Nigel Paneth, MD, MPH

Emeritus University Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Pediatrics

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
909 Wilson Road Room B601
East Lansing, MI  48824

Curriculum Vitae

Nigel Paneth is a pediatrician and perinatal and child health epidemiologist with a particular interest in the causes and prevention of childhood neurodevelopmental handicap, especially cerebral palsy (CP).





After training in pediatrics and epidemiology, Dr. Paneth began his academic career at Columbia University in 1978 in the newly established Sergievsky Center, a research unit created to examine the etiology of epilepsy and other brain disorders. There he conducted studies of the relationship of perinatal medical care to patterns of fetal and infant mortality, particularly in premature infants [1]. This was followed by the Neonatal Brain Hemorrhage

Study, a population-based longitudinal follow-up of a cohort of infants who weighed < 2 kg at birth which was, with NIH support, continued for more than 20 years [2]. This study produced a monograph on brain damage in premature infants based on newborn cranial ultrasound imaging and brain pathological examination [3], and showed the relationship of newborn cranial ultrasound images to CP [4], mental retardation [5] and hyperactivity [6]. Low levels of thyroid hormone [7], failure to receive MgSO4 in labor [8], and hypocapnea from mechanical ventilation [9] were shown to be risk factors for CP in this study.

From 1996-99, Dr. Paneth led an AHRQ-funded international study of low birthweight outcomes (Holland, Canada, Germany, US, Jamaica). A key finding from that study is a much higher rate of disabling CP in premature infants born at the border of viability in a US population, where intensive care was universal, than in Holland, where such care was more selectively offered [10]. Behavioral disorders in babies weighing under 1000g were remarkably similar in different countries [11], as was the prevalence of school problems [12]. These research themes continued with a multi-hospital observational study of molecular antecedents of brain damage in infants born prior to 28 weeks gestation [13], and an international Phase 1-2 trial of thyroid hormone supplementation in such infants. [14].

Dr. Paneth’s NIH-supported case-control study of CP (2009-2012) opened up two new lines of investigation. First, his team showed that considerable amounts of mRNA are reliably preserved on newborn blood spots [16 – 18], and second, that gene expression in the newborn period differs in children who will later develop CP [19]. His continued interest in CP is reflected in serving on the international task force on the definition and classification of CP [19] and co-editing the first full-scale textbook of CP science and clinical management [20]

Dr. Paneth has a strong interest in epidemiologic history, reflected in his co-authorship of a 2003 biography of the 19th century father of epidemiology and scientific anesthesiology, John Snow [21].



Dr. Paneth teaches Introductory Epidemiology (EPI 810), Perinatal Epidemiology (EPI 816) and a doctoral seminar in Scientific Proposal Development (EPI 935)
From 1999-2005, he directed a K-30 research training program whose major focus was on training health care providers to do research in community settings. From 2005 - 2015, he directed the nation’s only T32 research training program focused on providing both pre and post-doctoral training in the field of perinatal epidemiology.



Dr. Paneth came to the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University in 1989 to develop a Program in Epidemiology. The Program became a Department in 1997, with Paneth serving from 1997 – 2002 as its first chair. He also served as Associate Dean for Research of the College from 2000-2006.



1. Paneth N, Kiely JL, Wallenstein S, Marcus M, Pakter J, Susser MW. Newborn intensive care and neonatal mortality in low birthweight infants: A population study. New Eng J Med 1982; 307:149-155.

2. Pinto-Martin J, Paneth N, Witomski T, Stern I, Schonfeld S, Rosenfeld D, Rose W, Kazam E, Kairam R, Katsikiotis V, Susser M. The central New Jersey neonatal brain hemorrhage study: Design of the study and reliability of ultrasound diagnosis. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 1992; 6:273-284.

3. Paneth N, Rudelli R, Kazam E, Monte W. Brain Damage in the Preterm Infant. (Clinics in Developmental Medicine No. 131). London: Mac Keith Press, 1994.

4. Pinto-Martin J, Riolo S, Cnaan A, Holzman C, Susser MW, Paneth N. Cranial ultrasound prediction of disabling and non-disabling cerebral palsy in a low birthweight population. Pediatrics 1995; 95:249-254.

5. Whitaker AH, Feldman JF, Van Rossem R, Schonfeld IS, Pinto-Martin JA, Torre C, Blumenthal SR, Paneth N. Neonatal cranial ultrasound abnormalities: Relation to cognitive outcomes at age six. Pediatrics 1996; 98:719-729.

6. Whitaker A, Van Rossem R, Feldman J, Schonfeld I, Torre C, Pinto-Martin J, Blumenthal S, Shaffer D, Paneth N. Perinatal brain injury as detected by neonatal cranial ultrasound: psychiatric sequelae in LBW children at age six. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1997; 54:847-856.

7. Reuss L, Paneth N, Lorenz JM, Pinto-Martin J, Susser M. Transient hypothyroxinemia in preterm infants and neurodevelopment at age two. New England J Med 1996; 334:821-827.
8. Paneth N, Jetton J, Pinto-Martin J, Susser M and the NBH Study Team. Magnesium sulfate in labor and risk of neonatal brain lesions and cerebral palsy in low birthweight infants. Pediatrics 1997; 97:723.

9. Collins M, Paneth N, Lorenz J. Hypocapnia, prolonged ventilation, and risk of disabling cerebral palsy in low birth weight infants. Pediatric Research 2001; 50:712-719.
10. Lorenz JM, Paneth N, Jetton JR, den Ouden L, Tyson JE: Comparison of management strategies for extreme prematurity in New Jersey and the Netherlands: outcomes and resource expenditures. Pediatrics 2001;108;1269-1274.

11. Hille ETM, den Ouden AL, Wolke DFH, Saigal S, Hoult L, Lambert M, Meyer RA, Whitaker A, Pinto-Martin J, Feldman J, Verloove-Vanhorick P, Paneth N: Consistency in the types of behavioral problems reported in extremely low birthweight infants in four countries. Lancet 2001; 357:1641-3.

12. Saigal S, den Ouden L, Wolke D, Hoult L, Paneth N, Streiner DL, Whitaker A, Pinto-Martin JA: School-age outcomes in children who were extremely low birth weight from four international population-based cohorts. Pediatrics 2003;112:943-50.

13. O'Shea TM, Allred EN, Dammann O, Hirtz D, Kuban KC, Paneth N, Leviton A; ELGAN study Investigators The ELGAN study of the brain and related disorders in extremely low gestational age newborns. Early Hum Dev. 2009 85:719-25.

14. La Gamma E, van Wassenaer AG, Ares S, Golombek S, Kok JH, Quero J, Hong T, Rahbar MH, Morreale de Escobar G, Fisher DA, Paneth N: A randomized trial of four thyroid hormone regimens for transient hypothyroxinemia in neonates < 28 weeks gestation: the THOP 1 trial. Pediatrics 2009; 1242:e258-68.

15. Haak PT, Busik JV, Kort AJ, Tikhonenko M, Paneth N, Resau JH: Archived unfrozen neonatal blood spots are amenable to microarray gene expression analysis. Neonatology 2009;95:210-216

16. Slaughter J, Wei C, Korzeniewski SJ, Lu Q, Beck JS, Khoo SK, Brovont A, Maurer J, Martin D, Lenski M, Paneth N. High correlations in gene expression between paired umbilical cord blood and neonatal blood of healthy newborns on Guthrie cards. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2013 Dec;26(18):1765-7.

17. Wei C, Lu Q, Khoo S-K, Lenski M, Paneth N, Fichorova R, Leviton A: Comparison of Frozen and Unfrozen newborn blood spots for Gene Expression Studies. J Pediatrics 2014 Jan;164(1):189-191

18. Ho NT, Furge K, Fu W, Busik J, Khoo SK, Lu Q, Lenski M, Wirth J, Hurvitz E, Dodge N, Resau J, Paneth N. Gene expression in archived newborn blood spots distinguishes infants who will later develop cerebral palsy from matched controls. Pediatr Research. 2013;73:450-6.

19. Rosenbaum P, Paneth N, Leviton A, Goldstein M, Bax M: A report: the definition and classification of cerebral palsy, April 2006. Dev Med Child Neurol 2007; 109 (suppl) 8- 14.

20. Dan B, Mayston M, Paneth N, Rosenbloom L, eds: Cerebral Palsy: Science and Clinical Practice 736 pp. London: Mac Keith Press, 2014

21. Vinten-Johansen P, Brody H, Paneth N, Rachman S, Rip M: Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine: A Life of John Snow. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.  

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