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This year’s Summer Studentship research results

Student looking away smiling

Thursday 27 January 2011 9:36am

This year’s research projects from University of Otago, Christchurch (UOC), Summer Studentship programme provide insights on topics such as stem cell treatment of cancer, a novel methadone programme and the use of green tea in treating cancer.

Students will present their findings from 9am to 3pm on Friday January 28 at the UOC’s Rolleston Lecture Theatre. Media are welcome to attend.

Download the Summer Studentship programme (in PDF format)

Some research topics include

Changing treatments and outcomes in multiple myeloma for patients in Christchurch

Multiple myeloma is a malignancy of plasma cells, which are white blood cells that produce anti-bodies. Conventional treatments - radiotherapy and chemotherapy – often produce unsatisfactory results. An alternative, controversial treatment is stem cell plantation. Researcher Jessica Taylor studied survival rates of Canterbury multiple myeloma patients over a 15-year period. She found stem cell transplantation did provide significantly higher rates of survival in different patient groups.

Contact supervisor Dr Liam Fernyhough: 03 364040 or student Jessica Taylor: 027671979

Use of a hospital hydrotherapy pool

Researcher Amanda Polkinghorne studied usage of the hydrotherapy pool at Burwood Hospital by users groups such as individuals with disabilities.
She found the pool provided a necessary and appreciated service but was unable to cater to the large community need for accessible facilities for people with physical and intellectual impairments. Her audit uncovered a lack of effective strategies to deal with emergency situations, particularly among medically vulnerable members.

Contact student Amanda Polkinghorne: 027 713 1864 or supervisor Dr Hilda Mulligan: 021 02750044

Can green tea extracts sensitise endometrial microtumours to UV radiation?

Some research has shown green tea to be anti-tumour activity. Researcher Simon Hogg investigated the effect of green tea extracts together with radiation in patients with endometrial cancer. He found the novel combination produced measurable positive effect.

Contact student Simon Hogg: 021 140403 or Professor John Evans 021 1455576 or 3641698

Secondary and tertiary health service usage and cost by people suffering from borderline personality disorder in urban Christchurch

This study is the first attempt to comprehensively estimate health service costs associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BDP is characterised by an enduring pattern of difficulties that cause instability in personal relationships, self-image and impulsivity. Suicidal thoughts, attempts and self-mutilation are common. Researcher Josh Faulkner estimated the cost to the health system of treating 495 people in Canterbury with BPD (including in-patient and out-patient care) at more than $6 million. There are an estimated 90,000 people with BPD in New Zealand.

Contact student Josh Faulkner: 027 424 0624

The Canterbury Methadone Maintenance Model of Care

When patients first start the methadone programme they must travel daily to Hillmorton Hospital to receive their prescription and be monitored. However once established in this routine, many Canterbury patients have the chance to get prescriptions from their GP in a model of care unique to this region.

Rachael Stevenson investigated the perceptions of GPs and patients involved in the project and found plenty of reasons the programme could be employed outside of Canterbury and for more methadone users.

Contact student Rachael Stevenson: 0273043318

The Summer Studentship programme is an annual event. Students are overseen by senior Canterbury clinicians and researchers from UOC.

For further information contact

Kim Thomas
Senior Communications Advisor
University of Otago, Christchurch
Tel 027 222 6016

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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