University of Otago Wednesday 20 July 2011, 12:09PM
Media release from University of Otago
Professor David Fergusson of the University of Otago, Christchurch,
and his team have been granted almost $4 million by the Health
Research Council (HRC) to continue work on their world-renowned
longitudinal study, including measuring the psychological toll of
the Canterbury earthquakes.
Professor Fergusson's Health and Development Study has been running
for more than 30 years. Its findings have shaped Government policy
and enlightened New Zealanders about the exact impact of childhood
disadvantages on later life outcomes.
The HRC funding will allow Professor Fergusson and his team to
study participants to age 35, across a range of measures.
Information was first collected about participants, and their
families, when they were infants.
Professor Fergusson says he will look at the consequences of the
2010 Canterbury earthquake for those study participants who
experienced it. He will be able to compare outcomes for them with
participants who were not in Canterbury at that time.
Other Christchurch research teams funded by the HRC include:
• Head of the University of Otago,
Christchurch's, Psychological Medicine department, Professor Roger
Mulder was granted $726,684 for a study using modified cognitive
behavioural treatment for non-cardiac chest pain. Chest pain
is one of the most common reasons for presenting to emergency
departments. But the majority of chest pain is not cardiac in
origin. Current ways of dealing with this, such as reassurance, are
not very effective. Professor Mulder will evaluate a brief
psychosocial intervention to reduce distress, and teach coping
skills, stress management and cardiac risk factor reduction to see
if the intervention results in less use of health resources and
better quality of life for patients.
• Associate Professor Marie Crowe from the
Psychological Medicine department has been granted $1,189,961 to
research the effectiveness of a Biopolar Disorder Clinic. The trial
addresses a gap in mental health care for this group after they are
released from specialist mental health services. The Biopolar
Disorder Clinic focuses on a combination of psychotherapy and
medication management. At the moment people with bipolar disorder
normally have follow-up appointments with a GP except for acute
• Associate Professor Lisa Stamp was granted
$1,199,225 to study the safety and efficacy of increasing the
recommended dose of the most commonly prescribed gout medication.
There is evidence many patients fail to achieve adequate reduction
in required blood urate levels, at recommended doses. Preliminary
evidence shows increasing dose is safe and effective.
• Professor Mark Richards, head of the
Christchurch Cardioendocrine Research Group, had his research
funding extended ($3,430,492) so his team can continue work on the
Hauora Manawa/Community Heart Study, a study into the prediction of
onset and outcomes in coronary heart disease and research to
develop a range of specific tests for acute cardiac injury.
• Associate Professor Margreet Vissers will
receive $812,985 to study the impact of vitamin-C on cancerous
tumour growth in an animal model.
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