Past Research

1. The Multicentre Cerebral Palsy study.

This study carried out over 6 years from 1998-2004 involved 8 centres across Europe (Dublin, Edinburgh,Helsinki,Lisbon,London (2 centres), Stockholm and Tubingen. The aim of the study,directed by Dr Martin Bax, was to identify potential causes of cerebral palsy which might then lead to preventive work. A paper was published in JAMA Oct 4 2006, Vol.296, No 13’ entitled ‘Clinical and MRI correlates of cerebral palsy: The European Cerebral Palsy Study: M Bax, C Tydeman, O. Flodmark.


2. Autism and Epilepsy

About 50% of children with autistic spectrum disorder ( ASD) develop epilepsy. Some may have this from the start of the condition but in many children it develops later and may not occur until adolescence. Researchers examined two groups of children – 1 group with ASD and another group with ASD and epilepsy. The notion was that children without epilepsy might have a different form of autism to those with both ASD and epilepsy. A paper was published in Acta Paediatrica 2009, 98, pp675-682 ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Children with and without epilepsy: impact on social functioning and communication. J. Turk, M.Bax, C.Williams, P.Amin, M. Eriksson, C.Gillberg.


3. Human Placenta

Placental cell turnover: time to translate knowledge to therapy. Professor Ian Baker and Dr Ian Crocker: The main aim of this study was to carry forward the researchers’ past findings on exaggerated cell turnover of placentas of complicated and growth restricted pregnancies using modern techniques to counteract these pathological events. Success in these endeavours will provide proof of concept for placental gene therapy and bring researchers closer to influencing and optimising placenta efficiency in utero which will have a huge impact on current obstetric practices.


4. Human Placenta: A novel placental therapy for Growth Restriction:

Chief Investigator: Dr Ian Crocker, Senior Scientist/Lecturer, Maternal and Fetal Health, Developmental Biomedicine Research Group, School of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medical and Human Science s, University of Manchester, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester: The Manchester group has been working on placental research for several years with the help of a grant from the Castang Foundation. Fetal growth restriction (FGR) in pregnancy is associated with elevated childhood morbidity and mortality including cerebral palsy. Insulin-like growth factor-I and –II and their cell surface receptors (IGF-1 and IGF-2 are critical regulators of fetal and placental growth. Altered levels of IGFs in FGR may contribute to placental dysfunction which in turn impacts on fetal development. The group hypothesise that enhancing placental IGF availability will optimise placental function and fetal growth potential in these compromised pregnancies. This study is the first to investigate the manipulation of the IGF system in a growth-restricted model of pregnancy. If successful, these investigations could translate into a new direction for the prevention of FGR with lifelong impact on neonatal and childhood health.



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Ian Burman
Michael Glynn
Ian Crocker
Paul Eunson
Jeremy Parr
Carol Barfoot


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