NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Judy Aschner, M.D., physician-in-chief, The Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) and professor of Pediatrics, Michael I. Cohen, M.D. University Chair, Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been awarded $5.3 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of a seven-year initiative called Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO), which will fund leading researchers around the country to investigate a broad range of exposures that can impact children's long-term health. Specifically, Dr. Aschner's research will focus on how exposure to chemicals in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), such as phthalates which are used in plastic medical equipment, are associated with adverse health outcomes.
"Each year, more than 300,000 preterm infants in the United States are admitted to NICUs, where they are exposed to a chemical-intensive hospital environment," said Dr. Aschner. "The outstanding care provided in NICUs throughout the country allows many critically ill babies to grow, thrive and go home with their families, however it is crucial that we gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of exposure to various environmental factors, to help ensure children have the best health possible throughout the rest of their lives."
Dr. Aschner is a nationally recognized physician-scientist and neonatologist. This research study, entitled "Developmental Impact of NICU Exposures (DINE)," will examine how children's lung function, cognitive and motor development, growth and onset of puberty are affected by environmental exposures in NICUs.
Previous research published by Dr. Aschner has shown that critically ill newborns who receive intravenous nutritional supplements in the NICU are exposed to 100 times the daily amount of manganese, an essential trace metal, compared to babies receiving a human milk diet, which could contribute to risk of adverse health and behavioral health outcomes later in life. Building off of this research, Dr. Aschner's team will now measure the impact of NICU-based phthalate exposure and stress exposures at ages three to 10 years-old, in addition to further investigating the effect of manganese on neurodevelopmental outcomes in children born prematurely.
Dr. Aschner will collaborate with Susan L Teitelbaum, Ph.D., an environmental epidemiologist and co-principal investigator, and Annemarie Stroustrup, M.D., a neonatologist and co-investigator at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and with co-investigators around the country to recruit approximately 1,000 children at 15 geographically diverse clinical sites, who were born prematurely and were cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit after birth.
This grant, which will fund the first two years of the research program, is part of a total $157 million awarded by the NIH to researchers in fiscal year 2016. A critical component of ECHO will be to use the NIH-funded Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) program to build state-of-the art pediatric clinical research networks in rural and medically underserved areas, so that children from these communities can participate in clinical trials.
"Every baby should have the best opportunity to remain healthy and thrive throughout childhood," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "ECHO will help us better understand the factors that contribute to optimal health in children."
The grant is titled "Developmental Impact of NICU Exposures (DINE)" (UG3 OD023320).
About Montefiore Health System
Montefiore Health System is one of New York's premier academic health systems and is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley. It is comprised of 10 hospitals, including the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and close to 200 outpatient care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information please visit www.montefiore.org. Follow us on Twitter and view us on Facebook and YouTube.
About Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Einstein is home to 731 M.D. students, 193 Ph.D. students, 106 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 278 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,900 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2015, Einstein received $148 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Through its extensive affiliation network involving Montefiore, Jacobi Medical Center—Einstein's founding hospital, and three other hospital systems in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island, Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and view us on YouTube.
SOURCE Montefiore Health System