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Alan  Leviton, MD

Alan Leviton
Neurology Research
Hospital Title:
Director, Neuroepidemiology Unit
Academic Title:
Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:

Research Overview

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.

Key Publications

  • Soto-Rivera CL, Fichorova RN, Allred EN, Van Marter LJ, Shah B, Martin CR, Agus MSD, Leviton A, for the ELGAN Study Investigators. The relationship between TSH and systemic inflammation in extremely-preterm newborns. Endocrine 2015;48(2):595-602.
  • Kuban KC, O'Shea TM, Allred EN, Paneth N, Hirtz D, Fichorova RN, Leviton A; for the ELGAN Study Investigators. Systemic Inflammation and Cerebral Palsy Risk in Extremely Preterm Infants. J Child Neurol 2015;52(1):42-8.
  • Downey LC, O’Shea TM, Allred EN, Kuban KC, McElrath TF, Marshall D, Ware J, Hecht JL, Onderdonk A, Leviton A. Antenatal and early postnatal antecedents of parent-reported attention problems at 2 years of age. The Journal of Pediatrics 2015;166(1):20-25.
  • Kuban KC, O'Shea TM, Allred EN, Fichorova RN, Heeren T, Paneth N, Hirtz D, Dammann O, Leviton A; ELGAN Study Investigators. The breadth and type of systemic inflammation and the risk of adverse neurological outcomes in extremely low gestation newborns. Pediatr Neurol 2015;52(1):42-8.
  • Lee JW, VanderVeen D, Allred EN, Leviton A, Dammann O. Pre-threshold retinopathy in premature infants with intra-uterine growth restriction. Acta Paediatrica 2015;104(1):27-31.
  • Holm M, Msall ME, Skranes J, Dammann O, Allred E, Leviton A. Antecedents and correlates of visual field deficits in children born extremely preterm. Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2015;19(1):56-63
  • Korzeniewski SJ,  Allred EN,  Logan JW, Fichorova RN, Engelke S, Fichorova RN, Beatty N, Sassi RR, Yamamoto H, Allred EN, Leviton A. Systemic inflammation in the extremely low gestational age newborn following maternal genito-urinary infections. Am J Repro Immunol 2015;73(2):162-74
  • Kuban KC, O’Shea TM, Paneth N, Holm M, Dammann O, Leviton A, for the ELGAN study investigators. Elevated Endogenous Erythropoietin Concentrations Are Associated with Increased Risk of Brain Damage in Extremely Preterm Neonates. PLoS One 2015;10(3):e0115083.
  • van der Burg JW, Allred EN, Kuban K, O'Shea TM, Dammann O, Leviton A. Maternal obesity and development of the preterm newborn at 2 years. Acta Paediatrica online 15 May 2015.
  • Leviton A, Gressens P, Wolkenhauer O, Dammann O. Systems approach to the study of brain damage in the very preterm newborn. Front Syst Neurosci 2015;9:58.

For a list of Alan Leviton's publications on PubMed, click here.

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