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Projects

Research project
What is the MIND the Vax Gap project? We want to understand parents' views on vaccination and factors that may affect their decisions about vaccinating their children. We know that getting children vaccinated may not always be easy. We are looking at three groups: children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (autism), children with Down Syndrome, and children from the general population. We want to learn more about what factors affect vaccine uptake for these children and their siblings. We also want to find out what concerns parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders might have about getting their children vaccinated. We hope this information will help us develop better ways to support parents to make their vaccination decisions and access vaccination services more easily. Who can take part? Parents with children: aged under 18 years who have a diagnosis of autism, or a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, or from general population (typically ...
Research project
What is PEAT? We are studying egg oral immunotherapy in combination with probiotics to see if it is effective in treating children with egg allergy. Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in childhood affecting almost 9 per cent of babies in Australia and up to 2.5 per cent of children worldwide. Because eggs are a common cooking ingredient, accidental ingestion is common, causing frequent and sometimes life-threatening reactions. Currently the standard of care for treatment of egg allergy is the total avoidance of egg. We want to see if probiotic food immunotherapy is effective in treating egg allergies. Who can take part? Children: Aged 5-17 years Allergic to hen’s egg What will I be asked to do? For this study, the children will be randomly allocated into one of two groups. Half the children will go into an active group (probiotic and egg oral immunotherapy) and ...
Research project
Brain, cognition, mental health and functional outcomes in Type 1 diabetes – ~thirty year follow-up of the Royal Children’s Hospital Cohort What is the project about? We are conducting research examining the impact of Type 1 Diabetes on long-term brain, cognitive, mental health and functional outcomes. In order to interpret our results, we need to compare the outcomes of our Type 1 Diabetes participants with a group of healthy individuals of similar age. We are looking for adults who are happy to be part of this healthy control group! Who can take part? Individuals who are: aged between 28 – 44 years willing to attend a one off assessment appointment at MCRI (approximately 3.5 hours) Who cannot take part? Individuals with: a history of neurological illness history of brain injury current chronic illness What will I be asked to do? Complete a short questionnaire asking questions about your education, employment ...
Research project
What is PrEggNut? By 1 year of age, 10% (1 in every 10) of babies will develop a food allergy. Evidence to date suggests that the ideal time to prevent food allergy may be during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but little is known about the effect of what mothers eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding on the risk of food allergies in their babies. This research is testing whether the amount of eggs and peanuts a mother eats during pregnancy and breastfeeding has an influence on her baby’s food allergy development. Study results will be used to develop national recommendations about how much egg and peanut to eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding to reduce egg and peanut allergies in babies. Who can take part? Pregnant women who: are less than 23 weeks gestation (singleton pregnancy), AND have at least two family members (themselves, partner or child/ren) with or with a history of ...
Research project
Program leader: Ken Pang Referrals of young transgender individuals to clinical services are rising exponentially across the western world. Consistent with this, recent population-based estimates suggest that the prevalence of young people identifying as transgender is around 1%, which is much higher than previously thought. Providing optimal clinical care for transgender young people is critical. A recent community-based survey of 859 Australian trans youth found a significant proportion had been diagnosed with depression (75%) and anxiety (72%), with 80% of respondents reported having self-harmed and 48% having attempted suicide (Strauss et al, 2017). Many of these young people lacked access to gender-affirming health care, and there is increasing evidence that providing supportive clinical care to transgender youth significantly improves mental health and wellbeing. The Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service (RCHGS) provides care to transgender children and adolescents, and is one of the largest multidisciplinary clinics of its kind in the ...
Research project
Program leader: Frank Muscara Overview of team Global demand for accessible, evidence-based and cost-effective healthcare is rising. Advances in technology together with its increasing use and declining costs have opened up valuable opportunities for its application in healthcare. The Digital Health team is focused on identifying new ideas and approaches to the incorporation of technology in the paediatric health setting, and aims to develop and evaluate digital health solutions, that can be implemented into clinical care at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Overview of individual projects that are currently/actively being worked on within the team Banksia App study Safety plans are an important intervention to mitigate suicide risk and self-harm. When patients are treated within the inpatient mental health ward, safety plans are completed on paper. Patients may keep the paper based safety plan visible in a specific location, hide it or lose it. This may result in the plan not ...
Research project
Program leader: Jonathan Payne Overview The vision of the Genetics and Neurodevelopment team is to better understand the developmental neuroscience and abnormal psychology of genetic conditions that cause common neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Rather than researching these neurodevelopmental disorders in the general population, in which the cause of the condition is unknown, our research examines the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental pathology in the context of a single gene mutation where the cause is known. Our research program integrates four main goals: (1) characterising symptoms and clinical outcomes (2) identifying novel neuroimaging markers (3) disease modelling using state-of-the-art laboratory protocols and (4) translating findings into disease-directed clinical trials. Characterising the neurodevelopmental profile of children with a single gene mutation will further our understanding of the difficulties and outcomes experienced as part of these conditions. Our research will have significant implications for developing ...
Research project
Program Leader: Associate Professor Brigid Jordan BSW PhD Research in our team is focused on understanding the relationship between early life stress – as a result of serious illness and hospital experience or significant family stress and social disadvantage – and the health and mental health of infants and young children and their families. Our research has a strong focus on clinical and translational outcomes in paediatric social work and infant mental health. Research Project 1: Changing the Trajectories of Australia's Most Vulnerable Children - The Early Years Education Program Randomised Controlled Trial Click here or visit eyerp.org for more information. Project 2: Infant and Family Wellbeing after Cardiac Surgery: Life as a Pre-schooler The aim of this project is to investigate the developmental trajectory and predictors of emotional and behavioural regulation in children who had cardiac surgery early in life. This is a longitudinal, prospective cohort study of a ...
Research project
Program leader: Louise Crowe, PhD A developmental insult is when normal brain development is interrupted. This could occur through an injury such as a traumatic brain injury or stroke, or could be due to other causes such as epilepsy, exposure to medication prenatally or a genetic disorder. Early childhood is a time of intense brain and skill development. If brain development is interrupted it can have a long-term impact on function, with young children often particularly vulnerable to poor outcome. The research in this group is focused on the outcomes of these insults in cognitive, behavioural and social areas. Research is also focused on the benefits of intervention for children following developmental insult. The goal of our team is to enhance the understanding of how an insult can influence development in early childhood and the vulnerabilities of young children. Additionally, we are focused on tailoring and administering interventions for young ...
Research project
Program leader: Professor Vicki Anderson By the age of 10, 1 in 5 children (~51,000 in Australia alone) will sustain a concussion and present with acute Post-Concussion Symptoms (PCS). These symptoms vary from child to child, with the most common being headache, irritability and fatigue, and cognitive disruptions. At The Royal Children’s Hospital Emergency Department this equates to 1000+ concussions yearly, costing >$10M. These PCS resolve spontaneously within 4 weeks in 60% of children and youth, who then safely return to pre-injury activities, leaving ~40% suffering ‘persisting PCS’ (> 2 PCS lasting 4 weeks or more). Persisting PCS cause low tolerance for academic and sport/leisure activities, as well as secondary disruptions to education, fitness and mental health. The family impact of child concussion is significant: medical costs (e.g., radiology, allied health), lost work and school days and parent and child-related stress. Despite their debilitating impact, there is minimal understanding as ...