Timing of COVID-19 vaccination drives menstrual cycle changes

Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during the first half of the menstrual cycle is linked to a small, temporary increase in cycle length, suggests a study funded by NIH. Analysis of data from nearly 20,000 people indicates that those vaccinated during the follicular phase—the part of the menstrual cycle leading up to ovulation—are more likely to experience a cycle length increase than those vaccinated during the luteal phase, which begins after ovulation. The findings provide additional information about what to expect after COVID-19 vaccination, potentially helping to reduce vaccine hesitancy.

Children surpass a year of HIV remission after treatment pause

Four children have remained free of detectable HIV for more than one year after their antiretroviral therapy was paused to see if they could achieve HIV remission, according to a presentation at the 2024 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver. The children, who acquired HIV before birth, were enrolled in an NIH-funded clinical trial in which antiretroviral therapy was started within 48 hours of birth and then closely monitored for safety and viral suppression.

Placental particles in maternal bloodstream may signal less fetal growth

Tiny, balloon-like particles released from the placenta into the maternal bloodstream could provide clues for identifying fetuses at risk for impaired growth, suggests a study funded by NIH. Known as extracellular vesicles, these structures are larger and less numerous in pregnancies with growth-restricted fetuses and have a different fat composition compared to pregnancies on a normal growth trajectory. The findings could lead to ways to identify fetuses at risk for growth restriction early so that pregnancies could be monitored for complications.

NICHD spotlight follows career of Tracey Rouault, pioneer in iron metabolism

This NICHD “Women in Science” spotlight follows the career path of Tracey Rouault, M.D., from her childhood in upstate New York to her medical training in North Carolina to her career at NIH. Dr. Rouault is known for her discovery of a novel process that regulates iron metabolism, how dysregulation of this process causes a Parkinson’s-like syndrome, and the requirement of iron-sulfur clusters for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses to replicate and cause infections.

Omega-3 supplements may reduce schizotypal personality symptoms

Children who took a nutritional supplement containing omega-3 fatty acids lowered their scores for schizotypal personality, a mental health condition featuring unusual thoughts, speech, and behaviors that hinder the ability to form relationships. Results of the early study, funded by NIH, suggest that regular supplementation in childhood could prevent more severe symptoms from developing by adolescence.

NIH awards interim prizes in fetal diagnostic and monitoring technology competition

NIH has announced the finalists in its competition to accelerate the development of diagnostic and monitoring technologies to improve fetal health outcomes, especially in low-resource settings. The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, NICHD, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered to launch the RADx® Tech Fetal Monitoring Challenge in September 2023. The multi-phased competition aims to address the causes of fetal morbidity and mortality, including the estimated 2 million incidences of stillbirth that occur globally each year.

NIH Panel Explores Endometriosis Advances, Emphasizes Awareness

Panelists discussed advances and new research directions for endometriosis, a disorder that affects about 200 million girls, women, and transgender men worldwide. It is one of the most common gynecological diseases, with symptoms that include severe pain and infertility. Those who have it often endure a long, difficult path to diagnosis and effective treatment. The discussion followed a screening of the documentary Below the Belt, which follows a group of people as they navigate their endometriosis symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Selected Funding Opportunities

Requests for Applications, Program Announcements

For links to NICHD funding opportunities, check Active Funding Opportunities and Notices for NICHD.

NICHD’s Data Sharing Resources

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U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) Draft Standards: Open for Comment

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issues and updates the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI), a standardized set of health data classes and elements that allow for nationwide, interoperable health information exchange. The latest draft is now available for review and public comment as part of the ONC Standards Version Advancement Process. The update includes 13 new data elements and 2 new data classes, including several that address equity, diversity, and access to health care; please consult the January 2024 ONC Health Standards Bulletin (PDF, 268 KB) for details. ONC is accepting comments through April 15, 2024, through the USCDI website.

NIH’s Office of Extramural Research News

NICHD-Related Meetings, Conferences, and Events


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