Pokie play and social anxiety

Project code:  MHS027

Department

  • Population Health

Location

Auckland

This project is the explore gambling behaviour among pokie players and social anxiety. This may include neuroimaging pending on the funding. Anyone with an interest in gambling can apply for this project.

Skills

1. Gain Basic statistics knowledge

2. Learn about nueroimaging data (if funding is provided)

3.  Learn about gambling behaviour along a continuum from recreational gambling to problem gambling

4. Gain knowledge about social anxiety along a continuum

5. Learn about different screening tools

6. Help with writing up the results with alot of support

Pedestrian Exposures to Air Pollution in Urban Environments

Project code:  MHS098

Department

  • Population Health

Location

Auckland

Supervisor

Kim Dirks

Most people receive a significant proportion of their daily dose of air pollution in the time spent commuting to work or school.  Emission control legislation on vehicles is one way to help reduce exposure to commuters and ultimately the health of urban commuters.  While legislation is in place over much of the UK and Europe, it is largely non-existent in New Zealand.

Over the last year, two field projects were carried out investigating the exposure of child pedestrians on their journey to school. Both studies consisted of similar routes with one study carried out in Leeds in the UK and the other in Auckland. Preliminary analysis of the data suggest that while there are many similarities in terms of resulting exposure, there are also significant differences in terms of the composition of the pollutants observed between the two locations, differences that may be explained by differences in emission control legislation between the two countries. This project will investigate whether this is indeed the case and the extent to which exposures experienced by Auckland commuters could be reduced through better emission control legislation.

Skills

This project will involve assisting a multi-disciplinary team in the production of a publication investigating the impact of emission control legislation and vehicle importation practices on pedestrian exposures both in the UK and in NZ based on recently-collected field data. The project would suit a student interested in environmental health and wanting to develop their data analysis and scientific writing skills.

Early specialisation and training loads in youth sport in New Zealand

Project code:  MHS136

Department

  • Population Health

Location

Auckland

Supervisor

Mark Fulcher

Early specialisation in sport has been associated with less enjoyment in sport, more injuries and lower rates of physical activity in adulthood. High training loads have also been linked with an increased risk of injury. Anecdotally, it is increasingly common for children and adolescents in New Zealand to specialising in a single sport at a young age. To our knowledge this has not been investigated formally.

This project would have two main arms. The first would be to perform a clinical audit of all youth patients presenting to a single sports medicine clinic to identify characteristics which are associated with injury.  The second would involve the analysis of existing data related to player loading among youth players from a national sporting organisations high performance program

The aims of this project are to:

  • To identify the characteristics of adolescent athletes presenting to sports medicine clinic and attempt to correlate these with injury.
  • To document the training and playing history of youth players within a single sport high performance program.

Data collection:

  • Review of medical notes at a single sport medicine practice to identify characteristics that may be associated with injury risk including type of sport, number of session per week and number of teams.
  • Analysis of a questionnaire based survey of all players who are members of a national high performance program

Skills

  • Literature review
  • Critical appraisal
  • Clinical audit
  • Data collection
  • Statistical analysis
  • Medical writing/preparation of publication

Estimating Sudden Cardiac Death Incidence in 13-18 Year Old Athletes in New Zealand

Project code:  MHS137

Department

  • Population Health

Location

Auckland

Supervisor

Dan Exeter

Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) is a tragic occurrence that may occur in the young athletic population. There is conjecture in the literature as to how common this is, and indeed whether the incidence is the same in different populations. International studies that have sought to ascertain the incidence of sudden cardiac death have been beset by issues with their methodology. This has been due to the lack of quality numerator and denominator data. We lack high quality New Zealand data.

In New Zealand we have good access to numerator data for 13-18 year olds through coronial reports and Child Youth Mortality records. However denominator data are less accurate. This is because data on participation numbers in sport do not account for the fact that some children and youth play more than one sport. There is not an accurate number of unique individuals playing competitive sport in this age group and as such an estimate of denominator data needs to be determined.

Without this data there is no ability to ascertain whether SCD is a significant problem in New Zealand in this age cohort and subsequently whether government funding should be allocated for a screening programme.

Aim of project

  • To estimate the number of 13-18 year old New Zealanders playing ‘competitive' sport.
  • To then ascertain an incidence of SCD in 13-18 year old New Zealand athletes.

Data Collection

  • Review of existing coronial data relating to SCD events
  • Investigation of current sporting participation rates through a review of national sporting organisation participation data and  / or questionnaire to be delivered to sample of 13-18 year old athletes 

Skills

  • Literature Review
  • Audit
  • Data Collection
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Medical Writing
  • Preparation for publication
  • Critical Appraisal