Development of children born at risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia and given oral dextrose gel: Follow-up at 2 years of age of children in the hPOD randomised controlled trial

Project Code: 10350940

Faculty: Liggins Institute

Department: Liggins Institute

Main Supervisor: Dist Prof Jane Harding

Application open date: 11 Mar 2016

Application deadline:

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. Preventing neonatal hypoglycaemia with oral dextrose gel (hPOD) is a multicentre randomised controlled trial, investigating the effectiveness of dextrose gel for prevention of hypoglycaemia and its consequences. Effective prevention could reduce the occurrence of brain damage, improve breast-feeding rates, improve long-term health and save money, potentially revolutionising the management of neonatal hypoglycaemia around the world. Assessment of long-term outcomes, including neurodevelopment and general health, is important in determining the effectiveness of dextrose gel treatment for neonatal hypoglycaemia.


What we are looking for in a successful applicant

Masters or Honours in a health related discipline. A background in child development would be very helpful. Examples include but are not limited to paediatrics, psychology, education, neonatology, nursing and midwifery.



To investigate the effect of dextrose gel for prevention of hypoglycaemia on child health and development at 2 years of age. The PhD candidate will be involved in all aspects of the study including development of the protocol, assessment of 2 year-olds, and data collection and analysis.


Other information

For more information about the study, see:

For more information about the research group, see:

Some relevant publications:

  • Harris DL, Weston PJ, Signal M, Chase JG, Harding JE.  Dextrose gel for treating neonatal hypoglycaemia:  A randomized placebo-controlled trial (The Sugar Babies Study).  Lancet 382: 2077-83, 2013.  Accompanying commentary Lancet 382: 2045-2046, 2013. 
  • 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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