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Our projects in Bangladesh are conducted in partnership with the Projahnmo (Project for Advancing the Health of Newborns and Mothers, “projahnmo” means generation in Bangla) Study Group in the Projahnmo field site in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Projahnmo is a collaboration between Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Child Health Research Foundation, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Shimantik NGO. Learn more about the Projahnmo Study Group.

Map of Sylhet District, Bangladesh and unions participating in the Projahnmo MIST trial.

MIST (Maternal Infection Screening & Treatment) Study

Screening and treatment of maternal genitourinary tract infections to prevent preterm birth in rural Sylhet, Bangladesh

One-third of preterm births are attributed to pregnancy infections.  Between 2012-2017, we conducted a cluster randomized controlled clinical trial (NCT01572532) to test the effectiveness of a community-based intervention to screen and treat maternal genitourinary tract infections (abnormal vaginal flora and urinary tract infections) to prevent preterm birth. This intervention  did not reduce rates of preterm birth, however, we have reported important findings on the epidemiology of vaginal and urinary tract infections from this trial, and we continue to learn from this cohort of women and children. Read more about these findings in our published article.

Perinatal Nutrition, Infection & Inflammation

And their role in the neurodevelopment of Bangladeshi infants 

Globally, 200 million children under 5 years of age fail to reach their full potential in cognitive development.  Early exposures to undernutrition, infections, and inflammation in pregnancy may adversely affect the baby’s developing brain and have life-long effects on child development.  This project aims to characterize the role of these prenatal risks for neurodevelopmental outcomes in Bangladesh. The central hypothesis is that nutritional deficiencies and infections during pregnancy places the fetus at greater risk of brain injury and poor long-term brain development.

The "LABRAIN" Study

Lactoferrin for protection of the developing brain

Lactoferrin is a protein found in breast milk that may protect the developing brain from injury from hypoxia and inflammation. In a cohort of mothers and infants from Sylhet, we will study the lactoferrin content in breast milk, and its association with neurodevelopment.  In parallel, the association of lactoferrin exposure and MRI-defined brain injury will be studied in a cohort of preterm infants from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This study is being done in collaboration with University of Geneva, where basic research is being conducted to study underlying mechanisms of lactoferrin neuroprotection. This study will generate essential data on lactoferrin for future human clinical intervention studies. For more details, see our poster.

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