$58m to improve healthcare

By Heather McCracken

Health project funding was focused on those with potential to offer practical solutions to clinical problems. Photo / Getty Images
Health project funding was focused on those with potential to offer practical solutions to clinical problems. Photo / Getty Images

Research into infertility, healthy eating and the cause of allergies are among health studies to receive more than $58 million this year.

The Health Research Council has announced recipients of $24.8 million in research programme funding, and $33.9 million in health project funding.

Council chief executive Dr Robin Olds said health project funding was focused on those with potential to change healthcare delivery in a short time, by offering practical solutions to clinical problems.

"Funding such research is a key way to ensure that research discoveries move from the bench top to the bedside in the shortest possible time," he said.

Recipients include a clinical trial of a video-game based treatment for "lazy eye", or amblyopia, delivered using an iPod touch. Preliminary studies by Dr Benjamin Thompson from the University of Auckland show the game can improve sharpness of vision and 3D vision in just six weeks.

Four studies related to pregnancy have been funded, including an Otago University study looking at infertility caused by high prolactin in the blood, a factor for one in six infertile couples.

Five major studies, all of which are expected to take five years, have each received almost $5 million. Auckland University received about $31.2 million while Otago University received about $15.5 million.

Otago's deputy vice-chancellor of research and enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie, said the council's funding was highly contested.

"This is an endorsement of the calibre of work undertaken by Otago's researchers and a vote of confidence in their ability to generate significant research outcomes ... "

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 28 Aug 2014 17:47:58 Processing Time: 355ms