Researchers at Nemours Children's Health System will leverage 4.5 million patient records to answer medical questions that have challenged families and providers for generations. The de-identified data is available to Nemours through PEDSnet, a network that pools patient information from eight pediatric health systems, including Nemours, to help to produce new and better research into treatments for childhood illness and disease.
PEDSnet allows Nemours to conduct studies that could only be imagined a few years ago said Terri H. Finkel, M.D., Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer and chair of pediatrics at Nemours Children's Hospital. It gives the ability to answer questions by looking at information from millions of patients from around the country. One health system could never gather a sample size this large.
Nemours just received an $850,000 grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to conduct two studies using the PEDSnet data. The first will allow a pulmonologist from Nemours to explore why children with asthma, who are also obese, report more severe asthma symptoms leading to missed school and hospitalizations. Researchers have never known the precise nature of this relationship.
This is by far the biggest study ever to explore the link between obesity and childhood asthma said Jason Lang, M.D., M.P.H.
A second study, led by Nemours investigators Drs. James Franciosi and John Lima, will examine the risks associated with one of the most frequently prescribed groups of over-the-counter medications used to block stomach acid -- proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) -- which go by brand names such as Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec.
Specifically, the study will investigate whether PPI medications increase the rate of lung infections like pneumonia, and gastrointestinal infections like C. diff in the following populations:
- healthy children
- children with asthma
- children with inflammatory bowel disease
Researchers will also examine how the unique genetic profile of a child may impact the rate of infection.