Neonatal medical research

Children born preterm or who have experienced an event of little oxygen to the brain during birth, may have an increased risk of brain injury. In addition, preterm children face challenges related to immature organs such as immature lungs and the need for breathing support. The neonatal research spans across different topics related to the treatment of sick newborns and preterm children.

Our aim is to contribute to the reduction of risk for permanent injury and to improve the quality of life for these children and their families. The research group is led by Associate professor Ragnhild Støen.

At the moment we have the following research projects:

Computer based video analysis to predict cerebral palsy (CP) in high-risk infants

Perinatal asphyxia in a global perspective, including treatment and diagnosis

  • Tests the effect of mild hypothermia (cooling) as neuroprotection in infants with neonatal encelphalopathy after perinatal asphyxia in Vellore, India.
  • Studies the accuracy of clinical selection criteria for cooling.

Skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care) and pain reduction

  • Studies the effect of skin-to-skin in the delivery room for preterm infants born at 28-32 weeks of gestation on physiological parameters, later cognitive and motor function and maternal mental health.
  • Studies the effect of skin-to-skin (kangaroo care) during eye examination of premature infants.
  • Studies the lowest effective dose of sucrose as pain reduction during painful procedures.

Breathing support for preterm babies

  • Studies different methods for non-invasive ventilator support to preterm infants.

Ethical questions surrounding the treatment of very preterm babies born on the limit of viability

  • Studies attitudes towards infants born at the limit of viability among different groups of healthcare providers.

The research group is interdisciplinary and has close contact with other clinical environments and research groups at St. Olavs Hospital and NTNU. Nationally, we collaborate with the University Hospital in Oslo, the University Hospital in Northern Norway and the Hospital in Levanger. Internationally we collaborate with research environments in the USA, India, China, Turkey and South Africa.

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Newborn baby. Photo: iStock

The research group:

In addition there are several PhD candidates and medical master students attached to the group.