Edinburgh Imaging

28 Feb 19. Volunteering for TEBC

The Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort Study (TEBC) is a world-leading research platform for improving outcomes of children and families affected by preterm birth.

Volunteering for TEBC

The team collects MRI scans from babies to study the causes and consequences, of being born too soon or too small, on brain development. 

The TEBC Research Team are delighted that ongoing recruitment of 400 mothers and infants (300 premature babies and 100 full term babies) to this longitudinal study that runs through childhood, is on target.

In fact, one mother was so impressed by the different research that was carried out at the various stages with her first child, that she volunteered her second daughter for the study before she was born, two years later!

We caught up with Emma, when she brought her second daughter in to the Edinburgh Imaging Facility RIE, at 10 days old to have her brain scan, using the brain optimised 3T Magnetom Prisma MR research scanner.


We asked the girls’ mum why she had volunteered her first child, who had gone to full term, for the study?

Emma explained that after carrying out desk research for her undergraduate degree, she had become passionate about learning how things work in the world and why. Fortunately her husband who was from a science background, agreed with her and felt that research is essential, to allow researchers to monitor changes, in order to gain a greater understanding and hopefully to develop solutions to problems. Therefore both of them were eager to participate in the study, when they were approached.


Was it your intention to sign up your second child as a volunteer for the study?
Volunteering for TEBC

When we confirmed that Kitty could be part of the study, we clearly didn’t know then, that we would have another daughter two years later.

However, having found Kitty’s 9 month assessment so fascinating, by being able to observe her reactions  during the eye tracking assessment, we loved that we could assume what she found stimulating before she could even talk! Therefore we signed up her sister as soon as we knew we were expecting!

Whilst we had been keen on the study before, this third stage really ignited our interest to be able to witness our child’s pre-school development and for the research to be a record of the changes she would go through in her first 5 years.

What do you hope to gain from this study?

Initially we wanted to help the research team, gain a greater understanding of brain development from new borns to infants.

However, we now also wish for our children to be comfortable to ask questions as they grow up, as to why certain things happen and to understand the value of medical research. We hope that by showing them that they were part of this study will make them proud, when they are older.