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International Projects

Guatemala

Over 200 million children under the age of 5 years in low and middle-income countries do not reach their developmental potential, largely due to lack of adequate nutrients and lack of psychosocial stimulation. Stunting (length-for-age < -2 z-scores) is an indication of chronic undernutrition. Guatemala has the high rates of stunting in the Western Hemisphere (over 40%). This trial examines the effect of providing a micronutrient powder manufactured in Guatemala vs. placebo and an early learning environment vs. no early learning environment on the growth, health, and development of young children in Guatemala.

Guatemala

Objectives 

To examine whether daily provision of a micronutrient powder (MNP) alters the growth, health, and development of young children (infant phase and preschool phase). 

  -  Infants and preschoolers who receive the MNP will have better growth, nutrition, and development than infants and preschoolers who do not receive the MNP.

Among infants, to examine whether a responsive feeding intervention alters the growth, health, and development of infants.

Among preschoolers, to examine whether a school readiness intervention alters the growth, health, and development of preschoolers.

  -   Infants who receive the responsive feeding intervention will have better growth, health, and development than infants who do not receive the responsive feeding intervention. 

  - Preschoolers who receive the school readiness intervention will have better growth, health, and development than preschoolers who do not receive the school readiness intervention.

To gain a better understanding of the process by which women’s employment may play a role in the nutritional status of women and children in rural Guatemalan women through qualitative research methods. 

   - Pathways between women’s employment and maternal and child nutritional status will include employment influences on maternal time allotment, food purchasing and preparation; changes in child feeding behaviors and childcare utilization; and uses of income from employment for different types of food.

 

Faculty & Staff

Maureen Black, Ph.D.
Univeristy of Maryland, School of Medicine
mblack@peds.umaryland.edu 


‌S‌waizland

The emergence of genomic medicine and the growth of personalized and preventive medicine will catalyze fundamental changes at many different levels in the future of health care and health systems. In short, genomics is revolutionizing medicine and healthcare, with the development of new life-saving diagnostics and medications. 

Another area of intense interest to the department is exploring the molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.

S‌waizland

Genomics – the study of genetic material in organisms – succeeds by generating, analyzing and integrating vast amounts of DNA and RNA sequence data. Using state-of-the-art technology and broad scientific expertise, IGS investigators are accelerating the process of unraveling nature’s secrets to improve health. They are partnering with leading scientific experts across many disciplines, and are working to translate genomic data into novel therapeutics and health management strategies


India

Micronutrient deficiencies & limited learning opportunities contribute to the loss of developmental potential among more than 200 million children in low and middle income countries. Early developmental loss contributes to low academic performance, limited economic capabilities, and lifelong disparities. Both nutrition and early child-development interventions have been effective in promoting child development and integrated interventions that include both nutrition and early child development have been recommended as efficient and optimal strategies to promote the developmental potential of children.

Grow Smart was a 1-year trial that had an infant phase (enrollment age: 6–12 months) and a preschool phase (enrollment age: 36–48 months) and was implemented in rural areas of the Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh. Infants were individually randomized into one of four groups: placebo, placebo plus early learning, MNP alone, and MNP plus early learning (integrated intervention), conducted through home visits.

India

Description- Grow Smart

The preschool phase was a cluster-randomized trial conducted in Anganwadi centers (AWCs). AWCs were randomized into MNP or placebo, with the MNP or placebo mixed into the children’s food. The evaluation examines whether the effects of the MNP intervention vary by the quality of the early learning opportunities and communication within the AWCs. Project Grow Smart evaluates the effects of an integrated micronutrient powder (MNP) and early learning intervention on micronutrient status and development of infants & preschoolers.

Preliminary analyses suggest that PROJECT GROW SMART was effective at reducing anemia in infants by 17% (from 67 to 50 percent) and in preschoolers by 37% (from 47 to 10 percent). Beneficial effects on language in response to both the MNP and early learning intervention were also evident in both groups; and clearest when both the MNP and early learning intervention were considered together. Findings from this home (infant) and preschool (AWC) based integrated trial will be used to guide larger-scale policy and programs designed to promote the developmental, education, and economic potential of young children in rural India.

Faculty & Staff

Maureen Black, Ph.D.
Univeristy of Maryland, School of Medicine
mblack@peds.umaryland.edu 

Nicholas Tilton
University of Maryland, School of Medicine
ntilton@peds.umaryland.edu 

Krishnapillai Madhavan Nair, Ph.D.
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India
nairthayil@hotmail.com 

Sylvia Fernandez-Rao, Ph.D.
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India
fernandezsylvia1@gmail.com 

Nagalla Balakrishna, M.D.
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India
dr_nbk@yahoo.com 

Kristen M. Hurley, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore
khurley@jhsph.edu 

Kimberly B. Harding, M.S.
Micronutrient Initiative, Ottawa, Canada
kharding@micronutrient.org 

Greg A. Reinhart, Ph.D.
The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, Dayton, OH
greinhart@mathileinstitute.org