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Stem Cells Australia and The University of Melbourne have welcomed $150 million Federal Government funding towards research into new ways to treat congenital heart disease, blindness, stroke, dementia and kidney disease. The Australian Stem Cell Therapies Mission, funded through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant, will enable critical stem cell research to continue. This includes using stem cells to find new drugs to stimulate heart repair or improve function, helping patients with corneal damage or cataracts to see again, or making immune cells from stem cell to assist repair in neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Stem Cells Australia Program Leader and University of Melbourne Professor Melissa Little, who is also Cell Biology Theme Director at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said stem cell science has been a strength within Australian biomedical research for many decades. “We are the stage where we can now apply what we have learnt ...
The first detailed global study of adolescent health reveals: Growing inequality with a large disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific Obesity rates have doubled, with countries in the Pacific region having among the highest prevalence Anaemia remains unchecked, India bearing heavy burden Investments in health, education, legal systems have not kept pace with needs Gender inequity is a powerful driver of poor adolescent health Today’s adolescents make up the largest generation in history, but a landmark study reveals these young people are encountering greater health challenges than those faced 25 years ago, and investments in their wellbeing have not kept pace with population growth. The global study provides the first comprehensive and integrated snapshot of the health and wellbeing of the 1.8 billion adolescents aged 10-24 who make up a third of the world’s population. The research, published in The Lancet, builds on the earlier Lancet Commission ...
A Melbourne study has found intravenously administering antibiotics to children at home is as effective and safe as hospital treatment and better for their quality of life when treating a bacterial skin infection. The research, ‘Efficacy and safety of intravenous ceftriaxone at home versus intravenous flucloxacillin in hospital for children with cellulitis (CHOICE): a single-centre, open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial’, is published in the latest edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute found treatment for cellulitis – a bacterial skin infection – in children should be done at home or in outpatient care where possible. Lead author and MCRI PhD student Dr Laila Ibrahim said having intravenous antibiotics therapy at home is becoming increasingly common but there was no evidence of its benefits from clinical trials until now. The research team says this is the first trial worldwide in children that has ...
The Heart Foundation has given $2.8 million to infectious disease researchers, who are developing a vaccine against strep A, the highly contagious bacteria that causes 350,000 deaths annually through rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Griffith University has developed two potential strep A vaccines which will soon be tested through a controlled human infection model that has been developed by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI). “Strep A is almost as deadly as malaria parasites, tuberculosis bacteria and HIV but globally little has been invested in strep A research,” said Prof Michael Good from Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics. “The Heart Foundation funds will enable researchers from Griffith University and MCRI to do groundbreaking human clinical trial to test vaccines for strep A.” Infectious diseases expert Professor Andrew Steer, from MCRI, said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have the highest rates of RHD in the world. “Strep A usually begins with ...
Researchers and health professionals have produced the first rehabilitation guidelines in Australia to help children who have had a stroke*. Somewhere between 100 to 300 Australian children suffer a stroke every year. Associate Professor Mark MacKay, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute who chaired the Guideline Development Committee of the ‘The Subacute Rehabilitation of Childhood Stroke Clinical Guidelines’ said more than half of the children who suffer a stroke will have long-term disabilities, affecting their physical functioning, communication, learning and social behavior. “The lifelong burden of stroke is of course greater for children than adults, because more than half of strokes occur in children under five years of age. These children, therefore, face decades of living with disability,” said A/Prof MacKay, who is also a neurologist with the Royal Children’s Hospital. “But perhaps the most crucial difference between paediatric and adult stroke is that the child will face difficulties achieving ...
Most women dramatically reduce their alcohol intake on learning they are pregnant, but by the time their child is five they are back to their pre-pregnancy drinking levels, a new international study has found. The research, led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, reported little change in the drinking patterns of men on becoming fathers. The paper, ‘Alcohol and parenthood: an integrative analysis of the effects of transition to parenthood in three Australasian cohorts’ is published in the latest edition of Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal. Lead author, psychologist Dr Rohan Borschmann, said the study drew on data from three longitudinal population studies – two in Australia and one in New Zealand – which tracked the drinking habits of more than 4,000 people in their teens, twenties and thirties. “Most mothers with a child aged under one take a brief time out from drinking, but it doesn’t last,” Dr Borschmann ...
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute based in Melbourne will be a key partner in a $35 million national consortium formed to fast track a vaccine against Strep A, the highly contagious bacterium that causes around 500,000 deaths every year. The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, has today awarded $35 million to the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth to the lead the consortium, with MCRI a key partner. MCRI infectious diseases professor Andrew Steer, who is a world expert in Strep A, said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have one of the highest rates of Strep A disease in the world. “Strep A usually begins with a sore throat, but if left untreated it causes the immune system to become overactive, which can result in rheumatic heart disease, where antibodies damage the heart valves,” Prof Steer said. “Globally Strep A is almost as deadly as malaria parasites, tuberculosis ...
An international study led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has made a breakthrough in identifying a potential cause of the most severe child speech impediment – apraxia. One in 1000 children has apraxia, but understating the origins of this debilitating speech disorder has until now remained elusive. A team of researchers, led by MCRI speech pathologist Prof Angela Morgan, has identified anomalies in a key speech pathway of the brain connected to speech. Prof Morgan said a better understanding could help neuroscientists and speech pathologists look to developing more targeted treatments for children. The research paper, ‘Dorsal language stream anomalies in an inherited speech disorder’ is published in the latest issue of the international journal, Brain . Prof Morgan, who is also Professor of Speech Pathology at the University of Melbourne, said children with apraxia fail to learn to speak clearly and combine sounds properly, the timing and sequencing ...
New research has found that giving young babies a general anesthetic has no lasting impact on their brain development or behavior. The study, published in the latest Lancet journal, looked at the effects of having surgery under an awake local anesthetic compared to a general anesthetic in 722 babies in 28 hospitals across seven countries. Professor Andrew Davidson from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, is one of the authors of the paper, ‘Neurodevelopmental outcome at 5 years of age after general anesthesia or awake-regional anesthesia in infancy (GAS): an international, multi-centre, randomised controlled equivalence trial’. Prof Davidson said the infants were all aged less than 60 weeks and underwent hernia operations (inguinal herniorrhaphies) between 2007 and 2013 in hospitals in Australia, Italy, US, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand. About half the group (361 babies) received an awake localised anesthetic while the other half, 359 babies, had a ...
New research has found that disadvantaged children would get a better start to life if maternal and child health nurses regularly visited their homes in the first two years to help their mothers improve parenting skills. A team of Australian researchers has developed a new early adversity-intervention program, right@home , which puts maternal and child health nurses in children’s homes on a recurring basis to support mothers as they develop their child care skills. Research analyzing the effectiveness of right@home in Victoria and Tasmania has been published in the Official Journal of American Paediatrics. “UNICEF and former US President Barack Obama both champion nurse home visits as a way to help disadvantaged families,” said lead investigator, Professor Sharon Goldfeld from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. “These are families dealing with challenges like poor mental health, a lack of employment, limited education, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence or even ...