A best start in life

Between 2015-2017, Dr Oliver Grupp (FRACP-MD) undertook a research project close to his heart: neonatal hypoglycaemia prevention for new-borns. Neonatal hypoglycaemia is a low-blood sugar condition that affects a staggering 15% of all new-borns, making it the most common metabolic condition for them. It frequently leads to hospitalisation and can cause long-term brain damage. This study investigated whether neonatal hypoglycaemia can be prevented with the simple use of an oral dextrose gel.



A bit about Oliver

From early on, Oliver had a passion for medical science, especially when applied to those who are most vulnerable: children. He directed his focus on paediatric health when still living in Germany, worked in various African countries later in his career and ended up living the lifestyle in Hawke’s Bay.


Why this subject?

Oliver had been aware of the concept of dextrose gel for new-borns at risk, and knew the medical industry needed validation that this could avoid neonatal hypoglycaemia for new-borns. The component funded by Health Research Foundation – Hawke’s Bay was the final stage of validating this theory. ‘If we could provide scientific evidence that avoiding this common condition simply by rubbing a little of this sucrose gel on the inside of a new-borns cheek, that could instantly and easily be adopted as a standard practice for babies at risk.’



The study confirmed that the use of dextrose gel with new-borns is in fact very effective in preventing hypoglycaemia. The gel seems to have a bifold effect: the direct absorption improves blood sugar levels, but it is likely that the gel also stimulates the infant’s natural enzymes that help to prevent the condition. The outcome of this research resulted not only in a reduction of neonatal hypoglycaemia, but it also reduces the number of required medical interventions (such as regular blood tests).


Oliver about the Health Research Foundation

When asked about the role of the foundation, Oliver points out that this is the only available funding avenue for this type of research. ‘No government or commercial organisation invest in this; it all comes down to local foundations like the Health Research Foundation’, confirms Oliver. He adds that he looks forward to joining our newly established Health Hub – which will connect passionate health professionals in the bay.