Does exposure to antenatal steroids alter cardiovascular risk in middle age?

Project Code: 10446053

Faculty: Liggins Institute

Department: Liggins Institute

Main Supervisor: Dist Prof Jane Harding

Application open date: 22 Feb 2019

Application deadline: 31 Dec 2020

Enrolment information: NZ Citizens, NZ Permanent Residents, International


Corticosteroids given to women at risk of preterm birth markedly reduce the risk of serious illness in their newborn babies.  However, it is possible that they increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease in adults who were exposed to steroids before birth. The Auckland Steroid trial was the first randomised trial of antenatal steroids, and the survivors of that trial are now in their 50’s.

What we are looking for in a successful applicant

Masters or Honours degree or equivalent in a health or education-related discipline and a clinical background. Examples include (but are not limited to) medicine, nursing, paediatrics, obstetrics, midwifery, public health.


To determine in the Auckland Steroid Trial cohort whether exposure to glucocorticoids before birth alters health in 50-year-olds, particularly their risk of diabetes and heart disease.  

Other information

Here are links to the supervisors' biographies:

Relevant publications: 

Dalziel SR, Walker NK, Parag V, Mantell C, Rea HH, Rodgers A, Harding JE.  Cardiovascular risk following exposure to antenatal betamethasone:  Thirty year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial.  Lancet  365: 1856-1862, 2005.

Dalziel SR, Lim VK, Lambert A, McCarthy D, Parag V, Rodgers A, Harding JE.  Antenatal exposure to betamethasone: psychological functioning and health related quality of life 31 years after inclusion in a randomised controlled trial.   British Medical Journal 331: 665-671, 2005. (Accompanied by editorial commentary)

Dalziel SR, Rea HH, Walker NK, Parag V, Mantell C, Rodgers A, Harding JE.  Long term effects of antenatal betamethasone on lung function:  30 year follow up of a randomised controlled trial.  Thorax, 61:678-683, 2006.

Dalziel SR, Fenwick S, Cundy T, Parag V, Beck TJ, Rodgers A, Harding JE.  Peak bone mass following exposure to antenatal betamethasone and prematurity:  Follow-up of a randomised controlled trial.    Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 21: 1175-1186, 2006.

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