Graeme Wallace is looking for 100 pregnant women to be part of his research into cleft lip and palate disorders.
Graeme Wallace is looking for 100 pregnant women to be part of his research into cleft lip and palate disorders.

Pregnant women wanted

A Southern Cross University researcher is investigating a new theory linking cleft lip and palate disorders with nutritional deficiencies caused by stress shortly before or during the early stages of pregnancy.

Nutritionist and PhD candidate Graeme Wallace first saw the correlation between stress suffered during early pregnancy and cleft lip and palate disorders while working in the Philippines – a country with one of the highest incidences of the disorder.

Around the world, between one and two babies in every 1000 are born each year with either a cleft lip or cleft palate, or both.

Mr Wallace would like to hear from any women living in the Lismore area who may be carrying a baby that has been diagnosed with the condition as well as mums who are carrying a baby who does not have the condition.

“Initially this research project aimed to consider the possibility of other causal factors of these disorders, such as alcohol and drug use, or a mother’s smoking habits if any, and nutritional supplementation taken prior to and during the pregnancy,” Mr Wallace said. “However, even at an early stage in the study, stress seemed to be a possible issue of relevance and this led to us considering other work that had already been done linking clefting to stress.”

Mr Wallace found, for instance, that studies in both Czechoslovakia and Iraq had found a strong correlation between cleft lip and palate disorders and the stress levels of pregnant women.

Mr Wallace is seeking 50 pregnant women who have been diagnosed as carrying a foetus with a cleft who would like to participate in his research project. He is also seeking 50 pregnant women who are not carrying a foetus with a known cleft anomaly, for comparison.

For more information or to register your interest, phone Graeme Wallace on 0418 248 983 or email him at graemew@bigpond.net.au. He is seeking pregnant women residing anywhere between the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne to participate in his research.


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