The ENRICH study aims to understand the effects of lifestyles, sensory experiences and sleep patterns on the cognitive development of healthy infants.

What is ENRICH?

The Infant Baby Enrichment Research Programme, known as ENRICH, is focused on understanding how sleep contributes to the healthy development of infants. Studies have shown that brain development and learning are heavily influenced by sleep. Regular, quality sleep helps to optimise physical growth and brain plasticity, while a lack of sleep has been linked to long term negative impacts on behaviours and learning ability. 

The ENRICH programme will research the effects of lifestyles, sensory experiences and sleep patterns on the cognitive development of healthy infants.

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How does ENRICH work?

ENRICH will discover the relationship between sleep and infant development through the work of three interlinked projects: 

  • MyBaby
  • GentleTouch
  • BabySMART

MyBaby examines the relationship between early life environment of infants, their sleeping and other lifestyle habits and the long term neuro-cognitive outcomes. MyBaby will use data from the BASELINE study, one of Infant's flagship studies.

GentleTouch will investigate ways of measuring the brain's response to gentle touch stimuli. To achieve this, the project will develop software and hardware which measures SSEP (Somatosensory Evoked Potentials) through collaboration with University College London. 

BabySMART will research the effect and potential of baby massage. Parents are trained as part of a structured intervention programme to understand the relationship between massage and the quality and quantity of sleep. A randomised control trial will follow, which will determine if a multisensory enrichment programme in the first four months of life can improve sleep patterns and long term outcomes in healthy infants. This will be a collaborative project between University College Cork and University College London. 

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The ENRICH team began work in January 2017.

Industry Partner

The ENRICH programme is supported by Johnson & Johnson, who are supplying the study with ‘head to toe extra moisturising’ baby products to use during the study.  All Johnson & Johnson products provided are commercially available.

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