WARDA – Research

The information collected by WARDA is used in a range of research settings.

More than 200 research papers have been written using this valuable resource, making WARDA a world leader in information provision on cerebral palsy and developmental anomaly research.

Highlights include:

  • research into the role of the vitamin folate for the prevention of neural tube defects. The data has also been used to monitor trends, and has shown a fall in neural tube defects in relation to:
    • the increase in use of periconceptional folic acid supplements
    • voluntary fortification of some foods with folic acid.
  • evaluation of first trimester screening in WA for Down syndrome. This has shown that the first trimester screening program is very effective at identifying pregnancies at high risk of Down syndrome.
  • research identifying the under-ascertainment of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in WA and the high rates of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in some locations. This has led to the development of a Model of Care for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in WA.
  • research into the causes of cerebral palsy which has shown, contrary to the widely held belief, lack of oxygen to the baby's brain during a difficult birth is in fact a minor cause of cerebral palsy. Consequently, research is now focused on other risk factors, especially those occurring during and before pregnancy that either cause brain damage or make the brain vulnerable to damage during labour and delivery.

The data will also be able to be used for monitoring:

  • increases in severe cerebral palsy in order to plan for adequate service provision. The availability of many new medical technologies are extending the life span of persons in this very high dependency group.
  • the effects of mandatory fortification of flour for bread-making, which was introduced in Australia in 2009.

Provided in the links below are a further examples of the research that has been conducted to date. For additional examples, please see the 2014 Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies (PDF 166KB) which includes birth defects and cerebral palsy data.

More information

King Edward Memorial Hospital
PO Box 134 Subiaco 6904
Western Australia

Phone: 6458 2735
Fax: 6458 2636
Email: gareth.baynam@health.wa.gov.au

Produced by

King Edward Memorial Hospital