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The Baby BEAN Project is a clinical research study aimed at improving our nutritional care of preterm infants through measurement of body composition. We hope to establish a simple and very accurate way to measure body composition and then create a growth chart that can be used in NICUs everywhere. For babies born less than 32 weeks, we also plan to measure body composition changes over time, from birth until a baby’s first birthday, and aim to learn how body composition relates to health and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
This study is a project that will enroll about 390 babies across four sites:

– Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts

– The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota

– Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

All bodies are made up of fat, protein (example: muscles), minerals (example: bones), and water. This is called our ‘body composition.’ Measuring body composition, especially fat-free mass, is an important way that we assess nutritional status of babies in the NICU. However, we do not currently have a body composition growth chart for the smallest and most fragile babies admitted to the NICU.

The overall goal of the Baby BEAN Project is to create these tools!

We plan to establish a simple and very accurate way to measure body composition and then create a growth chart that can be used in NICUs everywhere – for even the tiniest babies.

For babies born less than 32 weeks, we also plan to measure body composition changes over time, from birth until a baby’s first birthday and aim to learn how body composition relates to brain health and neurodevelopmental outcomes.

This study includes measurements of growth and body composition at birth and, for babies born less than 32 weeks, weekly timepoints during a baby’s NICU stay as well as a visit to a follow-up clinic around 12 months of age.

FUNDING AND SUPPORT

Funding for this study is currently being provided by the National Institutes of Health.

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