Sunday, April 5, 2009

Adult Preemies Needed for Research

I received an email from an adult former preemie asking if I wouldn't mind posting a request on my blog. Not only do I not mind, I am grateful to see research being done into BPD and honored to help in any way that I can.

Let's help him out... pass along the info to any adult preemies you may know. Please note... they are looking for former preemies even if they do not have BPD.


Hi Stacy,

My name is Steve Laurie and I got your name and contact info from Helen Harrison and wanted to email you and introduce myself. My twin brother (Tim) and I were born at 25 weeks back in 1980 and have miraculously survived with few complications due to the prematurity. I am now a graduate student at the University of Oregon studying lung function and one of the aims of our lab is to look at adult survivors of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. This follow-up work has not been studied and we are interested in the lung function of these individuals.

We are currently recruiting subjects to participate in our study (see attached flier) and would like to see if is possible to post our flier on your site. I am also trying to send an email out through the former preemie yahoogroup.

Please let me know if this is something we could do or if you have any questions regarding what we are doing, how we are doing it, what we hope to accomplish or even just questions about my story as a preemie.

Please do not hesitate to contact me via either email or phone, I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks so much,

Steve Laurie
Department of Human Physiology
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
541-346-0822 (lab)


I then asked Steve to comment on his outcome with regards to his own prematurity. Here is his reply...

Hi Stacy,

Thanks for the reply! Our lab has a number of things we work on surrounding lung function, some dealing with preemies, other aspects that do not. Currently there are three grad students in my lab and while we each have a project that is "ours" that we each head up, we all work together on all of the projects. Technically speaking, the preemie project is not mine, although all that really means is that when it comes to the contact person it is Ximeng (pronounced Simon), who sits right next to me in our office :) That being said, I obviously have a keen interest in the success of the project and so am doing whatever I can to get it up and running. Once the actual data collection begins, we all contribute to all the projects because they are such an undertaking.

Additionally, we are working on putting together a study to look at lung function of preemies that are still kids (5-15 years old) and see if putting them onto an exercise program can help their lung function before going through maturity. This project is still waiting for approval from our human subjects committee, but as that develops, I will let you know.

I'm not sure how much information is given out to parents regarding lung function of their preemies, but I can give you a brief idea of what we are interested in. Basically, with the advent of surfactant in the early 1980s (my brother and I were some of the first to get it) it has dramatically helped the long term lung function of these kids. However, as the lung is not completely developed when these kids are born, it finishes it's development while these kids are on oxygen and it is the high oxygen levels that actually stunt the lung's growth and consequently limit their overall lung function later in life.

My brother Tim and I were born in 1980 at Children's Hospital in San Francisco (see The Premature Baby book by Helen Harrison, we're in there) - I was 2 lbs even, Tim was 1 lb 16 oz. I remember growing up and going back for follow-up appointments until we were in our early teens and remarkably, we have nothing wrong with us. I think a lot of it is luck for being born at the hospital we were at; I know our parents said they were signing experimental treatment forms on a weekly basis! Actually, the only thing we do exhibit that is abnormal is that our lung function is slightly compromised due to the high levels of oxygen we were on while in the NICU for 3 months after being born.

I graduated from UC Davis in 2004 with a degree in exercise physiology, my brother from Loyala Marymount University with a degree in television production. I am actually a long distance runner and was a 2x All-American while in college, but have since moved up to the marathon where I just missed qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in 2008. I hope that parents of new preemies can see how lucky my brother and I have been and maintain hope that their preemies, despite the odds against them, can turn out healthy and have extraordinary lives too.

Here is the flyer that was attached...

Classroom and On-line flyer

Subject Recruitment

Paid Pre-term Research Subjects Needed.

Study population:

Healthy, non-smoking males and females age 18-49 yrs. Subjects born preterm (<32 weeks gestational age) with or without Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, males and females age 18-49 yrs.

Study description:

This study is designed to examine long-term heart, lung and breathing outcomes resulting from preterm birth. It will be conducted over the course of 4 visits. First visit will involve resting saline contrast echocardiography to examine your heart, an array of lung function tests, and a VO 2max test. Second visit (for study population only) will test your lung function before and after administration of a fast acting bronchodilator. Third visit will involve total lung volume measurements, breathing gas mixtures with varying concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and a lung diffusion capacity test. The final visit will involve two exercise tests breathing different levels of oxygen, arterial blood samples and saline contrast echocardiography will be performed to examine heart and lung function.

Relevance to subjects born premature:

It is our hope that this study will provide a fundamental understanding of the long-term heart and lung outcomes of premature birth.

Study Location:

The study will be conducted in the University of Oregon, Department of Human Physiology, Cardiopulmonary and Respiratory Lab, located on the 2nd floor of the Center for Medical Education and Research Building (722 E. 11th st.) on the Sacred Heart Medical Center campus.

Subjects will be compensated for participation in this study.

If interested, please contact

Ximeng Yang B.S. (541) 346-0822

Andrew Lovering Ph.D (541) 346-0831

Department of Human Physiology

1240 University of Oregon 122 Esslinger Eugene OR 97403