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Florian Prayer receives Austrian Ministry of Science Honorary Prize

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from left: Peter Wanka, Franz Kainberger, Florian Prayer, Vice-rector Anita Rieder and Alexander Marinovic

(Vienna, 29 November 2017) Florian Prayer, graduate of MedUni Vienna, was awarded the Honorary Prize of the Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (national prize for the best Bachelors and Masters degrees) in recognition of his outstanding academic performance.

Florian Prayer is being awarded the prize in recognition of his outstanding Bachelors thesis entitled "MR based brain volumetry in fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia; retrospective data analysis".

One in every 2,500 live new-borns has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. This is a malformation of the diaphragm, which allows organs to migrate from the abdominal cavity into the thoracic cavity, where they impair normal development. Due to the increased pressure in the thoracic cavity, foetuses with a diaphragmatic hernia, like foetuses with heart defects, have impaired cardiac function and consequently reduced blood supply to the developing brain. While it was found that foetuses with heart defects have reduced brain volume compared to normal foetuses, this was not the case for foetuses with diaphragmatic hernias. In order to find out whether the brain volume of normal foetuses differs from that of foetuses with diaphragmatic hernia, the brain volume of 24 foetuses with diaphragmatic hernia and 24 normal foetuses was measured using foetal magnetic resonance tomography.
The average brain volume of foetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia was found to be 89.6 cm³, and hence 8.7cm³ smaller than that of normal foetuses. On the one hand, these results underscore the need for treatment at foetal age, to counter any disruption to brain development as early as possible, and, on the other hand, they show that the cause of impaired brain development in children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia lies in foetal development, so that these children might benefit from early rehabilitation.

About the Honorary Prize
Honorary Prize – national prize for the best Bachelors and Masters degrees: This national prize, which is worth € 3,000 and is funded from the educational grant budget, has been awarded on an annual basis since 1990, in recognition of the 50 best Bachelors and Masters degrees completed at any of the Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences (out of a total of approximately 16,000 graduates every year). The nominations for these awards come from the universities and/or from the association of universities of applied sciences. The awards are presented at an awards ceremony that takes place in November each year.

About Florian Prayer
Florian Prayer studied human medicine at the Medical University of Vienna from 2011 to 2017, graduating in 2017. Since September 2017 he has been pursuing a PhD at the Medical University of Vienna. His PhD project entitled "Machine Learning for CT Pattern Recognition and Disease Course Prediction in Patients with Fibrosing Diffuse Parenchymal Lung Disease – A Retrospective Data Analysis" is being supervised by Helmut Prosch and Georg Langs.