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Neonatal Research

​​​Description of research

Main research projects

  1. The PIPARI Study
  2. Close Collaboration with Parents - Evaluation of the Intervention
  3. International Closeness Survey in the SCENE Group
  4. International Network for Evaluating Outcomes (iNeo) of Neonates

My four main research projects focus on the ways to optimize the long term developmental outcome of preterm infants starting from antenatal risk factors using brain research (e.g. imaging at neonatal period and fMRI at adolescence) and research on early parent-infant interaction. Our own innovation (Close Collaboration with Parents Training) has been implemented and studied in 11 hospitals so far.

In addition, we have performed an international multicenter study including 11 hospitals in 6 countries. We also study organizational aspects of neonatal care at national and international level, using register data of 11 countries to study the ways to improve the framework of neonatal care.

Members of the research groups

1) The PIPARI Study

Liisa Lehtonen,MD, PhD, Professor in Pediatrics,  principal Investigator for the PIPARI Project
Leena Haataja, MD, PhD, Professor in Child Neurology, responsible researcher for 11-yr outcomes
Helena Lapinleimu, MD, PhD
Päivi Rautava, MD, PhD, Professor, responsible researcher for 7-yr outcomes
Riitta Parkkola, MD, PhD, Professor, responsible researcher for 13-yr fMRI studies

Doctoral candidates:
Karoliina Aho, Medical student
Katri Lahti, Medical student
Tuomo Lehtonen, MD
Laura Määttänen, MD
Anna Nyman, Psych Lic
Susanna Salomäki, Psych Lic

Postdoctoral researchers:
Suvi Stolt, PhD
Milla Reiman, MD, PhD
Riikka Korja, PhD
Jonna Maunu, MD, PhD
Annika Lind, PhD
Petriina Munck, PhD
Virva Saunavaara, PhD
Marika Leppänen, MD, PhD
Mira Huhtala, MD, PhD
Sirkku Setänen, MD, PhD

Students for bachelor’s, master’s or licentiate’s thesis:
Camilla Hagelstam; MA
Satu Korpela, MA
Jere Jaakkola, Medical student

Research personnel:
Statistician Mari Koivisto
Satu Ekblad, RN
Katriina Saarinen, PT
Päivi Tuomikoski-Koiranen, RN
Coordinator Timo Tuovinen

Senior researchers:
Matti Sillanpää, MD, PhD, Professor
Pentti Kero, MD, PhD, Professor
Eeva Ekholm, MD, PhD, Docent
Hanna Manninen, MD
Pekka Niemi, PhD, Professor
Jorma Piha, MD, PhD, Professor
Harry Kujari, MD, PhD
Hellevi Rikalainen, MD, PhD
Riitta Parkkola, MD, PhD, Professor
Liisi Rautava, MD, PhD

2) Close Collaboration with Parents - Evaluation of the Intervention

Professor Liisa Lehtonen (PI)
Anna Axelin, RN, PhD

Doctoral candidates:
Sari Ahlqvist-Björkroth, Psych Lic
Simo Raiskila, MD
Mirka Toivonen, RN, Master in Health Sciences

3) International Closeness Survey in the SCENE (Separation and Closeness Experience in Neonatal Care Environment)

Professor Liisa Lehtonen (PI)
Anna Axelin, RN, PhD

Doctoral candidates:
Simo Raiskila,MD

4) International Network for Evaluation of Outcomes of Neonates (iNeo)

Liisa Lehtonen, representative of Finland (among 11 countries)
Principal Investigator Prakesh Shah, MD, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada


Doctoral candidates:

Kjell Helenius, MD

Selected publications

Rautava L, Eskelinen J, Häkkinen U, Lehtonen L; PERFECT Preterm Infant Study Group. 5-year morbidity among very preterm infants in relation to level of hospital care. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167:40-6.

Leppänen M, Lapinleimu H, Lind A, Matomäki J, Lehtonen L, Haataja L, Rautava P; on behalf of the PIPARI Study Group. Antenatal and postnatal growth and 5-year cognitive outcome in very preterm infants. Pediatrics 2014; 133: 63-70.

Numerato D, Fattore G, Tediosi F, Zanini R, Peltola M, Banks H, Mihalicza P, Lehtonen L, Sveréus S, Heijink R, Klitkou ST, Fletcher E, Heijden Av, Lundberg F,Over E, Häkkinen U, Seppälä TT. Mortality and Length of Stay of Very Low Birth Weight and Very Preterm Infants: A EuroHOPE Study. PlosOne 2015:10:e0131685.

Sucksdorff M, Lehtonen, L, Chudal R, Suominen A, Joelsson P, Gissler M, Sourander A. Preterm Birth and Poor Fetal Growth as Risk Factors of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatrics 2015;136:e599-608.

Helenius K. Helle E, Lehtonen L: Amount of Antenatal Care Days in a Context of Effective Regionalization of Very Preterm Deliveries. J Pediatr. 2016;169:81-6. 

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 Professor Liisa Lehtonen