2013-14 Summer Students

Posted by on 3 November 2014

This year the Summer Students’ presentation followed the AGM of the NZAG held on Monday, 19th August at Massey University Albany. Joan-Mary Longcroft, Linda Snell and I attended from the Friends Committee. We particularly enjoyed meeting the two students and seeing their presentations. 

Robert Carr

Investigating relationships between environmental factors and health measures

Summary of the Research and its significance to the health of New Zealanders:

RobertCarrBoth international and national research has shown that climate has a significant impact on health, particularly within the elderly population. Heat waves and prolonged periods of cold temperatures tend to form the base of international research. Hospitalisation rates increase as we age, and it is essential to determine which factors increase these rates. This studentship aims to identify links between household and environmental climate data, and the health status and hospitalisation rates of participants with the goal of providing remedial avenues for the health and social care system to investigate, whilst also identifying any high risk groups related particularly to locality, environment and housing. It is perceived that highlighting any inequalities in the health status of participants will be beneficial in developing methods to improve the ageing process – which is highly important to the overall health of the New Zealand Society.


Several health measures were found to have significant relationships (p<0.05) with environment and demographic factors. NEADL scores produced significant test results with the participant’s perceived warmth of house and whether or not they classify as rural. All cause hospitalisations and the distribution of house temperature at point of survey produced significant test results with the participant’s perceived warmth of house, and the number of medications taken daily produced significant test results dependent on whether they classified as rural or urban.


Statistical test results provide some insight into relationships between environment factors, demographic factors and health measures. A potential relationship between household temperature, humidity and health measures may be established with longitudinal data logging to establish a more robust measure of household climate.

Stephen Zhuo Chen

Epidemiology of Diverticular Disease in New Zealand

Summary of the Research and its significance to the health of New Zealanders:

StevenXieLittle is known of diverticular disease in New Zealand, its epidemiology or resource use. This report investigates the burden of diverticular disease in New Zealand. The information, e.g. time to recurrent admissions, may inform the self-management of this chronic disease.


There were 113,056 public hospital admissions between 1992 and 2011 with any mention of diverticular disease, an average of 471 admissions per month. Mean age-specific acute admission rates increase with age, particularly after the age of 65 years, but at some ages admission rates differ by gender. 

Diverticular disease was recorded as the main cause of 938 deaths. 
The prevalence of diverticular disease in New Zealand, based only on past acute hospitalisation for diverticular disease and subsequent mortality, is estimated to be 24,090 people in November 2012.


Diverticular disease places substantial demand on public hospitalisations and is responsible for small proportion of deaths. This project is a starting point for future research on the epidemiology of diverticular disease in New Zealand. Analysis of primary care diverticular disease should be considered in the future to understand more fully the epidemiology of diverticular disease in New Zealand.

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