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News and events

‘Choosing Wisely’ reduces unnecessary tests and antibiotic use, study finds

Aidan Wilson thumb

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

A Hutt Valley District Health Board campaign to cut the number of urine tests being carried out on hospital patients not only significantly reduced the number of unnecessary tests being ordered but also lowered the level of antibiotic prescribing, a study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has found.

Two winning teams from TRG competition

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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Two winning teams have emerged from this year’s University of Otago Translational Research Grant (TRG) competition – one in Dunedin and one in Christchurch.

Otago graduate influential in Africa

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Thursday, 13 December 2018

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.

First nationwide study of listeria in mothers and babies

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

The first study of the burden of listeria in pregnant New Zealanders and their babies has found reassuringly low rates of the infection – indicating food safety warnings are working to prevent unnecessary cases of miscarriage, still birth, and meningitis in babies infected in the womb.

Licence to Swill: James Bond’s drinking over six decades

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Monday, 10 December 2018

He may be licensed to kill but fictional British secret service agent James Bond has a severe alcohol use disorder, according to an analysis of his drinking behaviour published in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Christmas issue.

Otago study forces a rethink on population history of Ibiza

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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Otago researchers have discovered a rare case of genetic population discontinuity on the Mediterranean Island of Ibiza. Essentially, the original genetic signature of the founding female population, handed down through centuries on Ibiza has been replaced, prompting a change in understanding of the island’s genetic history.

Otago invention helps patients manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Friday, 23 November 2018


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.

Otago graduate helps separate conjoined twins

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Friday, 16 November 2018

A mix of relief, pride and protectiveness is how paediatric surgeon and Otago graduate Dr Michael Nightingale feels after being part of the team to successfully separate conjoined twins in Melbourne last week.

UK Fleming Prize to Otago microbiologist

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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A University of Otago molecular microbiologist, Associate Professor Peter Fineran, has been awarded the United Kingdom Microbiology Society’s 2019 Fleming Prize.

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

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Friday, 9 November 2018

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.

Sobering insights into alcohol marketing and Māori children

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Thursday, 1 November 2018

Innovative camera research has revealed that New Zealand children are exposed to alcohol marketing in their residential and school neighbourhoods. The collaborative research by the Universities of Otago and Auckland, found children’s exposure to alcohol marketing was higher in neighbourhoods with greater numbers of alcohol outlets and for Māori participants.

Professor Tony Blakely wins 2018 Chaffer Medal

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Thursday, 1 November 2018

One of the country’s leading epidemiologists and public health researchers has been awarded this year’s Chaffer Medal for distinguished performance in health research.

Otago’s NEXT magazine Woman of the Year

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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman of the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, stepped into a world of unaccustomed glitz and glamour when she was judged NEXT magazine’s 2018 Woman of the Year at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland earlier this month.

Study investigates link between loneliness and age in elderly New Zealanders

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Monday, 29 October 2018

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.

Portrait of Peter Crampton unveiled

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

A portrait of Professor Peter Crampton – painted to celebrate his contribution to the Otago Medical School and the Division of Health Sciences – was unveiled at a gathering at the Hunter Centre yesterday.

Flavoured capsule cigarettes pose a threat to smokefree goals

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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

New research from ASPIRE2025, a University of Otago research theme, challenges tobacco companies’ claims they are working towards a smokefree world and suggests young people are vulnerable to tobacco companies’ product innovations.

New blood test may help rule out heart attack within 15 minutes

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Thursday, 18 October 2018

A preliminary study of a new, quick and accurate, bedside blood test performed in Emergency Departments (ED) could help reduce the time it takes to rule out heart attacks. The study findings have been published this morning in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Cardiology).

Six Otago researchers recognised in NZ research honours

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Thursday, 18 October 2018

University of Otago Research Fellow Helen Taylor’s science communication around conservation genetics and threatened species has earned her recognition at this year’s New Zealand Research Honours.

Recognition for rising research stars

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Monday, 15 October 2018

Six rising research stars at the University of Otago have been recognised through the University’s annual Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research announced today.

Otago research shows diet has little influence on precursor to gout

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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Dietary factors have a far smaller influence on urate levels (a precursor to gout) than previously envisaged, new University of Otago research reveals.

Researchers call for end to fat stigma

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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Researchers are using World Obesity Day today to call for an end to the stigma which fat people experience in their daily lives.

Obituary: Emeritus Professor David Fergusson remembered

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Friday, 5 October 2018

Staff across the University, particularly those based at the University’s Christchurch campus, are remembering Emeritus Professor David Murray Fergusson, who passed away overnight on Wednesday, aged 74.

New building for Christchurch campus

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Friday, 14 September 2018

The University of Otago has announced it will construct a new state-of-the-art building to expand its Christchurch health campus.

Influential teachers celebrated at Dunedin School of Medicine

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Thursday, 13 September 2018

Award-winning teachers from Dunedin and Invercargill were reminded that their influence extends well beyond the classroom, during the 2018 Dunedin School of Medicine (DSM) teaching awards held yesterday afternoon.

Otago scientists awarded major funding for innovative research

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Thursday, 13 September 2018

University of Otago research leader Professor Richard Blaikie has received almost $1 million in Government funding to develop a cost-effective solution for large-scale production of hydrogen gas, a potential source of energy as an alternative to fossil fuel.

Transgender community honoured to help Otago teaching

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Members of Dunedin’s transgender community who have been working with Otago academics say they hope that because of their help, other transgender people will be met with a more capable and understanding healthcare system.

Tackling diet-related disease in New Zealand

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Monday, 3 September 2018

Unhealthy diet is the leading preventable risk for poor health in New Zealand. Diet-related diseases (and how we manage them) is becoming a pressing issue for the country.

Otago scientist wins award for cancer research

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Monday, 27 August 2018

University of Otago scientist Dr Andrew Das has won the Roche Translational Cancer Research Fellowship to further his work as part of a research team investigating the role of epigenetics in leukaemia.

Honing in on the key ingredients for successful self-management of chronic pain

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Friday, 24 August 2018

The outlook for the one in five New Zealanders with persistent or chronic pain has the potential to be more positive according to an extensive study review by researchers from the School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) and Pain Management Service, Capital Coast District Health Board.

New Zealanders using more antipsychotics, especially older females

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Friday, 17 August 2018

The prescription of drugs designed to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions has increased in New Zealand by almost 50 per cent in less than a decade, according to the first local study of its kind.

3MT finals showcase up-and-coming talent

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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

A PhD candidate who is investigating the emotional responses of clinicians who deal with suicidal patients has won the PhD category of Otago’s 2018 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.