This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Seizures are abnormal electrical pulses in the brain. They can be a sign of brain injury in newborn infants. Every year, about 16,000 newborns in the United States have seizures. About 15 percent of these newborns die during their hospital stay. At least half of newborns who have seizures will have long-term health problems such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or intellectual disability.
Doctors treat seizures with a medicine called phenobarbital. But it has serious side effects and may harm children’s brain development if used for a long time. Doctors don’t know the shortest amount of time they can treat seizures safely while reducing the chances of side effects from the medicine. In this study, the researchers are comparing the health of newborns who are treated for seizures only while in the hospital with those who are treated while in the hospital and for several months after going home.
Who can this research help?
Parents and doctors can use the results of this study when considering approaches for treating newborns who have had a seizure.
What is the research team doing?
The research team has created a database of 300 newborns with seizures who were born in nine hospitals in the United States. The team is following up on the health of two groups of newborns with seizures:
- In the first group, newborns were treated for seizures only while in the hospital. The treatment ended when they went home.
- In the second group, newborns were treated while in the hospital. The treatment continued at home until the newborn had a follow-up visit, usually two to four months after birth.
The research team is following up at 12, 18, and 24 months after birth to find out if the newborns have any developmental problems or epilepsy. The team is also asking about parents’ quality of life and risk of anxiety and depression. In addition, the team wants to see if the length of time a newborn gets medicine in the hospital affects how long they stay in intensive care.
Parents of children who have had seizures are working with the research team to plan and conduct the study.
Research methods at a glance
- Elizabeth Hill, MD, University of Michigan Dept of Pediatrics (lead Parent Partner)
- Jennifer Guerriero, Boston Children's Hospital
- Lisa Grossbauer, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- Dana Annis, Children’s National Medical Center
- Meg Spodick, Massachusetts General Hospital
- Gwen Ma, Stanford University, Hand to Hold.org (contact: Kelli Kelly)
- CaseyBarnes.org (contact: Marty Barnes)
Other Stakeholder Partners
- No information provided by awardee