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News from the Department of Medicine

Care urged before banning people entering NZ from the UK

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 3:32pm

The Government should be careful about banning people entering New Zealand from specific countries based on the presence of variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, given most countries are not testing for variants, University of Otago experts say.

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Strengths and vulnerabilities of teen skateboarders revealed in Otago study

Monday, 14 December 2020 9:59am

More young people are opting for skateboards as a mode of transport, with fewer choosing to get their driver licence, and more needs to be done to protect them on the road, a University of Otago study has found.

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Largest cohort of Pacific medical students graduate from Otago

Friday, 11 December 2020 2:01pm

Iuliano (Jono) Tinielu always wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a doctor.

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Juggling babies with medical degree ‘a wild ride’

Friday, 11 December 2020 11:34am

Even Amy Hensley – who lived every minute of it – seems a little surprised she managed to complete a medical degree while having two babies.

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Long-serving manager of OMS to retire

Monday, 7 December 2020 12:32pm

Bruce Smith, who is retiring as manager of the Otago Medical School, says he is proud to have played his part over a long career.

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Otago study debunks arguments behind continuing availability of tobacco at convenience stores

Monday, 7 December 2020 11:14am

Claims that tobacco drives foot traffic into convenience stores have been discredited in new research from the University of Otago.

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NZ Health survey update: no decrease in adult obesity

Friday, 4 December 2020 10:47am

EDOR members comment on the recently released 2019/2020 NZ Health Survey, which shows no decrease in adult obesity rates and marked ethnic & socioeconomic inequalities.

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Remission of type 2 diabetes using a dietary intervention

Monday, 30 November 2020 12:05pm

Professor Mike Lean shows how remission of type 2 diabetes using a dietary approach is possible.

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Many Kiwis not taking cholesterol medication consistently

Thursday, 26 November 2020 4:19pm

More than half a million New Zealand adults are taking cholesterol-lowering medications, but a new University of Otago study reveals many are not taking them consistently.

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Pioneering better tools for managing type 1 diabetes

Thursday, 26 November 2020 4:02pm

Associate Professor Ben Wheeler and Dr Sara Styles are involved in a number of initiatives aimed at improving the management of type 1 diabetes, a disease that primarily affect children.

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Dairy and low-fat diet can reduce risk of bowel cancer - study

Tuesday, 24 November 2020 1:02pm

Eating dairy and a low-fat diet can reduce the risk of bowel cancer in New Zealand, a new University of Otago study reveals.

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COVID Kai survey results: what did NZers consume during lockdown?

Thursday, 19 November 2020 3:17pm

The results of the COVID Kai Survey are out and show that most people consumed more unhealthy snacks and drinks during New Zealand's lockdowns.

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World Diabetes Day under the shadow of COVID-19

Friday, 13 November 2020 2:31pm

World Diabetes Day is more important than ever in 2020, with diabetes being a major risk factor for poor outcomes from a COVID-19 infection.

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EDOR clinical experts comment on study showing Māori diabetes patients are missing out on prescriptions

Friday, 6 November 2020 1:57pm

Two EDOR Professors have commented on a recent study which shows that Māori patients receive fewer prescriptions for the common diabetes medication Metformin than non-Māori patients.

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Public Health funding crisis: still no national plan for diabetes prevention

Wednesday, 4 November 2020 12:19pm

Professor Jim Mann has been interviewed by Radio NZ about the under-funding of public health services in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Ultra-processed foods a large component of NZ preschooler diets

Tuesday, 3 November 2020 10:31am

EDOR researchers have found that nearly half of the energy intake in NZ preschoolers is from ultra-processed foods.

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Freemasons Fellowship for glucose monitoring research in children with diabetes

Thursday, 22 October 2020 1:25pm

Dr Mona Elbalshy has been awarded a Freemasons Fellowship for her work into more affordable blood glucose monitoring, for the management of type 1 diabetes in children.

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Obesity in the New Zealand election spotlight

Thursday, 15 October 2020 3:44pm

EDOR researchers have commented in the media this week on why obesity is not just about personal responsibility.

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Find out why Sir Eion Edgar supports health research

Thursday, 1 October 2020 3:37pm

Sir Eion Edgar, benefactor and advisory board chair for the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre, is an avid supporter of health research. A recent interview offers insight into why supporting research is important to him.

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Lung cancer screening a step closer to reality following combined study

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:04am

Newly released study results present a strong case for lung cancer screening in New Zealand – particularly for Māori whose mortality rates are between three and four times higher than other ethnic groups.

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Digital health programmes for diabetes - are they effective?

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 1:45pm

Professor Jeremy Krebs, Endocrinologist and EDOR researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington, was part of the research team who carried out a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a digital health programme for self-management of diabetes and prediabetes

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Otago alumnus donates surgical masks to help University fight pandemic

Thursday, 17 September 2020 10:08am

University of Otago alumnus Mark Brosnan is gifting $10,000 worth of surgical masks to the University’s Dunedin Department of Medicine. 

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HRC grant will improve health services for rangatahi Māori and their whānau

Wednesday, 16 September 2020 12:28pm

Dr Lisa Te Morenga, EDOR researcher at Victoria University of Wellington, has been awarded an HRC Health Delivery Research Grant.

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New Zealand ranks poorly on childhood obesity in UNICEF child health report

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 12:59pm

Professor Jim Mann comments on the recent UNICEF report on child health, which ranks New Zealand second to worst out of 41 countries for childhood obesity.

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Alcohol-related assaults in NZ decline after restrictions on late-night alcohol sales

Friday, 28 August 2020 9:50am

The number of people hospitalised because of assaults over the weekend reduced significantly following restrictions on late-night alcohol sales, new research from the University of Otago shows.

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Professor John Broughton Retires

Monday, 24 August 2020 11:47am

Professor John Broughton (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga), who has now retired from his position in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM).

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Digital contact tracing alone may not be miracle answer for COVID-19

Wednesday, 19 August 2020 2:33pm

In infectious disease outbreaks, digital contact tracing alone could reduce the number of cases, but not as much as manual contact tracing, new University of Otago-led research published in the Cochrane Library reveals.

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Otago University’s contact tracing system shows promising results in test scenario

Friday, 7 August 2020 10:56am

An initial test of the University of Otago’s contact tracing system for COVID-19 has produced promising results after most contacts identified in the emergency exercise scenario of a visiting international professor to the Dunedin campus were able to be tracked down.

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Is intermittant fasting for you?

Wednesday, 5 August 2020 11:54am

EDOR director Professor Rachael Taylor has been interviewed by RNZ on the use of intermittant fasting.

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Updates from the NTMHRU, post COVID-19

Monday, 3 August 2020 9:40am

Welcome back to our tauira! We hope you are looking forward to semester two studies and catching up with your mates. If you need support, come and see us and/or apply for the tautoko hardship fund. Read more about the Māori response to COVID-19 and Urutā in this article too. 

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Improvements suggested for monitoring pregnancy weight gain

Thursday, 30 July 2020 2:11pm

Associate Professor Kirsten Coppell and colleagues have published a review outlining measures needed to improve the monitoring of weight gain during pregnancy.

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Recent funding successes for EDOR members

Friday, 17 July 2020 1:01pm

Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research members have been successful in the recent NZ Health Research Council funding round.

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Kiwis stockpile paracetamol, the basis of most calls to National Poisons Centre

Wednesday, 15 July 2020 9:40am

While paracetamol was the most common substance of enquiry for calls to the National Poisons Centre in 2018, new research reveals most New Zealanders have large quantities of the painkiller stockpiled in their homes.

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Otago researchers find link between rape and breathing problems

Friday, 10 July 2020 12:03pm

Rape and sexual trauma may have long-lasting consequences for physical health as well as mental health, University of Otago researchers have found.

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Less than half of schools have robust sun hat policies in place to protect children

Tuesday, 7 July 2020 10:54am

Despite schools being encouraged to implement sun protective hat wearing policy to reduce children’s future risk of skin cancer, less than half participating in a University of Otago study had robust policy in place.

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EDOR members explore infant and child sleep practices among Māori whānau

Tuesday, 30 June 2020 1:34pm

EDOR researchers publish a qualitative study of perceptions of infant and child sleep practices among Māori whānau

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Later bedtimes fine for pre-schoolers if they get enough sleep

Friday, 12 June 2020 12:16pm

Parents of pre-schoolers can take reassurance from new Otago research which shows early bedtimes aren’t vital for healthy development, as long as young children get enough sleep.

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BMI an inconsistent measure of obesity for Māori and Pacific people

Friday, 12 June 2020 11:50am

BMI (Body Mass Index) is likely to be an inconsistent measure of obesity in Māori and Pacific patients, new University of Otago research reveals.

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EDOR contributes to global cholesterol study in Nature

Wednesday, 3 June 2020 1:00pm

Professor Jim Mann, Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre Co-Director, and EDOR member Associate Professor Rachael McLean, have contributed to the largest ever study of global cholesterol levels, published in the prestigious journal Nature.

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HRC Emerging Researcher grants for EDOR members

Friday, 29 May 2020 10:51am

The HRC announced their 2020 Emerging Researcher grant recipients this week and EDOR members feature in two of the eight grants awarded to University of Otago applicants.

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Increase in HIV cases, but decline in numbers first diagnosed in New Zealand

Thursday, 28 May 2020 12:31pm

After two years of declining numbers of HIV cases in New Zealand, there was a slight increase in 2019, but many of these cases were first diagnosed overseas.

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Otago research shines spotlight on health woes of Mururoa veterans and their children

Friday, 22 May 2020 11:30am

Cancers are prevalent among Mururoa veterans who witnessed the French atmospheric nuclear explosions in 1973 while many of their children have fertility problems, new University of Otago research reveals.

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Whole grains and diabetes study features on Radio NZ

Thursday, 21 May 2020 3:34pm

Dr Andrew Reynolds was interviewed by Jesse Mulligan at Radio NZ about his study showing that unprocessed whole grains are more beneficial for adults with Type 2 diabetes.

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Higher fibre saves lives, but food processing may remove benefits

Tuesday, 19 May 2020 1:33pm

Eating more fibre can improve life expectancy for those with diabetes, Otago researchers say.

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Smoking cannabis causes bronchitis and changes to lung function

Monday, 18 May 2020 10:05am

Cannabis is harmful to the lungs, but in a different way to tobacco, causing significant respiratory symptoms such as bronchitis with evidence to suggest it can result in destructive lung disease – sometimes referred to as ‘bong lung’ – in heavy cannabis users.

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The meeting of two pandemics: Kirsten Coppell talks diabetes and COVID-19

Thursday, 14 May 2020 1:02pm

Associate Professor Kirsten Coppell, EDOR researcher and public health physician, has co-authored a letter to the New Zealand Medical Journal on the meeting of two pandemics - COVID-19 and diabetes.

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Otago researchers fast-track app for bowel disease sufferers in new COVID-19 era

Wednesday, 13 May 2020 11:03am

The advent of COVID-19 has resulted in University of Otago researchers, in collaboration with others in New Zealand, fast-tracking development of a smartphone application (app) to help improve care for people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (also called inflammatory bowel disease or IBD), as fewer of them will be able to meet with specialists.

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Participate in the COVID-19 food survey

Thursday, 30 April 2020 10:25am

Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research member Dr Lisa Te Morenga, Victoria University of Wellington, is involved in a worldwide survey on how COVID-19 has changed the way we cook and eat.

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Sending children back to school: as safe as it’s ever been, doctors say

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 11:02am

With a lack of CoVID-19 circulating in our community, fewer other viruses and bacteria than usual, and good systems for detection and contact tracing in place, it is as safe as it has ever been for children to attend school.

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Large numbers of NZ military personnel suffer post-traumatic stress, Otago research reveals

Friday, 24 April 2020 12:15pm

The first wide-ranging survey of New Zealand military personnel shows many suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS) though greater length of service, psychological flexibility (resilience) and quality sleep may be protective factors.

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Potential food insecurity issues highlighted by COVID-19 shortages

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 2:32pm

Professor Jim Mann has highlighted an important aspect of food security in New Zealand, as revealed in the flour shortages reported during COVID-19.

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Can food or drink taxes protect our health?

Thursday, 19 March 2020 3:34pm

EDOR researchers have contributed to a review of food or beverage interventions involving taxes or subsidies, both in New Zealand and overseas.

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High fibre benefits those with diabetes or prediabetes

Thursday, 12 March 2020 12:12pm

EDOR researchers have found that found high-fibre diets are a key aspect of diabetes management.

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It's World Obesity Day - and sleep is on the menu!

Wednesday, 4 March 2020 12:00pm

World Obesity Day 2020 is today, Wednesday 4 March. The EDOR DREAM team is looking at a novel intervention approach for childhood obesity.

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Watch presentations from the Evidence to Everyday research symposium

Friday, 28 February 2020 11:49am

View recordings of the Evidence to Everyday research symposium presentations, held in Wellington on 20 September, 2019.

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EDOR researcher using Heart Foundation fellowship to improve health through diet

Wednesday, 19 February 2020 2:24pm

Dr Andrew Reynolds, an EDOR research fellow, has been granted a three-year fellowship from the NZ Heart Foundation.

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Register for the 2020 NZSSD annual scientific conference

Thursday, 13 February 2020 10:48am

The New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting will be held in Wellington 6-8 May.

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Associate Professor Kirsten Coppell speaks at the BEATS symposium 2020

Wednesday, 5 February 2020 10:59am

Associate Professor Kirsten Coppell spoke about the dietary patterns of teenagers and obesity-promoting food environments at the BEATS symposium 2020.

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Weight loss and health improvements with Mediterranean, fasting and paleo diets

Friday, 24 January 2020 10:46am

There were some weight loss and health benefits for overweight adults who followed the Mediterranean, Intermittent Fasting and Paleo diets, though adherence to the diets dropped off considerably during the one-year study, new University of Otago research shows.

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Dr Rachael McLean talks to The Listener about salt

Thursday, 23 January 2020 11:03am

EDOR researcher and public health physician, Dr Rachael McLean, discusses how we can reduce our salt intake in the latest edition of the NZ Listener.

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Climate-friendly food choices protect the planet, promote health, and reduce healthcare costs

Thursday, 23 January 2020 9:34am

Increased uptake of plant-based diets in New Zealand could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions while greatly improving population health and saving the healthcare system billions of dollars in the coming decades, according to a new University of Otago study.

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Otago researchers ponder selling tobacco only through liquor stores, petrol stations or pharmacies

Thursday, 9 January 2020 2:39pm

The sale of tobacco only through liquor stores, petrol stations or pharmacies would considerably reduce the overall availability of tobacco and assist the Government in achieving its 2025 smokefree goal, new University of Otago research shows.

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Tragedy led young Fijian doctor to change her country

Monday, 23 December 2019 4:02pm

Sometimes things happen that are so tragic, so traumatic, there is no way to forget them.

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New Professors for EDOR

Thursday, 12 December 2019 11:14am

Three EDOR researchers have been made Professor or Associate Professor in the recent University of Otago promotion round.

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Prescribers be aware of fatal risks of methadone and clozapine

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 11:26am

New Zealand prescribers should be aware of the high risk of death associated with two prescription medicines, methadone and clozapine, University of Otago researchers warn.

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Our Director Dr Emma Wyeth has been promoted to Associate Professor!

Monday, 9 December 2019 10:11am

We are super proud to announce that our Director Dr Emma Wyeth has been promoted to Associate Professor!

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Marsden Fund success for EDOR members

Friday, 6 December 2019 12:30pm

Several EDOR members have been successful in the gaining funding from the Royal Society Te Apārangi's Marsden fund in 2019.

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Fewer Kiwis will die of bowel cancer if new screening tool introduced, Otago research reveals

Thursday, 28 November 2019 11:15am

Introducing flexible sigmoidoscopy screening into the national bowel screening programme would significantly reduce both the incidence and mortality of bowel cancer in New Zealand, new University of Otago research reveals.

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BEATS Team recognised for promoting physical activity amongst teenagers

Friday, 22 November 2019 12:20pm

The Built Environment and Active Transport to School (BEATS) Research Team, including EDOR member Associate Professor Kirsten Coppell, has been awarded the University of Otago 2019 Research Group Award.

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What we eat matters, 2019 Heart Foundation Fellow says

Thursday, 14 November 2019 12:48pm

Researching how to help the healthy stay healthy is hugely important, and Otago's Dr Andrew Reynolds is working hard in that area. He talks to the Otago Bulletin Board about his research, his motivation and his hopes for the future.

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See what's on for World Diabetes Awareness Month

Thursday, 14 November 2019 11:46am

World Diabetes Day is November 14 and this year is part of Diabetes Awareness month.

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New funding awarded to develop a sleep toolkit for tamariki and their whānau

Thursday, 7 November 2019 1:03pm

A new strategic research project led by EDOR Director Professor Rachael Taylor, with the aim of improving sleep for pepi and their whānau, has been awarded $1.7 million over three years from A Better Start National Science Challenge.

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Otago researchers recipients of inaugural $3m Marsden Fund Award

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 9:42am

University of Otago researchers are the recipients of an inaugural Marsden Fund Council Award worth $3 million to investigate genetic predisposition to metabolic diseases like diabetes and gout among Pacific people.

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Roche winner excited about opportunity

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:07pm

A University of Otago researcher says she is very excited to have won a fellowship for cutting-edge research on stomach cancer survival.

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Otago scientist wins award for stomach cancer research

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 1:42pm

A University of Otago researcher has won a fellowship to undertake cutting-edge research on stomach cancer survival, using technology not yet available in New Zealand.

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Diabetes-related admissions in two Southern hospitals costs $41m in one year

Friday, 25 October 2019 9:38am

The cost of diabetes-related hospital admissions to Dunedin and Southland Hospitals for the 2016/2017 financial year was $41 million, new University of Otago research reveals.

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EDOR researcher Dr Lisa Te Morenga wins national award

Friday, 18 October 2019 4:05pm

EDOR researcher Dr Lisa Te Morenga wins the Royal Society Te Apārangi Hamilton Award, which was presented at the Research Honours Awards Aotearoa in Dunedin on the 17th October, 2019.

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Hear a recording of the Cost of Food panel discussion

Friday, 11 October 2019 1:42pm

The Cost of Food panel discussion, held at the Evidence to Everyday symposium on 20 September, 2019, was recorded by Radio NZ and is now available on their website.

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Social audit as a social accountability mechanism for strengthening governance and service delivery in Nepal

Friday, 11 October 2019 9:57am

Social audit is a mechanism used to hold frontline health service providers accountable. This study explored the role of social audit in facilitating direct accountability between service providers and community.

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Prof Jim Mann comments on controversial red and processed meat research

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 10:44am

Professor Jim Mann has commented on a series of reviews suggesting that there are very few health benefits to cutting your consumption of red and processed meat.

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From Evidence to Everyday: translating nutrition research for a healthy Āotearoa

Friday, 20 September 2019 12:26pm

"From Evidence to Everyday: Translating nutrition research for a healthy Aotearoa", a symposium organised by the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre, was held on Friday 20 September, 2019, at the Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre, University of Otago, Wellington.

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Director of The Dunedin Study recognised with Distinguished Research Medal

Friday, 13 September 2019 12:23pm

Having a clear goal to make people’s lives better has helped earn Professor Richie Poulton Otago's prestigious Distinguished Research Medal for 2019.

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Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Monday, 9 September 2019 12:02pm


I tērā wiki i whakanui mātou Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

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Young people with chronic illness find health system doesn’t meet their needs – Otago study

Tuesday, 27 August 2019 8:55am

New Zealand’s adult-centred health system appears ill-equipped to meet the needs of chronically sick young people, a University of Otago study has found.

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Māori rates of subsequent injury disproportionately high

Friday, 26 July 2019 12:31pm

A ground-breaking University of Otago study has found Māori experience disproportionately higher rates of subsequent injuries within two years of their initial injury.

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National Bowel Screening age limit harms Māori - Dr Sue Crengle talks to the ODT

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 8:59am

National Bowel Screening age limit harms Māori - Dr Sue Crengle talks to the ODT

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EDOR researchers comment on link between mental health, diabetes and obesity

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 3:43pm

EDOR researchers comment on a mental health and life expectancy report published in The Lancet.

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Māori-led research at Otago awarded more then $3m in HRC funding

Thursday, 27 June 2019 1:49pm

Māori researchers from the University of Otago have been granted more than $3 million in funding from the Health Research Council (HRC) to tackle a wide range of projects ranging from water safety to disability support access for Māori - including our very own Dr Emma Wyeth.

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We hosted the wonderful Dr Donna Cormack for our Matariki seminar today

Monday, 24 June 2019 1:44pm

We were so privileged to host the fantastic Dr Donna Cormack last Monday who presented about data (in)justice and Māori data sovereignty in a datafied world.

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Infant sleep and nutrition studies attract HRC funding

Wednesday, 19 June 2019 9:54am

Infant sleep and nutrition studies, co-led by EDOR Director Professor Taylor, have gained significant funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand

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EDOR celebrates two new Professors

Friday, 14 June 2019 2:50pm

Two new EDOR Professors have delivered their inaugural professorial lectures.

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Hidden cost of alcohol to workplaces estimated at $1.65 billion – Otago study

Friday, 7 June 2019 9:50am

Employees turning up to work hungover, or not turning up at all, cost New Zealand $1.65 billion per year, a University of Otago study has found.

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EDOR staff recognised at Health Research Excellence Awards

Thursday, 30 May 2019 10:03am

EDOR staff have featured at Health Research Excellence Awards.

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Health and the environment - how can we turn the tide?

Thursday, 23 May 2019 11:01am

EDOR co-director Kirsten Coppell is concerned about the effect of the environment on health, and has co-authored a report listing key policy recommendations to increase active transport in New Zealand.

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High-intensity exercise may restore heart function in people with type 2 diabetes

Thursday, 23 May 2019 4:43pm

University of Otago researchers have discovered that high-intensity exercise can reduce or reverse the loss in heart function caused by type 2 diabetes.

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Sir Eion Edgar walking the talk to raise funds for diabetes

Friday, 17 May 2019 11:59am

EDOR benefactor and advisory board chair, Sir Eion Edgar, is busy raising funds to support those with diabetes in New Zealand.

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Number of HIV cases continue to decline in New Zealand

Thursday, 16 May 2019 2:42pm

For the second year in a row there has been a reduction in the number of confirmed cases of HIV in New Zealand.

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Students present at Otago Medical School Research Society

Friday, 10 May 2019 10:52am

Joyce Guo and Noeline Venter were among 10 University of Otago students who were selected to present their research at the 248th scientific meeting of the Otago Medical School Research Society.

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Our two ARFs attend the Qualitative Methods Conference in Brisbane

Wednesday, 8 May 2019 2:14pm

Our two assistant research fellows Vicky Nelson and Georgia McCarty flew the ditch last week to go the the 17th Qualitative Methods Conference in Brisbane.

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EDOR Director Rachael Taylor gives her Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Thursday, 2 May 2019 9:42am

EDOR Director Professor Rachael Taylor delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture on the 30 April, 2019.