Smoking research a winner

SOMETIMES in the world of science, finding out something does not work is just as important as discovering what does.

That was the case for a group from Hunter Medical Research Institute who last week received a $10,000 prize for their research into smoking rates among pregnant Indigenous women.

The University of Newcastle research team and health practitioners have taken out the prestigious prize for the best research paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Dr Conor Gilligan relocated to Cairns and Townsville for 18 months and worked closely with the Aboriginal community on the research.

She studied 263 pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who were divided into two groups - those who received standard help, and those who received extra help to quit smoking.

She found little difference in quit rates between the two groups.

"It may sound strange that the study can still win a major prize, but importantly it recognises the challenges of doing this kind of work," Dr Gilligan said.