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The Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Group have focussed their research primarily on the nutritional requirements of neurologically disabled children.

Paediatric gastroenterology and nutrition group

Research Summary

Our current main body of work is a multi-centre study looking at ways of mitigating the effects of perinatal brain damage using neurotropic dietary supplements. Other studies include the measurement of body composition in infants with intrauterine growth retardation and in those on long term parenteral nutrition.

The Group has made a significant contribution to understanding the nutritional needs of neurologically disabled children with studies on the effects of enteral feeding on body composition, general health, respiratory morbidity and Quality of Life.

The Group has also looked at ways of improving children’s fibre intake, and the effectiveness of setting up a nurse led clinic for children with intractable, functional constipation.

Current Studies/Trials

  1. We are currently running two randomised controlled trials to study the effects of a neurotropic dietary supplement designed to mitigate the effects of perinatal brain damage and utilise the period of brain plasticity in young children. This is being carried out in two different age groups, one has supplementation commencing in the neonatal period and one commencing after a confirmed diagnosis of a neurological disability between the ages of 1-18 months. These are both multi-centre studies being carried out with collaborators across the Thames valley region. Investigations include growth, neurodevelopmental assessments and behavioural vision testing.

  2. As part of a larger study on perinatal growth in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics, we are investigating body composition in newborn infants until 6 months of age using air displacement plethysmography. This includes infants with intrauterine growth retardation and those with small intestinal failure on long term parenteral nutrition.

  3. We are participating in a European multi-national study which centres on the development of a screening tool for malnutrition in hospitalised children. 170 children who were inpatients at the Oxford Children’s Hospital have been recruited with collection of anthropometric data and information on their diet, eating habits and daily activities.

Group Head Biography

Professor Peter Sullivan is currently Reader in Paediatric Gastroenterology and Fellow of Magdalen College at Oxford University. He runs a tertiary referral service for paediatric gastroenterology and nutrition in the Oxford region.

He trained in Manchester, Cambridge and London. Field work as a clinical research fellow was undertaken at the MRC laboratories in The Gambia. As Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong he introduced Paediatric Gastroenterology as a sub-speciality.

Peter Sullivan was the first David Baum Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health with responsibility for the international affairs of the college (2000-2006) and also past-President of the Commonwealth Association of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. He is currently Director of Medical Education at the Oxford University Hospitals Trust. 

Our team

Sullivan group 1

Related research themes