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Breastfeeding infants exclusively to around six months, and continuing up to 12 months and beyond as solids foods are introduced, provides clear benefits for both the infant and the mother. Supporting women to continue to breastfeed is key to improving rates of breastfeeding.
‘There are three billion base pairs of DNA in each cell. If you were to pull it out end to end, it would equal two metres of DNA, which has to fit inside the 3D nucleus of every cell in our body.’
The Australian Government has committed $23.2 million through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to 28 new projects, and has launched a NHMRC Road Map 3 to help chart the direction for Indigenous health and medical research investment over the next ten years.
Dr Felecia Watkin Lui is a Torres Strait Islander researcher working to strengthen skills in and understanding of knowledge translation. This will ensure that research is more accessible, relevant and has greater benefit to communities.
Dr Misty Jenkins can be found in the lab, looking down a microscope at immune T cells. As a young Indigenous woman she was inspired by her role models to pursue a career in research.
As a nurse and midwife, Heather didn’t know much about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in Australia until she transitioned from working in health services to working in research 15 years ago.
With increasing rates of diabetes in Australia, Professor Chris Nolan is trying to understand why the cells that secrete insulin malfunction and how they are affected by environmental stresses. Hints so far are these cells are hyper responsive to the stresses of poor lifestyle.
Always trying to find innovative ways of doing things, Professor Juli Coffin was able to test her model around cultural security for an effective and sustainable healthcare through an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) grant.
Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby has dedicated her life to understanding how the environment can influence the risk of developing a range of disorders at the population level.
International collaboration to improve the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples through research
Improving the health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples in Australia, New Zealand and Canada is the goal driving a partnership between three medical research funding agencies.
Dr Daniel Pellicci’s ultimate goal is to prevent human diseases. Using his research into how immune T cells recognise certain molecules, Dr Pellicci will provide new insight into how to harness therapeutic properties and produce desired immune responses. He has just been recognised for this work through the 2018 Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.
Working with communities is how Dr Mick Adams became a leader in his research to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common degenerative brain disease, primarily caused by the death of certain brain cells. The majority of degeneration happens in a small region of the brain responsible for reward pathways and motor control. 1
Dr Kalinda Griffiths’ children are her inspiration and what motivated her to go back to university. She was first exposed to research after being dragged into a traineeship in the Menzies School of Health Research labs.
Since 2008 NHMRC has spent over $183 million on research into malaria 1
“Over the last 18 years cancer mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has increased by 21 per cent. This figure is especially stark when the rest of the population has actually seen a 13 per cent fall in cancer mortality rates”
Less than ten per cent of Indigenous children have normal healthy ears 1 2 3
Disproportionate rates of STI diagnosis (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, infectious syphilis and hepatitis B) occur among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in remote and very remote communities.
Professor Sharon Lewin is a clinician researcher working to find a cure for HIV. Having women in leadership roles is really important—it brings diversity to leadership teams for better outcomes, and encourages young women through aspiring role models.
"In Australia, life expectancy is returned by using life-long drugs but there is still no cure."
The partnership between the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Lowitja Institute was founded on a strong commitment by both institutions to deliver a measurable, positive impact on the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples. That commitment informed all aspects of the event.
“Pneumococcus is the biggest bacterial killer on the planet. It’s the most common cause of pneumonia, which is responsible for about 20 per cent of deaths from all causes in children under 5 years. Globally, pneumococcus accounts for about 2 million deaths a year.”
NHMRC has opened two Targeted Calls for Research (TCRs) to address important aspects of mental health in older Australians.
Each year, more than 1,000 Australians are diagnosed with the blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia and more than 70 per cent will die within five years.
Endometriosis affects one in ten women worldwide.
Nursing and research wasn’t what Associate Professor Dan McAullay had in mind when he first began university but it was exactly where he was meant to end up.
‘Melanoma is the most common cancer for 15-39 year old Australians—with the highest ‘years of life lost’ of any cancer’1
Professor Anne Tiedemann’s research aims to develop and evaluate exercise-based programs for preventing falls to promote healthy ageing in older people. Her research aims to determine the barriers, enablers and preferences of older people, so that exercise programs can be implemented more effectively.
Since 2008 NHMRC has funded over $680 million in diabetes research1
NHMRC recognises that national research facilities, networks and biobanks are valuable for the conduct of health and medical research. In 2012, NHMRC held a biobanking roundtable to consider how national research infrastructure might be prioritised and co-ordinated.
‘The rate of disability among Indigenous Australians is almost twice as high as that among non-Indigenous people'1
Now an ear, nose and throat surgeon, Associate Professor Kelvin Kong was destined for health care. Growing up Kelvin and his sisters were always keen to help his mother, a Registered Nurse, whenever she had a one of their mob come around to remove a suture, tend to a cut or get a vaccination.
Professor Sarah Palmer along with researchers at Westmead Institute for Medical Research and the University of Sydney have discovered where the tiny remaining amounts of HIV virus are hiding, leading to new hopes of a cure.
‘For nurses, working with an Indigenous health worker can bring great opportunities for professional collaboration and improved community health care’1
Long-time Alzheimer’s researcher, Sam Gandy (Mt Sinai Hospital, NY) is combining new diagnostic criteria, higher-resolution brain scanning and a new method to determine what’s going on in people’s brains who have had multiple concussions and are experiencing difficulties with cognition.
'Travel and globalisation mean that infections spread rapidly around the world, so that global solutions are required for epidemic control'
NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, Integrated Systems for Epidemic Response
One in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and seven women die from the disease each day in Australia1
Associate Professor Jason Armfield set out to explain the origins of dental fear and to understand why fear of the dentist is a serious psychological problem for many Australians. He developed a ‘dental anxiety scale’ that will help to identify and treat the condition across the world, leading to more people visiting the dentist and better population level oral health.
Stroke, caused by a clot or bleed in the brain, is Australia’s second biggest cause of death and the leading cause of disability.1
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Australian women.1
Indigenous Australians are three to four times more likely to develop dementia. That is higher than any other population in the world.1
Motivated by a desire to understand the molecular basis of key biological processes, Professor Abell saw an opportunity to use small molecules that selectively bind to bacterial proteins, as a potential mechanism for limiting bacterial survival.
Dr Craig Smith and a team of scientists at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health’s Addiction Neuroscience Laboratory are investigating one of the receptors in the brain they think are responsible for those seriously rewarding feelings. Not only does this have the potential to help with obesity but it is closely linked with addictions to opioids such as heroin and could lead to a new group of targeted drugs.
‘On average eight people per 100,000 a year develop Myelodysplasia—a disorder affecting the development of blood cells that can lead to leukaemia.1’
‘In Australia, 15 per cent of the population are aged 65+, estimated to grow to 21 per cent (8.4 million) by 20501.’
'Still, we rise… as black women do
Culturally bonded, spiritually empowered, strength and resilience valuable tools,
with integrity and generational humbleness, we are the drivers, backbone, visionaries,
feelers, healers, leaders, prophetic with degrees in silence-ness.’
Excerpt from poem As Black Women Do: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s resilience by Vanessa Lee.
Published in Us Women, Our Ways, Our World
“Chronic diseases account for 70 per cent of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.1”
By 2036, the total cost of dementia is predicted to increase by 81 per cent to $25.8 billion in Australia1
‘More than 90 per cent of children six to seven years of age with reading difficulties have low working memory.'1
‘18 per cent of all Indigenous Australian adults have chronic kidney disease—two times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians.’