Thursday 29 November 2018

We’ve reached a milestone!

The ENRICH team recently reached a significant milestone in the study completing all the 4-month appointments.

The Infant Baby Enrichment Research Programme, is better known as ENRICH. The programme – co-funded by Johnson & Johnson and Science Foundation Ireland – 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.

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The ENRICH programme is examining the effect of massage, delivered by the parents, trained according to a structured programme, on both the quality and quantity of sleep and on subsequent neurodevelopment.

Baby Conor and his mom Colleen pictured with Sean Mathieson, ENRICH senior clinical physiologist.

Since October 2017, a total of 182 participants attended the 4-month appointment in Cork University Hospital. Each appointment included a standardised development assessment (known as the Griffiths III assessment), a tool that is used to assess developmental ability in children. Following this assessment, infants then undertook a sleep EEG study. The EEG study was used to record a full sleep cycle which typically lasts 40 minutes for 4 month old infants.

What next?

The developmental outcome recorded will allow researchers to compare developmental performance with quality of sleep, massage and maternal wellbeing. Repeat assessment at 18 months of age will allow the ENRICH team to see how development progresses and if any improvements in performance are sustained.

Well done to all the team!