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Oct 2012

The Continuing Quest for Effective Early Interventions

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(10):961-962. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.729

In this issue of the Archives, McCormick and colleagues1 report the findings of a study that examined the impact of the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP) on the younger siblings of low-birth-weight infants who had been the focus of the intervention. The results are disappointing but important, as it is crucial to know the extent to which early interventions improve children's health and development, including siblings in parent-focused interventions. It is especially important to know the full range of benefits from such interventions using the results of randomized controlled trials, as the stakes of getting it wrong are high. Epidemiology, developmental biology, and epigenetics increasingly point to early experience as a major influence on health and development. This set of observations has led to high hope that early interventions and cross-disciplinary collaboration may promote development, protect children from “toxic” stress, and improve health during the life course.2 Target populations and intervention models matter.