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Personal profile

Research interests

Arend Bos is Professor in Pediatrics and Neonatology and head of the division Neonatology of the Beatrix Children’s Hospital, located at the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands. His expertise and research focuses on neonatal brain function and development of children, particularly of those children who experience a difficult start at birth and need to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The aim of the neonatal team of docters and nurses in Groningen is to improve the long-term outcome of the NICU children, by investigating potential risk factors in relation to various non-invasive methods to monitor neonatal brain function. He is member of the General Movements Trust, an international group of researchers, together with whom he developed a method to assess brain function in young infants from their spontaneous movements. Since 2011 he is ambassador of the foundation Make a Memory.

Brief summary of the research over the last 5 years
Improved neonatal care over the last decades has led to significant lower mortality in seriously ill newborn infants. However, the prevalence of both major and minor neurological deficits and developmental disorders has not decreased. Many maternal, fetal and neonatal risk factors pose a threat on the developing brain, and in many instances it is unknown if they really do and to what extent.

Therefore, the general aim of the clinical research-line Neonatal Neurology of the division of Neonatology of the Beatrix Children’s Hospital (University Medical Center Groningen) is to improve the developmental outcomes of newborn infants. This is done by investigating the influence of several known and unknown risk factors on the integrity and development of the young nervous system, by combining clinical and translational science.

There are three branches of the research program of Neonatal Neurology. The first branch relates to the perinatal risk factors. These include among others maternal risk factors, prematurity, oxygen deficit, congenital cardiac disease, persistent ductus arteriosus, gastrointestinal and surgical risk factors, environmental pollutants, etc. The second branch relates to the non-invasive diagnostic tools that are available in the neonatal period up to several months of life, in order to assess brain function accurately. These tools include the assessment of general movements (GMs), the assessment and analysis of sucking patterns, the analysis of the amplitude integrated EEG (aEEG), and the assessment of brain and systemic tissue oxygenation using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS). The third branch relates to a thorough follow-up examination, up to adolesence, with respect to motor, cognitive and behavioural functioning of children both at low and at high risk of neurodevelopmental problems.

Together, the research in these three branches leads to understanding of mechanisms of brain injury in young infants, and to interventions that may lead to better outcomes later on, for both the individual child and his or her family. An example of a unique project in this respect is providing Life-performed Music Therapy for the most vulnerable and tiny infants admitted to the NICU, and investigating its effects on stress, family-coping and neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Network

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