Waterford doctor receives €250,000 to develop iron deficiency pregnancy system
A Waterford doctor is at the forefront of a programme it hopes will lead to early diagnosis of iron defiency in pregnant women.
Dr Elaine McCarthy, who is from Cappoquin, has been awarded close to €250,000 in funding, to complete her research into identifing the women and infants at the highest risk of Iron deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood.
The funding comes as part of €500,000 in Health Research Board funding provided to researchers at University College Cork [UCC] for two postdoctoral training schemes.
Dr McCarthy’s research projects is one of 12 to receive a share of a €3.7 million investment in new health research fellowships.
The awards were made under two postdoctoral training schemes, Applying Research into Policy and Practice Fellowships, and Clinician Scientist Fellowships.
Dr Elaine McCarthy’s work on an Iron Deficiency Assessment for protection of the newborn brain received €241,040 as part of the Applying research into Policy and Practice Fellowships.
Dr McCarthy, from the UCC School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, and an investigator at the Irish Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research (INFANT) said the HRB funding will help develop the means to detect those at early risk of iron deficiency.
“Iron deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood is one of the leading reasons why children fail to reach their full developmental potential worldwide.
“Despite this, we have no system of identifying the women and infants at the highest risk,” Dr McCarthy said.
“This funding from the Health Research Board will enable us to develop two screening tools, for use in pregnant women and their infants, to accurately identify those at risk of iron deficiency.
“This will help clinicians provide prompt and targeted treatment, thus protecting the developing brain from the life-long consequences of iron deficiency,” she concluded.