Link Between Newborn Infection and Childhood Hearing Loss Studied The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been awarded a seven-year, $15.6 million grant to investigate screening newborns for the common, usually “silent” infection, cytomegalovirus (CMV). The national, multi-site study is funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Approximately 1% of newborns, or about 40,000 ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   November 01, 2005
Link Between Newborn Infection and Childhood Hearing Loss Studied
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Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   November 01, 2005
Link Between Newborn Infection and Childhood Hearing Loss Studied
The ASHA Leader, November 2005, Vol. 10, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.10162005.5
The ASHA Leader, November 2005, Vol. 10, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.10162005.5
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been awarded a seven-year, $15.6 million grant to investigate screening newborns for the common, usually “silent” infection, cytomegalovirus (CMV). The national, multi-site study is funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Approximately 1% of newborns, or about 40,000 infants each year, are born infected with CMV. “Of these, about 10–15% will develop significant health problems, most often hearing problems, as a result of the infection,” said Karen Fowler, UAB research associate professor and co-principal investigator.
The majority of CMV-infected children–roughly 90%–have no symptoms at birth. “Our study will further investigate the link between CMV and hearing loss in children and will evaluate the feasibility of screening newborns for CMV infection,” said Suresh Boppana, associate professor of pediatrics and co-principal investigator of the study. The studies of congenital CMV infection have only been done in limited population groups, she said, adding, “We hope that the new study will determine the importance of CMV in a large multi-hospital study that includes different population groups.”
Estimates indicate that as much as 20–30% of childhood hearing loss is caused by CMV infection. The researchers will analyze the data to better understand the relationship between CMV infection and hearing loss and to determine the extent to which CMV screening together with hearing screening can improve the detection and prediction of permanent hearing loss in children.
The study will be conducted in three phases. The first phase, now underway, is focused on protocol approval in order to begin recruitment. The second phase, scheduled to begin later this year, will enlist newborns to compare and determine the best method for screening–whether to test using saliva or a drop of blood. Phase three, scheduled for next year, will enroll more than 100,000 newborns for screening and follow up.
Other participating institutions are: University of Mississippi, Jackson; Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC; St. Peter’s University Medical Center, New Brunswick, NJ; University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center; University of Pittsburgh, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; and the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.
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November 2005
Volume 10, Issue 16