Expectant parents could sleep a little easier knowing they are helping others if they agree to let their newborns take part in clinical trials examining infant sleeping and crying habits and the link to colic.
Atlantia Clinical Trials wants to recruit 200 parents and babies for the studies in Cork that hope to help parents track their baby’s sleep and crying phases to more accurately indicate if the crying falls within normal or colic ranges.
Researchers will also track how much sleep the baby is getting and if over-tiredness or over-stimulation could be a factor in added fussiness.
The company wants to recruit newborns and babies up to three months of age and it is offering a €350 payment for those who complete the study.
The first trial will examine if an activity and sleep tracking device can be used to detect sleeping and crying patterns in infants.
The infants will wear a small device on a band around their waist for eight consecutive days while parents document their babies’ behaviours on an e-diary.
The parents’ records will then be compared to the device records to show whether it tracks things correctly or not.
The study aims to develop an algorithm that can be used objectively to identify infant crying and fussing to complement or replace paper diaries in future studies on colic, and other newborn issues.
Atlantia Clinical Trials project manager Aisling Harrington said parents of newborns always wonder whether their baby’s sleeping patterns and crying or fussing periods are normal, or if they are signs of colic or an underlying symptom.
“While the specific causes of these digestive issues are still unknown, some studies of sleep time in infants have shown that it may be linked to serotonin and melatonin levels,” she said.
“We are very excited about these trials as we believe that the results will really help newborn parents.
“They are non-invasive, safe, and stress-free trials, that will inform new research and studies in the future. We could welcome both new moms and dads to take part in the study.”
Atlantia is also looking for parents of healthy term infants between 0 and six weeks old and who were born at a normal birth weight to take part in another study. Parents and infants will be expected to attend four clinic visits over six months.
Atlantia specialises in conducting scientific food studies with a focus on natural approaches to health and disease prevention.
Its research centre was established a decade ago as a spin out of University College Cork.
Its clients include Nestle, Pepsi, Unilever, and Danone and research findings have been published in leading scientific and medical journals.