Nationwide Children’s Hospital will continue to develop evidence-based, safe feeding strategies for infants who struggle to feed, thanks to new National Institutes of Health funding.
Nationwide Children’s physician and principal investigator Sudarshan Jadcherla, MD, FRCPI, DCH, AGAF, has received a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health/ National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to continue his study titled “Pathophysiology of Aerodigestive Reflexes in Infants: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) management trial.”
Dr. Jadcherla’s long-term goal is to develop evidence-based safe feeding strategies in at-risk infants. With this extended NIH funding, Dr. Jadcherla will continue to define the normal development as a basis for understanding abnormality of the sensory-motor neural and muscular control of foregut motility and aerodigestive tract defense mechanisms in human infants.
Independent feeding and breathing skills are the two important functions for survival in human infants. Feeding difficulties coupled with airway-related complications in infants contribute significantly to infant mortality and morbidity. Lack of a proper understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of reflexes protective against aspiration during health or diseases such as GERD in developing infants is a fundamental problem that challenges management strategies. In the current proposal, Dr. Jadcherla is studying the motility mechanisms in neonatal and infant GERD, and is testing the effects of therapies in a randomized control clinical trial. The effects and consequences of both, tests and therapies, for neonatal and infant GERD are largely unclear. In an innovative approach, he is investigating the methods to seek more accurate diagnosis so as to define potentially better therapies, with fewer consequences.
Dr. Jadcherla’s prior research using safety-ensured mechanistic esophageal function tests in premature and high risk infants are intended to provide a solid foundation for managing feeding and airway safety, as proposed in the current study. He uses novel pharyngo-esophageal manometry catheters in his unique approach to studying peristaltic and airway protective reflexes in infants. His data will provide a basis for advancing future clinical care or trials in infants with feeding difficulties.
Dr. Jadcherla is a member of the Section of Neonatology at Nationwide Children’s, a principal investigator at the Center for Perinatal Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Medical Director of the Neonatal and Infant Feeding Disorders Program.