Global Networks

Global Communication, Networks and Linkage of Paediatric Researchers – Part 1

Shoo Lee, of The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, presented a description of existing international neonatal networks and their potential role in collaborative research into birth asphyxia

Dr. Lee first compared the benefit of collaborative vs. single institution research. Among the many benefits of collaborative research include availability of large sample sizes, avoidance of duplication, generalizability of results, and the facilitation of training.

For these reasons many neonatal networks have developed around the world.

These include:

These networks present major potential instruments for the global study of birth asphyxia.

Dr. Lee categorized these networks into population based (gathering data on an entire population) and cohort based (gathering specific groups of patients for study). The population based networks included: Australia-New Zealand Neonatal Network, Canadian Neonatal Network, Central South American Neonatal Network and the Israeli Neonatal Network.

Among the advantages of using networks to study the problem of birth asphyxia are existing infrastructure, data linkage, and the ease of knowledge sharing however Dr. Lee cautioned that a major problem with regard to the study of birth asphyxia is variation in definitions and therefore variations in data; this is an issue which must be carefully assessed.

Dr. Lee then reviewed the information which can be captured by network databases and defined the potential for research collaboration which could be of importance for the study of birth asphyxia

Finally Dr. Lee described the recent development of the International Collaboration of Neonatal Networks. This network was formally instituted in February of 2005 and includes Australia-New Zealand Neonatal Network, Canadian Neonatal Network, NICHD Neonatal Network, Kaiser Neonatal Network, European Neonatal Network, Central South American Neonatal Network and the Indian Neonatal Network.

It is hoped that others will join this network which will represent a major resource for collaborative study such as that necessary for the global study of birth asphyxia.