THE University of Queensland has received almost $1.5 million in funding from the state government to help finance a major research project aimed at detecting cerebral palsy in newborn babies.
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch announced this week that the university had been awarded the funding as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $15 million Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program.
The research study, led by Professor Roslyn Boyd from the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre, will look to improve the early detection of cerebral palsy in infants.
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Ms Enoch said Professor Boyd and her team would develop new ‘toolboxes’ of biological and clinical markers to detect the condition earlier.
“Children with cerebral palsy usually do not receive their diagnosis until well into the second year of life, often resulting in a late referral to intervention,” Ms Enoch said.
“If you can detect cerebral palsy early, then you can fast-track early intervention programs.”
It is estimated between 600 to 700 babies are born with cerebral palsy in Australia every year.
“The first 2 years of life are a period of rapid neural change so early detection is critical if we are to improve the health and well-being of these children as they grow up,” Ms Enoch said.
The Minister said Professor Boyd, one of Australia’s foremost authorities on cerebral palsy, was already making great strides with older children in managing the condition.
Children’s Health Queensland and the Merchant Charitable Foundation are the project’s industry partners.
Ms Enoch said the University of Queensland research project was one of 15 projects to be funded this year as part of the Government’s Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program.
“We’re investing $9.65 million in these 15 projects, with the successful recipients and their project partners contributing a further $15 million,” Ms Enoch said.
Health Minister Cameron Dick said the funding was an important step in solving health issues not just in Queensland, but globally.
“Bringing research institutions and industry together is critical in delivering tangible outcomes for Queenslanders,” Mr Dick said. “This approach is proven to deliver results and I look forward to seeing the outcomes from these collaborations.”