Site ActionsUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).Open Menu Navigate Up
Sign In
Penn Nursing > Science in Action
Science in Action: Specialization Areas
Pediatrics
Posted August 2014

Diane Spatz's Research in Human Milk and Lactation Featured in Advances in Neonatal Care

​Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, Professor of Perinatal Nursing, Helen M. Shearer Term Professor of Nutrition and internationally known expert in the field of breastfeeding and human lactation, has authored and guest edited a collection of articles in Advances in Neonatal Care. Four of the articles were authored in collaboration with Penn Nursing alumni: "An Ethical Case for the Provision of Human Milk in the NICU," co-authored with alumna Elizabeth B. Froh, MS, RN, PhD(c), advocate...
Read More
Pediatrics
Posted July 2014

Sharon Irving Discusses Nasogastric Tube Placement and Verification in Children


Sharon Y. Irving, PhD, RN, CRNP, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Nursing and nurse practitioner in the Critical Care division at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, had a recent paper, “Nasogastric Tube Placement and Verification in Children: Review of the Current Literature,” published in the June 2014 issue of Critical Care Nurse. The abstract states: Placement of a nasogastric enteral access device (NG-EAD), often referred to as a nasogastric tube, is common practice and largely in the domain of nursing care….This article p...

  Read More
Pediatrics
Posted July 2014

Even Low Lead Levels Increase Child Emotional and Behavior Problems

​New research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, published in the current issue of JAMA Pediatrics, indicates that low lead levels, even at concentrations lower than the previously defined Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) level of concern, are associated with increased child emotional and behavior problems. Until now, most studies have focused on the effect of lead on children’s IQ and their externalizing behavior. Lead is understood to lower children’s IQ at commonly encountered exposures and to increase aggressiveness and bullying. This study shows that even low lead levels in children are also associated with internalizing behavior problems and can help scientists better understand early heal...
Read More
Pediatrics
Posted November 2012

Clinicians and Parents: Working Together During Invasive Procedures


​New research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing reports that parents present during a child’s more invasive procedures reported higher levels of comfort, more procedural understanding and less emotional distress – while clinicians reported parent presence did not affect their technical performance, therapeutic decision-making, or ability to teach. The study, conducted at Boston’s Children’s Hospital over a four-year period in the cardiovascular and critical care programs (for procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, chest tube placemen...

  Read More
Pediatrics
Posted May 2012

Type 2 Diabetes More Common, More Dangerous in Children

​Alarming increases of Type 2 diabetes in children are no closer to being managed successfully, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine showing common diabetes-control medications failed to work in children.   The study also found that because children develop Type 2 diabetes at younger ages, there is an increased lifetime risk for serious complications such as heart attack and stroke. Terri H. Lipman, PhD, CRNP, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, was a co-investigator in this multi-center study. Dr. Lipman, the Miriam Stirl Endowed Term Professor of Nutrition and professor of nursing of children, is an expert in pediatric dia...
Read More
Pediatrics
Posted April 2012

Choosing the Right Hospital May Save Your Baby's Life


​ Choosing the right hospital may make the difference between life and death for very low birth weight infants, according to research led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and released today in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association. In a comprehensive study of 72,235 infants born in 558 hospitals across the nation, the researchers found that babies cared for in hospitals with the Magnet credential were less likely to die, acquire a hospital-based infection, or suffer severe brain hemorrhage.  While only 1.5 percent of births nationally are very low birth weight babies, ...

  Read More
Pediatrics
Posted March 2012

Big Breakthrough for the Tiniest Hearts

A novel feeding device developed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing may decrease the risk of failure to thrive (FTT), which currently affects half of all newborns with congenital heart defects even after their surgical lesions are corrected. Professor and nurse practitioner Barbara Medoff-Cooper, PhD, CRNP, of Penn Nursing invented a device that analyzes an infant’s ability to organize feeding by sucking, swallowing, and breathing effectively. This device, developed in collaboration with Penn Engineering, allows healthcare professionals to assess infants at risk for dysfunctional feeding and poor weight gain as often seen in both premature in...
Read More
Pediatrics
Posted November 2011

Dancing to Prevent Diabetes


With more than 18 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, Terri Lipman, PhD, CRNP, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, encourages kids to ward off the disease with “Dance for Health.” In this unique upbeat program, Penn Nursing partners with Philadelphia’s Sayre High School and the Bernett Johnson Sayre Health Center to assess and improve physical activity among school-age children, with the goal of lowering the risk for obesity, a key factor in Type 2 diabetes. Busting hip-hop moves across a wooden gym floor, the Sayre High School dance team led children thr...

  Read More
Tanya Kral
Pediatrics
Posted September 2011

Calling All Parents: Eat Your Rutabagas!

If parents load their own plates with leafy greens, juicy fruits, and colorful veggies, their children just may do the same, reports nutrition scientist Tanja V.E. Kral, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. “Parents serve as important role models for their children when it comes to healthy eating,” says Dr. Kral. “Watching a parent eat initially disliked or novel foods, such as vegetables, can enhance a child’s preference for those foods.” Besides modeling healthy eating behaviors, parents also decide what foods to make available to their children in the home. Making vegetables easily accessible can provide children with opportunities to try new foods and to repeatedly taste them, an important factor in adding healthful new foods to children’s diets, explains Dr. Kral,...
Read More
Jianghong Liu
Pediatrics
Posted September 2011

Means to Prevent Violence May Start In Utero


It’s hard to think of a baby being violent or destructive, but the seeds of violence may be planted before a child is born, according to research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Attention to health factors as early as the prenatal stage could prevent violence in later life, reports Penn Nursing Assistant Professor Jianghong Liu, PhD, RN, in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. Recent research demonstrates a biological basis of crime, says Dr. Liu. “‘Biological’ does not mean only genetic factors,” she explains, “but also health factors, such as nutritional deficiency and lead exposure, which influence biological processes.” Dr. Liu’s study emphasizes the prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal periods, which are critical times for both a child’s neu...

  Read More
Alison Buttenheim, Penn Nursing
Pediatrics
Posted July 2011

Childhood Vaccination Q & A

Vaccinated Children vs. Unvaccinated Children: What Are the Risks?  A Q&A with Dr. Alison Buttenheim of Penn Nursing Penn Nursing Assistant Professor Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, is a public health researcher and social demographer who studies parent behavior and child health. Q: What are vaccine refusal and delay? A: Some parents decide not to have their children receive one or more of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Other parents choose to delay one or more vacci...
Read More
Diane L. Spatz
Pediatrics
Posted June 2011

Call to Breastfeeding Action


The lack of breastfeeding in the United States is a public health crisis, according to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin. The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics are among the professional organizations to recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. In some parts of the world, breastfeeding infants can make the difference between life and death. In the United States, only 13.6 percent of infants receive exclusive human milk for the crucial first six months. In 2010, with the release of the Surgeon General’s Call to Breastfeeding Action, the U.S. government of...

  Read More
Pediatrics
Posted August 2010

New set of growth curves created and validated in study

Since the 1960s, pediatrics has relied on growth statistics derived by Dr. Lula Lubchenco, known familiarly as the “Lula Gram” or the “Lubchenco Curves.”  But Irene Olsen, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, whose specialty is the growth assessment of premature infants, decided there needed to be a more up-to-date method of determining where especially premature infants should be in terms of growth. “You measure and weigh these infants each day and measure their intakes and outputs.  What they receive for nutrition is primarily through tubes,” said Olsen.  Thus, she said, knowing what is “normal” size for a premature baby at each age is vital to knowing how to guide its nutrition and support healthy growth and development. Olsen’s research has expanded far beyond the 5,000 nearly all-white babies Lubchenco measured in Denver at mid-Centu...
Read More
Pediatrics
Posted August 2010

Research examines whether babies feel and remember pain


Early in her career, Linda Hatfield was troubled by the assumption on the part of the medical community that babies did not feel pain in the same way older children and adults did.  She has made research into early pediatric pain a specialty ever since.   “When I was trained, we believed that babies didn’t experience pain, and if they did, they didn’t remember it.  Both of those statements are incorrect,” said Dr. Hatfield, assistant professor of evidence-based practice in the School of Nursing and director of research and evidence-based practice at Pennsylvania Hospital.  Dr. Hatfield said those incorrect assumptions were based on the belief that babies’ nervous systems were not sufficiently myelinated – the myelin being the sheath that increases proper nerve function.  Without sufficient myelination, the theory went, babies couldn’t f...

  Read More
Pediatrics
Posted June 2010

Are infant growth charts misleading?

  Since the 1960s, pediatrics has relied on growth statistics derived by Dr. Lula Lubchenco, known familiarly as the “Lula Gram” or the “Lubchenco Curves.”  But Irene Olsen, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, whose specialty is the growth assessment of premature infants, decided there needed to be a more up-to-date method of determining where especially premature infants should be in terms of growth.  “You measure and weigh these infants each day and measure their intakes and outputs.  What they receive for nutrition is primarily through tubes,” said Olsen.  Thus, she said, knowing what is “normal” size for a premature baby at each age is vital to knowing how to guide its nutrition and support healthy growth and development.  Olsen’s research has expanded far beyond the 5,000 nearly all-white babies Lubchenco measured in Denver ...
Read More
Pediatrics
Posted February 2010

New growth curves for infants reflect racial diversity in U.S.


The infant growth chart used for decades by doctors, dietitians and hospitals to determine the healthy weight of infants may be incorrect for use today, says a new study from a University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing professor, whose latest research provides new healthy weights that reflect the racial diversity of U.S. births. “The currently used curves may not represent the U.S. population,” says lead author Irene Olsen, PhD, RD, LDN, who developed a new set of weight, length, and head circumference-for-age growth curves to assess preterm infants in NICUs. The new growth curves were published in the February issue of Pediatrics, The American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal.  Dr. Olsen created a new set of growth curves to represent an estimate of optimal growth that was based on national data of more than 257,000 infants, aged 22 to 42 weeks....

  Read More
Pediatrics
Posted January 2009

Dr. Connolly’s book reviewed in NEJM

Associate Professor Cindy Connolly, PhD, RN, PNP, has had her newest book featured in the New England Journal of Medicine’s Review of Books. The book, Saving Sickly Children: The Tuberculosis Preventorium in American Life, 1909–1970, focuses on the history of Tuberculosis prevention in children in the United States as facilitated through preventoriums. The reviewer, Dr. C. Robert Horsburgh, Jr., of the Boston University School of Public Health, called the book “carefully researched and informative.” “Connolly highlights many important features of tuberculosis, such as the centrality of good nursing to patient care as well as the oppressive stigma of the disease,” he writes in the January 1, 2009 issue. Although the tools to fight Tuberculosis have improved since the era of the preventorium, “we need to rekindle the energy and optimism […] for the str...
Read More