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Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is a painful and devastating intestinal pathology affecting premature and term newborns, with an associated high rate of mortality and long-term morbidity, and an etiology that is still not well understood.

The research team is conducting basic science studies that include a human mRNA gene bank to characterize the genes expressed in NEC, and a study searching for markers involved in NEC’s vascular inflammatory response. Activities include quality assurance studies investigating policies, procedures, and exposures currently found in our NICU that may be contributing to the onset and severity of NEC; a thermographic imaging study investigating the detection of early stages of NEC in at-risk infants and an information technology-based study that uses data gathered in real-time to predict the onset of NEC in patients admitted to the NICU.

Future research projects include an exceptional opportunity to develop new clinical preventive approaches and therapeutic strategies for NEC, such as quality improvement projects in collaboration with the Canadian Neonatal Network; ongoing development of computer-based tools to identify at-risk neonates; a multicentre clinical study comparing thermographic abdominal temperature profiles of preterm and term newborns; and molecular studies to identify intestinal gene modulation in response to various medications and growth factors.
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