MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health
Research quick links
- Congenital disorders
- Childhood origins of adult disease
- Electronic health records
- Genetic epidemiology
- Growth & development
- Health inequalities
- Life course research
- Obesity, nutrition & physical activity
- Research for policy & practice
- Screening & surveillance
- Statistical methods
- Vision & eyes
Centre for Evidence-Based Child Health
Based within the centre and directed by Professor Ruth Gilbert, the Centre for Evidence-Based Child Health runs an education and research programme designed to help healthcare professionals to acquire the skills to critically analyse the evidence that underpins their day-to-day decisions.
Research for health services and clinical practice
The findings from our research are frequently used to inform policies and guidelines that are used within the the NHS. These include screening policies as well as policies for best clinical practice or treatment options. Research in this area also includes how people access and use health services, and which services are the most cost-effective and can benefit the most people.
Policies for health services often need very specific questions answered: the incidence of conditions or the success rates of treatments for example. A number of our studies address these questions directly, providing evidence to make decisions about healthcare services and clinical practice.
Current and recent research
- Catheter infections
- Child maltreatment
- Infections, congenital and developmental disorders
- Testing, treating and diagnosing vision and eye disorders
Most children who are admitted to children’s
intensive care units need to have medicines given to them through their
veins using a narrow tube called a central venous catheter or central
Very occasionally these catheters can cause infections in the blood and sometimes the catheter can get blocked by small blood clots. Some hospitals use catheters coated with antibiotics, which might prevent infections by killing bacteria, whilst some use catheters coated with heparin – an anti-clotting medicine – and some use standard catheters.
The CATCH multi-centre trial is funded by the
NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme. CATCH involves 11
paediatric intensive care units in the UK and is coordinated by the MCRN
Clinical Trials Unit in Liverpool. The recruitment has finished in November 2012 with a total of 1483 children participating.
The trial will evaluate which type of catheter is most effective in preventing blood infections. The results from this trial will be used to inform infection control policies in paediatric intensive care unit.
Principal investigator: Ruth Gilbert
More information: CATCH website
Our research into child maltreatment (often termed 'child abuse' or 'neglect') looks at how this issue is dealt with by our health services. This includes research into how incidents are recorded and the role that healthcare professionals play in identifying maltreatment and taking action.
Through our ongoing research we aim to help identify ways in which children who are being maltreated can receive the best possible care from the NHS. Our findings have already been used to inform the NICE guidelines for child maltreatment, and current research is investigating the impact of these guidelines on the recognition of cases of child maltreatment.
More information: Child maltreatment
Immunisation is proven to be the most effective medical and, after clean water, the most effective public health intervention to protect against potentially serious diseases. Information for parents combined with well-organised and accessible services are key to giving all children the opportunity to have the protection vaccines can provide.
Our research has investigated factors that determine whether a child is completely or partially immunised according to recommended schedules in both population and hospital settings. Our findings have been used to improve services, increase immunisation rates and help health professionals understand and respond to parental questions and concerns.
More information: Immunisation
Screening for and treating infections and congenital and developmental disorders
A number of our researchers are involved in evaluating existing policies used to screen for infections and congenital and inherited disorders during pregnancy and early childhood. For example, our research contributed to the establishment of the screening policy for MCADD, as well as informing new policies on screening for congenital heart disorders and toxoplasmosis.
Evaluating how infections and congenital and developmental disorders are treated in both pregnant women and infants is important to make sure that the current recommended treatment policies are effective and to check how widely they are being followed. Much of our surveillance research and our evaluation of screening policies involves gathering information on how diagnosed infections are treated and the results of the treatment. This information is used to inform policies for the best approaches for treatment.
Testing, treating and diagnosing vision and eye disorders
As well as research to inform screening and treatment policies, we also look at the health services provided for children with paediatric eye diseases or visual impairments. This includes research into what support and information families need when their child is diagnosed, as well as developing instruments that can assess how well children are, how functional a child's vision is, and how this affects their quality of life.
We are also conducting research into measuring visual fields in children (perimetry) that will be used to underpin decisions around the most cost-efficient and effective way of testing children's visual fields in the NHS.
For more information: Vision and eyes
Page last modified on 11 oct 11 20:45