Research studies currently recruiting

Below we list studies who are currently looking for participants to assist with their work.

  1. You can help contribute to our understanding of developmental concerns by participating in research!

    Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) are a group of conditions that describe developmental concerns in children. These include conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). However, there is still so much we don’t understand about them. For example, how children present with Autism and what services or treatments they need, vary from person to person. For this reason, there are many studies by different researchers throughout the University of Calgary looking at different aspects of NDD and related developmental concerns. Reaching children to take part in this research can be hard. It can also be hard for families interested in research to learn about studies that apply to them. This project will connect families with children affected by NDD with Researchers at the University of Calgary that have important NDD-related studies.​

    Families can speak with a researcher to give them permission to store their name, contact information, and details. This will then be given to researchers that have a specific study that will contact the family. Families can also learn about research studies on the research studies page. Families will not be contacted more than once every three months and can withdraw their name at any time.

    Goals of this project

    • Improve investigation of neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) research questions posed by researchers, clinicians and families by providing a streamlined way of recruiting interested participants.

    • Give families or community organizations opportunities to participate in research that has been determined to have a good likelihood of having impact on knowledge and treatment of NDD.

     

    Are you interested?

    ​​Your child can be included if:

    1. They were diagnosed with or are being assessed for a neurodevelopmental disorder such as Autism, ADHD, or FASD by a clinician familiar with neurodevelopmental disorders.

    2. They are age 1 to 17 years-old.

    3. There is a legal decision-maker that is able to supply consent and contact information.

    This study has been approved by the Calgary Conjoint Health Ethics Board (REB18-1194)

    For more information or to be included in the project, please contact Dr. Kara Murias at the following email: kara.murias@albertahealthservices.ca

    Edit this block

  1. Details

    Description:

    Children who are born very preterm are at increased risk for problems with attention. Attention skills mature rapidly in young children and are especially important as children start school. In this study we will use brain MRI and measures of attention to find brain differences that may put children born early at greater risk for attention difficulties.

    Eligibility:

    Male and female children aged 4-6 who were born preterm (gestation age of <37 weeks)

    Interested? Please contact

    Dr. Signe Bray, 403-955-7440 slbray@ucalgary.ca

     

  1. Details

    Description:

    We are interested in how brains uniquely develop in 7-8 year old kids and how they might differ from adults. To look at this, we collect behavioural and cognitive information from participants and do MRI and EEG scans of the brain to look at different aspects of brain structure and function. We hope this data will help appreciate and support individual differences in children.

    Eligibility:

    Children ages 7-8 and one parent

    Interested? Please contact

    Dr. Signe Bray, 403-955-7440 slbray@ucalgary.ca

  1. Details

    Description:

    Preterm birth (or delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is a significant cause of brain injury and disability and is the main reason for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission.

    The purpose of this research study is to be able to:

    • predict which women will deliver preterm.

    • provide opportunities to prevent preterm birth; and

    • improve health outcomes for children who are born preterm.

    We are recruiting women early in their pregnancy to take part in this study and only a small percentage of women (~8%) are expected to have a preterm delivery. We will be following all women to 12 months after their expected due date. If you enroll in the study before 28 weeks of pregnancy, you will be invited to provide a blood sample and a urine sample. Biological samples will be collected by Alberta Public Laboratories staff at the time when you present for routine gestational diabetes screening. The blood work will not require an additional needle. In addition, cord blood will be collected at your delivery by delivery care providers.

    You will be asked to complete five (5) questionnaires, which will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete during the following times:

    - At enrollment;

    - 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy;

    - at 2 to 4 weeks after your baby's expected delivery date (this one will only take 5 minutes to complete);

    - at 5 to 6 months after your baby’s expected delivery date; and

    - at 11 to 12 months after your baby’s expected delivery date.

    You may also be invited to participate in other substudies during your pregnancy and/or after your baby is born. It is completely up to you whether you decided to participate in other substudies. If you have a partner, your partner will have the opportunity to participate in two questionnaires at enrollment and at 11-12 months after the expected delivery date. It is up to your partner to decide whether they wish to participate in the questionnaires.

    We will be recruiting until 2025

    Study webpage: www.p3cohort.ca

    Eligibility:

    Pregnant women less than 32 weeks of gestation

    Interested? Please contact

    Email: p3cohort@ucalgary.ca

    Link to join the study: https://survey.ucalgary.ca/jfe/form/SV_8wXAxRRnLOaUZCe

     

  1. Details

    Description:

    Suicidality (suicidal ideation and/or attempt) is exceptionally common in autistic people affecting upwards of 66% of individuals. Importantly, autistic individuals are more likely to die by suicide, with one study suggesting the risk of death by suicide being 7 times higher in adults with autism than the general population and importantly these rates are increasing. Suicidality is not only present in adults with autism but also affects approximately 30% of youth. Little empirical evidence exists describing the risk factors of suicidality in individuals with autism and few studies have systematically examined mechanisms of suicidality among autistic individuals.

    Assessing for suicide risk is exceptionally challenging in this population and so far, no empirically valid measure of suicidality exists for youth with autism. Identifying bio-psycho-social risk factors for the development of suicidality in youth with autism is critical to informing the development of suicide risk assessment measures and for preventing lifelong suicidal behaviours and premature mortality in this population.

    Participation involves completing a saliva test kit at home to measure cortisol levels as well as a number of online measures completed over teleconferencing with the researcher’s help. As reimbursement for you’re time, participants will receive a $40 gift card.

    Eligibility:

    Youth age 12 – 18 and their caregivers. Youth must have a diagnosis of autism, have English as the language most spoken at home and have experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviours (STBs) in the past 12 months (No current end date for recruitment)

    Interested? Please contact

    Interested individuals can contact enhancelab@ucalgary.ca or complete the participant contact form on our website at this link: https://www.enhancekidshealth.com/contact-information-1

     

     

  1. Details

     Description:

    Suicidality (suicidal ideation and/or attempt) is exceptionally common in autistic people affecting upwards of 66% of individuals. Importantly, autistic individuals are more likely to die by suicide, with one study suggesting the risk of death by suicide being 7 times higher in adults with autism than the general population and importantly these rates are increasing. Suicidality is not only present in adults with autism but also affects approximately 30% of youth. Little empirical evidence exists describing the risk factors of suicidality in individuals with autism and few studies have systematically examined mechanisms of suicidality among autistic individuals. Untreated suicidal thoughts and behaviours (STBs) can lead to crisis, emergency room visits, and inpatient hospitalizations for this population, along with significant and lifelong mental health difficulties and decreased quality of life for these individuals and their families, and substantial economic burden on the health care system. Thus, identifying risk factors for the development of suicidal behaviour in youth and young adults with ASD is critical for preventing lifelong problems and premature mortality in this extremely vulnerable and underserved population. Brain structure and function have been heavily implicated in the development of STBs in neurotypical adults, and this study is examining theses factors in youth with autism.

    Participation involves several weekly visits to the Alberta Children’s Hospital to complete various psychological measures as well as a weekly fMRI scan, and the completion of 30 days of daily short at-home surveys. As this study involves the in-depth discussion of suicidality, it is required that all potential participants understand that they will be asked questions about their suicidal thoughts and behaviours and will need to be comfortable talking about the topic. As reimbursement for your time, participants will receive a $150 gift card as well as the opportunity to earn an additional $25 gift card for completing the at-home daily surveys.

    Eligibility:

    Youth age 12 – 18 and their caregivers. Youth must have a diagnosis of autism, have English as the language most spoken at home and have experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviours (STBs) in the past 12 months. Participants must also have a computer available at home to complete the daily online surveys. (No current end date for recruitment)

    Interested? Please contact

    Interested individuals can contact enhancelab@ucalgary.ca or complete the participant contact form on our website at this link: https://www.enhancekidshealth.com/contact-information-1

  1. Details

    Description:

    Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as ‘fracking’, is a type of unconventional oil and gas production that involves the use of directional drilling (first vertical and then horizontal) and the injection of large amounts of fluid (water mixed with sand and chemicals) into wells to extract natural gas and oil. Fracking has opened up new possibilities for oil and gas extraction from multiple geographic regions around the world; however, controversies over the health impacts of this process remain. Fracking is a relatively new cost-efficient technology employed to extract shale gas from unconventional reservoirs, and has enabled economic growth in the oil and gas industry over the last decade. As a new technology, the long-term effects of fracking on human development is not well understood. Legislation and regulations have been enacted in Canadian provinces and territories to reduce the health and environmental impacts of fracking; however, adverse exposures cannot be entirely eliminated through legislation alone – there are technical limitations that preclude industry from completely protecting ground water and eliminating air emissions, and there is always the possibility of material failure and accidental spills; thus, even when the industry is working within the scope of best practices there are still multiple opportunities for human exposure. Our aim is to develop a better understanding of how fracking may impact child wellbeing and development.

    Participation involves three components: 1) a pre-screening phone interview to assess you and your child’s eligibility to participate in the study (20 minutes); 2) one week of air quality assessment, wherein a device to measure air pollution will be mailed to you, and your child will wear this device for the 1 week proceeding their virtual assessment; and 3) a virtual assessment of your child’s thinking and behaviour (2-3 hours). Specifically, your child will undergo a standardized psychological assessment evaluating their thinking and academic abilities, peer relationships, behaviour ad emotions. At the same time, you will be asked to complete some questionnaires about you, your child, and where you live. As compensation for your time completing the study, you will receive a $50 gift card.

    https://www.champstudy.ca/

     

    Eligibility:

    Children in grades 1 – 3 with no existing neurodevelopmental diagnoses (e.g., intellectual disability/developmental delay) and their parents/guardians. Children must speak English and have access to a computer to complete online surveys and the virtual interview. (No current end date for recruitment)

    Interested? Please contact

    Interested individuals can contact champstudy@ucalgary.ca or complete the participant contact form on our website at this link: https://www.champstudy.ca/about

  1. Details

    Description:

    The symptoms of postpartum depression like fatigue and low mood sometimes interfere with mothers’ abilities to have fun with and enjoy their babies. VID-KIDS (short for Video-Feedback Interaction Guidance for Improving Interactions between Depressed Mothers and their Infants) is a program developed specifically to help depressed mothers improve their relationships with their babies. It has been tested with 12 mother and found to be effective. Now, Alberta Health Services- Public Health has partnered with the University of Calgary to test it further with more mothers and their babies. The VID-KIDS study program involves online visits from a Registered Nurse who will videotape mothers playing with their babies and offer suggestions to make time spent with babies more special and enjoyable. The Nurse will help mothers learn about baby cues that signal their needs and ways to have more fun with their babies.

    The Nurse will collect data including the videotaped play sessions, saliva from babies to assess stress hormone levels, a cheek swab from the baby to assess gene that might link to program effectiveness (optional), and questionnaires about babies’ development, mothers’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and feelings about parenting. If successful, the future aim is to add VID-KIDS into existing Alberta Health Services- Public Health Programs for family and parenting support. Research is very important to improving how we deliver health services in Alberta.

    Eligibility:

    You and your baby may be eligible if:

    Your baby is less than 6 months old

    You are experiencing symptoms of Post Partum Depression (PPD)

    Interested? Please contact

    For more information or to be included in the project, please contact VID-KIDS at: vidkids@ucalgary.ca