Determining the Effect of Circadian Lighting on Premature Infants’ DNA Methylation
Neonatal Nursing, Nursing Care, Low Stress Nursing Care
0000-0002-7525-3278, 0000-0002-8831-9360, 0000-0002-2854-0637, 0000-0002-9419-5798, 0000-0001-5165-685X, 0000-0002-3038-897X, 0000-0003-1722-4150, 0000-0002-0418-288X, 0000-0001-8257-5796, 0000-0002-4743-7512, 0000-0003-3230-3471, 0000-0002-7402-9311, 0000-0002-0759-2657, 0000-0001-5055-2442
Evidence shows that premature infants in the NICU experiencing stress in the areas of parental detachment, pain, and exposure to noxious stimuli undergo DNA methylation (Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). These epigenetic changes cause long-term effects similar to PTSD.
The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of evidence-based low-stress nursing care including circadian lighting on premature infants’ DNA methylation levels at SLC6A4 alleles.
The study will be conducted in 3 phases with infants admitted to the level III NICU. The anticipated number of participants is 150 to 200. The first phase includes obtaining a baseline oral swab for DNA in the control group. Phase two begins with evidence-based nursing care. Focus of care will be to reduce pain by low-stress nursing care. After 50 infants’ data are collected, phase three will begin with circadian lighting. The initial swab will be obtained before 2 days of age. The second will be obtained 24 hours before discharge. The baseline swab shows the levels of methylation due to maternal stress passed to the infant. This compares methylation levels from hospitalization to those inherited from mom.
Circadian Lighting, which changes morning, evening, and night helps create a 24- hour cycle with calming light tones to aid in creating their circadian rhythm (Linander et al., 2020). Bright light exposure at night causes DNA methylation changes (Fonken & Nelson, 2016). Environmental lighting affects biological processes and sleep states (Miriam & Ariagno, 2000). Cycled lighting decreases length of hospital stay and increased weight gain (Miriam & Ariagno, 2000). Current research demonstrates stressful events cause DNA changes in premature infants (Montirosso et al., 2016; Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). This research provides low-stress interventions to infants mitigating DNA changes. DNA methylation is significant to understand the impact of nursing care.
Cavinder, Christina DNP, RN, CPNP-PC; Schooley, Angela M. Ph.D.; Caesar, Sarah; Cookerly, Rylee; Czerwonka, Claire; Foy, Christina; Heisler, Elizabeth; Kraus, Brie; Madon, Taylor; Messina, Bianca; Neisler, Morgan; Nolan, Olivia; Nunemaker, Betsy; Recker, Olivia; Roth, Elizabeth; Tracy, Sara; and Winkle, Jamie, "Determining the Effect of Circadian Lighting on Premature Infants’ DNA Methylation" (2021). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 996.