One of the three core objectives of The Neonatal Trust is to aid neonatal-related medical research. Neonatal care is a comparatively fledgling clinical field. We support research so that the care delivered is enhanced and the long term consequences of prematurity are better understood – this for the thousands of babies who will be cared for each year in New Zealand.
Dr Max Berry is leading some wonderful research into the early care of neonatal babies and how these can impact their life beyond the NICU and/or SCBU. A recent Otago University article provides an insight into her work. . .
“We know that the first years of life are incredibly influential. It’s likely that for different organ systems, for different conditions, this is the window of time that makes the biggest difference to an individual’s lifetime trajectory for health and well-being.
“In very early life there is this incredible plasticity – the fetus and baby respond to all sorts of environmental cues and stimuli. For instance, even parental diet and stress levels before conception and during pregnancy have a role to play in determining their baby’s later health and health risks,” Berry says.
“For example, our research suggests that nutrition in the first month of life is likely to be important in setting your diabetes risk later on, whereas gestational age at birth has a powerful influence on cardiovascular disease risk. We also know that there are some really complex interactions linking gestational age, sex, multiple birth and a whole host of other factors that need to be explored further.”
You can read the full article here
Previous articles including Dr Max Berry and/or neonatal research include:
Over and above research, you can also see other examples of how The Neonatal Trust helps to support neonatal families here