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Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals launch state-of-the-art new brain research centre

PUBLISHED: 12:03 28 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:07 29 July 2020

Ben Marlow, a consultant paediatrician at ESNEFT, is the clinical director of the new Synapse Centre for Neurodevelopment. Picture: ESNEFT/SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ben Marlow, a consultant paediatrician at ESNEFT, is the clinical director of the new Synapse Centre for Neurodevelopment. Picture: ESNEFT/SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A brand new research centre at Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals will carry out “ground-breaking” studies which will benefit young patients with conditions such as autism and cerebral palsy.

The Synapse Centre for Neurodevelopment will be translating biomedical research into practical therapies.

The work will be influenced by a new parents’ network, so it is driven by local need.

Ben Marlow, a consultant paediatrician at the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), is clinical director of the centre and said he is “incredibly excited” for the trust to be leading the way in this important area of research.

He said: “The Synapse Centre will seek to innovate and bring together the NHS, academia and the biotech industry to understand more about the factors which affect brain development in these young patients.

“Neuro-disabling conditions have a significant impact on both children and their families throughout their entire lives. These children suffer from many associated health problems that can significantly impair quality of life and be life-limiting.

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“Better understanding these difficulties and intervening early can have a positive impact on a child’s development and significantly reduce the health difficulties they will encounter in the longer-term, which is why this work is so important.”

The centre brings together paediatricians, speech and language specialists, clinical psychologists, physiotherapists and researchers, who will work alongside local universities and industry leaders.

The research will focus on areas which affect brain development, such as bacterial imbalances in the gut, and the role of the immune system and metabolism.

New behavioural approaches will be explored, as well as common co-morbidities linked with neuro-disabling conditions, such as gastrointestinal problems, seizures and sleep disturbance.

Webinars and journal clubs are also to be held to attract more junior doctors to the speciality.

Mr Marlow added: “The centre has already attracted interest from paediatricians and researchers across the UK, Europe and the US.

“We are really looking forward to working with many of these partners to further improve the care, treatment and outcomes for these young patients.”


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