Medical technology for women’s wellness

Press Release – University of Auckland

Medical technology for women’s wellness

Media Release – University of Auckland – 31 October 2016

Innovative medical technology for women’s wellness will feature on Thursday evening in the final of three talks that are part of the Medtech SILO 6 Exhibiton at the Wynyard Quarter.

Research into pelvic floor muscle function and dysfunction in women and developments in medical technology for women’s healthcare will be discussed by the panel.

The panel for the evening includes the Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Auckland, Professor Lesley McCowan, Auckland Bioengineering Research Fellow, Dr Jenny Kruger and Dr Hinemoa Elder from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

A specialist in maternal fetal medicine, Professor McCowan will talk about her latest major research project, HUMBA (Healthy Mums and Babies) that has recruited obese pregnant women in South Auckland for a randomised controlled trial of dietary education that includes motivational texting and probiotics.

The trial aims to reduce excessive pregnancy weight gain, improve maternal glucose metabolism and reduce infant birthweight.

After 15 years as a midwife, Dr Jenny Kruger returned to study at the University of Auckland that led to a PhD in pelvic floor muscle function in the elite athlete in 2008.

She went on to do post-doctoral research into using ultrasound imaging to investigate pelvic floor muscle function and now focusses on how this relates to childbirth, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Her team has developed a prototype bio-instrument which is able to quantify pelvic floor muscle stiffness and may be useful in developing risk prediction models.

Dr Kruger says, “There is unequivocal evidence that this type of damage to the muscles of the pelvic floor doubles the risk of developing pelvic floor dysfunction (or disorders) later in life.”

They recently developed a prototype instrument (the FemFit) to look at what is happening to both abdominal pressure and pelvic floor muscle activation pressures during times of leakage.

Dr Hinemoa Elder (Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāpuhi Hinemoa) was a finalist in the Health and Science category, for the Woman of the Year Awards.

Dr Elder specialises in indigenous mental health, child and adolescent psychiatry and traumatic brain injury. She is the Awanuiārangi Professorial Fellow in Indigenous Mental Health Research and Director of Te Whare Mātai Aronui.

Her recent research has included exploring the health needs of remote rural communities.

The Women’s Wellness Evening panel discussion is on Thursday 3 November from 6pm – 8pm at the GridAKL venue near the Wynyard Quarter at 101 Pakenham Street West.

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