Bugs, drugs and bubs – antibiotic use for asymptomatic bacteriuria in pregnancy, with a focus on maternal health outcomes

Project code:  MHS019

Department

Growing Up in New Zealand

Location

Auckland

Supervisor

Dr Mark Hobbs

Pregnant women in New Zealand are frequently tested for the presence of bacteria in the urine (asymptomatic bacteriuria) and are likely to receive antibiotic treatment if bacteriuria is found.  Asymptomatic bacteriuria has been associated with an increased risk of pyelonephritis and premature labour.  While these outcomes are potentially serious, there are growing concerns that urine testing and treatment are being performed excessively, and that this may lead to unnecessary exposure to antibiotics with consequences for antibiotic resistance and disturbance to the normal gut flora of the mother and the infant.

This project aims to build on a descriptive research looking at rates of urine testing and associated antibiotic use during pregnancy in the >6000 women enrolled in the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal cohort study, by comparing clinical outcomes (hospital admission with pyelonephritis and premature delivery of the infant) between women with and without bacteriuria, and between women who were treated and women who were not.

Skills

  • Literature search and review
  • Dataset linkage and data management, including use of Growing Up data and national administrative health datasets such as the National Minimum Dataset and the Pharmaceutical Collection
  • Statistical analyses for observational research, including multivariable regression methods using SAS software
  • Data interpretation and presentation
  • Professional scientific writing and the publication process

Parent-child conversations among at-risk families

Project code:  MHS087

Department

Growing Up in New Zealand

Location

Auckland

Supervisor

Amy Bird

We will be exploring how parents and children with a history of psychopathology discuss positive and negative events. We will also consider how families from different cultural backgrounds talk about emotional events differently. You will be part of a larger research team working on New Zealand's large, contemporary, diverse longitudinal cohort study: Growing Up in New Zealand.  

Skills

Conversation coding. Quantitative analysis. Literature reviews.

Childhood exposure to harmful traffic emissions in New Zealand

Project code:  MHS092

Department

Growing Up in New Zealand

Location

Auckland

Supervisor

Cameron Grant

The project aim is to estimate the pattern of childhood exposure to traffic-related air pollution in New Zealand.

Traffic-related air pollution has both short- and long-term adverse effects on respiratory health of children especially during the first few years of life. Six percent of traffic emission monitoring sites of Auckland and Waikato region fail compliance with the WHO Air Quality Guideline for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). It is unknown how this poor air quality affects New Zealand children and to what extent this impact varies by different regions, ethnicities and social deprivation levels.

Currently, the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Transport, and several regional councils generate traffic count data. In Auckland, there are more than thirteen thousand traffic count stations. Through the modeling of these count data and climatic conditions, it is possible to estimate the geographical distribution of NO2 levels. This provides a better estimate of the long-term exposure patterns of children to NO2 than can be obtained from the much more limited number of actual air quality monitoring sampling points of which there are only 143 in NZ.

This project will be based within New Zealand’s contemporary child cohort study Growing Up in New Zealand (www.growingup.co.nz) into which were enrolled 6853 children born in NZ in 2009 and 2010.  This project will involve examining the geographical coordinate data for the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort children and then identifying the locations of the traffic count and the meteorological stations that are close to the children’s homes in Auckland and Waikato regions.

Skills

The project will provide the opportunity to learn how to negotiate with different data source holders to obtain high quality data needed for geographical matching and to conduct simple statistical data analyses for estimating the childhood exposure patterns. The student will work with the staff members of the Growing Up in New Zealand team and learn about how environmental data is collected for health researches about child cohort studies. This studentship will provide some important skills and knowledge to study traffic-related air pollution as a health issue within the Growing Up in New Zealand study.

Hopes and dreams: what do parents want for their child's future?

Project code:  MHS157

Department

Growing Up in New Zealand

Location

Auckland

Supervisor

Lisa Underwood

2008 saw the launch of the landmark longitudinal study Growing up in New Zealand. This exciting and ground-breaking project has followed approximately 7,000 women from late pregnancy and their subsequent children from birth up to 54 months of age.

Growing Up aims to understand the needs, life trajectories, developmental experience and aspirations of our participants and their families in New Zealand today. The study will provide relevant and robust evidence to improve policy development for all our families as well as improve our understanding of outcomes and equity. The study participants reflect the diversity of New Zealand’s families in the context of our evolving society, environment and identity.

The summer project will focus on qualitative data analysis of responses provided by mothers taking part in the study when they were asked, during the 54 month data collection wave, about their hopes, dreams and expectations for their child. There will be opportunities to engage with other areas of the study, in particular, the education domain with a focus on early childhood education.

Skills

This project will provide an opportunity for a student to develop independent research skills, including literature review, data analysis, presentation of results, and communication of research findings.

The student will be supervised within the research team and there will be opportunities to engage with our Psychosocial and Cognitive Development Investigators from the School of Psychology.

Specific skills taught will be: working as part of a large multidisciplinary team, quantitative and qualitative research methods, data processing and statistical analysis and writing skills for publication.

The project would most suit a third year student, especially someone interested in continuing with an honours project. Second year students will also be considered. Skills required are enthusiasm and initiative, an ability to communicate, and independence, combined with a genuine interest in research and a demonstrated ability to work in a team environment.