Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health

Caregiver vocabulary scores in parents of children born preterm and complexity of written information in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

Supervisor

Jane Alsweiler
Jane Harding

Discipline

Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health

Project code: MHS024

Parents of preterm babies are exposed to multiple sources of written information in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), including information leaflets, participant information sheets for research trials, consumer surveys and discharge letters. However, many parents of preterm babies may be teenagers, not have finished school, have cognitive impairment or not have English as a first language, which may mean that they can't understand written information provided in the NICU.

This project will involve analyzing the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test data from the parents who participated in the PIANO follow-up study of ex-preterm children to determine their receptive vocabulary. Various types of written information for parents in the NICU will be collected and the readability, including the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. We will then determine if the written information in the NICU is at a level suitable for parents of preterm children to understand.

Do pregnant women who report reduced fetal movements have objective evidence of reduced fetal movements?

Supervisor

Ed Mitchell
John Thompson

Discipline

Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health

Project code: MHS025

Women who experience a stillbirth often report that the baby’s movements reduced in frequency or strength. However advice to do “kick counts” and seek medical attention if there is a reduction in movements have not been shown to reduce stillbirths. This project will compare fetal movements in pregnant women who seek medical attention for reduced fetal movements with pregnant women in normal late (34-38 gestation) pregnancy. Fetal movements can be measured objectively using a Fetal Movement Activity Monitor (FMAM) which consists of accelerometers placed to detect both maternal and fetal movements. As part of another study we have recorded fetal movements in normal pregnancy (n=36) and those reporting reduced fetal movements (n=20). The project will analyse and compare fetal movements in both groups.

Attributes required: Well organised and attention to detail. Familiarity with Excel is an advantage.

Learning: Dealing with an important clinical problem, which may lead a change in clinical practice. Analysis of physiological data, data management, simple statistical analysis and report writing.

Factors associated with sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) in New Zealand in 2018

Supervisor

Ed Mitchell
Melanie MacFarlane

Discipline

Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health

Project code: MHS026

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) is the major cause of death of infants aged between one week and one year old. Between 2010 and 2015 the total (all cause) mortality rate decreased 29% in this age group. Furthermore, the decrease in mortality occurred mainly in Maori and in regions which had the strongest Safe Sleep Programme. The Safe Sleep Programme involved a focus on preventing accidental suffocation during sleep, a ‘blitz’ approach to SUDI education, and the targeted provision of portable infant Safe Sleep devices (wahakura and Pepi-Pod®). In August 2017, the Minister of Health announced new funding to support a National SUDI Prevention Programme.

In conjunction with the Chief Coroner we are collecting timely data about each infant death reported to the coroner. This project will establish a mortality database and from this examine the factors associated with SUDI in 2018. This translational research will monitor SUDI mortality in a timely manner, so as to inform the National SUDI Prevention Programme.

Attributes required: Well organised and attention to detail. Familiarity with Excel or Access is an advantage.

Learning: Dealing with an important clinical problem, which may lead a change in clinical practice. Analysis of routine health data, data management, simple statistical analysis and report writing.

Epidemiology of Oral HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Infection

Supervisor

Dr. Carol Chelimo
Dr. Deb Schlichting

Discipline

Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health

Project code: MHS039

HPV is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 150 different types that cause infection on the skin surface – this sometimes leads to certain types of cancers and warts. HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV has also been found in some cancers in the mouth and throat. Initial research shows that most oral HPV infections clear within a year or two. However, gaps in knowledge remain in understanding the epidemiology of oral HPV infection. The objective of the summer studentship is to undertake a systematic literature review to evaluate current evidence regarding the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of oral HPV infection, and how this knowledge could potentially be applied to prevention. The student will have the opportunity to gain knowledge on the topic and enhance their skills in epidemiology, critical thinking, methodical literature searching/review, critical appraisal of scientific literature, scientific writing, and summarising scientific literature (including presenting descriptive data as applicable). The studentship would suit a student who is interested in epidemiology and science, and also enjoys reading and writing.