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28 April 2023

King's to participate in partnership for improved mother and infant data

The partnership will improve maternal and infant health, particularly among disadvantaged groups, by developing new resources and tools for research that use routinely collected data. It will also incorporate the new King’s eLIXIR ‘Born in South London’ Longitudinal Population Cohort Study.

Electronic Health Data

Led by the National Centre for Population Health & Wellbeing Research at Swansea University, in collaboration with King’s College London and other academic partners, the Mother & Infant Research Electronic Data Analysis (MIREDA) partnership will accelerate capabilities and research on maternal and infant health after receiving over 1.4 million pounds of funding from The Medical Research Council (MRC).

Professor Lucilla Poston, the MIREDA King's partner says: "This partnership, is very timely as it coincides with an MRC programme grant recently awarded to King’s (Professors Poston, Magee and Stewart) to support the eLIXIR (early LIFe data Cross-Linkage in Research) Born in South London cohort. eLIXIR uses opt-out consent to collect routine maternity and neonatal clinical patient data (GSTT and KCH NHS Trusts), mental health data from the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) CRIS platform, and primary care data from our local boroughs (Lambeth DataNet). The eLIXIR team includes members of King’s College London Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neurosciences (IoPPN), along with service users and patient representatives. eLIXIR is proud to be one of the national datasets contributing to MIREDA."

MIREDA aims to develop methods for the standardisation of data and common management across different datasets to help facilitate accurate comparisons. The partnership’s main focus will be to create a UK resource that includes harmonised maternal and infant birth-cohort health data linked to local datasets in public health, neonatal health, imaging, primary care and hospitals.

It will provide tools and supporting expertise for undertaking analysis in each cohort without needing to move the data and will build research capacity, strengthen networks and share knowledge through workshops, seminars, conferences and research development group meetings. Alongside these events, pump-priming funding will be provided to support promising researchers and infant health collaborations.

Due to the expansion of big data, there are many maternal and infant datasets around the UK that could be harmonised, analysed and compared by researchers. But access, governance, computational capacity and the analyst skills required are all serious barriers. MIREDA will develop the tools, infrastructure and expertise needed to remove these barriers – enabling researchers in the UK to advance research into maternal and infant health – to improve life-course outcomes and help break the cycle of poverty."

Professor Sinead Brophy, MIREDA Partnership Lead

Poverty, disadvantage and the associated poor health frequently start at the earliest stages of life. For example, poor parental health and adverse health behaviours such as drug and alcohol use affect the baby's development before and after birth, resulting in foetal growth restriction, preterm birth, or issues with birth weight.

These implications can last a lifetime, affecting health (brain and lung development, hearing/sight impairment), educational outcomes and subsequent life chances. Consequently, addressing inequalities in society begins with improving maternal and neonatal health.

In this story

Lucilla Poston

Professor of Maternal & Fetal Health

Robert Stewart

Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology & Clinical Informatics