Neonatal Intensive Care studies

Our research aims to give all babies a healthy start for life, but some babies, for example those born early, very small, very large or to mothers with gestational diabetes, face greater challenges.

Clinical researchers at the Liggins Institute are investigating ways to improve clinical care for small and preterm infants during the vulnerable neonatal period and improve their long-term health outcomes. Clinical research includes involvement in large, multi-centre international and local randomised controlled trials.

If your baby has been admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), you may be invited to take part in one of these studies.

FLORA: Flow at Lower Rates

Around half of all babies born before 28 weeks’ gestation develop respiratory disease and have need for breathing support past 36 weeks’ corrected age. These babies generally require longer hospitalisation, more frequent re-admission to hospital and have a higher risk of developing asthma.

FLORA is a randomised controlled trial using new approaches to optimise ventilation practices and reduce chronic lung disease in extremely preterm babies.
FLORA is recruiting extremely preterm babies in neonatal intensive care units throughout NZ. If you think your baby is eligible please talk to your newborn intensive care team about taking part in this study. 

HINT Studies

High blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia) are common in very small babies and are associated with poor outcomes, including potential brain injury and death. Hyperglycaemia is usually treated with insulin, but in very small babies it can be difficult to determine the correct dose and requirements change rapidly. This means that a baby’s blood sugar levels can fall too low (hypoglycaemia) putting them at further risk of brain damage.

Our HINT Studies are investigating the development of children who were treated for hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose concentration) as preterm newborns. HINT2 is trialling the effectiveness of a specially developed computer model that aims to improve control of blood glucose concentrations in babies being treated with insulin, and reduce the incidence of hypoglycaemia

HINT2 is recruiting very small babies (born at ≤ 1500g or ≤ 30 weeks) who are being treated with insulin in newborn intensive care units in NZ. If you think your baby is eligible please talk to your newborn intensive care team about taking part in this study or email the coordinating neonatologist

PROVIDE: Protein intravenous nutrition for extremely low birth weight babies: impact on development

Being born very small has long term effects on growth and neurodevelopment. Up to 50% of extremely low birth weight babies experience some neurodevelopmental impairment in childhood.

ProVIDe is a randomised controlled trial investigating how increasing protein intake in the first days after birth in extremely low birth weight babies affects their growth, metabolic and neurodevelopmental outcomes.

There is international agreement that increased protein intake in the neonatal period improves both growth and neurodevelopment, however the optimal amount of protein required is not known.

ProVIDe is recruiting very low birth weight babies (<1000 g) in all neonatal intensive care units in NZ. If you think your baby might be eligible when they are born, please talk to your obstetrician, delivery team and newborn intensive care team, either before baby is born or immediately after – babies need to be enrolled within 24 hours of birth.

For more information email the study coordinator.

Follow up studies during childhood

Families whose babies have been through neonatal intensive care units are frequently invited to participate in follow-up studies of perinatal care. We are also currently following-up specific groups of children who took part in the A*TEROID, CHYLD and PIANO studies. If you are eligible to take part in these studies, you should be contacted by a member of the study team.

Many of these trials are now in the follow up phase, which means assessing how the children born in these studies are doing now. Follow ups are a critical part of our research because they tell us which treatments or interventions have the biggest impact on a child’s longer term health and development.

For detailed information about past and present studies, read more about the clinical research carried out by the LiFePATH team.