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Stonehenge at Sunset

Neuro and mental health

“Neuro” and Mental health are the two major research focus in our group. Further, we aim to bridge these two area of research in favour of best health outcomes for children at risk.


Our research within the field of neuro-paediatrics focuses on neuro-genetic, neuro-metabolic and mitochondrial disorders in closed collaboration with the Mitochondrial Medicine & Neurogenetics research group (MMN),  [HOSM1] University of Bergen and our international collaborating centres.

Child abuse is another important area of our research as we are aiming to understand the size and scope of child abuse in Norway and describe the associated mental and health impairment. Collaboration have already been stablished with both the ophthalmology and radiological departments, Haukeland university hospital, Bergen, Norway.

Additional area of research include; epilepsy and quality of life in children with central nervous system tumour in collaboration with Bergen Epilepsy Research Groups (BERG)[HOSM2]

Mental health

Several risk factors in early childhood are import for later health and mental outcome. Prematurity, prenatally exposed to drugs, and cerebral palsy are some of the risk factors we have focused on. Sleep disorders and its associated health related impairment is another area of our research.  

Ongoing projects

Physical activity treatment for youth with mental health disorders.

We have developed a novel crossdisciplinary and transdiagnostic physical group treatment approach targeting youth with anxiety and depression. The intervention is designed to address youth’s physical challenges and mental states concurrently, improving treatment outcomes, hindering relapse and thus supplementing existing treatment.  The treatment is named Confident, Active and Happy Youth, CAHY.

Group members

Kristian Sommerfelt Professor, MD, PhD

    1. Long term follow-up studies of neurodevelopmental outcome for infants born preterm and extremely preterm and/ or small for gestational age.
    2. Intrauterine growth and feto-placental circulatory characteristics as predictors of neonatal and long term outcome for preterm infants.
    3. Etiology and clinical characteristics in chronic fatigue syndrome in children and adolescents.

Stein Magnus Aukland, Professor, MD, PhD

    Project Extreme Prematurity Imaging of the brain and of the lungs in young adults born prematurely and/or low birthweight. Brain imaging of newborns. MR imaging of fetal brain.
    Brain imaging of children exposed to substances during pregnancy.

Omar Hikmat Post Doc, MD, PhD

    Special interest in paediatric neuro-metabolic, mitochondrial disorders and complex epilepsy.
    Main research interest is within mitochondrial medicine and in particular POLG related disorders. He is responsible for the National Norwegian POLG registry and currently doing his PhD (Translating recent advances in mitochondrial medicine to clinical practice) at the Department of Clinical Medicine (K1), University of Bergen.

Hanne Marit Bjørgaas Post doc, MD, PhD

    Psychiatric disorders in children with cerebral palsy: Is there a need for mental health screening?

Mari Hysing Professor, Psychol, PhD

    Project Extreme Prematurity, Psychiatric disorders in children with cerebral palsy, and Children exposed to substances during pregnancy: Supporting and supervising research regarding mental health outcomes.

Griffith Silja MD, PhD

    Project Extreme Prematurity: Functional MRI, structural MRI and school performance in extremely preterm/extremely low birth weight children. Main research focus is the neurological aspect of prematurity.

Silje Elgen Fevang MD, PhD

    Project Extreme Prematurity: Mental health among children born extremely preterm or with extremely low birth weight at preschool- and school age. A national population based study.

Kristine Marie Stangenes MD, PhD

    Project Extreme Prematurity Sleep in children born extremely preterm. Senior physician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health at the department Health Registry Research and Development.

Eivind Sirnes, MD, PhD

    Children exposed to substances during pregnancy: Cerebral Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Children with Prenatal Drug Exposure: structural and functional aspects of the opioid-exposed brain.

Lisbeth Sandtorv, MD, PhD

    Children exposed to substances during pregnancy: Mental health and care situation in school-aged children prenatally exposed to alcohol and other substances: a hospital-based study.

Tomas Sørbø, MD

    Main research interest is within the field of child abuse and non-accidental injury.

Maj-Britt Posserud, Professor, MD, PhD

    Maj-Britt Posserud is professor in child psychiatry with a special focus in research on neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
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