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Australia's first Indigenous kidney specialist has been announced as the Northern Territory's Young Tall
Poppy as part of the recent 2012 NT Research and Innovation Awards.
Dr Jaqui Hughes, a Research Fellow with the Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) in Darwin, was named the NT's premier young researcher for 2012 for her forward thinking approach to Indigenous health research. As Australia's first Indigenous nephrologist, Dr Hughes is working towards reducing the risk and impact of kidney disease in Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
'The death rates from kidney disease are eight to ten times higher among Indigenous Australians, who are also 14 times more likely to need in-hospital care for kidney dialysis.' Dr Hughes said. With obesity and diabetes key drivers of kidney disease in Indigenous Australia, Dr Hughes' research has focused on body composition. 'Indigenous Australians tend to accumulate fat around their mid-sections, rather than other areas of the body which could greatly influence kidney function.' she said.
Dr Hughes, a Torres Strait Islander, began a PhD on the topic and has recently submitted the complete work for examination. 'My research with Menzies showed that young, healthy adult Aborigines develop a very high risk pattern of intra-abdominal fat while only modestly overweight, which is not seen in people with a European background.' Dr Hughes said. 'Controlling weight gain in this age group should be a priority because it may save people from developing diabetes and kidney disease, or prevent a heart attack before they reach the age of 40'.
Source: Menzies School of Health Research
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