We are currently researching into

Neurological Disorders

450 children develop epilepsy each year, dramatically reducing their quality of life and often resulting in death. Batten disease is a very rare inherited neurological disorder in children with no cure, nor effective treatments, and it invariably ends in premature death.

Funding Amount:

$845,347.00

In Progress Research

Investigating a novel gene therapy in a form of Batten disease

Dr Stephanie Hughes University of Otago, Dunedin What’s the problem and who does it affect? Batten disease is a rare inherited neurological condition which robs seemingly healthy young children of the ability to walk, talk and feed, invariably leading to premature death around the age of 8-12 years old. There is no cure and no current effective treatments. Dr Stephanie…

Towards human translation of gene-therapy for Batten disease

Associate Professor Nigel Anderson, Dr Nadia Mitchell & Professor David Palmer University of Otago, Christchurch What is the problem and who does it affect? Batten disease is a rare inherited neurological condition which robs seemingly healthy young children of the ability to walk, talk and feed, invariably leading to premature death between infancy and early adulthood. There is no cure…

A quest to find the genes responsible for childhood epilepsies

Associate Professor Lynette Sadleir University of Otago, Wellington What is the problem and who does it affect? Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological illness of children and young people. An estimated 38,000 New Zealanders live with this condition, with 80 per cent having their onset in childhood. Although these individuals may live relatively normal lives, one third have seizures…

An investigation into the long-term effects associated with being born very preterm

Professor Brian Darlow University of Otago, Christchurch What is the problem and who does it affect? Infants born very low birth weight or very preterm account for about two per cent of births, however, the medical resources expended on them are vastly disproportionate to their prevalence. Medical advances have meant that more and more of these babies are surviving, however…

A computer model to adjust the insulin dose in preterm babies with high blood sugar levels

Dr Jane Alsweiler University of Auckland What is the problem and who does it affect? It’s estimated 780 babies are born very pre-term, less than 32 weeks’ gestation, each year in New Zealand. Extremely pre-term babies commonly develop high blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia) in the neonatal period, which is often associated with brain injury. Hyperglycaemia is usually treated with insulin,…

Effect of early probiotics on childhood cognition and behaviour

Professor Ed Mitchell University of Auckland What is the problem? It is well-documented that not all children start out life on a level playing field. Some children are far more highly developed than those of commensurate age, and the reasons for this are as varied as they are complex. Recent research carried out by Professor Ed Mitchell analysed the outcomes…



Recently Completed Research

Are babies treated with dextrose gel, a measure for reducing low blood sugar in babies, symptom-free at two years of age?

Professor Jane Harding University of Auckland What is the problem and how does it affect babies? Hypoglycaemia, which means a low blood sugar concentration, is the only readily preventable cause of brain damage in newborn babies. Up to 15% of newborn babies will have low blood sugar concentrations. However, this number is higher when the mother has diabetes (50%) or…

Innovative therapies for Batten disease and childhood epilepsy

Dr Stephanie Hughes University of Otago, Dunedin What is the problem and who does it affect? Both Batten disease and epilepsy are neurological conditions. Epilepsy is a highly prevalent disease in New Zealand, affecting both adults and children. About 450 New Zealand children develop the condition each year. One third of those affected have seizures with major social, psychological, physical…

A novel gene therapy for Batten disease

Dr Stephanie Hughes University of Otago, Dunedin What is Batten Disease? Batten disease is an inherited neurodegenerative childhood disorder. Although quite rare, its impact is always devastating. The progression of symptoms includes, losing the ability to walk, talk and feed, invariably leading to premature death. No effective treatments exist, however, promising gene-therapy research funded by Cure Kids has proven curative…