2021-22 Summer Students

Posted by on 16 December 2021

These scholarships are awarded to support high achieving University students to do an ageing focused research project over the 10 week summer break. The aim is not only to achieve high quality worthwhile research, but also to enable these students to gain valuable skills, by working with experienced researchers, who supervise these projects. Due to the generosity of our sponsors, we have been able to award four Summer Scholarships

Komal Rana - University of Auckland

Ways in which soundscapes can help people value and accept their hearing abilities.

komal rama aucklandThis summer research project explores the ways in which soundscapes can help people value and accept their hearing abilities.

People with hearing difficulties often face strenuous experiences navigating their surroundings as it can be a very taxing venture.

I will be employing a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore the influence of different soundscapes upon one’s auditory experience.

My research will explore ways in which people with a range of different hearing abilities can value their hearing by encouraging mindfulness, evoking acceptance, and appreciation for their auditory experiences.

I am looking forward to putting my theoretical knowledge of health research into practice with this research project. I think this experience will grant me greater insight into the importance of research and how it furthers our understanding of health and wellbeing.

I have a natural fascination with how our psyche and mindset can alter our perception of our surroundings; this project will further my interest and understanding of this phenomenon.

 I am extremely thankful and grateful to the HOPE Foundation for this opportunity and for allowing me to take part in this research.

Manvis Wong - University of Auckland

Potentially inappropriate medication prescribing among older adults in the hospital setting

manvis wong aucklandMy name is Manvis Wong, and I am one of the 2021 Summer Research Students who has received a Summer Scholarship from the HOPE Foundation.

Older adults tend to have higher rates of long-term conditions and therefore, are more likely to be prescribed concurrent multiple medications.

Subsequent polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate prescribing can result in a greater risk of adverse health outcomes such as falls and fractures, increased visits to the emergency department with hospitalisations and poor adherence to treatment and quality of life outcomes.

In New Zealand, research into medication errors and appropriateness of prescribing, has been focused on population-level data and patients in primary or long-term care settings. There has been less research in hospitalised patients particularly older adults, where the frequency and nature of prescribing errors may be different. 

With the generous support of the HOPE Foundation, this summer research project aims to investigate the prevalence and nature of potentially inappropriate prescribing among older adults in the hospital setting. The future of pharmacy and the expanding role of pharmacists are topics that I am extremely passionate about.

I hope that the knowledge and skills that I gain from this opportunity will be beneficial in my future career as a medicine expert to best support clinicians in safely stopping medications that are no longer needed in older patients. 

James Davies - University of Otago

james davies otago

The Reliability of remote assessment of fall risk using telehealth in people with Parkinson’s Disease

This summer, I will be studying the reliability of remote assessment of fall risk using telehealth in people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s is a debilitating disease characterised by movement disorders that increase a person’s risk of falling, eventually leading to loss of all independence. Usually, an allied-health professional can easily carry out fall risk assessments in person.

However, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare access has been severely reduced. Hence, the development of effective remote assessment techniques is pertinent.

I truly believe this has the potential to improve access, and I am grateful that my research might be helpful.

Mathew Shuen MSRS - Otago University

Exploring individual response to high-intensity interval training in middle-aged adults with pre-sarcopenia, a secondary data-analysis

matthew shuen otagoI am a MBChB student going into my third year at the University of Otago. It has always been my aspiration to enter research, specifically in an ageing-related discipline, concurrently with my medical degree.

My summer project entails a secondary statistical analysis and discussion on the response to high-intensity interval training in middle-aged adults with pre-sarcopenia.

Pre-sarcopenia is defined as low muscle mass without corresponding functional decline and is prevalent in middle-aged adults due to its progressive nature. A lack of consistent exercise through adulthood has been shown to be a risk factor for (pre-)sarcopenia.

The knock-on effects of sarcopenia and frailty in the ageing population, as with many prevalent chronic health conditions, has consequences for increasing healthcare costs and community disease burden.

Exercise interventions have been shown to be relatively successful in treating sarcopenia, which could be due to the heterogeneous physiological responses to exercise. It is therefore important to properly understand the underlying differences in baseline characteristics that could predict the response to exercise. This will improve our understanding of the effects of exercise interventions on pre-sarcopenia and sarcopenia prevention and management.

Using modified Brinley plots, I will explore inter-individual response and heterogeneity in physiological response to high intensity aerobic and resistance training (HIART) in middle-aged (aged between 40 and 50 years) adults with pre-sarcopenia. This is accompanied by introductory practical learning in the Bone and Body-Composition Research Unit.

I was delighted to be offered the HOPE foundation scholarship for this project.

I am also grateful to be able to work alongside my supervisors Dr. Debra Waters, Dr. Lara Vlietstra, and Dr. Kim Meredith-Jones, who have been very supportive these past few months.

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