Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute discovers ways to prevent and treat conditions affecting babies, children and adolescents, helping them lead happy, healthy lives.

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Epigenetic molecules play a different melody on different people’s genomes, and this might be contributing to some developing autism. Jesse Kruger/Flickr

Music of the genome hits a discord with autism

The epigenetic 'musicians' that play our genomes in different ways might help us understand the causes of autism.
Children love interactive devices and can’t recall a time without them, so it may be best to manage rather than ban them. Lars Plougmann/Flickr

Growing up in the age of apps doesn’t have to be all bad

Despite occasional panic about the negative impact they may be having on children's social and intellectual development, interactive devices give parents a much-needed break and can benefit kids.
Another myth is that we all look like this. U.S. Army RDECOM/Flickr

Seven myths about scientists debunked

As scientific researchers, we are often surprised by some of the assumptions made about us by those outside our profession. So we put together a list of common myths we and our colleagues have heard anecdotally…
Babies can learn to self settle through controlled crying. Yoshihide Nomura/Flickr

Controlled crying is helpful, not harmful

Every evening, parents across Australia hope their babies will sleep through the night. Many won’t. That’s where controlled comforting, or controlled crying might help. Contrary to some claims, this is…
How has domestication changed the humble house cat? Moyan Brenn/Flickr

Pretty kitties: feline ‘friendly’ genes mapped in study

House cats are a great source of companionship for many people – 3 million cats are kept as pets in Australia. Now thanks…
Allergic reactions to food have dramatically increased over the past 10 to 20 years. Dan Peled/AAP

Changes to bugs in the gut could prevent food allergies

Changing the bacteria in the gut could treat and prevent life-threatening allergies, according to research published in the…
Domesticated mammals, including dogs, share a number of characteristic features. Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

Why so many domesticated mammals have floppy ears

Take a look at several domesticated mammal species and you might spot a number of similarities between them, including those cute floppy ears. The famous naturalist and evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin…
The proportion of women experiencing depressive symptoms is higher among mothers of four-year-olds, than among mothers with a newborn baby. Arjun Karkhanis/Flickr

Mothers’ mental health worse four years after giving birth

Becoming a parent is a journey into unchartered waters – the physical and emotional demands of looking after a newborn are exhausting and constant. Not surprisingly, depression and anxiety are common among…
Neurogenetic disease is an umbrella term to describe inherited diseases that affect the nervous system. Shutterstock/Dmitry Naumov

Explainer: what are neurogenetic diseases?

Each year, thousands of Australians are diagnosed with an inherited condition that affects their nervous system. Neurogenetic disease is an umbrella term to describe these conditions, which are primarily…
Paternity doubts are a source of gossip and emotional trauma – with a man, woman and child caught in between. SBS (resized)

Who’s your Daddy? seeks answers in all the wrong places

How often is a person’s biological father someone other than the man they call dad? Paternity doubts are a source of gossip, on the one hand, and emotional trauma, on the other. But our assumptions about…
It’s a delicate business, but the study of life can make our lives better. Kalense Kid/Flickr

Australia can nurture growth and prosperity through biology

AUSTRALIA 2025: How will science address the challenges of the future? In collaboration with Australia’s chief scientist Ian Chubb, we’re asking how each science discipline will contribute to Australia…
Should parents be satisfied with a “you get what you pay for” model of early childhood learning? www.shutterstock.com.au

The false choice of quality vs cost in early childhood education

The Productivity Commission is undertaking an inquiry into childcare and early learning. In a recent Issues Paper the commission suggests that there is an “inherent trade-off” between affordability and…
There are outstanding questions about the long-term safety of IVF. Nina Matthews Photography/Flickr

Rest assured, IVF babies grow into healthy adults

Babies conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) mostly grow up to be healthy adults and compare well to those conceived naturally, according to research my colleagues and I have just published in…
Campaigns tell us to eat red meat to keep our iron levels up – but what if we have too much? tarale

Explainer: can the body have too much iron?

Many people are aware that low levels of iron in their body can lead anaemia, with symptoms such as fatigue. But few realise that too much iron can result in a potentially fatal condition. Normally, if…
Doctors’ interests will be represented at the inquiry but it seems consumer interests could be ignored. Brian/Flickr

Electronic health records review set to ignore consumer interests

The rollout of the Australia’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) has encountered various problems since its inception. But it all got worse when the new health minister, Peter Dutton…
While stuttering affects one in ten children under the age of four, it doesn’t affect emotional development. VinothChandar

Stuttering is common, but for pre-schoolers, not necessarily harmful

What did Moses, Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, Claudius, Lewis Carroll and King George VI have in common? They were all known to stutter. A new study - by me and my collaborators around Australia and…
Creating ways for PhD graduates and other science researchers to go into teaching could be a way to improve our science education. Phd student image from www.shutterstock.com

Inspiring science: fast-track PhD graduates into teaching

MATHS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: We’ve asked our authors about the state of maths and science education in Australia and its future direction. In this instalment, Marguerite Evans-Galea, Darren Saunders, and…
Some people experience a profound discomfort with their biological sex. David Castillo

Don’t demonise doctors for treating gender identity disorder

Imagine yourself as a doctor consulting with a child who is experiencing profound discomfort. At times, the parents inform you, the child’s profound discomfort escalates, manifesting in profound distress…
Children who go through puberty early have poorer mental health than their peers. But it’s not a simple case of cause and effect. Image from shutterstock.com

Growing up too fast: early puberty and mental illness

Puberty has long been recognised as a transition point in which many emotional and behavioural problems emerge. These include depression and anxiety, substance use and abuse, self-harm and eating disorders…
Young people should be left alone with their doctor for at least part of each consultation. Image from shutterstock.com

Sex, drugs and illness: why teens need medical confidentiality

What qualities do you most want your doctor to have? Good medical knowledge? Honesty? Good listening skills? Empathy? You probably want your doctor to have all of these traits – and teenagers are no different…

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