Thompson Receives Award to Investigate Prenatal Exposure to Household Air Pollution

Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson, assistant professor of Family Health Care Nursing at UCSF, received a multidisciplinary clinical research award from the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute Career Development Program (CTSI KL2). The award will fund her pilot study investigating the neurodevelopment and anthropometric growth of infants exposed to household air pollution in Guatemala, a country with one of the highest childhood mortality rates in the Americas, according to the World Health Organization.

The study will measure personal exposures to household air pollutants from solid fuels in a cohort of thirty pregnant women and their infants. As part of the project, researchers will train local health workers to collect measurements of infant weight, length, head circumference and neurodevelopment in the first year of life.

“We’ve developed a cell phone network of traditional birth attendants willing to call us when they have a delivery,” reports Thompson. Her team will travel to the mother’s home to take the baby’s measurements within the first 48 hours of birth.  Later, Thompson will link the information to data from the mother’s personal air pollution monitor. Throughout the first year of the infant’s life, study field workers will visit the houses to continue to monitor air pollution and measure infant anthropometric and neurodevelopmental growth using locally validated methods.

Results of the pilot will support an R01 application to conduct a randomized control trial comparing the effects of in utero and infant exposures to household air pollutants on infant development in households with open fires compared to a randomized clean-stove intervention. Her goal is to identify infants at risk of neurodevelopmental impairment, opening the door for early interventions to reduce childhood disabilities and morbidity.

The project is also supported by UCSF’s Burke Family Global Health faculty award, which provides Thompson salary support and travel funds to visit the study site in the San Marcos region in rural highland Guatemala.

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