Murdoch Children’s Research Institute / University of Melbourne
Research Field: Paediatrics/Newborn Medicine
Advances in medicine over the past two decades have improved survival rates for babies born very early. However, surviving children born very preterm (between 2-4 months early at 23-32 weeks of gestation) remain at risk of a range of movement, learning, behaviour and health problems.
Dr Spittle’s research is investigating the effects of early intervention programs to improve the development of children born very prematurely, along with early identification of motor problems.
Alicia’s research has shown that early intervention for premature babies and their families can improve some key areas of development in infancy and that we can identify motor problems within the first few months of life. This has important implications for our society as, if we can identify developmental problems early, we can then provide early intervention for those babies most in need at a key stage of brain development.
Alicia has been actively involved in communicating her research findings in the mainstream media, including being interviewed the Medical Observer and New Scientist as well as on Channel 2, 7 and 9 news and the Herald Sun and The Age. She has promoted science to students, volunteering at open days for the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne and in National Science Week.