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Parent-Adolescent Relationships, Infant Seizure Prediction Model, Society of Pediatric Research Award

Published on March 31, 2023 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 4 months ago


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In the News


During this week's news roundup, two Children's Hospital of Philadelphia leaders discuss 100 years of research with The Philadelphia Inquirer, a study finds correlations between parent-adolescent relationships and mental health, a CHOP team develops a seizure prediction model for infants, and Audrey Odom-John, MD, PhD, receives the Society for Pediatric Research Award.

CHOP Leaders Celebrate 100 Years of Research in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Susan L. Furth
Susan Furth, MD, PhD

Over the span of 100 years of breakthrough research, CHOP scientists and doctors have advanced the healthcare of children. From novel vaccines to fight whooping cough and rotavirus, to studies that contributed to the first approved gene therapy, CHOP has been at the forefront of improving children's clinical care and overall quality of life. To celebrate the milestone, The Philadelphia Inquirer spoke with Susan Furth, MD, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of CHOP Research Institute, and Wendy Reed Williams, PhD, senior director of Academic Training and Outreach Program at the Research Institute, to discuss the past and the future of children's medicine.

In the article, Dr. Furth commented on the changes that have been implemented to form a better alliance between patients and researchers, stating it has become "more of a partnership and collaborative relationship." Since the early days of the Research Institute, CHOP has made significant steps toward increasing transparency and patient privacy when it comes to establishing research protocol. Trainees undergo ethics training, and consent forms are constantly improving to ensure families feel comfortable, cared for, and protected.

Wendy Williams
Wendy Reed Williams, PhD

Dr. Reed Williams shared that pediatric research still has much more to learn by encouraging diversity in all fields of research. Currently, CHOP researchers work in teams that represent various diversity dimensions, in an effort to reflect the demographics of the city and the patients they help treat every day.

"Diversity in terms of thought and perspective [goes] into the work," Dr. Reed Williams said.

Read the article in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

CHOP-led Study Finds Positive Parent-Adolescent Relationships Associated With Better Long-term Health

Carol A. Ford
Carol A. Ford, MD

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia researcher Carol Ford, MD, chief of the Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine and the Orton P. Jackson Endowed Chair in Adolescent Medicine, is the senior author of a study that analyzed the potential effects of parent-adolescent relationships on teens' mental and general well-being. The study reported that adolescents who have strong relationships with parental figures typically experience better long-term health outcomes.

Prior to this study, small sample sizes, short-term outcomes, and inconsistent measures to describe relationship characteristics presented challenges when collecting data. However, scientists in the current study used the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, one of the largest, most comprehensive adolescent surveys currently available, to compile data from more than 15,000 adults ages 12 to17 years during the mid-1990s.

"Our goal was to establish a clearer understanding of how different characteristics of mother-adolescent and father-adolescent relationships might be associated with a wide range of favorable outcomes in young adulthood," Dr. Ford said.

Assessing relationship characteristics such as reported parental warmth, communication, quality time, and academic expectations allowed researchers to draw parallels between levels of stress, optimism, and substance abuse in adults 24 to 32 years old. The study results demonstrated an association between positive parent-adolescent relationships and higher levels of general health in young adulthood. Stronger feelings of warmth, time spent together, and communication between both mother and father and the adolescents contributed to significantly higher levels of optimism and healthier romantic relationships, as well as lower levels of stress and depressive symptoms later in life.

Learn more about the study in this CHOP press release and JAMA Network Open.

Researchers Develop Newborn Seizure Prediction Model for More Personalized NICU Care

Ingo Helbig
Ingo Helbig, MD

Researchers from CHOP and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania developed an infant seizure prediction model that demonstrated more than 90% accuracy when determining which newborn babies are more likely to experience seizures in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Ingo Helbig, MD, a pediatric neurologist in the Division of Neurology and co-director of Epilepsy NeuroGenetics Initiative (ENGIN) at CHOP, was the senior author on the study. This is the first study to use seizure prediction models based on clinically derived standardized reports.

Neonatal seizures are a common neurological issue in newborns, 30% of which are typically caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), or temporary lack of oxygen to the brain. Because these seizures cannot be detected through clinical observation alone, electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring allows clinicians to treat infants early, reducing the possibility of seizure-related injuries.

Current guidelines for continuous EEG treatment indicate that newborns with HIE should be monitored for four to five days, which presents a challenge to many NICUs because it is often a limited resource that requires time-intensive interpretation from the care team.

Dr. Helbig's team used data from a recently developed EEG reporting form to build their prediction models through machine learning methods, which performed with up to 97% accuracy in the overall cohort, and 100% among newborns with HIE. The team has made the tool publicly available online.

"If we can further validate this model, it could enable a more targeted use of limited EEG resources by reducing EEG use in low-risk patients, which will make care of babies with neurological concerns in the NICU more personalized and focused," Dr. Helbig said. "We believe incorporating this model into real-time clinical practice could greatly improve the quality and efficiency of the care we deliver in these critical early days of life."

Read more about their study in the CHOP press release and Lancet Digital Health.

Dr. Audrey Odom John Receives Prestigious Society for Pediatric Research Award

Audrey R. Odom John, MD, PhD
Audrey Odom-John, MD

The Society of Pediatric Research (SPR) honored Dr. Audrey Odom-John with the most prestigious award bestowed by the organization — the SPR Award in Honor of E. Mead Johnson, which recognizes recipients for their dedication to excellence within the pediatric research community.

"I am incredibly honored to be recognized with the E. Mead Johnson Award," Dr. John said. "Many former awardees are literally heroes in the field of pediatrics, including Albert Sabin, Helen Taussig, and so many others whose work I admire. This award is a credit to the many creative and hard-working members of the John lab team since we started in 2008. And we have so many fun new projects in the pipeline right now – I'm excited to see what the next 15 years of discoveries will bring!"

Dr. John is the Stanley Plotkin Endowed Chair and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at CHOP, and professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology at Penn Medicine. Her research focuses on microbial metabolism in pediatric infections to identify new anti-infective drug targets and understand drug resistance. Her translational studies strive to develop new diagnostics for malaria, SARS-CoV-2 infection, and MIS-C, and to develop new therapies for drug-resistant infections.

An investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases of the Burroughs Welcome Fund, her lab at CHOP combines genetic, chemical, and metabolic profiling techniques to discover new therapies and to advance understanding of the regulation of metabolism in human pathogens.

Since 1939, the E. Mead Johnson Award has recognized important achievements across clinical, translational, laboratory, and health services research, and seeks to celebrate a diverse community of pediatric researchers.

Read more about Dr. John's award on SPR's website.


Catch up on our headlines from our March 17 In the News:

  • FDA Approves First Friedreich's Ataxia Treatment
  • Study Finds Concerning Increase in Opioid-related Poisonings in Children
  • Congratulations to Our Inaugural Science Slam Winners
  • PCORI Funding Accelerates Research Into Clinical Practice

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