Research Projects

Our research is translational in scope. We design experimental models of injury and focus on neuroprotective interventions that directly inform and change clinical practice. Our focus is on hypoxic ischaemic (HI) injury of the term infant around the time of birth (perinatal asphyxia) and effective treatments to reduce brain injury, in particular Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH). Since 2007, we have been building a population-based database of TH from our region of 2.6 million inhabitants and 30.000 annual deliveries. From this database, we predict outcome, optimize treatment protocols and monitor adverse effects. Furthermore, we assess combined treatments with TH such as breathing the inert gas Xenon. Combined treatment (TH+Xenon) and TH alone are being currently followed-up in patients in a phase 2 randomised trial.

    Experimental
    We use our experimental models designed to respond directly to a clinical question in order to develop optimal TH for infants. With this in mind, we have:
    1. Defined the effective time window, degree and duration of TH in our models.
    2. Investigated interactions with treatment and other morbidities like infection and hyperoxia.
    We are currently:
    1. Studying the effects of sedation on the neuroprotective effect of TH observed in newborn pigs. We had previously shown that TH only worked if animals were sedated during the treatment.
    2. Examining the effects of different types of stress after insult and later outcome in short- and long-term surviving animal models.

    Clinical
    We study the effects of morphine sedation and intubation in infants who have undergone TH on long-term outcome. We examine:
    1. The effects on seizures and later development of epilepsy in infants treated with TH.
    2. Mild HIE insults, outcomes and treatment options.
    3. Long-term cognitive outcome in infants who underwent TH.

    References
    Please refer to our publications on the right to find out more about our work.