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$4 million nursing grant focuses on at-risk premature infants
Date:10/4/2007

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing has received a $4.1 million federal grant to develop ways to improve the early growth and development of premature infants who have two or more social-environmental risks such as poverty or minority status.

"Approximately half a million premature infants are born each year in the United States," said Rosemary White-Traut, head of maternal-child nursing at UIC and principal investigator of the five-year study. "Premature birth places the infant at risk for behavioral problems, feeding difficulties, developmental delays, lower childhood IQ and increased health care costs.

"Premature infants experience double jeopardy when they are born into families with two or more social-environmental risks, such as poverty, low parental education, adolescent parenthood or living in a stressful neighborhood. The family has multiple stressors and fewer resources to cope with the infant's needs. Mothers of premature infants have heightened anxiety and difficulty learning to respond appropriately to their infant's biologic maturity."

The study will enroll 252 premature infants born between 29 and 34 weeks gestational age at two Chicago medical centers: Mount Sinai Hospital and Mercy Hospital. The study will use a clinical model called H-HOPE -- Hospital-home transition: optimizing prematures' environment -- that combines components from two research programs previously used by White-Traut and Kathy Norr, UIC professor of maternal-child nursing, who is co-principal investigator of the new study.

During the first component, called "audio, tactile, visual and vestibular stimulation," mothers spend 10 minutes talking to the infant, lightly stroking or massaging it and looking directly in its eyes, followed by five minutes of rocking the baby. In the second program, mothers are taught by a nurse-community advocate team about preterm infant behavior and feeding.

"Mothers have found that
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Contact: Sam Hostettler
samhos@uic.edu
312-355-2522
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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