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Christine Gleason, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics
Research Affiliate, Center on Human Development and Disability
University of Washington
Box 356320
Seattle, WA 98195-6320

Dr. Gleason's research focuses on the effects of drugs on the developing brain. She has used a fetal sheep model to study the effects of fetal alcohol exposure on regulation of brain blood flow. Most research on fetal alcohol syndrome has focused on alcohol's many neurotoxic effects. However, heavy alcohol use in adults increases the risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (such as stroke). Gleason theorizes that alcohol may affect developing brain blood vessels as well. The goal of her research is to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms for alcohol's detrimental effects on the developing brain.

Gleason is currently embarking on a new series of experiments using developing rats, focusing on the long-term effects of neonatal morphine on the developing brain.  Critically ill infants in the neonatal ICU are often treated with narcotics such as morphine to relieve pain and stress.  While the short-term benefits of this therapy may be clear, the potential long-term side effects are not known. The overall goal of these new studies is to provide a better rationale for neonatal therapeutics—weighing both the risks and the benefits, short and long term—in order to optimize neonatal outcomes.

Christine Gleason's Department of Pediatrics web page

CHDD Outlook article (1999)

University of Washington • Center on Human Development and Disability Box 357920 • Seattle WA 98195-7920 USA • 206-543-7701 •