My research tries to identify why very preterm newborns are at high risk for brain damage. My goal is to identify exposures whose elimination or minimization might reduce the risk for this brain damage and its consequences. I had been the principal investigator of the 14-center ELGAN (Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns) study, a prospective epidemiologic study of 1,500 infants born before the 28th week of gestation.
The ELGAN investigators seek to identify changes that occur before the brain ultrasound abnormalities that predict motor, cognitive, perceptual and behavior dysfunctions in these children. Much of this study relies on biomarkers measured in the placenta, umbilical cord and blood. Each of the proteins assessed has a role in inflammation, which is linked to oligodendrocyte damage and/or dysfunction or to processes that ameliorate damage/dysfunction.
By identifying biomarkers that indicate increased risk of cerebral damage, the ELGAN study should enable researchers to better design clinical trials of measures to reduce the occurrence of early brain damage and later developmental disabilities.
About Alan Leviton
Alan Leviton received his MD from SUNY-Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn, College of Medicine. He trained in medicine at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, NY, in neurology at the Barnes Hospital/Washington University program in St. Louis, MO in neuropathology at Children's Hospital, and in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.
- Leviton A, Kuban K, Allred EN, Hecht JL, Onderdonk A, O'Shea TM, McElrath T, Paneth N; for the ELGAN Study Investigators. Antenatal antecedents of a small head circumference at age 24-months post-term equivalent in a sample of infants born before the 28th post-menstrual week. Early Hum Dev 2010 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print].
- Martin CR, Dammann O, Allred EN, Patel S, O'Shea TM, Kuban KC, Leviton A. Neurodevelopment of extremely preterm infants who had necrotizing enterocolitis with or without late bacteremia. J Pediatr 2010 Jun 30. [Epub ahead of print]
- Leviton A, Allred EN, Kuban KC, Hecht JL, Onderdonk AB, O'Shea TM, Paneth N. Microbiologic and histologic characteristics of the extremely preterm infant's placenta predict white matter damage and later cerebral palsy. The ELGAN study. Pediatr Res 2010; 67:95-101.
- McElrath TF, Allred EN, Boggess KA, Kuban K, O'Shea TM, Paneth N, Leviton A; ELGAN Study Investigators. Maternal antenatal complications and the risk of neonatal cerebral white matter damage and later cerebral palsy in children born at an extremely low gestational age. Am J Epidemiol 2009; 170:819-28.
- O'Shea TM, Allred EN, Dammann O, Hirtz D, Kuban KC, Paneth N, Leviton A; ELGAN Study Investigators. The ELGAN study of the brain and related disorders in extremely low gestational age newborns. Early Hum Dev 2009; 85:719-25.
For a list of Alan Leviton's publications on PubMed, click here.