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Neonatology

Traditionally, evaluative clinical sciences is the main research platform associated with the neonatal component of the DAN Women & Babies Program. Members of DAN Women & Babies have played important roles in the design and execution of mechanistic, descriptive and therapeutic trials in neonatology.

Our group has made major contributions to the field through translational research, specifically in surfactant replacement therapy and different approaches to preventing bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung disease seen in premature newborns treated with ventilation or oxygen therapy at birth.

In recent years, we have become leaders in the evaluation of the impact of certain aspects of care in the neonatal intensive care unit on long-term outcomes.

Much of our research draws on partnerships and networks. Connections with other neonatal practitioners locally, nationally and internationally have contributed to many of our clinical trials.

We have nurtured successful relationships with industry partners, such as drug companies and equipment manufacturers, to get support to run clinical trials. We are also involved in the following:

  • The Canadian and Vermont Oxford Neonatal Networks;
  • randomized controlled trials and projects on variations in outcome; and
  • many multicentre trials as principal investigators, site investigators or members of study steering committees.

One of our major areas of focus is on practice-based research. This venture is supported by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the Centre for Research in Women's Health and by the appointment of a head of interdisciplinary research and evidence-based practice. Contact Sharyn Gibbins sharyn.gibbins@sunnybrook.ca for more information.

Our scientists are currently involved in the following neonatology studies:

  • Long-term effects of neonatal and obstetrical therapies, such as corticosteroids, using caffeine for apnea in premature infants (Asztalos)
  • Red blood cell transfusions (Asztalos)
  • Using dexamethasone to treat chronic lung disease (Asztalos)
  • Hypothyroxinemia, an abnormally low concentration of thyroxine in the blood, and its effects on the neurodevelopment of preterm infants (Asztalos)
  • Long-term effects of different doses of inhaled corticosteroids, a neonatal therapy to treat chronic lung disease in premature infants (Dunn)
  • Different approaches to the respiratory support of premature neonates in the delivery room (Dunn)
  • Neura and muscular control of breathing in preterm infants (Dunn)
  • Stabilization and thermal control in the first hour of life for extremely preterm infants (Dunn)
  • The differential modulation of oxygen-mediated pulmonary hypertension and parenchymal lung injury in newborn rats (Jankov)
  • Treatment of pain and stress in neonates, including:
    • sucrose for procedural pain
    • skin-to-skin contact for procedural pain
    • premedication for endotracheal intubation
    • topical and systemic analgesia for insertion of peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines
  • The effect of breast milk fortification after hospital discharge for babies born prematurely (Asztalos)
  • The methods and ethics of research in neonatology (Golec)