The latest technology from China and clinical and imaging expertise in the Hunter have been brought together in a bid to minimise the devastating impact of stroke.
A team from Harbin Medical University (HMU) in Northern China is this week meeting with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Stroke Research Group to advance research into cooling the brain after a stroke, through a world first acute stroke research partnership between Australia and China.
By cooling the brain, researchers aim to reduce the damage that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen immediately following a stroke.
The HMU research team will evaluate the effectiveness of a cooling helmet, while the HMRI Stroke Research Group will investigate intravascular technology which cools the blood. Brain imaging technology pioneered in the Hunter will be used in the Australia and China trials to assess and compare the effects of the two cooling technologies.
"Cooling is likely to be the most powerful neuro-protectant treatment we have at the moment," said Associate Professor Chris Levi, a Hunter New England Health neurologist who heads the HMRI Stroke Research Group.
A delegation from HMU is in Newcastle to meet with representatives from the University of Newcastle's Faculty of Health; and the HMRI Stroke Research Group, led by Associate Professor Levi.
"The collaboration on stroke research with HMU is one example of the University's recent extensive engagement with our counterparts in China," Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Barney Glover said.
"This strategic focus on developing our international partnerships is reaping rewards for our students, Hunter researchers and our local community."
The University has also finalised arrangements for communication students to work at the Beijing Olympic Games. In addition, discussions are underway to establish a Confucius Institute in Newcastle; and collaborate on engineering and science research projects in the areas of energy, robotics technology, computer science and IT.
This innovative Australian stroke trial will begin within the next few months and the Chinese trial is likely to begin in 2009. The World Health Organisation estimates that stroke affects 15 million people worldwide each year, with five million experiencing lasting disability. HMRI is a partnership between Hunter New England Health, the University of Newcastle and the community.
Media opportunity: Friday 15 February, 2pm - 2.45pm.
Associate Professor Chris Levi will be available for interview and pictures with representatives of HMU as they tour MRI scanning facilities at John Hunter Hospital. Meet at the information desk of the Royal Newcastle Centre, Rankin Park Campus of Hunter New England Health (Lookout Road, New Lambton).
- Professor Barney Glover, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).
- Associate Professor Chris Levi at the media opportunity - contact Lauren Eyles, HMRI Communications Manager.