18 Feb 2019

MS Research Australia grant for new drug

Dr Petratos in the lab

Backdated congratulations go to Dr Steven Petratos, whose grant from MS Research Australia was announced whilst the CCS Communications team was still settling in after the Summer break.

Dr Petratos works within the Department of Immunology and Pathology, and his research has explored ways to prevent nerve damage. Myelin is an insulating layer or sheath that forms around nerve fibres in the brain and spine, providing protection and longevity. His team has developed a drug called DITPA, which mimics the activity of a protein called MCT8, vital in the production of myelin.

15 Feb 2019

Burns researchers make inroads into skin tissue engineering

by Anne Crawford

Monash University scientists and surgeons in the Alfred Hospital’s burns unit have edged closer to their goal of growing full thickness human skin to replace the need for skin grafts with the publication of two recent research papers.

The first paper reports on the findings of a three-year clinical study into an application of the procedure called cultured epithelial autograft (CEA). Regarded as the birth of skin tissue engineering, CEA takes skin cells from the patient needing the graft and grows the upper layer of skin (epidermis) in sheets in a laboratory.

14 Feb 2019

Dementia project wins grant and advocate's vote

Congratulations to newly arrived A/Prof Michele Callisaya from Peninsula Clinical School, who has received the coveted Dementia Advocates’ Award, including funding from Dementia Australia. Her project will focus on a cognitive-mobility stress test to detect mild cognitive impairment and risk of developing into dementia.

In a show of how greatly this research is valued by the community, Michele’s project was chosen by a Dementia Australia Advocates group, who evaluated the applications according to which was most likely to yield important outcomes for people impacted by dementia. Dementia Advocate Sarah Ashton said she chose this project as more research in this area could help to understand early indicators of dementia and create a more timely diagnosis for people in the future.

“Dementia turns your life upside down, and anxiety can become a huge factor as life becomes much more uncertain. I hope this study can help to provide more clarity to those going through cognitive decline,” Ms Ashton said.

Adapted from the Dementia Australia media release accessed 14th February 2019: https://www.dementia.org.au/research/news/supporting-expression-of-sexuality-one-area-of-1-million-of-dementia-research-grants

CCS Recent Publications: 29th Dec 2018 - 11th Jan 2019

Throughout February we will be posting two backdated weeks of publications at a time, until we catch up from the Summer break.

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:
  • Neuroscience
  • MAPrc
  • Diabetes
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Surgery
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • Australian Centre for Blood Diseases

13 Feb 2019

Beating mouse heart captured by new 9.4T MRI

Cardiac cine acquired with the CCS's new state-of-the-art  9.4T MRI showing the four chambers of a live mouse heart as it beats. Cine such as these will be used in a new collaboration investigating cardiac disease headed by A/Prof Julie McMullen from the Cardiac Hypertrophy Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. This CINE was acquired by Dr David Wright, Head of Preclinical Imaging in the Department of Neuroscience, and Dr Daniel Donner from the Preclinical Cardiology Microsurgery and Imaging Centre at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.

New Guidelines for Venous Thromboembolism

Credit: Media release by The MJA

Associate Professor
Huyen Tran
THE first Australasian guidelines for the diagnosis and management of venous thromboembolism (VTE) have been produced, with a summary published online today by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Led by Australian Centre for Blood Diseases researcher Associate Professor Huyen Tran, also Head of the Haemostasis and Thrombosis Unit at Alfred Health, a working group from the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Society of Australia and New Zealand developed the guidelines, which are available in full at https://www.thanz.org.au/resources/thanz-guidelines.

7 Feb 2019

Monash/Chinese researchers probe high-fat seizure-reducing diet

PhD student Neha Kaul and colleagues during
their visit to China
by Anne Crawford

A high-fat diet used to treat epilepsy in children has become the focus of a newly established collaboration between Monash University’s Department of Neuroscience and Chinese researchers.

The ketogenic or keto diet, which forces the body to burn fats for energy rather than carbohydrates, has been shown to reduce seizures in two out of three children and leave up to 10 per cent seizure free. These young patients haven’t responded to anti-epileptic medicines previously, researcher Ms Neha Kaul said.

Recent CCS publications: 14th - 28th December 2018

Throughout February we will be posting two backdated weeks of publications at a time, until we catch up from the Summer break.

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • Neuroscience
  • Diabetes
  • Australian Centre for Blood Diseases
  • Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Surgery
  • MAPrc
  • Medicine
  • National Trauma Research Institute
  • Peninsula Clinical School

Rib fixation: becoming popular but does it benefit patients?

Prof Marasco
by Anne Crawford

A paper by Monash University researchers and surgeons at the Alfred Hospital has cast doubt on the growing practice of rib fixation in some patients with chest injuries.

Fractured ribs are a common injury in trauma patients. At worst, what’s termed ‘flail chest’ – when ribs become detached from the rest of the ribcage – is associated with life-threatening injuries and a significant mortality.

Surgeon Professor Silvana Marasco was first author on a paper published in the international journal Injury that examined long-term quality of life in patients who underwent rib fixation. Rib fixation, which uses a minimally invasive operation to insert and screw on contoured titanium plates to ribs, is relatively new.

31 Jan 2019

A$140,000 donation kicks off research for Visual Snow

Back row (L - R): Dr Ben Sinclair, Paige Foletta, Dr Scott Kolbe,
Front row (L - R): Dr Meaghan Clough, Professor Owen White,
Associate Professor Joanne Fielding, Emma Solly.

Thanks to a donation from the US-based non-profit Visual Snow Initiative (VSI), Monash University Department of Neuroscience researchers, Associate Professor Joanne Fielding and Professor  Owen White, will conduct Australia’s first  exploration of an emerging neurological syndrome called Visual Snow.

Many young people are affected by the hallmark symptom of constant and dynamic “snow” in the entire field of vision.  One minute you see the world clearly and in an instant, without warning, a life is changed forever. It can be a 24/7 battle because it never goes away with the eyes opened or closed. Others are born with the condition, and many don’t realize how abnormal their vision really is. A new dilemma can occur for those seeking a diagnosis or treatment. Eye tests almost always come back normal because Visual Snow is not an eye disorder but a brain malfunction.  Because Visual Snow manifests itself in the eyes, it often leaves both patients and physicians in limbo, uncertain of where to go next for a diagnosis. This also makes it difficult to estimate how many people are affected.

Symposium: Toward better detection and management of sports concussion

This symposium will discuss major results from an NHMRC funded project to determine whether current practice with regard to concussion detection and management in Australian Football would be augmented by the use of instrumented accelerometers. It's an opportunity to better detect and manage sports concussion, particularly at the junior and amateur level.

Speakers include Professor Biswadev Mitra, Professor Jeffery Rosenfeld, Dr Michael Makdissi, Professor Andrew McIntosh and Dr David Hughes.

Click here for event flyer.

When: Wednesday 13th February 2019, 12:30pm - 4:30pm
Where: A+ Lecture Theatre (formerly AMREP), 80 Commercial Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004
RSVP: annie.carter@monash.edu

Funding success for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia

Dr Caroline Gurvich

Dr Caroline Gurvich has been awarded $100,000 over two years from the Rebecca Cooper Foundation, a philanthropic body focussed on medical research in Australia.

Dr Gurvich, Deputy Director of the Women’s Mental Health Division and Head of the Cognitive Neurosciences Unit at MAPrc (Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre), will investigate how sex and stress hormones contribute to cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. Whilst cognitive impairment is common in schizophrenia patients, the symptoms are yet to be targeted by pharmacotherapy, mostly due to the lack of research. The study will investigate a novel approach to understanding and treating cognitive impairments in schizophrenia.

Study sheds light on reason why children fare worse after brain injury

by Anne Crawford

Dr Bridgette Semple (standing) and Research Assistant
Larissa Dill
Growing research suggests that children may be more vulnerable to developing long-term cognitive and social behaviour problems after traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared to adults but the reasons why are unclear.

A study by Department of Neuroscience scientist Dr Bridgette Semple and colleagues has probed this under-researched area and points to biological mechanisms that might be responsible. The study, published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, also suggests a potential treatment strategy.

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