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Research at Peninsula Health – exciting times ahead!

This blog is written by Professor of Medicine, Velandai Srikanth. 

As the Professor of Medicine, it is my pleasure to be the first to contribute to the new Research Blog for Peninsula Health! It gives me a great opportunity to provide you with a glimpse into the range of exciting areas of health research in which staff at Peninsula Health are involved, particularly in the fields of chronic disease and ageing health – the two big areas of health priority for our community.

For example, did you know that a team of respiratory physicians at Frankston Hospital are leading the way in testing a new type of therapy for asthma? Some patients have extremely severe, chronic and recurrent asthma which can be very difficult to treat with usual medical treatments. Associate Professor David Langton and his team are studying whether a medical procedure called bronchial thermoplasty may help such people, by reducing the thickness of the muscle in the air passages and their tendency to spasm. Early results have been quite promising, and we hope that this research will lead to some important benefits for adults suffering severe asthma in the Peninsula and beyond.

Heart attacks, although sudden, are caused by a chronic process of build-up of fatty deposits in blood vessels and inflammation. Another instance of ground-breaking research at Peninsula Health is a world-first trial of an anti-inflammatory medication commonly used for gout, to prevent further heart attacks in patients who have previously suffered a heart attack. Professor Jamie Layland and the Cardiology department at Frankston Hospital are leading this large trial along with several cardiac centres in the country. If proven to be effective, it could be a major boost to patients living with heart disease worldwide.

The Mornington Peninsula has one of the highest numbers of people aged greater than 65 years in the country. As one gets older, it is not uncommon to develop one or more chronic health conditions. Diabetes and dementia are two such conditions which can have a great impact on people’s lives. Here at Peninsula Health, we are world leaders in the study of how these two important conditions could be connected. My team and I are conducting highly specialised studies using brain scans to work out whether diabetes may contribute to the risk of dementia by causing low-grade inflammation in the brain. These studies may not only help develop treatments to prevent harm to the brain from diabetes, but also in devising new ways to prevent or treat dementia.

In order to be able to conduct such important research, appropriate facilities are needed. Peninsula Health is working with Monash University to develop a new purpose-built research and education building at the Frankston Hospital site over the next year. When completed, it will provide state-of-the-art facilities to promote research and teaching, and place Peninsula Health in an excellent position to deliver quality health outcomes.

We are committed to leading the way in developing and conducting research that will directly benefit the health of our community. We hope you follow this blog as we update you on more research news in the future.

Velandai Srikanth.