Researchers at Kessler Foundation will collaborate with Children's Specialized Hospital to study the outcomes of neonates treated for opioid withdrawal in the Hospital's Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Program. With a one-year pilot grant from the Reitman Foundation, John O'Neill, PhD, and Amanda Botticello, PhD, MPH, will examine the outcomes of the NAS Program, which is based on a combination of pharmacotherapy and environmental supports. Dr. O'Neill is director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research and Dr. Botticello is senior research scientist in the Center for Outcomes and Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation.
The few existing studies of children with NAS suggest they are at increased risk for infections, sleep disturbances, and vision, motor, cognitive and behavioral problems. Detailing the infants' outcomes post withdrawal will enable researchers to understand the factors that influence the severity of NAS and responses to the treatment protocol. This information will enable clinicians at Children's Specialized Hospital to evaluate the effects of NAS treatment practices and tailor their interventions to achieve optimal outcomes for these vulnerable infants.
"We need to look beyond the immediacy of this public health crisis," said Liz Lowenstein at the Reitman Foundation, "and find ways to minimize the impact of fetal opioid exposure. Given the productive collaboration of Kessler Foundation and Children's Specialized, we anticipate the discovery of effective interventions that help affected children achieve their full potential."