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September 26, 2000

Contact: Patricia Adams

School of Nursing Researcher Receives $1.1 Million from NINR to Study Sleep in Premature Infants

Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Nursing recently announced that Susan M. Ludington, PhD, RN, CNM, FAAN, professor, has received $1.1 million in funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) to support her three-year study on Pre-Term Skin Contact Effects on Electrophysiologic Sleep.

The purpose of the study is to test for an increase in infants' quiet sleep during "Kangaroo Care" (skin-to-skin positioning of preterm infants with their mother's or father's chest to promote growth) compared to when the infants are in incubators. Up until now, there has been no way to measure sleep by brain wave patterns when infants are outside of an incubator or off a mattress. Dr. Ludington has perfected a new technique, which uses electrophysiologic (EEG), electrooculographic (EOG), electromyographic (EMG) and waveform indicators to measure infant sleep in an incubator then up against the parent's chest. This technique will determine if the brain wave patterns confirm what several researchers have observed by watching infant movements and breathing patterns. The study will be conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit.

"Every mother knows that babies go deeply asleep when they hold them," stated Dr. Ludington. "Now we will show just how deep and different that sleep is from the kind of sleep infants get when they are in incubators or cribs."

"As a research intensive institution, the School of Nursing is excited about the award of this grant," said Barbara R. Heller, EdD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing. "It offers Dr. Ludington the opportunity to advance important studies that will provide valuable information in the care of infants."

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