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Pacific health research news archive

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Funding success for Otago in 2020 Health Research Council grants

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Tuesday 15 September 2020

Ten University of Otago proposals have been awarded funding through the Health Research Council’s (HRC) new Health Delivery Research Investment round. The 32 research grants are the first of two funding announcements for the HRC’s new Health Delivery Research portfolio.

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Genetics student named Fulbright scholar  

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Thursday 27 August 2020

Genetics Masters student  Anežka Hoskin has been named a  Fulbright New Zealand  scholar and will start her PhD in genetics at Stanford University in September next year.  

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Otago scientists secure more than $26m for health research

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Tuesday 30 June 2020

University of Otago, Wellington infectious diseases expert Professor Michael Baker has received almost $5 million from the Health Research Council for a programme investigating the connection between infectious diseases and long-term conditions, something he was planning well prior to the outbreak of Covid-19.

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Otago alumni central to Fiji's pandemic response

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Friday 26 June 2020

Fiji's COVID-19 Incident Management Team (IMT) represents Fiji's whole-of-government response to the pandemic and implements the Fiji Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan.

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Human Nutrition experts offer lockdown advice for families

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Wednesday 22 April 2020

As other parts of our lives have shut down during lockdown, food has become increasingly important as a focus in our daily routine. Mary Spiers and Dr Claire Smith discuss some food-related challenges and offer simple advice.

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Delivering a message from the world to the world

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Tuesday 7 April 2020

Concerned about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic University of Otago medical school alumnus Dr Zeid Abussuud decided to spread the word on staying safe. With a little help from his friends, many of them also graduates of Otago, Dr Abussuud has made a moving YouTube video, ‘Do it for the whole world: Stay at home’.

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Lecturer and students volunteer time to make sanitiser

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Wednesday 25 March 2020

All the hand sanitiser needed by the University of Otago’s Dunedin campus over the coming weeks has been produced in-house and in record time by a School of Pharmacy senior lecturer and his students.

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University of Otago grows Pacific science connections

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Thursday 27 February 2020

Building and connecting the University of Otago’s work in science with the Pacific, in order to contribute to development and help address the region’s challenges, is the priority of Dr Losa Moata’ane.

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Fulbright scholars excited by opportunities

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Thursday 13 February 2020

Two University of Otago staff have received 2020 Scholar Awards from Fulbright New Zealand, allowing them to travel to the United States to pursue research and form international connections. 

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Damp and mouldy housing new measure in latest deprivation index

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Thursday 30 January 2020

Damp and mouldy housing has been included as an indicator of socioeconomic deprivation in New Zealand by University of Otago researchers developing the latest version of the New Zealand Index of Socioeconomic Deprivation (NZDep2018).

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Otago global health institute invests in research with Fiji and East Timor

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Monday 13 January 2020

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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First class of Bachelor of Health Sciences graduating

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Monday 16 December 2019

Growing up, Ivana Pereira thought she needed to become a doctor or a lawyer to help her people, but studying at Otago opened her eyes to the wide array of careers public health can offer.

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What we eat matters, 2019 Heart Foundation Fellow says

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Thursday 14 November 2019

Researching how to help the healthy stay healthy is hugely important, and Otago's Dr Andrew Reynolds is working hard in that area. He talks to the Otago Bulletin Board about his research, his motivation and his hopes for the future.

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Place and future of Pacific research explored at symposium

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Friday 11 October 2019

The University of Otago’s Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC) held its inaugural symposium, at the Dunedin campus on 27 September to engage in important conversations about the place and future of Pacific research at Otago. 

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Slice of dental history in Samoa

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Tuesday 24 September 2019

There is a little slice of the Faculty of Dentistry’s history in Samoa with the recent arrival of dental chairs no longer needed in Dunedin, with the development of the new clinical services building.

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Treatable cancers killing thousands in Pacific

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Tuesday 6 August 2019

People living in the Pacific Islands are dying regularly from highly treatable cancers because of a lack of cancer care services around the region, researchers say.

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Otago student finds his roots at University

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Thursday 20 June 2019

Cameron Young always ticked the New Zealand European box on forms, but since finding his roots at the University of Otago he is proud to tick the Pacific Islander box.

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Hard hitters share weight management knowledge

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

A postgraduate distance education paper in Obesity Prevention and Management run by the University of Otago, Wellington has enlisted help from some hard hitters in a quest to improve the management of patients in the community.

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Four Honorary Doctorates to mark sesquicentennial

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Wednesday 15 May 2019

Four University of Otago Alumni will be recognised for their life’s work and their contribution to the University, New Zealand and the world during a special graduation ceremony on 1 June.

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Rising to the challenge - first Pacific graduate paves the way

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Monday 15 April 2019

Working across cultures and around the globe, Papali’i Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton has quietly forged a distinguished career in public health and as an advocate for women’s rights, helping pave the way for generations of Pacific Island medical students.

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Plaudits for tobacco control group ASPIRE 2025

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Friday 5 April 2019

University of Otago research group ASPIRE 2025 has won praise from the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand for its exemplary efforts and achievements in the field of smoking cessation and tobacco control.

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New Auckland dental base on target

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Thursday 4 April 2019

Construction of the University’s dental teaching facility and patient treatment clinic in South Auckland is proceeding well, with structural steel now being ordered, Campus Development Division Director David Perry says.

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New Zealand leads global effort to control rheumatic fever

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Monday 11 February 2019

A three-year project aimed at pinpointing the most effective ways to prevent and control rheumatic fever and associated heart disease in New Zealand is being launched tomorrow (Tuesday 12 February) at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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“Infectious” Otago teaching excellence celebrated

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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Four Otago teachers who received awards at this year’s National Teaching Excellence Awards earlier this year had their achievements recognised at a Clocktower event on Monday afternoon.

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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.

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School of Biomedical Sciences (BMS) appoints Associate Dean Pacific

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Professor Vernon Ward (Dean, Biomedical Sciences), Associate Professor Faumuina Fa’afetai Sopoaga (Associate Dean Pacific, Health Sciences), Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu (Associate Dean Pacific, UOW), Dr Kiki Maoate (Associate Dean Pacific, UOC) and Va’ a o Tautai staff joined members of the School of Biomedical Sciences Pacific Strategic Framework Group (PSFG) to acknowledge Associate Professor Daryl Schwenke’s appointment to the role of Associate Dean Pacific for the School of Biomedical Sciences.

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2018 Mason Durie Medal awarded to Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith

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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith has been awarded the 2018 Mason Durie Medal for her ground-breaking work that has, through strong relationships with New Zealand’s indigenous people, reshaped our understanding of the last great human migration into the Pacific.

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Bringing Antarctica to the South Pacific

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Thursday 8 November 2018

Antarctica and the South Pacific islands seem worlds apart but a recent exhibition taken to Niue and Rarotonga taught local schools this connection is closer than expected.

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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.

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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.

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Early immune response research wins Otago Spotlight Award

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Thursday 13 September 2018

Brin Ryder, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, won the Otago Spotlight student poster competition. As one of five finalists he presented his work, on early immune response, to a large audience at the Infectious Disease research forum in Wellington, and gained first place from the judges.

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Nau mai ki Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori!

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Monday 10 September 2018

Māori research presentations, Te Reo wristbands and an ‘Amazing Race’ are just some of the ways the University of Otago is planning to celebrate Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori this year.

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Catch the bug! Infectious disease research in the spotlight

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Thursday 6 September 2018

Don't miss out! A day of short, accessible presentations from international leaders and emerging investigators in infectious disease research. We're exploring the issues affecting New Zealand and how our research is addressing globally challenging health risks. Join us on Tuesday, 11 September, 9am-3.30pm, Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre, UOW campus, Wellington.

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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.

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Join the crew to track the flu!

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Thursday 30 August 2018

The Ministry of Health is looking for volunteers to help track influenza. People who live in New Zealand who have easy access to email on a weekly basis are being invited to help . 

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Major fundamental changes required to achieve health equity

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Monday 9 July 2018

In comparing efforts to address health inequities, researchers in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ) and the United States (US) have found that both countries are failing to align policy with evidence-based approaches that could help achieve equity.

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Junk food dominates NZ sport

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Monday 9 July 2018

Junk food dominates New Zealand sport venues, according to new research led by the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Otago research reveals alarming rise of obesity in New Zealand

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Thursday 5 July 2018

The Body Mass Index (BMI) of New Zealanders is continuing to rise and on current trends, two million New Zealanders will be considered clinically obese by 2038 up from 1.1 million in 2015, new University of Otago research reveals.

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HRC funds 17 Otago-led projects

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Monday 25 June 2018

A study that will investigate whether the price of medications is preventing low income New Zealanders from accessing their prescriptions will go ahead thanks to funding from the Health Research Council (HRC).

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University honoured to host Samoan Prime Minister

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Thursday 14 June 2018

The Prime Minister of Samoa Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi believes it is vital that elected leaders in the Pacific respond to the needs of their people, in order to maintain national stability.

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Cannabis: What's the harm?

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Friday 25 May 2018

A researcher of the effects of cannabis says any law change to free up the drug’s availability needs to take account of scientifically-robust data showing regular use in young people is associated with a higher risk of mental health issues, use of other substances, and lower levels of achievement.

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Obesity a tough topic for GPs, Otago research reveals

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Friday 18 May 2018

New University of Otago research highlights the difficulties for GPs of discussing obesity with patients who are overweight and signals the need for resources to support them and other community health providers in this role.

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Otago a tradition for Fijian family

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Thursday 17 May 2018

When Meli Malani attended an Otago information evening in Fiji last year – encouraged by his father who is an Otago medical alumnus – he recognised the opportunity to continue a proud family tradition.

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Otago scientist involved in new tool to classify severity of Salmonella

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Wednesday 9 May 2018

A University of Otago expert is part of an international collaboration that has created a new machine learning tool that can detect whether emerging strains of the bacterium Salmonella are more likely to cause life-threatening bloodstream infections rather than only food poisoning.

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Innovative health and well-being hub opens in Dunedin

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Wednesday 28 February 2018

A new iwi-driven health village focusing on affordable, high quality health and social services in partnership with the University of Otago officially opened its doors in Dunedin today.

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New Zealand-led heart failure findings debunk world medical view

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Tuesday 27 February 2018

Thousands of New Zealanders can look forward to improvements in treatment and care of heart failure following new research findings that look set to alter the clinical approach and health care planning for heart failure globally.

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Otago research defends SpongeBob

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Thursday 22 February 2018

He may offer nothing but pure entertainment, but at least SpongeBob SquarePants’ fast and fantastical nature is not harming children, say University of Otago academics.

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Health Sciences researchers shine

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

Health Sciences investigators shine in the latest edition of He Kitenga, the University of Otago's prestige publication of research highlights. Sixteen of the articles feature work by Health Sciences investigators over an array of fields.

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Surgeons look to do the right thing by their patients

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Friday 2 February 2018

New Zealand surgeons are often prepared to treat an abnormality discovered during an elective surgical procedure in the absence of patient consent, especially if the patient’s health is threatened and the risk of the additional procedure is low.

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Mind the gap – public and expert views on cancer risk

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Tuesday 23 January 2018

There are substantial gaps between expert recommendations and public knowledge about risk factors for cancer, though these gaps are closing for some cancer types, according to new University of Otago research.

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Predator Free 2050 has major benefits for human health

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Monday 15 January 2018

The Predator Free 2050 campaign to rid New Zealand of rats and possums will have major benefits for human health as well as for native plants and animals, says University of Otago, Wellington public health researcher Dr Mary McIntyre.

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How do firearms, floods and flu impact public health?

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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Firearms and public health, impacts of New Zealand’s most common natural hazard - flooding, and lessons from the 1918 flu pandemic are just some of the courses and seminar talks being offered by the University of Otago, Wellington’s Public Health Summer School.

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Health Sciences PVC to step down

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Thursday 23 November 2017

Professor Peter Crampton has this week announced he will step down from his roles as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences and Dean of the Otago Medical School, taking effect during the middle part of next year.

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Hard work and sacrifice celebrated at ceremony

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Thursday 16 November 2017

The hard work and sacrifices of international Pacific scholarship students were rewarded last Friday when the University of Otago New Zealand Development Scholarship Completion Ceremony was held.

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Fun and future-focus feature at Fono

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Tuesday 14 November 2017

Otago Pacific Alumni Networking Fono at Auckland Centre on 18 October provided opportunity for wide-ranging discussion on Otago's future in region. 

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Landmark study from Otago clarifies brain's role in fertility control

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Friday 10 November 2017

Crucial new information about how the brain controls fertility has been unlocked by University of Otago researchers, with their findings just published in prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

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Osteoarthritis no knees-up for many NZers – Otago research

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Wednesday 25 October 2017

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) causes adult New Zealanders to lose a total of 467,240 quality-adjusted years of life (QALY) across their lifetimes, new University of Otago research shows. One QALY equates to one year in perfect health.

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NZ-China links in non-communicable disease research strengthened

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Wednesday 11 October 2017

The signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) at the University of Otago with three leading Shanghai institutions due to be held tomorrow is a welcome sign of the growing collaborations between New Zealand and Chinese health researchers, according to organisers.

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Climate change and extreme weather driving migration

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Wednesday 11 October 2017

For the first time, a University of Otago researcher has shown that not only are the effects of climate change influencing people’s decision to migrate, it is actually a more important driver than income and political freedom at the origin country.

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Otago researchers’ achievements recognised at 2017 NZ Research Honours Dinner

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Wednesday 11 October 2017

The outstanding achievements of three University of Otago researchers were recognised through the bestowing of prestigious national awards at the 2017 New Zealand Research Honours Dinner earlier this week. The trio were among New Zealand researchers to be presented with 21 medals in total at the Royal Society Te Apārangi-hosted event in Auckland.

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Christchurch student develops App prototype

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Wednesday 4 October 2017

A student from Otago’s Christchurch campus has taken part in a 48-hour competition to develop a medical education learning application at the world’s biggest and best medical education conference.

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Undeclared steroids found in products sold in NZ

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Wednesday 27 September 2017

Athletes and the body-conscious beware – at least six sports supplements on sale in Australia and New Zealand contain anabolic steroids not declared on their labels.

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Book shines spotlight on our cities

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Tuesday 19 September 2017

A new book sets out important ideas for helping New Zealand cities resolve the challenges of providing quality, affordable housing, designing healthy transport systems and dealing with climate change.

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Traditional pregnancy a thing of the past

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Tuesday 5 September 2017

Having a baby may never be the same again as increasingly sophisticated genetic testing is likely to raise thorny ethical issues, according to a new report.

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Study shows most NZ playgrounds lack smokefree signs

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Thursday 24 August 2017

A new study of the smokefree signs at 63 New Zealand playgrounds has found that less than half of the playgrounds (44 per cent) had any such signs. Even when present, many of the signs were small and poorly designed, with some being only postcard sized.

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Child health in the spotlight

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Wednesday 23 August 2017

The Otago Spotlight Series: Child Health Research forum is rapidly approaching. Attendees will have the chance to meet with researchers, and to discuss the future of child health research in New Zealand.

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Quitline is good value-for-money - new study

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Monday 21 August 2017

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington has found New Zealand’s Quitline service is a highly cost-effective way to improve health and even saves the health system money.

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Rental Warrant of Fitness for Wellington

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Thursday 17 August 2017

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced.

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Realising the Potential: Research impact conference

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Wednesday 9 August 2017

Join us 21-22 November, Dunedin, 2017, where participants will be able to improve their understanding of some existing frameworks, tools, approaches and knowledge about research impact and its assessment with leading international experts.

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Economic cost of diabetes among Pacific peoples in NZ

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Thursday 3 August 2017

Darlene Pupi, a University of Otago medical student, used her HRC-funded Pacific Health Career Development Award to explore the economic cost of diabetes among Pacific peoples living in New Zealand.

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Tupu Tai Pasifika Public Sector Internship Programme

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Monday 24 July 2017

The Tupu Tai Pasifika Public Sector Internship Programme is an interagency initiative that supports Pasifika students to explore career pathways within the public sector. Applications will be open from 21 July – 13 August 2017.

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2017 Otago Spotlight Series: Child Health Research

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Tuesday 4 July 2017

Child health research is our Otago Spotlight Series focus for 2017. Please join us in Wellington, 12 September, for another superb day hearing about the latest research from a range of disciplines. The presentations are short and designed for a lay audience. Come along for the day, or pop in and out, and maybe have a chat with researchers over some yummy lunch.

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Otago strengthens ties with Pacifica youth

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Thursday 25 May 2017

Otago is actively working to support Pacific youth into tertiary education – with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with one South Auckland secondary school this month underscoring these efforts.

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New insights gained into genetics of gout in Māori and Pacific people

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Newly identified gene variants contribute to explaining why Māori and Pacific people have the highest rates worldwide of gout, the painful and debilitating arthritic disease, an international collaboration led by University of Otago researchers has found.

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Improvements to healthcare system needed to manage multimorbidity

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Friday 12 May 2017

Living with multiple health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, is a challenge for increasing numbers of New Zealanders. New research led by the University of Otago, Wellington, has identified issues and improvements needed in the health care system to help patients with multimorbidity (multiple health conditions), their supporters and health care providers.

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Symposium examines 'diabesity'

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Tuesday 2 May 2017

Partners Healthier Lives and A Better Start National Science Challenges, and Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research, brought together exceptional researchers to present their work on the 'diabesity crisis'. Videos of these presentations are now available.

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Probiotics may reduce risk of gestational diabetes

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Tuesday 4 April 2017

Research led by the University of Otago, Wellington has found that a ‘home-grown’ naturally occurring probiotic reduces the risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) and lowers fasting blood sugar.

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Health Research Council supports Otago researchers

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Thursday 30 March 2017

Several University of Otago researchers have gained feasibility grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) in its latest funding round. The HRC yesterday announced a combined total of $2 million worth of these grants, up from $1.05 million in 2016.

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Partners in a healthier Pacific

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Friday 3 March 2017

'Partners in a healthier Pacific' is a free open lecture as part of the University of Otago, Christchurch's Health Lecture Series. Please join us on Tuesday 11 April at 7pm to hear Professor Steve Chambers, infectious disease expert, and Kiki Maoate, paediatric surgeon, talk about their work.

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Otago gains funding to engage young minds with science

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Friday 17 February 2017

Four University of Otago initiatives are among the latest projects to be successfully awarded a total of $2m in the 2017 Unlocking Curious Minds funding round. The fund particularly focuses on projects that engage young New Zealanders who have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology.

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Wellington researchers awarded Long-Term Condition funds to tackle diabetes

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Thursday 9 February 2017

Diabetes is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing long-term health conditions with enormous costs for individuals, the health care system and society. This was recognised in today’s announcement by the Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith for multi-million dollar funding on research to tackle diabetes.

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New Zealanders need high quality cancer information

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Friday 2 December 2016

There is considerable demand for cancer information resources in New Zealand, with a third of women and a quarter of men deliberately searching for these over the past year, according to a new University of Otago study.

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Samoa alumni chapter established

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Friday 18 November 2016

The announcement of a new chapter in the relationship between the University of Otago, its alumni and the Pacific region received a warm welcome in Samoa last month.

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Kids’Cam in Tonga

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Tuesday 16 August 2016

Researchers from the University’s Wellington campus have started working with camera and GPS-wearing children in Tonga.

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Pacific interests land plum positions in Germany

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Wednesday 3 August 2016

Two Otago Anatomy PhD bioarchaeologists have been accepted for coveted postdoctorate positions at the new Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

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Caucus formalised for Pacific academic staff

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Tuesday 12 July 2016

An Otago Pacific Academic Staff Caucus, formally launched last night, plans to support teaching and research excellence, while staying in tune with Pacific Island peoples’ worldviews and aspirations.

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