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Pneumonia Drops by More than Half as a Result of Research

Pneumonia Drops by More than Half as a Result of Rose Centre Stroke Research

December 22, 2014

The rate of pneumonia in stroke patients has more than halved as a result of a novel cough test investigated by the University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research at Christchurch’s St George’s Hospital.

Pneumonia among Canterbury District Health Board-treated dysphagic stroke patients dropped from 26 percent to 11 percent in three year time period, University of Canterbury expert Associate Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee says.

Her work, combined with the efforts of clinicians in the district health board, has improved patient outcomes and reduced health care costs by more than $1 million and has supported a collaborative culture of research support for frontline clinicians. This project resulted in Associate Professor Huckabee being awarded the University of Canterbury Innovation Medal for 2014.

The Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research is a clinically-based stroke research and rehabilitation facility. The centre was made possible by a donation from the Rose family through the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation and has been set up in recognition of the stroke research programme run by Associate Professor Huckabee and her Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Laboratory.

The Rose Family Trust bequest of $450,000 has been supported by a donation of $250,000 from an anonymous benefactor to employ a clinical fellow in the centre and another $100,000 from the research foundation’s annual art and wine auction.

``With this substantial backing, the centre is administratively housed under the auspices of the University of Canterbury College of Science and Department of Communication Disorders. St George’s Hospital has recently contributed to the establishment of the centre with a below-market lease at the hospital’s Leinster Chambers Complex with two doctoral scholarships to support research in this area,’’ Associate Professor Huckabee says.

``These donations have allowed us to move into our current facilities and will accommodate short-term future growth. In the next 18 months we will focus on neuropathology and neuro-rehabilitation of swallowing impairment or dysphagia, with a particular emphasis on development of bioengineering applications for rehabilitation. Ultimately we hope to include therapies, such as physical and occupational therapy.

``The centre is equipped with the latest biomedical and neural technologies for understanding and visualising swallowing processes. These technologies, when applied to rehabilitation, enable the capacity for change in swallowing function.

``Patients recovering from stroke and other neurological disorders have the opportunity to benefit from - and contribute to - the latest research on the diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders. Patients volunteer to participate in world-leading research which helps contribute to ongoing improved understanding of dysphagia and its treatment. Patients are receiving ongoing specialist clinical services.’’

Associate Professor Huckabee has co-authored two textbooks on swallowing impairment following neurological impairment, 10 book chapters on topics related to rehabilitation and 51 peer-reviewed scientific articles in various dimensions of dysphagia.

ENDS

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