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Women & Infants earns March of Dimes prematurity research initiative grant
Date:3/11/2014

More than 450,000 babies are born too soon each year in the U.S. Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the nation more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine, and is the leading cause of newborn death. Babies who survive an early birth are at an increased risk for breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing loss, and other lifelong health problems. In 2012, the U.S. preterm birth rate dropped to 11.5 percent, the lowest in 15 years, but still above the March of Dimes goal of 9.6 percent.

With the help of funding from the March of Dimes, James F. Padbury, MD, pediatrician-in-chief and chief of Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and the William and Mary Oh-William and Elsa Zopfi Professor of Pediatrics for Perinatal Research at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, is one of five scientists whose work toward discovering the causes of and reducing the rates of prematurity will be supported by March of Dimes Prematurity Research Initiative (PRI) grants in 2014. The PRI grants, which total nearly $27 million over 10 years, are one of several March of Dimes grant programs available to researchers.

"Prevention is the way to save babies from death and disability caused by preterm birth," says Betsy Akin, RI March of Dimes director. "Research is the key that will provide new insights into the many unknown causes of preterm labor, and help doctors recognize the women and babies most at risk."

Preterm birth not only affects one in eight women but since it "runs in families," it has a strong genetic basis. With prior support from the March of Dimes, Dr. Padbury's laboratory at Women & Infants Hospital has been studying the genetic basis of preterm birth for the past five years. This new, $400,000, three-year Prematurity Research Initiative Program grant will enable Dr. Padbury and his colleagu
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Contact: Amy Blustein
ablustein@wihri.org
401-681-2822
Women & Infants Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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