Main research topics:

This unit participates in clinical studies on the effect of new therapies and new therapeutics within a well-defined study population. Multidisciplinary research mainly focuses on cardiovascular and metabolic morbidity in young patients with specific diseases such as Down syndrome and obesity. Other research topics include long-term follow-up of premature infants, children with Down syndrome, with Fabry syndrome and organization of transition from infant to adult care.

Pneumology and sleep-related disorders:

As previously acknowledged the study on the complications and evaluation of treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea is also performed in children with or without an overweight problem. In a recently started project we aim to investigate anatomical and functional characteristics of the upper airways which correlate with the severity of OSA and to predict the outcome of surgery (adenotonsillectomy) on OSA symptoms (ongoing PhD Monique Slaats).

Also in the clinical field of cystic fibrosis and BPD the complications and long-term outcome are studied by means of novel imaging techniques. A PhD was performed on the effect of high-frequency oscillatory ventilation and the pressure waves in childhood combining the pediatric and intensive care unit on the topic of respiratory failure (Els Duval).

In children with asthma the value of exhaled nitric oxide in a treatment algorithm is investigated as well as the link between prebiotics and allergic diseases (OPPAD trial; ongoing PhD of Eva Peirsman).


Metabolic diseases & obesity

As described above there is a strong collaboration within LEMP for the study of young patients with metabolic disease and obesity in which the link between OSA, the metabolic syndrome and the role of the adipose tissue is investigated (PhD, Kim Van Hoorenbeeck; Annelies Van Eyck started). In these topics we have a very valuable collaboration with ‘het Zeepreventorium’, a residential treatment centre for obese children with a controlled and standardised protocol.

In this population we also study the effect of diet and exercise training on microvascular endothelial dysfunction in severe childhood obesity, looking at endothelial progenitor cells and microparticles and their role in endothelial dysfunction and repair with special attention to the leptin-pathway (PhD Luc Bruyndonckx, defended June 2014).

Also the differences in microbiota between obese and lean children is studied in collaboration with dr. Vanessa Van Kerckhoven. Furthermore, different metabolic and rare disorders are investigated including mucopolysaccharidosis, phenylketonuria, Fabry disease, urea cycle disorders, Crigler-Najjar syndrome and intoxication type metabolic disease (PI prof. dr. F Eyskens).