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Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health Annual Report 2014-2015

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Our Research

The Department of Paediatrics has extensive research interests in child health and particularly in the areas of Growth, Diabetes, Obesity, Turner's Syndrome and Down syndrome. Research includes epidemiology, clinical, quality of life, molecular and laboratory aspects. Professor Hoey is President elect of the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) and will host the Annual Scientific Conference in Dublin 2014.

The Irish National Growth Standards were developed by Professor Hilary Hoey based on data from over 7,000 Irish children. These include standards on height, weight and height velocity from birth to 18 years and also standards for skinfold thickness and head circumference These standards are now applied throughout the country in primary, secondary and tertiary care. The Department led the Irish component of the European Longitudinal growth study on children from birth to 3 years to evaluate the effects of feeding, socio-economic environment, disease, genetic and geographical determinants, serum zinc on growth and the construction of European growth standards was performed by the department of paediatrics.

The Department of Paediatrics in the National Children's Hospital in Tallaght is the Irish centre for the Interational Study of Children Born Small for Gestational Age (NESGAS Study) in collaboration with the Coombe Women's Hospital, national paediatricians and endocrinologists, the Universities of Cambridge Copenhagen and Stockholm. This study is led by Professor Hoey and Dr Edna Roche and has been performed by Dr Susan O'Connell and Ms Elaine O'Mullane RGN, RM. Extensive research on growth, body composition, laboratory growth factors, binding proteins, hormonal assays, lipid analysis and glycaemia. In addition we are the national centre for the European Study on children born small for gestation age this includes clinical assessment, auxology, molecular aspects and of growth factors, binding proteins, hormonal assays, lipid analysis, HbA1c and glucose estimation following growth hormone stimulation tests and intravenous glucose tolerance tests in children born. We have directed the body composition component of this study including assessment and analysis.

Other major research studies on growth include an extensive national study of children with Prader Willi Syndrome including management, efficacy and safety of growth hormone, body composition, quality of life and family burden by Dr Judith Meehan. The National Children's Hospital in Tallaght is the main tertiary centre for children with Prader Willi Syndrome. Professor Hoey is the Irish medical representative on the International Prader Willi Syndrome Organisation.

The National Children's Hospital is the main tertiary centre for girls with Turner's syndrome. There are many research projects in progress, including height, renal and cardiovascular assessment, psychosocial functioning, and molecular aspects including presence of Y chromosome material and clinical outcomes. The Hospital with the TCD Dept of Paediatrics is the Irish centre for the European Study on children with Turner's Syndrome, their transition to adult services and long-term medical outcomes and Quality of Life. Professor Hoey is a member of the European Paediatric Research Steering Committee on Turner's Syndrome. A study in collaboration with the European Society of Paediatric Endocrinology on the children and adolescents with Turner's Syndrome is being conducted in the Department by Dr Aisling Myers.

Major ongoing national and international research on obesity is being conducted and led by Dr Edna Roche in collaboration with paediatric and adult medical staff at AMNCH, academic departments in TCD including Dr Juliette Hussey, Head of Department of Physiotherapy. Trinity hosted the European Childhood Obesity Conference in September 2009 and Professor Hoey was president of the organising committee.

The Department of Paediatrics is a key participant and contributed to the development of the proposal and protocol in the Growing up in Ireland National Longitudinal Study of Children which is being undertaken jointly by the University of Dublin, Trinity College and the Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland co-directed by Professor James Williams, ESRI and Professor Sheila Greene, Professor of Childhood Research and Director of the Children's Research Centre at Trinity College with the health component led by Professor Tom O'Dowd.

Major research projects on diabetes are being conducted by the department. International studies on metabolic control and quality of life in children with Type 1 Diabetes including the development of international quality of life instruments for children, adolescents, parents and health professionals caring for young people with diabetes. This research is led by Professor Hilary Hoey who is a member of the steering committee of The Hvidoere International Study Group on Childhood Diabetes and The National Children's Hospital, Tallagh is the Irish centre. A significant number of international research projects have been completed and more are in progress, these include: a longitudinal study of metabolic control, immunological markers, molecular aspects and quality of life on over 2,000 children from 22 countries around the world, including Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. Professor Hoey developed new international quality of life instruments in collaboration with Professor Hannah McGee, RCSI; and Professor Michael Fitzgerald, TCD for the assessment of Quality of life in adolescent with diabetes and Quality of Life and family burden of parents of children with diabetes. These questionnaires have been translated into 17 languages and the ongoing research is being conducted in 22 international centres in Europe, North America, Australia and Japan.

Key epidemiological studies of type 1 diabetes have been performed within the department led by Dr Edna Roche including the first national prospective longitudinal study on the incidence of insulin dependent diabetes. Dr Edna Roche has developed a national register for children with diabetes. This study in collaboration with the Eurodiab network and other diabetes registries worldwide, will play a vital role in determining the aetiology of Type 1 diabetes and on its management and outcome.

A national study on the prevalence of cystic fibrosis related diabetes, insulin secretion and resistance, continuous glucose monitoring, molecular aspects and quality of life in children with cystic fibrosis is led by Professor Hoey and Dr Edna Roche and was conducted in collaboration with Dr Peter Greally and Dr Basil Elnazir in the National Children's Hospital in also in collaboration with the three Dublin childrens' hospitals. The study was conducted by Dr Stephen O'Riordan and Ms Shirly George.

We have established a National Resource Centre with extensive international research projects on Down Syndrome which have been performed by Dr Joan Murphy. The Department has undertaken the definitive national study of children and young people with Down syndrome and established national medical guidelines for this group. Ms Angela O'Riordan has recently been appointed to conduct a national research project on the care and needs of newborn infants with Down Syndrome and their families. The Department of Paediatrics co-hosted the World Congress on Down Syndrome in Dublin in July 2009, of which Professor Hoey was Chairman of the Scientific Committee and Dr Joan Murphy Honorary Secretary. Both Professor Hoey and Dr Joan Murphy are members of the steering committee of the Down's Syndrome Medical Interest Group of Ireland and UK.

Last updated 15 December 2016 Web Administrator (Email).