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Research partnership to tackle sudden unexpected death in infants

Thursday 3 October 2013 11:15am

HospitalA new Dunedin School of Medicine project aimed at reducing sudden unexpected death in infants has been funded by the Health Research Council.

The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) today announced funding for a total of four research partnership projects that will help improve New Zealand's health care services in the short term.

The Dunedin School of Medicine project, led by Professor Barry Taylor (Department of Women's and Children's Health) is funded through the HRC's Research Partnerships for New Zealand Health Delivery (RPNZHD) initiative, which requires health researchers to work in collaboration with health delivery organisations.

HRC Chief Executive Dr Robin Olds said the Council was pleased to be able to support research opportunities for more frontline clinicians. "These high quality research partnerships will provide innovative and workable solutions to some of the major health challenges facing New Zealand—and in quick time."

In partnership with the Hawke's Bay District Health Board, Professor Taylor will lead a NZ$200,000 project to investigate whether placing infants in a pēpi-pod (a plastic container with a fitted mattress) for overnight sleep in their homes is a safe way of decreasing New Zealand's high rate of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). The research will use infra-red video and measure the infants' heart rate, blood oxygen levels and body temperature.

"The results will provide urgently needed evidence to support (or otherwise) the current plans that are being implemented in many district health boards," says Professor Taylor.

The project will be funded over 18 months.