Advancing Newborn Care Through Clinical Research Studies

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies &Children’s Hospital is one of the pioneers of newborn care. For more than 50 years, our researchers and physicians have conducted key clinical studies that have changed how we care for newborns.

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in America for the care of critically ill newborns by U.S.News &World Report. Advances developed here have helped shape the newborn care into what it is today and saved the lives of many newborns. In 1970, a baby weighing 2.25 lbs. had a 10 percent chance of survival. Today, for approximately 1,200 babies treated each year in our Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the NICU survival rate has improved to 96 percent–among the highest in the nation.

A Pioneer in Innovative Newborn Treatments

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital has pinpointed links between interventions infants receive and their short-and long-term outcomes, thanks to our clinical neonatology research and evidence-based studies.

These studies and their findings have helped pioneer treatments and advance newborn care all over the world—from developing noninvasive ventilation in newborns to being one of the first to promote family-centered care.

Some of our recent studies include:

  • Vitamin D, Wheezing and Race: A study looking at the respiratory effects of vitamin D supplements when given to newborns. The results show African-American children are twice as likely to develop wheezing conditions than Caucasian children. This work has led to a clinical trial, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aims to discover the optimal dosing regimen for vitamin D in African-American infants born prematurely.
  • Understanding Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A collaborative study to help define a standardized way to treat babies who were born addicted to opioids.
  • Reducing Brain Injury in Newborns: Neonatal encephalopathy is a condition characterized by abnormal neurological function in the first few days of life. Our team is studying the use of hypothermia (brain and body temperature cooling)as a neuroprotective therapy in our young encephalopathy patients.

One of North America’s Longest Running Newborn Care Studies

In two ongoing studies that span over four decades, our team at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital has been tracking the physical, mental and academic achievements of infants who were extremely premature and/or had extremely low birth weights.

Observations have shown these children are more likely to have problems in school because of lower cognitive ability or behavioral issues. Thanks to these studies, we have learned focused interventions, in clinical care and through school-based applications, can improve these outcomes.

Founding Member of National Research to Study Newborn Care

Beyond our own clinical pediatric research and studies, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is a founding member of NIH’s Neonatal Research Network, a consortium of 16 elite centers nationwide and the only site with continuous NIH funding since its inception in 1986. This network is at the forefront of research and clinical trials to continue to improve outcomes for this critical population. This means we’re able to collaborate with other top leaders in the country to further advance newborn care.