UA’s Steele Children’s Research Center Receives $600,000 CDC Grant to Assess Spina Bifida in Arizona

Spina bifida, a birth defect resulting from the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings, occurs in about seven of every 10,000 live births in the United States annually
Dr. Sydney RiceTUCSON, Ariz. – The Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine received a $600,000 two-year grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to refine methods to investigate and collect baseline information on the development, health and condition progress in young children born with spina bifida.   
 
The grant is titled, Developing a Prospective Assessment of the Development, Health and Condition Progress in Young Children with Spina Bifida. Principal investigator Sydney Rice, MD, MS, associate professor with the UA Department of Pediatrics, and Christopher Cunniff, MD, professor with the UA Department of Pediatrics and co-principal-investigator, are leading the study.
 
Dr. Christopher Cunniff “Spina bifida is a complicated medical condition with many different factors placing some children at higher medical risk,” said Dr. Rice. “Following children from a young age will help identify how families and care providers can best care for children with spina bifida.”
 
Spina bifida, a birth defect resulting from the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings, occurs in about seven of every 10,000 live births in the United States annually. Children with spina bifida frequently have associated medical conditions, including hydrocephalus, bowel and bladder incontinence and paralysis. Spina bifida is more common in the Hispanic population and this study will investigate potential causes of this disparity.
 
The project will follow about 150 Arizona children born with spina bifida between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Children from across the state will be included in the study. “Although the outcomes and complications for individual children with spina bifida are known, this project will allow us to identify how often each complication occurs in a large group of children and how they respond to specific treatments,” said Dr. Cunniff.
  
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The University of Arizona College of Medicine, University Physicians Healthcare and University Medical Center work together to care for patients, educate medical students, train resident-physicians and conduct clinical and basic research. The UA Steele Children’s Research Center www.steelecenter.arizona.edu) and UMC www.diamondchildrens.org). have worked together to build Diamond Children’s Medical Center ((