Pediatric Academic Societies Report Progress In Children's Health

to obesity.

  • Doula support lowers cesarean rates, shortens labor For centuries, women have supported women during labor and birth. Drs. John H. Kennell and Susan McGrath of Case Western Reserve University have conducted a series of clinical trials to assess the effects of providing a doula--a female companion experienced in labor and delivery--during uncomplicated births. In their latest study, they examined the impact of a doula in cases of induced labor and found that women who received doula support had reduced cesarean rates and shortened labor. The support of a doula adds to labor and delivery a risk-free, human element that can have a positive medical impact as well, the researchers said.

  • Gene therapy successfully administered through bloodstream A breakthrough study on in vivo gene therapy may someday provide the medical know-how to eliminate inherited metabolic disorders. The study was headed by Dr. Mark Batshaw, physician-in-chief at Children's Seashore House, a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Working in mice bred to lack a gene that causes a rare but serious metabolic disorder called Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency (OTCD), the researchers succeeded in injecting normal copies of the OTC gene into the bloodstream, where the new gene served as a blueprint to correct the enzyme deficiency that causes OTCD. Early results were so promising that the FDA has granted the researchers permission to try their gene therapy on adults with partial OTC deficiency, to test its safety before treating severely affected children.

  • Very premature babies can survive without severe handicaps A study of babies born 23 to 24 weeks into pregnancy, barely halfway through a normal pregnancy, indicates that even the sickest of extremely premature babies often can survive without serious handicaps. Nine of 10 babies survived, and all nine were eval

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    Pediatric Academic Societies

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