Self Empowerment, Trauma Informed Care

Preterm Birth Rates – Samoa

Rank: 181 –Rate: 5.5% Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births (USA – 12 %)
Source: https://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/global-preterm.aspx

Samoa officially the Independent State of  and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is an island country consisting of two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu, two smaller inhabited islands, Manono and Apolima, and several small uninhabited islands including the Aleipata Islands (Nu’uteleNu’uluaFanuatapu, and Namua). The capital city is Apia. The Lapita people discovered and settled the Samoan Islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed a Samoan language and Samoan cultural identity.
 
Samoa is a unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions. The sovereign state is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Western Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, which includes American Samoa, was called “Navigator Islands” by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans’ seafaring skills. The country was governed by New Zealand until its independence in 1962.
 
The National Health Service is the main government provider of health services for Samoa. They operate all of the hospitals and health centres and the main provider for medical imaging services, the sole provider of medical laboratory testing, and our pharmacy services cater to a significant portion of national pharmaceutical needs.
 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samoa

COMMUNITY

Scaling up breastfeeding policy and programs in Samoa: application of the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly initiative

International Breastfeeding Journal volume 15, Article number: 1 (2020) Christina Soti-UlbergAmber Hromi-FiedlerNicola L. HawleyTake NaseriAnalosa Manuele-MageleJohn Ah-ChingRafael Pérez-Escamilla & on behalf of BBF Samoa Committee

Abstract

Background

Breastfeeding is a critical, evidence-based intervention that addresses malnutrition, improves early childhood development outcomes, and influences long-term maternal and infant health by reducing the non-communicable disease risk. Scaling up breastfeeding is an indisputably strong action countries can take to prevent suboptimal maternal and infant health outcomes. The Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) initiative assists countries with scaling up breastfeeding policy and programs. BBF has been successfully implemented within Latin America, Africa, Europe and South-East Asian regions. This study assessed its application in Samoa.

Methods

In 2018, BBF was implemented in Samoa by a 20 member committee of breastfeeding experts who participated in collecting and utilizing national level data to score the degree of friendliness of Samoa’s breastfeeding environment, identify gaps, and propose policy recommendations to address those gaps. This eight-month process resulted in a public event where priority recommendations were widely disseminated to decision makers and actions agreed upon.

Results

The total BBF Index score for Samoa was 1.6 out of 3.0, indicating a moderate breastfeeding friendly environment for scaling up policies and programs that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. Gear total scores indicated that seven of the eight gears were moderately strong within Samoa, while the eighth gear, funding and resources, was weakest in strength. Six prioritized recommendations emerged: 1) development and implementation of a National Breastfeeding Policy and Strategic Action Plan; 2) strengthening monitoring and evaluation of all breastfeeding activities; 3) ratifying the International Labour Organization’s Maternity Protection Convention 2000 (No 183); 4) identifying high-level advocates to champion and serve as role models for breastfeeding; 5) creation of a national budget line for breastfeeding activities; and 6) hiring of a national breastfeeding coordinator and trainer. Decision makers demonstrated commitment by signing the breastfeeding policy for hospitals ahead of the BBF dissemination meeting and electing to move forward with establishing lactation rooms within government ministries.

Conclusion

Implementation of BBF in Samoa yielded important policy recommendations that will address current gaps in national level breastfeeding support. The BBF consultation process can be successfully applied to other countries within the Western Pacific region in order to strengthen their breastfeeding programs.

Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13006-019-0245-6

To ALL of you sharing resources with our Global Community, and there are LOTS of you,

THANK YOU (Faʻafetai)  

Hinari Access to Research for Health programme

Hinari Access to Research for Health Programme provides free or very low cost online access to the major journals in biomedical and related social sciences to local, not-for-profit institutions in developing countries. Hinari was launched in January 2002, with some 1500 journals from 6 major publishers: Blackwell, Elsevier Science, the Harcourt Worldwide STM Group, Wolters Kluwer International Health & Science, Springer Verlag and John Wiley, following the principles in a Statement of Intent signed in July 2001. Since that time, the numbers of participating publishers and of journals and other full-text resources has grown continuously. Up to 165 publishers’ content are If your institution is in a Group A (free access) country, area, or territory, then Hinari is free. If your institution is in a Group B (low-cost access) country, area, or territory, Hinari costs US$ 1500 per institution per calendar year (from January through December). All eligible institutions registering from Group B countries, areas, or territories will receive a six month trial without payment.

If your institution is in a Group B (low-cost access) country, area, or territory, and cannot or chooses not to pay the annual fee, the institution will still be eligible for free access to a small number of information resources.

Samoa is on the A lists for free access to this services.

***Refugee Camps recognized by UNRWA or categorized by UNHCR as “planned/managed camps” are eligible for free Hinari access regardless of their geographical location.

Source: https://www.who.int/hinari/about/en/

Risk of Preterm Birth and Newborn Low Birthweight in Military Women with Increased Pregnancy-Specific Anxiety

Karen L Weis, USAF, NC, PhDKatherine C Walker, MSN, RNWenyaw Chan, PhDTony T Yuan, PhDRegina P Lederman, PhD, RN, FAANMilitary Medicine, Volume 185, Issue 5-6, May-June 2020, Pages e678– e685, https://doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usz399    Published: 06 December 2019

Abstract

Introduction

Prenatal maternal anxiety and depression have been implicated as possible risk factors for preterm birth (PTB) and other poor birth outcomes. Within the military, maternal conditions account for 15.3% of all hospital bed days, and it is the most common diagnostic code for active duty females after mental disorders. The majority of women (97.6%) serving on active duty are women of childbearing potential. Understanding the impact that prenatal maternal anxiety and depression can have on PTB and low birthweight (LBW) in a military population is critical to providing insight into biological pathways that alter fetal development and growth. The purpose of the study was to determine the impact of pregnancy-specific anxiety and depression on PTB and LBW within a military population.

Material and Methods

Pregnancy-specific anxiety and depression were measured for 246 pregnant women in each trimester. Individual slopes for seven different measures of pregnancy anxiety and one depression scale were calculated using linear mixed models. Logistic regression, adjusted and unadjusted models, were applied to determine the impact on PTB and LBW.

Results

For each 1/10 unit increase in the anxiety slope as it related to well-being, the risk of LBW increased by 83% after controlling for parity, PTB, and active duty status. Similarly, a 1/10 unit rise in the anxiety slope related to accepting pregnancy, labor fears, and helplessness increased the risk of PTB by 37%, 60%, and 54%, respectively.

Conclusions

Pregnancy-specific anxiety was found to significantly increase the risk of PTB and LBW in a military population. Understanding this relationship is essential in developing effective assessments and interventions. Results emphasize the importance of prenatal maternal mental health to fetal health and birth outcomes. Further research is needed to determine the specific physiological pathways that link prenatal anxiety and depression with poor birth outcomes.

Source: https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/185/5-6/e678/5663471

PREEMIE FAMILY PARTNERS

In the NICU, both parents are essential and need to be at their child’s bedside

By Jennifer Canvasser, Kurlen Payton, and Elizabeth Rogers – July 13, 2020

Micah Canvasser, born at 27 weeks gestation, spent 299 days in a NICU. His parents were constantly at his bedside learning how to best contribute to their son’s care.

As Covid-19 surged through the United States this spring, Reina and James were told they could no longer stay with their severely ill newborn in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and could visit for only a few hours — separately.

“My husband was allowed to visit for just one hour a week and had to prebook his time,” Reina (the parents’ names have been changed to protect their privacy) shared with one of us. “I was allowed to visit for two hours each day. Our baby sadly gained his wings seven days after he was born.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced billions of people and institutions to make difficult decisions to prevent harm and save lives. Many of these decisions affected how patients experience health care. One particularly traumatizing change has been directed at parents of newborns receiving care in neonatal intensive care units (NICU).

That might be good for infection control, but it goes against everything we know about caring for sick newborns. Both parents (or a parent plus a support person) need access to their infant’s bedside often and at the same time. The risks of Covid-19 must be weighed against the known risks and harms of separating babies in the NICU from their parents.

In the NICU, parents are not visitors: They are essential members of the care team. Parents know their babies better than anyone else and are often the first to recognize when something is wrong. It is intuitive to understand that babies need their parents, yet this is also borne out in research. For vulnerable newborns, their mother’s milk is a lifesaving intervention. Infant skin-to-skin care with parents promotes growth and healthy development.

Shared decision-making is critical in the NICU, where parents and providers must work together to optimize decisions that can have lifelong health implications for the infant. Because things can change so rapidly in a sick newborn, parents need to be at their child’s bedside so they can be informed and participate in these vital health decisions. Limiting parents’ access harms the therapeutic alliance that needs to exist between NICU providers and parents.

Bonding during this developmentally fragile period is crucial. Limiting parents’ access disrupts the nurturing interactions that are necessary for an infant’s cognitive development and that are also essential to parents’ mental health. “Even though our daughter is now home, our NICU’s one-parent policy has left us with deep psychological scars,” a father shared with us.

The wide variation in Covid-19 visitor policies between hospitals fuels mistrust. NICU parents and providers have reported a range of policies: Some hospitals allow unrestricted access for two parents at the bedside, others allow just one parent to visit for only two hours a day, and there’s just about every possibility in between. Permitting just one parent at a time to be with their child is an unlikely Covid-19-reduction strategy, as most parents are in close contact outside of the hospital.

That might be good for infection control, but it goes against everything we know about caring for sick newborns. Both parents (or a parent plus a support person) need access to their infant’s bedside often and at the same time. The risks of Covid-19 must be weighed against the known risks and harms of separating babies in the NICU from their parents.

In the NICU, parents are not visitors: They are essential members of the care team. Parents know their babies better than anyone else and are often the first to recognize when something is wrong. It is intuitive to understand that babies need their parents, yet this is also borne out in research. For vulnerable newborns, their mother’s milk is a lifesaving intervention. Infant skin-to-skin care with parents promotes growth and healthy development.

Shared decision-making is critical in the NICU, where parents and providers must work together to optimize decisions that can have lifelong health implications for the infant. Because things can change so rapidly in a sick newborn, parents need to be at their child’s bedside so they can be informed and participate in these vital health decisions. Limiting parents’ access harms the therapeutic alliance that needs to exist between NICU providers and parents.

Bonding during this developmentally fragile period is crucial. Limiting parents’ access disrupts the nurturing interactions that are necessary for an infant’s cognitive development and that are also essential to parents’ mental health. “Even though our daughter is now home, our NICU’s one-parent policy has left us with deep psychological scars,” a father shared with us.

The wide variation in Covid-19 visitor policies between hospitals fuels mistrust. NICU parents and providers have reported a range of policies: Some hospitals allow unrestricted access for two parents at the bedside, others allow just one parent to visit for only two hours a day, and there’s just about every possibility in between. Permitting just one parent at a time to be with their child is an unlikely Covid-19-reduction strategy, as most parents are in close contact outside of the hospital.

We need to close this gap and ensure that all NICU families receive high-quality care by giving parents access to their medically fragile infants. Seemingly strict but malleable visitor policies are also inequitable in that families who advocate for themselves are often told that both parents can be at the bedside, while families with less ability to advocate for themselves are required to comply.

Parents’ basic rights to see and care for their own child are infringed upon when they are inaccurately categorized as visitors. Infants’ basic right to physically access both of their parents must also be considered. Health care providers and parents should work together at local and state levels to assure safe practices that honor the unique situation and needs of sick newborns.

Parents can be screened with the same protective procedures applied to all essential care team members who come in and out of the hospital every day. While certain parental restrictions may be justified in specific high-risk situations, extensive parental limitations should always be minimized. Efforts must be made to mitigate public health risks while maximizing parental rights.

Babies in the NICU need both of their parents at their bedsides, and their parents’ psychological well-being depends on being there. The way families experience care in the NICU remains with them for their lifetimes. When asymptomatic, two-parent access to their infant’s bedside should be the standard of care. Anything less is indefensible.

Jennifer Canvasser is the mother of a child who died from necrotizing enterocolitis after spending several months in the NICU and is the founder and director of the Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Society, a member of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Rare As One Network. Kurlen Payton is a neonatologist, interim director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and co-director of quality improvement collaboratives for the California Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative. Elizabeth Rogers is a neonatologist and director of the ROOTS Small Baby Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. The authors thank Jochen Profit, a neonatologist and associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, for his help writing this article.

Source: https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/13/nicu-both-parents-essential-childs-bedside/

A Teen-Led, Volunteer-based NICU Reading Program: A Model for Supporting Family Reading and Family Integrated Care

Introduction

NICU babies are at high risk of neurodevelopmental impairment for multiple reasons, including prematurity, critical illness, and family emotional and economic stressors associated with hospitalization in the NICU. (1) Care in single-patient-room NICUs can compound the issues of sensory deprivation and contribute to speech and language deficits in NICU graduates. (2) Reading aloud with babies creates and strengthens neural connections that “promote … social-emotional development…and language and literacy skills during this critical period of early brain and child development.” (3) Providing parents and other caregivers books and encouraging them to read to their infants in the NICU is a low-cost intervention to increase infants’ speech and language interactions. Parent reading with their baby in the NICU supports family integrated care and bonding (4) and improves the NICU experience.

Babies With Books, a teen-led volunteer organization, began its first NICU Reading Program at Randall Children’s Hospital (RCH) in 2017.  The NICU Reading Program is a collaboration between teen volunteers and NICU providers, consisting of four discrete components – Admit Reading Packets, One-on-one Book Rounds, a Family Shared Reading Library, and literacy events and celebrations.  Admit Reading Packets contain a book, bookmark, and information on how and why to read aloud with babies beginning in the NICU. Teens source and assemble these admit packets, which are given by healthcare providers to each infant at NICU admission. One-on-one Book Rounds encourage and reinforce NICU reading. During book rounds, teen volunteers meet weekly with NICU families to  talk with them about how to read with their infant and why reading aloud to their babies beginning in the NICU is important. Some of this information was developed in collaboration with Reach Out And Read® (ROR).  Families are offered their choice of 3 books from a mobile book cart to read with their infant, keep in the NICU, and bring home at NICU discharge. The Family Shared Reading Library is a library located outside of the NICU (ex. in the NICU lobby or lounge) stocked with donated, gently used books. Literacy Events & Celebrations include NICU reada-thons, book nooks at NICU reunions, and other literacy promoting events that engage families in shared reading. In BWB’s first NICU read-a-thon at RCH, 45% of families participated, and all surveyed staff and families expressed high satisfaction. BWB has also hosted a “book nook” program at the RCH NICU reunion, during which we provided more than 200 donated books to NICU graduates and their siblings and read stories with them. Through this NICU Reading Program, BWB has served more than 850 NICU babies at RCH.

Books used in the Reading Program include a variety of high contrast board books, children’s stories, and “I love you” type books. Only new books are used with babies. Donated, gently used books may be used in the Family Shared Library and in “book nooks” at NICU reunions for NICU families and graduates. Books are available in multiple languages, and picture books are available for families whose primary language is not represented and for non-reading families. We recommend books by a wide range of authors that engage and represent the diversity of the NICU patient population.  Funding is through generous foundation grants as well as individual and corporate donations. We receive donated books from a local book bank and a used bookstore.

Like all hospital-based programs, BWB has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The BWB teens have continued to source and assemble admit reading packets but do so offsite and deliver these to the hospital where they are stored for at least 72 hours prior to being given to NICU families. To assemble and deliver admit packets, volunteers must be symptom-free, wear masks, and adhere to strict hand hygiene. One-on-one volunteer-led book rounds have been paused during COVID-19 but can be performed by personnel with continued access to the NICU. Shared Family Reading Libraries are not recommended during COVID-19. Reada-thons remain a great way to support infants and families and build NICU morale during COVID-19.

Conclusion:  By engaging motivated, passionate, and creative teen volunteers in our BWB Reading Program, we provide valuable service to NICU babies and families with limited burden and cost to healthcare providers and hospitals.

Source:https://neonatologytoday.net/newsletters/nt-aug20.pdf

Preemie Siblings may feel abandoned, displaced, dis-empowered during and after the preterm birth experience within a family. Preterm birth changes everything for preemie families for a short or for a very long time. Preemie parents are often overwhelmed and immersed in a sea of chaos, destination unknown.  Family Partners,  please consider implementing the simple concepts shared in the article below in order to provide all family members with the support needed to move forward with purpose and intent upon a foundation of family trust. Simple inclusion of preemie siblings may dynamically and positively alter the course of their precious lives and ultimately reduce the stress the family unit experiences during this challenging time.

NICU: Helping Siblings Cope

When a baby is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the entire family can be affected. Here are some tips for helping siblings cope.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital – Patient Education – HEALTH AND WELLNESS

What Siblings Need

Routine

Help siblings maintain their regular routines as much as possible. Providing structure and normal daily activities will help siblings feel safe and supported when separated from parents and family.

Honesty

Be honest and use simple words they can understand when explaining why their brother/sister is in the hospital. This will help them feel less afraid.

Communication

Talk to siblings and help them understand what is happening. Allow siblings the chance to express their feelings and ask questions.

Behaviors to Watch For

It is not uncommon to notice a change in behavior in siblings when their brother/sister is in the hospital. Here are some typical reactions to watch for:

■ Guilt – Feeling that they did something to cause their sibling’s to be in the hospital.

■ Fear–Worrying that they or another loved one will get sick and have to go to the hospital.

■ Anger –Being angry about change in routine, separation from parents, less attention.

■ Loneliness – Feeling lonely when parents visit their brother/sister without them and wondering why they’re not getting as much attention as usual.

■ Confusion– Feeling confused about what will happen to their brother/sister, why they are there and when their life will return to “normal.” These feelings may be expressed in your child’s behavior.

Watch for:

■ Aggressive play or behavior

■ Increased need for attention/clinginess

■ Returning to younger behavior (bed wetting, temper tantrums, thumb sucking)

■ Changes in routine (sleeping and eating patterns)

How You Can Help

Siblings need lots of love and support when their brother or sister is in the NICU. Try to include your children as much as possible to answer questions and decrease fears.

Here are some resources and activities to use with siblings while supporting them.

Activities to Promote Positive Coping

■ Before visiting the hospital, make sure siblings know what to expect and remind them that it’s okay to ask questions.

■ Have the sibling choose a special item to bring to their sibling in the hospital (such as a favorite teddy bear, blanket or book).

■ Draw pictures or make decorations for the baby’s room (at home or in the NICU).

■ Write a letter to take to the baby.

■ Have the child draw a picture that they would like to share with their sibling.

■ Display a chart with different emotions or feelings on it in your home (you and your child can choose where to hang it). Ask the child each day how they are feeling and talk to them about why they are feeling that way. Always let them know that it is okay to talk and express all types of feelings.

Books You Can Read Together

■ “No Bigger Than A Teddy Bear” by Valerie Pankow

     A book for 3 to 7 year olds about what it is like to have a sibling in the NICU.

■ “My Brother is a Preemie” or “My Sister is a Preemie” by Joseph Vitterito

A book for 3 to 7 year olds that discusses what it is like to have a premature sibling in the NICU.

■ “What About Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick” by Allan Peterkin

     A book for 5 to 10 year olds with hospitalized siblings.

■ “When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness” by Marge Eaton Heegaard

      A workbook for 7 to 13 year olds who have a sibling that is hospitalized or

     chronically ill.

■ “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn

     A book about separation– this book is helpful if siblings are having a difficult time

     coping with separation from parents while they visit their child in the NICU.

■ “In My Heart” by Jo Witek

A book about emotions.file:///C:/Users/sacre/Downloads/northwestern-medicine-nicu-helping-siblings-cope-nmh%20(2).pdf

INNOVATIONS

Vanderbilt develops computational method to explore evolution’s influence on preterm birth

by Marissa Shapiro Jul. 24, 2020

Human pregnancy can easily be taken for granted as a natural and regularly occurring event, but it is the product of the complex, coordinated function of two bodies, mother and baby, that has evolved side by side with other important human adaptations. For the first time, researchers have established how a complex disorder associated with pregnancy – spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB) – has been shaped by multiple evolutionary forces.

The article, “Accounting for diverse evolutionary forces reveals mosaic patterns of selection on human preterm birth loci” was published in the journal Nature Communications on July 24.

Preterm or premature birth, medically defined as labor starting at 37 weeks of gestation or earlier (instead of the usual 40 weeks), affects more than 15 million pregnancies each year and is the leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. Both the associated medical conditions of the mother which cause sPTB and the outcomes of sPTB on an infant’s health have been well-defined. It is not well understood, however, how and why genetic factors influence sPTB and birth timing. A team of scientists led by Antonis Rokas, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Biological Sciences and director of the Vanderbilt Evolutionary Studies Initiative and Tony Capra, associate professor of biological sciences, set out to demystify this element of pregnancy and human life.

The research, co-led by postdoctoral scholar Abigail LaBella and by M.D./Ph.D. candidate Abin Abraham, developed a computational approach to detect how evolution has shaped genomic regions associated with complex genetic traits, such as height or obesity. “Our approach integrates techniques developed in labs from all over the world to quantify how natural selection has influenced genomic regions involved with complex diseases,” said Capra. “We hypothesized that parts of our genome involved in disease might experience contrasting evolutionary pressures due to their involvement in multiple and different traits.”

This work was done in cooperation with Louis J. Muglia, co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s and president and CEO of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Ge Zhang, associate professor at Cincinnati Children Hospital Medical Center and collaborator at the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center-Ohio Collaborative. Zhang and Muglia recently completed the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) on sPTB which identified multiple genomic regions associated with this complex disease. “Preterm birth is a global health concern, affecting ten percent of pregnancies in the United States. Understanding the evolution of genomic regions associated with spontaneous preterm birth is a major step forward in how we understand the foundations of human life and provide the best possible care to mother and child,” said Muglia.

Using this GWAS, the researchers found that genomic regions associated with sPTB have experienced multiple types of natural selection. From this information researchers can hypothesize why these risk-related genomic regions remain in human populations and what their potential functions may be. “While we knew of a few examples of selection like negative selection acting on genes associated with spontaneous preterm birth, we uncovered that every type of selection we tested had acted on at least one genomic region. Our initial figures looked like a mosaic made up of all the different metrics we had tested,” says Rokas.

The team’s results suggest that genomic regions associated with sPTB have experienced diverse evolutionary pressures, such as population-specific selection, and provide insights into the biological functions some of these regions. “It is difficult to study pregnancy in humans and we lack good models for laboratory studies,” LaBella explains. “We still have much to learn about the mechanisms through which human pregnancy is initiated.” For example, the group uncovered differences in a region near the gene OPRL1, involved in both the relaxation of maternal tissues and pain perception during childbirth, that are specific to certain human populations. Population-specific differences in this region may contribute to the uneven risk of sPTB between human populations. “This work is a part of a burgeoning field of evolutionary medicine, one of the types of interdisciplinary research that many of the investigators of the Vanderbilt Evolutionary Studies Initiative are engaged in,” says Rokas.

Both Abraham and LaBella plan to continue to foster collaboration between medicine and evolution in their future research. “Having this pipeline at our disposal opens up a range of new, exciting questions such as asking whether diseases of pregnancy, which involve two genomes, that of mom and baby, experience different evolutionary pressures than other complex genetic diseases,” says Abraham.

This work will be critical for researchers studying the genetics of pregnancy-associated disorder and is of broad interest to scientists researching human evolution, human population genomics and how evolutionary analyses relate to complex diseases like cancer and heart disease.

The research was supported by the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center-Ohio Collaborative, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and National Institutes of Health grants R35GM127087 and T32GM007347.

Source: https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2020/07/24/vanderbilt-develops-computational-method-to-explore-evolutions-influence-on-preterm-birth/

Caring For Babies And Their Families: Providing Psychosocial Support In The NICU”: An Innovative Online Educational Tool To Empower Neonatal Nurses To Support NICU Families

Hall, Sue L. MD; Sorrells, Keira BS; Eklund, Wakako Minamoto DNP, APRN, NNP-BC Editor(s): Eklund, Wakako DNP, NNP-BC, Section Editors; Smith, Heather E. PhD, RN, NNP-BC, CNS, Section Editors Advances in Neonatal Care: August 2020 – Volume 20 – Issue 4 – p 263-264

Parents whose newborns are hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nearly always experience stress. These parents have a higher prevalence of both postpartum depression (PPD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than new parents of infants born healthy, related in part to their perceptions of their experiences surrounding the birth of their infant or their NICU experiences that are traumatic. Prevalence of PPD among NICU mothers is 25% to 63% and for NICU fathers, approximately 36%, while rates of PTSD among NICU parents have been reported as 15% to 53% for mothers and 8% to 33% for fathers.

A comprehensive evidence-based program is now available to empower neonatal nurses to support NICU families. The program is designed to psychosocially minimize the occurrence of both PPD and PTSD, and to optimize infant and family outcomes. This online continuing education (CE) program is entitled “Caring for Babies and Their Families: Providing Psychosocial Support in the NICU,” and it represents an exemplar for interprofessional collaboration in which family and other stakeholders improve education for neonatal health professionals, and ultimately the care in neonatal settings.

My NICU Network was launched in January, 2018, with a mission of becoming the preeminent provider of compelling perinatal education on psychosocial support created with interprofessional collaboration. My NICU Network was recently expanded to become My NICU Network-My Perinatal Network (MNN-MPN), and is a collaborative endeavor between the National Perinatal Association and the NICU Parent Network. The goal is to provide online evidence-based education and “hands-on” bedside tools to empower healthcare staff working with mothers and infants. The focus of the education is to strengthen the critical parent–infant bonds and family functioning, and to improve developmental outcomes in the infant and mental health outcomes in their parents.

The 3 key guiding principles of course development are: (1) supporting NICU parents is equally as important to providing medical care to their baby; (2) healthcare staff must also be emotionally supported, so that they will have the emotional capacity to support the patients and parents in their care; and (3) interprofessional collaboration models are the foundation to fully realize family-centered care. These principles have been central to program development from inception to conclusion of this project. Stakeholders who are recipients of care (NICU parent leaders) collaborated every step of the way in designing and implementing these educational programs. The courses are rich with parent stories, audio clips, and videos that illustrate learning points. Parents helped to create the courses, conducted the surveys from which parent stories have been gleaned; contributed resources including web links and downloads to be available for the learners who take the course; have been instrumental in the development of the course’s trauma-informed care scripts. There are examples of what providers should not say to parents, how the parent interprets what the provider has said, and what is a better way to communicate the idea based on principles of trauma-informed care. Other parents have reviewed and provided feedback, which was used to refine the course content. All of this parental input has been the key to success of the program, as parents’ testimonials bring the evidence from the literature to life. As one nurse stated after taking the program: “It was very eye opening to see things through the eyes of the parents.” Few educational programs exist that include NICU parent leaders at every level from content development to content delivery, making this a truly unique and comprehensive educational experience.

All of the educational programs of MNN-MPN are based on principles of trauma-informed care, and NICU programs are based on the “Interdisciplinary Recommendations for Psychosocial Support of NICU Parents.” All are also available for CE credits. A study has demonstrated the efficacy of the initial learning program to improve nurses’ knowledge and attitudes toward providing psychosocial care. The program consists of 7 courses including: communication skills, providing emotional support, peer-to-peer support, family-centered developmental care, palliative and bereavement care, discharge planning and follow-up, and caring for the caregiver (staff support).

To date, over 700 NICU staff have completed the program, including the majority of nursing staff in 14 NICUs across the country. The goal for an entire NICU staff completing the program together is to transform the culture in the NICU to become more family-centered, and to mitigate long-term parental emotional complications such as PPD and PTSD. A condensed version of this program, called the Advanced NICU Provider Program, offers 2 CE credits for neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners. In mid-2020, 2 additional programs will be launched:

  1. “Caring for Pregnant Patients and Their Families: Providing Psychosocial Support During Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery” (for maternity care staff), and
  2. “Giving Birth During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Using Trauma-informed Care to Support Patients, Their Families, and Staff Through This Crisis” (for both NICU and maternity care staff).

NICU parents need, desire, and benefit from the emotional support from the nurses. Nursing interventions may mitigate the evolution of parents’ typically expected distress upon entering the NICU, preventing it from developing into full-blown depression or PTSD. Neonatal nurses who are at the bedside daily form more intimate relationships with infants and their families than other health professionals and are in a position to make a positive impact when well-equipped with strategies to address their complex psychosocial needs. NICU families value nurses; one study reported how the quality of relationship parents have with the nurses supported parental ability to cope and bond with their infants in the NICU.

One of the most critical goals for neonatal nurses is to improve the parent–infant bond in NICU to optimize families’ mental health/resilience, so that they can emerge as the empowered, confident, and knowledgeable advocates for their fragile infants who can achieve optimal development. Utilizing an innovative educational model, created through involvement of family stakeholders, can give nurses the tools they need to achieve this very important goal for the families in their care. For more information, please visit www.mynicunetwork.com or www.myperinatalnetwork.org.

Source:https://journals.lww.com/advancesinneonatalcare/Fulltext/2020/08000/Noteworthy_Professional_News.2.aspx

Decolonizing Parents Cuts NICU Staph Transmission Risk

Nicola M. Parry, DVM – January 13, 2020

Treating colonized parents of neonates hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may reduce the risk of parents spreading Staphylococcus aureus to the infants, a recent study published online December 30 in JAMA has shown.

“Treating parents of neonates in the NICU with intranasal mupirocin and 2% chlorhexidine-impregnated cloths compared with placebo reduced the risk of a neonate acquiring S aureus colonization with strains that were the same as S aureus strains identified from the parent(s) at time of study enrollment,” write Aaron M. Milstone, MD, MHS, from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues.

“In this trial, more than half of neonates who acquired S aureus had the same strain as their parent(s).”

According to the authors, neonates have an immature microbiome at the time of their admission to the NICU and rarely are already colonized by S aureus. Instead, they become colonized in the NICU after exposure to the organism from colonized or infected people and contaminated objects in the environment.

Staphylococcus aureus remains a common cause of outbreaks and healthcare-associated infections in NICUs and can seriously impact affected infants, with long-term sequelae such as poor neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes.

Although infection prevention strategies in NICUs typically center on healthcare workers and the physical environment as reservoirs for exposure of infants to S aureus, parents may also serve as an important reservoir for transmission of the bacterium.

With this in mind, Milstone and colleagues conducted their double-blinded, randomized controlled trial across two tertiary care NICUs to investigate whether treating parents would reduce the risk of their infants becoming colonized with S aureus.

The Treating Parents to Reduce Neonatal Transmission of Staphylococcus aureus (TREAT PARENTS) trial enrolled 236 infants. It included infants who had not had a previous culture positive for S aureus, had at least a 5-day NICU stay, were no more than 7 days old if admitted to the NICU from an outside location, and had at least one parent who tested positive for S aureus at screening.

The study’s primary endpoint was infants’ acquisition within 90 days of the same S aureus strain that their parent had. Secondary outcomes included infants’ acquisition of any strain of S aureus and neonatal S aureus infections.

Parents in the study received 5 days of treatment. They were randomly assigned to intranasal mupirocin and topical bathing with 2% chlorhexidine-impregnated cloths (n = 117) or placebo treatment with petrolatum intranasal ointment and nonmedicated soap cloths (n = 119).

Of the 236 enrolled infants, 208 (55% male; 76% singleton births; mean birthweight 1985 grams; 76% vaginal births) were included in the analytic sample, although 18 of these were lost to follow-up.

A total of 190 infants were included in the final analysis: 89 in the intervention group and 101 in the placebo group. Of these, 74 (38.9%) acquired S aureus colonization by 90 days, 42 (56.8%) of whom had a strain concordant with a parental baseline strain.

According to the researchers, fewer (n = 13; 14.6%) infants in the intervention group than in the placebo group (n = 29; 28.7%) acquired concordant S aureus colonization (risk difference, –14.1%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.43).

Similarly, fewer infants in the intervention group acquired any S aureus strain
(n = 28; 31.4% vs n = 46; 45.5%; HR, 0.57).

One infant (1.1%) in the intervention group and 1 (1.0%) in the placebo group developed a S aureus infection before colonization. Skin reactions in parents occurred commonly in both groups (4.8% vs 6.2%).

“This trial suggests that parents are a major reservoir from which neonates acquire S aureus in the NICU,” the authors write.

“Treating colonized parents may reduce risk of S aureus transmission to neonates, but these findings are preliminary and require further research for replication and to assess generalizability.”

This study “offers a novel and promising strategy to address a highly relevant, often intractable, clinical problem”, and “provides an explanation why interventions that primarily target patients and health care workers can fail to eradicate MSSA [methicillin-susceptible S aureus] in the NICU,” pediatric infectious disease specialists Philip Zachariah, MD, MSc, and Lisa Saiman, MD, MPH, write in an accompanying editorial.

However, they highlight some features of the study that indicate a need for further investigation before this strategy could be widely adopted by other NICUs. For example, both study NICUs already used active surveillance and decolonization protocols for both MSSA and MRSA, which limits generalizability of this treatment strategy.

In addition, the study was not powered to detect differences in infections or mortality, the editorialists say. Scalability is another concern, they add, noting that the study took 4 years to complete and that 92.7% of infants who were screened for eligibility failed to meet its inclusion criteria.

“Cost-effectiveness will also need to be determined,” Zachariah and Saiman add. Zachariah is from Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York City, and Saiman is from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

Nevertheless, the editorialists conclude that regardless of whether future research will support integration of this strategy into routine care, “Milstone and colleagues have made an important advance into this difficult area with the promise of having a meaningful benefit on neonatal care.”

This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Three authors report receiving grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, Sage Products Inc, Singulex Inc, Curetis Inc, Accelerate Inc, and GenMark. The same three authors report personal fees from Becton Dickinson, Novartis, Theravance, Basilea, Pattern Diagnostics, and GenMark. The remaining authors and the editorialists have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

JAMA. Published online December 30, 2019. AbstractEditorial

Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/923668#vp_2

HEALTH CARE PARTNERS

How Premature Birth Shapes Future Heart Health

Meredith S. Campbell, MD, Editorial Fellow, Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellow, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN          July 07, 2020

Advancements in neonatal care have led to a growing cohort of preterm-born individuals that have now reached adulthood. While population-based birth cohorts have provided us with a better understanding of long-term complications of premature birth such as risk for neurodevelopmental impairment, much less is known about potential cardiac consequences.

In a newly released review article in Pediatrics (10.1542/peds.2020-0146), Dr. Fernando Telles and colleagues present the first meta-analysis to compare cardiac structure and function between former preterm and term infants from the time of birth to young adulthood. A total of 32 observational studies were included in the review to quantify the impact of preterm birth on the heart across developmental stages. The results were intriguing—former preterm individuals have persistently lower left ventricular diastolic function, right ventricular systolic impairment, and an accelerated rate of left ventricular hypertrophy. The authors proposed that these cardiac alterations may make the heart more vulnerable to secondary insults, which may explain why preterm birth is a risk factor for early heart failure and long-term risk of ischemic heart disease.

As we dig deeper into what’s different about the hearts of those born preterm, further longitudinal studies are needed to determine how cardiac remodeling in preterm infants progresses over time. This is particularly important in the adolescent age range, for which there is a paucity of data. While this article adds to our understanding of how premature birth shapes future heart health, a number of questions and research gaps regarding the long-term cardiac outcomes after preterm birth remain including the need for earlier detection of former preterm individuals at higher risk for cardiac issues, screening guidelines, preventative strategies, and a plan for better clinical monitoring. Additional research will hopefully allow us to get to the heart of the matter.

Source: https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/07/07/premature-birth-heart-health-pediatrics

Trauma-informed Care in the NICU

Caring Essentials Collaborative, LLC – Mar 9, 2018

Mary Coughlin MS, NNP, RNC-E presents a quick overview of the biological relevance of this paradigm for hospitalized newborns, infants and families.

Premature babies experience high exposure to noise in the incubator

by Medical University of Vienna– JULY 20, 2020

What do premature babies hear while lying in an incubator? That is the question addressed by an interdisciplinary team from the Medical University of Vienna, led by Vito Giordano (neuroscientist at the Division of Neonatology, Pediatric Intensive Care and Neuropediatrics at the Comprehensive Center for Pediatrics (CCP) of Medical University of Vienna), by musicologist/acoustician Christoph Reuter and by music physiologist Matthias Bertsch from the University of Music and the Performing Arts in the recent study, “The Sound of Silence,” published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology

This study shows that premature babies are exposed to a high level of noise in the incubator, particularly if they are on respiratory support in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15 million babies a year are born prematurely, the proportion varying between 5% and 18% depending on the country of origin. Despite general improvements in intensive care medicine, many premature babies face life-long impairments. The intrauterine hearing experience differs strongly from the extrauterine auditory load encountered in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“It is primarily low frequency noises (note: below 500 Hz) that are transmitted and filtered through the mother’s body. Several studies have indicated that the noise level inside the NICU repeatedly far exceeds the recommended threshold of 35 dB. Signals from monitoring equipment, loud talking, sudden opening of doors or medical procedures result in a high level of background noise and reach peak values well above 100 dB,” explains Giordano.

However, high noise levels can lead to hearing impairment or even hearing loss—the incidence being between 2% and 10% in very premature babies, as opposed to only 0.1% -0.2% in infants born at term. “Premature babies in an incubator lack the natural filtering and absorption of background noise that occurs in the mother’s womb. New acoustic stimuli and/or noises have a marked impact upon postnatal maturation of the auditory system, as pointed out by the Medical University Vienna expert. However, silence, which leads to deprivation, a feeling of isolation, is just as harmful as loud stimuli. The problem is not essentially new: nowadays, educational concepts and visual indicators to reduce noise are already standard in neonatal wards.

The aim of the recently published study was firstly to record the dynamics of sounds inside an incubator and secondly to enable others to understand the hearing experience of premature babies. “Everyone, especially clinicians, nurses, music therapists and parents are now able to imagine what it sounds like inside the incubator by listening to examples of the sounds themselves. Inside it sounds quite different from outside, since the incubator acts as a bass booster, i.e. lower frequencies below 250 Hz are significantly louder,” explains music physiologist Matthias Bertsch.

The results of the study show that the incubator has a “protective effect,” especially against medium- and high-frequency sounds, but amplifies lower frequency sounds. Moreover, the incubator lid has practically no protective effect against noise, there is an increase in high-frequency sounds when access doors are left open, and there is a high noise level generated by a respiratory support device. “What listeners find particularly surprising is how loud these respirators can become inside the incubator, even if the air-flow is only slightly increased. At a high flow-rate with the associated roaring sound, the increase is such that it equates to the noise of a vacuum cleaner at a distance of one meter (75 dB),” the study authors explain. Neonatologists are therefore advised to set the air flow of respiratory support devices to the necessary minimum.

“We feel it is important to raise awareness of the problem, not only with acoustic noise level tables but with understandable audible results,” the authors highlight. The consequences of early exposure to noise can be wide-ranging, e.g. impaired ability to discriminate speech compared to children born at term, which was demonstrated in a parallel study of the same study group. This was conducted in July 2019 under the supervision of neurolinguist Lisa Bartha-Doering at the Comprehensive Center for Pediatrics (CCP) and published in the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

“These study findings show that it is important to invest in new technologies,” Angelika Berger, Head of the Division of Neonatology, Pediatric Intensive Care and Neuropediatrics, explains, “and our research teams are currently working on such new technologies in order to improve the acoustic comfort and long-term outcome of our smallest patients.”

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-07-premature-babies-high-exposure-noise.html

Six Tips for Managing Stress and Improving Self-Care in a COVID-19 Environment

Duke School Of Nursing    Apr 9, 2020 Duke University School of Nursing Assistant Professor Sean Convoy discusses suggestions for managing stress and improving self-care in a COVID-19 environment.

WARRIORS:

Warriors have the capacity to capitalize on the challenges Covid-19 presents by focusing on what we choose to experience within the  containments required to support our mutual health and well-being at this time. I challenge us to recognize the value of the here and now and not only recreate our relationships with ourselves during this moment in time but affirm our intention to prosper and grow ourselves. Don’t wait! Within the quiet isolation and uprooted rhythms of our pre-Covid-19 lives there is an open door to our hearts, and our souls.  In this moment, let’s leave the longing for what was and  follow our intuition towards lives of happiness and fulfillment beyond our imaginations. Take time to let go, to heal, to replenish and re-invent (re-discover) the wholeness of each of us! We have offered many self-empowerment resources over the past (almost 5) years. Here  are a couple of additional self-empowerment resources for our older Warriors to consider.  I like the kinesthetic experience the Toltec Path to Recapitulation offers, and am looking forward to exploring the ideas and wisdom offered through the books mentioned below.

Recapitulation: Release your past and reclaim trapped energy

Mar 16, 2016
All Things Perceptual
Recapitulation: how to, from beginning to end, obtain a perfect recapitulation of your life, freeing you from the bonds of your life experiences, replenishing you with boundless energy and making you light and flexible in your spirit. The Legend of the perfect recapitulation and the Toltec theory of near immortality as a warrior of the third attention!

8 Self-Empowerment Books to Help You Take Back 2020

Take a break from the everyday unrest of this year to be inspired by the stories of others who have faced adversity and overcame it.

Peter Daisyme – August 28, 2020

It doesn’t matter who you ask — 2020 has been an exhausting year. Between a global pandemic, political unrest and an unprecedented economic downturn, it’s easy to feel downtrodden.

While there’s no easy way to get out of this funk, it never hurts to listen to the perspectives of others. By reading books focused on self-empowerment and overcoming adversity, you can feel prepared to take on whatever the world has to throw at you in 2020 and beyond. Here are some of the top choices out there right now.

1. Learn, Improve, Master: How to Develop Any Skill and Excel at It by Nick Velasquez

With lots of people having more free time than ever on their hands, many are taking this opportunity to pick up new skills. But doing so is often easier said than done. Learn, Improve, Master doesn’t teach the basics of any one skill; it gives you the tools you need to learn things more quickly and fully in the future. Nick Velasquez’s new book is a valuable investment for anyone looking to continually grow and evolve over time.

2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

The title here says it all. In Angela Duckworth’s Grit, the secret to success can be found entirely in one’s own dedication and work ethic. Duckworth looks at standouts everywhere from West Point to the National Spelling Bee and has found one thing in common: sheer determination. If you’re looking to learn how to take your career to the next level through hard work, this book is the one for you.

3. Responsibility Rebellion: An Unconventional Approach to Personal Empowerment by Kain Ramsay

It can seem like we achieve some of the greatest joys in life by avoiding responsibility — goofing off, taking vacations and ignoring the real problems at the heart of it all. Responsibility Rebellion turns this logic on its head by arguing that getting ahead in life isn’t about ignoring the underlying issues. It’s about facing them head on. Kain Ramsay’s unconventional approach to success may surprise some, but the results are hard to ignore. 

4. Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America by John Lewis

The death of John Lewis sent the country into a national state of mourning, but his influence doesn’t have to end there. Across That Bridge is a powerful collection of his thoughts, memories and reflections on what it was like to fight during the Civil Rights Movement and how people can use that spirit to continue to fight for justice today. The book is no easy read, but the wisdom contained therein is well worth it.

5. The Empowerment Paradox: Seven Vital Virtues to Turn Struggle Into Strength by Ben Woodward

Why is it that many of people’s biggest, most life-changing revelations often come after moments of deep pain and tragedy? There’s no easy answer to this question, but The Empowerment Paradox is a powerful look into what we might learn from it. Ben Woodward offers a unique perspective on how we might take some of the difficulties we face and turn them into personal progress.

6. Ignite Your Career!: Strategies and Tactics to Unleash Your Potential by Kris Holmes

This year’s college graduates are currently facing more uncertainty in the job market than any generation before them, and there’s no clear end in sight. Kris Holmes’s new book may have been written before the pandemic struck, but the advice is more relevant than ever. Ignite Your Career! is a must-have for any first-time job seekers.

7. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Less than two years old, Atomic Habits is already something of a modern classic. James Clear uses his book to give a clear, simple guide for remaking your life, starting with the small stuff. If you want a big change to come into your life, beginning with daily habits might just be the method that works best.

8. Boot Straps & Bra Straps: The Formula to Go from Rock Bottom Back into Action in Any Situation by Sheila Mac 

The pandemic has been hard on businesspeople of all shapes and sizes, but there’s no doubt that women have faced a particularly poignant challenge. Boot Straps & Bra Straps is a how-to guide for any woman hoping to bring her career to the next level without sacrificing any of herself in the process. Sheila Mac has already been through it all herself, meaning that her book has a lifetime’s worth of wisdom for you to glean from.

They may not have all the answers, but books are a good place to start when it comes to empowering yourself. By picking a couple of the options off of this list, you can introduce yourself to a whole world of ideas that you can use to learn and grow.

KAT’S CORNER

AND for our younger Neonatal Womb Warriors: Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival Ruby’s Worry (Read Aloud) | Storytime

Feb 10, 2020        Toadstools and Fairy Dust

Please join us for a dramatic read of Ruby Finds a Worry, Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival read by Miss Jill. Great story about feelings and overcoming anxiety and worry and what to do.

The Samoan Surfers

Apr 27, 2013  Iva Motusaga

The Motusaga Wave Riders

Covid-19, a collective technological journey

Iceland.

ICELAND

Preterm Birth Rates – Iceland

Rank: 167–Rate: 6.5% Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births (USA – 12 %)

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 364,134 and an area of 103,000 km (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavik and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fieldsmountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a polar climate.

Health: Iceland has a universal health care system that is administered by its Ministry of Welfare paid for mostly by taxes (85%) and to a lesser extent by service fees (15%). Unlike most countries, there are no private hospitals, and private insurance is practically nonexistent. A considerable portion of the government budget is assigned to health care,  and Iceland ranks 11th in health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP and 14th in spending per capita. Overall, the country’s health care system is one of the best performing in the world, ranked 15th by the World Health Organization. According to an OECD report, Iceland devotes far more resources to healthcare than most industrialised nations. As of 2009, Iceland had 3.7 doctors per 1,000 people (compared with an average of 3.1 in OECD countries) and 15.3 nurses per 1,000 people (compared with an OECD average of 8.4). Icelanders are among the world’s healthiest people, with 81% reporting they are in good health, according to an OECD survey.

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COMMUNITY

Our focus in this month’s blog will highlight some of the unique challenges our preterm birth community faces during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Big  THANKS  to our essential workers and community members who are respecting and following local Covid-19 protocols/orders. Together we are saving lives.  Here in Seattle, WA. King 5 News staff working from their homes remind us that although times are tough, together we can get through this. Through their Neighbors Helping Neighbors virtual stories King 5 staff show us that it is heroic to not only care about others but to act accordingly. You are likely sharing similar do-good stories within your local communities.  People everywhere are connecting with respect and kindness while offering diverse and creative ways to pitch in for our mutual good. We see through responsible media-sharing that as a community we are resilient and adaptable as we quickly learn to educate ourselves and our children using  our in-home technology and resources. We have immersed ourselves in creating home offices, learning new software programs, and changing the ways we work in order provide meaningful services and goods.  We are learning to cook and bake at home, and we have had time to garden, read, make home improvements and opportunity to ponder things that have special personal meaning in our lives! We will look back at this time with sorrow, gratitude, joy and relief.  We may be thinking about how we can use this time to manifest our dreams moving forward. We will be stronger, more educated, with renewed clarity about the power of human kindness and our global and local reliance on each other.

i.5From our third floor window, while a very inspired woodpecker hammers our wood/concrete siding in order to mark his territory, we greet you with our love, gratitude, and very best wishes!

Mothers and Fathers kept from seeing their premature babies due to Covid-19 – ITV News

ITV News

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to time between babies and parents being rationed. In some cases, this means new mothers and fathers are having to wait days – and in some cases weeks – to see their newborns on the neonatal ward. Health officials say the strict measures are in place to protect babies born prematurely from the risk of infection. ITV News spoke to some of the parents who were forced to stay away from their ill newborns.

An Iceland Preemie Innovation

The company name Róró originates from the Icelandic word “ró” which means calmness and comfort. Róró is dedicated to helping babies and their caregivers feel better. It was founded in 2011 around a single idea: to make a product for babies that imitated closeness when their parents needed to be away. Indeed, the idea of the Lulla doll was born when our friend had her baby girl prematurely and had to leave her alone in the hospital every night for two weeks.

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Lulla doll is a soother and sleep companion for preemies, babies, toddlers and beyond. It imitates closeness to a caregiver at rest with its soft feel and soothing sounds of real-life breathing and heartbeat. Lulla plays for 12 hours to provide comfort all night long. The doll is machine washable and comes with 2 AA batteries.

Watch How the Lulla Doll Works

 

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COVID-19 and the NICU Balancing Safety and Care

I dedicate this column to the late Dr. Andrew (Andy) Shennan, the founder of the perinatal program at Women’s College Hospital (now at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre). To my teacher, my mentor and the man I owe my career as it is to, thank you. You have earned your place where there are no hospitals and no NICUs, where all the babies do is laugh and giggle and sleep.

“There is no evidence of vertical transmission of novel coronavirus between mother and baby at this time. Infants born to COVID-19 infected mothers have not tested positive for the disease, nor has novel coronavirus been found in amniotic fluid or breast milk.”  Rob Graham, R.R.T./N.R.C.P.

One cannot watch television or pick up a newspaper without being bombarded with COVID-19 stories and information. In our lifetimes, we haven’t seen anything like this; while the adult world is the focus of this pandemic, we in the NICU must contend with the risks associated with parental involvement in the care of their babies.

There is no evidence of vertical transmission of novel coronavirus between mother and baby at this time. Infants born to COVID-19 infected mothers have not tested positive for the disease, nor has novel coronavirus been found in amniotic fluid or breast milk. While this is ostensibly good news, it must be tempered with the fact that this is a hitherto unknown pathogen and that while our knowledge base is growing daily, there is still much we don’t know. It is my opinion that one cannot be too cautious dealing with COVID-19; better to modify the policy as evidence becomes available than to wait for evidence to form policy. Unfortunately, the latter approach has been most common and has likely led to the explosion in cases outside the Wuhan epicentre.

Many hospitals have prohibited visitors during this crisis. This approach is certainly prudent given the increasing evidence of asymptomatic transmission but may not be in the best interests of the neonatal population. Regardless, in Toronto, there are discrepancies between institutions. (A copy of Toronto’s guideline is attached. NOTE: this is an example and not intended as medical advice or protocol). A previous column (December 2019) discussed the relationship between respiratory care and neurodevelopmental outcome, including the benefits of direct parental involvement and kangaroo care. The clear benefits of parental contact must be weighed against the risks to the baby and those who care for it. The unit in which I am employed has limited visitation to one parent at a time. Overnight stays are permitted, parents are forbidden to leave the NICU area until leaving the hospital, and face masks must be worn at all times.

The major concern when breastfeeding an infant of a COVID-19 infected mother or symptomatic parent under investigation is twofold: prevention of transmission to the infant and protection of those charged with the infant’s care. It is not breastmilk that is of concern, rather the potential infection of others via droplet. The safest approach here is to have parents wear masks to reduce the chance of droplet exposure during breastfeeding; however, the utility of regular surgical masks in preventing transmission of COVID-19 is questionable. The same applies to kangaroo care since exposure is identical. During skin to skin contact, consideration may be given to having the involved parent thoroughly clean the area of contact in addition to routine hygiene. Ideally those entering the room of a COVID-19 infected patient should wear a properly fitted N-95 mask,  but the international breakdown of our supply chain has resulted in an acute shortage of PPE; thus surgical masks are being used as a substitute. There is much debate over the utility of these masks to protect caregivers but increasing evidence in their ability to reduce transmission.

The best way to contain an outbreak like this is to test and isolate. China and South Korea have amply demonstrated the efficacy of this approach. However, a combination of reagent supply shortage and a concurrent shortage of swabs (ironically mostly manufactured in Italy) have made this impossible as the pandemic spread to the rest of the world, and the fact that the number of infections outside the epicentre now greatly outnumber those within is a testament to the necessity of testing. Given the possibility of asymptomatic transmission, it would behoove us to assume infection in all until proven otherwise and act accordingly. This is a case of what we don’t know can indeed hurt us.

The risks associated with aerosol-generating medical procedures are well known, particularly in the adult population. It stands to reason that a premature infant generates less aerosol than an adult; however current guidelines call for the infant of a confirmed or suspected parent to be treated in the same manner as an adult patient. Compounding this is the unusually high viral titre with COVID-19 infection, potentially making droplets more likely to lead to infection.

In the adult population, when mechanical ventilation is required, lower tidal volumes (3-6mls/kg) and higher PEEP has been recommended, although recent anecdotal reports from the front lines are less clear. (These anecdotal reports are coming from Twitter® posts from ER physicians on the front line and as such do not constitute evidence). A letter to the editor of The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, March 2020, suggests a different approach. One that is echoed by other anecdotal reports and describes an atypical ARDS picture associated with COVID-19. In this case, it is not a lack of recruitment that is the problem but rather uneven ventilation/perfusion matching. (10) HFO is potentially more prone to aerosol generation, and if used, airborne precautions are advised. (11) (This is an excellent reference for the management of all COVID-19 patients.) A filter on the expiratory limb of any ventilated patient may be considered provided it does not interfere with the normal operation of the machine and are changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

It is perhaps fortunate we have little data regarding neonatal infection with COVID-19. It seems that mechanical ventilation for symptomatic positive infants may only be required for other reasons (i.e., extreme prematurity as the limited number of cases seen thus far have not required intubation) and that neonates exhibit the same relatively mild symptoms of older children.(12) Recent reports of 2 infants succumbing to COVID-19 in the U.S. may be a harbinger of things to come.(13) It is my sincere hope this is not the case. Perhaps the most significant risk NICU staff face for infection are each other. Given the increasing rate of community-acquired infection and asymptomatic transmission, we are at the same or greater risk than the general population. Fomites are a known source of transmission (particularly plastic and stainless steel). (14) We are all potentially exposed this way, particularly when using public transit as grab bars, and handles are all made of plastic and stainless steel. The importance of meticulous, regular hand hygiene, and avoidance of touching the face cannot be emphasised enough.

The concept of social distancing is difficult to achieve in the NICU environment due to the necessity of close contact during procedures and the proximity of workstations. Staff are well-advised to wear face masks at all times as a matter of policy to mitigate the risk of infection. Patient assignments should be such that staff can be stationed as far away from each other as is practically possible. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate based on credentials!

This pandemic will affect all of us one way or another. As NICU caregivers, we may be at reduced risk relative to our adult colleagues; however, as the crisis worsens, some of us may be seconded to adult areas. Now would be a good time for those assigned exclusively to the NICU to brush up on adult ventilation protocols. The Toronto Centre for Excellence in Mechanical Ventilation provides an excellent resource.

As evidence is gathered, the guidelines and recommendations we practice under are subject to change. Given limited numbers (although still increasing exponentially), the fact that there is presently no evidence to suggest vertical transmission or risks associated with breastmilk, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean risks do not exist. Healthy, younger patients are dying from COVID-19. While the mean age of infection is 45 years, the mortality rate for those <60 is approximately 0.32% compared to 6.4% in those >60 and 13.4% in those >80. (16) 0.32% seems pretty small, but this represents a 3-fold increase over that of seasonal flu in the general population.(17) We’re all playing Russian roulette; the only difference is the number of bullets in the gun. I, for one, prefer not to play.

Finally, while high-frequency jet ventilation (HFJV) is commonly used in the NICU setting, there is currently no commercially available adult jet ventilator in North America. There are a few machines available in Toronto cobbled together in labs at the University of Toronto years ago. These have been used as a last-ditch effort when other modes have failed. The Oscillate study of conventional (CV) vs. high-frequency oscillation (HFO) ventilation in adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) found HFO detrimental, but similar research on HFJV has not been performed.(18) The benefits of HFJV in the neonatal population may well apply to the adult population; the high mortality rate from ARDS surely should provide an incentive to its study in this population. Now seems to be a good time.

I have been asked to explore the possibility of using the LifePulse HFJV machine in larger patients. I shall keep readers apprised of any progress in that regard. We are facing the challenge of our careers and, indeed, our lives. The world is counting on us. Please, everyone, take care of yourselves and each other. While always important, it is now more so than ever. References: 1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ fped.2020.00104/full 2

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

 

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A digital response to help ensure safer childbirths during COVID-19

A new initiative launched today by Maternity Foundation, University of Copenhagen and Laerdal Global Health in collaboration with International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, uses a digital tool to equip midwives in low-resource settings to protect themselves, mothers and newborns from the Coronavirus and to ensure that women continue to receive respectful quality of care during pregnancy and childbirth. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, women everywhere will continue to get pregnant and give birth. In low-resource countries and in humanitarian settings affected by conflict, pregnant women, new mothers, newborns and the health personnel providing them care face great risks in the new reality brought by the virus. Health systems are facing enormous pressure with lack of staff, resources and training to take necessary preventative measures against the virus. Midwives and other skilled health personnel providing care during childbirth need immediate support and tools to be able to still provide quality maternal care in the light of the pandemic. A new digital tool launched today aims to do just that.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Maternity Foundation, University of Copenhagen, and Laerdal Global Health in collaboration with International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and UNFPA have partnered up to develop and disseminate an immediate and digital response for healthcare personnel – particularly midwives – to protect themselves, women and newborns from COVID-19.

The coalition is launching tools for capacity building and training for midwives through the Safe Delivery App, a mobile application developed by Maternity Foundation and University of Copenhagen, which provides visual, clinical and practical guidance on how to handle the most common childbirth complications. Through the Safe Delivery App, midwives can now get key information, animated video instructions, and check lists as well as guided training to support them to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the health facilities, including information on infection prevention, breastfeeding and vertical transmission.

The Safe Delivery App is a free application that is already being used by midwives and other skilled health personnel providing care during childbirth in over 40 countries worldwide. Thereby, the partners are leveraging an existing platform that is already reaching thousands of frontline health workers. All current users of the App will receive a pop-up message creating awareness about the new module and the importance of taking pre-cautions during COVID-19. It works offline once downloaded, making it easy to use in remote settings without a stable internet connection. The new COVID-19 content in the App is available in English as of today and will be available in French in a near future. The content of the Safe Delivery App is updated according to WHO standards and guidelines.

Laerdal Global Health has 10 years of experience of simulation-based training for midwives and other health care providers in low resource settings through the Helping Mothers Survive and Helping Babies Survive training programmes, implemented in over 80 countries. The current collaboration on merging scenarios for simulation into the Safe Delivery App will expand use of the App and support training in an efficient way, supporting the midwives where they are working.

In Moshi in northern Tanzania, senior nurse midwife at Mawenzi Regional Hospital Anne Shuma and her colleagues have just been introduced to the new COVID-19 module in the Safe Delivery App. The hospital is one of the hospitals in the country selected for receiving COVID-19 patients, and preparations are in full motion to prepare isolation centers, so they are ready when the first cases arrive. In the first week of April alone, they had 50 deliveries in the hospital.

“Going through the Safe Delivery App and the COVID-19 module made us realise that we were not prepared to receive pregnant women with suspected COVID-19. Immediately, we prepared a delivery kit and brought it to the isolation center and prepared a cube where suspected cases can give birth. We have now developed checklists based on the content in the App, so we are ready for when suspected cases come. It’s a very helpful tool for us midwives in an outbreak like this. It takes a concrete case and gives guidelines that are aligned with our national guidelines; procedures for handwashing and how to handle personal protective equipment. The App has opened our minds, we’re prepared now”, says Anne Shuma, who will spend the next weeks training fellow midwives and nurses in nearby clinics and hospitals to use the Safe Delivery App in their preparations for the COVID-19 response.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director UNFPA: “The enormity of the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences is testing us all. As essential frontline health care workers, midwives must be protected and prioritized so that they can continue providing quality care to women and their newborns during the pandemic. UNFPA is pleased to collaborate with the Maternity Foundation, Laerdal, ICM and the Government of Denmark in developing innovative online resources to support midwives and other maternity care providers working in the field. These new digital tools will enable them to access the latest evidence-based approaches to care delivery in the context of COVID-19.”

Dr. Sally Pairman, CEO of the International Confederation of Midwives: “Midwives everywhere are frontline health care professionals in the face of the coronavirus, providing essential care to pregnant women and their babies during the childbirth continuum, despite the risk this presents to their own health. Many midwives have never had to work in pandemic situations before, and for everyone the coronavirus is new. In speaking with our Midwives’ Association members, we’ve been saddened by news of midwives dying from Covid19, simply because they were not adequately protected from the virus or did not have proper information on how to protect themselves. It’s essential that midwives and all other health professionals providing maternity care can access up-to-date and evidence-based advice on the changes they need to incorporate into their practice to keep women and their babies, and themselves, as safe as possible. The new modules in the Safe Delivery App will help guide midwives everywhere with advice they can count on.”

Chairman of Laerdal Global Health Tore Laerdal: “Our mission has always been helping save lives and now it has come even closer. During these extraordinary days, we work even harder towards our mission. There are hundreds of thousands of health workers who heroically continue to work through challenging situations and are in need of all the support we can offer. We hope our manikins and simulation solutions will be the helping hand that will support them in providing safe and respectful care.”CEO of Maternity Foundation, Anna Frellsen: “The direct and indirect consequences caused by the covid-19 pandemic can be fatal for mothers and newborns in many parts of the world. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2013-16 showed a dramatic increase in maternal deaths because the health system was under too much pressure to fight the pandemic to also provide quality care. In a situation like this we need to respond fast and we need to do it together. By building on an existing digital platform and our global partners’ strong channels, we are now availing essential clinical guidelines instantly to midwives, even in some of the most vulnerable settings.”

How to download the Safe Delivery App

  • Search for Safe Delivery App in Google Play or App store
  • Click Download – the App is free of charge
  • Open the App and select language version – the COVID-19 content is in the global English version
  • If you already have the Safe Delivery App on your phone, update it and the COVID-19 module will appear in the global English version

The full Infection Prevention video can be found here.

Source: https://www.healthynewbornnetwork.org/news-item/a-digital-response-to-help-ensure-safer-childbirths-during-covid-19/

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PREEMIE FAMILY PARTNERS

Vulnerable babies are being separated from their families because of corona virus

i.10Published on Apr 19, 2020

Babies born sick and premature are being separated from their families because of hospital restrictions put in place during the corona-virus outbreak. Some hospitals are only allowing one parent to visit at a time and it’s even more difficult for siblings to meet their new relative.

 

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Doctors are pessimistic about premature babies. Despite the evidence, we all are.

We tend to view them as “miracle babies,” or as the result of medical hubris.

By Sarah DiGregorio – Sarah DiGregorio is the author of “Early: An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What it Teaches Us About Being Human.” Feb. 21, 2020

In 2014, I was 28 weeks pregnant and sitting in a hospital bed, my husband beside me. My placenta was failing; to survive, our daughter would need to be delivered soon. She was smaller than average for this stage, an estimated 1.75 pounds.

The neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) dispatched a neonatology fellow to help us understand what this meant. He started with our baby’s brain. When she was born, it might bleed, putting her at risk of death or cerebral palsy. Her lungs: They would certainly be immature, and she would probably have some degree of respiratory distress syndrome. Her heart might have a hole in it that would fail to close. Her intestines might develop an infection, possibly fatal, in which lengths of the bowel die. In the long term, premature babies are much more likely to experience developmental delays — the doctor guessed that our daughter had about a 50 percent chance of having a disability of some kind. She might lose some IQ points as a result of being premature, he added. The message was clear: Being born early was very, very bad, and our baby was likely to be fundamentally damaged, even in ways we would never definitively know.

It’s important that parents have the facts, and our doctor wanted us to know something true: Being born prematurely can affect a child’s health in many ways, and some of those complications can be fatal. The information he recited was medically accurate, though he probably inflated the likelihood of disability. (One benchmark is that, among babies born at 25 weeks, 13 percent develop a profound neurodevelopmental disability, and 29 percent develop a moderate one, according to data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.)

The doctor’s laundry list also missed something important, something we really needed to hear at the time: The majority of babies born early, even very early, survive in good health. Their weeks, months and years ahead will not be easy. But there is also plenty of evidence for optimism.

Health-care providers have a well-documented and surprisingly durable pessimism about preemies. A 1994 survey in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that doctors significantly underestimated their survival rates and overestimated their long-term disability rates. More than a decade later, a Pediatrics study of physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners echoed those findings, and showed that learning the true rates made doctors more likely to recommend resuscitation in theoretical borderline cases. Doctors are much sunnier about other patients: Research shows that internists and intensive-care unit physicians accurately assess the survival chances of adult patients admitted to the ICU.

This professional pessimism is matched by a broader cultural ambivalence. Our feelings about preterm infants are powerfully fraught. They suggest the thinness of the line between life and death; they symbolize the heights of human capability and the perils of going too far. We have two common narratives about premature infants: inspirational “miracle baby” stories and warnings of medical hubris. Record-setting “micro-preemies” who “defy the odds” and “fight for their lives” are regularly featured in tabloids and local TV broadcasts. Meanwhile, a 2017 Maclean’s article wondered, in the case of a very early birth, “to what extent should we intervene to prevent nature from taking that life before it becomes fully viable and conscious?” A Bloomberg Businessweek article, “Million-Dollar Babies,” asked, “Is there such a thing as too young?” Perhaps the general hand-wringing over such efforts made AOL’s chief executive blame the expensive medical care of “distressed babies” when he cut employee retirement benefits in 2014.

Our fascination with premature infants has always contained starry-eyed optimism about what could be done for them, along with uncertainty about whether the results were “worth” those efforts. That conflict goes back to the invention of the incubator in the 1880s, as Jeffrey Baker writes in “The Machine in the Nursery.” The medical establishment was slow to adopt the technology: The machine was expensive, and the value of the lives saved was seen as dubious. At the time, “Better Baby” contests were wildly popular, grading children on pseudoscientific traits like head measurements and awarding prizes to the “fittest” (i.e. large, able-bodied babies of white European heritage). Eugenicists argued that premature babies weren’t meant to survive; they would become a drain on society. The Buffalo Medical Journal wondered “whether the race as a whole does not suffer from the preservation of these weaklings to perpetuate their kind.” As a result, incubators remained a curiosity, touring world’s fairs and popping up in Coney Island as a boardwalk sideshow. People paid to gawk at preemies in their warm, glass-fronted boxes — they were objects of voyeuristic amazement, inspiring both hope and horror.

Even as cultural attitudes have progressed, some anxiety remains, often rooted in fears of disability. The 1985 book “Playing God in the Nursery” warned of “the dismal fate of a disturbing number of ‘salvaged’ babies’ ” who go on to lead “pathetic lives.” Two neonatologists called on fellow physicians to reexamine these beliefs in the Journal of Perinatology in 2013: “For the case of the preterm newborn, in particular, there may also be a sense that she is still ‘not meant to be here,’ ” they wrote. “If she survives with significant disability, the physicians might perceive that: But for our actions, there would be no disabled child.” The worry about gratuitous intervention, present in many medical decisions, seems especially acute when it comes to these patients.

All preterm babies are at increased risk for neurodevelopmental and learning disabilities when compared with term babies; the earlier the birth, the higher and more severe the risk. But these blanket assessments elide the fact that “disability” includes a whole range of experiences. Rigorous quality-of-life studies have found that as extremely premature babies grow into young adults, they rate their own health-related quality of life just as highly as a control group born at term. That includes former preemies who have a significant disability, such as cerebral palsy, vision problems or hydrocephalus — outcomes that providers seem to view more negatively than parents do. Neonatal providers often think that serious disabilities following from premature birth are worse than death, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. Most parents of babies born under 2.2 pounds feel differently — as do the grown ex-preemies themselves.

The truth is that the successful treatment of premature babies is one of the great triumphs of modern medicine. Before the widespread adoption of the incubator (and back when babies were usually studied by weight rather than gestational age), an 1883 study found, only about 35 percent of babies born under 4.4 pounds survived. But it isn’t just the incubator: With the subsequent development of respiratory support, intravenous nutrition and a host of other treatments, outcomes have improved dramatically. Infants born at the edge of viability, between 22 and 25 weeks, do, unfortunately, face substantial risk of death. But the vast majority of premature babies — more than 80 percent — are born after 32 weeks, and those born at 26 weeks and above are now quite likely to survive. According to the most recent available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 87 percent of infants born at 26 weeks survive, and outcomes improve with each week of development.

Health-care providers are uniquely positioned to reframe our understanding of premature birth. They can answer parents’ questions, rather than leading with negative (and often hypothetical) predictions, and they can ground the discussion in the latest research. That evidence-based optimism might seep into the wider conversation. At the very least, it would make a difference to families, whose numbers are growing: More than 1,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States every day, and that figure has been rising for the past four years.

Families of premature babies are often deeply grateful to the providers who saved their children’s lives, and I am no exception. The doctor who recited that laundry list may have just been following hospital protocol. He probably had the best intentions; he may have been trying to manage his own emotions and expectations. But our counseling session hit me so hard not just because it laid out all the worst-case scenarios: It also seemed to say that my daughter would not have a wide-open future. She would forever be measured against an ideal that she was born short of and could never grow into.

And yet, in the time since, I have never wished my daughter, now age 5, were different. I speak from a position of tremendous luck: Her IQ is “normal,” whatever that means; she has a pulmonologist monitoring her persistent asthma and receives physical and occupational therapies for minor motor delay. Some of her fellow former preemies have fewer challenges; others have far more. But I don’t contemplate who she may have been, and I can’t wish away those difficulties without, in some real sense, wishing her away, exactly as she is.

We have a powerful collective fantasy of newborn perfection. We associate babies with possibility; we believe they could grow up to be anything, do anything. The truth is that no one, anywhere, has unlimited potential, not even at the very start of their life. But that fantasy can lend early births an unnecessarily tragic aspect — a sense of brokenness, of damage, even before parents have a chance to hold their infants. And often, we have plenty of reason to hope.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/doctors-are-pessimistic-about-premature-babies-despite-the-evidence-we-all-are/2020/02/20/c4cefe50-4c44-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html

 

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Does COVID-19 affect pregnancies?

UW Medicine – Mar 24, 2020

Much is still unknown about the virus that causes COVID-19. Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Washington School of Medicine, shifted her lab’s focus to research what effects the virus may have on a pregnancy or a newborn. Scientists are investigating such questions as whether the infection can affect a fetus’ growth or whether it heightens the risk for preterm birth, stillbirth, and other conditions. This kind of research can help determine clinicians’ responses to pregnancies that also involve COVID-19.

 

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INNOVATIONS

Will Simplifying the Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring Tool Improve Outcomes for Infants With Opioid Exposure?

Ju Lee Oei, MD1,2; Trecia Wouldes, PhD3

It has been known for decades that opioid withdrawal in neonates has the potential to be fatal. Unfortunately, newborn withdrawal symptoms can be nonspecific, and identifying and differentiating infants with drug withdrawal from those with other illnesses, such as infection or neurologic problems, can be difficult, especially when maternal history is not forthcoming. Loretta Finnegan and colleagues devised the 21-point Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring Tool (FNAST) in 1975 based on observations of 55 full-term infants with narcotic exposure who were born at the Philadelphia General Hospital. The neonates were all admitted to a nursery and scored every hour for the first 24 hours, then every 2 hours on day 2, and then every 4 hours after that. They were formula fed and treated with a repertoire of agents that are no longer used as first-line treatments, including phenobarbital, paregoric, chlorpromazine, and diazepam. The FNAST is now the most widely used tool to screen, assess, and treat infants suspected of having drug withdrawal, but it is notoriously difficult to administer and is fraught with subjective differences.

In the study by Devlin et al, the authors attempted to shorten and simplify the FNAST by incorporating observational data from several infant cohorts (N = 424), including infants who did not require medications for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). They dichotomized items that were previously expressed in grades of severity and removed items that were not observed frequently or were extremely heterogeneous, including convulsions, high-pitched crying, and hyperactive reflexes. The result was an assessment scale made up of 8 items, from which scores of 4 and 5 yielded closest agreement with FNAST treatment thresholds of 8 and 12, respectively (weight κ = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.48-0.61).

The simplicity of this tool is attractive. However, before it can be embraced in clinical care, several questions remain to be answered. First, only 1 score was used to determine treatment. Withdrawal symptoms typically evolve as the infant ages, and whether the associations between the 8 chosen items and NAS remain consistent with time needs to be assessed. The rare or uncommon items, such as seizures, were removed, but this may have limited the ability of the scale to detect severe but rare manifestations of withdrawal that require urgent treatment rather than continued observation. Critical events, such as seizures, may not have been common in the cohort studied by Devlin et al4 because the infants, unlike historical examples, were already monitored and treated preemptively with supportive care.

Nevertheless, the most significant knowledge gaps with the use of this and other scales is the lack of information regarding long-term outcomes. No prospective, well-controlled longitudinal studies have been conducted to associate prenatal drug exposure as well as assessment and treatment for NAS with later neurodevelopmental outcomes. Every single drug that causes NAS and every single medication that is used to treat withdrawal is neurotoxic. For example, opioids interfere with neurotransmitter homeostasis, promote cell death by apoptosis, and reduce brain growth and neuronal differentiation.5 Conversely, without treatment, severe withdrawal could lead to serious complications, such as dehydration, malnutrition, seizures, and even death.

Certainly, the work of Devlin et al highlights that much more needs to be known about how an infant responds postnatally to intrauterine drug exposure and the optimum screening, diagnostic, and treatment strategies. Perhaps the ultimate goal should not be to decide whether to treat an infant with medication but to prevent poor outcomes, including neurologic harm and death. Adopting simple measures will only be effective if they are systematically accepted by clinicians, parents, guardians, and caretakers, which is often not the case. For example, standardized protocols for identifying and treating women with opioid use disorder and for assessing and treating infants at risk of NAS have been shown to be beneficial in reducing length of hospitalization and rates of NAS treatment even without changing assessment scales.

Finally, we need to acknowledge that infants, especially those affected by multiple drugs, may need more than 1 type of assessment. The FNAST was based on infants withdrawing from narcotics, most notably heroin and methadone. Today, pregnant women with a drug use disorder usually use multiple drugs, which may obfuscate the clinical presentation of the infant. Incorporating items from other scales, such as the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale, which incorporates physiological parameters with interactive capabilities in an assessment method, may provide useful diagnostic information even for infants without opioid exposure and may even prognosticate not only for the short term but also, importantly, for longer-term outcomes.

Published: April 8, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.2271

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2764194

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Advanced Wireless Neonatal Body Monitors to Improve Outcomes

Babies that end up in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) are monitored via a complex collection of sensors, each of which has a wire connected to a patient monitor. While necessary, all this technology makes it difficult for parents to bond with their children and for clinicians to access their patients.

Northwestern University engineers have developed flexible, wireless sensor patches that are able to collect the same vital signs as wired devices while offering an entire set of additional capabilities that existing commercial devices lack.

The new sensors are able to track the heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, and blood oxygenation as well as conventional sensors, and they also allow for monitoring of body movement and orientation, recording heart sounds, crying, and other audio biomarkers, and even provide a pretty accurate estimate of systolic blood pressure.

The sensors are powered by internal batteries and are pretty cheap to manufacture, and so should be applicable for use in low resource areas and varying clinical settings. Additionally, the same sensors can be used to monitor pregnant women and potentially hospitalized adults as well.

Following comprehensive testing at two hospitals in Chicago, the results of which have just been published in journal Nature Medicine, the sensors are already being evaluated for use on newborns in a hospital in Kenya and one in Zambia.

Source: https://www.medgadget.com/2020/03/advanced-wireless-neonatal-body-monitors-to-improve-outcomes.html

 

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HEALTH CARE PARTNERS

At Mayo Clinic, Bringing Neonatologists to the Point of Care with Telemedicine

The health system has co-developed a tele-neonatology program designed to close a gap in care that has existed when neonatologists aren’t physically available.

Rajiv Leventhal– Oct 29th, 2019

According to researchers at the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, 10 percent of all newborn infants will require assistance at birth, while approximately 1 in 1,000 newborns will require advanced resuscitation after delivery—an intervention after a baby is born to help it breathe and to help its heart beat.

When these high-risk deliveries occur in a local referral center, such as the aforementioned Mayo Clinic, newborn outcomes can be optimized under the care of a multidisciplinary team that has frequent experience with neonatal resuscitation.

Conversely, if a similar high-risk delivery occurs in a community hospital, the local providers may face unique challenges when responding to delivery room emergencies, Mayo Clinic researchers pointed out. As such, the health system recently co-developed a Newborn Resuscitation Telemedicine Program (NRTP) in collaboration with telehealth solutions company InTouch Health.

At Mayo Clinic, the organization’s main hub in Rochester has Level III and Level IV regional NICUs (neonatal intensive care units)—Level IV being the highest level of neonatal care—but there are also 10 Mayo Clinic health system sites that range from having just Level 1 well baby nurseries up to Level II intermediate specialty care nurseries. On top of that, Mayo Clinic has eight emergency departments (EDs) that are a part of either critical access hospitals or standalone EDs where there are no labor or delivery services, explains Beth Kreofsky, operations manager for the new tele-neonatology program at Mayo Clinic.

“So when mothers present to these sites, they may not always have access to a neonatologist. Six years ago, our team identified—with the assistants of our Mayo Clinic health system pediatric teams and family medicine providers—that there was a need to have a neonatologist available for assistance at the bedside in critical care situations where newborn resuscitation was needed,” Kreofsky recalls.

This disparity based on birth location was what motivated Christopher E. Colby, M.D., chair of neonatal medicine at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus to explore the use of telemedicine for newborn resuscitation, according to health system officials who noted that Dr. Colby’s first consultation was for an extremely preterm baby with an unknown gestational age due to limited prenatal care.

In this scenario, the local physician was unsure if the newborn was viable and if resuscitation was indicated. After examining the baby via video, Dr. Colby determined the neonate was likely 26 to 28 weeks gestation and proceeded to guide the resuscitation and stabilization. After a short time in the Mayo Clinic NICU, the baby was transferred back to the local Level II nursery. From there, the healthy infant was discharged home, health system officials explained.

The telemedicine program that has now been established enables nine board certified Rochester-based neonatologists to consult with local care teams in 10 health system sites. Prior to using telemedicine, only 43 percent of newborns in Mayo Clinic health system sites had access to a neonatologist if they required advanced resuscitation, officials pointed out, and as Kreofsky explains it, in these situations, local care teams would activate Mayo Clinic’s transport services and be asked to connect by phone to a neonatologist to assist in the service.

“Now we have added the video component onto that workflow so our neonatologists can see what the infants look like and what the physician at the local hospital is seeing, and can then provide appropriate recommendations. This is [compared with the prior approach of] not being able to see what’s going on and conducting what essentially [amounted] to a phone consult,” Kreofsky says.

This can be especially beneficial in rural settings where neonatal resuscitations are typically attended by general pediatricians or family practitioners. “While clinicians may have completed Neonatal Resuscitation Program training, knowledge and technical skills decline within four to six months, if not used regularly. Maintaining high proficiency in the face of low volumes presents inevitable challenges for rural providers. Telemedicine serves as a mechanism to address barriers in access to subspecialty care, support neonatal resuscitation in remote sites, and improve care for critically ill outborn neonates,” Kreofsky and her Mayo Clinic colleagues wrote in a study that evaluated the tele-neonatology program.

The study also examined the effectiveness of two telemedicine technologies used to provide NRTP consults: the InTouch Health Lite device compared with a wired telemedicine cart. As Kreofsky explains, if a mother needs to be moved to a different room, say for a C-section, the wired cart solution requires unplugging the device and removing it from the wall to a place where a network jack could be found. And if the physician gets disconnected during that transition, he or she would have to reconnect once the network is reestablished on that device.

But the InTouch technology, on the other hand, allows the physician to stay connected as the patient is being transitioned, meaning the transition is “more seamless and you don’t have to worry about unplugging anything or reestablishing connections in this scenario,” says Kreofsky.

Kreofsky also clarifies that when a tele-neonatology  service does occur, neonatologists are able to partner with the local family medicine physician and pediatrician to assist with guidance and recommendations, but it’s the bedside physician who is still in control of all the care that’s happening on site. “So while a neonatologist cannot physically get their hands on a patient, he or she can assist with recommendations on how neonatal resuscitation program standards are followed throughout a resuscitation,” Kreofsky explains.

During the 20-month study period, 118 NRTP consultations were performed across Mayo Clinic sites, resulting in:

  • 96 percent first connection attempt rate—the ability of the device to connect to the network on the first try.
  • 93 percent incident resolve rate—the ability of the provider to easily resolve any issues with the device before patient care is impacted.
  • Results of the NRTP device can be compared to a traditional wired cart, which saw a 73 percent connection attempt rate and a 68 percent incident resolve rate.

Kreofsky also notes that more recent satisfaction survey results found that 99 percent of the local care teams who have been surveyed agreed that they would use tele-neonatology again and would recommend  it to others. Further, 100 percent of Mayo Clinic’s local care teams surveyed agreed that the consulting neonatologist provided, brief, clear, and specific information for the team, and worked collaboratively with them locally via telemedicine.

According to Jennifer L. Fang, M.D., with neonatal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the next step is to study the impact telemedicine has on the quality of newborn resuscitations. “While we and our colleagues in the health system believe telemedicine is improving delivery room care, we need to design a study to better answer that question,” she said.

Source: https://www.hcinnovationgroup.com/population-health-management/telehealth/article/21112281/at-mayo-clinic-bringing-neonatologists-to-the-point-of-care-with-telemedicine

 

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A simple solution for healthier premature babies?

bCBC News: The National –  Published on Feb 12, 2018

Is there a simple solution to improve the health of premature babies? A new Canadian-led study suggests there is. The study’s results showed that by simply getting a premature baby’s parents involved in the care process sooner, the baby gained 15 per cent more weight. There was also another effect — the parents also showed less stress.

 

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Kat has been teaching virtual fitness classes from home during Covid-19 Stay at Home restrictions. Kat’s voice was significantly impacted from long term intubation as a 24 week micro-preemie. Back in 1991 the intubation equipment was quite large and the roof of her mouth is a deep cavern. Her voice is smokey in her normal tone and she is often asked if she is a smoker (she is not). Kat has always had difficulty talking loudly and she will not be pursuing a singing career. I stay upstairs while she teaches her classes and have had the opportunity to re-notice how challenging it is for her to shout out directions and encouragement while teaching HITT fitness (Strong Nation) classes throughout each 60 minute session. This is not a big problem that needs fixing, just an interesting preemie outcome. I wish I would have been more aware of this impairment issue when Kat was a kid and her coaches yelled at her to yell louder!

Voice Abnormalities and Laryngeal Pathology in Preterm Children

Anne Hseu  1 Nohamin Ayele  1 Kosuke Kawai  1 Geralyn Woodnorth  1 Roger Nuss  1

PMID: 29962214 DOI: 10.1177/0003489418776987

Abstract

Introduction: The prevalence of voice abnormalities in children born prematurely has been reported to be as high as 58%. Few studies have examined these abnormalities with laryngoscopic or videostroboscopic findings and characterized their laryngeal pathologies.

Objective: To review voice abnormalities in patients with a history of prematurity and characterize the etiology of their voice problems. A secondary objective is to see if there is a correlation between the findings and the patient’s intubation and surgical history.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all preterm patients seen in voice clinic at a tertiary pediatric hospital. Demographic data, diagnoses, and office laryngoscopies were reviewed as well as any speech therapy evaluations and/or medical and surgical treatments.

Results: Fifty-seven patients were included. Mean age at presentation was 5.1 (±4.3) years. Mean gestational age was 27.8 (±3.7) weeks. Consensus Auditory-Perceptual Evaluation of Voice (CAPE-V) perceptual evaluations included a mean overall dysphonia severity of 46.6 (±24.2). Patients who had undergone prolonged intubation (⩾28 days) in the NICU or had prolonged NICU stays (>12 weeks) had significantly higher overall dysphonia severity scores. Thirty-three patients with vocal fold hypo- or immobility had significantly greater voice deviance in breathiness, loudness, and overall severity compared to those without vocal fold immobility. Of all patients, 35% were recommended surgical intervention and 49% voice therapy.

Conclusion: Intubation greater than 28 days and prolonged NICU stays are associated with more severe dysphonia in premature patients. There should be a low threshold for clinical evaluation of dysphonia in this unique patient population. ***Dysphonia= impairment of the voice

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29962214/

 

WARRIORS:

Covid-19: A Collective Hero’s Journey Dr. Arielle Schwartz

Posted on March 28, 2020 by Arielle Schwartz

“Covid-19 has led many of us around the world to experience feelings of shock and confusion. This collective crisis has disrupted our orientation to the world as we have known it. We have been thrust into a process of self-discovery and a requisite redefining of our lives. It is impossible to go back to the old ways of living.” ~Dr. Arielle Schwartz

American mythologist, Joseph Campbell (2008), describes personal transformation as a hero’s journey. The hero must enter the darkness, face challenges, slay the dragon, retrieve the treasure, and emerge stronger. Here, we understand that challenging life events can serve as a call to enter the hero’s journey. You may feel as though you have been thrown into an abyss. The dragons you must slay are the inner demons. You walk into the darkness in order retrieve the treasures that exist within you, such as inner strength, wisdom, and hope. You emerge with an enhanced sense of meaning and purpose, which become the gifts that you have to offer to the world.

A Collective Hero’s Journey

Campbell described the hero’s journey as a “monomyth,” which serves as a blueprint for many of our fairytales, books, and movies. The monomyth is described as a cycle that begins with a phase of freedom and innocence. This period of ease is tragically disrupted by a crisis that sends the hero into exile.

Here we are. There is no turning back. Covid-19 has changed our world. But, we are in this together. To overcome the challenges that are set before us, we must seek out resources needed to face our fears and inner demons. We must go within to gather our strength and to rise up in the midst of crisis. We are being asked to become the best version of ourselves.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t feel pain. Attending to our sadness, anger, fear is the path forward. Attend with love. Reach out…we are not meant to move through this alone. Perhaps, that is part of the lesson. We are a collective. We are deeply connected to each other. We are here to give and receive from each other.

Crisis as Catalyst

Perhaps our current world crisis has been the catalyst. Or, maybe your hero’s journey began long ago as a result of childhood trauma. No matter the origin, a hero’s journey can guide our process by encouraging us to transform our pain into a source of wisdom.

You might have uncomfortable places that you don’t like to acknowledge or feel. As a result, you might want to reject the call to enter the hero’s journey. The desire to avoid peering into the darkness is normal. It is human instinct to move away from pain. However, learning to turn toward discomfort is necessary and important. Even though you might want to run away, explore the resources that help you to step forward toward the discomfort. Remote psychotherapy, online support groups, journaling, time in nature, or mindful embodiment practices can all help you lean into discomfort at a pace that is right for you.

Living in Two Worlds

The challenge set before us is to learn to live in two worlds—that is, to maintain a connection to our inner, spiritual self while simultaneously living in the outer world. This dual connection helps us learn to live on a threshold where we can acknowledge our pain as a source of compassion.

At times, we might wonder how to live in a world that has betrayed us and that could betray us again. We grow by increasing our ability to hold the complexity of the human experience. This world contains experiences of harm and loss; however, this is also a world of love and care.

Transformed by a hero’s journey, we have an opportunity to grow ourselves into mature adults, capable of holding complex feelings and ideas in a world that can cause harm. There is a great maturity in being able to hold the truth that hurtfulness and happiness can coexist around and within you. We can learn to hold dichotomies, polarities, and contradictions. Experiences of pain are an inevitable part of life; opening our hearts involves the risk of pain. However, life can have excruciatingly painful moments and still be magnificently beautiful. Living on the threshold allows us to walk through the world with an effortless grace that emanates from within.

Emerging into Wholeness

Walk slowly and gently as you face your fears.

In time, we can all learn to trust our capacity to enter the darkness and return to the light. Successfully navigating the hero’s journey gives us the opportunity to discover that we are more powerful than we previously realized.

As a result, the here’s journey allows us to feel more grounded, real, and whole because – in truth – this transformation is about revealing who we truly are.

Together, let us remember that there is an inseparable relationship between our own personal happiness and the wellbeing of others.

Source: https://drarielleschwartz.com/covid-19-a-collective-heros-journey/#.XpjBAEBFxhE

(Kathy) I spent time with Joseph Campbell at Esalen Institute (late 1970’s/early 1980’s). His informal meal gatherings were enlightening and soul-challenging. He was an understated yet powerful speaker who mastered the dynamics of human behavior, subconscious motivations and pathways to transformation. Who in your life inspires transformation?

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KAT’S CORNER

Covid-19 requires that we look beyond our preterm birth community this month into our broader communities so we can all be empowered through our shared resources and information. How Covid-19 will affect maternal outcomes and our preterm birth communities will be somewhat identified over time. Please reach out to your local healthcare providers for guidance and support and consider reviewing fluid resources such as WHO regarding Covid-19 pregnancy and childbirth information:                   Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-and-pregnancy-and-childbirth

Communities worldwide are navigating with limited resources the creation/expansion of medical, social, economic, governing, inter-governmental, technological, educational, interpersonal and personal best practices to maximize the health and wellness of their community members, patients, essential workforce and healthcare/wellness providers. The global health care provider shortage crisis is now critically exacerbated by our global pandemic experience.

Providing communities with factual, science-based information and resources is a critical component in building trust and reducing fear during crisis in a society that has access to multiple “news” resources at their fingertips. Addressing and advancing mental health holistically in our communities strengthens our ability to save lives, limit loss, and prevents fear-based violence. Media that offers not only factual information but also provides a community with guidelines for engaging in meaningful action supports mental wellness during times of crisis.

THANK YOU to the media members who have reached out to challenge us, give our actions meaning and power, who have focused on what good we can accomplish together while building hope and expressing our fears and gratitude.

As time transpires and we are able to review pertinent essential data including community engagement strategies, socioeconomic factors, local and global resources we will have an opportunity to build better societal strategies to serve our diverse communities. Borders do not exist for climate change and environmental disasters or for pandemic types of     human-centric challenges. Technology has the capacity to collect, provide, analyze, and disperse critical data that through collaboration and intent will allow all of us to respond to our personal, community, and global health care challenges with effective, fluid, time-sensitive, immediate and long-term action based planning.

It is essential that we work together in order to support and empower a healthy and sustainable planet. Covid-19 offers, and in some ways forces us to see in action the possibilities positive collaborative engagement provides. Our thanks to all of you who are choosing to stay informed, conduct your lives with intelligence and humane purpose, who live with integrity and a vision of good. Together we can create a safer, life affirming, dynamic and responsible global/local community for all.

Under An Arctic Sky – Official Trailer #1

Jan 17, 2017

With three hours of light each day, brutal winter storms and freezing temperatures, Iceland is far from the ideal surf trip. However, this didn’t stop photographer Chris Burkard and filmmaker Ben Weiland from rounding up a crew of surfers to seek out unknown waves in the islands remote north… all during the worst storm to hit Iceland’s shores in 25 years.

 

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BABY BEHAVIORS. HAPP-E, OUR STORIES!

Netherlands.1

NETHERLANDS

Preterm Birth Rates – Netherlands

Rank: 127 –Rate: 8% Estimated # of preterm births per 100 live births (USA – 12%)

https://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/global-preterm.aspx

The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland, informally Holland, is a country in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with the Caribbean NetherlandsBonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Healthcare in the Netherlands can be divided in several ways: firstly in three different echelons; secondly in somatic versus mental healthcare; and thirdly in “cure” versus “care”. Home doctors form the largest part of the first echelon. Being referred by a first echelon professional is frequently required for access to treatment by the second and third echelons, or at least to qualify for insurance coverage for that treatment. The Dutch health care system is quite effective in comparison to other western countries but is not the most cost-effective.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands

Spring Solstice is March 19th this year! Wishing you all Health, Happiness, and Great Adventures Spring 2020!

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COMMUNITY

A simple solution for healthier premature babies?

       CBS    CBC News: The National    Published on Feb 12, 2018

Is there a simple solution to improve the health of premature babies? A new Canadian-led study suggests there is. The study’s results showed that by simply getting a premature baby’s parents involved in the care process sooner, the baby gained 15 per cent more weight. There was also another effect — the parents also showed less stress.

 

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Nine News Melbourne MCG Masquerade Ball 2020 event preview: Unmasking Preterm Birth

Published on Jan 20, 2020

Melbourne’s health, sporting, business and philanthropic community is set to usher in autumn in grand style as it unites for a highly anticipated event at the MCG to benefit mothers and babies at risk of preterm birth. WIRF provides world leading research into the prevention of pre-term birth. An issue that causes more death and disability in children than any other. With your support we can help our WIRF continue their life-saving research.

 

Psychosocial developmental trajectory of a cohort of young adults born very preterm and/or with a very low birth weight in the Netherlands

Published: 07 March 2019

Abstract:

The achievement of age-specific developmental milestones in youth is of great importance to the adjustment in adult life. Young adults who were born preterm, might go through a different developmental trajectory and transition into adulthood than their peers. This study aimed to compare the psychosocial developmental trajectory of young adults who were born preterm with peers from the general population. Young adults from the POPS (Project On Preterm and Small for gestational age infants) cohort study, born in 1983 in the Netherlands, completed online the Course of Life Questionnaire (CoLQ – achievement of psychosocial developmental milestones) at 28 years of age. Analysis of variance by group, age and gender was performed to test differences on the CoLQ scale scores between the POPS-group and 211 peers (25–30 years) from the general population (Ref-group). Differences on item level, representing the achievement of individual milestones, were analyzed with logistic regression analyses by group, age and gender.

Results

The POPS-group (n = 300, 32,3% biased response) scored significantly lower than the Ref-group on the scales Psychosexual Development (effect size − 0.26, p < 0.01), Antisocial Behavior (ES − 0.44, p < 0.001) and Substance Use & Gambling (ES − 0.35, p < .001). A further exploration on item-level revealed, among others, that the POPS-group had their first boyfriend/girlfriend at later age, were more often single, misbehaved less at school and smoked, drank and gambled less than the Ref-group. On the scales Autonomy Development and Social Development no differences were found between the POPS-group and the Ref-group.

Conclusions

A relatively less vulnerable respondent group of young adults born preterm showed some psychosocial developmental trajectory delays and might benefit from support at teenage age. Because of the non-response bias, we hypothesize that the total group of young adults born preterm will show more severe psychosocial developmental problems.

Journal of Patient-Reported Outcomes volume 3, Article number: 17 (2019)

Source: https://jpro.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41687-019-0106-5

 

intergrowth

Introducing the INTERGROWTH-21st clinical tools in IBADAN, Nigeria

Following the successful visit to Oxford last year of Dr Yetunde John-Akinola (Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan), who spent 6 weeks with the INTERGROWTH-21st team on an AfOx Visiting Fellowship, Professor Stephen Kennedy visited the University and University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria, in January 2020. His visit was hosted by Dr John-Akinola and Dr Idowu Ayede (Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan).

Professor Kennedy led a 2-day ‘training-the-trainers’ workshop attended by obstetricians, neonatologists, nurses and midwives, who completed the two INTERGROWTH-21st and three INTERPRATICE-21st online modules (participants pictured below with their certificates after successfully completing the course). These trainers will now go on to spread the use of the clinical tools further.

The University and University College Hospital have, in principle, committed to implement the INTERGROWTH-21st tools into routine obstetric and neonatal practice, with a focus on: 1) estimating gestational age accurately with ultrasound; 2) assessing size at birth, and 3) monitoring preterm postnatal growth, all with the INTERGROWTH-21st Standards, as well as 4) promoting exclusive breastfeeding because the national rate is currently only 17%. Their commitment is evidenced by allocating space in their newly built research institute to the project and funding two research nurses to support the project there.

The unmet need in Nigeria is massive: 27 newborns die every hour in the country.

https://intergrowth21.tghn.org/introducing-intergrowth-21st-clinical-tools-ibadan-nigeria/

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INNOVATIONS

New study HAPP-e is looking for participants from all over the world

Posted on 04 February 2020

happe

Copyright INESC TEC and ISPUP

Studying the health of adults born preterm is the aim of the EU-funded study HAPP-e, which has been recently launched. Focus point of HAPP-e is an electronic cohort. Researchers will follow a group of adults born preterm over a longer period of time and study the participant’s health and life conditions.  Both recruitment and follow-up of will entirely be performed using digital tools, such as a web-platform.

This makes the study less expensive than traditional cohort studies, which rely on face-to-face interviews, and make large-scale studies possible. Moreover, this approach is more convenient, since the participants can stay at home.

If you

  • are more than 18 years old
  • were born prematurely (less than 37 weeks of gestation
  • and have an email address

please participate in this study. For more information about HAPP-e and /or registration go to: https://happ-e.inesctec.pt/

Source: https://www.efcni.org/news/new-study-happ-e-is-looking-for-participants-from-all-over-the-world/

 

EFONI

Lifeline for preterm babies – funding announced for new stem cell research

POSTED ON 20 JANUARY 2020

What role can stem cells play in regenerating a damaged brain caused by preterm birth? The new project PREMSTEM, in which EFCNI is taking part, researches if stem cells can be used to regenerate the brain damage caused by preterm birth. To ‘rebuild’ the damaged areas of the brain, scientists will use human mesenchymal stem cells (H-MSC) – those taken from umbilical cord tissue as opposed to human embryonic stem cells (hESC).

PREMSTEM, which was launched in January, consists of fifteen partners from eight countries and involves world-leading clinicians, researchers and healthcare organisations specialised in neonatology in both Europe and Australia. Together with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance from Australia EFCNI’s role is to present preterm infants and their families in this project.

PREMSTEM is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program, Grant Agreement number 874721.

Source: https://www.efcni.org/news/lifeline-for-preterm-babies-funding-announced-for-new-stem-cell-research/

 

PMC

Large-for-gestational-age fetuses have an increased risk for spontaneous preterm birth.

Journal of Perinatology : Official Journal of the California Perinatal Association, 01 Apr 2019, 39(8):1050-1056

Abstract 

OBJECTIVE:

Our aim was to investigate the association between large-for-gestational-age and the risk of spontaneous preterm birth.

STUDY DESIGN: We studied nulliparous women with a singleton gestation using data from the Dutch perinatal registry from 1999 to 2010. Neonates were categorized according to the Hadlock fetal weight standard, into 10th to 90th percentile, 90th to 97th percentile, or above 97th percentile. Outcomes were preterm birth <37+0 weeks and preterm birth between 25+0-27+6 weeks, 28+0-30+6 weeks, 31+0-33+6 weeks, and 34+0-36+6 weeks.

RESULTS: We included 547,418 women. The number of spontaneous preterm births <37 weeks was significantly increased in the large-for-gestational-age group ( > p97) compared with fetuses with a normal growth (p10-p90) (11.3% vs. 7.3%, odds ratio (OR) 1.8; 95% CI 1.7-1.9). The same results were found when limiting analyses to women with certain pregnancy duration (after in vitro fertilization).

CONCLUSION: Large-for-gestational-age increases the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery from 25 weeks of gestation onwards.

Source: https://europepmc.org/article/med/30940928

 

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HEALTH CARE PARTNERS

Mild maternal thyroid dysfunction increases preterm birth risk

Cappola AR, et al. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10159.

Korevaar TIM, et al. JAMA. 2019;doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10931.

August 20, 2019

Pregnant women with mild thyroid dysfunction, such as subclinical hypothyroidism, isolated hypothyroxinemia or thyroid peroxidase antibody positivity, are more likely to deliver preterm when compared with euthyroid women, according to a meta-analysis of 19 cohort studies published in JAMA.

The analysis of individual patient data from more than 47,000 participants, conducted by the Consortium on Thyroid and Pregnancy — Study Group on Preterm Birth, is the largest study of its kind conducted to date, according to researchers, and suggests that subclinical hypothyroidism, isolated hypothyroxinemia and thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) positivity in pregnant women are risk factors for preterm birth.

“These findings validate a reflex TPOAb measurement for women with a [thyroid-stimulating hormone level] above 4 mU/L and also imply that it is important to actively plan to assess early gestational thyroid function tests in women known to be TPOAb-positive preconception,” Tim Korevaar, MD, PhD, a translational epidemiologist at the Academic Center for Thyroid Diseases at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, told Endocrine Today. “Our results showing a higher risk for very preterm birth in TPOAb-positive women, especially when the TSH is above 4 mU/L, seem to echo the current American Thyroid Association guidelines. Our results showing that isolated hypothyroxinemia is a risk factor for both preterm and very preterm birth was most surprising, although further studies are needed to identify the causality of this association.”

Korevaar and colleagues analyzed data from 19 prospective cohort studies conducted through March 2018 with unselected participants with available data on thyroid hormone and TPOAb status, as well as data on gestational age at birth (n = 47,045; mean age, 29 years; median gestational age at blood sampling, 12.9 weeks). Researchers excluded studies in which participants received treatment based on abnormal thyroid function tests. Primary authors provided individual participant data that was analyzed using mixed-effects models.

Within the cohort, 1,234 women (3.1%) had subclinical hypothyroidism, 904 women (2.2%) had isolated hypothyroxinemia and 3,043 (7.5%) were TPOAb positive. The primary outcome of preterm birth, defined as delivery at less than 37 weeks’ gestational age, occurred in 2,357 women (5%). Very preterm birth occurred in 349 women (0.7%).

Preterm birth risk

In analyses adjusted for maternal age, BMI, race, smoking status, parity, gestational age at blood sampling and fetal sex, women with subclinical hypothyroidism were 29% more likely to deliver preterm vs. euthyroid women (95% CI, 1.01-1.64; absolute risk, 6.1% vs. 5%). Women with isolated hypothyroxinemia were 46% more likely to delivery preterm vs. euthyroid women (95% CI, 1.12-1.9; absolute risk, 7.1% vs. 5%) and women with TPOAb positivity were 33% more likely to deliver preterm vs. women who were TPOAb negative (95% CI, 1.15-1.56; absolute risk, 6.6% vs. 4.9%).

In prespecified sensitivity analysis, the association between subclinical hypothyroidism and preterm birth was no longer statistically significant after additional adjustment for TPOAb positivity, the researchers wrote.

The researchers noted that the association of TPOAb positivity with preterm birth did not appear to be related to differences in thyroid function, but was modified by the TSH level, exemplified by the higher risk for preterm birth in TPOAb-positive women with a TSH level above 4 mIU/L.

“This study is probably the best evidence that we will have on the association of maternal thyroid function or TPOAb positivity and very preterm birth,” Korevaar said. “This is because very preterm birth is a rare outcome, yet the consequences on child health are enormous.”

Universal screening not justified

In commentary accompanying the study, Anne R. Cappola, MD, ScM, of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Brian M. Casey, MD, of the division of maternal and fetal medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wrote that the study findings should not be used to justify universal screening of pregnant women.

“Assuming that residual confounding did not affect these estimates and that the links were causal and would be completely reversed by early identification and treatment, how many additional preterm births could be prevented by screening with these three blood tests?” Cappola and colleagues wrote. “Based on this analysis of 47,045 women, an estimated 17 preterm births in those with subclinical hypothyroidism, 21 preterm births in those with isolated hypothyroxinemia and 49 preterm births in [TPOAb]-positive women might have been prevented. Even under these idealized assumptions, these estimates represent a relatively small potential yield given the very large screening effort required, especially when considering contemporary advances in obstetrical and neonatal care in managing late preterm delivery and that only 15% of preterm births in this analysis occurred at less than 32 weeks’ gestational age.”

Cappola and colleagues noted that subclinical hypothyroidism identified during pregnancy may not truly represent thyroid hormone inadequacy, adding, “It is time to trust the findings of the major clinical trials, move past consideration of screening for and treatment of mild thyroid testing abnormalities detected during pregnancy, and focus instead on determining their physiological context.” – by Regina Schaffer

Source: https://www.healio.com/endocrinology/thyroid/news/online/%7B59d1641c-f392-4adb-98ae-03bde28f3783%7D/mild-maternal-thyroid-dysfunction-increases-preterm-birth-risk

Series of RECAP cohorts – part 6: Follow-up of the POPS cohort in the Netherlands

Posted on 13 September 2019

Dr Sylvia van der Pal & Professor Erik Verrips

In 1983, a unique nationwide cohort of 1.338 very preterm (below 32 weeks of gestation) or VLBW (birth weight below 1500 g) infants in the Netherlands was collected and followed at several ages; the POPS (Project On Preterm and Small for gestational age infants) cohort. The studies with the POPS cohort have provided insight into how Dutch adolescents who were born very preterm or VLBW reach adulthood.

At 19 years of age a more extensive follow-up study was done for which the POPS participants visited the academic hospital closest to their home. The 19 year examination included questionnaires, tests on a computer and a full physical exam. At 19 years, 705 POPS participants participated (74% of 959 still alive).

The POPS participants showed more impairments on most outcome measures at various ages, compared to norm data. Major handicaps remained stable as the children grew older, but minor handicaps and disabilities increased. At 19 years of age, only half (47.1%) of the survivors had no disabilities and no minor or major handicaps. Especially those born small for gestational age (SGA) seemed most vulnerable.

The POPS participants were informed about the outcomes through the “POPS-19 magazine”, a glossy which also included interviews with POPS participants and advice on what health outcomes they should regularly check. At 14 years of age the POPS participants and their parents had also received a booklet with outcomes of the POPS cohort: “Even little ones grow up”. The POPS-19 magazine can also be downloaded through the website (www.tno.nl/pops) and POPS participants can also update their contact details on the website.

These long-term cohort outcomes help to support preterm and SGA born children and adolescents in reaching independent adulthood, and stress the need for long term follow-up studies and to promote prevention of disabilities and of preterm birth itself. The RECAP ICT platform, which will combine the data of 20 European cohorts of children and adults born very preterm of very low birth, will also contribute to this.

Source: https://www.efcni.org/news/follow-up-of-the-pops-cohort-in-the-netherlands/

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Indicators of pain, stress & its assessment- Facility Based Care of Preterm Infant 2018

dr.deborariAshok Deorari    Published on Dec 31, 2017

Different behavioral states and assessment by PIP score in premature baby

who

Source: https://www.newbornwhocc.org/

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Stress during pregnancy may affect baby’s sex, risk of preterm birth

Date: October 15, 2019 Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Summary: A new study has identified markers of maternal stress – both physical and psychological that may influence a baby’s sex and the likelihood of preterm birth.

Story:

It’s becoming well established that maternal stress during pregnancy can affect fetal and child development as well as birth outcomes, and a new study from researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian now identifies the types of physical and psychological stress that may matter most.

“The womb is an influential first home, as important as the one a child is raised in, if not more so,” says study leader Catherine Monk, PhD, professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of Women’s Mental Health in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Because stress can manifest in a variety of ways, both as a subjective experience and in physical and lifestyle measurements, Monk and her colleagues examined 27 indicators of psychosocial, physical, and lifestyle stress collected from questionnaires, diaries, and daily physical assessments of 187 otherwise healthy pregnant women, ages 18 to 45.

About 17% (32) of the women were psychologically stressed, with clinically meaningful high levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress. Another 16% (30) were physically stressed, with relatively higher daily blood pressure and greater caloric intake compared with other healthy pregnant women. The majority (nearly 67%, or 125) were healthy.

Fewer Baby Boys with Mental Stress?

The study suggested that pregnant women experiencing physical and psychological stress are less likely to have a boy. On average, around 105 males are born for every 100 female births. But in this study, the sex ratio in the physically and psychologically stressed groups favored girls, with male-to-female ratios of 4:9 and 2:3, respectively.

“Other researchers have seen this pattern after social upheavals, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, after which the relative number of male births decreased,” says Monk. “This stress in women is likely of long-standing nature; studies have shown that males are more vulnerable to adverse prenatal environments, suggesting that highly stressed women may be less likely to give birth to a male due to the loss of prior male pregnancies, often without even knowing they were pregnant.”

Other Impacts of Stress

  • Physically stressed mothers, with higher blood pressure and caloric intake, were more likely to give birth prematurely than unstressed mothers.
  • Among physically stressed mothers, fetuses had reduced heart rate-movement coupling — an indicator of slower central nervous system development — compared with unstressed mothers.
  • Psychologically stressed mothers had more birth complications than physically stressed mothers.

Social Support Matters

The researchers also found that what most differentiated the three groups was the amount of social support a mother received from friends and family. For example, the more social support a mother received, the greater the likelihood of her having a male baby.

When social support was statistically equalized across the groups, the stress effects on preterm birth disappeared. “Screening for depression and anxiety are gradually becoming a routine part of prenatal practice,” says Monk. “But while our study was small, the results suggest enhancing social support is potentially an effective target for clinical intervention.”

An estimated 30% of pregnant women report psychosocial stress from job strain or related to depression and anxiety, according to the researchers. Such stress has been associated with increased risk of premature birth, which is linked to higher rates of infant mortality and of physical and mental disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety, among offspring.

How a mother’s mental state might specifically affect a fetus was not examined in the study. “We know from animal studies that exposure to high levels of stress can raise levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the uterus, which in turn can affect the fetus,” says Monk. “Stress can also affect the mother’s immune system, leading to changes that affect neurological and behavioral development in the fetus. What’s clear from our study is that maternal mental health matters, not only for the mother but also for her future child.”

Story Source: Materials provided by Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191015171554.htm

 

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Still a Preemie

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How to Choose the Best Pediatrician for Your Child

By Vincent Iannelli, MD  Updated on February 23, 2020 – Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.

Parents seem to go to a lot of different extremes when choosing a pediatrician. Some do almost nothing and simply choose the pediatrician on call in the hospital when their baby is born or pick a doctor randomly from a list in the phone book or their insurance directory. Others do detailed research and conduct an interview asking their potential new pediatrician everything from where they went to medical school to what their scores were on their medical boards.

When choosing a pediatrician, make sure you like your new doctor, and see if you agree on important parenting topics, such as breastfeeding, discipline, and not overusing antibiotics, etc.

The Importance of Choosing a Pediatrician

Choosing the right pediatrician is more important than most parents think. While you can simply change doctors if you don’t like the first pediatrician you see, if your newborn or older child is truly sick, the first doctor you see could be making life-changing decisions about your child. Or they could miss a potentially life-threatening problem.

So even if you have a healthy newborn or an older child with a simple cold or ear infection, you should put some thought into who cares for him, just in case his medical problems are a little more serious than you think.

Pediatrician Recommendations

A common way for parents to choose a pediatrician is to get a recommendation from their friends or family members. This is probably one of the best ways, but when someone tells you that they love going to their pediatrician, be sure to ask why before you blindly follow them to the same office.

Many parents have different needs and you may be really turned off by the reason that they like their doctor. For example, they might like that their pediatrician is really fast and they are in and out of the office quickly, while you might like someone who moves slower and spends more time during the visit, even if it means that you have to wait a little longer for your appointment. Or your friend might like that their pediatrician prescribes an antibiotic every time they walk into the office, whether or not they need one.

On the other hand, you might get a negative report on a pediatrician only to find that they don’t like the doctor because he doesn’t over-prescribe antibiotics, which is actually keeping to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Always try to get the reason or an explanation behind a recommendation to make sure you understand why someone likes or dislikes their pediatrician.

Your own doctor can also be a good source for a recommendation for a pediatrician, especially if you are having a new baby.

Choosing a Pediatrician

Although we like to think that things like cost and convenience should be secondary when making such an important decision, they can be very important when choosing a pediatrician. If the pediatrician you would like to see is not on your insurance plan or is an hour away, it may not be very practical to go to her office.

Important practical matters to consider when choosing a pediatrician, most of which you can ask the office staff, include:

  • Is the pediatrician on your insurance plan? If you don’t have insurance or have a high deductible, then be sure to ask how much each visit costs and maybe compare it to other pediatric offices in the area.
  • Where are you located and do you have a satellite office?
  • Do you offer same day sick appointments?
  • Do you have any late or weekend hours?
  • What happens if I need advice after hours? Is a nurse or doctor available on-call to talk to me? Will I be charged for these calls?
  • What hospitals is the pediatrician affiliated with? This is especially important if you have a Children’s Hospital in your area and you would like a doctor that will see you if you have to go there.
  • Are there any extra charges for advice calls during the day, after hours advice calls, refilling medicines, or requests to fill out forms, etc.?
  • How many doctors are in the office? Will I always see my own doctor?
  • Are the doctors all board-certified?
  • How long is a typical appointment?
  • Are there separate sick and well waiting rooms?

Another practical matter to consider is whether you want to go with a group practice or a solo practitioner. The benefit of a solo practitioner or a pediatrician who is in an office by himself is that you can be sure that you will always see your own doctor. The biggest downside is that if your pediatrician takes some time off, either for a vacation or if he takes an afternoon off, then you may have to wait for an appointment or go to another office.

In a group practice, you usually see your own pediatrician when they are in the office and have the benefit of seeing another doctor if they are out. Larger offices often have the benefit of sharing expenses and may have more equipment in the office, such as a lab, so that you don’t have to go somewhere else to get blood work done.

Once you find a pediatrician you think you might like, consider scheduling a “new mom” consult to interview them. These appointments work for new dads, too.

Interviewing Pediatricians

Although you can typically narrow down your choice of pediatricians by figuring out who is on your insurance plan and in your area, who is accepting new patients and getting some recommendations from friends and family, the best way to find a good pediatrician is to actually set up an appointment and meet with a few.

Keep in mind that while most parents like to think that they are looking for a good pediatrician, you are mostly looking for a pediatrician who is good for you and your family. And that often comes down to how well your personalities fit together.

A couple of good questions to ask during this interview to help figure out if you have found a good fit include:

  • What are good reasons to get a second opinion from a specialist? (A good answer is because either the pediatrician or the parent wants one. A parent should be able to get a second opinion if they think it is important.)
  • How long should I breastfeed my baby?
  • What is your basic philosophy on discipline, potty training, immunizations, prescribing antibiotics, etc.?
  • What is your opinion on alternative medicine, attachment parenting, co-sleeping, etc.?

Also, setting up an appointment to interview a pediatrician is just not something you can do when you are pregnant. If you already have children and have moved to a new area or are simply changing doctors, it can still be a good idea to meet with a few doctors before choosing a new pediatrician.

Most importantly, remember that it doesn’t necessarily matter whether or not your pediatrician went to the best medical school or finished first in her class, so those aren’t very important things to ask about. You are really looking for someone who is going to care about your child, listen to and respond to your needs, and be available when you need her. And while you may have to initially trust your instincts that you found the right pediatrician, it may take several visits or even several years to know for sure.

Source: https://www.verywellfamily.com/choosing-a-pediatrician-2633444

 

flower

Miracle Babies | How a premature baby changes your life

WaterWipes 

 

kids

WARRIORS:

warriors

Dr. Gabor Maté on How to Reframe a Challenging Moment and Feel Empowered | The Tim Ferriss Show

KAT’S CORNER

Aloha Warriors! I am swimming towards Winter quarter 2020 finals, amping up my immune system, digging through global medicine data, and coming up for “AIR” to let you know that your presence in our World feeds my soul ….. and I Thank You.  This month we are re-sharing our story, and if our story is new to you, please enter the link below! Much Love!  –https://neonatalwombwarriors.blog/our-story/

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sd

Get easily out of breath? It may be because you were small at birth, study finds 

Date: January 31, 2020 Source: Karolinska Institutet

Babies born with low birth weights are more likely to have poor cardiorespiratory fitness later in life than their normal-weight peers. That is according to a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal JAHA. The findings underscore the importance of prevention strategies to reduce low birth weights even among those carried to at term delivery.

Having a good cardiorespiratory fitness — that is ability of the body to supply oxygen to the muscles during sustained physical activity — is important for staying healthy and can reduce the risk of numerous diseases and premature death. Alarmingly, cardiorespiratory fitness is declining globally, both for youths and adults. A recent study showed that the proportion of Swedish adults with low cardiorespiratory fitness almost doubled from 27 percent in 1995 to 46 percent in 2017.

Given its implications for public health, there has been a growing interest in understanding the underlying causes of poor cardiorespiratory fitness. Researchers have identified both physical inactivity and genetic factors as important determinants. Preterm delivery, and the low birth weight associated with it, has also been linked to low cardiorespiratory fitness later in life. In this study, the researchers wanted to examine if low birth weights played a role for cardiorespiratory fitness in individuals born after pregnancy of 37-41 weeks.

They followed more than 280,000 males from birth to military conscription at age 17-24 using Swedish population-based registers. At conscription, the men underwent a physical examination that included an evaluation of their maximal aerobic performance on a bicycle ergometer. The researchers found that those born with higher birth weights performed significantly better on the cardiorespiratory fitness test. For every 450 grams of extra weight at birth, in a baby born at 40 weeks, the maximum work capacity on the bicycle increased by an average of 7.9 watts.

The association was stable across all categories of body mass index (BMI) in young adulthood and was largely similar in a subset analysis of more than 52,000 siblings, suggesting that BMI and shared genetic and environmental factors alone cannot explain the link between birth weight and cardiorespiratory fitness.

“The magnitude of the difference we observed is alarming,” says Daniel Berglind, researcher at the Department of Global Public Health at Karolinska Institutet and corresponding author. “The observed 7.9 watts increase for each 450 grams of extra weight at birth, in a baby born at 40 weeks, translates into approximately 1.34 increase in metabolic equivalent (MET) which has been associated with a 13 percent difference in the risk of premature death and a 15 percent difference in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Such differences in mortality are similar to the effect of a 7-centimeter reduction in waist circumference.”

The researchers believe the findings are of significance to public health, seeing as about 15 percent of babies born globally weigh less than 2.5 kilos at birth and as cardiorespiratory fitness have important implications for adult health.

“Providing adequate prenatal care may be an effective means of improving adult health not only through prevention of established harms associated with low birth weight but also via improved cardiorespiratory fitness,” says Viktor H. Ahlqvist, researcher at the Department of Global Public Health and another of the study’s authors.

Source:https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200131074207.htm

 

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Surf Scheveningen, Den Haag, Holland: Top Surf Spots in Europe Ep. 2

epi

Jun 18, 2013

In this episode Dutch wonder kid Yannick de Jager gives us the low down of his home break called Scheveningen, located in the Hague, Holland. Although it’s not known for its surf, the travelling surfer who finds himself/herself there on a good day might be pleasantly surprised with the quality of ride they find. Athlete – Yannick de Jager Location – Scheveningen, Den Haag, Holland

 

MATE, TRAUMA, WAR, CALMER

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SYRIA

Rate: 10.9%      Rank: 76

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

Source: https://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/global-preterm.aspx#tabs-3

We will not turn our eyes or hearts away from any part of our Community. The burden of suffering for our family members in countries involved in conflict/war increases the hardship to families, providers, and community members as a whole. Significant evidence has shown that armed conflict and political turmoil directly affects the likelihood of increased rates of low birth weight and prematurity birth rates. The refugee crisis, including the Syrian conflict, and other forms of harm onto humanity occurring around the world affects our preterm birth community at all levels. Our blog embraces inclusivity with the intent of connecting the Community as a whole in order to create and empower our pathways to health and wellbeing.

health.syriaImpacts of attacks on healthcare in Syria

Report from Syrian American Medical Society Foundation – Published on 19 Oct 2018

Attacks on medical facilities are a violation of international humanitarian law. Unfortunately, that has not deterred armed forces from systematically and deliberately attacking health centers in Syria.

Between 2011 and 2017, there were 492 attacks on healthcare in Syria, killing 847 medical personnel. From January to July, 2018, another 119 attacks were recorded, mostly affecting East Ghouta, eastern Aleppo, Dara’a, and Idlib.

According to the WHO, 70% of total worldwide attacks on health care facilities, ambulances, services and personnel have occurred within Syria. Many facilities are targeted multiple times; SAMS-supported Kafr Zita Specialty Hospital in Hama was bombed five times in 2017 alone.

These hospitals are not collateral damage from the conflict. Bombardments specifically target health facilities according to experts in Syria, despite efforts to ensure hospital coordinates are known.

On May 3, 2016, the UN Security Council officially condemned attacks on medical facilities and personnel in armed conflict in Resolution 2286, while the WHO created a Surveillance System of Attacks on Healthcare (SSA) in January 2018. Despite these international efforts, the UN reports that attacks on health facilities have actually increased in 2018.

In the first eight months of this year, SSA recorded 97 deaths and another 165 injured healthcare staff and their patients due to attacks on their medical facilities.

Without a safe place to work and often directly targeted in systematic attacks, very few healthcare workers remain to care for their patients. Those who are left are trying to make up for the enormous gap in manpower.

Through 2017, 107 doctors remained to treat the people of East Ghouta – the then-besieged enclave with a population of nearly 400,000. One in six surgeons in Syria works 80-hour weeks. Currently, 38% of health workers have received no formal training at all.

Those remaining still face danger. More than one in 10 health workers report receiving personal threats because of their occupation. In 2017, SAMS lost six dedicated colleagues to aerial attacks. A total of 36 SAMS staff members were killed from 2015 through March of 2018.Patients now fear hospitals and other health facilities as they are a bombing risk. This leaves many Syrians with untreated conditions. Almost half of Syrians would only go to a hospital if their life depended on treatment.

The symbolic Red Cross or Red Crescent markings have been removed from most hospitals in Syria as they are now a literal target. Medical facilities have also moved underground or into caves. This attempt to protect medical workers and their patients didn’t deter attacks on healthcare as a tactic of war in Syria.

Bunker buster bombs have been used to cut through concrete and decimate basement and underground hospitals, which are also vulnerable to chemical attacks. The chemical agents used are heavier than air, sinking to the basements that patients and doctors use for shelter. In March of 2017, SAMS lost one of its own doctors, Dr. Ali Darwish, in a chemical attack targeting his hospital in rural Hama. Dr. Darwish was in the operating room and refused to leave his patient when barrel bombs containing chemical agents were dropped on the entrance of the underground hospital. The gas quickly spread throughout the facility. Dr. Darwish was evacuated to another hospital but could not be saved.

These attacks force hospitals to close down temporarily while they rebuild. Eight facilities have closed permanently because of immense damage. One in four Syrians say that specialized care is not available in their area, a problem SAMS works to fix through the development of special care facilities.

Further, medical aid convoys are forced to endure a long bureaucratic process before shipping and were regularly stripped of certain medical supplies by armed forces while in transit in the early years of the conflict.

Attacking health workers and their treatment centers cripples a health system already in crisis. In February, 2018, attacks on medical facilities disrupted 15,000 medical consultations and 1,500 surgeries.

SAMS currently operates across northern Syria, supporting over 35 medical facilities. Through financial support of facilities and staff, medical education, and procurement and logistics management, SAMS works to ensure quality and dignified care is accessible. SAMS focuses on providing specialty care that is difficult to afford, such as an oncology center, radiology departments, blood banks, psychosocial services, free of charge to patients.

Despite recent challenges and shifting dynamics in the conflict, SAMS has continued to provide lifesaving care in northern Syria, providing nearly 1.5 million medical services from January to September 2018. In response to the potential humanitarian crisis in Idlib, SAMS has procured and distributed over $2.7 million in medications, medical supplies, and equipment to our healthcare facilities across northern Syria, working with implementing partners to conduct cross-border operations.

Source-https://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/impacts-attacks-healthcare-syria
Ref.camp

COMMUNITY

NIH

NIH study suggests higher air pollution exposure during second pregnancy may increase preterm birth risk

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Pregnant women who are exposed to higher air pollution levels during their second pregnancy, compared to their first one, may be at greater risk of preterm birth, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Their study appears in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Preterm birth, or the birth of a baby before 37 weeks, is one of the leading causes of infant mortality in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although previous studies have found an association between air pollution exposure and preterm birth risk, the authors believe their study is the first to link this risk to changes in exposure levels between a first and second pregnancy.

“What surprised us was that among low-risk women, including women who had not delivered preterm before, the risk during the second pregnancy increased significantly when air pollution stayed high or increased,” said Pauline Mendola, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and a senior investigator in the Epidemiology Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Researchers used data from the NICHD Consecutive Pregnancy Study to examine the risk of preterm birth. They matched electronic medical records of more than 50,000 women who gave birth in 20 Utah hospitals between 2002 and 2010 to data derived from Community Multiscale Air Quality Models, modified based on a model by the Environmental Protection Agency, which estimate pollution concentrations.

Researchers examined exposure to sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particles. For nearly all pollutants, exposure was more likely to decrease over time, but 7 to 12% of women in the study experienced a higher exposure to air pollution during their second pregnancy. The highest risks were with increasing exposure to carbon monoxide (51%) and nitrogen dioxide (45%), typically from emissions from motor vehicles and power plants; ozone (48%), a secondary pollutant created by combustion products and sunlight; and sulfur dioxide (41%), mainly from the burning of fossil fuels that contain sulfur, such as coal or diesel fuel.

More research is needed to confirm this association, but improvements in air quality may help mitigate preterm birth risk among pregnant women, Dr. Mendola said.

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD leads research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, enhance the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize abilities for all. For more information, visit https://www.nichd.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

Reference-Mendola, P. et al. Air pollution and preterm birth: Do air pollution changes over time influence risk in consecutive pregnancies among low-risk women? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019.

Source-https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-suggests-higher-air-pollution-exposure-during-second-pregnancy-may-increase-preterm-birth-risk

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Living in a ‘war zone’ linked to delivery of low birth-weight babies.

Evidence for impact on other complications of pregnancy less clear – Nov. 28, 2017     Moms-to-be living in war zones/areas of armed conflict are at heightened risk of giving birth to low birth-weight babies, finds a review of the available evidence published in the online journal BMJ Global Health.

People living in war zones are under constant threat of attack, which has a detrimental effect on their mental and physical health. Their food and water supplies are often disrupted, and healthcare provision restricted, all of which can take a toll on the health of expectant mothers, say the researchers.

To explore this further, the research team looked for studies on the impact of war on pregnancy and found 13 relevant studies, dating back to 1990. These involved more than 1 million women from 12 countries that had experienced armed conflict, including Bosnia, Israel, Libya, and Iraq.

Analysis of the data showed that moms-to-be living in war zones/areas of armed conflict were at heightened risk of giving birth to underweight babies.

But there was less evidence suggesting any impact on rates of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and few studies looked at other outcomes, such as birth defects.

The researchers point to some caveats. All nine of the studies which looked at the potential impact of war on birthweight had some design flaws.

And five failed to account for potentially influential factors, or provided only limited data on exposure to conflict, although this may reflect the difficulties of collecting data in war-torn areas, suggest the researchers.

None of the studies defined the meaning of war or armed conflict, so making it hard to differentiate between the short and long term impact of various aspects of warfare, they add.

Nevertheless, the most convincing evidence suggests that rates of low birthweight rise among women living in war zones/areas of conflict, they conclude. And this matters, they say.

“The long term health implications of low birthweight are significant, because individuals are at increased risk of [ill health] and [death], and will require increased medical care throughout their lives,” they emphasise.

In light of their findings, they call on healthcare professionals to monitor pregnant women living in war zones more carefully, although they acknowledge the difficulties of doing this in war zones.

But they say: “This will only be possible if warring parties are committed to following the Geneva Convention, refrain from attacking healthcare facilities and workers, and are adequately resourced.

“Until this happens, women and their infants will be at continued risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancy.”

And it is just as important for clinicians in countries not affected by armed conflict to carefully monitor pregnant women who have been displaced by war, they say.

Journal Reference:James Keasley, Jessica Blickwedel, Siobhan Quenby. Adverse effects of exposure to armed conflict on pregnancy: a systematic review. BMJ Global Health, 2017; 2 (4): e000377 DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000377

Source-https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171128190042.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEALTH CARE PARTNERS

SD

New model mimics persistent interneuron loss seen in prematurity

Date: February 19, 2019  Source: Children’s National Health System

Research-clinicians at Children’s National Health System have created a novel preclinical model that mimics the persistent interneuron loss seen in preterm human infants, identifying interneuron subtypes that could become future therapeutic targets to prevent or lessen neurodevelopmental risks, the team reports Jan. 31, 2019, in eNeuro.

In the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of infants born preterm, there are decreased somatostatin and calbindin interneurons seen in upper cortical layers in infants who survived for a few months after preterm birth. This neuronal damage was mimicked in an experimental model of preterm brain injury in the PFC, but only when the newborn experimental models had first experienced a combination of prenatal maternal immune activation and postnatal chronic sublethal hypoxia. Neither neuronal insult on its own produced the pattern of interneuron loss in the upper cortical layers observed in humans, the research team finds.

“These combined insults lead to long-term neurobehavioral deficits that mimic what we see in human infants who are born extremely preterm,” says Anna Penn, M.D., Ph.D., a neonatologist in the divisions of Neonatology and Fetal Medicine and a developmental neuroscientist at Children’s National Health System, and senior study author. “Future success in preventing neuronal damage in newborns relies on having accurate experimental models of preterm brain injury and well-defined outcome measures that can be examined in young infants and experimental models of the same developmental stage.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1 in 10 infants is born preterm, before the 37th week of pregnancy. Many of these preterm births result from infection or inflammation in utero. After delivery, many infants experience other health challenges, like respiratory failure. These multi-hits can exacerbate brain damage.

Prematurity is associated with significantly increased risk of neurobehavioral pathologies, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. In both psychiatric disorders, the prefrontal cortex inhibitory circuit is disrupted due to alterations of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) interneurons in a brain region involved in working memory and social cognition.

Cortical interneurons are created and migrate late in pregnancy and early infancy. That timing leaves them particularly vulnerable to insults, such as preterm birth.

In order to investigate the effects of perinatal insults on GABAergic interneuron development, the Children’s research team, led by Helene Lacaille, Ph.D., in Dr. Penn’s laboratory, subjected the new preterm encephalopathy experimental model to a battery of neurobehavioral tests, including working memory, cognitive flexibility and social cognition.

“This translational study, which examined the prefrontal cortex in age-matched term and preterm babies supports our hypothesis that specific cellular alterations seen in preterm encephalopathy can be linked with a heightened risk of children experiencing neuropsychiatric disorders later in life,” Dr. Penn adds. “Specific interneuron subtypes may provide specific therapeutic targets for medicines that hold the promise of preventing or lessening these neurodevelopmental risks.”

Children’s National Health System. “New model mimics persistent interneuron loss seen in prematurity.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190219131727.htm (accessed September 26, 2019).

Source-https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190219131727.html

 

med

Dr. Weinstein. A surgeon’s struggle with mental health.

dis.jpgPublished on Jan 31, 2019         Physician Mental Health & Suicide

Doctors, physicians, medics, surgeons are not supposed to get sick. But what if they do? Watch this revealing film and read the back story over on https://oc87recoverydiaries.org/physi…

 

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UWMed GME Wellness Service (SEATTLE)

While this is a UW Medicine specific resource we felt that the resources included and information may be helpful for those working within our healthcare community.

Resources for residents and fellow wellness.

Resident and fellow wellness is an institutional priority in graduate medical education. The GME Wellness Service helps trainees and their significant others/spouses cope with common stressors of training. Our goal is to promote work-life balance and overall wellness by advocating for you and providing you with tools to reduce burnout, depression, relationship stress, and other problems.

We offer FREE and CONFIDENTIAL counseling services and FREE psychiatric consultation for individuals and couples. We help you manage crises, provide new perspectives for handling stress, renew existing scripts, and assess the need for new prescriptions.

To help you make the most of your precious time off, we produce a weekly electronic newsletter called The Wellness Corner, where we share information about GME Wellness activities and other free, fun, and low-cost events around town. To build community across all of our programs, we sponsor evening and weekend events targeted to everyone, and to special interest groups including LGBTs, singles, international trainees, and parents. Popular activities include chocolate factory tours, food events, museum and library tours, kayaking, art walks, movie nights and our annual Peeps Contest. Family-friendly events include a Halloween party, gingerbread-house decorating and an indoor children’s gym. Self-care is encouraged with discounts for massages, facials, sports events and theater tickets.

We also offer deeply discounted classes on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Compassion Cultivation training for trainees and their significant others/spouses, and we provide customized seminars, workshops and support groups upon request.

Daytime and evening counseling is available Monday through Thursday and can be scheduled online at any time. No medical record or bill is generated. Don’t wait for a crisis! Book an appointment if you or your partner is experiencing any of the following:

  • Depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns
  • Love loss and other relationship problems
  • Career doubts, job stress, burnout
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Perfectionism
  • Adverse event (needle stick, traumatic patient outcome, illness in your family, etc.)
  • Harassment by a partner or a work colleague
  • Conflicts with faculty, attendings, hospital staff or others

Easy online scheduling

We have made it super easy to book counseling appointments.

  • Go to schedulicity.com
  • Enter Seattle, WA in the search box
  • Enter GME to bring up the UW GME Wellness Service.
  • Enter Schedule Now to see upcoming appointment options, and choose a time that works for you.

If you are a first-time counseling client, return a completed Wellness Service Intake Form to the counselor you booked an appointment with: mindywho@uw.edu, pjwood@uw.edu., or jkocian@uw.edu. They will provide directions to their office location.

Referrals

To help you function at your very best, we can refer you for:

Psychiatric consultation

The GME Wellness counselors can refer you or your spouse/significant other to our community psychiatrist for a confidential assessment and 3 follow-up appointments, all for FREE. You can renew existing scripts, assess the need for new prescriptions, and get help during a mental health crisis. Our psychiatrist is not part of UW Medicine, and is generally available within 48 hours of referral, however you must see one of the wellness counselors first.

Learning consultation

If you or your life partner struggle with test taking, time management and other academic challenges, our learning specialist can help. FREE for GME trainees and their spouses/significant others. Meet with one of the wellness counselors to determine this need.

Community providers

We can identify other community providers including PCPs, dentists, victim advocates, and more. In cases of impairment due to mental illness or substance abuse, we work closely with the Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP). We advocate for our trainees to get necessary treatment without losing their medical license or jeopardizing their training status.

Other wellness services and resources

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Compassion Cultivation: Throughout the year, the GME Wellness Service proudly offers deeply-discounted, Sunday evening, Introductory and Advanced 5-week series on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Compassion Cultivation. Each of these practices has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression and stress, and to increase empathy towards one’s self, patients, and others. Trainees and their significant others/spouses are eligible to enroll. The Wellness Corner includes information and registration links.

Listservs: To build community and share resources, we have created three listservs: GMEParents, LGBTwellness and GMEInternational. To join, email the GME Office.

Lending Library: Residents and fellows may borrow useful books and other materials on a variety of topics including couples’ communication, time management, grief, perfectionism, mindfulness, managing depression and anxiety, relaxing into restful sleep, etc.

Self-Screening Tools

The following mental health self-screening tools are offered for personal exploration, but they should not be considered an adequate substitute for mental health evaluation. If you would like to discuss your concerns or results further, please schedule an appointment with the GME Wellness Service.

SELF-SCREENING TOOLS: 

Source-https://www.uwmedicine.org/school-of-medicine/gme/wellness-service

 

Forward Motion Mindfulness in the Medical Community

UWMaduwmadison –https://centerhealthyminds.org/The Center for Healthy Minds works to cultivate well-being and relieve suffering through a scientific understanding of the mind. Applying its teachings helps this doctor better cope with the stresses of his profession.

 

INNOVATIONS

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Scientists designed a robot to reduce pain for premature babies

Posted April 2, 2019  tech                                                         

Skin to skin contact is very important for newborns, but is it not always available, especially for premature babies. That is why scientists from British Columbia, Canada, have designed a special robot, which mimics human skin-to-skin contact, helping reduce pain for babies.

Premature babies are very fragile and often have some serious conditions. They have to undergo various medical procedures, many of which are quite uncomfortable and painful. Human skin-to-skin contact is a very effective way to mitigate that and alleviate at least part of that pain. Nurses are trying to provide that, but they are not always available and sometimes baby’s immune system is not strong enough to be held for a longer time. And that’s where this robot comes in.

This robot is a moving sleeping surface, which can be installed in incubators or used separately. It mimics the parent’s heartbeat sounds, breathing motion and the feel of human skin. Scientists compared the effectiveness of this machine to hand hugging and found no difference in reduction of pain-related indicators. Hand hugging is typically used as a method to calm down the baby during blood collection or other similar painful procedures. This study showed that this robot can provide a similar result when parents are not available.

The robot, called Calmer, is covered with a skin-like surface, which moves up and down simulating the breathing of a parent. Its movements can be adjusted and it can mimic individual parent’s heart rate. Calmer fits in an incubator, replacing the normal mattress. It gently rocks the baby, reducing pain and helping it to fall sleep. Scientists tested the device in a study involving 49 premature infants and it seems to be very effective. Scientists say that the Calmer is very important, because previous studies have shown that an early exposure to pain has a negative effect on premature babies’ brain development.

Scientists hope that in the future devices like this will come integrated into incubators. This would reduce the cost and increase availability. Liisa Holsti, lead author of the study, said: “While there is no replacement for a parent holding their infant, our findings are exciting in that they open up the possibility of an additional tool for managing pain in preterm infants”.

Premature babies are very fragile and need continuous care. Effective pain management is very important, because no one wants them to suffer and it is crucial to give their brains a chance of normal development. Calmer could be the device that takes care of the baby, soothes it and helps it sleep when parents are not around.

Source-https://www.technology.org/2019/04/02/scientists-designed-a-robot-to-reduce-pain-for-premature-babies/

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Source: UBC – Video –  A Robot called Calmer

 

 

prego

 

Bedrest for high-risk pregnancies may be linked to premature birth

Posted September 9, 2019

Newborns whose mothers spent more than one week on bedrest had poorer health outcomes, according to a new study out of the University of Alberta that further challenges beliefs about pregnancy and activity levels.

A team led by cardiovascular health researcher Margie Davenport conducted a review of every available randomized controlled trial of prenatal bedrest lasting more than one week and beginning after the 20th week of gestation.

The researchers found that infants whose mothers had bedrest in developed countries were born 0.77 weeks sooner and had slightly more than double the risk of being born very premature, which is before 35 weeks’ gestation.

“Babies born to mothers with preeclampsia, early labour or twins/triplets are more likely to be delivered preterm or before 37 weeks. In these cases, being delivered five days earlier because of bedrest—that is actually quite a bit of time,” said Davenport. “If babies are delivered before 37 weeks, they’re not fully developed—especially their lungs. They’re more likely to have health issues, both at birth and over the longer term.”

She explained that 20 per cent of pregnant women are prescribed bedrest or are advised to restrict their level of activity during their pregnancy despite previous studies demonstrating that bedrest is associated with adverse outcomes for the mother, including increased rates of depression, thrombosis, blood clots, muscle loss and bone loss.

Davenport noted that much less is known about the impact bedrest has on the baby, so it “continues to be prescribed in hopes that we can improve the health of the baby.”

Brittany Matenchuk, a research assistant with Davenport’s Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health, explained that previous studies looking at randomized controlled trials comparing bedrest to no bedrest in high-risk pregnancies showed no positive or negative impacts of bedrest, due to small numbers.

However, the team realized previous results combined a number of studies conducted in Zimbabwe in the 1980s and ‘90s with more current studies conducted in developed countries. Matenchuk said when the researchers separated out the Zimbabwe results were separated out, they noticed a divergent impact.

In the studies conducted in Zimbabwe, bedrest did not affect delivery date, but birth weight was 100 grams heavier in newborns whose mothers had been put on bedrest.

“What’s striking is that the outcomes from Zimbabwe are significantly different,” said Matenchuk. “It’s such a different scenario that they probably shouldn’t have been put together and analyzed together in the first place.”

Rshmi Khurana, a U of A obstetric medicine specialist, said the reasons for the divergent results between regions could range from differences in activity levels and nutrition to exposure to a host of environmental factors.

“All of the women put on bedrest in the Zimbabwe studies were hospitalized, while the studies in the developed countries had a mix of hospitalization and home bedrest,” she said. “Those were also older studies, whereas some of the studies from developed nations were more recent and health care has changed a lot.”

Khurana, who along with Davenport is a member of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute, said despite the mounting evidence against bedrest and the lack of indication for the measure in any current guidelines, it keeps being prescribed.

“Of course, individual women need to pay attention to their health-care providers’ advice as each situation might be different, but as health providers we really need to think that we might be doing harm to pregnancy by prescribing bedrest,” said Khurana.

She added that being told you should not exercise is not the same as lying in bed.

“Women sometimes think that doing nothing and putting themselves in their little cocoon might be the best thing, but it’s important for expectant mothers to realize there’s potential harm that can happen with that as well,” said Khurana.

Davenport, a Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation researcher, helped develop the 2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy, the first fully evidence-based recommendations on physical activity specifically designed to promote fetal and maternal health. The guidelines state that 150 minutes of exercise per week during pregnancy cuts the odds of health complications by a quarter.

While the guidelines outline medical reasons women should not be active during their pregnancy—including having ruptured membranes, persistent vaginal bleeding, a growth-restricted pregnancy, premature labour, pre-eclampsia and uncontrolled thyroid disease—Davenport said women with complicated pregnancies are still encouraged to continue their daily activities as directed by their doctor.

“Activities of daily living include grocery shopping, going to get the mail, gardening, cooking—anything you do in your regular life that is not so intense it would be considered exercising,” she said.

Source: University of Alberta-https://www.technology.org/2019/09/09/bedrest-for-high-risk-pregnancies-may-be-linked-to-premature-birth/

 

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PREEMIE FAMILY PARTNERS

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Stable home lives improve prospects for preemies

Medical challenges at birth less important than stressful home life in predicting future         psychiatric  health

As they grow and develop, children who were born at least 10 weeks before their due dates are at risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorders. They also have a higher risk than children who were full-term babies for other neurodevelopmental issues, including cognitive problems, language difficulties and motor delays.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who have been trying to determine what puts such children at risk for these problems have found that their mental health may be related less to medical challenges they face after birth than to the environment the babies enter once they leave the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

In a new study, the children who were most likely to have overcome the complications of being born so early and who showed normal psychiatric and neurodevelopmental outcomes also were those with healthier, more nurturing mothers and more stable home lives.

The findings are published Aug. 26 in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

“Home environment is what really differentiated these kids,” said first author Rachel E. Lean, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in child psychiatry. “Preterm children who did the best had mothers who reported lower levels of depression and parenting stress. These children received more cognitive stimulation in the home, with parents who read to them and did other learning-type activities with their children. There also tended to be more stability in their families. That suggests to us that modifiable factors in the home life of a child could lead to positive outcomes for these very preterm infants.”

The researchers evaluated 125 5-year-old children. Of them, 85 had been born at least 10 weeks before their due dates. The other 40 children in the study were born full-term, at 40 weeks’ gestation.

The children completed standardized tests to assess their cognitive, language and motor skills. Parents and teachers also were asked to complete checklists to help determine whether a child might have issues indicative of ADHD or autism spectrum disorder, as well as social or emotional problems or behavioral issues.

It turned out the children who had been born at 30 weeks of gestation or sooner tended to fit into one of four groups. One group, representing 27% of the very preterm children, was found to be particularly resilient.

“They had cognitive, language and motor skills in the normal range, the range we would expect for children their age, and they tended not to have psychiatric issues,” Lean said. “About 45% of the very preterm children, although within the normal range, tended to be at the low end of normal. They were healthy, but they weren’t doing quite as well as the more resilient kids in the first group.”

The other two groups had clear psychiatric issues such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder or anxiety. A group of about 13% of the very preterm kids had moderate to severe psychiatric problems. The other 15% of children, identified via surveys from teachers, displayed a combination of problems with inattention and with hyperactive and impulsive behavior.

The children in those last two groups weren’t markedly different from other kids in the study in terms of cognitive, language and motor skills, but they had higher rates of ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and other problems.

“The children with psychiatric problems also came from homes with mothers who experienced more ADHD symptoms, higher levels of psychosocial stress, high parenting stress, just more family dysfunction in general,” said senior investigator Cynthia E. Rogers, MD, an associate professor of child psychiatry. “The mothers’ issues and the characteristics of the family environment were likely to be factors for children in these groups with significant impairment. In our clinical programs, we screen mothers for depression and other mental health issues while their babies still are patients in the NICU.”

Rogers and Lean believe the findings may indicate good news because maternal psychiatric health and family environment are modifiable factors that can be targeted with interventions that have the potential to improve long-term outcomes for children who are born prematurely.

“Our results show that it wasn’t necessarily the clinical characteristics infants faced in the NICU that put them at risk for problems later on,” Rogers said. “It was what happened after a baby went home from the NICU. Many people have thought that babies who are born extremely preterm will be the most impaired, but we really didn’t see that in our data. What that means is in addition to focusing on babies’ health in the NICU, we need also to focus on maternal and family functioning if we want to promote optimal development.”

The researchers are continuing to follow the children from the study.

This work was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Grant numbers R01 HD057098, R01 MH113570, K02 NS089852, UL1 TR000448, K23-MH105179 and U54-HD087011. Additional funding was provided by the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation, the Dana Foundation, the Child Neurology Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Story Source: Materials provided by Washington University School of Medicine. Original written by Jim Dryden.

Source-www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190826104830.html

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Barbara Melotto – “I JUST WAIT FOR YOUR LIFE”

music.sym.jpgVivere Onlus – Coordinamento Nazionale delle Associazioni per la Neonatologia-Published on Feb 22, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenteral nutrition for ill and preterm infants – meeting nutritional needs in the NICU

Posted on 13 August 2019  – Interview with Professor Nadja Haiden, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Babies with a healthy digestive tract usually get their nutrition by drinking breastmilk and digesting. This provides the body with the nutrients necessary for growth and development. However, babies who are born very preterm or have certain illnesses often cannot be fed by mouth or by a feeding tube. In this case, they require so-called parenteral nutrition, which means that nutrients are provided directly into a blood vessel. We spoke with Professor Nadja Haiden from the Medical University of Vienna about the process of parenteral feeding, its benefits and possible challenges.

Question: Professor Haiden, for many people it is hard to imagine receiving nutrients directly into the bloodstream. How do such parenteral mixtures of nutrients for the preterm born babies look like and what kind of nutrients do they contain?

Professor Haiden: Parenteral nutrition is provided as clear or opaque solutions filled in syringes or bags. In some units ready- to- use multi-chamber bags are used.  To protect nutrients from destruction via sunlight these bags, syringes and lines are often coloured (e.g. orange). The solutions contain all essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, amino acids, fat, salts and vitamins. The nutrients are mixed in optimal concentrations according to the infant’s needs and are compounded under sterile conditions.

Q: How do you decide if a baby needs parenteral nutrition and when to stop? Are other people involved in the decision?

Professor Haiden: There are various reasons why parenteral nutrition is applied. In premature babies, the most frequent cause is the immaturity of the gut. The gut isn’t ready to tolerate large quantities of food immediately after birth and has to get accustomed to it slowly. But there are other conditions when the digestive tract has to bypassed for a certain period of time such as malformations need to be fixed via surgery, heart defects or other causes of severe illness. Usually, parenteral nutrition is prescribed by a neonatologist during the daily round after discussion with the attending nurse of the infant. The nurse provides valuable information on the infant’s tolerance against enteral feedings and together they schedule the feeding plan for the next day. In addition, laboratory values help the physician to prescribe the optimal mixture of nutrients for the infant. In some units also dieticians and pharmacists are involved in the prescription process.

Q: Does receiving PN mean that the baby is not getting mother’s milk or formula, during that time?

Professor Haiden: No, the aim is to establish enteral nutrition as soon as possible after birth. Therefore, the infant receives so-called “minimal enteral feedings” in parallel to parenteral nutrition. Minimal enteral feedings are small amounts of mother’s own milk, donor milk or formula which are given every 2-3 hours. Mother’s own milk is the best and optimal nutrition for all babies even the most immature ones. Therefore, we strongly encourage the mother to provide breastmilk and we are happy with each millilitre the mother pumps. Initially, small meals of 0,5-1 ml should get the gut accustomed to enteral feedings and facilitate advancement of enteral nutrition. If these small amounts are well tolerated, the volume of the meals is increased every day and in parallel, the volume of the parenteral nutrition is reduced. The next goal is to achieve full enteral feedings as soon as possible and to end parenteral nutrition. Depending on the immaturity of the baby this period lasts 7 to 21 days.

Q: What difficulties can occur when applying parenteral nutrition to a preterm born baby?

Professor Haiden: Parenteral nutrition might be associated with certain side effects such as infection-related sepsis, thrombosis, parenteral nutrition-related liver disease and failure to thrive.

Q: How can these difficulties be avoided?

Professor Haiden: Hygienic measures such as strict hand hygiene or wearing surgical masks in case anyone is suffering from a cold are important to avoid infections and infection-related sepsis. Failure to thrive can be avoided by reassessment and optimizing the parenteral and enteral nutritional intake. In general, parenteral nutrition should be given as short as possible but as long as necessary- this approach avoids side effects and parenteral nutrition-associated problems.

Q: Is there anything, in particular, you would like the parents to know?

Professor Haiden: The parents are the most important persons for our little patients- it is essential for us to include them in all processes and to provide accurate and reliable information for them. If parents have any questions concerning the local process of parenteral and enteral nutrition please do not hesitate to ask us, physicians or nurses.

Special thanks to Assoc. Prof. Dr Nadja Haiden, MD. MSc. is head of the Neonatal Nutrition Research Team of the Medical University of Vienna

Source-https://www.efcni.org/news/parenteral-nutrition-for-sick-and-preterm-infants-meeting-nutritional-needs-in-the-nicu/

 

WARRIORS:   

Pre-verbal trauma will affect many in our global Warrior community during our youth and as we age. Despite the fact that lifesaving efforts were lovingly and expertly provided to support our survival, many of us will experience to varying degrees the effects of preverbal trauma. In our search for healing modalities, many practices such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, forest bathing, EMDR, talking with a friend who may experience similar trauma, engaging with family (those willing to do so) regarding our birth and early life experiences may support our health and wholeness. We have found that finding an expert to provide therapy (hypnotherapy, shamanism, rolfing, body work, etc.) is challenging. In her search to enhance her wellbeing Kat has found that many conscientious providers do not feel they have the skills needed to safely enter the realm of trauma experienced by individuals like her who were  born early and required intensive and prolonged life-saving care in order to survive. As a Community we will benefit from research, the identification of existing and the creation of new modalities of effective treatment for pre-verbal trauma survivors. In the meantime, let’s take time to listen to our bodies and our personal language of feelings our bodies express. We can choose to move forward in this regard with loving self-awareness, step by step, with an intention of self-acceptance, vitality and wholeness. We can do this!

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Gabor Maté – Physician- Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician. He has a background in family practice and a special interest in childhood development and trauma, and in their potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including on autoimmune disease, cancer, ADHD, addictions, and a wide range of other conditions.

Self-Healing and Trauma– listen to Dr. Gabor address participant questions and share with us various pathways to wholeness. Dr. Gabor lists many examples of treatment, practices, and resources to consider as we explore our individual healing choices. This YouTube video is a short presentation from an acclaimed expert in the field of trauma that may make you laugh and think a bit!

ACEs to Assets 2019 – An audience discussion on trauma with                  Dr. Gabor Maté

scotACE-Aware Scotland- Published on Jul 18, 2019

Scotland is in the midst of a growing grassroots movement aimed at increasing public awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). We now have glaring scientific evidence that childhood adversity can create harmful levels of stress, especially if a child is left to manage their responses to that adversity without emotionally reliable relationships. The vision for ACE Aware Nation is that all 5 million citizens of Scotland should have access to this information. The ‘ACEs to Assets Conference’ was held on 11 June 2019 in Glasgow, drawing an audience of nearly 2000 members of the public keen to explore actions that can be taken to prevent and heal the impacts of childhood trauma.

In this film, we hear thoughts and questions from members of the audience in response to Dr. Mate’s presentation. Those include questions like: ‘What else can I do to make myself a better version of me?’ and ‘How do you see the ACEs Movement intersecting with the consequences of climate change?’

 

Kat’s Corner- 

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For those of you who may have followed our #neonatalwombwarriors instagram @katkcampos fashion series. Listed is a list of the hidden items that were in each photo representing each country that we have featured in our blog. It’s been a fun adventure!  Wishing you all great love, health and joyful living! 💕💗

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How Syrian Refugee Ali Kassem Found Solace Through Surfing

SI•Published on Jun 28, 2017 – Sports Illustrated-

Ali Kassem shares how he got into surfing after fleeing Aleppo, Syria and not knowing how to swim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scars…what do they mean?

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SCAR=Strength Courageous Actualized Resilience-Kat Campos

Born four months early my heart wasn’t fully developed. Weighing one pound 3 ounces at 3 ½ weeks old I underwent open heart surgery with no anesthesia. The surgical scars along my rib cage and across my upper back to my chest mark my beginnings and chart my growth. I cherish the artfully crafted scars (best tattoo ever) my surgeon, a medical pioneer and beautiful woman, adorned me with. To this day I am grateful for my surgical and neonatal team who were willing to take a leap of faith in providing me with the life-saving surgery.

I didn’t think much about my scars until I began surfing in Hawaii at age 11. People began to randomly ask me if I had been bitten by a shark? I would laugh and simply reply “I had heart surgery when I was a baby”. It was then I began to recognize the significance of my scars and how I cherished the story of survival they represented. I knew that for some removing the scars would have value, but my scars represented to me abiding love and immense beauty.

Over the years my wise and loving surfing teacher and spiritual guide Virgil advised me to respect and feel the water, do not hesitate to get up, hold my space, be one with the wave” and so much more. Riding out the heart surgery and choosing to stay here may have been one of the biggest waves I have surfed to date.

My scars are a story of STRENGTH and COURAGE held by my mom, my family, and my medical team. They are the ACTUALIZATION of hope and represent the RESILIANCE of all who believed.

Take a moment to breathe….. You are strong, courageous and full of actualized resilience! WE are here!

A Shout-Out this February to heart surgery Survivors, Caregivers and the Cardiac Support Resource community at large!

Do you ever think about your scars seen and unseen and what meaning those scars hold for you?