SPHERE - Study of Perinatal, paediatric and adolescent Health: Epidemiological Research and Evaluation  

UMR1027, INSERM - University Toulouse III Paul Sabatier joint research unit


Catherine Arnaud - Leader  @  + 33 5 67 77 12 84    

Our research explores the impact of societal, environmental and economic changes on psychomotor, cognitive, social and emotional development of the child in a context of vulnerability (social risk, chronic condition, disability).
This general objective is studied in four research areas.
1/ Perinatal and postnatal health (led by C Vayssière): early detection of pregnancy complications, evaluation of preventive actions and means of labour monitoring during delivery, early identification and care of psychomotor delays in vulnerable infants.
2/ Childhood disabilities (led by C Arnaud): prevalence rates of severe neurodevelopmental disabilities (registry), medical and social determinants of early-onset disabilities, impact on family, participation and quality of life, inclusive education, transition to adulthood.
3/ Adolescent health and health behaviours (led by E Godeau): social and environmental determinants of at-risk behaviours initiated (consumption of psychoactive substances, sexual relations, etc.) or modified (nutritional behaviour, sedentary lifestyle, sleep habits, etc.) during adolescence, and their interactions. 
4/ Children and adolescents’ health in Southern Countries: chronic infectious diseases (led by V Leroy): neonatal HIV screening, simplified long-term treatment strategies, comorbidities (malnutrition, etc.), treatment of HIV-infected adolescents, cost-effectiveness modelling of paediatric infection.


Our projects are designed in an interdisciplinary approach (epidemiology being a common method), and are placed within the continuum of the stages explored (pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence). Within these various fields, we attempt to design and evaluate interventions, and to develop and validate new instruments to measure their effects. Our team has developed a strong expertise in implementing cohorts, and population-based surveys. We run one of the two registries of childhood disabilities in France (RHE31). We contribute to the leadership of several French and international research networks in our domains of expertise.


ABIB Aouicha (IE) @
ALBERGE Corinne (PH) @
ARNAUD Catherine (MCU-PH) @
BREINIG Sophie (doctorante, PH) @
CATALA Laura (ITA) @
DASSI TCHOUPA REVEGUE Marc H. (doctorant)@
DELOBEL Malika (chercheur) @     

DESMONDE Sophie (post-doctorante) @
DICKY Odile (doctorante) @
DIENE Gwenaelle (PH) @
EHLINGER Virginie (IE) @    

FERNANDEZ de GRADO Gabriel (doctorant) @
GODEAU Emmanuelle (chercheure) @

HEDIBLE Boris Gildas (chercheur) @
JOURET Béatrice (PH) @
LEROY Valériane (DR2) @
LONI EKALI Gabriel (doctorant) @
MAFFRE Thierry (PH) @

NABET Catherine (PU-PH)

PACORICONA ALFARO Dibia Liz (doctorante) @
PARANT Olivier (PU-PH) @

RAYNAUD Jean-Philippe (PU-PH) @

SAINT-LARY Laura (doctorante) @
VAYSSIERE Christophe (PU-PH) @
VIDART Nicolas (post-doctorant) @
Expected health effects

Our work contributes to improve the prevention of disabilities of perinatal origin, to identify earlier at-risk subgroups, to better organize the support and care of vulnerable infants and their families, to identify levers to enhance participation and inclusion in society of children and adolescents with disabilities, to document the predictors of adolescents’ early risky behaviours, to make progress in the care and the follow-up of HIV-infected children in resource-limited settings.

Cooperations / Partnerships

GONET, Global Obstetric NETwork   
HBSC/WHO Health Behaviour in School-aged Children
SCPE Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe    
CRIUSMQ, Research Center of University Institute in mental health of Quebec, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
IPFM IntraPartum Monitoring Study Group, European Association of Perinatal Medicine   
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, US 
CIDER, Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa 
IFRH, Federative Institute for Research on Handicap
GROG, Groupement de recherche en Obstétrique et Gynécologie
UMR1153,Team EPOPé Obstetrical, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology, Paris, France
UMR669, Troubles du comportement alimentaire de l'adolescent, Paris, France
RHEOP, Register for childhood disabilities and perinatal survey, Grenoble, France

Ongoing projects

HBSC Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (E Godeau, PI) Last news

TRANSIT-DISAB/ SPARCLE  Study of PARticipation of Children with cerebral palsy Living in Europe, follow-up at young adulthood 2017- 2020 (C Arnaud, PI)

EPIPAGE2, French cohort of children born very preterm, assessment at 5.5 years of age in progress, Midi-Pyrénées region

Clinical trials in obstetrics PESSARONE, and BIGW (C Vayssière PI)

Project MONOD ANRS 12206 (V Leroy PI)

Methods and tools
RHE31 Registry of childhood disabilities in Haute-Garonne RHE31

SCPE European database of children with cerebral Palsy (C Arnaud, chair)

HBSC Health Behaviour in School-aged Children : WHO survey, repeated every 4 years since 1982, and in France since 1994, health behaviours of young people aged 11 to 15 years (E Godeau, PI France)  ).
French data 2014 :
Santé publique actualités
Revue Agora débats/jeunesses 2016/4

P'titMIP Regional network for care and support of vulnerable children (C Alberge, PI)

Centre of Expertise on at-risk twin pregnancies (C Vayssière, PI)
Update june 2020