The key technology that will be utilized as a part of the newly granted ECHO subcontract, the non-nutritive suck device, was developed by Zimmerman to quantitatively test suck patterns in infants. This information is a key indicator of infant neural development, and the ultimate goal is to use this data to develop intervention processes to improve outcomes for babies born prematurely. Thus far, the non-nutritive suck device has been used as part of CRECE’s research, which investigates in utero air pollutant exposures alongside postnatal exposures and developmental delays in infants born in Puerto Rico. The research project will also include infant eye tracking as a measure of neurodevelopment, and will compare NNS and eye tracking data across five ECHO cohorts. This project is a continuation of the collaborations between Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Susan Schantz of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Congratulations, Emily! The CRECE team is proud of this major achievement.