Have your say on the future of twin research

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Published: Wednesday 17 October 2018

What are the top health research priorities for twins & multiples?

Are you a twin, higher-number multiple, parent, or health professional supporting multiple-birth families? A new global research collaboration is seeking your opinion on the most pressing multiple-birth issues needing research. 

Twins Research Australia, based at the University of Melbourne, has joined forces with Twins and Multiple Birth Association UK (TAMBA), and St George’s University of London to launch a world-first Global Twins and Multiples Priority Setting Partnership.

The partnership aims to identify the top 5-10 priorities for research in twins’ and multiples’ health, and to reduce multiple-birth mortality and morbidity.

“We believe that multiple-birth health issues are not receiving sufficient attention even though the number of multiple births has increased over time – both in Australia and around the world,” said Deputy Director of Twins Research Australia, Associate Professor Jeff Craig.

“This collaboration seeks to re-dress this gap by asking those at the ‘coalface’ what the most pressing issues are for them,” he explained. “It’s their chance – twins, multiples, their families and health providers – to steer future research in the direction that matters most to them rather than having researchers setting the agenda.”

Assoc/Prof Craig explained that from conception, twins and multiples experience unique health challenges compared to singletons.

While multiple births account for around 1.5 percent of total Australian pregnancies, they contribute to a much larger proportion of deaths around the time of birth (about four times greater for twins, and 11 times greater for higher-number multiples, compared to single births).

Multiple-birth health issues can include: higher rates of morning sickness during pregnancy, and preterm, low birthweight and other pregnancy-related complications; zygosity confusion i.e. whether twins are identical or non-identical; unique challenges with childhood, social and educational development; and higher rates of post-natal depression and anxiety for parents of multiples.

“Ensuring your voice is heard is a simple and easy step,” Assoc/Prof Craig said. “It involves taking an initial 15-minute online survey at this link or go to www.twins.org.au.

Participants will be asked to nominate up to three important unanswered health research questions for multiple-birth families on issues such as pregnancy, birth, parenting, childhood development and diseases, emotional and mental health.” The survey closes 5 November 2018.

It is open to all stakeholders in multiple-birth health Australia-wide and around the world: twins, higher-number multiples, their parents, families, community groups, and health care providers such as GPs, obstetricians, paediatricians, midwifery and maternal health nurses as well as researchers and scientists.

“Ultimately, we are seeking to save lives and to improve the long-term health outcomes of multiples,” Assoc/Prof Craig said. “This is an opportunity for us to all work together to make sure research funding and resources go where they are most needed. Generations of multiple-birth families – now and in the future – are counting on us.”

For further information, contact Twins Research Australia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., website www.twins.org.au or freecall 1800-037-021. For media enquiries, please contact Lynette Walker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Twins Research Australia

Address: 3/207 Bouverie St
Carlton, Vic 3010

Freecall: 1800 037 021

Email: info@twins.org.au

ABN: 84 002 705 224

Twins Research Australia is a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and housed within the University of Melbourne.

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