Future Topics of Interest

Prenatal Predictors of Birth Outcomes and Child Development

Two children in front of their house

Two children in front of their house

The journal Lancet reported in 2011 that India has the greatest burden of reproductive health, and child health, and nutrition in the world. 52 million children are recorded as having stunted growth, 1.8 million deaths occur among children under the age of 5, and close to 68,000 mothers die in the birth-giving process every year. Experts who contributed to this article suggest that future interventions should focus on the prevention of undernutrition during the first two years of life.

IROI is in the process of brainstorming a longitudinal study that would investigate the correlation of physiological, social, and mental components of prenatal health with birth outcomes as well as childhood development.

Effects of Deafness in Children

According to estimates by Charutar Arogya Mandal, 1 in 100 children in the surrounding region suffer from hearing deficits. On a national level, 63 million people are deaf, making it the second leading cause of disability. The Government of India has launched a program for controlling and preventing deafness throughout the country. This program plans on providing resources, such as hearing aids, to help individuals manage the disability.

IROI is interested in studying the effects of congenital or induced deafness in children and how absence or diminished audio input affects sensory development. This research will increase awareness of the multimodal impact deafness can have on a person. The inspiration for this concept of utilizing existing health inequities to advance medical knowledge comes from Dr. Pawan Sinha’s work with the congenitally blind population of India. Dr. Sinha’s “Project Prakash” couples the humanitarian mission of providing treatment to the blind in India with the scientific opportunity of studying how neural circuitry is altered. Similarly, IROI will explore different way to understand the effects of deafness and utilize that knowledge to guide improvements in the provision of treatments for deaf children in India.

Cessation of Tobacco Use

The rampant consumption of chewing tobacco within the Indian population has resulted in throat cancer as one of the most prominent and fatal diseases in the country. Nicotine addiction also imposes tremendous economic strain on families, especially those experiencing extreme poverty. An even more troubling trend is tobacco addition among young children. In an effort to reduce tobacco consumption, the public sector mandated that manufacturers clearly indicate the harmful nature of the product on the packaging. In some states, such as Gujarat, laws also prohibit the sale of tobacco within a certain distance of schools.

A 14-year old with history of heavy use of tobacco (left) versus no use of tobacco (right)

A 14-year old with history of heavy use of tobacco (left) versus no use of tobacco (right)

Despite these regulatory measures, a large and growing population still suffers from nicotine addiction due to chewing tobacco. A future study could focus on the effectiveness of various methods of tobacco cessation, particularly among adolescent males.