Help for the unborn from Lankan Down Under
Nepean Hospital medical student Sinthu Sithamparanathan who was born
in Sri Lanka has been awarded Best Presentation by a Student.
The award was made by the hospital's University of Sydney Clinical
Sithamparanathan, 26, was recognised for her research into how
methadone taken by pregnant women can retard a foetus's development.
Methadone is prescribed for people addicted to heroin as part of the
treatment to wean them off the drug.
"Most studies showed only a physical effect on growth, but that can
affect mental development as well," Sithamparanathan said.
She said pregnant women could counter some of methadone's effects
through early and regular consultation with their doctors.
But she cautioned against just stopping the treatment.
"The risks of going cold turkey from heroin can be even more
detrimental for the baby," she said. Sithamparanathan has lived in St
Mary's for 18 years. She was born in Sri Lanka and migrated to Australia
with her family when she was six.
"I've always had an interest in paediatrics," she said.
"That's what interested me in medicine." Penrith City Star.