We are currently researching into

Perinatal

Perinatal research is focused on the health impacts during the period from 28 weeks of gestation to the seventh day of life. So much crucial development takes place during this time, and research is vital to understand ways to best prevent, or mitigate the effects of adverse health events during this time.

In Progress Research

Does early nutrition in extremely preterm babies improve neurodevelopmental outcomes in early childhood?

Professor Frank Bloomfield and Ms Barbara Cormack University of Auckland  What is the problem and who does it affect? Roughly 5000 babies are born preterm (before 37 weeks’ gestation) each year in New Zealand. Where once their likelihood of survival was low, due to advances in medical care in recent years, many of these extremely premature babies are surviving. One…

Intranasal Immunomodulatory for Preterm Brain Injury

Associate Professor Mhoyra Fraser University of Auckland What is the problem and who does it affect? Each year in New Zealand around 500 babies are born preterm. The earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk he or she has of developing brain injury. Around half of the very preterm babies will have neurological and cognitive deficits that affect…

An individual participant data meta-analysis of going-to-sleep position and risk of late pregnancy stillbirth

Professor Lesley McCowan University of Auckland  What is the problem and who does it affect? Late stillbirth – the loss of a baby in the womb after 28 weeks of pregnancy – still affects around 1000 babies and families in New Zealand and Australia each year. The long-term effects of such a shock on a family can be devastating, heightened by…

A randomised controlled trial of sildenafil therapy to improve the growth of babies in the womb

Dr Katie Groom University of Auckland  What is the problem and who does it affect? Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a term used to characterise poor growth of a baby in a mother’s womb. It affects approximately 10% of all pregnancies, some of which need very early delivery before 32 weeks’ gestation. Tragically, it can also be a contributing cause…

An investigation into the long-term effects associated with being born very preterm

Professor Brian Darlow University of Otago, Christchurch What is the problem and who does it affect? Infants born very low birth weight or very preterm account for about two per cent of births, however, the medical resources expended on them are vastly disproportionate to their prevalence. Medical advances have meant that more and more of these babies are surviving, however…

PROVIDE: a randomised controlled trial of increased protein intake in extremely low birth weight babies (ELBW) in the first week of life to improve neurodevelopmental outcome

Professor Frank Bloomfield University of Auckland What is the problem and who does it affect? Fetal growth between 23 and 27 weeks is more rapid than at any other stage of human growth. This is also the same period of development during which extremely low birth-weight babies (ELBW; birth-weight < 1,000g) are born. It is estimated that 250 babies are…

Monitoring fetal movement to reduce the number of stillborn babies

Professor Ed Mitchell University of Auckland What is the problem and who does it affect? For every 1000 babies born in New Zealand, tragically, five will be stillborn; born dead after 20 weeks’ gestation. In 2011, 330 babies died as a result of stillbirth, resulting in unimaginable grief for mothers and families. New Zealand rates of stillbirth are not commensurate…

Promoting Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cell Maturation as a Treatment for Preterm Brain Injury

Dr Justin Dean University of Auckland What is the problem and who does it affect? Approximately 500 babies are born very prematurely each year in New Zealand. While the rate of survival of these babies has greatly increased due to advances in perinatal care, the fact is, they are at high risk of developing long-term problems, including neurological disorders. For…



Recently Completed Research

Using big data to investigate the long-term impacts of periviable births

Dr Nevil Pierse & Dr Max Berry University of Otago, Wellington What is the problem and who does it affect? 23-4 weeks’ gestation represents the very margin of human viability. However, the ‘optimal’ care for a woman at risk of delivering a baby at these extremes of gestational age remains uncertain. While it is now possible to resuscitate and keep…

Multi-centre case control stillbirth study

Professor Ed Mitchell University of Auckland What is the problem? For every 1000 babies born in New Zealand, tragically, five will be stillborn; born dead after 20 weeks’ gestation. In 2011, 330 babies died as a result of stillbirth, resulting in unimaginable grief for mothers and families. Stillbirth rates in high income countries vary considerably. Rates are higher in Maori…

The effects of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and infancy on dental health in early childhood

Associate Professor Cameron Grant University of Auckland What is the problem and who does it affect? Oral disease is one of New Zealand’s most prevalent chronic diseases. Maori, Pacific and socioeconomically deprived children have disproportionately high levels of tooth decay. Tooth development begins in the womb and children are at risk of cavities from infancy. Primary prevention that begins during…

Ventilator gas flows and bronchopulmonary disease in preterm babies: a randomised controlled trial

Dr Kitty Bach University of Auckland What is the problem and who does it affect? When babies are born extremely pre-term, mechanical ventilation is often necessary to assist their breathing and aid their survival but it can contribute to ventilator-induced lung injury, thereby predisposing them to the chronic respiratory condition, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). BPD affects up to 70% of babies…

Are babies treated with dextrose gel, a measure for reducing low blood sugar in babies, symptom-free at two years of age?

Professor Jane Harding University of Auckland What is the problem and how does it affect babies? Hypoglycaemia, which means a low blood sugar concentration, is the only readily preventable cause of brain damage in newborn babies. Up to 15% of newborn babies will have low blood sugar concentrations. However, this number is higher when the mother has diabetes (50%) or…

Personalising mechanical ventilation in neonatal intensive care units (NICU)

Professor Geoff Chase University of Canterbury What is the problem? Over 500 babies each year require mechanical ventilation (MV) to support their breathing in a New Zealand NICU due to disease, surgery or prematurity of birth. Achieving appropriate flows of oxygen for each baby is difficult, as each one responds distinctively to ventilation. Either too much or too little flow…