Law, Virtual Health, History


Rank: 162  –Rate: 6.6%   Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births 

(USA – 12 %, Global Average: 11.1%)

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of EuropeAsia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Sea of Crete and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin, featuring thousands of islands. The country consists of nine traditional geographic regions, and has a population of approximately 10.4 million. Athens is the nation’s capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki and Patras.

Greece has universal health care. The system is mixed, combining a national health service with social health insurance (SHI). 2000 World Health Organization report, its health care system ranked 14th in overall performance of 191 countries surveyed.  In a 2013 Save the Children report, Greece was ranked the 19th out of 176 countries for the state of mothers and newborn babies. In 2010, there were 138 hospitals with 31,000 beds, but in 2011, the Ministry of Health announced plans to decrease the number to 77 hospitals with 36,035 beds to reduce expenses and further enhance healthcare standards. However, as of 2014, there were 124 public hospitals, of which 106 were general hospitals and 18 specialised hospitals, with a total capacity of about 30,000 beds



Remembering Dr. Lorna Breen, an emergency room physician who died by suicide during COVID-19

Feb 28, 2022 

The following episode contains emotional content and a discussion about suicide. It’s intended for mature audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or text ‘HELLO’ to 741741 to get 24/7 support. Corey Feist, co-founder of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, remembers his late sister-in-law, Dr. Lorna Breen, who was a healthcare worker at the New York Presbyterian Hospital during the height of the pandemic. Dr. Lorna Breen died by suicide on April 26, 2020, and Corey shares her story in hopes to normalize conversations around mental health and prioritize the wellbeing of our healthcare workers. To learn more about how you can help support healthcare workers, please visit:


A training program for nurses in North-Eastern Greece

   Full length Article| Volume 66  | E22-E26| Sept 01, 2022


  • Tutoring NICU nurses to recognise basic mesothoracic structures by ultrasound
  • Training improved the ability to accurately identify more lung structures
  • Collaboration of nurses and interdisciplinary teams can benefit high-risk infants



To demonstrate methods and landmarks for mediastinum ultrasound as part of ultrasound examination of the lung for nurses. This will be the first step in their education to detect finally the tubes and lines malpositioning in order to distinguish emergency conditions of the lungs in neonates hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units.

Design and methods

Theoretical and practical interventions were developed to create a 3-month training program based on similar medical courses. The study was approved by the hospital’s ethics committee. The program was performed in the neonatal intensive care unit of a single academic institution. Participating nurse was supervised by a paediatric surgeon and trained in lung ultrasound (a safe method without radiation) by a paediatric radiologist.


During the practical period (2 months), the neonatal intensive care unit nurse examined 50 neonates (25 + 6–40 + 4 weeks gestational age; 21 males) separated into two subgroups of 25 neonates each for each training month. In the first month under supervision, the nurse was trained to recognise the aortic arch, the right pulmonary artery, the esophagus, the tracheal air, and the ‘sliding lung sign’ in the anterior, lateral, and posterolateral aspects of the thoracic cage. In the second month, the nurse recorded the ultrasound examinations. The identified structures were then assessed and graded by the supervising radiologist. The overall estimated success rate (5 landmarks × 25 neonates = 125) was 90.4%.


Although this is the first report of the design of a ‘hands-on,’ lung ultrasound training program for neonatal intensive care unit nurses, our findings demonstrate that it is a safe and useful program for all neonatal intensive care unit nurses because the overall success rate of the 3-month program was determined by accurate identification of basic anatomical structures (90.4%) by the nurse.

Practice implications

This study describes the first educational training program for NICU nurses designed to recognise basic structures in the neonatal mediastinum. If the program is effective, NICU nurses will be able to identify respiratory emergencies. NICU nurses can inform doctors about emergencies according to tubes and lines malpositioning in a timely manner to avoid negative consequences.


Expanding International Access to Children’s Mental Health Care

April 7, 2021

As families everywhere continue to cope with the extraordinary challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the Child Mind Institute is proud to announce a new initiative to advance children’s mental health treatment.

Supported by a landmark grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), we are launching an ambitious five-year project to bring our evidence-based clinical expertise to children’s mental health professionals across Greece. The initiative will develop a comprehensive care and referral system that will revolutionize Greek children’s access to the care, support and guidance they need to thrive.

In partnership with local providers, our work with SNF will build children’s mental health infrastructure in Greece through three main avenues:

•  Extensive training and clinical supervision of children’s mental health professionals

•  Development of a national referral center to give providers guidance on complex cases

•  Expansion of technological capacity for telehealth services and specialized online tools

“Every child deserves access to professional, compassionate and dignified health care — including for mental health — and this program represents a significant first step toward a new paradigm for children’s mental health in Greece,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos.

The new grant is part of SNF’s Health Initiative, which aims to ensure access to quality care for everyone in Greece by strengthening the country’s health system. SNF has been a steadfast supporter of the Child Mind Institute since its founding, partnering to address challenges to child mental health for over a decade.

“Building on our rich history and partnership, we have an unparalleled opportunity to transform children’s mental health care in Greece,” said Child Mind Institute Founding President and Medical Director Dr. Harold Koplewicz. “Bringing together the visionary leadership of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the proven experience of the Child Mind Institute, we can create an international model for mental health care that will change the trajectory for children and adolescents struggling with their mental health in Greece and beyond.”

For all the latest updates on the Child Mind Institute’s work supporting children and families dealing with mental health and learning challenges, sign up for our newsletters.


wrs x Andromache – If you were alone / Sta matia sou | official video

1,263,884 views     Jul 8, 2022     wrs

Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos: the legendary pioneer in perinatology and mother of neonatology- Obituary

Pages 3631-3632 | Published online: 27 Sep 2020

Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos was born in Athens, Greece. The hard times before, during and after World War 2, followed by the Greek civil war, severely affected her leftist family. However, hardships did not prevent her from receiving a scholarship and finishing with distinction her secondary education in the Greek-French School “Saint Josef;” from studying philosophy at the Greek section of the Sorbonne University; from occupying herself with literature, poetry, arts and theater, attending -despite her very limited resources- numerous theatrical performances; from receiving her medical degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School. Upon graduation Maria was trained in Pediatrics in “Aghia Sophia” Children’s University Hospital in Athens, where she gained great experience in using the iron lung in children with polio. Later, in Canada and the US, she will be the first clinician worldwide to apply mechanical respiratory support to another category of children: premature neonates.

A special feature of young Maria was her enthusiastic involvement with Girl Guiding, the principles of which, especially the offer to fellow human beings and society as a whole, Maria not only deeply embraced, but applied throughout her life. She quickly gained a high degree and educated a large number of children (me included) and adolescents, among them Princess Sophia, the later queen of Spain.

Her desire to participate to the latest developments in Pediatrics, urged her to move to the US. Nevertheless, the political history of her family was an insurmountable obstacle in getting a visa. Help will come from the highest possible level: the then Head of the body of Greek Girl Guides, Princess Sophia, signifying Maria’s incredible ability to unite opposite ends! Thus, with her husband, physician Christos Papadopoulos, Maria departs from Greece in 1959 to spend 61 years, the rest of her life, in the US, Canada and again the US, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1970, but always keeping with pride, deep in her heart, her beloved country of origin and her characteristic double Greek name. Extremely arduous, yet so productive years will follow, leading her soon to international recognition.

In the US and Canada, she completed residencies and fellowships in several state and University hospitals, training in Pediatrics, Neonatology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Physiology and Embryology, thus, in all fields of Perinatal Medicine. She received a post-doctorate degree in Physiology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she spent the next 29 years as a faculty member. Further, she held numerous faculty and hospital appointments in the Philadelphia area. In 2006 she was awarded the Ralph W. Brenner Chair in Pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children.

Maria has given Grand Rounds several times per year at Universities and Medical Centers throughout the U.S, and functioned as Visiting Professor and keynote speaker in innumerous countries in South America, Europe and Asia for over 50 years. She has received a great number of prestigious awards, starting in 1961, e.g. “Teacher of the Year Award” for 1962, 1964, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2004, 2006, “NIH Special Research Fellowship Award 1966”, “NIH Young Investigator Award 1968”, “NIH Career Development Award 1968”, “American Academy of Pediatrics Lifetime Achievement Award”, “National Lifetime Achievement Award from Castle Connolly”, “Legends in Neonatology Award” (2007) together with Mildred Stahlman and Mary-Helen Avery. She was named “Top Doctor” by Philadelphia magazine (2012–2016). She had served several terms for the National Institutes of Health, as well as for many academic and hospital committees; she was a member of numerous scientific societies; had received honorary degrees from three universities (Nancy, Thessaloniki and Athens); was a reviewer for top scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. Her publications are over a thousand, mostly focusing on neonatal care, neonatal brain injury and neonatal physiology.

Maria’s clinical work was marked by two innovations. The implementation for the first-ever time of mechanical respiratory support to premature neonates in 1963, and a bit later of parenteral fluids to preterms, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Her pioneering scientific work focused besides respiratory distress syndrome and physiology of pulmonary fluid, on oxygen-hemoglobin binding in adults and fetuses/newborns, cerebral blood flow, mechanisms of hypoxic/ischemic encephalopathy in the fetus and neonate, as well as the mechanisms of cerebral cells apoptosis.

Maria had generously mentored countless young doctors from countries all over the world, devoting them endless time, care and love. Despite her phantastic achievements, she remained a person of exemplary modesty, contemptuous for material goods, with huge charitable activity not only for children but also for any adult in need. She used to spend every summer a month in her favorite Greek island Ithaca, fishing, donating her “catch” to the poor and gratis examining each evening consecutively all children of the island.

This homage to Maria will close with spontaneous words by colleagues, when informed on her passing: “so impressed by her sweetness, smartness and profound culture, but also her firm capability to teach and to carry on research, she as a woman in times when the most was run by men!” (Gian Carlo Di Renzo), “a true trailblazer in our field, a kind, gentle care giver” (Helen Christou), “a unique, wonderful, exemplary, inspiring woman” (Umberto Simeoni), “Maria leaves a great legacy” (Neena Modi), “really impressed by her legacy” (Hugo Lagercrantz), “Maria is an example for all of us” (Vassilios Fanos), “we will strive to honour her” (Mark Hanson).

May she rest in peace!


Health-care workers reveal how pandemic affected their mental health, home lives

Apr 8, 2022    CBC News

Health-care workers say the emotional and physical toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on them at work and at home.

Health-care workers reveal how pandemic affected their mental health, home lives – YouTube


New Guidance Encourages Moms to Nurse for Two Years

Michelle Winokur, DrPH    

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics new guidelines, mothers are now encouraged to nurse for two years – up from one year. A mother’s willingness or ability to initiate breastfeeding is dependent on many factors, including support from family, close friends, and the hospital or birth center where the child is born. However, many other barriers can potentially keep moms from exclusively nursing for even six months, long considered the benchmark before introducing “nutritious complementary foods.”

Barriers to Breastfeeding:In recognition of the challenge of a lengthened breastfeeding period, the AAP concurrently released a technical report (2) identifying hurdles and approaches to support nursing moms. Among the challenges moms face are:

Societal judgment: Upwards of 80% of women breastfeed initially, establishing the practice as a “cultural norm.” However, just one-third of infants are nursed beyond one year. (3) This sharp decline can lead to judgment and comments from well-intentioned yet misinformed relations – or strangers – who may not recognize the value of longer-term breastfeeding. Similarly, providers should support nursing beyond one year, though there is evidence that is not always the case.

Workplace barriers: The United States is one of only a handful of upper-income countries that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. Lack of income or loss of job protection forces some moms back to work sooner than they would like. Furthermore, few businesses provide on-site childcare, making it more convenient for moms to nurse during the workday. The country also lacks requirements for workplace breaks and the provision of a clean, private space to nurse or express milk.

Insurance coverage: In most cases, insurance will provide or reimburse for select breast pumps, but coverage varies by plan and is not guaranteed. Similarly, only some insurers cover lactation support. While most hospitals and birth centers provide an initial consultation, many moms require additional guidance and support to continue nursing.

Benefits of Breastfeeding:The benefits of breastfeeding for babies and moms are numerous. Babies who nurse receive immunities from their moms, making them less likely to develop ear infections and less susceptible to stomach bugs. They also experience sudden infant death syndrome at lower rates. Moreover, breastfed babies have a lower risk of developing certain conditions, including asthma, obesity, and type 1 diabetes, as they grow. Moms who nurse likewise reap long-term benefits, including reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

There is no better time than now, during National Breastfeeding Month, to reflect on the AAP’s updated guidance and recommit to reducing barriers that discourage moms from breastfeeding. Providers, policymakers, employers, insurers, and communities all have opportunities to support nursing moms and their babies

Source:nt-aug22.pdf (

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Managing relationships after premature birth

Having a premature baby can have a huge impact on the whole family. Here we talk about how you may all feel and what you can do to support each other.

How premature birth may affect the parents

Research has found that both parents of premature babies are more likely to experience extreme stress and mental health problems than parents whose babies arrived full term. 

A lot of parents have told us that they felt a lot of complex emotions after their baby was born, such as helplessness, fear and confusion. Some even feel guilty or wonder if they could have done something to prevent it. Feelings of failure are also common. Some parents feel like their body has failed them or that they have failed at parenthood before they have even started.

Dads and partners may also feel helpless or out of control. Some partners have told us that they felt alienated in the baby unit.

Depending on how long the baby is in hospital, partners may need to go back to work before your baby goes home. This may mean that they can’t spend as much time with the baby as the other parent. This may leave them feeling isolated, scared or stressed that they can’t do more. 

This can create anxiety and tension. Even the healthiest relationships can strain in stressful situations, so try not to let any worries about you as a couple overwhelm you. It’s really important that you stay open and honest with each other about how you feel. Talking to each other about your fears, worries and feelings can help you to support each other better and understand each other. Try to understand things from each other’s point of view and give each other space. 

How premature birth can affect siblings

If you have any older children, they may be affected by the experience of having a new baby brother or sister who is born prematurely. Children are very sensitive to what is going on, and if you are concerned about the baby – even if you don’t talk openly about it – they will probably be aware of this. They are also likely to be confused if the baby needs to stay in hospital for a while.

The way they react will depend on how old they are and their personality. Try to explain what’s happening in a way you think they’ll understand. Try to be as honest with them as you can and be prepared for the possibility that they may have some questions. Let them know that they can talk to you about what’s happening whenever they need to. 

Try to involve them as much as you can. Perhaps they could draw a picture for the new baby or you could take them to buy a present for them. If it’s possible for them to visit their new sibling, explaining what the hospital environment may be like before you go may help.

There are books available that are aimed at siblings of premature babies to help them understand what’s happening. Ask your local bookseller or go online to find recommended books about prematurity for children.

How premature birth can affect grandparents

Grandparents may be feeling anxious for all of you. Try to keep them in the loop about what’s happening. 

They may be keen to help but unsure of what they could do. You could suggest they could do some practical things like make some frozen meals for you, help to keep your house tidy or look after any older children if you have them. 

Managing competing demands after premature birth

Your family and friends will hopefully become a vital support for you during the early weeks and months of your baby’s life.

But because everyone has different needs, having lots of people to worry about can make it stressful too. For example, you may feel that you need to spend all your time at the baby unit, but perhaps you have older children who need your time too. Or perhaps one parent wants to talk about a traumatic birth, but the other is not ready. Or maybe family and friends want to check in and see how you are, but you are feeling too tired or stressed to call or message anyone. 

This can be stressful. You will also be trying to cope with your own feelings so it can be difficult when you feel you need to look after other people too. 

If tensions are rising, try to talk things through. If you can be honest and open about how you’re feeling, it can often help prevent misunderstandings, hurt or resentment later.

How others can help

Family and friends may be an essential support at this difficult time, but not everyone is good at dealing with this sort of situation. You may be surprised by the people who rally round, and disappointed that others offer less support than you hoped for. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or take it when it’s offered. They will probably be pleased to help by keeping you company, cooking meals or offering to help with your other children.

If people say unhelpful or insensitive things, try to ignore them. Most people will have no understanding of what you’re going through and would probably be horrified at their own insensitivity if they did.

Celebrating your premature baby’s breakthroughs

Many families find that they are so busy focusing on their baby’s health problems that there is little space to think about the good things. It is important to allow yourself to feel grief when you’re going through hard times. But when your baby has a breakthrough, such as coming off a particular treatment, or going home, it can be helpful to celebrate that too.

Sharing good news

Many parents like to mark these events in some small way and to share them with others. This might simply involve sending out a group text to loved ones telling them the news, sharing a glass of bubbly or having a meal with close friends or family. You might prefer to simply note them down in a journal if you keep one.

Try to hold on to that positive feeling for as long as you can and focus on how far your new family has come already. 

Tommys: Our Story

From a campaign that began in a spare cupboard in St Thomas’ Hospital, Tommy’s is now the largest UK charity researching the causes and prevention of pregnancy complications, miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and neonatal death.



Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act Signed Into Law

March 18, 2022

On March 18, President Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, named for a Columbia emergency medicine physician, into law. The act will provide federal funding for mental health education and awareness campaigns aimed at protecting the well-being of health care workers. 

The new law—the first to provide such funding—is named for Lorna Breen, MD, an emergency medicine physician and faculty member at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center who died by suicide in April 2020 at the peak of the first COVID surge. 

“Health care professionals often forgo mental health treatment due to the significant stigma in both our society and the medical community, as well as due to the fear of professional repercussions,” says Angela Mills, MD, chair of emergency medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “This law will provide much needed funding to help break down the stigma of mental health care, providing education and training to prevent suicide, address other behavioral health issues, and improve well-being.” 

Health care workers have always experienced extraordinarily high levels of stress. To protect their careers, however, most with mental health issues suffer in silence. The COVID pandemic has only intensified the stress and suffering.

Breen’s death highlighted the need to help front-line health care workers cope with the stress of their jobs. 

The goal of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is to prevent suicide, alleviate mental health conditions and substance use disorders, and combat the stigma associated with seeking help. It provides up to $135 million over three years to improve mental health and resiliency and train medical students, residents, nurses, and other professionals in evidence-based mental and substance use disorders strategies. 

Grants will go to medical schools, academic health centers, state and local governments, Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, and nonprofit organizations.

Health care worker stats 

  • One in five health care workers quit their job during the pandemic.  
  • 400 physicians in the United States die by suicide every year.   
  • 60% of emergency doctors feel burned out  


Virtual nursing programs help hospitals overcome staffing shortages and support onsite nurses in providing patient care.

    September 01, 2022

Healthcare organizations across the U.S. are under tremendous pressure as the growing need for nurses outpaces a shrinking workforce. There have been unprecedented challenges from the large, aging baby boomer population. Nurses are also getting older, with a median age of 52 — 4.7 million are projected to retire by 2030.

“None of us are going to have the complement of nurses that we would like to have moving forward, so we have to get creative with the way that we provide care,” says Jennifer Ball, director of virtual care at Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Mo.

Healthcare systems like Saint Luke’s are increasingly turning to virtual nursing to address the shortage. Virtual nurses work in remote centers with videoconferencing technology to observe and answer questions from patients, speak with family members and ease the burden on bedside nurses by performing tasks that don’t require physical proximity, such as conducting admissions interviews and providing discharge instructions.

“What better way to retain those experienced nurses who might be thinking of retiring or leaving the field early?” Ball says. “It’s a great way to allow them to continue their careers

There has been a 34 percent increase in the number of virtual nursing programs around the U.S. in the past year, says Laura DiDio, principal at research and consulting firm ITIC. The growth was spurred by the pandemic, “but it shows no signs of slowing down,” she adds.

Virtual nurses support bedside nurses in healthcare facilities, but they can also see patients at home using remote monitoring tools to collect clinical data, DiDio says. During the pandemic, virtual nurses used high-definition cameras and tablets to connect patients in isolation with their loved ones. Digital hospice and palliative care ­visits became commonplace.

“You will always have hands-on bedside care. That’s not going away,” Ball says. “But we must expand the types of caregivers that we have. I think virtual nursing is the wave of the future.”

The Technology Behind Virtual Nursing

Virtual nurses typically operate in remote centers manned with fully loaded workstations. At Saint Luke’s, each workstation uses a mix of multiple monitors, including HP monitors, the Epic Monitor dashboard feature and the Teladoc virtual healthcare platform, which includes a microphone, camera and videoconferencing software. Saint Luke’s also uses LogMeIn (now called GoTo) for remote desktop access so that virtual nurses can document as second nurse.

All the technologies used by Saint Luke’s virtual nurses were in use before the program launched. Even the workstations’ 5-foot adjustable desks were repurposed from an older project, Ball says. “We have been really lucky because we didn’t have to start from scratch with new technology,” she adds.

At Atrium Health in North Carolina, patient rooms use one of two setups to enable observation for its virtual nursing program to support newer nurses. New facilities are designed with audio and video capabilities, so the push of a button calls the virtual nurse, who appears on screen. Older facilities use wheeled poles with mounted cameras, speakers, microphones and monitors. Atrium Health uses the Caregility telehealth platformCerner cameras and software, and Microsoft Teams.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., uses mobile devices with audio and video capabilities for its “virtual sitter” program, which allows nurses to monitor multiple patients at once. “They kind of look like a robot that you would see in a cartoon,” Karen Hughart, senior director of nursing informatics at VUMC, says of the devices.

VUMC’s virtual sitter program launched in 2019, when a dramatic increase in patients needing observation — those at risk of falls or other types of harm — coincided with Nashville’s booming economy, making it difficult to hire entry-level patient-care attendants.

“Sometimes, patients just need somebody to redirect them if they start to get out of bed because they’re confused,” Hughart says. “We’re not relying on patients to press their call bell. There’s somebody available to monitor them to determine if the patient needs immediate assistance, and they’re notifying the patient’s bedside nurse directly instead of waiting until the patient has had a bad outcome.”

Virtual sitters, who use 24-inch Dell monitors to observe patients centrally, can even use recorded messages from family members to reorient patients. “Sometimes a voice that they recognize is more effective with redirecting their behaviors,” Hughart adds.

The pandemic placed stressors not only on practicing nurses but also on those in training. “Nursing school students didn’t get the same experience that some of us more seasoned nurses have because their clinical rotations were cut short,” says Becky Fox, Atrium Health’s vice president and chief nursing informatics officer.

Health systems like Atrium and Saint Luke’s assigned experienced virtual nurses to mentor recent graduates. They can walk bedside nurses through procedures, interact with the care team on rounds and even listen in on a patient’s lungs via a remote stethoscope, Fox says.

“Imagine you’re a new graduate, and you’re concerned that your patient is taking a turn for the worse. It helps knowing that you’ve got someone on screen who has your back,” she adds.

Atrium Health has seen call bell volumes go down while patient satisfaction scores have risen, Fox says. It also saw a decrease in the number of rapid response team calls, in which the whole care team rushes to a patient’s bedside amid a crisis, because virtual nurses can spot problems before they escalate.

The organization was already using video capabilities in other areas, such as translators and disease education specialists, to help nurses manage patients’ care. Atrium Health expects the use of video capabilities to develop further.

At VUMC’s virtual sitter program, Hughart sees similar potential. It’s currently in use only in the adult hospital, but VUMC would like to expand virtual care capabilities. Some vendors provide not only the equipment to support such programs, but also the virtual nurses themselves, she adds.

“That’s very attractive to us right now,” Hughart says, “because like a lot of other facilities, we’re struggling to keep pace with the demand for nurses.”

Saint Luke’s has seen many benefits from its virtual nursing program. Patients always have immediate access to someone, and bedside nurses have help with time-consuming tasks, such as ordering meals for patients and completing quality checks.

“Care is delivered on time, and everything is double- and triple-checked,” Ball says. “It allows for a more efficient hospital stay.”

Other staff, such as pharmacists and social workers, have expressed interest in using the virtual center. The four smaller critical-access hospitals in the Saint Luke’s network have already installed virtual care equipment in their rooms to gain greater access to specialists throughout the system. For instance, a diabetes education specialist can now meet with a patient in one location through the videoconferencing tools, and then 30 minutes later, meet with another patient who’s two hours away.

“I think there will be a lot of ways to use this technology in the future, and we’re probably not even aware of everything we can do,” Ball says. “This is an opportunity for us to provide more holistic care to all patients.”


The purpose of the virtual nurse is to work alongside the bedside nurse, but that’s often easier said than done.

“Early on, nursing staff would get frustrated because they felt they either weren’t warned soon enough or they were being interrupted every five minutes to check on patients,” says Hughart. It took months of repeated education and meetings to work through ongoing problems.

Saint Luke’s holds joint training sessions with virtual and bedside nurses so they can learn to collaborate as a team, says Ball.

Here are a few lessons on how to build a successful virtual nursing program:

1. Involve everyone — from clinical staff to IT and quality assurance — from the start.

2. If possible, start in a new facility. “There are always challenges when you go into an existing unit and change the culture,” Ball says.

3. When hiring, look for experienced nurses with strong communication skills.
“You want knowledgeable staff because you’re looking to them to do the teaching and the education for the patients,” Ball adds.

4. Make sure buildings have adequate wireless bandwidth. “We have to continue expanding capacity and building in redundancy to keep up,” Hughart says.

5. Focus on the communication workflows between unit-based nursing staff and staff who monitor patients virtually, Hughart adds. For the technology to have maximum impact, those using it must understand its capabilities and limitations, and there must be collaboration between the onsite and virtual teams that centers patient care.

6. Build strong device support processes, with quick turnaround on repairs for critical equipment, says Becky Fox, vice president and chief nursing informatics officer for Atrium Health.

7. Don’t be afraid to change workflows when starting new programs. “The best ideas on paper don’t always work in real life,” Ball says.


How do children develop after being born very preterm? Four likely outcomes

Children born very preterm can be divided into different subgroups, each with a different profile of developmental outcomes.

   Washington, DC June 28, 2022

A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports that, among very preterm born children, subgroups can be distinguished with distinct outcome profiles that vary in severity, type, and combinations of deficits.

Children born very preterm, that is, after a pregnancy duration of less than 32 weeks, have a higher risk for difficulties during development than peers who are born after a normal pregnancy duration. What kind of difficulties and to what degree, however, varies strongly from child to child. Nevertheless, very preterm born children are usually considered as one group. According to new research, this assumption is unjustified.

Researchers from the Obstetrical, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Research Team at Inserm and the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research followed the development of 2,000 very preterm born children from all over France from birth until the age of 5.5 years. Their findings suggested that the population of very preterm born children could be divided into four subgroups, each with a different profile of developmental outcomes.

Almost half of the children (45%) belonged to a subgroup of children who had no difficulties and functioned at similar levels as their full-term born peers. However, 55% of the children belonged to one of three subgroups with suboptimal developmental outcomes. The first subgroup consisted of children who primarily had difficulties in motor and cognitive functioning, whereas a second group of children primarily had difficulties in behavior, emotions, and social relationships. A small subgroup of children had more severe impairments in all domains of development.

“Very little is known about the specific needs of subgroups of very preterm born children,” said lead author Sabrina Twilhaar, PhD. “Our study is the first large-scale study to distinguish very preterm born children based on their profile of outcomes across multiple important developmental domains. After all, how children function in everyday life is not determined only by their IQ or behavior. We now have a better understanding of which difficulties are prominent in different subgroups and which difficulties often occur together. This is important information for the development of targeted interventions.”

The researchers were also interested to know the predictors of these developmental outcomes. They found that children in the three subgroups with suboptimal outcome profiles were more often boys or had parents with a lower level of education or with a non-European migration background. Children who were diagnosed with prematurity-related lung disease (i.e., bronchopulmonary dysplasia) also had a higher risk for suboptimal developmental outcomes.

New insights are highly needed for very preterm born children. Preterm birth rates are increasing as are survival rates, especially among the most immature infants who have the highest risk for impairments. Thus, the number of very preterm born children with impairments growing up in our societies is rising. These impairments generally persist when children get older and there is currently little evidence in support of interventions that meaningfully improve long-term outcomes. These insights may be used to tailor support programs to the specific needs of subgroups of children to improve their effectiveness.

Dr. Twilhaar: “Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, the findings emphasize the importance of taking individual differences much more into account. The average of the population is not representative of the individual children that it consists of. Moving forward, we should thus aim to understand how certain combinations of difficulties arise in specific groups of children, whereas others encounter no difficulties at all. This will aid the development of interventions that are tailored to the actual needs of individual children and target co-occurring problems, but also programs and policy to promote positive development in all children.”

Copies of this paper are available to credentialed journalists upon request; please contact the JAACAP Editorial Office at or +1 202 587 9674. Journalists wishing to interview the authors may contact E. Sabrina Twilhaar, PhD; e-mail:


Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Cicchitti, L.; Di Lelio, A.; Barlafante, G.; Cozzolino, V.; Di Valerio, S.; Fusilli, P.; Lucisano, G.; Renzetti, C.; Verzella, M.; Rossi, M.C. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Med. Sci. 20208, 24.


The aim of this study was to assess the impact of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) on newborn babies admitted at a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This was an observational, longitudinal, retrospective study. All consecutive admitted babies were analyzed by treatment (OMT vs. usual care). Treatment group was randomly assigned. Between-group differences in weekly weight change and length of stay (LOS) were evaluated in the overall and preterm populations. Among 1249 babies (48.9% preterm) recorded, 652 received usual care and 597 received OMT. Weight increase was more marked in the OMT group than in the control group (weekly change: +83 g vs. +35 g; p < 0.001). Similar trends were found in the subgroup of preterm babies. A shorter LOS was found in the OMT group vs. the usual care group both in overall population (average mean difference: −7.9 days, p = 0.15) and in preterm babies (−12.3 days; p = 0.04). In severe preterm babies, mean LOS was more than halved as compared to the control group. OMT was associated with a more marked weekly weight increase and, especially in preterm babies, to a relevant LOS reduction: OMT may represent an efficient support to usual care in newborn babies admitted at a NICU.



Using AI to save the lives of mothers and Babies

Thought Leaders -Patricia Maguire-Professor of Biochemistry-University College Dublin As part of our SLAS Europe 2022 coverage, we speak to Professor Patricia Maguire from the University College Dublin about their AI_PREMie technology and how it can help to save mothers and babies lives.

Please could you introduce yourself and tell us what inspired your career in artificial intelligence (AI)?

My name is Patricia Maguire, and I am a professor of biochemistry at University College, Dublin (UCD). Four years ago, I was appointed director of the UCD Institute for Discovery, a major university research institute in UCD, and our focus is cultivating interdisciplinary research. In that role, I first became excited by the possibilities of integrating AI into my research.

AI has seen increased attention in recent years, especially concerning its adoption in healthcare settings. Despite this, obstacles still need to be overcome before it is commonplace within research. What do you believe to be some of the biggest challenges surrounding the adoption of AI in clinical settings?

I think there are two major obstacles to adopting AI in healthcare. The first is that when it comes to the actual deployment of that AI in a clinical setting in the real world, there is a significant gap from that lab-based tech development to getting it deployed in the clinic and operationalized there. The second is that once that AI is operationalized, the frontline staff may have difficulty adopting it. Staff are going to be really busy, and their time is valuable. We need to offer them practical solutions that give them reliable results that augments their clinical decision-making.

You are currently the director of the ConwaySPHERE research group at University College Dublin. Please could you tell us more about this research group and its missions?

I co-direct the UCD Conway SPHERE Research Group with my hematology colleagues, Professor Fionnuala Ní Áinle and Dr. Barry Kevane. Our mission is to understand and help diagnose inflammatory diseases, and we work together as a group of clinicians, academic staff, and scientists, collaborating both nationally and internationally. For AI-PREMie it is a truly transdisciplinary team that we have brought together– encompassing clinicians and frontline staff from the three Dublin maternity hospitals. In doing so, we have covered 50% of all births in Ireland. We have brought these hospitals together with a host of scientists from across University College Dublin and data scientists from industry, namely the SAS Institute and Microsoft. The whole AI-PREMie team’s mission is to get this prototype test to every woman who needs it worldwide because we believe we will save lives.

You are giving a talk at SLAS Europe 2022 titled ‘AI_PREMie: saving lives of mothers and babies using AI.’ What will you be discussing in this talk, and what can people expect?

I will discuss our project AI-PREMie, which brings together cutting-edge biochemical, clinical, and machine learning expertise. By bringing them together, we have developed a new prototype test for risk stratification in preeclampsia.

As demonstrated in your latest research, AI-PREMie can accurately help to diagnose preeclampsia, a serious complication affecting one in ten pregnancies. What are the benefits of accurately diagnosing preeclampsia not only for the women and their babies but also for healthcare settings?

Fifty thousand women and 500,000 babies are lost to preeclampsia every year, and an additional 5 million babies are born prematurely – sometimes very prematurely – because of preeclampsia. It is easy to see how devastating preeclampsia is as a disorder: it affects our most vulnerable in society, their whole families, and their whole communities. If we can diagnose preeclampsia in a much timelier manner, we can deliver efficient, effective healthcare that can have a massive impact on the societal good. Not only will this allow us to prevent premature births, but we can also save lives.

What are some of the benefits of using AI tools such as AI_PREMie in diagnosis compared to current diagnostic methods?

There have been no significant advances in preeclampsia diagnosis. We are still using screening tests that were introduced decades ago. We look at high blood pressure, and we look at protein in the urine when we are screening these women, and sometimes these metrics do not predict the outcome. There is simply no test available to tell a clinician that a woman has preeclampsia. There is also no test to predict how that preeclampsia will progress. This means there is no test to tell a clinician or a midwife when to deliver that baby. AI-PREMie, our prototype test, will hopefully be able to not only diagnose preeclampsia but also predict the future in a sense and tell the clinician the best time to deliver that baby – because every day in utero for that baby counts.

Are you hopeful that with continued innovation within the artificial intelligence space, we will see more clinical practices turning to this technology to help aid healthcare? What would this mean for global health?

The field of AI is moving so fast, and healthcare is trying to keep up with it. I do see a future where our healthcare information will be available to us much like our banking information is securely, maybe even on our mobile phones, and that way, we can move global health to treat disease to a status where we predict disease and prevent disease.

Do you believe that AI_PREMie could also be applied to other clinical diagnoses? What further research would need to be carried out before this could be possible?

The patented biomarkers underlying AI PREMie are derived from the information stored within the platelet of sick, pregnant women, and we have studied that information or that ‘cargo’ stored within the platelet. We know that this is a marker – a form of a barcode – of the health status of an individual. In our lab, we are currently looking at this cargo in other diseases involving inflammation and vascular dysfunction concerning the platelet. Right now, we have projects ongoing on multiple sclerosis, cancer-associated thrombosis, and also COVID-19 to look to see if we can find new biomarkers in the platelets for these diseases.

Are there any particular areas where you are excited to see AI incorporated within the life sciences sector?

We have shown in our project that incorporating AI into data-driven life sciences projects has the potential to be truly transformative. If you look at what is available now, eye diseases can be detected using neural networks of three-dimensional retinal scans, but also in critical care, there are now sepsis warnings based on AI, which has dramatically reduced the number of deaths from sepsis in these hospitals. The potential is just so exciting.

What’s next for you and the ConwaySPHERE research group?

Next year, excitingly, we are planning to take AI PREMie across Ireland – so we want to increase the recruitment and data collection across Ireland and grow the group even more.


Golden Hour Education, Standardization, and Team Dynamics: A Literature Review


The “golden hour” is the critically important first 60 minutes in an extremely low birth weight neonate’s life that can impact both short- and long-term outcomes. The golden hour concept involves several competing stabilization priorities that should be conducted systematically by highly specialized health care providers in both the hospital and transport settings for improvement in patient outcomes. Current literature supports utilizing an experienced team in the golden hour process to improve patient outcomes through standardization, improved efficiency, and positive team dynamics. Although a variety of teaching methods exist to train individuals in the care of extremely low birth weight infants, the literature supports the incorporation of low- or high-fidelity simulation-based training. In addition, initial and ongoing educational requirements of individuals caring for a golden hour-eligible infant in the immediate post-delivery phase, as well as ongoing care in the days and weeks to follow, are justified. Instituting standard golden hour educational requirements on an ongoing basis provides improved efficiency in team function and patient outcomes. The goal of this literature review was to determine whether implementation of golden hour response teams in both the inpatient and transport setting has shown improved outcomes and should be considered for neonatal intensive care units admitting or transporting golden hour eligible infants.

Doak, Alyssa, BSN, RNC-NIC, C-NPT, C-ELBW | Waskosky, Aksana, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC


Maternal, Infant, and Child Health Outcomes Associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

A Systematic Review


The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is intended to improve maternal and child health outcomes. In 2009, the WIC food package changed to better align with national nutrition recommendations.


To determine whether WIC participation was associated with improved maternal, neonatal–birth, and infant–child health outcomes or differences in outcomes by subgroups and WIC enrollment duration.

Data Sources:

Search (January 2009 to April 2022) included PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, ERIC, Scopus, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.

Study Selection:

Included studies had a comparator of WIC-eligible nonparticipants or comparison before and after the 2009 food package change.

Data Extraction:

Paired team members independently screened articles for inclusion and evaluated risk of bias.

Data Synthesis:

We identified 20 observational studies. We found: moderate strength of evidence (SOE) that maternal WIC participation during pregnancy is likely associated with lower risk for preterm birth, low birthweight infants, and infant mortality; low SOE that maternal WIC participation may be associated with a lower likelihood of inadequate gestational weight gain, as well as increased well-child visits and childhood immunizations; and low SOE that child WIC participation may be associated with increased childhood immunizations. We found low SOE for differences in some outcomes by race and ethnicity but insufficient evidence for differences by WIC enrollment duration. We found insufficient evidence related to maternal morbidity and mortality outcomes.


Data are from observational studies with high potential for selection bias related to the choice to participate in WIC, and participation status was self-reported in most studies.


Participation in WIC was likely associated with improved birth outcomes and lower infant mortality, and also may be associated with increased child preventive service receipt.


On National Child Day, meet clean water activist Autumn Peltier | CBC Kids News

Nov 20, 2020      CBC Kids News#NationalChildDay#CleanWater#Indigenous

You know something’s wrong when a child speaks up. That’s how Autumn Peltier, a 16-year-old from Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Ontario, framed her fight for clean drinking water in Canada’s Indigenous communities. The teen, who’s originally from Manitoulin Island but currently living in Ottawa, told CBC Kids News she’d rather spend her free time doing normal kid stuff. Instead, she’s making speeches on the international stage about the fact that some Canadians don’t have access to clean water. “Water is a basic human right. Everyone deserves access to clean drinking water, no matter what our race or colour is or how rich or poor we are,” Autumn said. Autumn seized the opportunity to share that message with the world when she addressed the United Nations in 2018 and again in 2019. In 2019, she was also named chief water commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation, which means she speaks on behalf of 40 First Nations in Ontario. As of October, more than 40 Indigenous communities in Canada had boil water advisories in place, which means residents have to boil their water before it’s safe to drink. During the federal election campaign in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to get rid of all boil water advisories in the country by March 2021. Now leaders in many of those communities are saying Trudeau’s government won’t meet that deadline. In October, the prime minister said more than 100 boil water advisories have been lifted since that promise was made, and his government continues to work “very hard” to reach its goal. As for Autumn, she said the idea that time is running out “keeps me up when I can’t sleep at night.” Click play to watch Autumn tell her story in her own words. CBC Kids News is a website for kids, covering the information you want to know. Real Kids. Real News. Check it out at

Cat Video! Here’s looking at you, kid!

Please celebrate #nicuawarenessmonth and #prematureawarenessmonth this Fall season with our beloved global neonatal community!

We will be highlighting our GRATITUDE towards each of the 12 nations we have explored this past year in our Annual Instagram Post. Each of the themed postings will showcase a homemade national dessert of the country celebrated paired with some fun Fall 2022 fashion.  

While exploring each country’s best desserts we sought to further connect with our Global Preterm Birth/Neonatal Womb Warrior community and  illustrate our GRATITUDE to every one of you! Each of you do/have empowered, educated, inspired and progressed the well-being of our Community in a dynamic myriad of ways. THANK YOU 😊

We invite you to explore our Instagram post @katkcampos to view our gratitude pics!

Country        Dessert            Fall 2022 Fashion                      

  • Morroco- Moroccan Orange Cake-Equestrian/full length body suit   
  • Costa Rica – Costa Rican Orange Pudding-Hot Pink
  • Sudan -Sudanese Peanut Macaroons-White Tee shirt/Tank Top/big clogs
  •  Nigeria – Shuku Shuku  Nigerian Coconut Macaroons-All Over Sheen 
  • Japan – matcha swiss roll-Sporty
  • Serbia -Fresh Fruit Cup-Basics
  •  Peru – Suspiro de limena-Leather on leather
  • Ireland – Chocolate Guinness Mousse-Boardroom minis 
  • Uzbekistan – Tajik Cookies-Maxi skirt
  • Philippines – Filipino Egg Pie-Bomber Jacket
  • Norway -Whipped Crème Krumkake-Oversized Sweater
  • Somalia- Queerbaad Cookies-Abstract 

Christmas surf with friends, last waves of 2019 Greece!

Dec 28, 2019         Αγγελος Περαθωρακης

happy times in the water ,surfing some swell in creta!



Rank: 34  –Rate: 13.2%   Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births 

(USA – 12 %, Global Average: 11.1%)

Sudan, officially the Republic of the Sudan is a country in Northeast Africa. It shares borders with the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, Egypt to the north, Eritrea to the northeast, Ethiopia to the southeast, Libya to the northwest, South Sudan to the south and the Red Sea. It has a population of 45.70 million people as of 2022 and occupies 1,886,068 square kilometres (728,215 square miles), making it Africa’s third-largest country by area, and the third-largest by area in the Arab League. It was the largest country by area in Africa and the Arab League until the secession of South Sudan in 2011, since which both titles have been held by Algeria. Its capital is Khartoum and its most populated city is Omdurman (part of the metropolitan area of Khartoum).

Islam was Sudan’s state religion and Islamic laws were applied from 1983 until 2020 when the country became a secular state. The economy has been described as lower-middle income and largely relies on agriculture due to long-term international sanctions and isolation, as well as a long history of internal instabilities, to some extent on oil production in the oil fields of South Sudan, Sudan is a member of the United Nations, the Arab LeagueAfrican UnionCOMESANon-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Health services in Sudan are provided by the Federal and State Ministries of Heath, military medical services, police, universities, and private sector. The districts or localities which are the closest to people are mainly pro Policies and plans in Sudan are produced at three levels federal, state, and district (also called locality) providing primary health care, health promotion, and encouraging community participation in caring for their health and surrounding environment. They are responsible for water and sanitation services as well. This well-established district system is a key component of the decentralization approach pursued in Sudan which gives in turn a broader space for local management, administration and allow for overcoming the leadership and supervision efforts by superior bodies.

There is one Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and 18 State Ministries of Health (SMOH). The federal level is responsible for provision of nation-wide health policies, plans, strategies, overall monitoring and evaluation, coordination, training, and external relations. The state level is concerned with state’s plans, strategies, and based on federal guidelines funding and implementation of plans. While the localities are mainly concerned with implementation and service delivery.


Kat and I intend for our exploration within the preterm birth community to exist on a solid foundation that recognizes, promotes, and celebrates collaboration. This month’s blog highlights the impact, necessity, and joy engagement in collaborative interaction provides. Wishing you joyful collaboration!

  • I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot: together we can do great things.”- Mother Teresa
  • When “I” is replaced by  “we”  even “illness” becomes “wellness”.-Scharf
  • It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”- Harry Truman


Fragile Infant and Family-Centered Developmental Care Evidence-Based Standards: The Value of Systems Thinking

Carol Jaeger, DNP, RN, NNP-BC, Carole Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, ANEF

Abstract: Infant and Family-Centered Developmental Care (IFCDC) requires systems thinking – a re-examination of all the factors that interact to create/support the implementation of these care practices. This article will explore what systems thinking means and how it must be considered a cornerstone for implementing IFCDC.

Background: Systems thinking is a way to make sense of an institution’s or unit’s component parts, their intra- and interrelationship, and their function over time.  It provides a process to explore those elements that contribute to an outcome.

In healthcare organizations, systems thinking is the big-picture view of the relationship between values, mission, infrastructure, education, practice, innovation, change, evaluation, and the sustainment of care over time.  Further, systems thinking shows the factors that influence culture –the attitudes, relationships, and behavior – of the interprofessional staff, parents, and families. Consequently, the articulated values, mission, evidence-based education, practice, and change process guide the culture and, ultimately, the organization’s or unit’s operational practice.

The Infant and Family Centered Developmental Care (IFCDC) Consensus Committee has been using systems thinking to guide the implementation of IFCDC within the Intensive Care Unit. Assimilating the principles in the mission, vision, values, professional performance, education, clinical practice, continuous improvement process, and sustainment over the continuum of care and time is challenging in intensive hospital settings, at best. Since the onset of the pandemic, systems and systems thinking were, by necessity, interrupted. Implementing strict infection control practices has put limitations on staff, parents, and families access to the intensive care unit (ICU) and the associated disruption of consistent system-wide care practices. Parent and family member presence was severely restricted, personal contact and voice recognition was inadequate, appropriate communication with families was intermittent, and education for continuing care was limited. Relationships between staff and among staff and parents/family members were affected. The “normal” flow of activity was altered, and healthcare team members became siloed in their respective specialty roles and functions. Their interactions with each other and families were done individually and not as a team approach to care. The result was fragmented, often disjointed care approaches, where disciplinary views took precedence over a “big picture” holistic care effort.

In many, if not most, ICUs, the workforce was evaluated and limited to “essential staff” and practice. Continuous improvement processes were focused on safety occurrences; thus, practice improvement was curtailed. Consequently, operational budgets were reduced. Medical, nursing, and interprofessional student access to clinical experiences was eliminated in exchange for a simulation experience, or if clinical rotations did occur, the hospital staff acted as a preceptor instead of the usual clinical faculty. Healthcare interprofessional students graduated with limited patient/family contact.

Why are these changes important to IFCDC implementation from a systems perspective? Because these factors impact the unit’s system and culture of how care is provided. The focal point for care decisions moved from family-centered or baby-focused to one of staff availability and infection thwarting. The worst of the pandemic is over, yet the ramifications from a systems’ thinking view are not.

As the restrictions of the pandemic are released, the unit operational budgets are not as quick to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, and staff shortages across all healthcare professions are common. As new hires enter the workforce, they begin to practice with limited specialized clinical skills and likely little knowledge of IFCDC. They may have never experienced the family as an essential caregiver since entering the workforce. So, their worldview of what is “usual practice” is altered. Care is probably focused more on physical needs and not developmental support. Igniting the excitement for IFCDC practice – often viewed as “fluff” or nice but not necessary to care – is like starting over with the reluctance that comes with fear, apathy, and inertia. With the development of evidence-based standards, IFCDC is essential to care for the baby and family in intensive care, yet with the impact of the pandemic, there have been policy and practice changes that have impeded progress in their implementation.

Regardless of the experience and sensitive approach to the baby’s needs, healthcare staff cannot provide the connection of a parent. The baby’s need for neurophysiological and psychosocial support in the nurturing care of his/her parents is still essential. However, most importantly, staff need to comprehend and demonstrate competence in the skill of connecting and supporting the baby, parents, and family members. This relationship is the sustaining factor throughout the lifespan, and the foundation is established in intensive care. Systems thinking is essential to a leader’s assessment, planning, implementation, improvement, and continual monitoring of the mission, values, practice, outcome, and sustainment of a healthcare organization, an ICU, and thus is instrumental in affecting clinical care for babies and their families. As the pandemic recedes to an endemic, the interprofessional team and parents need to use systems thinking and a trusting, collaborative relationship to re-invest in the essential practice of infant and family-centered developmental care.

Source:nt-jul22.pdf (

Roaa Muhammad Naim – Asyad Al-Lawari – New Sudanese 2021 clips

12,357,089 views – Nov 26, 2020

رؤى محمد نعيم – اسياد اللواري – جديد الكليبات السودانية

Patterns and outcome of neonatal surgery in Sudan

Enas IsmailA. ElnaeemaI. Salih   Published 2019

Background: Sudan is one of the largest countries with a high birth rate (33.1/1000); with 40% of the population being children. Like many low income countries (LIC) neonatal surgery is overlooked, and for surgically affected neonates the situation is well below optimal. This study was conducted to determine the burden of neonatal surgery in Sudan and to find our own figures regarding patterns of disease and outcome. Patient and methodology: This is a prospective descriptive cross sectional hospital based study conducted over a six months period from July-December 2017 from five pediatric surgery units. Results: A total of 202 patients were studied. Males were predominant (54.5%) with a male to female ratio of 1.2:1. Most patients were term babies (78.2%) with normal body weight (2500-3000 g). One hundred thirty patients (64.4%) presented within the first week of life (mean 7.8±7.2). Ninety two percent of the diagnoses were congenital in origin. The most affected system was gastrointestinal (47.7%), but the most striking result is the high incidence of neural tube defects (26.2%). The most common acquired condition is NEC (3.5%). One hundred twenty two patients underwent surgical intervention, 12 of them needed a second intervention during neonatal period. Fifty nine patients (29.2%) needed surgical intervention but surgery was delayed (neural tube defects, HSD, and omphalocele). Fourteen percent of the population needed ICU admission , 6.5 % needed mechanical ventilation, and 12.2% needed TPN, the percentage of patients who actually received these services were (11%), (5%) and (2.5%) respectively. One fifth of the patients (20.8%) died during the study period with sepsis as a major cause of death. Bowel atresia is the most common diagnosis associated with mortality


Using technology to promote safe maternal health practices in Nigeria

Using technology to promote safe maternal health practices in Nigeria


In sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria, maternal and infant mortality remains a persistent and serious health challenge. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) interventions offer an effective approach to alleviate this challenge and improve health outcomes. From the experiences of health workers, this study found that using ICT to care for women during and after pregnancy increased the demand for health services and had a positive effect on maternal-infant deaths. It reaffirms that ICT tools (mobile phones, the Internet, television/digital video disk (DVD) and radio) are important for appointment reminders, communication of health tips and referrals of emergencies. Findings indicate that it is imperative to subsidise the cost of access, repackage messages in a language and style to suit mothers, and harmonise and integrate existing ICT-based projects for nationwide implementation in order to expand access and improve the care of women during and after pregnancy.


The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) specifies the need to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. Target 3.1 of the SDG specifically underscores the need to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 from the 533 deaths per 100000 live births currently experienced in Sub-Saharan Africa. To realize this target, both improving access to health care and the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to communicate maternal health information have been found to be vital to place health information within reach of this vulnerable group, and therefore save lives. ICT has already proven efficient and valuable for disseminating information and delivering care services to patients in underprivileged groups. To maximize the gains of ICT for maternal and child health care (MCH), an in-depth understanding of the value of ICT tools, especially mobile phones, is imperative to improve practicability, acceptability and evaluation of such interventions. 

Description of study

Having personally suffered a miscarriage and experienced complications at delivery, as well as watched mothers, gasp for breath in childbirth, the pain and misery of mother and infant death is deeply relatable and has inspired this field of inquiry.

The study identified and interviewed health care providers in nine clinics with ICT-based interventions for maternal and child health care in four Nigerian states (Ondo, Imo, Gombe and Kaduna.) The ICT-based interventions or projects for maternal and child health utilize ICT tools (like mobile phones , IPAD, computers) by health care providers to care for pregnant women and nursing mothers with their infants. Data collected were analysed using Nvivo (software program) to identify themes relevant to the objective of the study. The study was initiated in December 2018 and completed in August 2020.

This work is unique because previous Nigerian studies on ICT-based interventions for maternal and child health (MCH) explored the use of ICT mostly from the patient’s perspective. The views and experiences of health care providers in ICT-based projects for MCH add an important perspective of the value of ICT for MCH care; these multiple perspectives will be valuable to scale up existing health care models for ICT-based interventions targeted at pregnant women and mothers with infants.

 This research is based on a solid foundation of literature from field practitioners on the use of ICT to reduce the mortality of mothers and their infants in Nigeria. The imperative to tackle this public health challenge is even more urgent in the pandemic and post-pandemic era, because ICT-enabled remote consultation, information dissemination and education enable less frequent visits to antenatal clinics, thus limiting exposure to infection and ensuring compliance with COVID-19 protocols. The use of ICT has been accelerated by COVID-19 in other sectors, including government, academia and business, to transact business, communicate, counsel, hold meetings and deliver lectures. Perhaps a silver lining of the pandemic may be increased investment in ICT by the government, the private sector and NGOs to accelerate the establishment of a robust ICT infrastructure and to strengthen the capacity of health workers to serve expectant mothers and their babies remotely. 

Study outcomes

The average age of the participants was 45.6 yrs. Participants reported using mobile phones, the Internet, television/digital video disk (DVD), and radio to provide maternal health care. Other tools such as laptops/projectors for PowerPoint slides and public address systems were used during antenatal classes for maternal health education. The same ICT tools were also used for appointment reminders, communicating health tips, and referrals during emergencies. Participants reported challenges such as unreliable power supply, the cost of using ICT and irrelevant calls. Using ICT to care for women during and after pregnancy increased the demand for health services and a decrease in infant mortality In one clinic the turnout increased from 10 to 60 women going for antenatal service in a day which is attributed to an increase in awareness of health information and services provided at the clinic.

Participants (health care providers) report that the use of ICT tools made their jobs more interesting because of the association of ICT tools for patient care with advanced clinics. The health care providers also reported enhanced ability to promptly refer pregnant women and infants during emergencies – for example, one of the respondents highlighted a reduction in infant death within the first week of life noting that after the Safe Motherhood mhealth project was launched, the death of newborns within the first seven days of life had reduced.  Using ICT tools for MCH care also encourages maternal health practices including the uptake of immunization and health facility utilisation.

The study synthesizes information from published literature and field practitioners to provide health care providers, designers of ICT-based interventions for MCH and policymakers data to inform design and formulate policies to expand and improve access to and delivery of care that can save the lives of mothers and infants. 


The major lesson from this study is that it is important to go beyond the perspective of patients to also capture the perspective of health services providers to design, implement, introduce, and evaluate ICT-based interventions.  Harmonised and integrated ICT-based projects must be replicated nationwide to ptimize ICT in order to improve maternal and child health outcomes.


This study provides valuable information to formulate policy and fortify ICT use for maternal and child health care in low resource settings. It also promotes the adoption of healthy practices among pregnant women. The study has also led to my new research project, on communication design (styles, formats and languages) in maternal health for poor, illiterate mothers who often are excluded from e-health interventions for maternal health. Adaptation of e-health strategies for maternal and child health care must account for local context, addressing the views, needs and challenges of all stakeholders.

Source:Using technology to promote safe maternal health practices in Nigeria | The AAS (


No sonographer, no radiologist: New system for automatic prenatal detection of fetal biometry, fetal presentation, and placental location

Published: February 9, 2022


Ultrasound imaging is a vital component of high-quality Obstetric care. In rural and under-resourced communities, the scarcity of ultrasound imaging results in a considerable gap in the healthcare of pregnant mothers. To increase access to ultrasound in these communities, we developed a new automated diagnostic framework operated without an experienced sonographer or interpreting provider for assessment of fetal biometric measurements, fetal presentation, and placental position. This approach involves the use of a standardized volume sweep imaging (VSI) protocol based solely on external body landmarks to obtain imaging without an experienced sonographer and application of a deep learning algorithm (U-Net) for diagnostic assessment without a radiologist. Obstetric VSI ultrasound examinations were performed in Peru by an ultrasound operator with no previous ultrasound experience who underwent 8 hours of training on a standard protocol. The U-Net was trained to automatically segment the fetal head and placental location from the VSI ultrasound acquisitions to subsequently evaluate fetal biometry, fetal presentation, and placental position. In comparison to diagnostic interpretation of VSI acquisitions by a specialist, the U-Net model showed 100% agreement for fetal presentation (Cohen’s κ 1 (p<0.0001)) and 76.7% agreement for placental location (Cohen’s κ 0.59 (p<0.0001)). This corresponded to 100% sensitivity and specificity for fetal presentation and 87.5% sensitivity and 85.7% specificity for anterior placental location. The method also achieved a low relative error of 5.6% for biparietal diameter and 7.9% for head circumference. Biometry measurements corresponded to estimated gestational age within 2 weeks of those assigned by standard of care examination with up to 89% accuracy. This system could be deployed in rural and underserved areas to provide vital information about a pregnancy without a trained sonographer or interpreting provider. The resulting increased access to ultrasound imaging and diagnosis could improve disparities in healthcare delivery in under-resourced areas.

Full Article:

Usefulness of the Parental Electronic Diary During Medical Rounds in a NICU

Taittonen L, Pärus M, Lahtinen M, Ahola J, Bartocci M. Usefulness of the Parental Electronic Diary During Medical Rounds in a NICU. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2022 Jul-Sep 01;36(3):E7-E12. doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000627. PMID: 35894731.

Parental involvement in the care of their baby in family rooms in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) can be improved. This could be done with an electronic medical report completed by the parents, which is then linked to the patient record system. The parents selected for this study completed an electronic diary during their stay in the NICU, while the staff answered a questionnaire about their opinion on the usefulness of the parents’ diary. The length of stay, length of time the baby spent in Kangaroo care, breastfeeding, time given to breastfeeding, feeling of tiredness, the capability of identifying the newborn’s signals, and parents’ opinion on the diary were variables in the study. The NICU staff’s opinion about the usefulness of the diary in decision-making was sought using a questionnaire. Eleven mothers and three fathers completed the diary. The median time for staying in the ward was 20 hours/day. The median time in Kangaroo care was 3 hours/day. The majority of mothers were breastfeeding on average 5 times per day. The commonest length of time for breastfeeding was 1 to 2 hours/day. The parents felt somewhat tired during their stay. All parents recognized their child’s signals mostly or all the time. Most parents were happy with the diary. The nursing staff’s opinions on the usefulness of the diary too were uniformly positive, whereas the doctors’ opinions varied from positive to critical in nature. In conclusion, the diaries provided us with new information about parents’ perceptions in the NICU. The nurses found the diary useful whereas the doctors were more critical.


Midwives save lives in Sudan

02 July 2021- Anna Sambrook


UK-based charity Kids for Kids is committed to upskilling midwives in Darfur, Sudan thus empowering women to provide safer care for mothers and babies in remote areas

Darfur, Sudan is one of the most deprived and impoverished areas in the world. The people here live lives of unimaginable hardship. At the forefront of climate change, flooding and droughts are a regular occurrence and now inflation is over 363% (Trading Economics, 2021), a result of the ongoing economic crisis. Families are struggling to feed their children and healthcare is a luxury not many people can afford, and in remote villages, it is unavailable. Rural hospitals have, at best, basic and little equipment. While living conditions have improved in other areas of the country, Darfur has been left behind.

Sudan has a Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of 295 deaths per 100 000 pregnancies (United Nations Population Fund, 2020), higher than the global average and staggeringly larger than the seven deaths per 100 000 recorded here in the UK. However, Darfur itself has one of the highest MMR rates in the world recording 727 deaths per 100 000 pregnancies in 2013 (Reliefweb, 2014). With Darfur mainly consisting of small, interspersed villages, the nearest hospital is usually several hours away, and can only be accessed via a donkey and cart, leaving many women at risk of death during childbirth from causes that could be prevented. The reason for this high number of maternal deaths is the lack of trained and skilled midwives in rural areas who are able to detect high-risk pregnancies. The most the majority of villages can hope for is an untrained traditional birth attender as there is no other healthcare available.

Kids for Kids has supported children and their families in Darfur for 20 years. By providing community led sustainable projects, Kids for Kids has adopted over 106 villages and helped over 550 000 people. It quickly became apparent to our Founder, Patricia Parker MBE, that something must be done to help expectant mothers in this area get access to trained medical care. Our health projects are a priority to the charity.

Therefore, Kids for Kids funds the training of two midwives from each village, in the regional capital El Fasher. We have also built a training school to enable 40 villages midwives to be trained. Once training is complete, we provide each midwife with leather sandals, a medical kit in a secure tin box to avoid contamination by insects in the desert, a mobile phone and strong cross-bred donkey, the main mode of transport in Darfur and the only way to cross the sand of the desert to reach her patients. A solar lantern is also provided, with no electricity supply in villages deliveries usually take place by the light of a fire.

Every 14 months, Kids for Kids trains 40 midwives. These women are then a beacon of hope to expectant mothers in their villages. They are trained to diagnose high-risk pregnancies, manage difficult births but also help to educate against female genital mutilation (FGM). Although this practice is now illegal in Sudan since 2020, the idea of FGM is ingrained culturally in many villages in Darfur and our midwives are trained to identify and report any instances they may come across. Because they are from the villages in which they work, mothers trust them and it is therefore much more likely that they will not ask to be resewn, or for their daughters to submit to the practise. Additionally, and an unexpected outcome for the charity, is that trained midwives are able to register births. This is inestimably important both for the individual and authorities. During the COVID-19 pandemic when people could not travel to El Fasher to register births, the Kids for Kids’ villages are unique in having births registered.

In the absence of healthcare in villages, and the danger of travel from the moment that conflict erupted in Darfur in 2003, Kids for Kids has also funded two first aid workers in each village. We also provide the drugs for a Revolving Drug Scheme in each community and train the midwives and first aid works in accountability and bookkeeping to enable them to run the scheme. They are overseen by committees we also train in each community and answer to the village as a whole at a review meeting each year.

Although there is an agreement with the State Ministry of Health to share the costs of training with Kids for Kids and to pay salaries once the midwives are trained, the Ministry has not had the funding to pay salaries for some time. Sudan is struggling with huge debts and is striving to recover from years of corruption and neglect by the previous regime. Expectant mothers therefore often pay village midwives in kind—from a chicken or a goat, to goat’s milk or seeds.

Where a village has been running the Kids for Kids’ projects well, they are able to request a health unit. To date, there are eight such brick-built units in our villages but many more are needed.

One of our midwives, Manal, was chosen by her village to undertake the training to become a midwife for her community. She graduated in 2018 and returned to her home village of Hashab Braka.

Manal delivered her first baby during the first week of her return. Since then, Manal delivers 4–5 babies every month in her village but her skills have been needed in the neighbouring villages where access to antenatal care is also limited. Because of her training, Manal now has the skills and confidence to identify difficult births and refers the mothers to the nearest health clinic in Mallit.

By becoming midwives, Manal and other women in Darfur are able to earn a living and are also given status in their communities. A lot of the work of Kids for Kids centres around empowering women and making sure they have a voice in their community.

To date, Kids for Kids have trained over 500 midwives, helping to deliver countless babies, and saving countless lives. Mothers are receiving proper healthcare and support, and maternal mortality rates are decreasing in the villages where we work.

While conditions improve in the villages we partner with, there are still thousands of women who still have no access to antenatal care in Darfur. As a result of the pandemic, many maternal health clinics in the towns closed across the country (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2021). We need to reach more women and we are only able to do so with the help from our supporters.


The benefits of agreeing on what matters most: Team cooperative norms mediate the effect of co-leaders’ shared goals on safety climate in neonatal intensive care units

Kuntz, Ludwig; Scholten, Nadine; Wilhelm, Hendrik; Wittland, Michael; Hillen, Hendrik Ansgar Health Care Management Review: 7/9 2020 – Volume 45 – Issue 3 – p 217-227 doi: 10.1097/HMR.0000000000000220



Safety climate research suggests that a corresponding climate in work units is crucial for patient safety. Intensive care units are usually co-led by a nurse and a physician, who are responsible for aligning an interprofessional workforce and warrant a high level of safety. Yet, little is known about whether and how these interprofessional co-leaders jointly affect their unit’s safety climate.


This empirical study aims to explain differences in the units’ safety climate as an outcome of the nurse and physician leaders’ degree of shared goals. Specifically, we examine whether the degree to which co-leaders share goals in general fosters a safety climate by pronouncing norms of interprofessional cooperation as a behavioral standard for the team members’ interactions.


A cross-sectional design was used to gather data from 70 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Germany. Survey data for our variables were collected from the unit’s leading nurse and the leading physician, as well as from the unit’s nursing and physician team members. Hypotheses testing at unit level was conducted using multivariate linear regression.


Our analyses show that the extent to which nurse–physician co-leaders share goals covaries with safety climate in NICUs. This relationship is partially mediated by norms of interprofessional cooperation among NICU team members. Our final model accounts for 54% of the variability in safety climate of NICUs.


Increasing the extent to which co-leaders share goals is an effective lever to strengthen interprofessional cooperation and foster a safety climate among nursing and physician team members of hospital units.


What’s New in Practice Improvements in Neonatal Care?

Harris-Haman, Pamela DNP, APRN, NNP-BC; Section Editor Advances in Neonatal Care: August 2022 – Volume 22 – Issue 4 – p 281-282 doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000001025

In the Practice Improvements in Neonatal Care section of Advances in Neonatal Care (ANC), we encourage authors, novice as well as experienced, to share manuscripts that are fundamental to neonatal nursing practice. Let’s start with what is fundamental. What you do daily is fundamental to the care you provide to your patients?

Practice improvement and quality improvement are the “combined and unceasing efforts of everyone in the caregiving setting to make changes that will lead to better patient outcomes, better system performance, and better professional learning.1,2 This is the responsibility of all healthcare providers. One of which is you, each one of you.

Quality improvement can be related to new caregiving protocols you have learned or experienced. Questions you can ask your team are as follows: “What evidence has shaped the way you provide care?” “Have you made a recent change to your policies?” “What is your unit implementing that has benefited patients?” “What is your unit implementing that is unique, or not so unique, but has had a positive impact or unpredicted outcome?” “What is a concept or disease process that you have difficulty grasping?” “What better way to gain further understanding of that disease process than to write about it?” Educating each other is a fantastic way to learn ourselves, actually one of the best. This means content within this section is not limited to what is defined as solely a quality improvement initiative. Any topic that is fundamental to neonatal intensive caregiving is suitable for this section of the journal.

As nurses we are constantly mindful of safety risks, how to minimize these risks, and prevent errors or events from occurring. Nurses are uniquely positioned to anticipate potential events1 (you know that gut feeling). Who better to provide information to our profession than the nursing providers at the bedside? We need to ask whether this is the best we can do? Is this practice or caregiving protocol in the context of person-centered care and are the experiences of the neonates and their parents used to guide how the practice is implemented. It is important to remember that real outcome measures in healthcare are not what immediately happens but what the neonates and their family experiences over the course of their life because of their time spent in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Numerous quality improvement initiatives have been developed in the NICU setting. Some of these topics are as follows:

  • Pain assessment
  • Reduction of central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs)
  • Prevention of sepsis
  • Prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)
  • Hand hygiene
  • Mother–infant interactions
  • Human milk nutrition
  • Prevention of unplanned extubations
  • Management of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
  • Prevention and management of hypothermia
  • Magnetic resonance imaging without sedation
  • Use of music therapy3

In addition, there are many processes that take place on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis that require standardization, care bundles, checklists, or even pathophysiological explanations relating to their use and development.1 There are diverse topics that you can share your learned experiences on:

  • Improving our practice, by providing general information updates, reviews of the pathophysiology of a disease process, pharmacology principles of a specific medication, or pathophysiology of a certain disease process.
  • Concept analysis of ideas central to neonatal nursing. You may have written one of these during your educational endeavors. To be publishable, you need to make sure the concept analysis is applicable in the real world.
  • Clinical excellence related to specific problems. What has your unit been doing well that had had a positive effect on patient outcomes or that has positively affected parental satisfaction or participation.
  • Descriptions of essential nursing care strategies for specific diagnosis.
  • Neonatal concepts that pertain to all levels of nursing from the novice to the expert or targeted to a specific audience such as the new staff nurse or the advanced practice nurse.
  • Quality improvement projects that promote practice and process improvement.
  • Neonatal assessment processes.

Consider your own units. What is occurring that concerns you? What has been helpful? Look at the effects of the implementation of new care bundles, new equipment, new staffing models, or environmental issues. Work with the unit leadership when something new is implemented in your unit, equipment, practice bundle, or medication. Have you initiated a new task force? Document the effects of this practice. As NICU care provider, you are uniquely positioned to have a positive and lasting effect on the care provided in your institution. Share this with your colleagues. Pat yourselves on the back for the outstanding work you do and care you provide to our tiny patients and their families.

We want to use this section of ANC to capture the excellence of neonatal care that you are providing. Your unique educational and experiential viewpoints and your lived experiences are valuable. We look forward to reading your manuscripts. Many resources are available to assist you on this quest. These are in your units, hospitals, national associations, and this editorial board. Share your knowledge with our readers so that they may gain new knowledge that will enrich and expand their clinical knowledge and continue to improve the care we provide for our tiny precious patients.


Less Invasive Surfactant Delivery Works for Tiniest Newborns

Less requirement for mechanical ventilation adverse in very preterm infants by James Lopilato, Staff Writer, MedPage Today August 9, 2022

For extremely preterm infants with potential respiratory distress syndrome, less invasive surfactant administration (LISA) was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of adverse outcomes, a cohort study found.

There was a drop in requirement for invasive mechanical ventilation between those infants receiving LISA within the first 72 hours of life and those who didn’t (53.6% vs 8.3%), according to the study of over 6,500 infants in Germany.

Often performed early in the delivery room, LISA was safe and associated with decreased risks during the child’s primary stay in hospital:

  • All-cause death (adjusted OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.61-0.90)
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD; adjusted OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.62-0.78, P<0.001)
  • BPD or death (adjusted OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.57-0.72, P<0.001)

Babies undergoing LISA also showed reductions in pneumothorax and retinopathy of prematurity, Christoph Härtel, MD, from University Hospital of Würzburg in Germany, and colleagues reported in JAMA Network Open.

LISA comprises less invasive delivery of surfactant to babies in respiratory distress. Important concepts of LISA include delayed cord clamping, facilitated fetal transition, initial continuous positive airway pressure support, maintenance of spontaneous breathing, caffeine administration, and early skin-to-skin contact, according to Härtel’s team.

The authors noted that LISA had been found to be beneficial for respiratory outcomes in earlier studies. Theirs may be the first large-scale report in “the most vulnerable preterm population,” however.

Last year’s OPTIMIST-A trial showed a nonsignificant trend of better survival in infants born at 25 to 28 weeks who received surfactant treatment.

Härtel and colleagues based their observational cohort study on the German Neonatal Network of 68 tertiary level neonatal ICUs. Infants born from 22 weeks 0 days to 26 weeks 6 days of gestation between April 2009 and December 2020 were eligible.

Data were collected from 6,542 infants (mean gestational age 25.3 weeks, 53.7% boys). Of these newborns, 38.7% received LISA.

Outcomes were adjusted for gestational age, small-for-gestational-age status, sex, multiple birth, inborn status, antenatal steroid use, and maximum fraction of inspired oxygen in the first 12 hours.

Nevertheless, some potential confounders may have been missed by the study authors.

They also acknowledged the potential for indication bias and selection bias, as well as the possibility that LISA does not avoid mechanical ventilation in some babies. “There is still an urgent need to better define those babies at high risk for failing a treatment strategy that includes LISA.”

Randomized clinical trials are needed to assess the effects of prophylactic LISA on vulnerable preterm infants, Härtel’s team suggested.

Less Invasive Surfactant Delivery Works for Tiniest Newborns | MedPage Today

Predictors of extubation success: a population-based study of neonates below a gestational age of 26 weeks

2022 – Ohnstad MO, Stensvold HJ, Pripp AH On behalf of the Norwegian Neonatal Network, et al, Predictors of extubation success: a population-based study of neonates below a gestational age of 26 weeks; Correspondence to Dr Mari Oma Ohnstad;  On behalf of the Norwegian Neonatal Network


Objective The aim of the study was to investigate first extubation attempts among extremely premature (EP) infants and to explore factors that may increase the quality of clinical judgement of extubation readiness.

Design and method A population-based study was conducted to explore first extubation attempts for EP infants born before a gestational age (GA) of 26 weeks in Norway between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2018. Eligible infants were identified via the Norwegian Neonatal Network database. The primary outcome was successful extubation, defined as no reintubation within 72 hours after extubation.

Results Among 482 eligible infants, 316 first extubation attempts were identified. Overall, 173 (55%) infants were successfully extubated, whereas the first attempt failed in 143 (45%) infants. A total of 261 (83%) infants were extubated from conventional ventilation (CV), and 55 (17%) infants were extubated from high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV). In extubation from CV, pre-extubation fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) ≤0.35, higher Apgar score, higher GA, female sex and higher postnatal age were important predictors of successful extubation. In extubation from HFOV, a pre-extubation FiO2 level ≤0.35 was a relevant predictor of successful extubation.

Conclusions The correct timing of extubation in EP infants is important. In this national cohort, 55% of the first extubation attempts were successful. Our results suggest that additional emphasis on oxygen requirement, sex and general condition at birth may further increase extubation success when clinicians are about to extubate EP infants for the first time.

Full Study: Predictors of extubation success: a population-based study of neonates below a gestational age of 26 weeks | BMJ Paediatrics Op


Building Confidence and Parenting Skills When Your Baby Is in the NICU

Nursing License Map / Building Confidence and Parenting Skills When Your Baby Is in the NICU November 23, 2020

Having a child in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be a frightening or overwhelming experience for parents. As your newborn receives lifegiving support from NICU equipment and trained professionals, you may struggle to step into your role as parent or feel fearful, helpless or uncertain.

Understanding the inner workings of the NICU and connecting with the support available to families can help you gain confidence, find ways to participate and become an advocate for yourself and your baby. Learn more through the resources below. 

Tips for Parents on Building Caregiving Skills With a NICU Baby

Understand your rights as the parent, including what you can ask for and expect during your baby’s stay; the NICU Baby’s Bill of Rights can be a useful resource.

Practice providing routine care for your baby, including changing clothes and giving baths; let your neonatal nurse practitioner or other provider know if and when you are ready to learn these skills.

Take care of your baby’s laundry if time allows; some parents say taking their baby’s clothes home to wash and bring back to the NICU helps them feel more involved.

Be present for feeding and bath times when possible, and collaborate with your nurse on participating.

Reach out to the lactation consultant if available at your hospital to create a plan for feeding your baby at home.

Choose the pediatrician who will help care for your baby after the NICU.

Notify your insurance provider to add your baby onto your policy.


Common Terms | Nationwide Children’s: Glossary of NICU-related terms organized alphabetically covering NICU equipment, procedures and health indicators.

Glossary of NICU Terms for Parents | National Perinatal Association (PDF, 568.65 KB): Glossary of neonatal terms organized by category, including the NICU team and medications used in the NICU.

Premature Birth: Diagnosis & Treatment | Mayo Clinic: An explanation of tests given to premature babies and treatment options available, including surgery, medication and specialized supportive care.

NICU Staff | March of Dimes: Descriptions of 29 types of staff members who may work in your hospital’s NICU and their roles.


Support Resources for NICU Parents and Loved Ones


Breastfeeding | Office on Women’s Health: A landing page for information on breastfeeding, including breastfeeding positions and guidance on pumping and storing milk.

Breastfeeding in the NICU: Advice from a Lactation Consultant | Hand to Hold: Practical advice for women breastfeeding premature babies and suggestions for loved ones to offer support.

Feeding Difficulties & Your Preemie | Hand to Hold: Information on feeding disorders and feeding therapy that a premature baby may need in their first days and months.

Feeding Your Baby After the NICU | March of Dimes: Answers to commonly asked questions about feeding preemies after a NICU stay, such as how to know when your baby is full and where to find support.

Feeding Your Baby in the NICU | March of Dimes: Description of feeding options for babies in the NICU, including breastfeeding, bottle, a feeding tube or intravenous line (IV).

Find a Lactation Consultant Directory | International Lactation Consultant Association: Online listings of board-certified lactation consultants and services offered, fees and medical coverage information.

How to Bottle Feed a Preemie | Verywell Family: Six tips for bottle feeding a premature baby, offered by a registered nurse in a tertiary-level NICU.

La Leche League Online Support Resources | LLLI: A landing page of breastfeeding resources available online for families around the world, including virtual support groups, publications and printable toolkits.

Nourishing Your Premature Baby in the NICU | Hand to Hold: An article from a neonatal registered dietitian on the feeding and growing processes unique to premature infants.   

Practical Bottle Feeding Tips | American Academy of Pediatrics: Eight tips for safely and successfully bottle feeding an infant. 


Blogs for NICU Parents | National Perinatal Association: List of blogs written by and for parents in the NICU.

For Our Families | Hand to Hold: A landing page of resources for families in the NICU that includes private Facebook communities, counseling services, bereavement support and information on requesting a peer mentor.

Four Ways Preemie Moms Can Say “No Thanks” to Visitors | Preemie Mom Camp: A blog post with advice on declining visitors in the NICU or at home, including sample scripts.

Get Help | La Leche League International (LLLI): Searchable map for finding a local support group with La Leche League, an international organization supporting breastfeeding mothers.

The MyPreemie App for Preemie Parents | Graham’s Foundation: A free app to help parents organize their calendar, track their baby’s progress and create a virtual baby book; available on the App Store and Google Play.

Where to Find Peer-to-Peer Support | National Perinatal Association: A list of organizations that connect families in the NICU or transitioning home with peers who can offer support.


Home After the NICU | March of Dimes: Guidance for parents on the emotional experience of transitioning home, sleep safety, childcare and vaccinations.

Parents Corner: Information That Gives the Support You Need in the NICU | Baby First: Parents’ stories on transitioning home from the NICU and information on what to expect after discharge.

Resources at Home | Nationwide Children’s: A collection of articles on caring for your infant at home and knowing when to call a provider; topics range from burn prevention and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to fever and fussiness.

Taking Your Preemie Home | KidsHealth: Advice for parents on preparing for discharge from the NICU, safety precautions to take once home and suggestions for self-care.

Transitioning Newborns from NICU to Home | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Collection of fact sheets for families bringing a NICU baby home; topics covered include signs of illness, managing breathing problems, medication safety, immunization schedule and many more.


Affording the NICU: 6 Ways to Reduce the Cost | Hand to Hold: Description of financial safety nets available to help parents of premature babies pay for a NICU stay.

Get Help Paying Your Baby’s Hospital Bills | Verywell Family: Information about the possible costs of a NICU visit for families with and without insurance.

Health Insurance for Your Family | March of Dimes: A guide to understanding health insurance coverage for children under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

Insurance for Newborns: Four Lessons From $27,000 Bill | CoPatient: An article about one family’s story with medical bills in the NICU and their suggestions for new parents navigating the NICU experience.

Paying for Your Baby’s NICU Stay | March of Dimes: Guidance for parents on the NICU and insurance coverage and questions to ask your health insurance representative to learn more.


The Best Preemie Clothes for Extra Tiny Babies | What to Expect: Suggestions for where to buy premature baby clothes and accessories that are both comfortable and affordable.

Knitting Tips and Patterns for Preemies | The Spruce Crafts: Guidelines for knitting items for NICU babies, including patterns for socks, caps and baby blankets.

Knots of Love NICU Blanket Patterns | Knots of Love: Crochet and knit patterns for baby blankets specially made for neonatal babies.

Navigating the NICU: What to Bring to the NICU (Printable Checklist) | UnityPoint Health: A packing list for the NICU including clothes for both parents and babies, bedding, toiletries, entertainment and other essentials.


One in 10 New Dads Gets Postpartum Depression. Here’s How to Spot It (and Stop It). | Men’s Journal: An article on postpartum depression presenting in fathers and ways to offer support.

Postpartum Depression | Office on Women’s Health: Resources on postpartum depression in mothers and common types of treatment.

Postpartum Skincare | Lucie’s List: Recommendations for skincare after pregnancy and while breastfeeding, plus nursing-safe options.

Postpartum Support: Your New Life as a Parent | Lucie’s List: Encouragement for new mothers in managing the transition into parenthood and finding professional support when needed.

Self-Care for Parents | Program for Early Parent Support: A list of ideas for parents to meet their own physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs.

Share Your Story | March of Dimes: A landing page for March of Dimes’ blogs, forums and member groups that help parents make connections and find support.

Straight Talk | Lucie’s List: A collection of articles on the challenges of parenting babies and young children, from breastfeeding and sleep regression to tantrums and going back to work.

Taking Care of You: Support for Caregivers | KidsHealth: Tips on recharging and reaching out for help for parents of children with a serious illness.

Your Mental Health and Well-Being Are Important! | National Perinatal Association: A screening questionnaire for postpartum mental health conditions and resources for help with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others.


Daycare and the Prematurity Factor | Hand to Hold: A discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of different childcare options specifically for preemies.

Finding Child Care for Your Premature Baby | Verywell Family: A consideration of care options for premature babies, including a stay-at-home parent, family caregivers, nannies and au pairs, home childcare and daycare.

Finding Childcare for Your Preemie | Graham’s Foundation: Advice for making childcare arrangements for preemies and their unique needs.

Going Back to Work After a Loss | Share: Ten practical suggestions to help grieving parents ease back into the workplace.

Going Back to Work After a Pregnancy Loss | Harvard Business Review: An article on the challenges that bereaved parents face in returning to work, with self-care strategies and advice for managers and colleagues.  

Resources for Friends and Family

Loved ones can play an important role in helping NICU parents transition into their new roles. Read more in the resources below about supporting parents of neonatal infants during and after a NICU stay.

The resources in this article are for informational purposes only; individuals should consult with a licensed health care provider before taking action.

Last Updated: December 2020


The Wisdom of Trauma, Official Trailer with Dr. Gabor Maté

    Jul 19, 2020     Science and Nonduality

This website has been translated in the following languages: عربىБългарияčeštinaDeutschFrançaisעִברִיתItalianoLietuviškaiMagyarPolskiePortuguêsTürkçe and subtitled in 27 languages.

Watch the movie at The film is available by donation.


Welcoming a new life – Physical therapies for premature baby

KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
– Jun 23, 2020

When a baby is born more than three weeks earlier than the expected delivery date, the baby is referred to as ‘premature’ or “preemie”. Premature babies are at risk of developmental delay as their brains and bodies have to continue to grow rapidly in an external environment, outside of the mother’s womb. The Physiotherapist will assess and review your child regularly to ensure that your baby is developing appropriately for his/her age. Physiotherapists will also be available to assist you with learning how to handle and interact with your baby. Upon discharge, Physiotherapists will continue to monitor your child’s neurological and developmental progress until at least 18 months corrected age when he/she may then continue with therapy or be discharged, depending on his/her needs at that stage.

5 Tips to Support you Dad, in the NICU

Jun 15, 2022   CanadianPreemies


Associations Between Prenatal Urinary Biomarkers of Phthalate Exposure and Preterm Birth A Pooled Study of 16 US Cohorts

Barrett M. Welch, PhD1Alexander P. Keil, PhD2Jessie P. Buckley, PhD3; et alAntonia M. Calafat, PhD4Kate E. Christenbury, MBA5Stephanie M. Engel, PhD2Katie M. O’Brien, PhD1Emma M. Rosen, MSPH2Tamarra James-Todd, PhD6Ami R. Zota, ScD7Kelly K. Ferguson, PhD1; and the Pooled Phthalate Exposure and Preterm Birth Study Group           JAMA Pediatr. Published online July 11, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.2252

Key Points

Question  Is phthalate exposure during pregnancy associated with preterm birth?

Findings  In this pooled analysis of 16 studies in the US including 6045 pregnant individuals, phthalate metabolites were quantified in urine samples collected during pregnancy. Higher urinary metabolite concentrations for several prevalent phthalates were associated with greater odds of delivering preterm, and hypothetical interventions to reduce phthalate exposure levels were associated with fewer preterm births.

Meaning  In this large observational study, urinary biomarkers of common phthalates used in consumer products were a risk factor for preterm birth.


Importance  Phthalate exposure is widespread among pregnant women and may be a risk factor for preterm birth.

Objective  To investigate the prospective association between urinary biomarkers of phthalates in pregnancy and preterm birth among individuals living in the US.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Individual-level data were pooled from 16 preconception and pregnancy studies conducted in the US. Pregnant individuals who delivered between 1983 and 2018 and provided 1 or more urine samples during pregnancy were included.

Exposures  Urinary phthalate metabolites were quantified as biomarkers of phthalate exposure. Concentrations of 11 phthalate metabolites were standardized for urine dilution and mean repeated measurements across pregnancy were calculated.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Logistic regression models were used to examine the association between each phthalate metabolite with the odds of preterm birth, defined as less than 37 weeks of gestation at delivery (n = 539). Models pooled data using fixed effects and adjusted for maternal age, race and ethnicity, education, and prepregnancy body mass index. The association between the overall mixture of phthalate metabolites and preterm birth was also examined with logistic regression. G-computation, which requires certain assumptions to be considered causal, was used to estimate the association with hypothetical interventions to reduce the mixture concentrations on preterm birth.

Results  The final analytic sample included 6045 participants (mean [SD] age, 29.1 [6.1] years). Overall, 802 individuals (13.3%) were Black, 2323 (38.4%) were Hispanic/Latina, 2576 (42.6%) were White, and 328 (5.4%) had other race and ethnicity (including American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, >1 racial identity, or reported as other). Most phthalate metabolites were detected in more than 96% of participants. Higher odds of preterm birth, ranging from 12% to 16%, were observed in association with an interquartile range increase in urinary concentrations of mono-n-butyl phthalate (odds ratio [OR], 1.12 [95% CI, 0.98-1.27]), mono-isobutyl phthalate (OR, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.00-1.34]), mono(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (OR, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.00-1.34]), and mono(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate (OR, 1.14 [95% CI, 1.01-1.29]). Among approximately 90 preterm births per 1000 live births in this study population, hypothetical interventions to reduce the mixture of phthalate metabolite levels by 10%, 30%, and 50% were estimated to prevent 1.8 (95% CI, 0.5-3.1), 5.9 (95% CI, 1.7-9.9), and 11.1 (95% CI, 3.6-18.3) preterm births, respectively.

Conclusions and Relevance  Results from this large US study population suggest that phthalate exposure during pregnancy may be a preventable risk factor for preterm delivery.


New target for therapies to treat preterm labour

August 9, 2022

Researchers have identified a cause of premature (preterm) labour, an enigma that has long challenged researchers. New research published in The Journal of Physiology suggests a protein, called Piezo1, is responsible for regulating the behaviour of the uterus. Piezo1 keeps the uterus relaxed ensuring that it continues to stretch and expand during the 40 weeks it takes a foetus to grow.

Preterm birth is the single biggest cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity in the UK. Every year around 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK. The identification of Piezo1 in the uterus, and its role to maintain relaxation of uterus through stretch-activation during pregnancy, paves the way for drugs and therapies to be developed that could one day treat or delay preterm labour.

The muscular outer layer of the uterus is peculiar because it is the only muscle that it is not regulated by nerves and it must remain dormant for the 40 weeks despite significant expansion and stretch as the foetus develops into a baby. The researchers from University of Nevada USA studied tissue samples of the smooth muscle of the uterus to explore the mechanistic pathways to better understand the dynamics controlling the uterus, how pregnancy is maintained and what maintains quiescence until labour.

Stretching the uterus tissue, to mimic what happens during pregnancy, activates Piezo1 channels. This drives the flow of calcium molecules generating a signalling cascade that activates the enzyme nitric oxide synthase to produce the molecule nitric oxide. This Piezo1 cascade promotes and maintains the dormant state of the uterus.

Piezo1 controls the uterus by working in a dose-dependent manner, where channel activity is stimulated by the chemical Yoda1 and inhibited by a chemical called Dooku1. When Piezo1 is upregulated, the uterus remains in a relaxed state. However, in preterm tissue, the expression of Piezo1 is significantly decreased (downregulated), which ‘switches off’ the dormant signalling to the muscle, so the uterus contracts and initiates labour.

Professor Iain Buxton, Myometrial Research Group at the University of Nevada USA said,

“Pregnancy is the most impressive example of a human muscle enduring mechanical stress for a prolonged period. Finding Piezo1 in the muscular layer of the uterus means the uterus is controlled locally and is coordinated by a stretch-activated mechanism rather than hormonal influence from the ovaries or the placenta, which has been the assumption.

“It is troubling that there are still no drugs available to stop preterm labour. Thanks to the Nobel Prize winning discovery of Piezo proteins, which are responsible for how the body responds to mechanical force, and our investigation we are now closer to developing a treatment. Piezo1 and its relaxation mechanism provide a target for us which we could potentially activate with drugs. We need to test this with further studies and we hope to carry out clinical trials in the future.”

Contraction and relaxation were assessed in tissue samples compared for the following gestational periods: non-pregnant, term non-labouring, term labouring, preterm non-labouring and preterm labouring. The presence of Piezo1 channels was discovered using molecular tools while pregnant tissues contracting in a muscle bath were stimulated with Piezo1 channel activator and inhibitor to characterize the regulation of quiescence.

More research is needed to improve our understanding of how all the molecular signals and steps involved in the Piezo1 channel regulate the relaxation of the uterus and whether more chemicals are working together with Piezo1.  

Full paper title: Novel Identification and Modulation of the Mechanosensitive Piezo1 Channel in Human Myometrium. Link to paper

New target for therapies to treat preterm labour – The Physiological Society (

These 14 innovations are enabling young people to address their mental health needs

May 23, 2022 World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change

Fun for the little ones!

African Animals for Children with pronunciation (and videos)

English Paradise Kids

Welcome to the world of African animals! Learn with your children and students the names of African animals. Children will travel through this virtual safari by discovering Savannah African animals in English in a playful and entertaining way while seen moving, listening to the name in English with pronunciation and reading how to write.

Diving Sudan

This video was made during a live aboard in the Red Sea of Sudan with Red Sea Explorers. During the nine days of diving we visited the following dive site’s: – Shaab Ambar – Protector Reef – Karam Masamirit – Ed Domesh – Habili gab Miyum 1 – Dahrat Abid – Habili gab Miyum 2 – Dahrat Qab – Tamarsha – Pinnacolo – Shaab Jumna – Saganeb – Shaab Rumi – Umbria




Rank: 12  –Rate: 14.9%   Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births 

(USA – 12 %, Global Average: 11.1%)

The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It is situated in the western Pacific Ocean and consists of around 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: LuzonVisayas, and Mindanao. The Philippines is bounded by the South China Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the southwest. It shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east and southeast, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest. The Philippines covers an area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) and, as of 2021, it had a population of around 109 million people, making it the world’s thirteenth-most populous country. The Philippines has diverse ethnicities and cultures throughout its islands. Manila is the country’s capital, while the largest city is Quezon City; both lie within the urban area of Metro Manila.

The Philippines is an emerging market and a newly industrialized country whose economy is transitioning from being agriculture-centered to services- and manufacturing-centered. It is a founding member of the United NationsWorld Trade OrganizationAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the East Asia Summit and a member of the Non-Aligned Movement since 1993. The Philippines’s position as an island country on the Pacific Ring of Fire that is close to the equator makes it prone to earthquakes and typhoons. The country has a variety of natural resources and is home to a globally significant level of biodiversity.

There were 101,688 hospital beds in the country in 2016, with government hospital beds accounting for 47% and private hospital beds for 53%. In 2009, there were an estimated 90,370 physicians or 1 per every 833 people, 480,910 nurses and 43,220 dentists. Retention of skilled practitioners is a problem. Seventy percent of nursing graduates go overseas to work. As of 2007, the Philippines was the largest supplier of nurses for export. The Philippines suffers a triple burden of high levels of communicable diseases, high levels of non-communicable diseases, and high exposure to natural disasters.

There is improvement in patients access to medicines due to Filipinos’ growing acceptance of generic drugs, with 6 out of 10 Filipinos already using generics. While the country’s universal healthcare implementation is underway as spearheaded by the state-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, most healthcare-related expenses are either borne out of pocket or through health maintenance organization (HMO)-provided health plans. As of April 2020, there are only about 7 million individuals covered by these plans.


This month’s blog embraces the Philippines, our 71st country-focused blog. Throughout our journey you have inspired and amazed us, touched our hearts and fueled our imaginations. We have explored the breadth of our associations, witnessed the global diversities, similarities, needs, barriers, challenges and resources present within our Preterm Birth community. Kat and I began our journey with eyes wide open, minds full of curiosity, hearts wary yet open, following an unseen but deeply compelling call to serve the Community in some guided capacity.  We always knew we would receive more than we could ever give. We appreciate and thank you for who you are and your presence in our lives. Within your eternal perfection, such goodness, strength and love abide.


Socioeconomic Disparities in Adverse Birth Outcomes in The Philippines

Ryan C.V. Lintao Erlidia F. Llamas-Clark Ourlad Alzeus G. Tantengco Open Access Published: April 10, 2022DOI:

Kaforau et al. reported the burden of adverse birth outcomes and their risk factors in the Pacific Islands region. Preterm birth prevalence was 13.0%, while low birth weight was 12.0%. Malaria, substance use, obesity, and poor antenatal care were the most significant risk factors associated with adverse birth outcomes.

 The Philippines, a lower-middle-income country in the Asia Pacific, continues to experience challenges in addressing adverse birth outcomes. We share the status and the socioeconomic disparities in adverse birth outcomes in the Philippines.

The latest health survey in 2017 showed a 3.0% preterm birth rate in the Philippines.

 Low birth weight (LBW) incidence was 11.9% in 2020.

 Moreover, in a newborn screening cohort from 2015 to 2016, 13.6% were small-for-gestational age.

 Increased antenatal care utilization, essential newborn care, and kangaroo mother care have decreased adverse birth outcomes and neonatal mortality.

 However, health inequalities prevail in the Philippines.

Despite no difference in LBW incidence between urban and rural areas, regional disparities exist. The national capital region, Metro Manila, had the lowest LBW rate (9.0%), while two regions in the southern Philippines had the highest LBW rates (Davao at 20.0%, and Zamboanga at 21.0%).

 Smokers were more likely to have LBW newborns (21.0%) than nonsmokers (14.0%), agreeing with Kaforau and colleagues findings. A cohort study examining maternal second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure showed significantly lower birth weight in the SHS-exposed group.

Pregnant women exposed to SHS had higher parity, lower educational attainment, and lower monthly household income.

Socioeconomic status and its proxy variables (e.g., educational attainment, household income, and occupation) were shown to affect birth outcomes in the Philippines. LBW incidence decreased with higher maternal educational attainment, with 17.7% of mothers who reached primary school level and 12.5% of mothers who reached college level having LBW newborns. Household wealth was a significant determinant of LBW: mothers in the lowest wealth quintile had higher LBW incidence (16.0%) than mothers in the highest quintile (12.5%).

With increasing socioeconomic inequality exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic, underlying social determinants must be recognized and addressed. We call for more research to investigate the country’s social determinants of adverse birth outcomes, which can be used as the basis for evidence-based policies and health services to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes. We also emphasize the need for good governance, gender equality, and equitable access to women’s and reproductive health services (antenatal care, basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care, and family planning) to reduce widening disparities in adverse birth outcomes.

Source:Socioeconomic disparities in adverse birth outcomes in the Philippines – The Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific

Magnus Haven – Oh, Jo (Official Music Video)

Premiered Jun 26, 2022  Magnus Haven

Jo is a term of endearment among Kapampangans, which means special someone. So the love song pays tribute to that “Jo” or special someone. A statement of love echoing the romantic joy that that “Jo” brings to her partner’s life.

Pregnancy becomes a more vulnerable time with climate change

Wildfires, natural disasters, rising heat can lead to poor health outcomes for the expectant and their babies – By Katherine Kam – April 11, 2022

In the western United States, where massive wildfires have fouled the air with smoke and hazardous levels of pollutants, Santosh Pandipati, an obstetrician in California, counsels pregnant patients to always check air quality before they venture outside to exercise. “You need to plan your outdoor activities when the air quality is better,” he tells them.

In other parts of the country, where hurricanes and floods have displaced pregnant residents, obstetrician Nathaniel DeNicola has advised patients, including those he saw in New Orleans, to pack a preparedness kit.

In case of evacuation, “they might be away from home for a long time,” he said. DeNicola encourages people to include emergency drinking water, extra supplies of medications and a paper copy of their medical records. “If the power’s out, that’s not typically available” now that most records are electronic, he said.

As scientists study how climate change is affecting human health, pregnant people and their unborn babies are emerging as a vulnerable group.

Those who must evacuate during natural disasters are often extremely distressed and might find their pregnancy health care interrupted. “If you have to flee, how do you make sure you continue to have access to your OB/GYN or to the hospital you plan to deliver in?” said Pandipati, who has seen patients who have escaped wildfires. “If you end up needing to go live with family an hour or two hours away, you have a disruption in care.”

Pregnancy & Parenthood

It doesn’t take a catastrophe to create problems. Ongoing exposure to hot temperatures and air pollution might raise the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth and low birth weight.

About 7,000 California preterm births linked to wildfire smoke risks, study says

Spurred by growing evidence on climate-related effects, Pandipati and DeNicola have tailored their medical advice, not to alarm people, but to prepare them. “The reality is that we need to start telling our patients right now that the climate is changing,” Pandipati said. “We need to empower patients.”

In 2016, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a position statement on climate change, calling it “an urgent women’s health concern and a major public health challenge.

Air pollution and heat exposure

Amid widespread changes wrought in the environment, air pollution and heat exposure have been significantly associated with preterm birth, low birth weight and stillbirth in the United States, according to a 2020 review published in JAMA Network Open. Such exposures are becoming increasingly common, according to the paper.

DeNicola, an obstetrician at the Johns Hopkins Health System in Washington, was one of the review’s co-authors.

Exposure to high temperatures can cause dehydration. During pregnancy, dehydration can lead to the release of oxytocin, a hormone that contributes to labor contractions, he said. “The extreme heat could very well be causing an increase in that mechanism,” DeNicola said. “It’s revved up.”

If labor occurs and a baby is born before 37 weeks, it’s a preterm birth, compared with a normal pregnancy of 40 weeks. Some of these newborns may have immature organ systems and experience trouble with breathing, feeding and regulating body temperature. Long term, premature babies might develop other problems, including learning disabilities and hearing or vision problems. The more premature the baby, the more serious the health risks.

Racial disparities in exposure

In the JAMA study, women of all races were at increased risk for poor pregnancy outcomes when exposed to heat and air pollution, but disparities emerged. Black women consistently had the highest risks of preterm birth and low birth weight, said Rupa Basu, an epidemiologist who also co-wrote the JAMA study. She is chief of the air and climate epidemiology section at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Because of historical redlining, higher-risk communities might be exposed to more pollution from sources such as freeways, she said. Residents may also dwell within “heat islands,” urban locations that have higher temperatures than outlying areas. “There’s less green space and more buildings and cement and blacktops to really absorb and retain the heat,” Basu said.

Anecdotally, Pandipati said he has seen the effects of heat waves on his patients, some of whom work in agriculture. He consults on high-risk pregnancies as a maternal and fetal medicine specialist with Obstetrix of San Jose. Some women travel to the Bay Area clinic from as far away as California’s Central Valley.

During one record-breaking heat wave before the pandemic, Pandipati noticed many ultrasounds with low levels of amniotic fluid in the womb — a situation that might require doctors to deliver a baby early. “These were moms who were saying that they don’t always have access to air conditioning, they’re often working more manually, either in agriculture or manual labor-type jobs, not always able to stay hydrated adequately,” he said. “I was starting to wonder, wow, I think this is really from the heat waves that we’re experiencing.”

“We just kept monitoring these pregnancies and then things just turned around and the fluid improved. They turned around as the heat wave dissipated,” he said. “We didn’t have to end up delivering them early.”

Air pollution and poor pregnancies

Air pollution, whether from urban pollutants or wildfires, has also been linked to poor pregnancy outcomes.

Air pollution affects preterm birthrates globally, study finds Wildfire pollution may have contributed to as many as 7,000 additional preterm births in California between 2007 and 2012, according to a study that Stanford researchers published in 2021. Wildfire smoke contains fine particulate matter called PM 2.5, which can enter the lungs and bloodstream to create serious health problems. The researchers hypothesized that wildfire pollution might have triggered an inflammatory response that led to preterm delivery.

Weather disasters and mental health

There’s debate about whether human-caused climate change is producing stronger or more frequent hurricanes. But Hurricane Sandy, which struck New York and New Jersey particularly hard in 2012, offered a glimpse into how such devastating superstorms can place severe stress on pregnant people.

In a 2019 study that looked at pregnancy complications in New York after Sandy, researchers found a heightened risk of problems such as early delivery and mental illness. The latter peaked about eight months after the hurricane. In the aftermath of community disasters, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety can develop.

Natural disasters trigger a cascade of health consequences, DeNicola said. While there may not be direct cause and effect on birth outcomes, “a lot of it is considered to be because of the stress of the event, either the stress of evacuation or the stress of difficulty getting potable water, the stress of maybe not having the typical indoor living conditions that you’re expecting,” DeNicola said. “You’re not having heat or not having air conditioning.”

“There are a number of physical stressors and psychosocial stressors that come with bracing for a natural disaster like a hurricane and an evacuation,” he said. “People posit, and I think it’s a reasonable concern, that that all prompts some kind of cascade in pregnancy that creates things like preterm contractions.”

A safer pregnancy

Both obstetricians routinely talk to their patients about air and water.

“You need more hydration in pregnancy in general. A woman’s blood volume will increase roughly 50 percent during pregnancy,” DeNicola said. “That’s a lot of extra volume to maintain, so hydration’s really important anyway. I make the extra point that as the seasons get hotter, which happens more often now, you’ll need even more hydration and you need to be aware of things like preterm contractions that are prompted by extreme heat and dehydration.”

Pandipati said he warns patients to watch out for heat waves and to keep an eye on the air quality index, too.

“Ideally, 1 to 50 is good air quality. If you’re starting to get up into the 50 to 100 range, you need to start modifying your activities, doing less outdoor exercise, not as long, not as hard,” he said. “If you’re already not feeling well, you’re coughing, you already have respiratory illness, you shouldn’t be out there.”

Such illnesses include asthma, respiratory allergies and other chronic lung conditions, Pandipati said.

“By the time the AQI is 100, you need to just exercise indoors,” he said. “You need to plan your outdoor activities when the air quality is better, so usually, very early in the morning.” Air quality over 100 begins to enter the unhealthy range.

During wildfires, those who are pregnant must be especially careful about spending time outside, DeNicola said. “During covid, we all wear masks for everything, so it’s kind of redundant,” he said, “but I do mention that wearing a mask is advised and to really limit outdoor activity.”

Basu, the epidemiologist, has advocated for pregnant people to be included in heat advisories. “There are still a lot of heat advisories that don’t include pregnant women, but include other groups, such as the elderly,” she said. Many heat advisories also mention children, people with illnesses, even pets, but not pregnant people.

A natural experiment

A few pregnant patients have asked DeNicola about environmental concerns, but that small number is increasing, he said.

“I have had patients ask about where they should buy their new home because they heard that if you live near coal power plants, that could create worse air quality,” he said. “I’ve had them say similar things related to homes near a highway.”

Pandipati talks to fellow doctors about slipping climate change into the conversation naturally, for instance, while talking about outdoor exercise or staying hydrated during pregnancy. He tells doctors, “You don’t need to be an expert on climate emissions,” he said. “What you need to understand is that those emissions are leading to environmental changes that are now measurably increasing risks to the patients you care for.”

When DeNicola speaks to health-care professionals, he often mentions “a really strong natural experiment,” he said.

Researchers studied preterm birthrates before and after eight coal and oil power plants in California were retired. When the plants shuttered, pollution levels fell. In the 10 years following the closures, the rate of preterm births in the neighboring communities dropped 27 percent, a larger-than-expected reduction.

“When you knock out air pollution over a good 10-year period, the preterm birthrate dropped in a way that no other intervention can achieve,” DeNicola said. “It gives us a bit of hope.”

Doctors can start discussing climate change with pregnant patients, but in the long run, the solutions are much bigger, Pandipati said. “We need to be ensuring that we are enacting policies that stabilize or improve the environment, that really don’t neglect the science.”

“We’ve got to address the problem at the source,” he said. “That’s the real, ultimate preventive care.”


Chemicals Found in Cosmetics, Plastics Linked to Preterm Delivery

July 14, 2022

THURSDAY, July 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) – Phthalates, chemicals that are typically used to strengthen plastics, are in millions of products people use every day, but a new analysis confirms their link to a higher risk for preterm births.

The largest study to date on the topic analyzed data from over 6,000 pregnant women in the United States to better understand the link between phthalate exposure and pregnancy. It found that women with higher concentrations of phthalates in their urine were more likely to deliver preterm babies. Preterm babies, by definition, are delivered three or more weeks before their due date.

“Having a preterm birth can be dangerous for both baby and mom, so it is important to identify risk factors that could prevent it,” said senior study author Kelly Ferguson, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

For the study, the researchers pooled statistics from 16 studies conducted across the United States that included data on individual phthalate levels as well as the timing of the mothers’ deliveries, with the data spanning from 1983 to 2018. Approximately 9% (or 539) of the women delivered premature babies, with phthalate byproducts detected in over 96% of those urine samples.

The study, published online July 11 in JAMA Pediatrics, examined 11 different phthalates found in the pregnant women, and discovered that four of them were associated with a 14% to 16% greater probability of having a premature baby. The most consistent exposure was linked to a phthalate found commonly in nail polishes and other cosmetics.

“It is difficult for people to completely eliminate exposure to these chemicals in everyday life, but our results show that even small reductions within a large population could have positive impacts on both mothers and their children,” first study author Barrett Welch, a postdoctoral fellow at NIEHS, said in an institute news release.

The effort could be worth it: Reducing the level of phthalates exposure by 50% could prevent preterm births by 12%, on average, the researchers said. The interventions focused on specific changes, such as choosing phthalate-free personal care products, companies reducing the number of phthalates in their products on their own or changing regulations that would reduce exposure to these chemicals.

In the meantime, the researchers suggested avoiding processed food or food wrapped in plastic, instead opting for fresh, home-cooked meals. They also recommended choosing fragrance-free products, which are lower in phthalates. Limiting the amount of product used can also lower exposure.   More information:

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on phthalate exposure.

SOURCE: NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, news release, July 11, 2022


Forced Retirement Spotlighted as Risk Factor for Physician Suicide

Also time to do away with the “myth of the never-ill physician,”study author says by Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today July 5, 2022

Systemic support systems need to be implemented for physicians to prevent work-related stressors that could lead to suicide, a thematic analysis of 200 physician deaths suggested.

Among physician suicides included in the National Violent Death Reporting System database from 2003 to 2018, six themes were found to precede such deaths, including inability to work due to physical health, substance use, mental health issues, relationship conflicts, legal problems, and increased financial stress, all leading to work-related stress, reported Kristen Kim, MD, of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues.

The results further suggested that suicide risk is associated with premature retirement due to health issues that affect employment, they noted in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

Among 200 physician death narratives, nearly all that reported earlier-than-expected retirement were linked to a physical ailment, Kim told MedPage Today, including a surgeon with a tremor, a physician with dementia, and a physician with alcohol and prescription drug use problems who had lost hospital privileges.

Investigations by state medical boards, employers, and law enforcement were also common in the narratives, and a re-examination of the data found that a majority of the physicians who died by suicide during the study period were unemployed or “pending job loss and typically not by choice,” the authors noted.

While interpersonal conflicts, including those occurring at work, were common, “strained relationships with family members,” often in the context of a divorce or extramarital affair, were even more common, they added.

The study showed “substantial overlap” with a prior study on job-related problems preceding nurse suicides, with a few exceptions. While nurses experienced difficulty accessing mental health supports and medications following job loss, physicians did not. Furthermore, legal issues were a factor in the physician suicide data but not in the nurse data.

Clinicians often neglect physical health when identifying work stressors, but poor physical health affects work performance and increases work stress, the authors said, noting that legal and psychological supports, particularly during malpractice investigations and “fit for duty” evaluations, are sorely needed.

“Medicine must dispel the myth of never-ill physicians who place the needs of their patients before their own to the detriment of their own health,” they wrote.

Kim said that she hopes that this research will help physicians “give ourselves permission to attend to those needs … to prevent the dire consequences that we may see.”

To that end, Kim and team offered some anonymous screening tools and “confidential pathways” to treatment, including UC San Diego’s Healer Education Assessment and Referral Program, which links physicians to counseling and outpatient treatment.

In addition, the “Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act,” which was signed into law in March, includes funding for hospitals to implement suicide prevention initiatives and to promote help-seeking.

Kim also stressed the urgent need to reform the licensure application process to eliminate “invasive” questions about physicians’ mental health and substance use history, which serve to discourage help-seeking and have unintended consequences for patient care.

For this study, Kim and colleagues used a mixed methods approach combining thematic analysis and natural language processing to develop themes representing narratives of 200 physician suicides included in the National Violent Death Reporting System database from 2003 to 2018.

Of the 200 physicians, mean age was 53, 83.5% were men, 89.5% were white, and 62.5% were married. Over half had mental health problems, 16% had problems with alcohol, 14.5% had other substance use problems, and 22% had physical health problems.

Using natural language processing, the authors confirmed five of the six identified themes — except “incapacity to work due to deterioration of physical health” — which “was likely not identified by natural language processing because physical health issues were described as the various, specific conditions affecting work performance (e.g., back pain, tremor), which were not grouped as a common theme.”

Limitations to the study included the fact that the evaluations were conducted postmortem based on short narratives — usually two paragraphs long — developed following interviews with loved ones.

“We’re using the best available data that we have on the reasons for why they decided to do what they did,” Kim said, but most of the data, with the exception of quotes from suicide notes in the narratives, were not first-hand accounts.

In addition, because most of the physicians in the study were men and white, the results may not be reflective of the work-related stressors of underrepresented minorities.

Furthermore, the database used in the study is voluntary. While the number of states participating rose from six in 2003 to 42 in 2018, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, 10 states still do not report these data.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with a mental health concern or having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


Current Status and Future Directions of Neuromonitoring With Emerging Technologies in Neonatal Care

Front. Pediatr., 23 March 2022

Gabriel Fernando Todeschi Variane1,2,3*, João Paulo Vasques Camargo2,4, Daniela Pereira Rodrigues2,5, Maurício Magalhães1,2,6 and Marcelo Jenné Mimica7,8

Neonatology has experienced a significant reduction in mortality rates of the preterm population and critically ill infants over the last few decades. Now, the emphasis is directed toward improving long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes and quality of life. Brain-focused care has emerged as a necessity. The creation of neonatal neurocritical care units, or Neuro-NICUs, provides strategies to reduce brain injury using standardized clinical protocols, methodologies, and provider education and training. Bedside neuromonitoring has dramatically improved our ability to provide assessment of newborns at high risk. Non-invasive tools, such as continuous electroencephalography (cEEG), amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG), and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), allow screening for seizures and continuous evaluation of brain function and cerebral oxygenation at the bedside. Extended and combined uses of these techniques, also described as multimodal monitoring, may allow practitioners to better understand the physiology of critically ill neonates. Furthermore, the rapid growth of technology in the Neuro-NICU, along with the increasing use of telemedicine and artificial intelligence with improved data mining techniques and machine learning (ML), has the potential to vastly improve decision-making processes and positively impact outcomes. This article will cover the current applications of neuromonitoring in the Neuro-NICU, recent advances, potential pitfalls, and future perspectives in this field.

FULL ARTICLE:Frontiers | Current Status and Future Directions of Neuromonitoring With Emerging Technologies in Neonatal Care (

Karen M. Puopolo, MD, PhD

CHOP Neonatologist Dr. Karen M. Puopolo Receives PA Pediatrician of the Year Award at 2022 AAP Conference

Published on Mar 21, 2022 in CHOP News

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is proud to announce that Karen M. Puopolo, MD, PhD, a national leader in the field of neonatology, has received the prestigious Pennsylvania Pediatrician of the Year Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) after a unanimous selection by the Pennsylvania AAP Governance Committee and Board of Directors. Each year, this prestigious award is granted to a Pennsylvania pediatrician who exemplifies the ideals of the pediatric profession and participates in activities that reflect the foundation of the chapter.

As an attending neonatologist at CHOP and Chief of the Section on Newborn Medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital, Dr. Puopolo has dedicated her career to quantifying the risk for neonatal infection. She developed a clinical tool known as a sepsis calculator to estimate risk at the individual infant level to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use in neonates. This research has drastically changed newborn care in birth hospitals throughout the U.S. and world. 

Most recently, Dr. Puopolo conducted important research related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Puopolo led efforts of the national AAP Section on Neonatal Perinatal Medicine (SONPM) to draft clinical guidance on the screening and care of COVID-19-exposed and COVID-19-positive newborns.

“The naming of Dr. Puopolo as the PA AAP Pediatrician of the Year highlights her enormous contributions to perinatal health,” said Eric Eichenwald, MD, Chief of the Division of Neonatology at CHOP. “She embodies the AAP’s commitment to recognize women leaders who go above and beyond to provide excellent, evidenced-based care of newborns. What’s more, Dr. Puopolo’s unwavering dedication to advance the care of neonates during the COVID-19 pandemic has been unsurpassed.”

In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Puopolo serves as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She has authored hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, scientific abstracts, chapters, and editorials. A member of AAP since 1993, Dr. Puopolo has served many roles within the organization, including as a member of the Committee on Fetus and Newborn and on the Editorial Board of NeoReviews and Pediatrics.

Currently, Dr. Puopolo serves as chair for the AAP Southeastern Central Conference on Perinatal Research, where perinatal trainees can present their research and receive high-quality feedback.

CHOP Neonatologist Dr. Karen M. Puopolo Receives PA Pediatrician of the Year Award at 2022 AAP Conference | Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Providing A Potential Treatment Option To Infants Where There Is None

Celia Spell   April 21, 2022

A little over 1% of babies born in the U.S. in 2020 fell under the category of very low birthweight, meaning they weighed less than 1,500 grams at birth or 3 pounds, 4 ounces. And considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 3.5 million babies were born that year, almost 48,500 were considered to be at very low birthweight.

Many of these babies are born premature, at 30 weeks or less, and they have a high chance of having a hemorrhage in their brains shortly after birth, known as a germinal matrix hemorrhage (GMH). Bleeding like this within the substance of the brain is a form of stroke that can lead to a buildup of fluid in the brain known as hydrocephalus – both of which put babies at an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disability, and many don’t survive.

There is currently no medical treatment for GMH, and since these blood vessels are even more delicate when a baby is born prematurely, there is no way to predict or prevent bleeding in the brain after birth.

When Ramin Eskandari, M.D., a pediatric neurosurgeon at MUSC Children’s Health, read about the work that Stephen Tomlinson, Ph.D., vice chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at MUSC, was conducting related to a specific part of the immune system known as the complement system, he thought it might have applications to infants as well.

“We were just having to wait for bad things to happen,” Eskandari said. “And then we had to react to them. We have no treatment for the actual hemorrhage or for preventing the stroke or hydrocephalus that comes after. Tomlinson was looking at adult pathologies in the brain, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to apply his methods to an animal model for premature infants.”

As joint principal investigators for their recent paper in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Tomlinson and Eskandari created a mouse model to represent premature infants of very low birthweight and to find treatment options for GMH. Mohammed Alshareef, M.D., a senior neurosurgery resident at MUSC and member of the collaborative lab, discovered that by inhibiting the complement system at a specific site within the brain immediately after a hemorrhage, they could prevent many of the permanent and temporary deficits that accompany hydrocephalus and stroke.

By treating GMH mouse models with the complement inhibitor known as CR2Crry, Tomlinson and Eskandari found improved survival and weight gain, reduced brain injury and incidence of hydrocephalus, and improved motor and cognitive performances in adolescence.

As part of the immune system, the complement system helps antibodies and phagocytic cells activate inflammation and remove microbes and damaged cells from the body, labeling and attacking them. But inflammation activation also leads to the detrimental effects of GMH, and while there is still no way to prevent the initial hemorrhage, Tomlinson and Eskandari are excited about the potential opportunity to prevent the events that occur after the brain bleed.

Cases of GMH are on the rise, and according to Eskandari, this rise is actually due to better care and clinical advancements. With improved prenatal care and better treatment options for premature infants, more babies are surviving being born early. But with more survival, comes higher chances of GMH.

“We’re seeing younger and younger babies viable,” Eskandari said. “I remember when a 23-week-old baby wasn’t viable, and even in the last eight years since my residency, we’re now seeing babies at 20 weeks not only be viable but live full lives and attend school.” It’s these medical advancements that show Eskandari just how important the findings of this study are. And treatment of GMH has the potential to alter an infant’s life course.

Success in inhibiting the complement system has led to a recent boom in research, with over 100 clinical trials currently ongoing, according to Tomlinson. But CR2Crry inhibitor has its own niche. By targeting the therapeutic specifically to the point where the pathology begins, physicians don’t need to knock out the complement system in the entire body, which can lead to increased risk of infections and other immune disorders. They can use less of the inhibitor and target it to a local site, which is safer for patients.

“It’s because this is targeted,” Tomlinson said. “We can actually inject fairly small concentrations directly into the bloodstream to target the injured brain.”

In addition to using the CR2Crry inhibitor to develop a novel therapeutic for premature babies, Eskandari and Tomlinson think it has promise for treating other forms of brain injuries too. “These babies are a really good overall model of how all brain injury could potentially be helped,” Eskandari said. “Having a hemorrhage that leads to stroke and hydrocephalus checks a lot of boxes that we see in many patients.”

Tomlinson’s future research plans include looking at the complement system at different points following an injury in an effort to understand more fully the point at which it becomes part of an injury’s pathology rather than part of its healing process.

Eskandari hopes to host human clinical trials with the human equivalent of the CR2Crry inhibitor at MUSC next. He wants to help his premature patients to live the fullest lives possible. “We want to allow these babies to reach their full potential,” he said.

Source:Providing a potential treatment option to infants where there is none | MUSC | Charleston, SC


It takes a village: NICU parents share their experience as reminder that partners need support, too

Apr 5, 2022

Innovative CHAMP program at Children’s Minnesota helps preterm babies go home sooner


Some preterm neonatal patients can be discharged from the hospital sooner through the unique Children’s Home Application-based Monitoring Program (CHAMP) at Children’s Minnesota.

This one-of-its-kind program in Minnesota allows infants that qualify to receive expert care and monitoring at home through the use of an app on a tablet and a scale. The parent caregiver inputs the baby’s vitals daily, which are then shared and monitored by the baby’s neonatal care team.

The Children’s Minnesota Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in St. Paul conducted a pilot study with 20 patients during a one-year period to evaluate how at-home care impacts babies’ ability to learn to feed, rates of breastfeeding and overall patient-family satisfaction. The results of the pilot were overwhelmingly positive and, for one family, meant that a father could spend precious time with his newborn while battling his own illness.

A challenging time

The year of 2021 was a time of mixed emotions for Amanda and Rob Calvin. They were excited to be welcoming their first baby, but Rob was also battling pancreatic cancer. “When we found out about Rob’s diagnosis, he was given one year to live, so we decided to have a child,” Amanda recalled.

The Calvins expected their baby to arrive in early April, but around mid-February, Amanda started having complications from a bleeding disorder she’s had since birth. “My condition had been flaring up with my pregnancy and getting worse to the point where I had to be admitted to the hospital,” Amanda said.

With the pandemic still at its height – and in light of her illness and her husband’s cancer – Amanda had a virtual baby shower from her Minneapolis hospital room. There, she also dealt with another serious health concern called preeclampsia, a severe high blood pressure condition in pregnant women. Amanda had a C-section procedure the day after her baby shower at The Mother Baby Center, a partnership between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota.

Baby Finn arrived early

On Valentine’s Day 2021, baby Finn entered the world nearly eight weeks early – weighing just 3 pounds and 13 ounces. Finn’s care team rushed the newborn to the NICU at Children’s Minnesota and placed the tiny infant on a breathing machine. Finn spent the next month splitting time between the NICU and the special care nursery.

“I remember all of his caregivers being the most compassionate people and they made sure I knew what was going on,” recalled Amanda, a physician specializing in pulmonary and critical care medicine with HealthPartners Park Nicollet. “I’m an ICU provider and my son was in the ICU. Vital signs for infants are completely different than vital signs for adults. I tried to shut out paying attention to that stuff. There was too much for me to process.”

Time was of the essence

As Finn and Amanda navigated the NICU, Rob continued his fight with pancreatic cancer. “Rob no longer responded to chemo and was about to transition to hospice,” said Amanda. “He was so sick he couldn’t make it to the hospital.”

Preterm babies usually stay in the hospital with their care team until when they would have been full-term to grow, learn how to eat and breathe on their own. But CHAMP allowed Finn to go home a month early. Amanda used the app to stay connected with his care team and took over feeding using a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube that was inserted before heading home.

“It ended up being a major blessing,” Amanda said. “We were stretched thin going back and forth to the hospital. We were making it work. Without this program, we would not have had time together as a family at home in the place where we wanted to be.”

Finn graduated from CHAMP after a week on the special care program. Rob passed away soon after his infant’s graduation. “Rob died six days before Finn’s original due date. Finn got to be home with his dad before he died. I can’t quantify the value of that,” Amanda said while reflecting on her late husband.

Today, Finn is a healthy 1-year-old and meeting or exceeding all of his physical and developmental milestones. “Everybody at Children’s Minnesota went out of their way to make sure Finn was cared for – that we were heard, and they knew what we needed more than we did,” Amanda said while holding back tears. “I can’t thank those people enough. They gave us time we would have never had.”

About CHAMP at Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Home Application-based Monitoring Program (CHAMP) at Children’s Minnesota is the only program of its kind in Minnesota. Before heading home, babies have a nasogastric tube (NG) inserted. Families are provided with a scale and a tablet equipped with a program called Locus, which allows parents to input vitals that are shared with their neonatal team. Families are also trained by the team on proper NG and oral feeding techniques as well as CPR.

To qualify for CHAMP, a newborn must be a current Children’s Minnesota NICU patient, be able to breathe without any respiratory or oxygen support, weigh more than four pounds and consistently gain around 30 grams of bodyweight per day.

“Children’s Minnesota will always strive to pioneer cutting-edge programs that continue to put our patients first and keep families as part of their care team – CHAMP accomplishes all of these goals,” explained Dr. Cristina Miller, medical director of the NICU follow-up clinic at Children’s Minnesota, and founder and director of CHAMP. “Even though the babies who qualify for CHAMP are home, their clinical care team still remains at their bedside virtually to ensure they are growing, healthy and thriving.”

“The first question any parent asks when their child is admitted to the NICU is, ‘When can we go home?’ We’re hoping that this method helps families return to their normal daily lives faster, especially with the additional COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that have been in place,” said Dr. Miller. “But even after the pandemic is over eventually, this could be a game changer.”

Source:Innovative CHAMP program at Children’s Minnesota helps preterm babies go home sooner | Children’s Minnesota (

Importance The Of Support For NICU Families

Mar 7, 2020      LivingHealthyChicago

A health complication involving kids can really rock a family’s world- especially when it involves the very youngest in our families. This mother is sharing her family’s story in hopes of raising awareness about the importance of support for NICU families. Plus, we learn about an innovative treatment being utilized to help with a heart health issue that’s more common in premature babies.

Chatting to your premature baby

Talking and listening to children from the moment they are born helps them develop. This is especially true for babies who are born prematurely.

When a child is born prematurely, they might spend some time in the neonatal unit at hospital. Talking to your baby from day one will help the two of you get to know each other. The stimulation of your voice will help your baby develop and bond with you in the early days.

Premature babies will get tired more quickly and sleep more, but there are lots of ways to communicate with your baby such as touch, eye contact and facial expressions are all ways of communicating.

Babies can communicate before they start talking. As soon as your baby is born, they can recognise the sound of your voice.

Tips for talking to your premature baby

  • Kangaroo Care is when your baby is placed skin-to-skin on your chest. The contact will help to form a bond between you. Talk quietly and take time to listen to them – if they make noises try to respond.
  • When you are ready, care staff will support you to do some routine tasks such as nappy changing, tube feeding, or bath time. This is a great time to talk to your baby about what you are doing or sing to them as you are doing it.
  • When your baby is very small, they will like to grasp your finger and enjoy the feeling of your hands on their body.
  • Call them by their name. The sound of your voice will help relax and soothe them.
  • As the weeks go by, your baby will look at you for longer and see your face more clearly. Smile and respond to your baby.
  • It’s never too early to read a story! Choose a baby book and read. Your voice will help your baby relax and fall asleep.
  • Like adults, babies don’t always feel like being sociable. If your baby starts to hiccough, look away or yawn, these are signs they need to rest.


Innovative Music Therapy for the Brain Development of Premature Babies

Apr 3, 2022    HEC Science & Technology

It only takes a few chords to capture Ayla Campbell’s attention. She arrived 16 weeks early, weighing less than two pounds. While staying in MU Health Care’s neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, Ayla received her first visit from a music therapist Emily Pivovarnik. “Her heart rate would just go down, and her oxygen was going up,” said Angel Campbell, Ayla’s mom. “If someone had told me that this could happen just from singing, I wouldn’t have believed it.” Pivovarnik is a trained music therapist who helps babies eat better, regulate their stress levels and adjust to stimulation. Pivovarnik is part of a team starting a research project to look at the long-term effects of a specific music therapy intervention called multimodal neurological enhancement, or MNE. This therapy combines music, gentle touch and rocking to help a baby’s brain develop. About 135 babies will be involved in the research project. After leaving the hospital, they’ll receive neurodevelopment testing.

Innovative Music Therapy for the Brain Development of Premature Babies – YouTube

Joel Mackenzie used ‘kangaroo care’ to help daughter Lucy, born prematurely. Photo: U. South Australia

Snuggling With Dad: Fathers’ Contact Can Help Preemies Thrive

Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling

THURSDAY, July 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Decades of research have shown the power of skin-to-skin contact between preemies and their moms, but would the same technique, dubbed “kangaroo care,” work with fathers?

Yes, claims a new Australian study that found when dads held their premature babies close to their bare chest, they reported feeling a “silent language of love and connection.”

“It’s like when your finger touches a fire, there are receptors there letting you know that it’s hot,” said study author Qiuxia Dong, a nurse and master’s candidate at the University of South Australia. “It’s the same thing [in kangaroo care], when the attachment happens between father and baby or mother and baby, it’s just another reaction.”

First-time father Joel Mackenzie experienced it with his tiny daughter, Lucy, when he was first able to hold her, two weeks into her time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Mackenzie explained that the NICU experience can be a really isolating one for parents, especially dads who are not often considered by the health care system when it comes to reconnecting with their child after a medical intervention.

“I felt like I was actively fostering her survival and her development by giving her a cuddle,” said Mackenzie, who was one of 10 dads followed in the study.

The findings were published online recently in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

One expert in neonatal care described how the bonding process works.

“There are biologic phenomenon that exist that allow babies and their parents to bond, and there are hormones that get released that allow you to fall in love,” explained Dr. Robert Angert, a neonatologist at NYU Langone in New York City. “Those are stimulated by all your senses — your sight, but also your smell and touch. If you cut out some of those senses, you’re going to miss out on those opportunities,” he said.

“On the other side, you have anxiety and stress, and those make it harder to fall in love. As they describe in the article, a lot of parents, particularly non-birthing parents, are stressed and anxious and worried about the well-being of their child, especially a baby who’s in the ICU,” Angert added. “Bringing them together safely and in a way that’s helpful to the baby reduces that anxiety to the parent.”

Research has shown that during kangaroo care, the close contact activates nerve receptors in mammals that increase the production of hormones that lower pain and stress for both babies and parents.

The latest study illustrated that: Many of the fathers described the NICU environment as “overwhelming,” but the ability to hold their children next to their skin fostered strong bonds and relaxed them, which helped build confidence and made them very happy.

“It was palpable how much of an impact it had on her,” Mackenzie said. “Of course, it helped me in bonding with her and helping me understand her and what was good for her as a child, but also as well you could almost tell that she almost drew energy from us. She started to move better, she started to develop faster. I’d see her move better on a day-to-day basis. Eat more, be more responsive. Her eyes would open and move and engage more each time we took her out of the crib.”

Having to separate a newborn from its parent for medical reasons isn’t just traumatic for parents, it can have emotional and developmental impacts on the infant as well.

Angert said that “separation is an incredibly traumatic event in the life of a newborn, and I think we underestimate the impact that that event has on a baby. So we have an opportunity here to restore some of that togetherness, and it’s not without good reason that we’re taking the baby away. We’re saving their life. But it’s also good to think about when we can reestablish contact and allow them to give kangaroo care to their babies.”

Parents who go through the NICU process have no doubts about the efficacy of staying by their child’s side when they’re sick. Mackenzie, whose child will celebrate her first birthday next week, said the bonding made all the difference.

“She still has mild lung disease and chronic cerebral palsy, but [the kangaroo care] part of her NICU experience was definitely a contributing factor to where she is now, I have no doubt about it,” Mackenzie said. “Children who’ve gone through this experience definitely have a better chance of survival in my opinion.”

More information: To learn more about skin-to-skin contact benefits between parents and newborns, visit the Cleveland Clinic.


Occupational Therapy and Infancy: Supporting Families During the Earliest Occupations

Alexis Ferko, B.A., OTS

Occupational Therapy and Infancy: Occupational therapy (OT) is a holistic, client-centered, occupation-based profession focused on assisting individuals to independently participate in daily activities to the best of their ability . Occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) are board certified, have extensive academic training and clinical experience and treat individuals across the lifespan in various settings  while considering the “biological, developmental, and social-emotional aspects of human function in the context of daily occupations”. OTPs utilize the power of occupation to support families and infants in achieving positive outcomes . The first year of an infant’s life is a rapid period of growth; infants are learning how to actively interact with their environment and family system. Occupations of infancy are defined as “any activity or task of value in which the family or setting expects the infant to engage”  including activities of daily living (ADL) like feeding and bathing, health management including social and emotional health promotion and maintenance, rest and sleep, play and social participation . Infants also participate in co-occupations, meaning infants share an occupation with their caregiver; examples such as play and breastfeeding . OTPs also assist families with adapting to new performance patterns including habits, roles, routines, and client factors. OTPs treat infants in settings including hospitals or NICU’s, early intervention (EI), outpatient, and community-based settings. Infants may be referred to OT for concerns with maintaining homeostasis or bonding in the NICU, feeding or sensory concerns, physical development, social-emotional skills, and sleep .

OT in the NICU: Many infants and families have their first experience with OT in the NICU setting. NICU OTPs have extensive knowledge in neonatal medical conditions, development and understand the complex medical needs of infants in this setting . OTPs are members of an interdisciplinary team of professionals including pediatricians, physical therapists (PT), speech-language pathologists (SLP), lactation consultants, respiratory therapists, nurses, midwives, neonatologists, among others. OTPs administer assessments related to sensory processing, motor function, social-emotional development, pain, activities of daily living (ADL), neurobehavioral organization, and environmental screenings to identify and create an appropriate infant and family-centered intervention plan. The primary functions of an OT in the NICU is to focus on developmentally appropriate occupations, maintaining homeostasis (stable vitals, feeding, breathing), self-regulation, sensory development, feeding, motor function, coping and attachment skills, bathing and dressing, and nurturing interactions with caregivers including skin to-skin contact. OTPs utilize various interventions including sensory integration, neurodevelopmental techniques, positioning/handling, infant massage, feeding, bonding, and environmental modifications to minimize stress and overstimulation while in this setting. Therapists must also address the family system by forming a therapeutic relationship with the family. The NICU can cause separation between infant and caregivers especially if there are maternal complications after delivery which can increase stress and instability within the family system . Parent-infant attachments and occupations must be prioritized, including bonding such as skin-to-skin contact, or kangaroo care. Kangaroo care is an essential intervention to support infants in the NICU by having the infant lay on the caregiver’s bare skin. Benefits to this intervention include more stable heart rate, breathing patterns and temperatures, faster weight gain, more successful feeding, and increased bonding. OTPs also consider the Neonatal Integrative Developmental Care Model, meaning therapists are fostering a healing environment in the NICU setting – a setting known to be stressful and overstimulating for infants and their families. Core measures of this model include skin protection, optimizing nutrition, positioning/handling to promote breathing and stability, safeguarding sleep, optimizing nutrition, minimizing stress and pain through environmental and sensory modifications, and partnering with families . Research shows that interventionists who follow this model have better growth development outcomes.

Breastfeeding and Feeding: As of 2020, over 83% of infants are breastfed at some point in their young life. 60% of mothers stop breastfeeding before they intend to stop due to various reasons including latching difficulties, infant weight concerns, lack of work and family support, and concerns with medication while breastfeeding. OT can assist with facilitating breastfeeding which improves parent-infant attachment and bonding and can also reduce postpartum depression . OTPs must consider various aspects of the infant caregiver dyad during breastfeeding including infant arousal state, respiratory ability, overall stability, oral reflexes, oral strength and endurance and caregiver arousal, attention, posture and upper extremity strength, cognition, and cultural values/beliefs related to feeding . It is also important to consider sensory and environmental stimulation, social supports, and bottle/nipple type if the infant is not being breastfed. OTPs can assist breastfeeding caregivers with developing routines and habits to promote breastfeeding and education related to their infant’s hunger and stress cues, positioning, ergonomics, self-regulation, and environmental modifications . Infant interventions include suck training, positioning, and various sensory strategies to promote arousal levels. Environmental and activity modifications include changing the position of feeds, adapting the lighting, touch, sound and using supportive equipment during feeding and adapting the type, thickness or volume of milk and feeding schedule . Feeding is a very important occupation for an infant as it takes up much of their early life and helps facilitate secure attachments to their caregiver as well as promoting self-regulation .

 OT’s Role in Transitioning Home: OT also plays a role in assisting families with the transition from NICU to home. Transition planning begins at NICU admission with OTPs educating families on various interventions and considerations for the infant’s unique medical needs. Upon discharge from the NICU, OTPs may recommend follow-up with EI, outpatient OT or PT, or a feeding clinic to address various concerns including feeding, global developmental delay, ROM or joint limitations, tone management, among others . OTPs also educate families on general infant care like signs of stress and how to relax or calm an infant, feeding strategies, home environment set-up and safe sleep strategies. OTPs also work with lactation consultants to address any concerns or strategies related to breastfeeding.

Early Intervention and Infancy: Infant occupations vary based on family, contextual and cultural factors. OT is a primary service under IDEA Part C and delivers services related to the infant’s individualized family service plan (IFSP) outcomes . Gorga (1989) identified seven areas of occupational therapy treatment practices for infants in EI including motor control, sensory modulation, adaptive coping, sensorimotor development, social-emotional development, daily living skills and play . OT interventions include handling, positioning, adapting the environment, sensory registration, arousal, attention, emotional regulation, cognition, feeding and play activities like reach and grasp. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) elaborated on various interventions in early intervention including promoting healthy bonding and attachment, family education and training, adapting tasks and the environment, participation in ADLs, rest and sleep and play related to the infant’s IFSP outcomes.

Conclusion: Occupational therapy practitioners are client-centered, occupation-based and address the infant and their family holistically. Various occupations OTPs can address include feeding, bathing, rest and sleep, health management, play and social participation, among others. Breastfeeding is also an important co-occupation OTPs can address in this setting. OT can also work with the family to promote carryover of strategies, encourage developmental care, and optimize infant well-being in the NICU, EI and home setting. Various professions work with occupational therapists on multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary teams including PT,  SLP, pediatricians, lactation consultants, nursing, midwives, neonatologists, and other specialists. These professions would benefit from working with OT to help increase independence, improve overall well-being and participation in infant and family occupations all of which leads to a greater quality of life for both the infant and family.  Occupational therapists serve a unique role in the neonatal intensive care setting by identifying, promoting, and advocating for developmental care practices that aim to support families in participating in these early occupations.



A Wearable for Monitoring Prenatal Health at Home

An estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely every year, posing a significant risk to both maternal and neonatal health. The EU funded WISH project promotes a novel tool for monitoring the risk of preterm labour at home.

Preterm birth is defined as any live birth before the 37th week of pregnancy and is associated with complications that lead to neonatal and infant mortality. Additionally, premature babies are prone to serious long-term illnesses, lifelong disabilities such as cerebral palsy and respiratory illnesses as well as poor quality of life. Consequently, preterm birth is the cause of great suffering and psychological stress to parents. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Wearable Sensors 2021-2031.

Machine learning to predict preterm birth

Currently, regular medical check-ups and clinical examinations in a hospital setting are the only available solution for expectant women to diagnose preterm labour. However, expecting couples often mistake Braxton Hicks contractions, which occur normally during a healthy pregnancy, as preterm labour contractions. This increases hospital visits and concomitant healthcare costs. To address this issue, the EU-funded WISH project has developed an innovative platform for antepartum maternal and foetal monitoring. “WISH integrates seamlessly into the daily activities of expectant women in a way that will enable remote antepartum monitoring at home,” explains Julien Penders, co-founder and COO of Bloomlife. The WISH system consists of a specifically designed electrode patch, a consumer app, a web-based dashboard and a secure cloud data platform. It measures maternal and foetal health parameters, such as heart rate and uterine activity, through a specific sensor. This real time information is processed using advanced algorithms and machine learning to provide the probability of a woman being in labour.

Clinical validation and prospects

The WISH solution was tested and validated during the project in a two-centre, interventional study on 150 pregnant women. Study participants received a WISH system and were asked to use it at least three nights per week until they gave birth. Results demonstrated that the WISH system had similar accuracy in labour detection with current diagnostic methods used in hospital. “This clearly illustrated the feasibility of applying non-invasive wearable technology at home as an alternative labour management strategy,” emphasises Penders.

Preterm birth is a global health problem and one of the EU healthcare priority areas. The high socioeconomic impact of preterm birth necessitates novel solutions for predicting and prolonging the gestational age at delivery. The WISH project laid the foundation for a new non-invasive approach for preterm labour detection and a much needed tool for high-risk pregnancies. Implementation of WISH is expected to provide essential data for both expectant women and healthcare providers, facilitating more efficient prenatal care across Europe. Importantly, WISH will offer reassurance to women throughout the last stages of pregnancy through the provision of trustworthy information. Future efforts will focus on how to exploit the WISH solution to improve doctor-patient communication, implement preventive actions and timely interventions to reduce preterm births and radically change prenatal care across Europe. Penders envisions pivotal clinical trials will support the CE marking of WISH as a medical device and render it ready for commercialisation.

Source:A Wearable for Monitoring Prenatal Health at Home | Wearable Technology Insights

CDC: Infant outcomes vary by maternal place of birth

JUNE 29, 2022

Maternal characteristics and infant outcomes vary by maternal place of birth, according to a report published in the June issue of Vital and Health Statistics, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Anne K. Driscoll, Ph.D., and Claudia P. Valenzuela, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, describe and compare maternal characteristics and infant outcomes by maternal place of birth among births occurring in 2020.

The researchers found that 21.9 percent of women who gave birth in the United States in 2020 were born outside of the United States. Women born in Latin America accounted for 12.0 and 54.9 percent of all women giving birth and those born outside of the United States, respectively, while women born in Asia accounted for 5.9 and 27.2 percent, respectively. Maternal characteristics varied by region, subregion, and country of birth, with the percentage of women giving birth under age 20 higher for women born in the United States (5.0 percent) than for those born in other regions, and obesity rates varying from 10.7 percent for women born in Asia to 38.1 percent for women born in Oceania. Infant outcomes varied by mother’s place of birth, with preterm birth rates varying from 6.90 to 11.43 percent of infants of women born in Canada and Oceania, respectively. Similar variation was seen for low birthweight and neonatal intensive care unit admission rates.

“The characteristics, residence patterns, and infant outcomes of women born outside the United States vary considerably,” the authors write.

Full Article:

NICU Lighting Tech Licensed to NASA Spinoff

Post Date: April 11, 2022

Cincinnati Children’s has licensed technology that mimics sunlight in the NICU of the new Critical Care Building to a NASA spinoff, which is marketing a consumer product called the SkyView Wellness Table Lamp.

California-based Biological Innovations and Optimization Systems LLC, or BIOS, focuses on the biological application of LED lighting for people and plants. 

BIOS announced it has licensed the exclusive rights to the violet light technology invented and developed at Cincinnati Children’s, which optimizes light exposures and can influence circadian rhythms, eye development and metabolism.

The violet light technology is a component in the world’s first full-spectrum, tunable lighting system in a neonatal intensive care unit, which was installed in the Critical Care Building that opened on the Burnet Campus of Cincinnati Children’s in November 2021.

Richard Lang, PhD, director of the Visual Systems Group at Cincinnati Children’s, has worked with colleagues for more than a decade to better understand the role that sunlight plays in fetal development. Their discoveries, coupled with growing scientific knowledge about the importance of circadian rhythms to human health, sparked the idea to install lights in the NICU that could provide the full range of wavelengths found in sunlight.

“Our recent discoveries showed that violet light plays a crucial role in normal human physiology,” Lang said. “This prompted us to work with BIOS lighting to deploy a new human-centric lighting technology in our neonatal intensive care unit. We believe everyone can benefit from human-centric lighting.”

The licensing agreement comes in the wake of global studies by researchers into sleep complaints and circadian disturbances observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, BIOS stated. The science behind the company’s biological lighting expertise was first developed for the International Space Station.

“BIOS is committed to creating human-centric lighting designed to promote health and wellbeing,” Robert Soler, a former NASA engineer who is vice president of biological research and technology for Bios, said in a news release. “When the opportunity arose, we were excited to work with Cincinnati Children’s and co-develop new human-centric lighting technology. We now offer this technology in our SkyView Wellness Table Lamp.”

Source:NICU Lighting Tech Licensed to NASA Spinoff | Research Horizons (

Over the past few weeks extreme heat waves have resulted in record breaking temperatures worldwide. Living in London, I witnessed the impact of the 105-degree temperature on the local community, nature parks,  infrastructure, and public transportation. With tube station, railway, and plane shutdowns due to fires and melting roadways it was clear that this was an event that would mark an obvious need to shift towards increased climate action both within the UK and Worldwide. Millions of residents were encouraged to stay home, avoid attending events and work outside of the home and were provided emergency warning resources and information about ways to stay safe. The impact of this recent climate event has now moved along to the Pacific Northwest Region where many of my family members and friends have reported similar disruptions in their communities as consecutive high temperatures throughout the last week of July into August will reach an all-time high.

Climate change has and will continue to impact every community in a variety of anticipated and unexpected ways. Amongst our global neonatal community studies have shown a direct correlation between the effects of rising temperatures and increased risk for preterm labour. For example, a recent 2020 BMJ meta-analysis study found that “the odds of a preterm birth rose 1.05-fold (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.07) per 1°C increase in temperature and 1.16-fold (1.10 to 1.23) during heatwaves. “ (Cherish et al,2020)

Increased research efforts to investigate the impact of climate change on preterm birth rates and outcomes will be instrumental in addressing collaborative solutions to implement preventative interventions and improved care to those negatively impacted as a result of climate change on maternal and neonatal health. As an active community we can do our part to enhance our knowledge and find creative ways to be a part of the solution towards helping to improve our carbon footprint within our communities and homes.

Personally, I believe our global youth have in many ways led the forefront towards addressing climate change. We have included a few engaging videos discussing ways we can help to address climate change and the experiences of young climate activists like Greta and friends who may inspire us to pick up some new habits and get involved in doing our part to bring about the prioritization of climate action to improve the health of our planet and our livelihood now and in the future.


Climate Change for Kids | A fun engaging introduction to climate change for kids

Hey Teachers and Parents! In this video we explore climate change for kids. We learn all about the causes of climate change like the greenhouse effect, fossil fuel burning, farming, and even deforestation and why these are big dilemmas in today’s world. We also cover ways that we can help prevent climate change and be friendlier to our environment including: walking, planting trees, using less electricity and other fun ways. We hope you and your students have fun as they learn about climate change and what we can each do to help planet earth. We also invite you to download our FREE climate change lesson plan (for grades 4-6) that is complete with more content, worksheets, activities for kids, and more!

Greta and eight young activists reveal how the climate crisis is shaping their lives | UNICEF

Nine young activists explain how climate change is affecting their lives and who inspires their efforts to make our planet a better place. Greta Thunberg (Sweden) is joined by Alexandria Villasenor (USA), Catarina Lorenzo (Brazil), Carlos Manuel (Palau), Timoci Naulusala (Fiji), Iris Duquesn (France), Raina Ivanova (Germany), Raslene Jbali (Tunisia) and Ridhima Pandey (India).


Oct 22, 2020

Surfing in the Philippines was not something that we thought about when planning our holiday. Usually you think of Hawaii’s waves and the surf vibe and culture. So when we realized we’d stumbled into Siargao Island the little Hawaii of the Philippines, we knew one of us had to take to the water and try out a surf lesson. As a British family, most of us didn’t grow up around surf culture because of the cold water and weather so we were so happy to do this here in the bath warm pacific ocean. We booked a private lesson with Racel from Makulay Resort Santa Fe in General Luna. It cost 1400 pesos or around £21 for a two hour teaching session, and Racel is actually a professional competing surfer so it felt even better to get our first experience of surfing in the Philippines with him. I stood up multiple times on the board and I highly recommend lessons with Racel if you find yourself on Siargao Island wanting to learn to surf. If this mum can do it, anyone can!

CDC: Infant outcomes vary by maternal place of birth


Tech Emerging, Mortality, FC Care



Rank: 172  –Rate: 6.0%   Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births 

(USA – 12 %, Global Average: 11.1%)

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard also form part of Norway. Bouvet Island, located in the Subantarctic, is a dependency of Norway; it also lays claims to the Antarctic territories of Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land. The capital and largest city in Norway is Oslo.

Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres (148,729 sq mi) and had a population of 5,425,270 in January 2022.[14] The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden at a length of 1,619 km (1,006 mi). It is bordered by Finland and Russia to the northeast and the Skagerrak strait to the south, on the other side of which are Denmark and the United Kingdom. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea. The maritime influence dominates Norway’s climate, with mild lowland temperatures on the sea coasts; the interior, while colder, is also a lot milder than areas elsewhere in the world on such northerly latitudes. Even during polar night in the north, temperatures above freezing are commonplace on the coastline. The maritime influence brings high rainfall and snowfall to some areas of the country.


Norway was awarded first place according to the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) for 2013. In the 1800s, by contrast, poverty and communicable diseases dominated in Norway together with famines and epidemics. From the 1900s, improvements in public health occurred as a result of development in several areas such as social and living conditions, changes in disease and medical outbreaks, establishment of the health care system, and emphasis on public health matters. Vaccination and increased treatment opportunities with antibiotics resulted in great improvements within the Norwegian population. Improved hygiene and better nutrition were factors that contributed to improved health.

The disease pattern in Norway changed from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases and chronic diseases as cardiovascular disease. Inequalities and social differences are still present in public health in Norway today.

In 2013 the infant mortality rate was 2.5 per 1,000 live births among children under the age of one. For girls it was 2.7 and for boys 2.3, which is the lowest infant mortality rate for boys ever recorded in Norway.



Ten Years of Neonatal Intensive Care Adaption to the Infants’ Needs: Implementation of a Family-Centered Care Model with Single-Family Rooms in Norway

Lene Tandle Lyngstad 1Flore Le Marechal 1Birgitte Lenes Ekeberg1Krzysztof Hochnowski 1Mariann Hval 1Bente Silnes Tandberg1

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  13 May 2022, 19(10):5917
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19105917 PMID: 35627454 PMCID: PMC9140644


Ten years ago, the Neonatal intensive care unit in Drammen, Norway, implemented Single-Family Rooms (SFR), replacing the traditional open bay (OB) unit. Welcoming parents to stay together with their infant 24 h per day, seven days per week, was both challenging and inspiring. The aim of this paper is to describe the implementation of SFR and how they have contributed to a cultural change among the interprofessional staff. Parents want to participate in infant care, but to do so, they need information and supervision from nurses, as well as emotional support. Although SFR protect infants and provide private accommodation for parents, nurses may feel isolated and lack peer support.

Our paper describes how we managed to systematically reorganize the nurse’s workflow by using a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle approach. Significant milestones are identified, and the implementation processes are displayed. The continuous parental presence has changed the way we perceive the family as a care recipient and how we involve the parents in daily care. We provide visions for the future with further developments of care adapted to infants’ needs by providing neonatal intensive care with parents as equal partners.


Sigrid, Bring Me The Horizon – Bad Life


The RHODĒ Study

Rhode Island Cohort Of Adults Born Prematurely

The Rhode Island Cohort Of Adults Born Prematurely — or “RHODĒ” Study — is a longitudinal study following a group of 215 infants born between 1985-1989 in Rhode Island. The study was previously known as the Infant Development Study. Prior waves of data collection occurred at birth, 1 month, 18 months, 30 months, 4 years, 8 years, 12 years, 17 years, and 23 years of age. The 215 originally enrolled infants represent a wide range of gestational ages, birth weights, and illness severity, and includes both preterm and full-term participants.

In response to an Institute of Medicine recommendation for long-term outcome studies for premature infants into young adulthood, we are currently conducting the tenth wave of the study, with participants aged 30-35 years old.

We are fortunate to have retained 96% of the participant sample between ages 17 and 23 years, and 85% since birth. To our knowledge, this is the only U.S. based study to follow preterm and full-term participants from birth into age 30.



‘Smart pacifier’ in development with help from WSU Vancouver researchers:2701:45

Clinical trials are still to come, but the academic group hopes the small medical device eventually replaces blood draws, and a lot of wires and electrodes.

Author:  Published: 5:43 PM PDT June 11, 2022 Updated: 5:43 PM PDT June 11, 2022

Comparison of the effect of two methods of sucking on pacifier and mother’s finger on oral feeding behavior in preterm infants: a randomized clinical trial



Oral feeding problems will cause long-term hospitalization of the infant and increase the cost of hospitalization. This study aimed to compare the effect of two methods of sucking on pacifier and mother’s finger on oral feeding behavior in preterm infants.


This single-blind randomized controlled clinical trial was performed in the neonatal intensive care unit of Babol Rouhani Hospital, Iran. 150 preterm infants with the gestational age of 31 to 33 weeks were selected and were divided into three groups of 50 samples using randomized block method, including non-nutritive sucking on mother’s finger (A), pacifier (B) and control (C). Infants in groups A and B were stimulated with mother’s finger or pacifier three times a day for five minutes before gavage, for ten days exactly. For data collection, demographic characteristics questionnaire and preterm infant breastfeeding behavior scale were used.


The mean score of breastfeeding behavior in preterm infants in the three groups of A,B,C was 12.34 ± 3.37, 11.00 ± 3.55, 10.40 ± 4.29 respectively, which had a significant difference between the three groups (p = 0.03). The mean rooting score between three groups of A, B, and C was 1.76 ± 0.47, 1.64 ± 0.48, and 1.40 ± 0.90 (p < 0.001) respectively. Also, the mean sucking score in groups of A, B and C was 2.52 ± 0.76, 2.28 ± 0.64 and 2.02 ± 0.74 respectively, which had a significant difference (p = 0.003), but other scales had no significant difference between the three groups (P > 0.05). The mean time to achieve independent oral feeding between the three groups of A, B, C was 22.12 ± 8.15, 22.54 ± 7.54 and 25.86 ± 7.93 days respectively (p = 0.03), and duration of hospitalization was 25.98 ± 6.78, 27.28 ± 6.20, and 29.36 ± 5.97 days (p = 0.02), which had a significant difference. But there was no significant difference between the two groups of A and B in terms of rooting, sucking, the total score of breastfeeding behavior and time of achieving independent oral feeding (P > 0.05).


Considering the positive effect of these two methods, especially non-nutritive sucking on mother’s finger, on increasing oral feeding behaviors, it is recommended to implement these low-cost methods for preterm infants admitted to neonatal intensive care unit.


EFCNI involved in new study on blood transfusions in preterm babies


Most preterm babies admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) receive blood transfusions. Some neonates, however, receive blood transfusions even though these transfusions may not be necessary, cause side effects or even harm. Therefore, the International Neonatal tranSfusion PoInt pREvalence study (INSPIRE) aims to describe the current state and indications for blood transfusions among preterm babies in Europe.

Although most preterm babies receive blood transfusions in the NICU, there are no international guidelines that have been incorporated into clinical practice, and there is significant variation in blood transfusion practice within Europe. Additionally, high-quality data on neonatal transfusion practice in Europe is lacking. The INSPIRE-study will describe current neonatal transfusion practices within Europe. These results will help to improve practice, develop future clinical studies, and inform guideline writing. Additionally, the results may help to reduce unnecessary transfusions through increased awareness of the proper use of transfusions in this vulnerable patient group.

In collaboration with the Neonatal Transfusion Network (NTN), EFCNI coordinates an international parental advisory board (PAB). The PAB is chaired by EFCNI and meets on a regular basis throughout the duration of the project. Furthermore, EFCNI gives advice and provides input on topics related to ethics and patient information throughout the project.

Ongoing updates on the project can also be found on our project page.


Current Status and Future Directions of Neuromonitoring With Emerging Technologies in Neonatal Care

Gabriel Fernando Todeschi Variane1,2,3*, João Paulo Vasques Camargo2,4, Daniela Pereira Rodrigues2,5, Maurício Magalhães1,2,6 and Marcelo Jenné Mimica7,8

Neonatology has experienced a significant reduction in mortality rates of the preterm population and critically ill infants over the last few decades. Now, the emphasis is directed toward improving long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes and quality of life. Brain-focused care has emerged as a necessity. The creation of neonatal neurocritical care units, or Neuro-NICUs, provides strategies to reduce brain injury using standardized clinical protocols, methodologies, and provider education and training. Bedside neuromonitoring has dramatically improved our ability to provide assessment of newborns at high risk. Non-invasive tools, such as continuous electroencephalography (cEEG), amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG), and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), allow screening for seizures and continuous evaluation of brain function and cerebral oxygenation at the bedside. Extended and combined uses of these techniques, also described as multimodal monitoring, may allow practitioners to better understand the physiology of critically ill neonates. Furthermore, the rapid growth of technology in the Neuro-NICU, along with the increasing use of telemedicine and artificial intelligence with improved data mining techniques and machine learning (ML), has the potential to vastly improve decision-making processes and positively impact outcomes. This article will cover the current applications of neuromonitoring in the Neuro-NICU, recent advances, potential pitfalls, and future perspectives in this field.

Full Article:

Accuracy and Completeness of Intermediate-Level Nursery Descriptions on Hospital Websites

David C. Goodman, MD, MS1,2,3,4Timothy J. Price, MS1David Braun, MD5,6

JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(6):e2215596. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.15596

Key Points

Question  How completely and accurately do hospital websites describe their level II special care (ie, intermediate care) nurseries?

Findings  In this cross-sectional study of hospital nurseries (including 1.99 million live births and 268 level II units) in 10 large US states that regulate nursery levels of care, state-designated intermediate (ie, level II) units were inaccurately or incompletely described in 39% and 25% of the hospital websites, respectively. There was substantial and statistically significant variation in rates of incompleteness and inaccuracy across states.

Meaning  These results suggest that hospital websites, often the only source of publicly available information describing a hospital’s neonatal unit, do not provide reliable information for prospective parents, referring physicians, and the public to assess the capacity to care for ill newborns.


Importance  Birth at hospitals with an appropriate level of neonatal intensive care units is associated with better neonatal outcomes. The primary sources for information about hospital neonatal unit levels for prospective parents, referring physicians, and the public are hospital websites, but the accuracy of neonatal unit capacity is unclear.

Objective  To determine if hospital websites accurately report the capabilities of intermediate (ie, level II) units, which are intended for care of newborns with low to moderate illness levels or the stabilization of newborns prior to transfer.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This cross-sectional study compared descriptions of level II unit capabilities on hospital web pages in 10 large states with their respective state-level designation. Analyzed units were located in the 10 states with the highest number of live births in 2019 (excluding states with no level II regulations) and had active websites as of May 2021.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Hospital websites were assessed for whether there was any mention of the unit, the description of the unit was provided, the unit was identified as a level III or both levels II and III, the terms “neonatal intensive care unit” or “NICU” were used without indicating limits in care available or newborn acuity, or the unit was claimed to provide the most advanced level of care.

Results  A total 28 states had no regulation of nursery unit levels; in the 10 large, regulated states, web descriptions of level II units were incomplete for 39.2% of hospitals (95% CI, 33.3%-45.3%) and inaccurate for 24.6% (95% CI, 19.6%-30.2%). Within incomplete descriptions, 2.6% (95% CI, 1.1%-5.3%) of hospitals did not mention an advanced care unit and 22.0% (95% CI, 17.2%-27.5%) identified a level II unit without providing further description. Within inaccurate descriptions, 25.4% (95% CI, 20.3%-31.0%) of hospitals described the unit as a “neonatal intensive care unit” or “NICU” without any qualification and 9.3% (95% CI, 6.3%-13.5%) claimed that the unit provided the most advanced neonatal care or care to the sickest newborns; 3.0% of hospitals (95% CI, 1.3%-6.0%) stated that their unit was level III and 1.5% (95% CI, 0.4%-3.8%) as level II and III. Across states there was substantial variation in rates of incompleteness and inaccuracy.

Conclusions and Relevance  Incomplete and inaccurate hospital web descriptions of intermediate newborn care units are common. These deficits can mislead parents, clinicians, and the public about the appropriateness of a hospital for sick newborns, which raises important ethical questions.



Turns out not where but who you’re with that really matters

Terrie Eleanor Inder   Pediatric Research volume 88, pages533–534 (2020)

An understanding of the impact of the environment, including the new enhanced single-family room (SFR) structure, on outcomes in the preterm infant is critical. The study by van Veenendaal et al. in this edition of Pediatric Research expands on others’ work by analyzing a level II neonatal facility SFR setting and concludes that the SFR environment was associated with lower rates of late onset sepsis, mediated by the lower use of intravenous and central venous catheters. The authors hypothesized that the presence of parents, who know their infants well, may have resulted in less antibiotic treatment for symptoms and signs that were interpreted by less familiar medical caregivers as concerning for late onset sepsis. It is important to note that the definition of “sepsis” included any culture positive infant, independent of treatment, and infants treated for ≥7 days with antibiotics after clinical signs of concern for sepsis with negative cultures.

This study compared two epochs from 2012−2014 and 2017−2018 with 1046 infants who were predominantly level II late preterm infants (<37 weeks’ gestation and hospital stay ≥3 days) with average gestational age of 34−35 weeks. During this time of change to SFR environment, Family Integrated Care (FICare) was also introduced with parents being present to provide most of the care for their infants. Their SFR included a full parent bed for the parent to live and sleep in the room with their infant. The major mediator of the reduction in late onset sepsis, from 9.3% in the open bay to 5.3% in the SFR, was an approximately 50% reduction in vascular lines (peripheral and central) and use of parenteral nutrition. Although the reasons for the reduction in line use remain unclear, the authors hypothesized that the presence of the parents resulted in joint decision making and avoidance of painful procedures—both leading to reduced lines and parenteral nutrition. The authors also report a trend toward higher exclusive breastfeeding at discharge and a shorter length of stay.

Although infection rates in the neonatal intensive care unit have been consistently falling over the last two decades, this study informs us that in a less intensively sick population of infants, the SFR environment may reduce the risk of late onset sepsis. Importantly, they define that the association is mediated by invasive vascular access, which may be avoided with parental engagement. This study did not evaluate early breast milk supply in the new SFR setting, but others have noted in a similarly designed study a significant increase in the availability of human milk in the SFR environment being a key driver of SFR-associated improved neurodevelopmental outcomes.

 In contrast to the current study, a study from a typical larger neonatal intensive care unit setting in Texas, USA, found an increased rate of sepsis documented following their renovation to SFR environment in 2015. They analyzed 9995 encounters in their 90-bed unit, with a trend toward increased sepsis rates in the SFR in the moderately preterm infant (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.7−3.3) that reached significance in the term/post-term infant (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.2−3.3). It was noted that the trend was reversed toward lower infection rates in the preterm infants <32 weeks. Their definition of sepsis was based on medical records alone and not as carefully curated as the current study.

Single-family room environments have been noted to have numerous advantages, including enhancing parent−infant closeness and engagement in infant care and improved parental psychological wellbeing with reductions in maternal depression and parental stress in both parents. In these studies, based in Scandinavia, parents in the SFR were present 21 h/day compared with 7 h/day previously in the open bay unit. The SFR environment has also been associated with improved neurodevelopmental outcomes following discharge, with an approximate 3-point advantage in cognitive and language scores on Bayley III at 18−24 months. However, in our own neonatal intensive care unit setting in St. Louis, we documented a negative impact of SFR with lower language scores (−8.3 (95% CI −2.4 to 14.2), p = 0.006) and a strong trend toward worsening motor scores at 24 months follow-up. We attributed this to the sensory isolation within the SFR environment if the parental presence and engagement was low. A subsequent study in the same unit in St. Louis by Dr. Pineda’s team demonstrated that the average presence of parents was higher in the SFR environment at 3.6 h/day compared to 2.4 h/day in the open bay environment. Notably, mothers reported more NICU stress in the SFR environment.

A recent meta-analysis of 13 study populations (n = 4793) concluded that there was no clear difference between room environments in cognitive neurodevelopment on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III at 18–24 months (680 infants analyzed; mean difference 1.04 [95% CI −3.45 to 5.52], p = 0·65; I2 = 42%). However, the authors did note a lower incidence of sepsis (4165 infants analyzed; 108,035 days in hospital [hospitalization days]; risk ratio 0.63 [95% CI 0.50−0.78], p < 0·0001; I2 = 0%) and higher rates of exclusive breastfeeding at discharge (484 infants analyzed; 1.31 [1.07−1.61], p = 0.01; I2 = 0%) in SFRs than in open bay units. No other differences in neonatal outcomes were noted. This meta-analysis combined Scandinavian, Australian, and USA studies.

Differences in these studies point to a clear explanation—it is “not where but who you’re with that really matters” (the lyrics from “The Best of What’s Around” by the Dave Mathews Band). In the studies documenting benefit from the SFR environment, parental presence is almost universal and routinely >12 h in duration with shared decision making. The current study adds to this literature by documenting that such parental engagement may assist in both prevention of invasive vascular devices, that are associated with increased sepsis, and more informed interpretation of their infant’s clinical signs to better define the risk of sepsis. In the current study, it is not possible to untangle the effects of the SFR from the FICare model, with both promoting the presence and engagement of the family in care decisions. It appears that it is this critical combination that renders the benefits seen in this and other studies of the SFR, predominantly reported from Scandinavia.

In contrast, the studies documenting the adverse effects from the SFR environment, typically studies in the settings of large urban NICUs within the USA, parental presence averaged <4 h/day. Although this was increased compared to the open bay environment, it appeared associated with greater NICU stress in the mothers with both greater adult and infant isolation. Thus, without a structured program of parental support and engagement with their infant and shared decision making, this modest increase in parental presence may not offset the deficit in human language exposure which appears critical during the third trimester for language development.

In conclusion, although much effort has been focused on the room type, it appears more pertinent to ask what is happening in any space in which an infant is being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit. This appears just as relevant for shorter lengths of stay, as shown by the current study. It is worthy of note that it is common for medical rounds or records to lack any systematic documentation or summary review of the nature of the parent’s presence or engagement, other than to discuss in a socially cursory manner. The SFR encourages greater presence of the parents to be “living” with their infant, enabling a family-centered model of care, with the combination in many studies resulting in reduced sepsis, enhanced human milk production, improved parental mental health and attachment and improved infant neurodevelopmental outcomes. To achieve the presence of parents for >12 h, and ideally 24 h/day, in the setting of the USA will require firm advocacy from the neonatal community as a fundamentally important facet of care. It is no longer “nice to have” but a “necessary element of care” for optimal outcomes. The provision of paid parental leave during the time of an infant’s neonatal intensive care course for both parents should be federally mandated as medically necessary, and we must fight for our infants’ right to their parent’s presence. The SFR environment greatly assists parents and staff with such a model of family-centered care but it is only a facilitator of the true key—the parents.


Preemies at greater risk for mortality in adulthood

By Svein Inge Meland – Published 23.03.2021

*** It’s important to remember that most people who are born prematurely do well, and that treatment and follow-up are constantly improving, says Professor Kari Risnes at NTNU.

The risk of dying from heart disease, chronic lung disease or diabetes in adulthood is twice as high for preemies —premature infants — as for the general population. Even those who were born just two to three weeks before term have a slightly increased risk.

A new study of mortality among young adults who were premature infants includes 6.3 million adults under the age of 50 in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Among this group, 5.4 per cent were preemies, or born before term, according to Professor Kari Risnes at NTNU’s Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine and St. Olavs Hospital.

Researchers used the national birth registers and compared them with the cause of death registers that all Scandinavian countries have.

“We already know that preemies have increased mortality in childhood and early adulthood. Now we’ve confirmed the risk of death from chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes before the age of 50,” says Risnes.

Normal cancer and stroke risk

The study shows that the risk of preemies dying before the age of 50 is 40 per cent higher than for the population as a whole. Researchers found that the risk of dying for individuals born before full gestation and who have chronic heart disease, lung disease or diabetes is twice that of the population as a whole. However, this group has no increased risk of death from cancer and stroke.

“We were surprised to see that the risk of death was higher even in people who were born as late as weeks 37 and 38, only a few weeks before full gestation. Although the extra risk was only about 10 per cent, this group makes up about 15 per cent of all births, and we have to try to map the causal relationships here,” says the paediatrician.

Findings should be factored in

Risnes believes that the results from the study should be factored in when doctors assess the patient’s risk of disease and their preventive advice for the patient.

“Our idea is that we should increase awareness in both the general population and among doctors so that the risk can be reduced. We need to recognize that prematurity is a factor to take into account when assessing risk, just like we do with a family history of heart disease, obesity or smoking,” says Risnes.

“It’s important to be aware of additional factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, like high blood pressure, obesity, inactivity and high blood sugar, plus the high levels of all these additional factors that we see more of in premature births,” she says.

Early prevention important

“These diseases are often preventable. Good treatment is important and can often be longterm to maintain a good quality of life and avoid illness and death. We should be identifying lifestyle changes from an early age that reduce the risks, like more physical activity and avoiding obesity and smoking,” says Risnes.

One question still to be answered is whether more premature than full-term infants develop these chronic diseases, or if they are just generally less well equipped to survive the diseases.

“We need to try to address this question in the next round of research. It may be that the diseases crop up earlier in premature babies. We don’t have data on this yet,” Risnes says.

In the 1960s and 1970s, only 20 to 30 per cent of the most premature infants reached 15 years of age. Today, their survival rate is over 90 per cent. This means that the strong ones, the survivors, were preemies in Risne’s study of adults.

“With better neonatal medicine, the proportion of the population born prematurely is growing,” says Risne. She believes it will be important to follow this population closely in terms of risk. In the study, individuals born prematurely around 1980 had a slightly higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those born around 1970.

Not genetics or environment

The study doesn’t indicate that the social status of the mother or conditions of upbringing explain the increased risk of mortality. The researchers compared siblings to find out if the excess mortality was due to genetics or socioeconomic conditions.

“We found that risk of death for these diseases was higher for people born prematurely — preemies — than for their full-term siblings. We concluded that the increased risk can’t be fully explained by genes, which siblings have in common, or by socio-economic conditions and living conditions in childhood,” says Risnes.

Most common diseases

Dying in the first 50 years of life is rare. For 30-year-olds, the risk of dying is one in 1 000 per year, for 50-year-olds the risk rises to two in 1 000. Chronic diseases make up a minor percentage of these deaths. The researchers in the EU study chose to look at cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease and diabetes because these are the most common chronic diseases that can be fatal.

In the past, it has been difficult to access other nations’ health databases. Risnes is very happy that such access was possible for this study. Robust results are easier to attain with such a large volume of health data. The findings of the study are consistent between countries.


Recognising a Grandparent’s Journey

FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2020

When a family travels the difficult journey of welcoming a premature or sick baby into the world, it isn’t just the parents or carers who are impacted.

The whole family feels the reality and shares in the emotions of the experience. None more so than grandparents. Grandparents are often an invisible casualty when a birth does not go to plan and ends in an emergency delivery and admission to the NICU. Grandparents are part of a common phenomenon where there’s a double concern for both the newborn grandchild, and their adult child who is managing this stressful event physically, mentally, and emotionally.

While Grandparents are the most common support system for new parents, the hospital restrictions and fragile health of an NICU baby can create an imbalance of involvement and un-involvement, which is often difficult to avoid. Hence, grandparents may require great flexibility to help in other ways.

One common way to help is in the home, attending to the needs of the siblings, and supporting the family’s routine which is a huge and much-needed help. During this time grandparents provide new parents the opportunity to be with their baby and to also be part of the healthcare team. In a way, they become the scaffolding for parents to be in this very important position for the best outcome for their grandchild.

It’s important to also acknowledge the challenges for grandparents of babies in the hospital during COVID-19 who would have no involvement in the NICU and for some, possibly meeting this new baby for the first-time months later, once discharged. The restrictions that are put into place are there to protect the fragile health of the baby as well as protecting this particular age group from entering a building where patients are being treated for the COVID-19 virus. All of those feelings of fear, worry, and uncertainty are shared by the new parents and extended family, however grandparents are unique and medical staff should understand and welcome them in their supportive presence. They are the unsung heroes of this life-changing event.

We are looking for stories from a grandparents perspective, sharing your experience of having a grandchild in NICU or SCN and watching your own child navigate the challenges of such a journey. If you would like to share your story click HERE.


She Had a Preemie — and Then She Started to Ask Important Questions

By Randi Hutter Epstein  & Sarah DiGregorio – Jan. 28, 2020

EARLY:  An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What It Teaches Us About Being Human

Sarah DiGregorio was 28 weeks pregnant when she found out that her baby had stopped growing. Two days later, her daughter, Mira, was delivered via an emergency cesarean section. She weighed 1 pound 13 ounces.

“My body had been trying to kill her,” DiGregorio writes.

“Early” opens like a medical thriller. Newborn Mira is whisked away to a neonatal intensive care unit while her parents are bombarded with statistics, terrified about her future. It closes with Mira, a robust toddler, diving into a pit of foam blocks. This isn’t a spoiler — but the heart of DiGregorio’s illuminating book isn’t just about her family’s journey; it’s an expansive examination of the history and ethics of neonatology.

For most of human history, babies born months too soon were left to die. They were considered less than full-fledged beings, not quite living and therefore not worth saving. Plus, there wasn’t much to be done.

The field of neonatology took off in the second half of the 20th century when a few pediatricians, often against the advice of colleagues, dared to save newborns.

In 1961, Dr. Mildred Stahlman, a Vanderbilt University pediatrician, fitted a premature baby into a miniature iron lung machine. These machines, originally for polio patients, used negative pressure to pull open weak chest muscles to draw air into the lungs. The baby survived. Stahlman then created one of the first neonatal units and trained a cadre of disciples.

By the 1970s, negative pressure machines were replaced with positive pressure ones that worked by inflating the lungs. It was a tricky technique that required threading the tiniest of tubes through the trachea and into the lungs. Dr. Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos, then a pediatrician at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, was one of the first to try. Seventeen attempts were unsuccessful. Then she saved one baby girl. Her tenacity paved the way for half a million people born prematurely living today.

And yet, DiGregorio reminds us, every advance — every attempt at every advance — brings with it new dilemmas. Such innovations may save a child’s life but can leave them with significant disabilities. A doctor cannot predict how a particular premature baby will fare. Complicating the matter, who’s to say what kind of life is worth fighting for and how much treatment is too much?

In “Early,” we read about neonatologists, bioethicists and parents grappling with the toughest decisions. We meet pediatric palliative care specialists and parents who forgo further treatment and embrace their babies as they die. DiGregorio covers other factors that influence prematurity, such as poverty and racism.

DiGregorio, a food editor and writer, is such a beautiful storyteller, I found myself underlining passages, turning corners of pages and keeping track of the page numbers at the back of the book until I had a hodgepodge of numbers scribbled on top of each other.

She imagines her nonfunctioning placenta as “a beat-up old car, chugging along, belching smoke”; after her emergency C-section, she writes, her body “felt like an empty house that had been vacated in a rush, leaving dirty dishes in the sink.” And later, DiGregorio refers to a 1-year-old as “that sweet spot between baby and toddler.”

By the epilogue, when the narrative returns to DiGregorio’s personal story, readers will appreciate how medicine lurches forward with leaps and mishaps along with the inevitably tense discussions about which path to take and when. All doctors wrestle with these issues, yet they seem particularly poignant when we are dealing with tiny babies. That’s because, as DiGregorio puts it, the field of neonatology has “changed the way we understand what it means to be alive, what it means to be human, and what constitutes a life worth living.”

Randi Hutter Epstein is the writer in residence at the Yale School of Medicine and author of “Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything.”

An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What It Teaches Us About Being Human

By Sarah DiGregorio
A version of this article appears in print on Feb. 9, 2020, Page 17 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: Born Too Soon.


© Provided by The Boston Globe – Brian and Kristen Sardini with Aila at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


Laura Crimaldi – The Boston Globe

Brian and Kristen Sardini didn’t expect to become parents in time to mark Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year. Their first baby was due on July 4.

But little Aila had different plans.

The baby girl was born March 26 during her mother’s 25th week of pregnancy. She weighed just over a pound.

On Sunday, the family will mark Brian Sardini’s first Father’s Day with Aila in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“It’s the best Father’s Day gift in the world,” he said Saturday. “I’ve always wanted to be a dad and wouldn’t change anything because Aila’s perfect.”

During her three months in the unit, Aila has made tremendous strides, her parents said. The ventilator and continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine that Aila once used for breathing are history. A crib has replaced the isolette where she once spent most of her time. She’s tried out breastfeeding and started wearing clothes from the Preemie Store, which sells “micro” sizes for babies who weigh between 1 and 3 pounds.

On Friday night, Aila tipped the scales at just over 4 pounds. She has a collection of colorful, hand-knitted octopuses, which are used in hospitals to comfort premature babies.

What’s more, her parents have already read her the first four books in the “Harry Potter” series and are now halfway through reading her the fifth book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

“We started reading her ‘Harry Potter’ when she was, I think, 3 days old,” said Kristen.

Dr. Elisa Abdulhayoglu, the NICU’s medical director, said she was in the room when Aila was born and watched Brian meet his daughter.

“He bent down, looked at his beautiful little girl, and he said, ‘Yup. I’m a daddy’s girl for sure,’” she said. “It was an absolutely beautiful, beautiful moment.”

Good thing beautiful moments don’t require planning. Four days before Aila was born, Kristen said she had an uneventful appointment with her obstetrician. On the following day, the couple, both 27, planned to go to work and turn in a down payment for their new home in Medway.

But that day, they also went to an ultrasound appointment, and got some troubling news. Kristen had pre-eclampsia and needed to be admitted to the hospital for monitoring. Her routine checkup from the day before was suddenly ancient history.

“I had a totally normal OB appointment. My blood pressure was like 112 over 79. Completely normal. No red flags. Nothing wrong,” she said. “Within 24 hours, I was being sent to the Brigham. That’s how quickly this stuff can happen. And it’s really crazy.”

Kristen credits her husband with getting her through the Cesarean section birth.

“He just really helped me stay calm, and just like he said, focus on the task at hand and just take one thing at a time, and not let myself get lost in in mumbo jumbo of everything,” she said.

Before the birth, the couple said they were warned that their daughter wasn’t likely to cry or move when she was born and they wouldn’t have a chance to cut her umbilical cord.

Once again, Aila had something else in mind. She entered the world kicking, waving, and “crying at the top of her lungs,” her parents said. Brian also got to cut the umbilical cord.

“People say that when you see your child for the first time, it’s just an instant, instant bond and your whole life kind of changes,” Brian said. “As cliché as it sounds, it really is what happens.”

At a gestational age of 25 weeks, Abdulhayoglu said Aila is considered young by preterm standards. The majority of preterm babies born in the United States have reached a gestational age of at least 32 weeks, she said. The Brigham’s NICU cares for preterm babies as young as 22 weeks gestation, though, according to Abdulhayoglu.

In the long-term, she said outcomes are “excellent” for babies born at 25 weeks gestation.

“Parents are the true champions for these tiny, preterm babies, and her parents are amazing,” Abdulhayoglu said. “They’re there every day.”

The couple said they don’t know when Aila will be ready to leave the hospital, but they hope to take her home next month.

On Sunday, the couple said they plan to spend most of the day at the hospital with Aila, reading and snuggling. They heaped praise on the nurses, doctors, social workers, and other Brigham employees who have assisted them during Aila’s hospitalization.

Aila shares a room overlooking a courtyard with six other babies and decorated by her nurses with photographs of her and prints of her feet positioned to look like butterfly wings.

On Mother’s Day, Kristen said her daughter’s nurses gave her a mug that read, “Mom,” with Aila’s handprint in the spot for the letter O.

Kristen said she wants her husband to enjoy his first Father’s Day with their daughter.

“I hope that he just has the best day possible,” she said. “He has 100 percent earned it.”



MRI Detects Atypical Brain Development in Premature Babies By News Release – School of Medicine in Boston

Subtle differences in brain structure can be detected by quantitative MRI (qMRI) in premature babies who later develop abnormalities such as autism or cerebral palsy. The study, published in Radiology, demonstrates the potential for qMRI, which obtains numerical measurements, to help improve outcomes for the growing numbers of people born preterm.

Advances in neonatal care have boosted survival rates for children born extremely preterm, defined as fewer than 28 weeks of gestation. With so many preterm infants surviving, there is interest in understanding the effects of preterm birth on brain development. Research has shown that extremely preterm babies face higher risks of brain abnormalities.

“So much of the maturation of brain occurs during the third trimester when the fetus is in the womb’s nourishing environment,” said study co-author Thomas M. O’Shea, MD, from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. “These preterm babies don’t experience that, so it seems likely that there are alterations in the brain maturation during that interval.”

Dr. O’Shea and colleagues at 14 academic medical centers in the US launched a study 20 years ago to better understand the effects of preterm birth. The study, known as the Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborn-Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ELGAN-ECHO), evolved over the years to include experts in medical imaging like medical physicist Hernán Jara, PhD, professor of radiology at Boston University School of Medicine in Boston.

For the new study, Dr. Jara, Dr. O’Shea, and other ELGAN-ECHO researchers used qMRI. The noninvasive technique generates rich information on the brain without radiation. The researchers used it to assess the brains of adolescents who had been born extremely preterm.

“Quantitative MRI in a large dataset allows you to identify small differences between populations that may reflect microstructural tissue abnormalities not visually observable from imaging,” Dr. Jara said.

The researchers collected data from MRI scanners at 12 different centers on females and males, ages 14 to 16 years. They compared the qMRI results between atypically versus neurotypically developing adolescents. They also compared females versus males. The comparison included common MRI parameters, or measurements, like brain volume. It looked at less commonly used parameters too. One such example was proton density, a measurement related to the amount of water in the brain’s gray and white matter.

“What we aimed to do with qMRI was establish a biological marker that could help us discern these preterm children who had a diagnosis of disorder from those who didn’t,” said study lead author Ryan McNaughton, MS, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Boston University.

There was no control group of people born after the typical nine months of gestation. Instead, the researchers used the neurotypically developed children for comparison.

Of the 368 adolescents in the study, 252 developed neurotypically while 116 had atypical development. The atypically developing participants had differences in brain structure visible on qMRI. For instance, there were subtle differences in white matter related to proton density that corresponded with less free water.

“This might be the tip of the iceberg since the amount of free water is highly regulated in the brain,” Dr. Jara said. “The fact that this difference was observed more in females than males may also be related to the known comparative resilience of females as demonstrated in findings from earlier ELGAN-ECHO and other studies.”

The researchers collected umbilical cord and blood samples at the beginning of the study. They plan to use them to look for correlations between qMRI findings and the presence of toxic elements like cadmium, arsenic, and other metals. The power of qMRI will allow them to study both the quantity and quality of myelin, the protective covering of nerves that is important in cognitive development. They also want to bring in psychiatrists and psychologists to relate qMRI findings to intelligence, social cognition and other outcomes.

“This project shows how researchers with different expertise can work together to use qMRI as a predictor of psychiatric and neurocognitive outcome,” McNaughton said.

“The teamwork required to get where we are now is pretty astounding,” Dr. O’Shea added. “I’m really grateful for the families, the nursing coordinators, and everyone else who made this possible.”


Dr. Philip Sunshine, founding father of Neonatology, is turning 90!

Jun 12, 2020

Our beloved Dr. Philip Sunshine, one of the founding fathers of Neonatology, is turning 90 years young! His only birthday wish? To help save more babies.

Fascinated? Learn more about Dr. Sunshine here:

Policy Strategies for Addressing Current Threats to the U.S. Nursing Workforce

List of authors. Deena Kelly Costa, Ph.D., R.N., and Christopher R. Friese, Ph.D., R.N.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that without enough registered nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and other clinicians, the U.S. health care system cannot function. Weaknesses in health care staffing are of particular concern when it comes to the workforce of registered nurses, which could well see a mass exodus as the Covid-19 pandemic eases in the United States and the economy recovers. In a 2021 national survey conducted by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 66% of respondents reported having considered leaving the profession, a percentage that is much higher than previously reported rates. Unsafe work environments — which predated the pandemic — are a key contributor to intentions to leave. Clinicians, health system executives, and policymakers have issued calls to address this crisis, but there has been little in the way of tangible federal or state policy action to prevent workforce losses or to build capacity.

Although it may comfort hospital executives to imagine a post-Covid future in which nurses are again willing to accept positions at local pay scales, such a scenario is unlikely to come about anytime soon. Historically, nurses have reduced their working hours or left the workforce during economic growth periods and returned during recessions, when family incomes fall.1 Nurses may again choose reduced employment as Covid-19 pressures ease and economic conditions improve. Moreover, nurses reported pervasive unsafe working conditions before the pandemic, and during Covid, they have cited a range of stressors and traumatic experiences, including furloughs, a lack of adequate protective equipment, increased violence, excessive workloads, and reduced support services. Pressures on the nursing workforce may therefore only worsen as Covid-19 subsides.

Federal and State Policy Approaches to Supporting Nurse Staffing in the United States.

State and federal policy solutions could prevent workforce losses and increase the supply of nurses (see table). Although there are challenges and opportunities for the nursing workforce throughout health care settings, hospitals are a particularly important area of focus.

Preventing the loss of current nurses is an essential component of shoring up the hospital nursing workforce. We contend that there isn’t a shortage of nurses, but a shortage of hospitals that provide nurses with safe work environments and adequate pay and benefits. At the federal level, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) could publish regulations, similar to recently announced policies governing skilled nursing facilities, that specify standards (including maximum patient-to-nurse ratios) for ensuring safe nursing care — and could establish financial penalties for hospitals that violate these regulations. Data supporting increased nurse staffing have been available for decades.2

Another federal strategy centers on investing in reimagined, safer health care systems. Congress could appropriate funds to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to support investigator-initiated grants focused on developing new, scalable care-delivery models that are designed to improve outcomes for patients and clinicians. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health could expand testing of protective equipment and strategies for improving health care workers’ well-being. Data are needed on care-delivery models that keep patients safe and on approaches for promoting joy and safety in clinical work.

Regulatory bodies, including CMS and CMS-approved accreditors, such as the Joint Commission, could scale back regulations and standards that add to nursing workloads. Although some regulations were temporarily eased during the pandemic, new rulemaking could eliminate especially burdensome provisions that aren’t essential to patient safety. For example, clinical-documentation burden is a frequently cited source of job dissatisfaction and burnout. Documentation requirements, which are interpreted in various ways by different hospitals, could be minimized to reduce burnout and attrition.

States have more flexibility than the federal government when it comes to enacting legislative and regulatory changes to improve work environments and prevent losses in the nursing workforce. In the absence of federal action in this area, state legislation promoting safer nurse-staffing practices — such as laws establishing mandatory patient-to-nurse ratios — is an evidence-based intervention to support patient safety and reduce the likelihood of nurse departures. Studies have reported improved nurse staffing, improved job satisfaction among nurses, and improved patient outcomes in California after the state enacted legislation prohibiting mandatory overtime for nurses and establishing maximum patient-to-nurse ratios.3 Many U.S. hospitals continue to require nurses to work overtime hours, however, and few have mandated staffing ratios. Legislatures in some states have introduced bipartisan bills similar to California’s law that would restrict mandated overtime and implement maximum staffing ratios. When considered at a national scale, mandated staffing ratios face implementation hurdles, since coordination would be required to distribute the nursing workforce equitably throughout the country. But such policies would most likely prevent workforce losses and boost the number of entrants into the profession.

Policies could also support career development among nurses. Studies have documented the negative effects of Covid-19 on the careers of women in particular. Approximately 90% of U.S. nurses are women, and many of them have faced pressures related to family care during the pandemic, amid school and child-care facility closures. To ease nurses’ household burdens, states could offer loan-repayment programs and offset nursing school tuition debt. They could also provide grants or tax benefits to hospitals offering on-site child care, after-school care, or comprehensive dependent-care programs. Finally, states could offer innovation grants to hospitals to develop safer, more supportive workplaces or fund new initiatives to support on-site graduate-school and professional-development programs designed to retain experienced nurses.

Preventing workforce losses is important, but so is increasing the supply of nurses. The United States lacks access to real-time workforce data and expert guidance for evaluating those data and for advising policymakers on workforce shortages. The National Health Care Workforce Commission was authorized as part of the Affordable Care Act, but Congress never funded it. Appropriating funds for this commission would strengthen the country’s ability to respond to the current threat to nurse staffing and prepare for future ones.

A key factor constraining the supply of nurses derives from structural barriers within nursing education. Being hired as a nursing school faculty member requires having an advanced degree, but expert nurses rarely accept faculty positions because salaries are higher for practice roles. Faculty shortages, among other factors, limit nursing school enrollments; over the past decade, schools turned away between 47,000 and 68,000 qualified applicants annually.4 Federal policies could loosen the nursing bottleneck. For example, policymakers could increase financial incentives to recruit nurse educators, expand nursing school loan-forgiveness programs, fund grants for hospitals and nursing schools to share expert nurses as clinician-educators, and develop a nurse faculty corps program to raise salaries in regions with shortages of nurses. Creative financial incentives, such as tuition-remission programs or programs that provide loans at low interest rates, could encourage prospective students to choose nursing careers. Pipeline programs and partnerships among high schools, technical schools, and universities could permit emergency medical technicians, certified nursing assistants, and armed forces corpsmen or medics to apply clinical work hours toward nursing degrees and qualify for targeted scholarships supported by state or federal funds. Expansion of the CMS Graduate Nurse Education demonstration project could substantially increase the number of qualified nurse practitioners, who could also serve as clinical nursing faculty.

State legislation that eliminates onerous scope-of-practice regulations for advanced practice providers would enable nurse practitioners, including midwives, to practice independently and could increase access to health care. In Michigan, Senate Bill 680 would implement these reforms, thereby allowing nurse practitioners to prescribe tests, medications, and services. This bill could increase the state’s supply of clinicians and potentially attract nurses planning to pursue advanced degrees.

Threats to the nursing workforce aren’t new, and neither are proposals to address them.5 Although policies aimed at individual components of this problem could be helpful, a comprehensive package of federal, state, and local efforts would probably be the most effective approach for averting health care system dysfunction and adverse outcomes. We believe federal and state policies should both prevent the loss of current nurses and increase the supply of nurses. Without timely investments in the nursing workforce, the United States may have enough hospital beds for seriously ill patients, but not enough nurses to deliver essential, safe care.


Skin injuries to babies in neonatal care could be avoided with new splint, trial shows

by Victoria University of Wellington – MAY 26, 2022

A new device to prevent skin injuries to babies in neonatal intensive care units has been successfully trialed in a study led by Dr. Deborah Harris, a neonatal nurse practitioner at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Most babies admitted to hospital need an intravenous drip to deliver fluids and medications, says Dr. Harris. This drip is secured to the baby’s skin using adhesive tape.

“Removing the adhesive tape is painful and can cause skin injuries and scarring. Skin damage also increases the risk of the baby getting an infection and being in hospital longer. We designed a device called a Pēpi Splint that can be used to secure the drip without the need to apply adhesive tape to the baby’s skin,” Dr. Harris says.

A trial of the Pēpi Splint on 38 babies at Wellington Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit showed it was effective and avoided the skin damage caused by adhesives.

“The Pēpi Splint held the drips secure for 34 of the 38 babies in our trial. In four cases, the splint became loose either because it hadn’t been secured properly or was dislodged when the baby was removed from the cot for breastfeeding.”

Dr. Harris says the results provide support for a larger randomized controlled trial.

“Skin injuries are common in neonatal units and the damage caused to a baby’s skin by adhesive tape can be considerable. Removing the tape has the potential to strip 70% to 90% of a baby’s epidermis. We hope the Pēpi Splint will help reduce these injuries to newborns.”

The splint is made from medical-grade silicon gel and contains an aluminum mesh, allowing it to be molded to the baby’s limb. Adhesive tape is used on the Pēpi Splint itself to secure it to the drip, but tape is not applied to the baby’s skin.

During the trial, modifications were made to the splint to make it easier to use. “After these changes, clinicians involved in the trial reported the splint was easy to apply,” Dr. Harris says.

Most parents supported the device’s use: 52 of 58 (90%) said they would participate in the study again if they had another eligible baby.

The Pēpi Splint, developed in collaboration with a design engineer, can be washed and sterilized for reuse.



Golden Buzzer: Avery Dixon’s Emotional Audition Moves Terry Crews to Tears | AGT 2022

May 31, 2022  –    #AGT #AmericasGotTalent #Auditions

     America’s Got Talent

Grab your tissues; Avery Dixon’s emotional audition might make you cry. Terry Crews was moved to tears when he heard Avery’s sensational saxophone skills and harrowing story about being bullied.

Kat’s Korner

Fellow Warriors and Preemie Parents,

As per the NTNU St. Olay Hospital’s Study, “ the risk of dying before the age of 50 is 40 percent higher for preemies than for the population as a whole. Researchers found that the risk of dying for individuals born before full gestation and who have chronic heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes is twice that of the population as a whole.” These findings provide valuable information in regard to the morbidity risk of preemie infant survivors and highlight the need for further research. 

Increased diagnosis and early detection of disease conditions that preemie survivors are more prone to experience are critical as our rate of survival is improving and more of us are thriving well into adulthood. While research efforts to improve outcomes, reduce mortality and enhance care for neonates have drastically improved over the past 50 years, few studies have investigated long-term outcomes, health disparities, and the impact of the life-long physical and psychological impact of being premature among the adult population. We need to establish specialist education/credentialing that support workforce opportunities to partake in diagnostics, treatment, research and  development aimed at addressing adult care for preemie infant survivors.

As a community that makes up 11-12% of the global population, we can connect and engage with each other as preemie survivors, promote collaboration between all members of our community, and actively advocate for change in the clinical management of preemie infant survivors to include long-term and specialized care.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about ways to connect with our adult preemie community a great resource is the Adult Preemie Advocacy Network, sharing safe space communication platforms for preemie survivors and opportunities to participate in research activities, and partake in advocacy activities to support our resilient community. Check out this great resource below-


Surfing Under the Northern Lights w/ Mick Fanning | Chasing the Shot: Norway Ep 1

Mar 20, 2017



Japan is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. Japan is a part of the Ring of Fire, and spans an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi); the five main islands are HokkaidoHonshu (the “mainland”), ShikokuKyushu, and Okinawa. Japan is the eleventh most populous country in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated and urbanized. Japan is a great power and a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations (since 1956), OECDG20 and Group of Seven. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, the country maintains Self-Defense Forces that rank as one of the world’s strongest militaries. After World War II, Japan experienced record growth in an economic miracle, becoming the second-largest economy in the world by 1972 but has stagnated since 1995 in what is referred to as the Lost Decades. As of 2021, the country’s economy is the third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by PPP. Ranked “very high” on the Human Development Index, Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies, though it is experiencing a decline in population. A global leader in the automotiverobotics and electronics industries, Japan has made significant contributions to science and technology. The culture of Japan is well known around the world, including its artcuisinemusic, and popular culture, which encompasses prominent comicanimation and video game industries.

The level of health in Japan is due to a number of factors including cultural habits, isolation, and a universal health care system. John Creighton Campbell, a professor at the University of Michigan and Tokyo University, told the New York Times in 2009 that Japanese people are the healthiest group on the planet. Japanese visit a doctor nearly 14 times a year, more than four times as often as Americans. Life expectancy in 2013 was 83.3 years – among the highest on the planet. 

A new measure of expected human capital calculated for 195 countries from 1990 to 2016 and defined for each birth cohort as the expected years lived from age 20 to 64 years and adjusted for educational attainment, learning or education quality, and functional health status was published by the Lancet in September 2018. Japan had the highest level of expected human capital among the 20 largest countries: 24.1 health, education, and learning-adjusted expected years lived between age 20 and 64 years.



Rank: 175  –Rate: 5.9%   Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births 

(USA – 12 %, Global Average: 11.1%)


Resilience is at the core of each and every Neonatal Womb Warrior/Preterm Birth Community member. We have all been challenged and have responded with such great love, commitment, and to the best of our abilities.

From the perspective of a parent who has experienced the death of a preemie baby, and the rigorous commitment it took to support the ultimate well-being of a surviving preterm birth twin, the needless death of our children due to war, school shootings in the USA, lack of adequate healthcare in many global communities, including the USA, the challenges we face as we are called to navigate pandemics and global warming calls my heart to weep at times and my soul to act.

Now more than ever, we have an opportunity in our lives to step in and focus our energies on building strong and resilient solutions that protect, heal, and empower our mutual wellness through collaborative innovation. Together we can engage in creating new systems and resources to act, not react, to the issues heavily impacting our world.

The first step towards effective collaboration with our Pre-term Birth Community and the Global Community starts with a look within. As we look into our individual personal internal habitat in order to develop and secure a solid foundation to carry with us, we acknowledge our personal responsibility and ability to empower our personal well-being and to establish and maintain trust within.

The more we each seek our own health and happiness, the stronger the world becomes. Start with you and yours. Each one of us is called to travel a unique path. Follow your guidance, embrace your journey. Your happiness and well-being itself are transformative. Ultimately, action based on a foundation of love will prosper and triumph. Kathy, Kat and Gannon (the other cat).

The clinical management and outcomes of extremely preterm infants in Japan: past, present, and future

Tetsuya Isayama Division of Neonatology, Center of Maternal-Fetal Neonatal and Reproductive Medicine, National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan Correspondence to: Tetsuya Isayama, MD, MSc, PhD. Division of Neonatology, Center of Maternal-Fetal Neonatal and Reproductive Medicine, National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan. Email: Submitted Apr 10, 2019. Accepted for publication Jul 08, 2019.

Abstract: There is a wide variation in neonatal mortality rates across regions and countries. Japan has one of the lowest neonatal mortality rates in the world; in particular, the mortality rate of extremely preterm infants (i.e., those born before 26 weeks of gestation) is much lower in Japan than in other developed countries. In addition, Japan has low incidences of intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, and late-onset sepsis, a very high incidence of retinopathy of prematurity, and a relatively high incidence of chronic lung disease. In Japan, general perinatal medical centers (PMCs), which are PMCs that offer the highest levels of care, are required to have an obstetric department with maternal-fetal intensive care units as well as a neonatal or pediatric department with neonatal intensive care units (NICU), in order to promote antenatal rather than neonatal maternal transfer of high-risk cases. The limit of viability of extremely preterm infants is 22 weeks of gestation, and approximately half of them are estimated to receive active resuscitation. The clinical management of extremely preterm infants in Japan are characterized by (I) circulatory management that is guided by neonatologist-performed echocardiography, (II) relatively invasive respiratory management, (III) nutritional management, which entails the promotion of breast milk feeding, early enteral feeding, routine glycerin enema, and the administration of probiotics, (IV) neurological management by means of minimal handling, sedation of ventilated infants, and serial brain ultrasounds, and (V) infection control with the assistance of serial C-reactive protein (CRP) monitoring. Thus, this review provides a brief description of the development of neonatology in Japan, introduces the unique features of Japanese clinical management of extremely preterm infants, and overviews their outcomes.




this music video!

Novelbright – 愛とか恋とか [Official Music Video]

#Novelbright #愛とか恋とか #関水渚 2,332,778 views  Premiered Apr 22, 2022

Affordable, Lightweight, Neonatal Incubators – mOm Incubators#HeroSeries

Apr 20, 2022  Innovate UK KTN

15 million babies are born prematurely every single year, and of that about 7% don’t make it due to poor healthcare. Decreasing infant mortality rates by addressing accessibility issues is at the heart of what they do at mOm incubators. CEO and product designer of mOm incubators James Roberts is rethinking the way neonatal healthcare is delivered. Their neonatal incubator is a unique solution that contrasts traditional incubators in that it is a 20 kg portable, collapsible, and accessible solution that provides flexibility to medical staff, allowing them to provide the necessary care to infants whenever and wherever it is needed, in any environment and even during transportation. As any traditional incubator, mOm incubators provide a high spec thermally stable and safe environment for premature infants. However, these particular incubators run on 100 watts in steady state, making them very energy efficient and thus have a low carbon footprint. Innovate UK’s Sustainable innovation Fund allowed the company to perform a usability study to gather data and detailed feedback on how to improve the performance of the incubator. The fund also allowed the company to test their product in a clinical setting for the first time. This technology can benefit thousands of premature babies not only throughout the UK but internationally, changing the landscape for neonatal care on a global scale through a high-tech and sustainable solution.

When a mom and baby are cuddling, talking and cooing warmly with each other, making eye contact, listening and responding to each other, they are influencing the very physiological functions that underlie their health.

Relational Health Through the Lens of Emotional Connection

February 17, 2022

“Toxic stress” as a concept has gained a firm foothold in our health discourse and even crossed over into the mainstream. That’s because we can so clearly see the physiological and behavioral effects it is having on our children. 

But what do we do about it? And how do we shift our attention from merely identifying toxic stress as a problem to buffering it? How do we build healthy, resilient children and families?

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement last year that says the answer lies in fostering relational health between children and adults in pediatric primary care practice. 

But how we foster relational health remains up for interpretation. As the policy statement reports, many pediatric and early childhood professionals have long recognized the vital importance of the parent-child relationship, and yet “the elemental nature of relational health is not reflected in much of our current training, research, practice, and advocacy.” 

From our perspective here at the Nurture Science Program, there are three central reasons relational health has not become an integral component of pediatric care. 

1. Relational Health is still largely considered psychological. 

2. Most existing relational health screens look separately at parent or child, take time, and are difficult to code.

3. Within existing frameworks, such as attachment theory, each individual develops a fixed attachment style, which means it does not change. Early intervention then becomes the only hope for the developing child.

Through our lens and work on autonomic emotional connection, we hope to provide a practical, scalable solution. 

1. Relational health is biological, physiological, and interpersonal. 

Over decades of research we have uncovered that there is something happening between mother and infant when they get emotionally connected—not just in the brain, but on a deep body-to-body level, which is where we can observe and measure it. That is why we call it autonomic emotional connection. 

The autonomic nervous system is the nervous system that modulates our stress response; it makes our hearts beat and lungs breathe without our having to think about it; these processes regulate our emotional behavior. When mom and baby are emotionally connected on the autonomic level, they are actually regulating each other’s heart rates and hormones and positively affecting each other’s stress responses. In other words, when a mom and baby are cuddling, talking and cooing warmly with each other, making eye contact, listening and responding to each other, they are influencing the very physiological functions that underlie their health. 

It sounds strange, I know. We don’t think of things like cuddling and cooing as science—but they are behavioral manifestations of essential physiological and biological processes happening between two bodies. 

And the impacts these behaviors have on our physiology are profound. Through our randomized control trial of Family Nurture Intervention (FNI) in NICU, we found that engaging mothers and children in autonomic emotional connection dramatically improves babies’ development, sleep, stress resilience, attention, cognitive, learning, and language scores. Mothers also saw improved mental health and lower cardiac risk. Five years later, both mother and child still had better physiological regulation and stress resilience (which is important when we’re worried about the effects of toxic stress). 

Once parent-facing professionals can understand that relational health produces physiological outcomes  and observable behaviors—rather than being an ephemeral concept—they can seamlessly integrate relational health observation into an office visit where they are already checking vital signs and motor skills. 

All they need is a brief observational tool that evaluates parent and child in relationship with each other. 

2. To measure relational health, we need to observe parent and child interacting with each other face-to-face. 

Unlike existing relational health screens that only look at the child or the parent, the Welch Emotional Connection Screen (WECS) focuses on the behaviors between parent and child. It is a quick (20-30 second), easy to use, non-invasive, validated screen that a parent-facing professional can employ while observing a mother and infant interacting face-to-face with the child on the parent’s lap. 

The WECS organizes the visible behaviors of their relationship into the following four domains:

  • Mutual Attraction (Do mom and baby want to be close to each other?)
  • Vocal Communication (Is their vocal tone warm and engaging?)
  • Facial Expressiveness (Are they trying to communicate using their faces?)
  • Reciprocity (Are they sensitive to each other’s expressed emotions? Do they follow-up with each other?)

In clinical research, pairs who exhibit all of the above receive a high WECS score. And in mother-baby pairs with high WECS scores, we see improved neurobehavioral outcomes, both short and long-term. 

In widespread practice, a parent-facing professional can use the WECS, even without formally scoring it, to help identify the families that can most benefit from support. 

3. Emotional connection is a state not a trait. 

The fact that emotional connection is a state between two people and not a trait of just one person is the most hopeful takeaway from our work. It means we are not fully “baked” with a maladaptive attachment style based on whether our needs were met in childhood. It means your toddler with behavioral problems is not destined to always have behavioral problems. No matter our age or life experience, we can enter into a state of emotional connection and share its health benefits. 

Fortunately, the very same behaviors that the WECS observes can also be used to get two people connected—by conditioning the underlying physiological mechanisms of relational health. The context is still sensory—physical touch, eye contact, vocal communication—but the activity is emotional expression. 

In a pediatric primary care setting, the intervention is brief: emotional exchange between parent and child, with the child sitting on the parent’s lap. Parents respond to a prompt on an emotional topic (such as “tell your child the story of how you picked their name,” or “tell your child the story of their birth”), in their primary language. The prompt works when it elicits deep emotional expression from the parent.

During FNI (an intervention used in extreme cases, such as preterm birth), mothers are guided through what we call calming cycles. A nurture specialist prompts mothers to express their feelings to their babies while engaging their senses (e.g. skin-to-skin, making eye contact, etc). This emotional expression engages the child’s orienting reflex, and often prompts some kind of response (their oxygen saturation may go up or they may look at their mom for the first time). This cycle continues as parent and child move from mutual states of distress to mutual states of calm. Once calm and connected, we can see evidence that their physiological co-calming mechanism (what we call co-regulation) is in effect. Any further nurturing interactions between them will continue to strengthen and condition that mechanism. 

We hypothesize that the mechanism of co-regulation underlies and facilitates all of the physiological improvements, developmental gains, and emotional and mental well-being we see in our results. And because emotional connection and co-regulation feel good, moms and babies will continue to do these sensory and emotional activities, not because they have been told to, but because they want to. That may be part of why mothers and children show physiological benefits related to stress resilience (HRV) even 5 years after the intervention.

It’s Time for a Paradigm Shift

The quality of our relationships can alter the landscape of our physical and mental health, lifelong. Relational health, it turns out, is an absolutely essential part of our wellbeing, and we can foster it by looking through the lens of autonomic emotional connection. 

When we do so, we will see that relational health is behavioral and can be observed; its impacts are physiological and can be measured; and it is a state that we move in and out of with our loved ones throughout our lifetimes. The reason to start early, and to target the mother-infant relationship as a mediator of positive effects on relational health, is not merely to prevent later problems, it is to experience maximum benefit at every stage of our lives. 

This paradigm shift would necessarily impact the way that health conditions are viewed and treated: by creating environments and relationships capable of fostering the growth and health we all deserve.

Disseminating these tools and practices to researchers, clinicians, and parent-educators has the potential to help children and their families experience deep autonomic emotional connection with each other—opening the door to intergenerational health and thriving.



When can babies go home from the NICU

Jul 5, 2020   The NICU Doc

Do you want to know when can babies go home from the NICU? You have been in the NICU for days, weeks, sometimes even months and you are SO CLOSE! Find out what things need to happen for your baby to be discharged from the NICU. How can you best prepare to be ready for the day of discharge. What actually happens the day of discharge? The NICU Doc will go over the things that your baby and you need to be doing to be ready for discharge. And also, I will go over the events of the day of discharge.

*Disclaimer: Although I work in an academic institution and unless stated, the videos posted are of my sole creation. Any opinions, comments, or postings are not a representation or a reflection of our institutions. **Any medical advice or topics discussed are NO substitute for your physician’s advice and care. Actions taken on advice from the videos are done so at your own risk.

CPR Training of Parents of Preterm Babies before Discharge – Experience from a Tertiary Care NICU

Mathew Jisha, MBBS, DNB, Nagar Nandini, MBBS, DCH, DNB, Rajagopal Kumar Kishore, MBBS, DCH, MD, FIAP, DCH, MRCP, FRCPCH, FRCPI, FRACP, FNNF, MHCD


Objectives: To evaluate the feedback of CPR training given to parents of preterm babies discharged from the NICU.

Methods: This was a retrospective study conducted using a questionnaire sent to parents of preterm neonates admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from January 2007 to May 2020. All parents of newborns under 30 weeks gestation who survived to discharge were considered eligible. Parents were given CPR training on a manikin by a Neonatal resuscitation provider (NRP) certified doctor. Babies less than 30 weeks were sent home with a disposable bag and mask after the training of the parents. The responses thus received were analysed.

 Results: We analysed data from 60 responses (48.3%). 85% of the parents were given one-on-one training, the rest as classroom training. 68.3% felt that the addition of video demonstrations would be beneficial. 95% of parents said that the training helped increase their confidence in taking care of their babies. 78% felt it did not add to unnecessary parental anxiety. 5 babies received CPR at home, and all were told that the home CPR was successful on assessment at the hospital after the episode. 65% felt a repeat training would be helpful. All the parents educated about CPR opined that this training is essential for discharge preparation.

Conclusion: We conclude that parental CPR training backed by video demonstration prior to the instructor-led session and followed by repeat training after 3 months is desirable in the holistic care of preterm babies post-discharge.

Key Message – Routine CPR education of parents of preterm neonates, backed by video demonstration and repetition of training after 3 months is desirable; it improves the confidence of parents and reduces anxiety in the care of their premature infants.

Introduction: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Around the turn of the 20th century, preterm infants were discharged only when they achieved a certain weight, typically 2000 gm(5lb). Studies have shown that preterm neonates can be sent home earlier without adverse health effects based on physiologic criteria rather than body weight. Evidence has shown that preterm neonates with low birth weight who require neonatal intensive care experience a much higher rate of hospital readmission and sudden deaths during the first year after birth than healthy term infants. The most important predictor of infant survival from an acute life-threatening event (ALTE) is the time from cardiopulmonary arrest to resuscitation. More so in neonates, this is the case, who are likely to suffer a respiratory arrest that responds quickly to resuscitation. This emphasizes the importance of systematic preparation for discharge and good follow-up thereafter of high-risk preterm neonates to reduce the chances of such life-threatening events.

Preterm neonates should demonstrate some physiologic competencies before being discharged from the hospital. These include oral feeding sufficient to support appropriate growth, thermoregulation in a home environment, and sufficiently mature respiratory control. The first two are usually achieved around 34-36 weeks’ postmenstrual age, but the maturation of respiratory control to the point that allows safe discharge may occasionally take up to 44 weeks’ postmenstrual age. Infants born as very or extremely preterm and have a prolonged and complicated stay in the hospital tend to take longer to achieve these competencies. But they may be discharged home much earlier if they exhibit thermostability and reasonable weight gain, as plotted on the Fenton’s growth chart. NICU graduates are discharged when they satisfy the above criteria. Their parents have demonstrated the necessary skills to provide all care components at home, including CPR should the need arise.

At the time of discharge, most parents lack confidence and are anxious about their capability to handle the babies at home. Hence, we thought that our intervention of training parents of neonates born at home. Hence, we thought that our intervention of training parents of neonates born < 34 weeks would help in the holistic care of these babies, including handling emergencies at home post-discharge. Many studies have emphasized that pre-discharge infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation training is essential or highly desirable. As shown by literature, it is a routine pre-discharge requirement in most developed countries, but this training is not reported or published in our country. Based on our hospital protocols, we initiated this training at its inception 13 years ago. We wanted to review our data over these years to see if it has made an impact or a difference.

Materials and methods:  This retrospective study was conducted at a tertiary care neonatal intensive care unit in India from January 2007 to May 2020. Informed consent for the survey was taken, and the Institutional Review Board approved the study. Initially, only parents of babies less than 30 weeks gestation were being given the training to perform CPR; however, since December 2019, due to a change in the unit protocol, all parents of babies with gestational age less than 34 weeks were admitted to the NICU were trained and included in the study. Babies (less than 30 weeks initially and less than 34 weeks later), deceased, and babies more than these respective gestational age groups were excluded. Parents of these babies were given CPR training (AHA NRP guidelines) in a language they could understand using a manikin, on the day of the transfer to wards or discharge from the NICU, by an NRP-certified doctor who is recertified every 2 years. The training included a brief description of CPR, when it needed to be initiated, and the steps of CPR, and ended with a physical demonstration of the same on a manikin. Parents were also given a chance to practice the steps on the manikin. Each session lasted around 20 minutes. At no additional cost, a new disposable self-inflating bag and mask were procured for each of these neonates and sent home at discharge after their parents underwent CPR training. The authors prepared a questionnaire/survey in English or the local language on request, with 22 questions. Parents were first called and spoken to and were then messaged a web link to complete this survey. All parents had access to the internet and the necessary device. The data from the survey was later analysed and reported.

Results:  During the study period, parents of 126 preterm babies were trained, out of which parents of 84 neonates were attempted to be contacted. The overall response rate to the survey was 71.4%, as shown in Figure 1. We analysed the data of 60 responses we received, and the following results refer to only those that participated in the survey. 46.6% of the babies were between 32-34wks as seen in Table 1. 27 were twins (with one survivor of a pair), and the rest were singleton babies. 85% of the parents were given one-on-one training, the rest as classroom training; however, only 23% of these parents perceived that classroom training may be better than one-on-one training. A majority of 95% found that the training given was easy to follow, and 68.3% thought that providing a video demonstration and one-on-one training would be more helpful. Bag and mask were used in 58% for demonstration. Only manikins with the demonstration of mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions were used for the rest. 63.3% of parents thought it would be good to use a bag and mask for training. Of the total number who responded, 92% understood in what way CPR helped babies in an acute life-threatening event. 90% of them felt that they could identify when their babies required CPR.

Most parents (95%) said that the training helped increase their confidence in taking care of their babies. 78% felt it did not add to unnecessary parental anxiety. 5 babies received CPR at home. Of these babies, 3 received CPR in the first week after discharge and 2 after a month since discharge from the hospital, as shown in Table 2. 4 recovered from the episode quickly following home CPR. All parents correctly followed the steps as they had been advised to initiate CPR according to the assessment at the hospital after the episode. These parents, who found themselves in a situation that needed CPR, felt that they could execute it as taught. 67% of parents said that after three months, they could still recollect the steps of CPR taught during the training session. The need for repetition of training was felt by 65%, and they opined that it should be conducted after a time interval of 3 months since the last session. All 60 parents educated on CPR thought that this training is an essential part of discharge preparation.

Discussion: The American Heart Association (AHA) educates more than 9 million persons annually about CPR. Parents need to be trained in infant CPR. In the United States, 2230 infants (<1 yr. of age) died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in 2005, making it the third leading cause of death there. Drake et al. found that parents considered CPR a priority when asked to rank discharge teaching topics in order of importance.

We chose to do this study as CPR training is an important aspect of pre-discharge preparation for parents of preterm babies, as has been shown previously. Still, it is not routinely being done in most hospitals in our country, as evidenced by the lack of literature on the same. We hypothesised that getting feedback from parents who had received training in infant CPR would give us an overview of the effectiveness and scope for improvement of what we consider an essential practice.

Conventionally, CPR is taught using a combination of didactic instruction and hands-on practice, followed by a written test. Most of our parents had one-on-one training sessions, occasionally a group training. It was a manual demonstration, and in response to the questionnaire, parents did express that a video-backed demonstration would be more helpful. Brannon et al. used an instructional video as an adjunct to the instructor-led demonstration. The group concluded that CPR is a psychomotor skill, so learning it requires more than just acquiring knowledge. Practice with a manikin is essential to ensure competence. An effective video instruction, while most likely cannot totally replace an instructor-led class, could be helpful in learning infant CPR. A literature review by Parsons et al. opined that teaching infant CPR to parents of high-risk neonates is considered beneficial in decreasing mortality. However, the evidence for this is very limited. The overall trend is supportive of CPR training. It increases parental confidence and decreases anxiety levels. Parents’ memory of knowledge regarding CPR decreases over time. Our survey also showed similar findings. At discharge, the training did seem to have boosted their confidence in taking care of their newborn, and it did not add to the overall anxiety among most parents. In those instances where CPR was required at home, parents could resuscitate and then bring their infant to the hospital for continuing care. It was heartening to learn that the training was hugely successful, considering that most parents had understood when to use CPR and how it helps resuscitate. The aim is to increase this to 100%. Parents of one baby who required home CPR could not self-assess the effectiveness of CPR given. Henceforth, our training should also focus on educating parents on assessing the baby post-resuscitation. All parents were given adequate pre-discharge teaching regarding other aspects of their preemies’ care and the resuscitation training that we provided. Wintch et al. showed that 80% of their subjects who required CPR post-discharge survived complete resuscitation efforts after full cardiopulmonary arrest and were neurologically intact. In all of our 5 babies who required home CPR, parents had correctly followed the steps as they had been advised to initiate CPR as per the post-resuscitation assessment done once they reached the hospital.

The AHA gives CPR training kits to parents of high-risk neonates at discharge at a nominal fee. Providing these kits to carry home may also be useful. Hence, we also provide a complimentary manual resuscitator kit with masks of two sizes to parents of those born <30 wks., and neonates born at 30-34 weeks who are discharged after a very stormy course in NICU.

The inability to retain learned CPR skills has been researched. Studies have documented deficits in retention and performance skills beginning as early as 2 weeks after initial instruction, with continued deterioration up to one year later. The peak incidence of SIDS occurs between 1 and 4 months of age, so long-term retention of infant CPR skills is critical. Therefore, it has been reported that 3 to 6 months after initial instruction is the optimal timeframe for recertification. Most of our parents, too, felt the need for a repeat training session 3 months after the first one.

The limitation of this study was the sample size, which could have been better. The contact details of many parents were either changed or unavailable. There is also an element of recall bias as the survey was conducted after a long time for some. One of the main reasons for more responses from parents in recent years was a better recall. As it was a retrospective study, contacting and convincing parents to take the survey was arduous. Not all parents agreed to participate. Some did not receive phone calls and some responded by saying they were busy and would not be able to complete the survey. Also, during the study period, there was a change in unit protocol, and parents of all preterms, 34 wks. were being trained instead of those only <30 wks.  as was done previously. We noticed that there were babies in the gestational age group of 30-34weeks who had episodes of apnoea at home and thereby changed the Unit protocol to include these parents to improve outcomes in these babies. The study’s strengths were the simplicity of the survey method used and the number of responses we received, considering that the oldest of the babies whose parents responded was born 13 years ago.

Conclusion:  Our study shows that parental CPR education seems to have improved their confidence in the care of these preemies and has not added to general parental anxiety. All parents also agreed that it is an essential step in the pre-discharge planning of preterm babies. Parental CPR training backed by video demonstration before the instructor-led session and followed by repeat training after 3 months is vital in the holistic care of preterm babies post-discharge and is highly recommended at all centres catering to this major subgroup of neonates admitted to the NICU.

*** Access in-person and online training through numerous resources worldwide- Ask your health care provider



Day in the life of a DOCTOR: Shadowing NICU NURSE PRACTITIONER (ft. premature babies)

Violin MD

Babies born at 22 weeks (5.5 months) can survive!! Join me in the largest NICU in Canada and learn about the lifesaving treatments for premature babies! I’ll be shadowing Nikki, a nurse practitioner who works in the neonatal ICU. Plus you’ll meet baby Kalani who was born at 23 weeks and her mother, Paola.

Still a Preemie

The National Coalition for Infant Health explains why all preemies — regardless of how prematurely they’re born or what challenges they face — deserve proper care and appropriate health coverage.

The National Coalition for Infant Health explains why all preemies — regardless of how prematurely they’re born or what challenges they face — deserve proper care and appropriate health coverage.

The science of nurturing and its impact on premature babies

May 31, 2017  

A long-term study on helping preterm babies, using the simplest of interventions, is showing signs of promise. In part two of our story, William Brangham explores the study’s outcomes, as well as questions about the complex past of the doctor behind it.


Preterm birth and Kawasaki disease: a nationwide Japanese population-based study

Published: 08 October 2021



Previous studies showed that preterm birth increased the risk for hospital admissions in infancy and childhood due to some acute diseases. However, the risk of preterm children developing Kawasaki disease remains unknown. In the present study, we investigate whether preterm birth increased the morbidity of Kawasaki disease.


We included 36,885 (34,880 term and 2005 preterm) children born in 2010 in Japan. We examined the association between preterm birth and hospitalization due to Kawasaki disease using a large nationwide survey in Japan.


In log-linear regression models that were adjusted for children’s characteristics (sex, singleton birth, and parity), parental characteristics (maternal age, maternal smoking, paternal smoking, maternal education, and paternal income), and residential area, preterm infants were more likely to be hospitalized due to Kawasaki disease (adjusted risk ratio: 1·55, 95% confidence interval: 1.01–2.39). We then examined whether breastfeeding status modified the potential adverse effects of preterm birth on health outcome. Preterm infants with partial breastfeeding or formula feeding had a significantly higher risk of hospitalization due to Kawasaki disease compared with term infants with exclusive breastfeeding.


Preterm infants were at a high risk for Kawasaki disease, and exclusive breastfeeding might prevent this disease among preterm infants.


  • Previous studies showed that preterm birth increased the risk for hospital admissions in infancy and childhood due to some acute diseases, however, the risk of preterm children developing Kawasaki disease remains unknown.
  • This Japanese large population-based study showed that preterm infants were at a high risk for Kawasaki disease for the first time.
  • Furthermore, this study suggested that exclusively breastfeeding might prevent Kawasaki disease among preterm infants. Full Study available.


Relationships between overwork, burnout and suicidal ideation among resident physicians in hospitals in Japan with medical residency programmes: a nationwide questionnaire-based survey

2022 Mar 10;12(3):e056283. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056283.Masatoshi Ishikawa 1 2


Objectives: This study examined the relationships between overwork, burnout and suicidal ideation among resident physicians working in hospitals throughout Japan.

Design: A nationwide, questionnaire-based survey.

Setting: Participating hospitals (n=416) were accredited by the Japanese Medical Specialty Board to offer medical residency programmes in 19 core specialties. Surveys were conducted in October 2020.

Participants: Valid responses were obtained from 4306 physicians (response rate: 49%).

Outcome measures: Items pertaining to the Japanese Burnout Scale, depressive tendencies and suicidal ideation were included in questionnaires. Multiple regression analyses were performed: suicidal ideation was the response variable; sex, age, core specialty, marital status, income, weekly working hours and workplace (ownership, number of beds, number of full-time physicians and regional classification) were explanatory variables.

Results: Regarding the Japanese Burnout Scale, the highest score was recorded for ‘sense of personal accomplishment’, followed by ’emotional exhaustion’ and ‘depersonalization’. Increased emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation were associated with longer working hours, but there was no such trend for sense of personal accomplishment. Depressive tendencies and suicidal ideation were noted in 24.1% and 5.6% of respondents, respectively. These percentages tended to increase when respondents worked longer hours. Several factors were significantly associated with suicidal ideation: female sex (reference: male, OR: 2.08, 95% CI: 1.56 to 2.77), ≥12 million yen income (reference: <2 million yen, OR: 0.21, 95% CI: 0.05 to 0.79), ≥100 working hours/week (reference:<40 hours/week, OR: 3.64, 95% CI: 1.88 to 7.04) and 600-799 hospital beds (reference: <200 beds, OR: 0.23, 95% CI: 0.07 to 0.82).

Conclusions: Many Japanese residents demonstrated a tendency to experience burnout and suicidal ideation. Female sex, low income, long working hours and insufficient hospital beds were associated with suicidal ideation. To ensure physicians’ health and patients’ safety, it is necessary to advance workstyle reform for physicians.

<a href=”http://Abstract Objectives: This study examined the relationships between overwork, burnout and suicidal ideation among resident physicians working in hospitals throughout Japan. Design: A nationwide, questionnaire-based survey. Setting: Participating hospitals (n=416) were accredited by the Japanese Medical Specialty Board to offer medical residency programmes in 19 core specialties. Surveys were conducted in October 2020. Participants: Valid responses were obtained from 4306 physicians (response rate: 49%). Outcome measures: Items pertaining to the Japanese Burnout Scale, depressive tendencies and suicidal ideation were included in questionnaires. Multiple regression analyses were performed: suicidal ideation was the response variable; sex, age, core specialty, marital status, income, weekly working hours and workplace (ownership, number of beds, number of full-time physicians and regional classification) were explanatory variables. Results: Regarding the Japanese Burnout Scale, the highest score was recorded for ‘sense of personal accomplishment’, followed by ’emotional exhaustion’ and ‘depersonalization’. Increased emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation were associated with longer working hours, but there was no such trend for sense of personal accomplishment. Depressive tendencies and suicidal ideation were noted in 24.1% and 5.6% of respondents, respectively. These percentages tended to increase when respondents worked longer hours. Several factors were significantly associated with suicidal ideation: female sex (reference: male, OR: 2.08, 95% CI: 1.56 to 2.77), ≥12 million yen income (reference: <2 million yen, OR: 0.21, 95% CI: 0.05 to 0.79), ≥100 working hours/week (reference:<40 hours/week, OR: 3.64, 95% CI: 1.88 to 7.04) and 600-799 hospital beds.)


Protecting workers’ health and safety: Online training resources at your fingertips

28 April 2022

Everyone deserves to work in a place that is healthy and safe. Each year on 28 April, we celebrate World Day for Safety and Health at Work to raise awareness of this right and the steps we can take to ensure it is a reality for workers across the globe.

Training is key. Nearly half of the world’s population works. Providing workers with the latest occupational health and safety knowledge can help protect them from work-related injuries, diseases and deaths. This is especially important during public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workplaces have played an important role in both the spread and mitigation of COVID-19. Health workers of all kinds have been particularly affected by the pandemic. Not only have they been sick, they have suffered adverse effects of prolonged use of personal protective equipment, fatigue and mental health problems, violence and harassment and exposure to hazardous disinfectants.

The pandemic has stimulated many work settings around the world to expand telework and hybrid work arrangements. All these can impact the health, safety and wellbeing of workers.

So the World Health Organization (WHO) is offering free online courses on these topics on its learning platform. Materials are available in multilingual and low-bandwidth formats to maximize access.

WHO has also collaborated with partners like the International Labour Organization (ILO) on additional training materials to protect health workers and responders and prepare workplaces for future health emergencies. To access these learning resources, please visit the links below.

  • Healthy and safe telework (OpenWHO): This course provides guidance to teleworkers and their managers on protecting and promoting health and wellbeing while teleworking.
  • All-Hazard Rapid Response Teams Training Package (WHO Health Security Learning Platform): The all-hazard Rapid Response Teams Training Package is a structured comprehensive collection of training resources and tools enabling relevant training institutions to organize, run and evaluate face-to-face training for Rapid Response Teams tailored to country specific needs.
  • HealthWISE – Work Improvement in Health Services (ILO/WHO publication): HealthWISE is a practical, participatory quality improvement tool for health facilities. The HealthWISE package consists of an Action Manual and a Trainers’ Guide to combine action and learning. Topics include occupational safety and health, personnel management and environmental health.



New Survey Shows That Up To 47% Of U.S. Healthcare Workers Plan To Leave Their Positions By 2025

Jack Kelly   Senior Contributor  Apr 19, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic unleashed wave after wave of challenges and feelings of burnout for United States healthcare workers, and unless changes are made to the industry, nearly half plan to leave their current positions, according to a new report examining the work environment and industry’s future for clinicians.

Elsevier Health, a provider of information solutions for science, health and technology professionals, conducted its first “Clinician of the Future” global report. It revealed current pain points, predictions for the future and how the industry can come together to address gaps—including that 31% of clinicians globally, and 47% of U.S. healthcare workers, plan to leave their current role within the next two to three years.

Dr. Charles Alessi, chief clinical officer at Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), said, “As a practicing doctor, I am acutely aware of the struggles today’s clinicians face in their efforts to care for patients.” Alessi continued, “This comprehensive report from Elsevier Health provides an opportunity for the industry to listen—and act—on the pivotal guidance given by those on the frontlines. I commend this important initiative and look forward to next steps in supporting our doctors and nurses.”

In the new report from Elsevier Health, published two years after the Covid-19 pandemic began, thousands of doctors and nurses from across the globe revealed what is needed to fill gaps and future-proof today’s healthcare system. The comprehensive “Clinician of the Future” report was conducted in partnership with Ipsos and uncovered how undervalued doctors and nurses feel, as well as their call for urgent support, such as more skills training—especially in the effective use of health data and technology—preserving the patient-doctor relationship in a changing digital world and recruiting more healthcare professionals into the field. The multiphase research report not only understands where the healthcare system is following the Covid-19 pandemic, but where it needs to be in 10 years to ensure a future that both providers and patients deserve.

Jan Herzhoff, president at Elsevier Health, said, “Doctors and nurses play a vital role in the health and well-being of our society. Ensuring they are being heard will enable them to get the support they need to deliver better patient care in these difficult times.” Herzhoff added, “We must start to shift the conversation away from discussing today’s healthcare problems to delivering solutions that will help improve patient outcomes. In our research, they have been clear about the areas they need support; we must act now to protect, equip and inspire the clinician of the future.”

There has never been a greater need for lifting the voices of healthcare professionals. The global study found 71% of doctors and 68% of nurses believe their jobs have changed considerably in the past 10 years, with many saying their jobs have gotten worse.

The “Clinician of the Future” report includes a quantitative global survey, qualitative interviews and roundtable discussions with nearly 3,000 practicing doctors and nurses around the world. The data helps shed light on the challenges impacting the profession today and predictions on what healthcare will look like in the next 10 years, according to those providing critical patient care.

According to the report, 56% of respondents said that there has been growing empowerment amongst patients within the last 10 years, as people take charge of their health journeys. When referring to soft skills, 82% said that it’s important for them to exhibit active listening and empathy to the people they serve. Furthermore, nearly half of clinicians cite the allocated time they have with patients as an issue, as only 51% believe that the allotted time allows them to provide satisfactory care.

To ensure a positive shift moving into the future and to fill current gaps, clinicians highlight the following priority areas for greater support:

  • Clinicians predict that over the next 10 years “technology literacy” will become their most valuable capability, ranking higher than “clinical knowledge.” In fact, 56% of clinicians predict they will base most of their clinical decisions using tools that utilize artificial intelligence. However, 69% report being overwhelmed with the current volume of data and 69% predict the widespread use of digital health technologies to become an even more challenging burden in the future. As a result, 83% believe training needs to be overhauled so they can keep pace with technological advancements.
  • Clinicians predict a blended approach to healthcare with 63% saying most consultations between clinicians and patients will be remote and 49% saying most healthcare will be provided in a patient’s home instead of in a healthcare setting. While clinicians may save time and see more patients, thanks to telehealth, more than half of clinicians believe telehealth will negatively impact their ability to demonstrate empathy with patients they no longer see in person. As a result, clinicians are calling for guidance on when to use telehealth and how to transfer soft skills like empathy to the computer screen.
  • Clinicians are concerned about a global healthcare workforce shortage, with 74% predicting there will be a shortage of nurses and 68% predicting a shortage of doctors in 10 years’ time. This may be why global clinicians say a top support priority is increasing the number of healthcare workers in the coming decade. Clinicians require the support of larger, better-equipped teams and expanded multidisciplinary healthcare teams, such as data analysts, data security experts and scientists, as well as clinicians themselves.

“While we know that many nurses are leaving the profession due to burnout, we also know that the pandemic has inspired others to enter the field because of a strong desire for purposeful work,” said Marion Broome, Ruby F. Wilson professor of nursing at Duke University’s School of Nursing. “We must embrace this next wave of healthcare professionals and ensure we set them up for success. Our future as a society depends on it.”

Looking To The Future

“Ultimately, we asked clinicians for what they need, and now it’s our responsibility as a healthcare industry to act,” said Dr. Thomas “Tate” Erlinger, vice president of clinical analytics at Elsevier Health. “Now is the time for bold thinking—to serve providers and patients today and tomorrow. We need to find ways to give clinicians the enhanced skills and resources they need to better support and care for patients in the future. And we need to fill in gaps today to stop the drain on healthcare workers to ensure a strong system in the next decade and beyond.”



Artificial Intelligence Getting Smarter! Innovations from the Vision Field

Posted on February 8th, 2022 by Michael F. Chiang, M.D., National Eye Institute

One of many health risks premature infants face is retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide. ROP causes abnormal blood vessel growth in the light-sensing eye tissue called the retina. Left untreated, ROP can lead to lead to scarring, retinal detachment, and blindness. It’s the disease that caused singer and songwriter Stevie Wonder to lose his vision.

Now, effective treatments are available—if the disease is diagnosed early and accurately. Advancements in neonatal care have led to the survival of extremely premature infants, who are at highest risk for severe ROP. Despite major advancements in diagnosis and treatment, tragically, about 600 infants in the U.S. still go blind each year from ROP. This disease is difficult to diagnose and manage, even for the most experienced ophthalmologists. And the challenges are much worse in remote corners of the world that have limited access to ophthalmic and neonatal care.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping bridge these gaps. Prior to my tenure as National Eye Institute (NEI) director, I helped develop a system called i-ROP Deep Learning (i-ROP DL), which automates the identification of ROP. In essence, we trained a computer to identify subtle abnormalities in retinal blood vessels from thousands of images of premature infant retinas. Strikingly, the i-ROP DL artificial intelligence system outperformed even international ROP experts [1]. This has enormous potential to improve the quality and delivery of eye care to premature infants worldwide.

Of course, the promise of medical artificial intelligence extends far beyond ROP. In 2018, the FDA approved the first autonomous AI-based diagnostic tool in any field of medicine [2]. Called IDx-DR, the system streamlines screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR), and its results require no interpretation by a doctor. DR occurs when blood vessels in the retina grow irregularly, bleed, and potentially cause blindness. About 34 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and each is at risk for DR.

As with ROP, early diagnosis and intervention is crucial to preventing vision loss to DR. The American Diabetes Association recommends people with diabetes see an eye care provider annually to have their retinas examined for signs of DR. Yet fewer than 50 percent of Americans with diabetes receive these annual eye exams.

The IDx-DR system was conceived by Michael Abramoff, an ophthalmologist and AI expert at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. With NEI funding, Abramoff used deep learning to design a system for use in a primary-care medical setting. A technician with minimal ophthalmology training can use the IDx-DR system to scan a patient’s retinas and get results indicating whether a patient should be sent to an eye specialist for follow-up evaluation or to return for another scan in 12 months.

Many other methodological innovations in AI have occurred in ophthalmology. That’s because imaging is so crucial to disease diagnosis and clinical outcome data are so readily available. As a result, AI-based diagnostic systems are in development for many other eye diseases, including cataract, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and glaucoma.

Rapid advances in AI are occurring in other medical fields, such as radiology, cardiology, and dermatology. But disease diagnosis is just one of many applications for AI. Neurobiologists are using AI to answer questions about retinal and brain circuitry, disease modeling, microsurgical devices, and drug discovery.

If it sounds too good to be true, it may be. There’s a lot of work that remains to be done. Significant challenges to AI utilization in science and medicine persist. For example, researchers from the University of Washington, Seattle, last year tested seven AI-based screening algorithms that were designed to detect DR. They found under real-world conditions that only one outperformed human screeners [3]. A key problem is these AI algorithms need to be trained with more diverse images and data, including a wider range of races, ethnicities, and populations—as well as different types of cameras.

How do we address these gaps in knowledge? We’ll need larger datasets, a collaborative culture of sharing data and software libraries, broader validation studies, and algorithms to address health inequities and to avoid bias. The NIH Common Fund’s Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) project and NIH’s Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity (AIM-AHEAD) Program project will be major steps toward addressing those gaps.

So, yes—AI is getting smarter. But harnessing its full power will rely on scientists and clinicians getting smarter, too.


MaineHealth Innovation: Augmented Reality for Neonatal Resuscitation

Jan 26, 2022           MaineHealth

Helping newborns in distress is the goal of Augmented Reality Technology for Medical Simulation (ARTforMS) – an immersive experience that layers AR over traditional manikins. Learn how MaineHealth Innovation is supporting pediatric hospital medicine and critical care experts, Dr. Mary Ottolini and Dr. Michael Ferguson, as they continue leading a pilot with the software application at Maine Medical Center and throughout the MaineHealth system.

Association of Prenatal Exposure to Early-Life Adversity With Neonatal Brain Volumes at Birth

Original Investigation   Pediatrics   April 12, 2022

Regina L. Triplett, MD, MS1Rachel E. Lean, PhD2Amisha Parikh, BS3; et alJ. Philip Miller, AB4Dimitrios Alexopoulos, MS1Sydney Kaplan, BS1Dominique Meyer, BS1Christopher Adamson, PhD5,6Tara A. Smyser, MSE2Cynthia E. Rogers, MD2,7Deanna M. Barch, PhD2,8,9Barbara Warner, MD7Joan L. Luby, MD2Christopher D. Smyser, MD, MSCI1,7,9

Author Affiliations Article Information

JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(4):e227045. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.7045

Key Points

Question:  Is prenatal exposure to maternal social disadvantage and psychosocial stress associated with global and relative infant brain volumes at birth?

Findings:  In this longitudinal, observational cohort study of 280 mother-infant dyads, prenatal exposure to greater maternal social disadvantage, but not psychosocial stress, was associated with statistically significant reductions in white matter, cortical gray matter, and subcortical gray matter volumes and cortical folding at birth after accounting for maternal health and diet.

Meaning:  These findings suggest that prenatal exposure to social disadvantage is associated with global reductions in brain volumes and folding in the first weeks of life.


Importance:  Exposure to early-life adversity alters the structural development of key brain regions underlying neurodevelopmental impairments. The association between prenatal exposure to adversity and brain structure at birth remains poorly understood.

Objective:  To examine whether prenatal exposure to maternal social disadvantage and psychosocial stress is associated with neonatal global and regional brain volumes and cortical folding.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This prospective, longitudinal cohort study included 399 mother-infant dyads of sociodemographically diverse mothers recruited in the first or early second trimester of pregnancy and their infants, who underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging in the first weeks of life. Mothers were recruited from local obstetric clinics in St Louis, Missouri from September 1, 2017, to February 28, 2020.

Exposures:  Maternal social disadvantage and psychosocial stress in pregnancy.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Confirmatory factor analyses were used to create latent constructs of maternal social disadvantage (income-to-needs ratio, Area Deprivation Index, Healthy Eating Index, educational level, and insurance status) and psychosocial stress (Perceived Stress Scale, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Everyday Discrimination Scale, and Stress and Adversity Inventory). Neonatal cortical and subcortical gray matter, white matter, cerebellum, hippocampus, and amygdala volumes were generated using semiautomated, age-specific, segmentation pipelines.

Results:  A total of 280 mothers (mean [SD] age, 29.1 [5.3] years; 170 [60.7%] Black or African American, 100 [35.7%] White, and 10 [3.6%] other race or ethnicity) and their healthy, term-born infants (149 [53.2%] male; mean [SD] infant gestational age, 38.6 [1.0] weeks) were included in the analysis. After covariate adjustment and multiple comparisons correction, greater social disadvantage was associated with reduced cortical gray matter (unstandardized β = −2.0; 95% CI, −3.5 to −0.5; P = .01), subcortical gray matter (unstandardized β = −0.4; 95% CI, −0.7 to −0.2; P = .003), and white matter (unstandardized β = −5.5; 95% CI, −7.8 to −3.3; P < .001) volumes and cortical folding (unstandardized β = −0.03; 95% CI, −0.04 to −0.01; P < .001). Psychosocial stress showed no association with brain metrics. Although social disadvantage accounted for an additional 2.3% of the variance of the left hippocampus (unstandardized β = −0.03; 95% CI, −0.05 to −0.01), 2.3% of the right hippocampus (unstandardized β = −0.03; 95% CI, −0.05 to −0.01), 3.1% of the left amygdala (unstandardized β = −0.02; 95% CI, −0.03 to −0.01), and 2.9% of the right amygdala (unstandardized β = −0.02; 95% CI, −0.03 to −0.01), no regional effects were found after accounting for total brain volume.

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this baseline assessment of an ongoing cohort study, prenatal social disadvantage was associated with global reductions in brain volumes and cortical folding at birth. No regional specificity for the hippocampus or amygdala was detected. Results highlight that associations between poverty and brain development begin in utero and are evident early in life. These findings emphasize that preventive interventions that support fetal brain development should address parental socioeconomic hardships.


Muscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies

Momma1,  Ryoko Kawakami2, Takanori Honda3, Susumu S Sawada2

Correspondence to Dr Haruki Momma, Department of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan;


Objective: To quantify the associations between muscle-strengthening activities and the risk of non-communicable diseases and mortality in adults independent of aerobic activities.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.

Data sources: MEDLINE and Embase were searched from inception to June 2021 and the reference lists of all related articles were reviewed.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies: Prospective cohort studies that examined the association between muscle-strengthening activities and health outcomes in adults aged ≥18 years without severe health conditions.

Results: Sixteen studies met the eligibility criteria. Muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a 10–17% lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), total cancer, diabetes and lung cancer. No association was found between muscle-strengthening activities and the risk of some site-specific cancers (colon, kidney, bladder and pancreatic cancers). J-shaped associations with the maximum risk reduction (approximately 10–20%) at approximately 30–60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities were found for all-cause mortality, CVD and total cancer, whereas an L-shaped association showing a large risk reduction at up to 60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities was observed for diabetes. Combined muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities (versus none) were associated with a lower risk of all-cause, CVD and total cancer mortality.

Conclusion: Muscle-strengthening activities were inversely associated with the risk of all-cause mortality and major non-communicable diseases including CVD, total cancer, diabetes and lung cancer; however, the influence of a higher volume of muscle-strengthening activities on all-cause mortality, CVD and total cancer is unclear when considering the observed J-shaped associations.


How to Tap Into Your Joy

By Emily Madill, Contributor

Author and Certified Professional Coach Sep. 20, 2017, 12:52 PM EDT

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t– you’re right”. ― Henry Ford

I love this quote, I believe it applies to so much in life. There is no doubting perception is powerful. What could be added to the above quote, is that regardless of what we think, the object of our heart’s desire is always right here  whether or not we think it exists.

In relation to joy, this is wonderful news because it speaks to the idea that the experience of joy is always available to us. It’s not something we have to tirelessly search for or jump through hoops to arrive at. Rather, it’s something we can access right now in this very moment, if we choose.

If that seems like it’s too easy to be true, try these 5 added tips and see if they may help you tap into your joy.

1. Listen for Joy

The fast track way to accessing our personal joy is to be still and quiet enough to hear our unique inner voice and spirit. Often the outside noise drowns out the wise voice within is. When we give ourselves the space to really listen, it becomes very clear our joy is right below the surface just waiting to play. When we listen, our joy will show us the way.

2. Keep Joy Simple

Joy is not complicated and neither is accessing it. We don’t need to read endless books, listen to podcasts and spend copious amounts of money searching for joy. It’s much easier to take the simple route. Sometimes it’s a matter of reminding ourselves we are all worthy and capable of experiencing joy, it’s as simple as knowing our joy lives within us.

3. Just Be Joy

I love the idea that in order to have something — whether it’s love, peace, joy etc. that we must first be the very thing we are wanting. If we want joy, we can start by ‘being joy’. We can be joyful in our thoughts, the words we speak, our interactions with others and our overall demeanor. We humans are blessed to have the creative license to actually try on and be whatever it is we most want — that’s amazing!

4. Laugh Your Way to Joy

Laughing is powerful. Laugh at yourself, laugh with a friend, laugh with your pet. Whatever you do, be sure to laugh as often and as loud as you can. It’s nearly impossible to not feel joy when you are midway through a belly laugh with happy tears streaming down your cheeks. Laughter is a gift that’s available to us all the time. There isn’t a limit to how often we can bust a gut. The more we laugh, the greater sense of joy we feel and spread out into the world.

5. See Joy

If you want to prove to yourself that joy exists everywhere, all the time, see what happens when you start looking for the evidence of it. Try it out for a day, I dare you. When we start seeing joy in the faces of people around us and the pure magnificence of our surroundings, we experience a deep feeling of joy within ourselves. Breathe it all in. Give yourself the gift of becoming an expert at finding joy in the most mundane and simplest places. You may be surprised to see how much joy exists in our world, and even more so in recognizing it’s always present within you.


After a week of working hard on studies and research I decided to take a break this weekend to escape London and visit the coastal city of Brighton. Taking the time to try new things, explore new places and go on an adventure even for a day is something that can bring great joy in our lives. Having the opportunity to explore the seaside, swim in the Atlantic ocean and enjoy my first proper English fish and chips was a delight. Finding balance and slowing down to enjoy the simple moments in life is empowering and instrumental in helping us build our relationship to better know ourselves and positively grow our friendships with others.

Kanoa Igarashi 🇯🇵 is bringing surfing home to Japan!

Jul 23, 2021  Olympics

Kanoa Igarashi is a Japanese-American surfer who has competed professionally worldwide since 2012. He was the youngest rookie on the World Surf League Championship Tour in 2016 and collected more Round One wins than any other surfer. He talks to the Olympic Channel about going all-in, pressure, what the Olympics symbolise, and more. Enjoy watching this interview with Kanoa Igarashi!

Crisis, Coalitions, Shinrin-Yoku

Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe, at the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkans. It shares land borders with Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, North Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest, and claiming a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia has a population of roughly 7 million inhabitants. Its capital Belgrade is also the largest city.

Serbia is an upper-middle income economy, ranked 64th in the Human Development Index domain. It is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, member of the UN, CoE, OSCE, PfP, BSEC, CEFTA and is acceding to the WTO. Since 2014, the country has been negotiating its EU accession, with the aim of joining the European Union by 2025. Serbia formally adheres to the policy of military neutrality.

The country provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens. The healthcare system in Serbia is organized and managed by the three primary institutions: The Ministry of Health, The Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut” and the Military Medical Academy. The right to healthcare protections is defined as a constitutional right in Serbia. The Serbian public health system is based on the principles of equity and solidarity, organized on the model of compulsory health insurance contributions. Private health care is not integrated into the public health system, but certain services may be included by contracting.



UNICEF delivered a life-saving machine for newborns

A valuable donation to the Institute for Health Care of Children and Youth of Vojvodina provided by Delhaize Serbia

Belgrade, 4 November 2021

The Institute for Health Care of Children and Youth of Vojvodina from Novi Sad received today a therapeutic hypothermia device for asphyxiated newborns, provided by the Delhaize Serbia company as part of the So Small They Could Fit Inside a Heart campaign.

The therapeutic hypothermia device for asphyxiated newborns is intended for treating babies who suffered oxygen deprivation during birth. This device prevents brain damage in these babies by applying a modern controlled cooling method and is worth2,419,000 dinars.

“This valuable device is used for applying a proven therapeutic method in preventing brain damage in newborns, thus saving lives of asphyxiated babies. In the previous period, the Institute received valuable equipment from UNICEF, which helped equip the Institute. However, in order to reach the highest standards in developmental care, professional support we receive from UNICEF experts and partners is equally important. I would also like to thank the Delhaize Serbia company, which provided funds for the purchase of this life-saving device. UNICEF is our reliable partner that knows that many newborn babies need daily support of the health care system, regardless of the crisis, and we are grateful for it,” stated the Director of the Institute, Doc. Dr. Jelena Antić.

In Serbia, 65 thousand children are born every year, 4000 of whom are premature babies, and every day seven new babies require some form of urgent support. Premature birth is responsible for more than 60% of infant deaths in Serbia. The So Small They Could Fit Inside a Heart campaignwas launched by UNICEF late last year in order to provide additional equipment for neonatal units in Serbia, which will also contribute to reducing the mortality of premature babies in the country.

“The Institute for Health Care of Children and Youth in Novi Sad provides care to the most vulnerable babies from all over Vojvodina. For years, it has ensured that every newborn child gets the highest quality support in order to survive and thrive. The Institute is a good-practice example in the country when it comes to the provision of family-oriented developmental care, which also includes conditions for the continuous and irreplaceable contact between mum or dad and baby from the first days of baby’s life.

This is one of the few institutions in Serbia that has managed to preserve this practice during the pandemic, which opens up opportunities for us to jointly support other neonatal intensive care units in Serbia to persist in that endeavour. Maintaining the highest standards of child health care, despite the challenges imposed by the COVID19 pandemic, is a common priority, and we would like to thank Delhaize Serbia for providing the funds to support the most vulnerable, but also the bravest among us, who fight like true “little giants”, said Jelena Zaganović Jakovljević, UNICEF Early Childhood Development Specialist.

The COVID-19 epidemic has also been affecting pregnant women, newborns and children lately, so it is particularly important to invest efforts in adequate treatment of the infected and combating the epidemic, which is not sparing the youngest either. UNICEF has supported the equipping of neonatal units in Serbia, so that the most vulnerable among us, prematurely born babies and ill newborns, are given adequate support to survive and thrive. Starting from 2017, UNICEF has invested a total of 59,628,463 dinars in modernising the operation of the neonatal service in Serbia. The So Small They Could Fit Inside a Heart campaign was supported by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia.

“Delhaize Serbia has recognised UNICEF as the right partner and supported the modernisation of neonatal units in Novi Sad and Kragujevac, because we are aware of how important it is to help the most vulnerable babies that are also affected by the Corona virus crisis. Helping such small babies to get a chance at life is a reflection of our belief that help should be provided to those who need it most,” said Milica Popović, Corporate Communications Manager at Delhaize Serbia.

In all Maxi, Mega Maxi, Tempo and Shop&Go stores across Serbia, customers have the opportunity to round their bill up to the amount they wish, and in this way support the provision of equipment to neonatal units in our country.

Delhaize Serbia donated a total of 200,000 euros to UNICEF for equipping neonatal units in our countryFrom this donation, another therapeutic hypothermia device for asphyxiated newborns will be provided to the Kragujevac Neonatal Care Centre, which will also receive the first ambulance for prematurely born and ill newborn babies. Since the start of the campaign, this is the largest private sector donation in the So Small They Could Fit Inside a Heart campaign.


Coalition for Preemies – We Help Polish Parents of Preemies and Rescue Ukrainian NICUs

Maria Katarzyna Borszewska-Kornacka, MD, Elzbieta Brzozowska, Adriana Misiewicz, Joanna Nycz

Coalition for Preemies is an organization operating in Poland for ten years – initially as a social movement that brought together people and institutions working for the health of premature babies in Poland, and from 2019 as a Foundation.

The goals of the Foundation have been unchanged for many years – to work for the smallest of the youngest – premature babies and their parents. Our goal is education – starting with the health of pregnant women and preventing premature births, ending with the health of premature babies, their development, and rehabilitation. We reach out to parents of premature babies to help them care for their premature babies and to the general public to help them understand that a premature baby is the most vulnerable person who needs our help. Nobody who has not encountered a premature baby in their environment knows what complications the baby and its loved ones face and how much effort is needed to ensure healthy development.

During the pandemic, we got involved with an international campaign initiated by EFCNI #zeroseparation. It aimed to restore the possibility of visiting preemies in neonatal departments for their parents. In Poland, as part of the #zeroseparation campaign, we included parents of preemies in the group “zero” for vaccination against COVID-19 – the group that could be vaccinated first together with medical staff. We wanted parents of premature babies to be protected from the virus as soon as possible and to be able to visit their children in hospitals. It was possible thanks to the immediate decision of the Ministry of Health after we sent a request on this matter.

In 2021, we launched advice for parents of premature babies with specialists as part of the “Ask for a premature baby” campaign – it consists of a telephone conversation or via online communicators. Parents can talk to a neonatologist, psychologist, pediatric neurologist, lactation consultant, and physiotherapist.

Currently, we are involved in helping premature Ukrainian babies. Together with the Neonatus Foundation, the Tęczowy Kocyk Foundation, and the blogger MatkoweLove, we organized a fundraiser. With the collected money, we finance the purchase of the necessary equipment and medicines for Ukrainian neonatal units and transport the equipment to the neediest hospitals in Ukraine. The President of our Foundation- prof. Maria Katarzyna Borszewska-Kornacka is in constant contact with the national consultant for neonatology in Ukraine, and therefore we know what their needs are. First shipments of medical equipment, drugs, and milk were sent to Lviv, Kyiv, Charkov, Brovary, Ivano-Frankovsk, and Dniepro.

It is possible to donate to the Coalition for Preemies Foundation:

We have also started the “Package for a Newborn” campaign, the purpose of which is to equip Ukrainian babies born in Warsaw with necessities such as clothes for newborns, sizes 50-68, including bodysuits, rompers, socks, hats, nipples, small toys, cosmetics, and hygiene articles.

We also plan to prepare a warehouse of clothes/things useful for newborns, which will be issued in response to the specific needs of single Ukrainian mothers in Poland. From the warehouse, mothers will be able to receive rockers, carriers, scarves for carrying babies, prams, changing mats, bathtubs, and breast pumps.

Since the outbreak of war, we have had over a dozen requests to help in transferring newborns from Ukraine to Poland.

Initially, there were babies of US and UK citizens born in Ukraine, followed by several neonatal transfers or personal admissions of Ukrainian newborns from the border zone brought personally by parents.

Our triage center has different scenarios comprising both stabilization and subsequent transfer to different Polish neonatal/pediatric centers and diagnostic and treatment approaches on site.

Requests regarding medical transfers of premature babies were formulated predominantly by aid organizations, governmental or family activities, and not specifically by medical referrals.

Recently we have received several inquiries about the possibility of admission of newborns/small infants with chronic and/or rare genetic problems. Until now, the utility of the database created for the quick electronic exchange of medical data regarding the transfer of newborns from Ukraine to Poland seems suboptimal as there was perhaps no need for such transfers on a larger scale.

Further information can be found on the Foundation website: Source:

Serbia to Use Cash to Boost Birth Rate, Avert Population Decline

By Misha Savic  November 24, 2021

Serbia will triple a cash incentive to parents for their first-born child and prop up support for bigger families to fight a crippling demographic decline, President Aleksandar Vucic said.

“We’re vanishing as a nation,” the Balkan country’s leader told reporters on Wednesday as he announced tripling the one-time incentive for mothers for their first child to 300,000 dinar ($2,862) as of January. Serbia will also increase its existing cash and other support to families to have and raise more children, he said.

The plan comes as Vucic, whose party and allies control an absolute majority in Serbia’s parliament, is gearing up for general elections expected in the spring. Mainstream opposition parties boycotted a previous ballot in 2020 but are likely to challenge Vucic’s dominance in the race that will also include his job.

The average monthly net wage equals $616 in the nation of 6.9 million. The population is falling by around 30,000 a year amid a low birth rate and emigration. The median age is almost 43 years, among the highest in Europe. 

Serbia’s current birth rate of 1.5 needs to go up to at least 2.15 just to maintain the current population size, Vucic said.

Additional steps will help young people to stay in colleges and universities even if they become parents while studying, he said. The government is weighing giving grants to young couples of as much as $22,000 to help them buy their first home and start a family, he said.

“We’re getting older and older, and our economic progress will depend on how we ensure the nation’s progress with the demographic measures,” Vucic said. 


Ukraine crisis: Premature babies born into war as deliveries forced to take place in hospital basement

I’m incredibly sad,’ doctor says, ‘babies are going to die because they cannot live in these conditions’

As women are forced to give birth in the basements of hospitals in war-torn Ukraine, health officials have raised fears that not all newborn babies can survive in such conditions.

Devastating images coming out of the Eastern European nation show the makeshift wards being used after medical staff work tirelessly to convert basements of maternity hospitals – all the while, using them as bomb shelters.

Most at risk are premature babies, who require special medical attention in their first few days, weeks or even months of life.

More than 1,000 babies are born in Ukraine per day, according to data from research platform Macrotrends. Of those, around 100 will need some form of neonatal intensive care.

Footage from one perinatal care unit in Kyiv, published by ITV News, showed parents and their

At one point, a man is filmed attending to a tiny baby in an incubator.

The machine beeps momentarily as he reaches for some medical equipment, then the clip cuts to night time where nurses and parents can be seen sat underneath what looks like the building’s water or gas pipes.

Speaking to the broadcaster, Dr Olena Kostiuk, a neonatologist associate professor in Ukraine’s capital city, described how the basement unit was set up in just a few days.

“It’s usually a technical room for water, for electricity and heating… never, never, ever is this space used in this way,” she said. “Very sick babies, babies which we cannot move… they permanently live in the basement.”

Pregnant women and newborn babies in the basement of a maternity hospital converted into a medical ward, and used as a bomb shelter during air raid alerts in Kyiv.

Clearly frustrated, and upset, Dr Kostiuk said plainly that “babies are going to

“I’m incredibly sad,” she added, “for myself the biggest problem is, I don’t know when it’s going to finish and how long our pregnant women, our babies delivered in a basement, our babies have no normal support.”

Over in the city of Zhytomyr, as reported by The Independent earlier today, staff of the maternity ward at Pavlusenko hospital – all taking cover under Russian missile fire – helped a pregnant woman who had started giving birth on the floor of the bomb shelter after the shock of a nearby explosion sent her into labour.

Medical workers show a newborn baby to a woman who gave birth in a maternity hospital basement converted into a medical ward in Mariupol, Ukraine

It came after an airstrike in the city on Tuesday which struck a military base just 200 metres away from the hospital, seriously damaging multiple wards.

Among those worst hit was the maternity wing, where 45 women and 15 newborn babies were being cared for at the time. All were subsequently evacuated to the basement, where they remain.

The Russian strike on Zhytomyr, in Ukraine’s northwest, also hit a residential area and killed at least two people, emergency services said afterwards.

Dr Cora Doherty, a neonatologist speaking on behalf of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM), said she had seen the footage from Kyiv’s perinatal centre and was concerned the babies’ care was being compromised.

“We know that if babies do not get the proper care around the time at birth, that particularly if they’re ill, there is an increased risk of death in those babies,” she told ITV News.

And she added: “That’s essentially the, you know, the future denigrate generation there. So, it is really, really important that we support both these mothers and their babies in their plight.”

Four “loud explosions” were heard in the centre of Kyiv late on Wednesday night, with the Kyiv Independent taking to Twitter to advise its readers to take cover in their “nearest shelter” at around

It came as Russian troops appeared to take “complete control” of Kherson, the first major city to be captured during Vladimir Putin’s war.

Igor Kolykhayev, Kherson’s mayor, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the Black Sea port had been lost.

He urged the Kremlin’s soldiers not to shoot at civilians and publicly called on Ukrainians to walk through the streets only in daylight and with no more than one other person.

Cars will only be allowed to enter the city to bring food and medicine and other essentials. They must drive at minimum speed and be prepared to stop to be searched by Russian troops, he said.

Mr Kolykhayev added: “Ukrainian flag above us. And to keep it the same, these requirements must be met. I have nothing else to offer yet.”



Oct 21, 2021      IDJVideos.TV

Official music video for “Ti Meni, Ja Tebi” by Aleksandra Mladenović and Nenad Manojlovi


SHEA NICU White Paper Series: Practical approaches for the prevention of central line-associated bloodstream infections\

Pediatrics AUTHOR: SHEA PUBLISHED:MARCH 4, 2022 CURRENT – CLABSI, Clinical Practice, Guidelines, Immunocompromised Patients, Infection Prevention


This document is part of the “SHEA neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) white paper series.” It is intended to provide practical, expert opinion, and/or evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about CLABSI detection and prevention in the NICU. This document serves as a companion to the CDC Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) Guideline for Prevention of Infections in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Patients. Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are among the most frequent invasive infections among infants in the NICU and contribute to substantial morbidity and mortality. Infants who survive CLABSIs have prolonged hospitalization resulting in increased healthcare costs and suffer greater comorbidities including worse neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes. A bundled approach to central line care practices in the NICU has reduced CLABSI rates, but challenges remain. This document was authored by pediatric infectious diseases specialists, neonatologists, advanced practice nurse practitioners, infection preventionists, members of the HICPAC guideline-writing panel, and members of the SHEA Pediatric Leadership Council. For the selected topic areas, the authors provide practical approaches in question-and-answer format, with answers based on consensus expert opinion within the context of the literature search conducted for the companion HICPAC document and supplemented by other published information retrieved by the authors. Two documents in the series precede this one: “Practical approaches to Clostridioides difficile prevention” published in August 2018 and “Practical approaches to Staphylococcus aureus prevention,” published in September 2020.


American Nurse Journal/Cedars-Sinai Hospital: Fostering nurse-physician collaboration

February 1, 2022

Author(s): Sarah Low, MSN, RN, OCN, CMSRN; Emily Gray, MSN, RN-BC; Amanda Ewing, MD, FACP; Patricia Hain, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, FACHE; and Linda Kim, PhD, MSN, RN, PHN, CPHQ


Eat, Sleep, Console Approach

A Family-Centered Model for the Treatment of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Grisham, Lisa M. NNP-BC; Stephen, Meryl M. CCRN; Coykendall, Mary R. RNC-NIC; Kane, Maureen F. NNP-BC; Maurer, Jocelyn A. RNC-NIC; Bader, Mohammed Y. MD

Advances in Neonatal Care: April 2019 – Volume 19 – Issue 2 – p 138-144

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000581



The opioid epidemic in the United States has resulted in an increased number of drug-exposed infants who are at risk for developing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Historically, these infants have been treated with the introduction and slow weaning of pharmaceuticals. Recently, a new model called Eat, Sleep, Console (ESC) has been developed that focuses on the comfort and care of these infants by maximizing nonpharmacologic methods, increasing family involvement in the treatment of their infant, and prn or “as needed” use of morphine.


The purpose of this evidenced-based practice brief was to summarize and critically review emerging research on the ESC method of managing NAS and develop a recommendation for implementing an ESC model.


A literature review was conducted using PubMed, Cochrane, and Google Scholar with a focus on ESC programs developed for treating infants with NAS.


Several studies were found with successful development and implementation of the ESC model. Studies supported the use of ESC to decrease length of stay, exposure to pharmacologic agents, and overall cost of treatment.

Video Abstract Available at:



Acknowledging and Supporting NICU Moms this Mother’s Day

Leah Sodowick, B.A., Pamela A. Geller, Ph.D., Chavis A. Patterson, Ph.D.

Each year on the second Sunday in May, people across the United States and around the globe honor and celebrate mothers (Our use of the term “mothers” includes anyone who identifies as a mother, grandmother, gestational parent, or caregiver.) on Mother’s Day. This holiday is full of joy, celebration, pride, and gratitude for many. There may be hugs, handmade and store-bought cards, photos posted and shared on social media, breakfast in bed, family gatherings, flower bouquets, and tokens of appreciation. Mother’s Day can be challenging and emotionally fraught for some, including mothers with an infant hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). With the help of NICU staff and providers, mothers can anticipate and cope with the challenges and emotions that they may experience this Mother’s Day, on May 8th. This article will discuss the emotions and challenges NICU mothers may experience on the holiday and suggest ways to acknowledge, support, and celebrate NICU mothers and caregivers.

Parents in the NICU may grieve the loss of anticipated postpartum plans and experiences, such as caring for and bonding with their baby at home. Mothers in the NICU may also grieve the loss of expected holiday events and experiences (1). Grief is one of the many normal and common reactions NICU parents may have. On Mother’s Day and the days surrounding this holiday, mothers in the NICU may feel disappointed, disheartened, and sorrowful if their expectations, visions, and anticipations for Mother’s Day do not match their current reality—one that is often characterized by long hours at their baby’s bedside and concern and worry about their baby’s health and survival. Current realities may also involve difficult decision making about treatment options and endof-life care. NICU parents may be juggling multiple responsibilities, such as caring for older children and work. Parents may also experience physical separation from their baby when the gestational parent is recovering from childbirth, the baby is in an isolette, the baby is undergoing a surgical procedure, or when parents leave the hospital to go home or to their temporary residence. Furthermore, by spending time in the NICU, mothers may miss traditional family gatherings and their usual Mother’s Day celebrations (1). Not being present for these events may exacerbate feelings of isolation as many families begin to reunite after separations due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Some mothers in the NICU may have difficulty or delays in forming their maternal identity due to limited opportunities for caregiving and interacting with their infant, shared caregiving responsibilities with NICU staff providers, disrupted mother-infant bonding, perceived lack of control, and increased psychological distress (2–5). Difficulty or delays in forming maternal and parental identity are part of an array of normal reactions and experiences that a parent may have. In a qualitative examination of NICU mothers’ perceptions of the development of their maternal role in the context of NICU, the thematic analysis revealed that some respondents characterized themselves as mothers only while they were in the NICU; they reported not feeling like mothers when they left the hospital because they were not with their babies or serving as a primary caretaker (3). Researchers have found that mothers’ perceived loss of parental role was one of the most stressful aspects of their infant’s NICU hospitalization (6,7)predictors, and child outcomes associated with NICU-related stress for mothers of infants born very preterm (VPT. For mothers in the NICU who have not yet fully developed their maternal identity or perceive a loss of their parental role, Mother’s Day may feel conflicting and isolating. Of note, mothers in the NICU who have experienced neonatal losses or are anticipating and planning for neonatal loss may experience an intensification of grief and have particularly difficult emotional experiences on Mother’s Day.

We encourage NICU staff and providers to thoughtfully acknowledge and celebrate mothers and caregivers in the NICU this Mother’s Day. Listed below are some suggestions:

Acknowledge Mother’s Day Staff and providers can communicate their acknowledgment of Mother’s Day, even when it may not be a “happy” Mother’s Day for mothers and other caregivers in the NICU. If this is the case, instead of wishing mothers a “happy” Mother’s Day, one can express, “I am thinking about you today on Mother’s Day.”

Validate and reflect emotions – NICU staff and providers can help mothers and caregivers cope with emotions that may arise during this holiday by validating and reflecting on mothers’ expressed feelings. Offering opportunities for parents to share their feelings by asking open-ended questions about how they are feeling and allowing time to listen to the responses can be very empowering for parents. Responding with statements that validate their experience also can be very helpful. For example, one could respond to a mother who expresses grief about the loss of expected Mother’s Day experiences by stating, “it makes sense why you would feel especially sad and disappointed today.”

Provide opportunities for caretaking – If possible, NICU staff and providers can find ways for parents to interact with their babies more on Mother’s Day. For example, mothers could be encouraged to take on a meaningful hands-on caretaking task, like feeding or bathing their baby or changing a diaper. Mothers also can be encouraged to engage in skin-to-skin care.

Encourage mothers to communicate with their babies – On Mother’s Day, NICU mothers can communicate and bond with their babies by reading them a book, story, or poem. Mothers could write and share a personal letter to their babies about their love, their family, and what it means to be their mother. Mothers may also wish to sing to their babies.

Praise mothers’ efforts to care for their babies – On Mother’s Day (and regularly), NICU staff and providers are encouraged to acknowledge and praise mothers’ efforts to care for their babies in the NICU. A simple phrase like “you are doing a great job” can be meaningful and impactful to mothers who may be lacking confidence and feeling uncertain about their maternal role.

 Encourage mothers to attend parent support groups – NICU staff and providers can encourage mothers to attend parent support groups on Mother’s Day. Peer sharing of positive and negative maternal experiences in NICU support groups can strengthen social relationships and networks, provide therapeutic benefits, foster feelings of safety and comfort, and encourage parent advocacy (3,9). On Mother’s Day, NICU parent support groups can feature topics related to Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day themed activities, such as scrapbooking, crafting, and even expressive writing or journaling that allow for both positive and adverse feelings can also be incorporated.

Create cards or keepsake gifts for mothers – There are several ways Mother’s Day can be celebrated in the NICU. One way to celebrate the holiday is for NICU staff to take a photo of each baby or each mother with their baby and put it inside of a card that can be placed by the baby’s bedside. Staff may also wish to create small keepsake gifts for mothers. At Denver Health Medical Center, NICU nurses make keychains to give to each mother (8). Each keychain contains a photo of the mom with their baby. Provide scent cloths for mothers Small pieces of soft fabric with the baby’s and the mother’s familiar scent can bring comfort to mothers and babies and help facilitate bonding. The cloth can be placed in the baby’s be against the mother’s skin to absorb scent and then exchanged. The scent cloths can even be shaped like hearts.

 Enlist volunteer assistance from past NICU graduate families – Staff and providers can consider enlisting volunteer assistance from past graduate families of the NICU to help support and celebrate mothers in the NICU on Mother’s Day (1). Former NICU mothers and caregivers with first-hand lived experience and expertise could write cards with encouraging and supportive messages to current NICU mothers and assist with running parent activity groups. It is important to remember that each mother in the NICU will experience Mother’s Day differently, and some families may not be open to celebrating or participating in Mother’s Day activities.

As a final note, we would like to acknowledge NICU staff, providers, and readers this Mother’s Day. We recognize those who are mothers, grandmothers, and caregivers. We recognize those who have or have had infants hospitalized in the NICU. We recognize those who have lost children and those who have lost mothers. We recognize those with strained relationships with their mothers, those with strained relationships with their children, those who have chosen not to be mothers, and those who are yearning to be mothers. We honor you all and wish you a peaceful Mother’s Day.


Timely examination can save premature babies from permanent blindness

By Muhammad Qasim     April 20, 2022

Rawalpindi : Over eighty-five per cent of premature babies who weigh less than 1.5 kilograms at the time of birth have a high risk of developing the disorganised growth of retinal blood vessels, which can cause vision problems including permanent blindness.

Babies born prematurely, before 266 days, have many obstacles to overcome in their first fragile weeks, one of which is eye development that can be resolved through screening and surgical procedures to help avoid serious eyesight problems like vision impairment and blindness.

Chief Consultant and Head of Retina Department at Al-Shifa Eye Hospital Dr Nadeem Qureshi said this while talking to the media persons. He said that the blood vessels of the retina develop three months after conception and complete their growth at the time of normal delivery. If an infant is born prematurely, eye development can be disrupted, as the smaller a baby is at birth, the more likely that baby is to develop difficulties, he said.

Using excess oxygen to treat premature babies in the hospitals stimulates abnormal vessel growth in the eyes, with the smallest and sickest having the highest risk of devastating effects of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), he said.

He added that studies have shown that keeping the oxygen saturation at a lower level from birth can reduce the rate of advanced ROP, a blinding eye disorder.

All parents must include a vision screening in their list of baby check-ups between six and twelve months of age as every premature infant deserves the constant attention of an ophthalmologist because of his or her increased risk for eye misalignment, amblyopia, and the need for glasses to develop normal vision.

Dr Qureshi said that Al-Shifa Eye hospital has already signed MoUs with Fauji Foundation Hospital, Combined Military Hospital, and Benazir Bhutto Hospital to treat newborns with vision complications.

Al-Shifa Eye Hospital is the only facility in the SAARC region and among few in the world having the latest equipment and excellent skills to treat newborns having vision complications, he claimed. So far, the trust has treated around 6000 infants in the last seven years and the number is bound to increase as the awareness grows, he said.

He added that we are here to provide free guidance to all the state-owned and private healthcare facilities, including those in other countries, to help save thousands from plunging into darkness for life. The Retina Department of Al-Shifa Hospital has 12 surgeons, assisted by trainees, and it performs Retinal OPD, lasers, injections and surgery every day of the week, said Dr Qureshi.

Average OPD at the Retina Department is 215 patients per day, average lasers are 35 per day, average injections are 50 per day and on average 25 surgeries are conducted daily, he added. A retinal surgery costs around Rs95 thousand, but 75 per cent of patients are treated free of cost, he said.

Source:Timely examination can save premature babies from permanent blindness (

UCSF NICU-How To Do A Swaddled Bath

(Spanish subtitles)

197,922 views   Nov 28, 2018

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

Watch the dramatic moment a preemie leaves his tubes behind and starts a new life (VIDEO)


Paola Belletti – published on 09/14/17aa

Ward Miles Miller’s scary and moving first year of life was captured by his father.

Ward Miles Miller was born on July 20, 2012 — three months early. Fear and anxiety initially overshadowed (but didn’t suffocate) his parents’ joy and hope. The story of Ward’s first year of life is a beautiful, moving, and dramatic one, as told through the video and photos taken by his father Benjamin.

Little Ward received all the medical support possible and necessary until he was able to go home safely; he spent 107 days in the hospital, most of them in an incubator. His mom and dad, Lindsay and Benjamin Scott, are devoted and loving parents who fought for Ward and celebrated every ounce he gained as a milestone.

Today, Ward is navigating the stormy waters of life in a vessel that is stronger and more stable every day.


Association of Abnormal Findings on Neonatal Cranial Ultrasound With Neurobehavior at Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Discharge in Infants Born Before 30 Weeks’ Gestation

JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(4):e226561. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.6561

Original Investigation –  Pediatrics April 8, 2022

Key Points

Question  What is the association between neonatal cranial ultrasound findings and neurobehavioral examination at term-adjusted age?

Findings  In this cohort study of 675 infants born before 30 weeks’ gestation, abnormal findings on cranial ultrasound were associated with decreased tone, poor regulation of attention, and movement outcomes as the infants matured to term-adjusted age.

Meaning  Among very preterm infants, abnormal findings on cranial ultrasound identifiable in the first 14 postnatal days were associated with neurobehavior outcomes at or near term-equivalent age and could be used to help counsel and educate parents as well as inform treatment strategies for therapy service in the neonatal intensive care unit and after discharge.


Importance  Cranial ultrasound (CUS) findings are routinely used to identify preterm infants at risk for impaired neurodevelopment, and neurobehavioral examinations provide information about early brain function. The associations of abnormal findings on early and late CUS with neurobehavior at neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge have not been reported.

Objective  To examine the associations between early and late CUS findings and infant neurobehavior at NICU discharge.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This prospective cohort study included infants enrolled in the Neonatal Neurobehavior and Outcomes in Very Preterm Infants Study between April 2014 and June 2016. Infants born before 30 weeks’ gestational age were included. Exclusion criteria were maternal age younger than 18 years, maternal cognitive impairment, maternal inability to read or speak English or Spanish, maternal death, and major congenital anomalies. Overall, 704 infants were enrolled. The study was conducted at 9 university-affiliated NICUs in Providence, Rhode Island; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; Honolulu, Hawaii; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Torrance and Long Beach, California. Data were analyzed from September 2019 to September 2021.

Exposures  Early CUS was performed at 3 to 14 days after birth and late CUS at 36 weeks’ postmenstrual age or NICU discharge. Abnormal findings were identified by consensus of standardized radiologists’ readings.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Neurobehavioral examination was performed using the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS).

Results  Among the 704 infants enrolled, 675 had both CUS and NNNS data (135 [20.0%] Black; 368 [54.5%] minority race or ethnicity; 339 [50.2%] White; 376 [55.7%] male; mean [SD] postmenstrual age, 27.0 [1.9] weeks). After covariate adjustment, lower attention (adjusted mean difference, −0.346; 95% CI, −0.609 to −0.083), hypotonicity (mean difference, 0.358; 95% CI, 0.055 to 0.662), and poorer quality of movement (mean difference, −0.344; 95% CI, −0.572 to −0.116) were observed in infants with white matter damage (WMD). Lower attention (mean difference, −0.233; 95% CI, −0.423 to −0.044) and hypotonicity (mean difference, 0.240; 95% CI, 0.014 to 0.465) were observed in infants with early CUS lesions.

Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study of preterm infants, certain early CUS lesions were associated with hypotonicity and lower attention around term-equivalent age. WMD was associated with poor attention, hypotonicity, and poor quality of movement. Infants with these CUS lesions might benefit from targeted interventions to improve neurobehavioral outcomes during their NICU hospitalization.

Full Article:

Can a new effort end ‘equipment graveyards’ at neonatal ICUs?

By Catherine Cheney /09 September 2021

Just outside of San Francisco, product engineers at a manufacturer and supplier of health technologies are hard at work on devices to save newborn lives in settings far different from this bayside facility.

The 3rd Stone Design warehouse features a display of lifesaving technologies for newborns, including a continuous positive airway pressure — or CPAP — machine that the team helped develop.

The company is part of a global coalition of organizations working to get such devices to babies in low-income countries, where they confront inequity from the moment they’re born. The coalition is called Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies, or NEST360, and it targets neonatal intensive care units.

Infants born in sub-Saharan Africa or Southern Asia are 10 times more likely to die during the first month of life compared with those born in high-income countries, due in part to a lack of access to medical devices. About 75% of babies born prematurely can be saved with the right medical care.

“People who come up with product ideas are not the same people who figure out how to sell something, and the people who figure out how to sell it are not the same people who figure out how to service it.”

But when health facilities end up with devices that are not designed with their constraints in mind — or when staffers lack training in using these tools and there are no plans to fix products when they break — potentially lifesaving technologies can end up in what are often called medical equipment graveyards.

NEST360, which aims to reduce newborn mortality in sub-Saharan African hospitals by 50%, is trying to change that. It’s taking what it describes as a “holistic approach” to neonatal care — distributing newborn health technologies, educating clinicians and technicians on how to maintain these tools, and supporting local innovators to build the technologies that work best for their contexts.

The coalition launched in 2019, with an initial focus on Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria. From the beginning, NEST360 has said there is a need for not just low-cost technology but high-quality distribution. With assistance from 3rd Stone Design, which helped develop a new nonprofit called Hatch Technologies, NEST360 may have found the end-to-end solution for distribution that it sought.

Hatch provides distribution and support services for devices designed for newborn care units in sub-Saharan Africa. And partners involved in NEST360 say they hope it can serve as a model for ensuring medical equipment reaches low birth weight and premature babies in time to save their lives.

Steve Adudans, Kenya country director at the Rice360 Institute for Global Health Technologies — which is also part of the NEST360 partnership — has seen many examples of donated medical devices piling up instead of being used in neonatal ICUs.

“We need to bury the medical equipment graveyards,” he said during an online webinar on innovations in newborn health in Africa organized by The Elma Philanthropies, one of NEST360’s funders. “That’s what NEST is about.”

The NEST360 bundle of technologies includes 18 medical devices focused on areas including temperature stability, respiratory support, and neonatal jaundice treatment. Each of them meets target product profiles for newborn care in low-resource settings developed by NEST360 in partnership with UNICEF.

Many of the NEST360 technologies that meet these operational and performance characteristics were developed by innovators focused on low-resource settings, where it is often impossible to repair products made by corporations that impose restrictive warranties, lock their software, and limit access to spare parts.

But these devices cannot fulfill their vital potential when they are introduced into a broken system, Adudans said.

NEST360 needed a solution to get products from manufacturers to distributors to facilities in the countries where it works. That’s where Hatch Technologies comes in.

Often, nations with the highest rates of neonatal mortality receive donated equipment that fails when placed in environments with unreliable electricity, temperature variation, and too much dust and dirt.

Bottom of Form

But even when countries can procure medical supplies, they often don’t know which devices would work best for their settings. So they end up with cheap devices that break because they are poor quality or high-end ones that never get fixed because maintenance is too expensive, said Dick Oranja, CEO at Hatch Technologies.

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Hatch Technologies launched in March 2020 with a mission to transform the way newborn care devices are distributed, supported, and used in Africa. To date, Hatch has helped NEST360 distribute almost 2,000 pieces of equipment reporting over 95% functionality, meaning they are working as they should. It is starting with support from the same backers as NEST360 but is an independent nonprofit that could continue to seek support elsewhere.

Hatch uses asset tracking — with a bar code-type sticker on each of its products — to follow each shipment from the initial logistics and warehousing to shipment and ultimately the use of the device.

“Distributors will mention they provide a level of service. They have to assure their customers. But the truth of the matter is distributors do not offer targeted service,” Oranja said. “We measure customer service parameters a routine medical equipment manufacturer will not measure.”

Beyond delivering medical devices, Hatch installs the equipment, trains staffers, and stops by to see how the technology is working, based in part on its measure of the functional status of the equipment — meaning whether it is being used as intended or at all.

A number of supply chain bottlenecks prevent newborn health products from reaching babies in low-income countries during critical moments of life and death.

“People who come up with product ideas are not the same people who figure out how to sell something, and the people who figure out how to sell it are not the same people who figure out how to service it and support it,” Robert Miros, CEO at 3rd Stone Design, told Devex.

That reality is part of what led 3rd Stone Design to work with partners to develop Hatch Technologies.

NEST360’s expanded model, which includes Hatch, reflects a growing understanding that no matter how innovative medical devices are, they are only one part of the solution to saving newborn lives. The other crucial piece is distribution.

Hatch Technologies began after Miros and his colleagues formed a task team to brainstorm the effort together with other NEST360 partners and funders. They drew on the expertise of 3rd Stone Design’s Danica Kumara, a director of product management who formerly worked on medical device efforts in Southeast Asia, and Vikas Meka, a senior product manager who was formerly a senior adviser on global health innovation at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Now that NEST360 has launched in four African countries, it intends to demonstrate a path to scale across the continent, said Rebecca Richards-Kortum, director at the Rice360 Institute for Global Health Technologies, during the webinar.

But what turned the tide on newborn survival in the United States and the United Kingdom was a network of neonatal ICUs — “a regional system with people and products that are ready to help babies,” she said.

So as NEST360 partners with Hatch Technologies to bridge the gap from manufacturers to distributors and ensure that lifesaving medical devices can reach health care facilities, it is also calling for stronger hospital systems for newborn care.


The transition to the artificial uterus should be as natural as possible. Photo: Bart van Overbeeke

Without gasping for air safely in the artificial womb

   APR 07, 2022

An artificial uterus significantly increases the chances of survival for extremely premature babies. That is why researchers at TU Eindhoven are doing a lot of research on this topic. One of the biggest challenges  is preventing the fetus from breathing oxygen just after birth, because that is harmful to the not yet mature alveoli. The solution? A wound spreader, coupling elements and a biobag filled with amniotic fluid.

The development of the artificial uterus has accelerated in recent years, not least because of the Perinatal Life Support partnership, which includes TU Eindhoven. According to Professor Frans van de Vosse (Professor of Cardiovascular Biomechanics within the Faculty of Biomedical Technology) and Guid Oei (Gynecologist and part-time Professor within the Faculty of Electrical Engineering), within ten years it should be possible to significantly increase the chances of survival and quality of life of extremely premature babies via a so-called incubator 2.0.


In the Netherlands alone, 700 children are born extremely prematurely each year – between 24 and 28 weeks. Almost half die, while a large proportion retain permanent health problems because organs have not yet matured. “Think of lung problems or brain damage,” clarifies Frank Delbressine (Assistant Professor of Industrial Design). “We want to increase both the life chances and the quality of life of newborn babies with an artificial uterus.”

Delbressine is the supervisor of PhD student Juliette van Haren. Together with a group of Industrial Design students, she is concerned with, among other things, the way in which childbirth should take place. One of the biggest challenges is to prevent the fetus from gasping for air just after birth (in this case by caesarean section). The birth procedure to the artificial uterus should be as natural as possible, which is why Van Haren is developing a safe way for the premature baby to be transferred from the natural uterus to the artificial uterus.


“We want to prevent the fetus from breathing oxygen, because the alveoli are not yet mature and can be damaged. A 24-week-old baby belongs in an artificial amniotic fluid environment, and we’re trying to mimic that. The transition from the real uterus to the artificial one must occur in a way that the baby barely notices, both physically and mentally, that he or she is being taken to a different location,” explains Delbressine.

The principle works as follows: a so-called wound spreader holds open the wound created by the C-section, after which a biobag filled with artificial amniotic fluid is attached to the wound spreader via a connector. The baby can then be carefully transferred to the artificial uterus at the correct temperature via a glove in the biobag. 

Delbressine: “A filled biobag may sound crazy or disrespectful at first, but this is exactly how the fetus is ‘wrapped up’ in the womb as well, we are trying to imitate that as real as possible.”

The baby can be carefully transferred to the artificial uterus via the biobag at the correct temperature, through a glove.


The system that Van Haren is currently developing consists of several components. Think, for example, of a mechanism that supports the doctor during transfer, as the combination of fetus and fluid can become quite heavy.

Of all these parts, the wound spreader is already in medical use and therefore clinically certified. The rest of the system is completely new and must go through a rigorous clinical approval process. Delbressine: “That’s logical, what we are doing is brand new. Pioneering. It will therefore be years before we can actually start using this system.”

The two are in close contact with the working field, such as specialists from the Máxima Medical Center in Eindhoven. Van Haren: “It’s a nice interaction, we get a lot of feedback from doctors. They have the medical knowledge, we know how to design systems.”


There is a lot involved in developing the artificial uterus itself. Elements must be taken into account that you might not immediately think about at first. Delbressine: “At 24 weeks, the senses are still developing, and babies are sensitive to light, sound and vibrations. The impulses they receive in the natural womb we try to imitate in the artificial womb. The senses need to be stimulated, but in such a way that the brain can handle it. This is still work in progress”

There is still a lot of work to be done before the system can actually be used. We’re talking years. For Delbressine and Van Haren, no problem. Their driving force is in helping children. Van Haren: “Improving the lives of premature babies and increasing their chances of living a beautiful life, that’s what we ultimately do it for.”


Perinatal Life Support is a larger partnership that conducts research into a ‘Perinatal Life Support’ system. Partners are TU/e, the universities of Aachen and Milan, and the companies LifeTec Group and Nemo Healthcare. In 2024 the European funding (from Horizon 2020) ends, then the prototype of the artificial uterus must be ready. After that, the preclinical and clinical tests and the certification process will start.


Nature: free, accessible, healing

Forest Bathing | Shinrin-Yoku | Healing in Nature | Short

Learn how to create healing experiences in nature for yourself and your loved ones. Visit the link for a course on Shinrin-yoku / Forest bathing. Learn calming nature meditations, forest bathing exercises, and mindfulness activities that reconnect us with nature and ourselves. Please share the forest calm and spread some healing.

City Dweller? You can do this!


We’re Going On A NATURE HUNT

Nov 24, 2020    Stories For Kids

Come join in the adventure of a nature hunt. This book is written by Steve Metziger and illustrated by Niki Sakamoto. Thanks for listening!

Medical empirical research on forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku): a systematic review



This study focused on the newest evidence of the relationship between forest environmental exposure and human health and assessed the health efficacy of forest bathing on the human body as well as the methodological quality of a single study, aiming to provide scientific guidance for interdisciplinary integration of forestry and medicine.


Through PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library, 210 papers from January 1, 2015, to April 1, 2019, were retrieved, and the final 28 papers meeting the inclusion criteria were included in the study.