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Department of Preventive and Social Medicine news

COVID-19 questions to be answered in Otago University masterclass

Thursday, 11 June 2020 11:33am

If you’ve got questions about COVID-19, an upcoming fortnight-long masterclass, running from June 22 until July 3, should be on your radar.

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Health of truck drivers and evening TV binge-watchers under Otago researchers’ spotlight

Friday, 29 May 2020 10:58am

The health and safety of truck drivers and the impacts of evening television binge-watching will come under the spotlight in new University of Otago research being funded by the Health Research Council.

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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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New insights into vaping uptake among Māori and Pacific peoples

Monday, 25 May 2020 11:08am

Māori and Pasifika who have not been able to quit smoking may need more support to move from smoking to vaping, researchers from the University of Otago and Māori public health collective Hāpai Te Hauora have found.

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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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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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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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Rapid Case Contact Management –  COVID-19’s Achilles heel?

Thursday, 19 March 2020 11:15am

Most infectious diseases have an Achilles heel, the secret is to find it. The question is, if we don’t have a drug or a vaccine for COVID-19, is there something else we can do to beat it?

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New Zealand’s COVID-19 public health response must be aggressive

Friday, 13 March 2020 4:17pm

China, Taiwan and other Asian countries have shown that a massive public health response to COVID-19 works. Now is the time for New Zealand to do the same.

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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 global health institute invests in research with Fiji and East Timor

Monday, 13 January 2020 9:16am

The Otago Global Health Institute, a flagship research centre of the University of Otago, is investing in new research initiatives in collaboration with the Fiji National University and the National University of East Timor to help address health problems in these countries.

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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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30 new Professors for the University of Otago

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 4:51pm

Thirty University of Otago academics have been promoted to the position of professor this year.

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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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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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Dairy owners’ lack of knowledge about e-cigarettes may undermine smoking cessation

Thursday, 7 November 2019 9:14am

Convenience store owners who lack knowledge of the e-cigarettes they sell may undermine, rather than support, smoking cessation.

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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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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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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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RNZ interview with Dr Kaaren Mathias CIH Adjunct Research Fellow based in India

Monday, 5 August 2019 2:50pm

RNZ interview with Dr Kaaren Mathias CIH Adjunct Research Fellow based in India.  Dr Kaaren Mathias is medical doctor who's been living in India since 2006. She's working in community health and development as well as being involved in a number of other projects helping to improve both the physical and mental health of the people in communities in Uttarakhand.

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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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Old vaccine brings new surprises

Friday, 19 July 2019 9:23am

New research about an old vaccine – one that has been in use for nearly 100 years – has not only shown how effective it is but also suggests it improves our immune response to a wider range of bacteria than originally intended.

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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