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News from Dunedin School of Medicine

Otago psychiatrists call on colleagues to say ‘no’ to euthanasia

Thursday, 17 October 2019 11:12am

The impact of legalising euthanasia will be devastating on older people, the poor and disabled, according to two University of Otago psychiatrists who are calling on their colleagues both in New Zealand and internationally to oppose the move.

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New Otago Medical School Dean brings international expertise

Tuesday, 8 October 2019 2:29pm

A prominent neuroradiologist and nuclear medicine physician with a wealth of international experience has been named the new Dean of the University of Otago medical school.

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Burden of knee osteoarthritis costs predicted to almost double to $370 million

Friday, 4 October 2019 9:24am

Public health measures to reduce obesity rates would help slow the rising burden of costs associated with knee osteoarthritis, projected to almost double to $370 million by 2038.

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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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Otago research shines light on cancer cells

Friday, 9 August 2019 11:39am

New University of Otago research into tell-tale markers of cancer cells could help doctors identify whether the cells are more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

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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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Simple Otago invention could reduce barriers to contraception

Friday, 26 July 2019 12:44pm

A device that could help decrease the global burden of unwanted pregnancy has been invented by University of Otago academics.

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Otago researchers call for gender binary in elite sports to be abandoned to cater for trans-athletes

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 10:50am

Existing gender categories in sport should perhaps be abandoned in favour of a more 'nuanced' approach in the new transgender era, University of Otago researchers say.

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Eliminating waiting lists for cataract surgery prevents falls and is cost effective

Thursday, 4 July 2019 11:21am

Eliminating waiting times for cataract surgery would be a cost-effective health system intervention, largely driven by the falls prevention benefits related to improved vision, a just-published New Zealand study has found.

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

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 3:10pm

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.

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HRC grants $40m to Otago research tackling issues from climate change to heart failure

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 4:06pm

Climate change and its impact on people’s health and using DNA to help predict who may suffer heart failure are just two of many University of Otago-led research projects being funded this year by the Health Research Council to the tune of more than $40 million.

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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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Health Research Excellence Awards announced

Thursday, 30 May 2019 4:24pm

Neurosurgeon Professor Dirk De Ridder has been awarded the prestigious Dean's Medal at the annual Health Research Excellence Awards, for his work on neuromodulation to treat brain conditions ranging from addiction to Parkinson's Disease.

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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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Otago’s emerging researchers secure more than $1.7 million in HRC funding

Thursday, 16 May 2019 12:56pm

An occupational therapist who aims to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities is one of several University of Otago early-stage researchers who have together been awarded more than $1.7 million in Health Research Council funding.

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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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Otago global health researchers to tackle tuberculosis in Indonesia

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 2:33pm

Researchers from the Otago Global Health Institute have secured funding from the e-Asia Joint Research Programme and the Health Research Council of New Zealand to help improve the management of tuberculosis (TB) in Indonesia.

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Discovery of oral cancer biomarkers could save thousands of lives

Tuesday, 16 April 2019 10:33am

Oral cancer is known for its high mortality rate in developing countries, but an international team of scientists hope its latest discovery will change that.

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Otago research shows alcohol consultation failing Māori communities

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 12:28pm

Local governments are failing to consult meaningfully with Māori when it comes to liquor licensing legislation, new research from the University of Otago has found.

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New pharmacy clinic aims to optimise pharmacotherapy and improve patients’ health

Friday, 22 March 2019 4:27pm

A new outpatient clinic in Dunedin to help patients manage multiple medications and improve their health – a joint venture between the University of Otago’s School of Pharmacy and Southern District Health Board – is believed to be the first of its kind in Australasia.

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Otago bioethicist adds voice to global plea for moratorium on heritable genome editing

Thursday, 14 March 2019 9:24am

A University of Otago bioethicist has added his voice to a global plea for a moratorium on heritable genome editing from a group of international scientists and ethicists in the wake of the recent Chinese experiment aiming to produce HIV immune children.

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Number of poisoning-related deaths in New Zealand remain high

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 11:05am

While there has been a decline in carbon monoxide deaths in New Zealand, the number of deaths relating to poisoning remain high with new research revealing a surprising number of deaths involving two prescription medicines, zopiclone and clozapine.

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Sniffing out prostate cancer in New Zealand

Monday, 4 March 2019 9:47am

The University of Otago and K9 Medical Detection NZ are working together to investigate using dogs as a diagnostic tool to sniff out prostate cancer.

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Otago research reveals need to ensure drug trials for anxiety are carried out on appropriate patients

Tuesday, 12 February 2019 1:26pm

University of Otago psychiatry experts are concerned some medications used to treat anxiety may appear ineffective because they are not being tested in appropriate patients.

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Otago academics question whether it is timely to salary GPs and abolish patient fees

Friday, 1 February 2019 9:39am

University of Otago academic health and business leaders consider it timely for a debate about funding primary healthcare services including the possibility of the Government salarying all GPs and abolishing patient fees.

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Otago academic offers new explanation for Alexander the Great’s death

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 9:09am

It may have happened more than 2300 years ago, but the mystery of Alexander the Great’s death could finally be solved, thanks to a University of Otago academic.

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Kiwi teens have little knowledge of most effective contraceptives, Otago research reveals

Friday, 18 January 2019 10:11am

New Zealand adolescents have little knowledge of the most effective form of contraceptives, like implants and IUDs, and support the concept of an education programme about these long-acting reversible contraceptives to help prevent unintended teen pregnancies, University of Otago research has found.

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University of Otago to study the impacts of mycoplasma bovis on farmers and their communities

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 10:45am

The University of Otago will carry out a study on the emotional, social and psychological impacts of mycoplasma bovis on Southern farmers and farming communities.

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High intake of dietary fibre and whole grain foods reduces risk of non-communicable diseases

Friday, 11 January 2019 12:39pm

University of Otago researchers have found a link between higher intakes of dietary fibre and whole grain foods and a reduction in the risk of a wide range of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.

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Otago study highlights problems predicting suicide

Friday, 21 December 2018 4:09pm

A University of Otago study examining the ability of measures to predict death-by-suicide highlights multiple problems with current mental health treatment models.

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Otago graduate influential in Africa

Thursday, 13 December 2018 9:05am

The first PhD student to graduate from the University of Otago’s Centre for International Health (CIH) has been named the most influential woman in the education and training sector of business and government in part of Africa.

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Study examines impact of alcohol policy change on hazardous drinking habits at Otago

Friday, 7 December 2018 11:41am

A study spanning ten years has found alcohol policy reform implemented by the University of Otago probably contributed to a change in the drinking culture of the student population.

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Otago researchers discover information about a gene that helps define us as humans

Thursday, 6 December 2018 9:11am

University of Otago researchers have discovered information about a gene that sets primates – great apes and humans – apart from other mammals, through the study of a rare developmental brain disorder.

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Māori health professional graduand numbers soar to new heights

Wednesday, 5 December 2018 9:08am

The number of University of Otago Māori health professional graduands has climbed to an historic high.

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Pain common and increasing in prevalence in New Zealand

Friday, 30 November 2018 9:19am


Pain is an extremely common condition and increasing in prevalence in New Zealand, University of Otago researchers say.

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Too many dementia patients prescribed potentially inappropriate drugs – Otago finds

Thursday, 29 November 2018 9:45am

Older adults diagnosed with dementia are frequently being prescribed potentially inappropriate medications, which leaves them at risk of delirium, worsening cognitive impairment, and increased mortality, a University of Otago study has found.

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Otago invention helps patients manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Friday, 23 November 2018 9:20am


As increasing numbers of New Zealanders are being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), University of Otago researchers have developed a smartphone application (app) proven to be as effective as clinical care in helping patients manage their disease.

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True burden of rheumatic fever in NZ currently underestimated, new research reveals

Thursday, 22 November 2018 5:05pm

The true burden of rheumatic fever in New Zealand may be underestimated because serology cut-off guidelines are too high resulting in undercounting about 16 cases annually, new collaborative research has found.

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Otago health researchers share more than $3.5m in Career Development Awards

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 9:19am

A University of Otago Christchurch engineer is developing  a ‘lego’ system to 3D-bioprint bone; a solution that could one day replace the billions-of-dollars-worth of ceramic and titanium implants required by New Zealand patients annually.

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Otago research highlights need for spirituality to be integrated into the health system

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 4:11pm

Spiritual care must be integrated into health system care plans, policies and training in order to reflect national guidelines and strategies more effectively, according to University of Otago researchers.

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Boost in training health professionals rurally under ‘virtual’ school proposal

Friday, 9 November 2018 4:14pm

The National Interprofessional School of Rural Health that has been proposed recently is not a separate education provider, but rather an “enabling body” that would lever off the expertise of the existing tertiary institutions to undertake more teaching and research in rural communities, working in partnership with local health services.

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Driving anxiety experienced by many older adults, new research reveals

Monday, 5 November 2018 9:15am

Driving anxiety is experienced by many older adults in New Zealand, especially among women and those aged over 70, recent collaborative research shows.

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Most Kiwis support some form of euthanasia or assisted dying, Otago review reveals

Thursday, 1 November 2018 9:21am

Most New Zealanders support some form of euthanasia or assisted dying, a review of 20 years’ research into Kiwis’ attitudes to euthanasia by University of Otago researchers reveals.

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Cutting societal alcohol use may prevent alcohol disorders developing – Otago research reveals

Wednesday, 31 October 2018 11:14am

Society must take collective responsibility to reduce the harm caused by alcohol use disorders, a University of Otago academic says.

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Study investigates link between loneliness and age in elderly New Zealanders

Monday, 29 October 2018 11:35am

Loneliness is associated with reduced quality of life and morbidity and mortality and typically worsens with aging. Loneliness may be considered a public health hazard because of its association with a wide range of conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, Alzheimer disease, depression and insomnia.