny arrived. He was 2 lbs., 14 oz. They were small, but they were strong. Sarah’s maiden name was Marshall, and John is a family name for both of us. Johnny’s middle name is Matthew, and Marshall’s middle name is Thomas, the same as mine, so it was cool to be able to give each of them each a little bit of my name. Sarah was able to hold both babies, but within about 10 minutes of being born, they were taken upstairs to a different part of the hospital. I went up there, and a different group of doctors were running all kinds of tests.

We were really fortunate to receive the care that we did. While Sarah was in the hospital, she had access to medicines to help prevent premature labor. Our boys were able to get two rounds of steroid injections for their lungs so their breathing was really good when they were born, which was critical in their success. They were able to be taken off breathing assistance within the first week that they were born, which was huge. They were off the high-flow support for their lungs within 10 days or so, though Johnny had to go back on a couple different times. This is one reason why we are supportive of the March of Dimes, because they do so much research into medicines like these that can help moms and babies.

You never really know how things are going to shake out when babies are born prematurely. They give you a window of time that they might need to stay in the NICU if there are no complications, and it’s usually around when they would be born full-term. Part of the reason that Sarah chose Northside Hospital was because of the NICU specifically. It’s widely known as one of the best NICUs in the country. With a high-risk pregnancy with twins, that was something that was really important to us.

It was a stressful time. During the boys’ stay in the NICU, early on there was more restriction on the amount of time they could be outside of the incubator. Once every eight hours for an hour was roughly the amount of time that you could have them out and with you. We got into a pretty good routine of going back three times a day at different shifts so we were able to spend time with them. One of the things they said is best for their development is skin-to-skin contact, so you’d take both of the boys out of the incubator and you would hold them up against your chest. We would read to them a lot, just fill them in about what was going on, talk to them. In the early stages, that was really all we could do.

As they matured in the NICU and they were in open-air cribs, and you could be there whenever you wanted. Sarah was nursing the boys while they were there, and we would bathe them. Our days were spent at their cribside. The boys each had a hotline number, so you could call in overnight and check on how they’re doing. If you woke up during the night. you would call. And you’d call first thing in the morning. You also have that Northside NICU number saved in your cell phone, and they would call you with updates. Any time you would see that number come through, your heart would start racing.

Marshall came home first. He spent five weeks in the hospital and left at 5 lbs, 5 oz. You’re so proud and happy for him to be coming home, but it’s also tough when he’s leaving his brother, and you’re leaving his brother, who still has to be at the hospital. That was a hectic week, trying to take care of Marshall at home and still make sure Sarah was at the hospital as much as she could to help with Johnny. A week later Johnny came home, just a little bit heavier than Marshall. That was a really special day, to have everybody at home together for the first time.

We’re so thankful that our life brought us to Atlanta, and that Sarah’s pregnancy took us to Northside, and for the unbelievable care we got there. Sandy Jun was the main doctor who took care of both of our boys during their extended stay in the NICU, and Gretchen Koontz from Atlanta Maternal-Fetal was Sarah’s doctor during her hospital stay. And then the countless nurses and people who helped us during both the day and night shifts. They are dealing with you in a situation that’s stressful and difficult, and they’re so patient and so good to the children there.

Those were long days, but the time went by quickly. Our boys are nine months old now, and they’re doing awesome. I remember being able to fit them in my hand. They’re getting big now. They’ve been fighters from Day One.

I want other families going through this to know they’re not alone. But we’re also sharing our story to create awareness for finding ways to help babies who are born prematurely and providing our doctors with every opportunity to give these kids the best chance. It’s the first time we’ve supported either of these charities and hospital, but this is just the beginning for us. This is just one small piece of what we plan to do to try and help Northside and the March of Dimes.

I think back to that day in January when Sarah was first admitted to the hospital. That was the scariest time, because we had no idea how things were going to go. All you want to hear is what can be done to help your sons. We want to help other families get the same help we did.


Kathy: Organ donation was not available to me when my son Cruz (Kat’s twin brother) died and I do not know if any of his organs (24 weeks. gestation) would have been viable for donation. I would have pursued donation if that had been an option. Dust in the Wind (Reference song by Kansas – 1998), or life in the wind.  I would choose life!


Of Tragedies and Miracles — Neonatal Organ Donation  NEJM

Beatrice E. Lechner, M.D. – November 29, 2018

Baby K. was born at full term after an uncomplicated pregnancy, with sweet baby thighs, adorable little hands and feet, and a soft crown of wispy hair. But at 5 days of age, rather than snuggling with his mother and breast-feeding, he was lying on a cooling blanket in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), attached to a ventilator, monitors, and IV fluids. When his hypothermia therapy for encephalopathy ended that day, he underwent an EEG and an MRI. I’m sure his parents suspected what these tests would reveal, but it broke my heart to have to put their worst fears into words.

Over the years, I’ve had many difficult conversations with parents about devastating test results and the possibility of shifting an infant from curative care to comfort care. Some parents react with denial, some with anger. Others take the initiative in choosing redirection of care, and some quietly acquiesce to my guidance. As the team and I sat down to talk with Baby K.’s parents, I thought I’d seen the full spectrum of possible parental reactions.

But without waiting for my explanations or opinions, Baby K.’s father said something I’d never heard a newborn’s parent say: “We would like to donate his organs.”

Tears erupted from the few eyes in the room that had managed to remain dry.

Then we leapt into action — or tried to. This was my first experience with neonatal organ donation, and I had no idea how rarely that process took place. I was keenly aware that I didn’t know what steps I needed to take, and that nobody else seemed to know either.

The first stumbling blocks we encountered were our own assumption that infants with significant organ injury could not be organ donors and our doubt about whether it was possible to diagnose brain death in a neonate — and if not, whether organs could be donated anyway. We learned that day that some level of injury to organs may be acceptable: neonatal organs are hard to come by, so transplant surgeons make case-by-case decisions based on the condition of both the organs and the recipient. A baby who would otherwise die soon may benefit from a less-than-healthy organ, whereas a baby who is stable may be better off waiting.

As the day stretched into night, I learned that what I’d been taught about neonatal brain death during training was incorrect. I’d believed that brain death can’t be diagnosed in neonates for physiological reasons, but in fact there were simply no well-disseminated guidelines for this age group. The 1981 Guidelines for the Determination of Death covered patients 5 years of age or older, and the 1987 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines expanded the criteria to cover patients as young as 7 days old.

We spent that long night trying to reconcile the fact that the organ bank could not legally accept an organ from a patient who had not been declared dead with the fact that I could not conscionably declare a 5-day-old brain dead because it wasn’t standard practice. We felt that we couldn’t give up until we’d found a solution for Baby K.’s family. They were willing to give so much even as they were losing so much that I could not refuse their gift on the basis of technicalities. As we sat in the team room discussing options with the organ bank coordinator and our hospital risk manager, I remembered Thomas Edison’s famous words: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Then serendipity stepped in. The neonatology fellow on call that night had been a chief resident at a neighboring children’s hospital. Wondering what the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at that hospital did in these situations, he contacted the on-call PICU attending. That intensivist happened to be on a committee charged with developing a new pediatric brain-death policy for the PICU, and she had just received a draft of it. She had not yet read it, but she was willing to share it with us. Although it was designed for an older population, the draft policy pointed us toward the AAP guidelines for the determination of brain death in children, an update to the 1987 recommendations that included guidelines on the determination of brain death from birth onward for infants born at 37 weeks’ gestation or later.1 Even the people we’d spoken to at the New England Organ Bank (NEOB) had not been aware of these 2011 guidelines.

Despite the guidelines, pediatricians’ ability to define and apply the concept of brain death leaves substantial room for improvement, so it’s not surprising that cases of neonatal organ donation are rare. Between 1988 and 2013, there was a yearly average of 100 U.S. organ donors under 1 year of age. In the New England region, the average was 1.5 per year, according to the NEOB, and Women and Infants Hospital, home of the only level IV NICU in Rhode Island, had had no organ donations at all between 2000 and 2013. Furthermore, over the previous 28 years, only two neonatal organ donations had occurred in the entire New England region. All of this strongly suggests that before Baby K.’s parents proposed donating his organs, there had never been a neonatal organ donation in the state of Rhode Island.

As my colleagues and I worked to help Baby K.’s parents achieve their goal, I wondered whether neonatal organs are not being donated because NICU physicians are unaware of the donation criteria and so are missing many possible donors or whether there are actually few newborns who meet the criteria. Recent retrospective studies of theoretically suitable cases indicate that though it’s unlikely that a large number of potential donors are being missed, there is room for improvement in physicians’ awareness.3,4

Baby K.’s father asked me why he had to be the one to raise the question of organ donation. I think the complex answer is that we often believe that the family will find the idea too difficult to bear, we may be too uncomfortable ourselves to take the necessary steps, and we may assume that a given newborn wouldn’t qualify as a donor.

Ultimately, the strength that Baby K.’s parents showed launched a cascade of unanticipated good. First and foremost, they saved another baby’s life, thereby “saving another family from the anguish [they] were living through,” as they put it. But they did more than that.

They allowed the NICU team to feel not just the sadness and failure that we experience when a baby dies under our care, but also the comfort of knowing that we were part of something miraculous. Although we could not save our patient’s life, we played at least a small role in saving another baby’s life — and so saw a faint light that we had not seen before. Baby K. and his family reminded us not only that miracles in medicine may sometimes arise out of the deepest tragedies, but also that patients and their families may offer their care providers such profound gifts as humility, strength, and inspiration.

And Baby K. and his parents challenged us to expand our clinical horizons beyond our comfort zone by educating ourselves. They thereby opened the door to future lifesaving donations: we now have a policy for neonatal organ donation and have been teaching our staff and trainees about the process.

During our final family meeting, Baby K.’s parents asked me to raise awareness about neonatal organ donation so that in the future more parents of dying newborns are offered the choice and more babies’ lives can be saved. If we actively screen for qualified donors, perhaps we can avoid missing so many opportunities to turn heartbreaking tragedy into bittersweet success.





Regenerative Therapies for sick term and preterm born infants

Posted on 08 June 2018

An interview with Professor Mario Rüdiger, Professor for Neonatology and Pediatric Intensive Care Medicine, Head of Department at the Neonatal Research Group at the University Hospital Dresden, Germany

photoWhat was the idea behind the planned project?

In the past decades, improvements in feto-neonatal care have significantly reduced mortality. Long-term morbidity however, still represents a major problem. Most prominent disease entities with a feto-neonatal origin are chronic lung disease of preterm infants, sepsis and brain injury. Though affecting hundred thousands of patients every year, these diseases are of little interest to the industry.

Scientific evidence suggests a beneficial effect of regenerative therapies in these disease entities, with the most promising intervention being based on mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC)[1]. Whereas MSC have become standard therapy in some adult diseases, translation into neonatal routine care was hampered by the lack of firstly, a cell product of clinical grade that can be used in newborns and secondly, well-performed clinical studies testing these cells.

That’s where our project offers solutions to overcome these problems.

What are mesenchymal stem cells?

MSC are considered somatic stem cells which possess the potential to adapt to the microenvironment of injured organs and to regulate the healing process by secreting various factors. Therefore, they have also been termed “medicinal signalling cells” which ameliorate severe complications of diseases. MSC will not stay within the host tissue but will disappear after about two weeks. Therefore the risk of potential long-term complications is very low and the cells are considered to be safe.

What will you be doing in the project?

Our group has developed a way to manufacture MSC from the umbilical cord tissue of healthy term born infants in a high quality and has thereby opened a unique chance of successfully transferring MSC-based therapies into neonatal routine.

Based on that technique, we, the MASC-collaboration will establish the prerequisites for getting the MSC licensed for chronic lung disease of preterm infants. Therefore, we will conduct four clinical trials in Europe, Canada and the USA. The results from these trials will then be analysed together in a meta-analysis based on single patient data.

Furthermore, we will investigate prospectively further applications of MSC in newborns, focusing on brain-injury, sepsis and on the patient/parent perspective.

What is the aim of the “MASC-n-EU” project?

The European MASC-collaboration dedicates its effort with the “MASC-n-EU” project (“MSC to Ameliorate Severe Complications in Newborns in Europe”) to introduce umbilical cord-MSC-based therapy into neonatal care, with a special focus not only on treating but also preventing diseases originating in the feto-neonatal period. By providing a medicinal product specifically developed for the use in newborns we are addressing a great need and will improve the health of children in Europe.

Which professional areas will be involved?

The European MASC-collaboration dedicates the combined expertise and enthusiasm of leading scientists, clinicians, patient organisations, regulatory authorities and industry to make MSC-based regenerative therapies an integral part of clinical routine in newborns. Thereby, the European collaboration is embedded in a strong international network of experts, ensuring the success and sustainability of the project.

Thank you Prof. Rüdiger, for giving us insights into this innovative project.

[1] multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types.





16 Apps and Websites to Help Young Adults Stay

Healthy and Fit

Millennials and young adults are taking care of themselves. Using apps and websites to enhance their healthy lifestyles is an obvious choice for this tech-loving generation.

We reviewed the 16 recommended APPS and all will appeal to many of us for varying reasons. We found the APPS listed below especially interesting!

7 minute workout

The 7-minute workout uses the exerciser’s body weight to create exercises that build strength and muscle, rather than having to go to a gym or use equipment. While the app is free, some of the programs need to be purchased, most for a nominal fee.

Couch to 5K (C25K)

C25K takes couch potatoes and exercise slackers and slowly moves them from sitting to running a 5K (3 miles). The time period for this evolution is 2 months, and there’s a strong, supportive community available online for those in the program.* Tailored for first time runners

Map My Fitness

If your young adult runner is a traveler, Map My Fitness is a handy tool to help him or her find the best and most convenient running routes in cities around the world, and it syncs to other fitness apps to keep track of miles run and calories burned.


Rise is a weight loss program that is Tailored to the individual, backed by scientific research, focuses on healthy living and uses daily accountability to keep clients on track. Also unique to Rise is their photo-based communication between user and coach/trainer. With an emphasis on helping busy people stay on track, Rise is popular with millennials who are on the go and working long hours.




My Beloved Warriors: This month’s blog marks our three year anniversary of exploring, looking at, listening to, communicating with and immersing ourselves in our very large, diverse, and wonderful preterm birth community. The communities we have explored instruct and humble us to our core. You and I are survivors; our community has provided us with critical support and we will all work to understand, assess and treat our future health and wellness needs. Many of us have been reliant on the support of others to sustain our lives in very unique ways. For some of us taking on the responsibilities of caring for our own health and wellness needs may be quite daunting. When I look at the world at large I see humanity in need of collaboration. I am a recipient of so many gifts and I ask myself what will I contribute?  The beauty of looking at the whole world through the eyes of a preterm birth survivor is that I am transformed on a regular basis through exposure to our amazing preterm birth community in  every part of the world. Recently, I have become increasingly aware of how large our community is, and how our health and well-being is affected by the global community at large. Developing countries have taught us every bit as much as the so-called developed nations.  Maternal and infant health and mortality are not dependent on a nation’s net worth, but rather on that nation’s values, wisdom, humanity and vision.

I am sharing the article below because although in the USA preterm birth survivors themselves currently represent an estimated 9-12% of the infant/youth and young adult population we need to consider not only our prematurity-specific healthcare needs but the general healthcare issues confronting youth and young adults in our local nation as we are a part of that family as well.

So let’s put our phones away when we drive, call an Uber if tired or intoxicated, educate ourselves regarding guns and gun control, recognize and take appropriate action if we suspect a friend who seems to be depressed may cause harm to themselves or others. My Mom says, “Dead kids aren’t fun kids”. She would know… Let’s live with joy, connect with love and collaborate with curiosity and intelligence.

eat.jpgThe Problem for Children in America

  • Edward W. Campion, M.D.

Children in America are dying or being killed at rates that are shameful. The sad fact is that a child or adolescent in the United States is 57% more likely to die by the age of 19 years than those in other wealthy nations. In 2016, there were more than 20,000 deaths of Americans 1 to 19 years of age. Physical injury accounted for 61% of this tragic total. As the Special Report by Cunningham et al.2 in this issue of the Journal documents, America’s children and adolescents are at far higher risk for death than are youth in other developed countries such as England, Sweden, and Australia.

The death of a child is a crime against nature. These tragedies leave enduring pain and may be the most stressful thing that can happen to parents and siblings. The devastated families take no comfort from the fact that childhood deaths are now far less common than they were in centuries past. In recent decades, there has been progress, but the United States is clearly not effectively protecting its children.

The problem is not deficiencies in medical care; it is the high rate of lethal traumatic injury. Firearm injury, the second leading cause of death, is only a minor contributor to childhood mortality in other developed countries. Cunningham et al. report that in 2016, children and adolescents in the United States were more than 36 times as likely to be killed by gunshots as their counterparts in other high-income countries. The grim statistics include suicides, which occur mainly in adolescents and which accounted for 35% of firearm-related deaths and 13% of all deaths among children and adolescents in 2016.

The largest single cause of child and adolescent deaths is motor vehicle crashes, which account for 20% of such deaths. In 2016, the U.S. rate of death from motor vehicle crashes (5.21 per 100,000 children and adolescents) was more than triple that in other developed countries, a finding consistent with other international comparisons. There has been substantial improvement in this rate over the past 20 years in this country, mainly thanks to safety engineering in car construction and road design. However, between 2013 and 2016, mortality from car crashes increased, most likely owing to the distracting and dangerous use of cellphones by both drivers and pedestrians. This is an area in which tougher laws and enforcement can save lives, but perhaps new technological solutions will be necessary to help keep eyes on the road rather than on small screens.

The biggest barrier to preventing the many deaths from injury is the sense of helpless inevitability conveyed by the word “accident.” Car crashes and lethal gunshots are not random results of fate. Both individuals and the larger society need to understand that there is much that can be done to reduce the rate of fatal trauma. Strong leadership by the medical and public health communities is needed. Education, awareness, and very feasible interventions can help protect children and adolescents from the six top causes of death from trauma, namely those related to motor vehicles, firearms, suffocation, drowning, drug overdose or poisoning, and fire or burns. Our country has led the way in so much medical research, but the facts summarized by Cunningham et al. reveal a need to invest far more in research on the prevention of the injuries that threaten the lives of children and adolescents.

Progress will not be easy. The approach to this underrecognized public health problem has to be social as well as technological, and the risks are highest in areas of poverty and social isolation. Essential medical care should be guaranteed for every child in the country. That care needs to include access to the social supports and mental health services that promote health and safety and save lives. Such a commitment would be an investment in the next generation that can promote family stability and healthy development while reducing the underlying causes of trauma and violence. Laws and programs are also urgently needed to improve gun safety, and these initiatives need the support of those on all sides of the contentious political debates about guns. Here, the medical community is in the best position to take the lead. The guiding principle should be to save the lives of children.

We are living in a divisive era in which there are few areas of consensus and agreement. Perhaps one of the few core beliefs that all can agree on is that deaths in childhood and adolescence are tragedies that we must find ways to prevent. Shouldn’t a child in the United States have the same chance to grow up as a child in Germany or Spain or Canada? We ought to be able to agree that in a country with America’s wealth and resources, children should have the opportunity to live, play, and grow to become adults.


World’s Most Extreme Nighttime Stunts in Switzerland!

surf.jpgdevinsupertramp   Published on Nov 17, 2017- Lume Cube, creator of The World’s Most Versatile Light, brought some of the world’s greatest athletes to Interlaken, Switzerland to step out of their comfort zones and into the night!




Vietnam, Resources, Progressive Preemie Families


Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. With an estimated 94.6 million inhabitants as of 2016[update], it is the 15th most populous country in the world. Life expectancy has risen by two years for males and females in Vietnam between 2000 and 2012. This is half of the average rise in life expectancy for other parts of the world during the same time period.

Malnutrition is still common in the provinces, and the life expectancy and infant mortality rates are stagnating. In 2001 government spending on health care corresponded to just 0.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Government subsidies covered only about 20 percent of health care expenses, with the remaining 80 percent coming out of individuals’ own pockets.


Estimated Preterm Birth RatesBorn Too Soon

Vietnam: Rate: 9.4%     Rank: 103 Global Average: 11.1         USA: 12.0




WHO-recommended newborn care cuts life-threatening infections by two thirds   15 January 2019

A study in Viet Nam by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that hospitals can reduce life-threatening infections in newborns by over two thirds and admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by one third by implementing Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC).

Published in EClinicalMedicine (The Lancet journal focused on clinical and public health research), the study titled “Early Essential Newborn Care is associated with reduced adverse neonatal outcomes in a tertiary hospital in Da Nang, Viet Nam: A pre-post intervention study” presents evidence that EENC strengthens health workers’ skills and improves care. These lead to increased rates of skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding, and significant reductions in hypothermia, sepsis and NICU admissions.

“A newborn dies every 2 minutes in this Region, but full implementation of EENC could prevent up to half of these deaths,” explained Dr Howard Sobel, Coordinator for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in WHO’s Western Pacific Region and co-author of the study.

Other studies in Asia have shown that health worker practices around birth are often outdated and harmful, leading to increased risks for babies of sepsis (a dangerous infection in the bloodstream), hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature) or death. Despite the availability of knowledge and tools, the quality of care can be compromised by the lack of clear policy guidelines, availability and allocation of staff, supportive work environments, and other issues.

EENC is a package of simple, evidence-based clinical care practices recommended by WHO. It focuses on improving the quality of care during and immediately after birth. Central to EENC is the “First Embrace” – a prolonged skin-to-skin cuddle between mother and baby, which allows proper warming, feeding and umbilical cord care. Key actions include: thorough drying; immediate skin-to-skin contact; clamping the cord after pulsations stop; cutting the cord with a sterile instrument; and initiating exclusive breastfeeding when the baby shows feeding cues, such as drooling, tonguing, rooting and biting of their hand.

Aside from the bond it fosters, the First Embrace helps transfer warmth, placental blood, protective bacteria, and through colostrum (the first breast milk) essential nutrients and immune cells to protect from infection. All babies can benefit, including those born preterm, sick or by caesarean section.

Study findings

The Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children in central Viet Nam, where about 14 000 babies are born every year, implemented EENC through on-the-job coaching of staff on appropriate childbirth and newborn care in 2014 and 2015. A quality improvement approach was subsequently implemented to address factors such as local policies, organization of work spaces, health worker roles, sequencing of tasks, and availability of supplies and equipment.

“EENC has transformed the care that babies receive in our hospital. The package of procedures is practical, and it can be implemented anywhere,” said Dr Hoang Tran, Deputy Director, Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children.

The study compared live birth outcomes and NICU admissions in the 12 months before and after EENC was introduced. Data revealed that, after EENC implementation, sepsis cases fell by two thirds (from 3.2% to 0.9% of babies born in the hospital), NICU admissions fell by one third (from 18.3% to 12.3%), and hypothermia cases fell by one quarter (from 5.4% to 3.9% of babies admitted to the NICU).

Before EENC was introduced, skin-to-skin contact was not practised. Babies born vaginally were routinely separated from their mothers for at least 20 minutes, and those delivered by caesarean section for 6 hours or more. After implementation of EENC, 100% of babies received immediate skin-to-skin contact regardless of route of delivery.

The percentage of babies in the NICU born preterm (less than 37 weeks of gestation) or with low birthweight (less than 2.5 kilograms) receiving “kangaroo mother care” increased by 15% after EENC was introduced. Kangaroo mother care – continuous skin-to-skin contact for more than 20 hours per day, early and exclusive breastfeeding, and close monitoring of illness – reduces newborn deaths by up to half.

With EENC, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the NICU almost doubled. Exclusive breastfeeding is when a baby receives breast milk only – no formula, water or anything else. WHO and UNICEF recommend this as the ideal way to feed babies for their first 6 months. These improvements occurred during the study period despite a significant increase in the proportion of babies born by caesarean section and with low birthweight, which are barriers to breastfeeding.

Direct and indirect savings

The study also found additional benefits of EENC for hospitals and families. As a result of increased breastfeeding, parents of babies in the NICU and those on the postnatal ward spent 78% and 96% less on infant formula, respectively. Families also saved money thanks to shorter hospital stays and less time off work. As a result of reduced NICU admissions, the hospital saved more than US$ 300 000 and reduced staff workload. There was also reduced antibiotic use.

“The findings of our study are relevant way beyond Viet Nam. All hospitals – in rich and poor countries alike – can learn from this experience to improve newborn health. I’ve seen harmful practices across more than 20 low- and middle-income countries. Our job is to help health authorities, doctors, nurses and midwives replace those practices with evidence-based ones. We know that EENC works. We now need to finish the job and make it available to every mother and newborn across the Region,” Dr Sobel added.


US opposition to UN breastfeeding resolution defies evidence and public health practice

Date: Jul 09 2018 – Contact: David Fouse, 202-777-2501

Statement from Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

Washington, D.C., July 9, 2018 – “We are stunned by reports of U.S. opposition to a resolution at the World Health Assembly this spring aimed at promoting breastfeeding. According to news stories, U.S. officials attempted to block a resolution encouraging breastfeeding and warning against misleading marketing by infant formula manufacturers.

“Fortunately, the resolution was adopted with few changes, but it is unconscionable for the U.S. or other government to oppose efforts that promote breastfeeding. The consequences of low rates of breastfeeding are even greater for the health of children in resource-poor countries.

“Breastfeeding is one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving maternal and child health. Breastfeeding provides the best source of infant nutrition and immunologic protection. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight and obese, and have fewer infections and improved survival during their first year of life. Breastfed infants often need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations. In addition maternal bonding is increased, a benefit to both mother and child.

“The scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports breastfeeding and its many health benefits for both child and mother. The American Public Health Association has long supported exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding through at least the first year of life. APHA also strongly supports policies that encourage breastfeeding at home, maternity hospitals and birth centers and the workplace, and help identify women most in need of support of breastfeeding practices.

“In cases where mothers are unable to breastfeed, there are evidence-based solutions to protect the mom and ensure the baby thrives. The solution to malnutrition and poverty is not infant formula, but improved economic development and access to domestic and international nutrition and food programs.”

APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Learn more at


Aspirin for all pregnant women may reduce preterm birth

Bob Kronemyer Jul 9, 2018

Growing evidence that aspirin can prevent preterm birth (PTB) was presented at the 3rd European Spontaneous Preterm Birth Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. Adding to data later this summer will be results from an open-label randomized, controlled trial (RCT) of low-dose aspirin with early screening for preeclampsia and growth restriction.

A review of the current evidence and perspective on its clinical implications were presented by Fionnuala McAuliffe, MB BCh BAO (Honours) DCH MD FRCPI, FRCOG FRPI. Dr. McAuliffe is principal investigator of the RCT and chair and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University College Dublin in Ireland. The trial is an acceptability and feasibility study of low-risk women taking aspirin and their compliance and scheduled to be published in BMJ Open.

Addressing the Congress attendees, she said that “a number of studies point to the effectiveness of aspirin taken by pregnant women. At the moment, the data shows that aspirin reduces preeclampsia and preterm birth in women who are at risk for preeclampsia.”

In the United Kingdom, aspirin is often prescribed to prevent preeclampsia, but not as often in the United States. “Aspirin reduces both preeclampsia and preterm deliveries in women at risk for preeclampsia,” Dr. McAuliffe said. “If preeclampsia is reduced, then preterm birth is also reduced…You could argue that it might simply be cheaper to give everyone aspirin rather than trying to figure out if a certain individual is at risk of pre-eclampsia or not by conducting expensive blood and ultrasound tests in early pregnancy,” she said.

Aspirin is an antiplatelet agent that improves blood flow and vascular formation in the placenta by reducing the thromboxane and increasing the vasodilator prostacyclin. “Preeclampsia, of course, is a disease of the placenta that results from a placenta not developing properly from very early in pregnancy,” Dr. McAuliffe explained. “The association between preterm birth and preeclampsia is strong. If a woman develops preeclampsia prior to 37 weeks, she will need to deliver because of the risk to her health.”

As for safety, many studies conclude that aspirin has no adverse fetal sequelae in doses less than 150 mg per day and that aspirin does not increase the risk of congenital malformations. However, one study found that vaginal bleeding is more common: 3.9% for low-dose aspirin versus 1.3 for placebo.

The data to support aspirin date back more than 10 years, showing that the drug reduces risk of PTB by 7% to 14%. “This is robust data compiled from more than 40,000 women at risk of preeclampsia,” Dr. McAuliffe said. “The question then becomes can we extrapolate the data to all pregnant women?”

Dr. McAuliffe cited examples of women who are given aspirin only during a follow-up pregnancy after experiencing preeclampsia during their previous pregnancy. “These women are concerned that they were not offered aspirin to begin with,” she said. “Thus, there is interest in offering aspirin to all pregnant women.”

However, currently there is no concrete evidence that aspirin reduces the rate of preeclampsia in low-risk women.

Numerous studies of women who are at risk for preeclampsia show a risk reduction with daily aspirin, with a decrease in preeclampsia ranging from 17% to 24%, a decrease in PTB of between 8% and 14% and a reduction in small for gestational age (SGA) spanning from 10% to 20%.

Specifically, a multicenter, randomized placebo-controlled trial of low-dose aspirin (80 mg) to prevent recurrent preterm labor in 406 women found that incidence of PTB < 37 weeks’ gestation was reduced by 35%, as reported in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth in 2017.

Similarly, for the same gestation period, incidence of PTB fell by 20%, according to a study of 11,920 nulliparous mothers in seven low- and middle-income countries who were given aspirin supplementation during pregnancy, again as reported in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth in 2017.

Dr. McAuliffe was co-author of a viewpoint in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2016 that posed the question: Should we recommend universal aspirin for all pregnant women? In support of the proposal, the authors listed efficacy in at-risk women, safety, cost and international impact. “Aspirin is incredibly inexpensive,” Dr. McAuliffe said. “It can be easily stored at room temperature, so potentially there is a huge international impact.”

Two reasons against the recommendation are lack of evidence of efficacy in low-risk women and potential side effects.

The trial of aspirin to prevent preeclampsia (TEST), for which Dr. McAuliffe is the principal investigator, was carried out at two hospitals in Ireland to determine if low-risk, first-time mothers would be interested in taking aspirin during pregnancy and actually adhere to the protocol of once-daily aspirin (75 mg).


Of the 1,054 eligible women approached to participate in the study, 52.8% agreed. And of the 179 women who were randomized to take aspirin, 96% complied with the protocol. “In the United States, the dose is quite similar at 80 mg,” Dr. McAuliffe noted. When study patients were asked if they would be willing to take aspirin during a subsequent pregnancy, 92.5% of those who took aspirin and 91.5% of those who did not said yes.

A separate study conducted by Dr. McAuliffe and colleagues, which has been submitted for publication, is a cost-effectiveness analysis of aspirin in 21,641 low-risk nulliparous women in Ireland. The economic analysis compared universal aspirin to a Fetal Medicine Foundation screening test and then offering aspirin to those who screened positive.

“We found that it was less expensive to give everyone aspirin rather than detecting within the population those who are at risk of preeclampsia, and then prescribing low-dose aspirin,” Dr. McAuliffe said.

The universal aspirin net savings was estimated as roughly $1.8 million, whereas universal screening and treatment tallied about $1.7 million annually for Ireland. “These data, if extrapolated to the United States, would amount to very considerable savings,” Dr. McAuliffe said.

However, before recommending universal aspirin, “we need to research and further consider the consequences,” Dr. McAuliffe said. “But it is important to start that conversation. I am cautiously optimistic that both clinicians and patients may embrace aspirin for all pregnant women.”



Managing Low Birth Weight in Rwanda

Posted July 25, 2018

“It would have been very painful and harmful if we had lost our firstborn,” Laurence Uwamahoro says as she breastfeeds her newborn son.

Laurence lives in Murehe, a rural region of eastern Rwanda, with her husband, Jean d’Amour Nduwimana, and their newborn, Yvan. Jean d’Amour sits next to his wife as she breastfeeds, continually smiling at his son.

“We have to keep enjoying our union,” he says of life with their new son. “We would have been narrating a very sad story, but it didn’t happen.”

The story of this new family began two months after Laurence and Jean d’Amour married, when a test confirmed Laurence’s pregnancy. But as the couple began enthusiastically preparing for birth, Laurence felt increasingly ill. She sought care at the nearest health center, but continued to worsen until she was six months pregnant – and felt the symptoms of her labor beginning.

“On my way to the hospital, my mind was elsewhere. I was only thinking of funeral ceremonies, because I had no hope that my baby could survive,” Laurence says. By the time she arrived at the health center, her membranes had prematurely ruptured and she was bleeding – signs of placenta abruption.

She soon delivered a very premature Yvan. Weighing only 800 grams (1.7 pounds) at birth, he met the World Health Organization’s definition as “extremely low birth weight” (less than two pounds, three ounces). The nurses who helped Laurence deliver immediately transferred both mother and baby to Kibungo Hospital to receive higher-level care only available in the hospital’s neonatal unit.

Thankfully, Laurence and Yvan were received at Kibungo Hospital by MCSP-trained nurses and midwives, who confidently continued their care. In collaboration with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Center, and national professional associations (including the Rwandan Pediatric Association), MCSP is improving the capacity of the country’s health care providers to manage the acute care needs of babies like Yvan through on-site trainings and clinical mentorship.

Kibungo Hospital’s neonatal ward staff had benefited from multiple weeks of targeted MCSP training on Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Essential Newborn Care, after which a mentor had visited each trainee bi-monthly for several months to ensure they were applying their new skills correctly. These efforts are part of MCSP’s overarching capacity building strategy for Rwanda, which uses clinical training to address the leading causes of death for children under five and pregnant women. To date, the Program has trained more than 12,000 doctors, nurses, midwives, lab technicians, and community health workers from 16 districts in areas such as infection control, resuscitation, and newborn treatment protocols.

One such provider is Midwife Christine Mujawimana, who used her new skills to continue Yvan’s treatment for three months, as his weight steadily rose to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds). “That was my first time I received such a low weight baby,” she said. “But with the training from MCSP, we all felt confident that Laurence’s baby had to survive.”

The care Yvan required to survive was extensive, but the trained hospital staff was up to the task. After placing him in an incubator, they began implementing Yvan’s treatment according to national neonatal protocols: administering intravenous fluids, diagnosing and treating an infection with antibiotics, giving him a blood transfusion due to anemia and phototherapy for jaundice, and placing him on a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine for respiratory distress syndrome.

They also knew to give him expressed breast milk by nasogastric tube. Thanks to their MCSP training, the hospital’s providers learned to use this method for all low birth weight babies who lack a sucking reflex – typically those who weigh less than 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) at birth. Later, when babies acquire a sucking reflex, the providers know to encourage breastfeeding and supplementation with expressed breast milk using a feeding cup (until breastfeeding alone meets a baby’s needs).

After stabilizing Yvan, the staff taught Laurence how to hold him in Kangaroo Mother Care. This continuous skin-to-skin contact not only keeps low birth weight babies warm, it also increases their nutrition by promoting frequent and exclusive breastfeeding.

Three weeks after he was discharged from the hospital, Yvan’s weight had increased to a stable 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds). Laurence and Jean d’Amour were thrilled! And as their concerns about their son’s weight faded, they finally began to enjoy parenthood as they imagined it when Laurence was first pregnant.

“Our baby is healthier now. We thank all the nurses and everybody who played a big role in having our baby survive,” Jean d’Amour says.

Written by Evariste Bagambiki, MCSP Communications Assistant, Rwanda
(with support from Ingabire Muziga Mamy, MCSP Communication Specialist, Rwanda)




My Neonatal Story – From a Novice to Advanced Neonatal Nurse Specialist

My story started seven years ago when I graduated from nursing school as a general nurse at the University of Rwanda in 2011. Shortly afterwards, I was appointed by Ministry of Health to work at the Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH) and when I arrived at the hospital I was allocated to work in the Neonatal Unit. It was not my choice to work in the Neonatal Unit. My preference was to work with adults and not neonates, but it was an order and I had to follow it.

I was terrified to work in the neonatal unit! I did not have any prior knowledge or skills to care for neonates. I did not get any neonatal training course during my nursing studies and it was my first time to enter a neonatal unit. So when I entered the neonatal unit, every thing was new to me. There was no identified person in charge of my orientation or an orientation program for new graduates. Instead, I was given the task to read the National Neonatal Guidelines; though I could not understand all the content. The senior nurses on the unit were too busy and did not have time to train me. However, I did my best to learn some neonatal skills from senior nurses, though due to the staff shortage I only had two weeks orienting to the neonatal unit.

Consequently, every single day spent on the neonatal unit was filled of worries, as my lack of neonatal knowledge and skills made me fearful to be alone monitoring the neonates. I hated lunchtimes as someone had to stay on the unit mentoring neonates and I did not like being that one nurse left behind by myself.

After one year of working in the neonatal unit, I had the first opportunity to be trained in neonatal resuscitation, though the expression, “the more you know, the more you fear” suddenly applied to me. After the training, I realized that my skills were harmful to neonates rather than helpful. I was saddened to realize that I had spent the whole year on neonatal unit without knowing how to hold the Ambubag and mask, and to provide positive pressure ventilation to the neonate. I could not stop blaming myself, thinking about all the neonates I had seen dying and perhaps with good skills I may have been able to save them.

A few months later in 2012, I had the opportunity to meet a neonatal nurse from the USA who came as a mentor at RMH as part of the Human Resources for Health (HRH) program. I was most fortunate to work with Vicky Albit a neonatal nurse. It was through her mentorship that enhanced my abilities and confidence to care for neonates. Since then, caring for neonates has become my passion!

My hospital organized a critical care workshop for nurses who wanted to work in neonatal and adult intensive care units, which were new services to the hospital. Selected nurses had intensive care courses and neonatal courses during a three-week period. After the workshop, only five nurses were interested in working in the Neonatal Intensive care unit (NICU) and they were sent for four-weeks training at King Faisal Hospital (KFH), the only hospital in Rwanda with a NICU. For the first time, I saw a neonate on mechanical ventilation. I was afraid to touch the baby, but through help with my mentor, I was taught how to care for a neonate on mechanical ventilation. Even though the clinical placement was brief, I gained the knowledge and skills to care for very sick neonates.

After the clinical placement at KFH, we were ready to open our NICU at RMH. We had more training sessions on medical equipment to use in our NICU including monitors, incubators, radiant warmers, CPAP machines, ventilator machines, syringe pumps, infusions pumps, ABG machine and others. At the opening of our NICU, I was given the hard task of unit manager of the new service and worked with my mentor to create clinical guidelines, protocols and policies. I faced many challenges to mange our new four- bed capacity NICU with shortages of trained staff, and lack of essential consumables and drugs. In addition, it was hard for the hospital administration to understand the needs of the new NICU in terms of nurses, consumables and drugs.

I remember how we prepared to receive our first NICU patient; we were ready with the medical equipment, drugs, nursing team and doctors. After many efforts to save the first patient – who was in septic shock with severe neonatal sepsis – the patient died. I remember how disappointed and discouraged I felt after that first attempt ended in failure. I was wrong to think that by having a NICU we would be able to provide life-saving care to all babies.

After the opening of our NICU, I worked with the neonatal nurse for another two months and I did my best to learn as much as I could, as I was the one now mentoring my colleagues. I could not imagine how we would be able to take care of the very sick neonates without our mentor. I had to take hold and control of everything; supervising and mentoring both the experienced and new nurses on the unit. A few days after our mentor had left RMH, a nurse who was caring for a sick neonate on mechanical ventilation called me, “Chief, please come and help me with the endo-tracheal tube as it is not well fixed and may displace easily.” I responded to the nurse, but I was terrified as I was not good at taping the ETT. But I said to myself, I have done this with my mentor, so I have to do it. I helped the nurse secure the ETT and we did it well. I was forced to do many skills because I was the assigned leader.

Even though I was considered to be the one with knowledge and skills in our NICU, I felt a gap in my training and I wished I could go to university to study neonatology. I had a role model in mind; I wanted to be like Vicky Albit the HRH neonatal nurse that I had met. After two years of leading our NICU, I finally had the opportunity to be in the first cohort of the Master’s of Science of Nursing – neonatology track – at the University of Rwanda.

It was not easy to study in the masters program; as I had to go to school three days a week and work four days a week. Though I was now a bedside nurse taking care of neonates in the NICU and no longer dealing with unit manager responsibilities. It was difficult balancing the demands of school, work, and family, but nothing could stop me! I was truly committed and I wanted to become a neonatal nurse. After two years of working hard, I graduated with a Master’s of Science in Nursing, in the specialty track of Neonatology. I am proud to be a neonatal nurse; I have gained a lot of knowledge and skills from school and the experiences of working in the NICU.

I have returned to the NICU unit manager position at RMH, where we still have the four- bed capacity due to limited medical equipment, with only two working CPAP machines and two ventilator machines. Our NICU is always full and we have a high demand for NICU services.

We face many challenges including lack of trained health care providers. There is only one neonatologist in the country; unfortunately he does not work at RMH, though I wish I could work with him.

The care that we provide to our neonates is limited as many times we have low or lack resources in our clinical settings. I see babies who could have been saved with surgical interventions, if we had more surgical resources. I see babies who died after surgery because of poor post-surgical management, such as lack of total parenteral nutrition. I see many preterm babies who died because they needed advanced therapy like surfactant. I see babies who died because they needed antibiotics that were not available or the family could not afford them. I see babies who died because of limited medical equipment such as ventilators or CPAP machines.

To work and manage a NICU in a resource-limited country is not easy; each day we struggle to give the best care we can to our neonates. The flowing is an example of our on-going situation.

A preterm baby who recovered well in the NICU post CPAP progressed to Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). All of the NICU team was happy for such an achievement and I was happy to see the mother holding the baby in KMC. The following morning I entered the unit to see the nurses doing resuscitation and I was shocked to see that the baby that they were resuscitating was our KMC baby. I remained calm and quiet, and did not ask how the baby had gone in to respiratory failure. I was busy thinking ahead about the possibility of a ventilator machine, as we only had two and they were being used.

Neonates are amazing. The baby was moving the limbs, but without any spontaneous breathing needed intubation, as well as a ventilator machine. When I looked around I saw the baby’s mother in tears and I remembered how happy she was the previous day holding her baby. Then the on-call pediatrician notified me that King Faisal Hospital, the other hospital with ventilator machines, had no available machines for our KMC baby. The pediatrician advised me to inform the family that we did not have a ventilator machine and that we were going to discontinue positive pressure ventilation. It was a very sad situation to let a baby die because we did not have a ventilator machine. I told the pediatrician that we would find a ventilator machine for our baby. We had two machines in our NICU that were not in use because they were lacking spare parts. I was thinking that with the help of a biomedical technician we could find a working machine. I was trying to assemble the necessary equipment, when I saw the baby’s mother in tears. I did not want to face her, but I did, and I told her that we were doing everything possible to find a ventilator machine that could help her baby breathe. During that time of comfort, she wiped her tears and told me that she trusts us.

While we waited for the biomedical technician to come, I instructed the resident Pediatrician to intubate the baby for better ventilation. I was confident that we would have a working ventilator machine soon. The nurses on the ward alternated doing hand ventilation. After two hours the biomedical technician had repaired one machine and we put the baby on. The baby was doing well on the ventilator machine and all the team was happy. Unfortunately, the machine only worked for about four hours, when a nurse told me, “Your machine crashed, it’s no longer ventilating the baby.” I was very sad as the nurse said, “YOUR machine crashed;” it was my responsibility to find another machine. The remaining machine was missing some spare parts that had been requested, but not yet delivered. In the meantime, I pushed the chief of biomedical services to do all he could to get the missing spare parts; it took more hours to get the spare parts and to repair the machine. Finally, the machine was repaired, and the baby was put on the machine again. The day was full of stress with many ups and downs, but finally ended well with success. The following days, I was happy to see the baby improving and to see the mother joyful once again. The baby had a quick recovery; was discharged from the NICU and is now doing well in KMC.

To be a neonatal nurse is not only delivering routine nursing care to sick neonates, it is going that extra mile (kilometer) and being present for babies and their families in NICU. In my daily activities, I am supportive of families that are worried about the outcome of their sick babies and I grief with families when we cannot save a baby. I feel happy when a baby recovers and graduates from the NICU; by either going to KMC in neonatal unit or going home. I work with a formidable team of nurses and midwives, who have not had the same opportunities as me to study neonatal, but they work hard day and night, and are dedicated to the care of neonates.

They are enthusiastic and willing to learn and I wish that they could all have an advanced neonatal course.

We have many challenges as nurses and midwives trying to establish a professional neonatal career path as it is still under development in Rwanda; there is no clear scope of practice, and even the MScN neonatal degree is not yet recognized by all Rwanda institutions. I am a member of the newly formed Rwanda Association of Neonatal Nurses (RANN). It is a new association, but I have a strong conviction that it will go far to promote a neonatal professional career and will undoubtedly improve neonatal outcomes in Rwanda.

I am working at a national referral hospital in Rwanda, one of the best neonatal units in the country, though our level of care is limited. I know the evidence based practice and I wish I could see and learn from other NICUs, both in resource-limited countries and high-income countries, where they use advanced technologies and practice. I will never be discouraged because I know that one day neonatal care will be a priority in my country and that we will have a high standardized NICU with well-trained health care providers and enough advanced medical equipment to save more lives.

This blog is cross-posted from the COINN website. This blog is also part of the HNN collection, Telling Your Story: transforming care for small and sick newborns. If you have a story to share about transforming care for small and sick newborns, send a 300-600-word blog about your experience or research to



Decision-making at the limit of viability: Differing perceptions and opinions between neonatal physicians and nurses

RESEARCH ARTICLE-Open Access   Decision-making at the limit of viability: differing perceptions and opinions between neonatal physicians and nurses Hans Ulrich Bucher1*, Sabine D. Klein1, Manya J. Hendriks1,2, Ruth Baumann-Hölzle3, Thomas M. Berger4,Jürg C. Streuli2, Jean-Claude Fauchère1and on behalf of the Swiss Neonatal End-of-Life Study Group

Abstract Background: In the last 20 years, the chances for intact survival for extremely preterm infants have increased in high income countries. Decisions about withholding or withdrawing intensive care remain a major challenge in infants born at the limits of viability. Shared decision-making regarding these fragile infants between health care professionals and parents has become the preferred model today. However, there is an ongoing ethical debate on how decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment should be reached and who should have the final word when health care professionals and parents do not agree. We designed a survey among neonatologists and neonatal nurses to analyze practices, difficulties and parental involvement in end-of-life decisions for extremely preterm infants. Methods: All 552 physicians and nurses with at least 12 months work experience in level III neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in Switzerland were invited to participate in an online survey with 50 questions. Differences between neonatologists and NICU nurses and between language regions were explored. Results: Ninety six of 121 (79%) physicians and 302 of 431(70%) nurses completed the online questionnaire. The following difficulties with end-of-life decision-making were reported more frequently by nurses than physicians: insufficient time for decision-making, legal constraints and lack of consistent unit policies. Nurses also mentioned a lack of solidarity in our society and shortage of services for disabled more often than physicians. In the context of limiting intensive care in selected circumstances, nurses considered withholding tube feedings and respiratory support less acceptable than physicians. Nurses were more reluctant to give parents full authority to decide on the course of action for their infant. In contrast to professional category (nurse or physician), language region, professional experience and religion had little influence if any on the answers given. Conclusions: Physicians and nurses differ in many aspects of how and by whom end-of-life decisions should be made in extremely preterm infants. The divergencies between nurses and physicians may be due to differences in ethics education, varying focus in patient care and direct exposure to the patients. Acknowledging these differences is important to avoid potential conflicts within the neonatal team but also with parents in the process of end-of-life decision-making in preterm infants born at the limits of viability.




The Power of Breast Milk in the NICU (Full)

Medela US – Published on Nov 20, 2017

For premature babies, breast milk is more than food – it’s medicine. See how it’s transforming lives in the NICU.

Breastfeeding a Boon to Preemies’ Hearts: Study

Improvements seen in function and size 20 years later – By Alan Mozes – HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Breast-feeding premature babies appears to increase the likelihood that those infants will have healthier hearts in young adulthood, new research suggests.

The finding was based on an analysis involving just over 200 men and women in their early- to mid-20s. It suggests that premature infants fed just breast milk during infancy ultimately have better heart volume and overall function compared to preemies raised on formula or a mixture of formula and breast milk.

“It was completely unknown that breast milk would provide this particular protective effect on the development of the heart in babies born preterm,” said study author Paul Leeson. He’s the clinical director of the Cardiovascular Medicine Division of the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility at the University of Oxford, in England.

“We suspected it might, but were surprised by the size of the effect,” he added.

The study authors pointed out that premature babies often go on to develop long-term heart abnormalities. Those can include small heart chambers, thicker heart walls and impaired heart function. The first few months of life are considered a critical period in terms of development of the heart, the researchers said.

To see what effect breast-feeding during infancy might have, the researchers followed 102 people born preterm in the 1980s who were part of a larger study on feeding regimens. At the time, half of that group was assigned to receive breast milk, while the other half was given formula. Ultimately, 30 were fed solely breast milk, while 16 were given “nutrient-enriched” formula only during early postnatal life.

They were compared with another 102 people born full-term from the same time period.

The researchers conducted heart testing when all the participants were between 23 and 28 years old.

As expected, participants who were born premature had reduced heart volume and function compared with those carried to term. But those born premature and fed exclusively with breast milk had greater heart volume than preemies fed only formula.

The study only found an association between heart health and breast milk. And, the impact of breast milk appeared to be incremental. That meant that those whose feeding mix included more breast milk than formula ended up with greater heart volume and better functioning hearts than those whose diets included more formula. What we have now found is that, although exclusive breast milk does not alter the wall thickness, it does mean the hearts of adults who were born preterm get closer in size to those of adults born at term and the function of their hearts is better,” Leeson said.

Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said “the benefits [of breast milk] for premature infants are enormous.” Wu was not involved with the study.

“In the short term, there are protective antibodies and the production of important gut flora,” she said. “In the long term, breast-feeding improves heart structure and function.”

But at the same time, Wu added that “breast-feeding can be a challenge for moms with premature infants.”

“Due to Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit admissions and longer hospital stays, breast-feeding can be difficult to initiate and maintain,” she said. “Extra support and lactation consultations are needed.”

The study was published online June 14 in Pediatrics.  WebMD News from HealthDay




Bonding With Your NICU Baby

green.jpgMountainStar Health Published on Nov 30, 2016

Christine Van Orden is a Registered Nurse in the NICU at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, and shares what you can do to bond with your NICU baby.


Parents’ Hearts Melt Seeing 6-Year-Old Boy Give Preemie Baby Brother Skin-To-Skin  1010 Wins Published on Jul 25, 2018

After years of asking his parents for a baby brother, Mikey finally got his wish. And this photo of him cuddling little Jake is melting hearts. Mikey’s parents Jessica and Michael had complications arise during the pregnancy. Little Jake was born premature at 30 weeks and weighed just one pound, 12 ounces and was only 12-inches-long. He spent over two months in the NICU.



Impact of preterm birth on parental separation: a French population-based longitudinal study


Objective The objective of this study was to investigate both the effects of low gestational age and infant’s neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years of age on the risk of parental separation within 7 years of giving birth.

Design Prospective.

Setting 24 maternity clinics in the Pays-de-la-Loire region.

Participants This study included 5732 infants delivered at <35 weeks of gestation born between 2005 and 2013 who were enrolled in the population-based Loire Infant Follow-up Team cohort and who had a neurodevelopmental evaluation at 2 years. This neurodevelopmental evaluation was based on a physical examination, a psychomotor evaluation and a parent-completed questionnaire.

Outcome measure Risk of parental separation (parents living together or parents living separately).

Results Ten percent (572/5732) of the parents reported having undergone separation during the follow-up period. A mediation analysis showed that low gestational age had no direct effect on the risk of parental separation. Moreover, a non-optimal neurodevelopment at 2 years was associated with an increased risk of parental separation corresponding to a HR=1.49(1.23 to 1.80). Finally, the increased risk of parental separation was aggravated by low socioeconomic conditions.

Conclusions The effect of low gestational age on the risk of parental separation was mediated by the infant’s neurodevelopment.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial.


EDUCATIONAL NEONATAL WOMB COMMUNITY RESOURCES                                     MANDATE: Maternal and Neonatal Directed Assessment of Technology                             The Mandate Approach and Goal


Team members include RTI economists, epidemiologists and engineers, as well as consultants and subcontractors, including Dr. Robert Goldenberg, an obstetrician with broad clinical and research experience in low-resource settings and Dr. Alan Jobe, a neonatologist with extensive research experience in newborn health. MANDATE also utilizes input from key frontline practitioners in India and sub-Saharan Africa.

MANDATE included an Advisory Group with expertise in maternal and neonatal health, technology development and implementation, modeling, and philanthropy.

MANDATE includes an interactive, computer-based, quantitative model that compares the potential number of lives saved across maternal and neonatal technologies. Users can identify and isolate the potential impact of a technology by patient category, region, and setting. The tool is available for public use free of charge.



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Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton speak on The Truth, The Journey Within

Gregg Braden & Bruce Lipton speak on the science of the mind-heart connection. Modern science shows that the human heart creates the single most powerful electrical field in the human body, about 60-100 times more powerful than the human brain.


Did my entrance into the world, my subsequent heart surgery, my preemie experiences, the amazing healers that touched my soul  guide my path towards becoming a surgeon? How do I know this path is the right one for me?

I know this path is right direction at this time because on this path my heart expands and the beat of my heart excites me and carries me forward into the  mystery that awaits. I feel passion and a yearning to serve.

This past weekend on my way to cadaver anatomy lab I ran into a professor/surgeon who was stuck in the hallway (he forgot his access card in his office and was locked in). This doctor whom I had not met previously  is involved in the type of surgical care systems work that captures my attention. The meet-cute was a reminder to me that no meeting is accidental, and mindfulness and presence allows us to connect in wonderful mysterious ways.

Kiteboarding Trip in Vietnam-Windsurfing also Filmed by DGapone