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Women's area: research into fetal medicine

Fetal cardiovascular programming

Coordinadora: Fátima Crispi

This line researches those prenatal circumstances likely to determine a greater postnatal cardiovascular risk, such as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), pregnancies achieved following in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques and prematurity.

Longitudinal studies, combined with animal and computational models, will allow us not only to further knowledge of this correlation, but also to develop therapies to improve the cardiovascular prognosis of children who suffered from IUGR during development.

Brain connectivity

Coordinadora: Elisenda Eixarch

The main objective of this line of research is the analysis of brain connections, known as connectomics, through magnetic resonance imaging for early diagnosis of neurodevelopmental abnormalities.

The development of a connectomics analysis tool such as this one, which can be used in clinical and experimental studies, will allow us to evaluate brain connection networks in different situations such as ventriculomegaly to validate their use as a biomarker.

Prematurity

Coordinadora: Montse Palacio

We research non-invasive procedures that improve professionals' capacity for decision-making when faced with the risk of a premature birth. One of our main tools is quantitative analysis of textures from images obtained by ultrasound. This tool can also be useful to better predict the outcome of induction of labour.

Inflammation in prematurity

Coordinadora: Teresa Cobo

This line seeks to establish biomarkers using advanced techniques to identify intra-amniotic inflammation in women with a risk of premature birth. Currently, the only method for its diagnosis is amniocentesis, an invasive procedure. The main objective of this line is to characterise biomarkers to predict intra-amniotic inflammation using non-invasive techniques.

Diagnosis and therapy in intrauterine growth

Coordinator: Francesc Figueras

The line of diagnosis and therapy in intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) aims to identify, before birth, those babies with growth restriction problems who are going to have an adverse perinatal outcome or suboptimal neurodevelopment. Proper identification and diagnosis of IUGR will make it possible to determine the usefulness of implementing preventive measures during pregnancy and birth, as well as therapies during early childhood.

Environment and complications during pregnancy

Coordinadora: Lola Gómez Roig

This line seeks to measure the influence of environmental factors such as exposure to tobacco, alcohol, drugs and environmental toxins (heavy metals and pesticides) on growth delay and other complications of pregnancy.

Fetal surgery and therapy

Coordinator: Josep María Martínez

The main objective of this line of research is to develop new methods and improve the outcome of therapy and surgery during pregnancy. Currently, fetal surgery is used to treat rare diseases with a difficult prognosis.

It is performed in few centres throughout the world, and SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital is one of the five with the highest volume worldwide. Although there are more than 10 techniques that are used in complications such as monochorionic pregnancy and congenital diaphragmatic hernia, it is necessary to continue furthering this field to improve and broaden prenatal surgeries.

Experimental model in placental insufficiency

Coordinator: Miriam Illa Armengol

This line of research reproduces the adverse prenatal circumstances that cause delayed growth in an animal model, where it is possible to improve our knowledge of the disease and understand the consequences of a lack of oxygen or nutrients before birth. Therapies that improve this condition and reverse consequences in adult life can be tested with this model.

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