Research Staff to Expand
Rita Pickler, PhD, was named scientific director for nursing this year. She is focused on building research with the division by setting research priorities, hiring experienced and promising researchers, and partnering with other divisions and departments around shared research interests. Pickler has more than 25 years of experience studying care provided to preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her work has been supported by three NIH-funded R01s and two NIH center grants as well as numerous foundation and organization funded projects. Her most recently completed randomized control trial confirmed the benefits of developmentally appropriate transitions to oral feeding by carefully assessing neurological readiness for this complex, life-sustaining activity, and by then offer experiences for infants to practice emerging feeding skills at every opportunity. Her intervention has been shown to shorten transitions from tube to oral feeding and to lead to earlier hospital discharge. Her current study involves providing a patterned feeding experience for preterm infants to improve short- and longer term neurodevelopment. Pickler also studies the effect of maternal wellbeing on pregnancy outcomes and the transition-to-home from the NICU.
Revolutionary Hearing Test Studied Here
People concerned about their hearing most frequently report difficulty hearing speech in challenging listening conditions, such as a noisy room. However, the standard test of hearing, the audiogram, does not predict well the ability to hear in those conditions. By developing new ‘speech-in-noise’ (SiN) tests of hearing, and by analyzing the results of an SiN hearing test in over 160,000 people, David Moore, PhD, and his colleagues have contributed to the development of the next generation of diagnosis and intervention for hearing impairment. Moore’s results highlight the close interaction between the ear and the brain in processing complex speech signals. They suggest further testing of simple skills, memory recall and reaction time, to help tailor hearing devices to individuals and to offer suitable advice on listening strategies. Audiograms, SiN tests, questions about hearing, and skills tests also can be delivered over the internet, which means people can complete the tests in the privacy and comfort of home. In the future, this also means that large numbers of people with mild but still significant hearing loss may be offered inexpensive hearing instruments through the internet without the need to be seen by a professional. The role of the audiologist may evolve to be a more specialized one, working with those who have more severe or unusual forms of hearing problems. This year, Moore and his team published seven peer-reviewed papers, two articles in professional society newsletters, two book chapters, and presented more than 10 international invited lectures. They also represented Cincinnati Children’s as part of an Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Consortium that was awarded €1,000,000 by the European Union Erasmus Mundus for their partnership and mobility scheme.
Evaluating Post-Concussion Rehabilitation
Catherine Quatman-Yates, PT, DPT, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Sports Medicine and a key member of the Cincinnati Children’s Division of Occupational and Physical Therapy and the Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center. In her first year as a faculty member, she completed two pilot grants that funded preliminary studies for her work in post-concussion diagnosis and rehabilitation for children and adolescents. The work from these grants culminated in several presentations at national scientific meetings, multiple manuscripts and a series of preliminary studies for her recently funded study entitled, “Clinical Detection of Post-Concussion Impairments in Children and Adolescents.” This study will explore the utility of complexity analysis measures applied to center-of-pressure trajectories as a biomarker for concussions. In addition, Quatman-Yates will pursue a rigorous didactic/mentorship program for the next two years, with support from a prestigious Patient Services Research Career Development grant that will provide her with advanced training in nonlinear dynamical systems times series analysis methods, grantsmanship, research methods associated with mild traumatic brain injury and clinical research design. These experiences will provide ongoing support for Quatman-Yates’ progress toward becoming an extramurally-funded clinical researcher.