Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a condition in which a fetus does not reach its biological growth potential. It exposes the fetus and the newborn infant to a high risk of adverse outcomes ranging from perinatal demise to neurodevelopment impairment and noncommunicable diseases in later life, making it a major public health problem. Despite large research efforts to investigate the underlying mechanisms, there is still a lack in knowledge of the individual neurodevelopmental consequences and therapeutic strategies for affected fetuses.
The BrainDNIU study is a longitudinal cohort study that compares the neurodevelopment of infants with IUGR to infants with a normal intrauterine growth. The main research questions of the project relate to the timing and mechanisms of abnormal brain development under IUGR conditions caused by placental insufficiency, and to the factors influencing this dynamic.
To answer these questions, participants are investigated from before birth to the age of 6 years by means of a multi methodological approach, including serial structural and functional measurements such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), near-infrared spectroscopy, neurological and psychological developmental assessments. With this project, the NGN Research Center intends to contribute to the research field of IUGR and its long-term neurodevelopmental consequences.
The study is supported by the SNF (Ambizione 2016-2020; Project 2021-2025).