Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, Dr Max Berry, has been awarded $180,120 by the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand to investigate the use of neurosteroid analogue therapy which could potentially prevent behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders developing in children and adolescents who are born prematurely.

Dr Berry’s research interest focuses on investigating the impact of preterm birth on the person’s long-term health.

“Despite all best efforts prem babies still have higher rates of learning and developmental problems compared to children born at full term,” Dr Berry explains.

“We want to try and reduce this gap so that children thrive, irrespective of their gestational age.”

Research Dr Berry has undertaken previously shows that hormones a baby would have been exposed to had it stayed in the womb until full term, help with brain development. When babies are born early, they miss out on these vital hormones.

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