Clinical and Health Sciences

Smart socks help physiotherapists treat patients remotely

‘Smart socks’ are helping physiotherapists better assess and treat patients during video consultations, by providing information on weight distribution and range of movement during exercises like steps, squats or jumps.

The wearable technology, developed by PhD candidate Deepti Aggarwal at The University of Melbourne, was trialled with three patients and a physiotherapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, from February to June 2017.

Background images and video below.

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New rotavirus vaccine could benefit millions of children

A rotavirus vaccine that can be given days after birth has been developed by Australian and Indonesian researchers.

Rotavirus is the common cause  of severe diarrhoea and a killer of approximately 215,000 children under five globally each year.

The oral vaccine, called RV3-BB, was given in three single doses, the first within five days of birth. Until now, the vaccine against rotavirus was available in Australia and only on the private market in Indonesia, and could only be administered from six weeks of age.

After three doses of RV3-BB administered from birth:

  • 94 per cent of infants were protected in their first year of life against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis
  • 75 per cent of infants were protected to 18 months of age.

The success of the RV3-BB vaccine is the culmination of more than four decades of work, which started with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Professor Ruth Bishop and the discovery of rotavirus in 1973.

The trial was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PT BioFarma.

Read the full media release on the MCRI website.

Read an earlier story on the work in our Stories of Indonesia-Australia Innovation collection from 2016.

Detecting high risk pregnancies in Indonesia

Women in Indonesia were 21 times more likely to die from childbirth than women in Australia in 2015. Many pregnant women in Indonesia, particularly in remote areas, do not regularly visit health clinics and so complications are not detected and dealt with early enough.

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Indonesian and Australian scientists test new TB vaccine targets for the TB fight in Indonesia and Australia

World TB Day on March 24 reminds us of the growing TB threat

Scientists available for interview in English and Bahasa Indonesia for World TB Day. Read the release in Bahasa Indonesia.
More images below.

Better vaccines are needed for the global fight against tuberculosis (TB). The Global Fund reports an estimated nine million new cases globally per year of TB, which is second only to AIDS as the world’s most deadly infectious disease. Indonesia had more than 320,000 reported cases in 2014 according to the World Health Organization, while Australia’s reported cases were just over 1,000. But the rise of drug-resistant TB poses a threat to all countries.

Two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium have shown promising results in investigations in mice for a new vaccine. Scientists from the Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney, with colleagues at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, have found that the injected proteins can prime the immune system to induce protection against TB in mice.

The team has established a laboratory and immunological techniques to test if the two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium can be used as the basis for a vaccine. Credit: Centenary Institute

The team has established a laboratory and immunological techniques to test if the two proteins from the tuberculosis bacterium can be used as the basis for a vaccine. Credit: Centenary Institute

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From the bionic ear to the ‘audiologist in your pocket

The Aussie hearing system you can set up yourself or for your gran: online and on your phone

From the bionic ear to the ‘audiologist in your pocket’ – high performance, low cost hearing for the four million of us who don’t want to admit our hearing loss

Images and background information below.

An Australian company has completed a trifecta of tools to help Australians take care of their own hearing without the stress and expense of audiology visits. It’s the product of decades of government-backed research. [continue reading…]

Prostate cancer survivors can improve their sex life at the gym

And researchers need Perth men for a study to find out why

Monday 23 June 2014

Media call 9-10am AWST at Edith Cowan University Mount Lawley Campus with researchers and patients.

Perth researchers have shown that twice-weekly exercise can improve sexual function in prostate cancer patients by 50 per cent.

Now, they’re calling on Perth men to participate in a new study to find out why exercise works, and how effective it can be on a broader range of patients.

One in six Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 90 per cent of them will report some form of sexual dysfunction during or after their treatment.

“Men think about sex a lot – on average, every 45 minutes which is more often than they think about food or sleep,” says Dr Prue Cormie, a senior research fellow at Edith Cowan University. “So it’s not surprising that sexual dysfunction is the most frequently identified issue of importance among prostate cancer survivors.”

Last year, Prue and her colleagues at the Edith Cowan University Health and Wellness Institute put a group of men with prostate cancer through a supervised exercise program involving twice-weekly group-based sessions of resistance exercise such as weight lifting, and aerobic exercises including walking and cycling.

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On the Mongol Rally to boost the fight against liver disease

One large steppe for liver research

Driving along the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan at 4000 m above sea level or through the Mongolian desert is a far cry from working on the genetics of hepatitis C in a laboratory in central Sydney.

But that’s the transition Wil d’Avigdor, a PhD student from the Liver Injury and Cancer Laboratory at the Centenary Institute is about to make in the next few weeks. [continue reading…]

Winning the fight against hep C…have we found the Higgs boson…spinal cord repair; forever young

Here’s some highlights of what’s coming up over the next few days/weeks.

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Future hepatitis cure rates expected to soar

After “astonishing” preliminary results from new drugs

As the burden of Hepatitis C (HCV) associated liver failure and liver cancer rises  in our community so hepatitis C therapy is undergoing radical and rapid change, says Centenary’s Prof Geoff McCaughan. [continue reading…]

Forever young with science; how kids’ brains cope; and SKA speculation.