Prevention and treatment of neonatal hypoglycaemia with oral dextrose gel

Project Code: 10350919

Faculty: Liggins Institute

Department: Liggins Institute

Main Supervisor: Dist Prof Jane Harding

Application open date: 11 Mar 2016

Application deadline: 28 Aug 2018

Enrolment information: NZ Citizens, NZ Permanent Residents, International


Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) is the commonest metabolic condition of the newborn. It affects up to 15% of babies and the incidence is increasing as risk factors such as maternal diabetes and preterm birth are becoming more common. Neonatal hypoglycaemia frequently leads to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission and may cause long-term brain damage. The investigators have previously shown that oral dextrose gel is effective in reversing hypoglycaemia, halving NICU admission rates and improving rates of breastfeeding. They are now investigating the effectiveness of dextrose gel for prevention of hypoglycaemia and its consequences.

What we are looking for in a successful applicant

We are looking for candidates with a degree in a health related discipline and a clinical background. Examples include (but are not limited to) neonatology, nursing, midwifery, paediatrics, obstetrics, developmental psychology.


There currently are no evidence-based strategies to prevent hypoglycaemia and its adverse consequences. Effective treatment and prevention of hypoglycaemia could reduce the occurrence of brain damage, improve breastfeeding rates, improve long-term health and save money, potentially revolutionising the management of neonatal hypoglycaemia around the world. 

There are several projects available that will:

  • Investigate aspects of dextrose gel dosing, administration and tolerance
  • Complete a multicenter randomized trial of dextrose gel prophylaxis
  • Undertake 2 year follow-up of children recruited to a neonatal randomized trial of dextrose gel


Other information

For more information about the study, see:

For more information about the research group, see:

Some relevant publications:

  • Harris DL, Weston PJ, Harding JE.  Mothers of babies enrolled in a randomized trial immediately after birth report a positive experience.  Journal of Perinatology, 2014. doi: 10.1038/jp.2013.183
  • Harris DL, Weston PJ, Harding JE.  Incidence of neonatal hypoglycemia in babies identified as at risk.  Journal of Pediatrics 161: 787-791, 2012.  DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.05.022.  Accompanying editorial pages 775-6.
  • Harris DL, Battin MR, Weston PJ, Harding JE.  Continuous glucose monitoring in newborn babies at risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia.  Journal of Pediatrics, 157: 198-202, 2010.  DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.02.003.  Accompanying editorial p180-182.


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