Childhood Cognitive Trajectories

Genetic and Epigenetic Effects on Childhood Cognitive Trajectories

Principal Investigator: Hudson Santos, PhD, RN
Funded by: National Institute of Nursing Research

Children born extremely preterm exhibit much higher rates of cognitive function impairment— such as trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating or making decisions — during early childhood and through to adulthood when compared to those born full-term. Ranging from mild to severe, cognitive function impairment can significantly impact an individual’s day-to-day life.

Hudson Santos’s study will examine relationships among gene variants, DNA methylation, neonatal inflammation and developmental trajectories of cognitive function in extremely preterm children from ages 2 to 17 years. This study will be among the first to identify genetic and epigenetic factors that can be used to determine a child’s risk level, as well as molecular processes that can be the targets of early risk-mitigating interventions to improve quality of life for children born extremely preterm.