Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.04.2019 Interview with: Clare Brown, PhD Health Systems and Services Research University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences J. Mick Tilford, PhD, Professor and Chair Department of Health Policy and Management Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health University of Arkansas for Medical Science What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Prematurity and low birthweight are associated with increased risk of infant mortality as well as increased risk of chronic conditions throughout infancy and into adulthood. Non-Hispanic black infants are twice as likely to be born low birthweight (13.9% vs 7.0%) and 1.5 times as likely to be born prematurely (13.9% vs 9.1%) compared to non-Hispanic white infants. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states may expand Medicaid to adults with household income levels at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, thus extending coverage to childless adults and improving continuity. Insurance gain may ultimately improve maternal health, increased use and earlier initiation of prenatal care services, and improved access to pregnancy planning resources. Our study aimed to evaluate whether there were changes in rates of low birthweight and preterm birth outcomes among states that expanded Medicaid versus states that did not expand Medicaid. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 26.03.2019 Interview with: Edward Bell, MD Vice Chair for Faculty Development Department of Pediatrics Professor of Pediatrics - Neonatology Carver College of Medicine University of Iowa Health Care What is the background for this study? Response: The study is an analysis of what happened to the 205 babies with birth weigh below 400 grams and gestational age of 22 through 26 weeks who were born between 2008 and 2016 at 21 academic medical centers that are members of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. The Network exists to collaborate in finding ways to improve the survival and health of premature and other critically-ill newborn infants. 400 grams is very small. By comparison, 1 pound is 454 grams. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, OBGYNE / 03.10.2017 Interview with: Andrew L. Beam, PhD Instructor in Biomedical Informatics Department of Biomedical Informatics Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is one piece of a larger story regarding the use of 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) to treat recurrent preterm birth. This drug was originally only available in a compounded form, but since receiving an orphan drug designation in 2011, a branded and manufactured form was marketed under the name "Makena". This branded form was then sold for a much higher price than the compounded version, but a study that provided concrete data on pricing and outcomes had not been done. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 27.03.2017 Interview with: Hazel B. Nichols, PhD, UNC Assistant professor Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. What is the background for this study? Response: Each year more than 45,000 adolescent and young adult women (AYA, ages 15-39 years) are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. While many of these women may wish to have children in the years following diagnosis, there is currently little information available to address their concerns about the impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment on future pregnancy. We identified >2,500 women who had a child after their cancer diagnosis using data from the North Carolina Central Cancer registry and statewide birth certificate files. We investigated whether adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth and low birth weight, were more common among AYA cancer survivors compared to women without cancer. We also looked at infant Apgar scores, which measure newborn health, and a calculation called small-for-gestational age, which can indicate restricted growth during pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Global Health, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 18.02.2017 Interview with: Chris Malley PhD The Stockholm Environment Institute University of York What is the background for this study? Response: When a baby is born preterm (at less than 37 weeks of gestation, an indicator of premature birth), there is an increased risk of infant death, or long-term physical and neurological disabilities. For example, 965,000 infant deaths in 2013 (35% of all neonatal deaths) have been estimated to be due to preterm birth complications. In 2010, an estimated 14.9 million births were preterm – about 4–5% of the total in some European countries, but up to 15–18% in some African and South Asian countries. The human and economic costs are enormous. There are many risk factors for preterm birth – from the mother’s age, to illness, to poverty and other social factors. Recent research has suggested that exposure to air pollution could also be a risk factor. Our study quantifies for the first time the global impact of pregnant women's exposure to outdoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by combining data about air pollution in different countries with knowledge about how exposure to different levels of air pollution is associated with preterm birth rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 01.11.2016 Interview with: Jennifer Howse, Ph.D. President of the March of Dimes Foundation What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card was created in 2007 to raise awareness of the unfair burden of preterm birth in certain communities and geographic areas in the United States. We also want to monitor progress, or lack of it, towards our goal to lower the national preterm birth rate to 8.1 percent by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. This year’s Report Card finds that, for the first time in eight years, the nation’s preterm birth rate did not decline – it worsened from 9.57 percent of all live births in 2014 to 9.63 percent in 2015, earning the nation a “C” grade. Seven states -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin – received worse grades this year than last year on the Report Card. The March of Dimes strives for a world where every baby has a fair chance for a full-term pregnancy and a healthy birth, yet this is not the reality for many mothers and babies. The 2016 Report Card shows that babies in this country have different chances of surviving and thriving simply based on the circumstances of their birth. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, Pediatrics / 29.04.2016 Interview with: Jorijn Hornman, BSc (MD PhD student) Departments of Health Sciences University Medical Center Groningen University of Groningen, Netherlands What is the background for this study? Response: Preterm children are at increased risk of emotional and behavioral problems compared to full-term children. Prevalences vary with degree of prematurity and assessment age. Unknown was whether stability of these problems upon school entry differs between preterm and full-term children. What are the main findings? Response: We found that preterm children had higher rates than full-term children of persistent (7.2% versus 3.6%), emerging (4.3% versus 2.3%), and resolving (7.5% versus 3.6%) emotional and behavioral problems. Early preterm children –born at <32 weeks gestation- had the highest rates of persistent (8.2%) and emerging (5.2%) problems, and moderately preterm children –born at 32-35 weeks gestation- the highest rates of resolving problems (8.7%). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, OBGYNE, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 15.01.2016

More on Racial Disparities in Health Care on Interview with: Emily A. DeFranco, D.O., M.S. Associate Professor Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth, Perinatal Institute Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Sciences Building, Room 4553B Cincinnati, OH Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. DeFranco: The Infant Mortality Rate in the state of Ohio is higher than many other states.  Additionally, there is a large disparity in the IMR with black infants impacted to a higher degree compared to white infants. For this reason, we are particularly interested in identifying factors that contribute to this disparity in order to identify potential areas where public health efforts can be focused. We know that preterm birth is a major contributor to infant mortality, and that all babies born alive prior to 23 weeks of gestational age, i.e. "previable", die after birth and contribute to the infant mortality rate.  In this study, we wanted to assess whether black women are more likely to have early preterm births at less than 23 weeks, and if so whether that may be part of the explanation of why black mothers are at higher risk of experiencing an infant mortality. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. DeFranco: In this study, we found that black mothers were more likely to deliver than white mothers  at very early preterm gestational ages, less than 23 weeks.  We also found that the earlier the delivery, the larger the disparity with black mothers being at higher risk for the earliest deliveries compared to white mothers.  From this data, we estimated that in Ohio, 44% of all infant mortality in black mothers is caused by previable preterm birth, whereas only 28% of infant mortality in white mothers is attributed to the same cause.  We concluded that very early preterm birth in black mothers is a large contributor to the racial disparity observed in the infant mortality dilemma here in Ohio. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UCSF / 12.11.2014

Paula Braveman, MD, MPH Director, Center on Social Disparities in Health Professor, Family and Community Medicine University of California San Francisco San Francisco, CA Interview with: Paula Braveman, MD, MPH Director, Center on Social Disparities in Health Professor, Family and Community Medicine University of California San Francisco San Francisco, CA 94118 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Braveman: There were a couple of striking findings from this study of preterm birth (PTB) among non-Latino White and Black women born in the U.S.. First, we found that women who were poor or socioeconomically disadvantaged in other ways (who had not or whose parents had not graduated from high school or who lived in neighborhoods (census tracts) with highly concentrated (25% or more of residents) poverty) had similarly high preterm birth rates.  In addition, we found that while preterm birth rates among White women consistently improved as their socioeconomic status (SES) improved, higher-SES Black women generally did no better –and sometimes did worse—than lower-SES Black women. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 16.10.2013

Dr. Elizabeth V. Asztalos, MD, M.Sc., FRCPC Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 2075 Bayview Ave., Room M4 230 Toronto, ON M4N Interview with: Dr. Elizabeth V. Asztalos, MD, M.Sc., FRCPC Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 2075 Bayview Ave., Room M4 230 Toronto, ON M4N 3M5 What are the main findings of the study? Answer: This study was focused to see if there were differences in the main neurodevelopmental outcomes of children whose mothers had participated in the original MACS trial. We found that there were no differences in the main outcomes of the trial as it related to the aspects of death and/or developmental. (more…)