With support from the PANDA Healthy Babies Program, the Arizona Elks Major Projects, and grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-NIDDK, research in the area of neonatology focuses on Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is a painful inflammatory gastrointestinal disorder that afflicts approximately 9,000 premature infants annually. It is the most common GI ailment of premature babies. Approximately 20 percent to 50 percent do not survive this devestating disease.
The research is led by Melissa Halpern, PhD, associate professor; and Alan Bedrick, MD, professor and division chief of neonatology. Dr. Halpern’s study "Bile Acids to Predict Development of Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis," focuses on developing the first predictive test for NEC. In addition, Dr. Bedrick has designed clinical studies to determine if common procedures and medications in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) contribute to the development of NEC. Moreover, Drs. Bedrick and Halpern are building collaborative research partnerships with NICUs throughout Arizona, including Phoenix. Expanding their research projects to these sites will increase the amount of viable data, ensuring the success of the researchers’ efforts.
Bile Acids to Predict Development of Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis
- Test the hypothesis that total fecal BAs are more variable in infants that develop NEC.
- Test the hypothesis that fecal BAs of infants that develop NEC are comprised of the more cytotoxic, hydrophobic BAs.