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Institute News
Rapid genomic sequencing for babies and children with suspected genetic conditions improves health outcomes and saves healthcare dollars – transforming rare disease diagnosis in paediatric and neonatal intensive care. A nationally-leading Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance study, undertaken by a team of experts from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital, has demonstrated the usefulness of rapid genomic sequencing for intensive care patients with suspected genetic conditions. More than half the children in the study received a diagnosis; care changed for more than half of those diagnosed. Parents received their children’s results in a median of 16 days (as little as 9 days in some cases): up to 10 times faster than the time usually taken for this kind of test. ‘Our study shows good reasons for children in intensive care to receive genomic sequencing results more quickly than the typical four months. Even though the...
Research News
New research has shown that a new ‘high-flow’ oxygen therapy can be safely delivered in emergency departments and general paediatrics wards in both large tertiary children’s hospitals and smaller regional centres. The outcome of the study showed that high-flow therapy reduced the need for higher level of care from 23% to 12% in the standard oxygen therapy group. This is the first study in the world to demonstrate a change in practice that can impact patient outcome and reduce the need to escalate care for infants with bronchiolitis, which would also reduce the cost and burden on hospital care. The study, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, involved 17 hospitals across Australia and New Zealand, including researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, the University of Melbourne, the Paediatric Critical Care Research Group (PCCRG) located at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital...
Research News
A test to diagnose cerebral palsy at birth, which could allow infants access to critical early interventions, is one step closer thanks to research from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI). The research, recently published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics, has taken the first step to identify a biological early warning signal that a child might develop cerebral palsy – a physical disorder that affects one in 500 Australians. Supervising researcher Associate Professor Jeffrey Craig, now at Deakin University’s School of Medicine, said that although cerebral palsy mostly originated inside the womb, children may not get a diagnosis until one to two years of age, or even later in some mild cases. “But by studying ‘epigenetic’ marks influenced by the early environment in the womb, we can predict which babies will develop cerebral palsy, enabling early intervention to help lessen the symptoms of this condition,” Associate Professor Craig said. “This...
Institute News
A/Prof Adam Scheinberg is an Honorary Fellow Manager in Developmental Disability and Rehabilitation Research Tell us about your work Our team of researchers from MCRI, Swinburne University, The University of Melbourne, Data61 and The Royal Children’s Hospital have been designing and developing a socially assistive robot, the NAO, for paediatric rehabilitation. We were initially approached in 2014 by The Brainery, who were looking for researchers interested in using the NAO. NAO is a humanoid robot, which weighs 5.4 kg and can fall over and get up by itself. It has over 50 sensors with facial recognition using two HD cameras and four directional microphones. The latest version is expected to also have depth perception. What is the latest exciting update on your project? We have adapted the NAO to deliver a series of post-surgery rehabilitation exercises as prescribed by the child’s physiotherapist. This has involved the clinicians working with data...
Institute News
Dr Margie Danchin is a Senior Research Fellow in Vaccine and Immunisation Research Tell us about your work I am a general paediatrician and senior research fellow at MCRI. I have worked on vaccine research around clinical trials, vaccine safety and vaccine social science for 10 years. My current focus is around developing new interventions to improve vaccine confidence and uptake. I am passionate about finding ways to help parents choose to immunise their children with confidence and have their questions addressed. Vaccine hesitancy is a global issue and we need effective interventions to sustain confidence in vaccine programs to improve vaccine uptake and reduce vaccine preventable diseases in mothers and children. What are you hoping to achieve through the work that you’re doing/what is your ideal goal? I hope to mandate vaccine conversations with mothers, particularly first time mothers, early and at regular times in pregnancy so that vaccine...