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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:48 am 
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Older mums' children behave better

Older mothers are sometimes called selfish and career-driven but they can take comfort in the latest finding that their children behave better.

Telethon Kids Institute shows children born to older women fare well when it comes to behaviour. Mothers in their early 20s are more likely to struggle with anxious or antisocial children.

The study published in the Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology journal shows the older the mother when she has a child, the lower the risk of behaviour problems in the child. The father's age does not seem to matter.

Researchers used WA's Raine study of more than 2000 families to track children from age two to 17 and get firsthand reports from parents about their children's development.

Study author Jessica Tearne said the trend in Western countries for women to have children later in life had prompted studies into the effect on parents' and children's health and wellbeing.

"While a lot of these studies have looked how older parental age relates to severe mental illnesses, not many have looked at how having older parents influences more general behaviour problems in children," Ms Tearne said.

"We found the older the mother at birth, the risk of her child exhibiting problem behaviours decreases significantly, after accounting for important variables such as socioeconomic status.

"It's telling us is that when it comes to behaviour, older mothers and their kids are doing OK."

Co-researcher and mother of 15-month-old Teddy, Monique Robinson said the results were reassuring for older parents but more work was needed.

"We can only speculate at this stage that influencing factors may include more life experience, more financial stability and social support, or even greater planning or readiness for pregnancy in older mums," Dr Robinson said.

"We're not saying young or older mums are best, but older mums often get a lot of negative publicity so in this study we were able to find some benefits." ... ve-better/

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:25 am 
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Australians are robbed of their sleep due to coffee, cats and iPhones says new research

If you're one of those people who wake up in the middle of the night and reach for the phone then you're not alone.

A recent survey from the Sleep Health Foundation has found that rather than being a place of rest and intimacy, the bedroom is becoming more like an office due to the amount of electronics in it.

Out of the of 1,500 people studied, a whopping 45 per cent regularly take a laptop, electronic device or watch TV in bed, hindering their chances of some quality shut-eye.

But as well as disturbances from alerts, texts and telephone calls, the blue light from the screen can block the hormone melatonin, which encourages the body to relax and sleep.

The foundation's sleep psychologist Professor Dorothy Bruck says: 'A standard guideline for good sleep is that the bed should be reserved for sleep and intimacy only.

'So it was alarming to learn that so many people were using their sleep sanctuary to email, cruise the web and watch movies, all activities that are not conducive to sleep.'

Professor Bruck says that Australians are not taking their sleep seriously enough which is worrying as being over-wrought and sleep deprived can cause illnesses and hazards.

As well as the obvious risks with operating machinery and driving, those with regular fragmented sleep are more at risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to depression and weight problems like obesity.

'Solutions exist for many of these disturbances but this data reflects a widespread failure to prioritise sleep,' adds Professor Bruck.

Interestingly, 70 per cent of those studied said they 'often look at the clock' when they wake up during the night but it's not clear whether it's a quick glance or clock watching.

The latter leaves those with fragmented sleep agitated and frustrated, which in turn causes more disturbance and those struggling to drop off are advised to to cover the clock.

'A quiet and comfortable bedroom environment is an obvious prerequisite for maximising sleep quality, adds Professor Bruck.

'Great sleep relies on a quiet room, a relaxed mind and a comfortable bed.

'But you'd be surprised how many people ignore these important guidelines and snuggle up with their iPhone in their overheated bedroom after drinking too many glasses of wine.'

The survey showed that 22 per cent believe they drink too much alcohol, a quarter admitted drinking coffee after 2pm and more than a third confessed to not winding down before hopping into bed.

'Lots of people believe coffee doesn't affect their sleep but research proves it actually makes deep sleep lighter up to 14 hours after it's consumed,' adds Professor Bruck.

'Likewise alcohol. It might seem like that tipple is making you relaxed but it will actually make the second half of your night's sleep more fragmented.'

Four in ten blamed a snoring partner for their lack of sleep while others said they were kept awake or aggravated by noisy pets, the temperature and uncomfortable clothing and bedding.

Professor Dorothy Bruck's Top 5 tips for a good night's sleep
1. Have a regular sleep pattern. Try to go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at the same time every morning. This will help your body to work out a healthy sleep routine.
2. Spend the right amount of time in bed. Most adults need about 8 hours sleep every night. Some require more and some less. Many poor sleepers spend much more than 8 hours in bed and this makes fragmented sleep a habit. Except if you have lengthy sleep requirements, limit your time in bed to no more than 8.5 hours. If you often take hours to fall asleep, go to bed later. Remember that children need more sleep than adults.
3. Bed is for sleeping, not entertainment. Ditch the TVs, mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices. Your mind needs to be in the habit of knowing that if you are in bed, you are there to sleep. Don't stay in bed if you are wide awake.
4. Wind down and relax before going to bed. Have a buffer zone before bedtime. Sort out any problems before going to bed or allocate a 'worry time' during the day to go over the day's activities and work out a plan of action for the next day. Try to avoid using your computer within one hour of bedtime as the blue screen will suppress the hormone that makes us sleepy. Don't exercise too late in the evening. Find a relaxation technique that works for you.
5. Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. You should have a quiet, dark room with comfortable bedding and good temperature control.

To see how your bedtime routine measures up go to ... earch.html

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:03 am 
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What Christmas lunch will do to your body - and what you can do about it

Christmas is the one day (OK, week) we all get a leave pass and it's a foodie free-for-all.

We're not going to tell anyone not to overindulge because a day of splurging here or there is fun and frankly it's uncelebratory not to.

But what exactly does it do to our innards and how much do we really have to do to compensate for the feasting?

Grab a glass of champers (because let's face it, you might need one to swallow this) and let's take a look.

First the pros:

We can rejoice and be merry that we, of sunshiney Christmases, tend to have a healthier spread than our 'traditional' Christmas counterparts.

We're far more likely to have seafood platters and salads (along with the cheese and mince pies). So bottoms up to that.

Second, we don't want to be Christmas killjoys, so when we're looking at kilojoules consumed, let's be glass half-full about it and come up with celebratory ways to work them off. Like sex, which burns about 1250 kilojoules an hour (and we all have hour long sex sessions, right?). Or the chicken dance, which burns a finger-licking good 2500 kilojoules an hour.

Or you can just go for a jog (five kilometres will burn off about 1105 kilojoules) – and let's face it, there are some freaks among us who find running fun.

Finally, there is goodness to be had in many of our favourite festive foods.

Take the obligatory cheese plate for instance. Organic dairy contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help alleviate joint pain, boost your mood and lower levels of the kind of fat that causes heart disease.

Seafood is also high in omega-3s, which our bodies need for optimal functioning, as well as other vitamins and minerals. It is also low in kilojoules and fat but high in protein, so it's satiating.

Ham off the bone is healthier than processed ham in the packet and is packed with iron and protein, while turkey (depending on how you take it) can be a lean meat stuffed with protein and omega-3s.

Add to this spread some green vegies (well, we used to have tinned asparagus as the 'greens' at my gran's Christmas Day lunch, which were really more flaccid, mossy 'browns', but still...), some roast potatoes, which can lower blood pressure and contain fibre in their skin along with a splash of gravy (kidding – there's absolutely nothing healthy in gravy) and Christmas is looking pretty cracking, hold the crackling (there's absolutely nothing healthy in that either).

Or is it.


Our stomachs can hold about one litre, but when we fill them to the brim, it puts pressure on them and the surrounding organs.

Carbonated drinks – beer, champagne, soft drinks, exacerbate this effect because the air fills up more space in our stomachs than the liquid itself. And like there was any more room to fill after the food smorgasbord.

Add to these the excess secretion of stomach acid to break down all the food and it can irritate our belly's lining and can rise up into the oesophagus. Hello, heartburn and dinner repeating itself.

Separate to this, the American Chemical Society explains, the hormones released to remind you that you're full. Really, really full, can make you feel sick.

Now we know, and we've done it anyway, what do we do about it?

Let's just assume for a moment that Christmas lunch or dinner. Christmas lunch AND dinner, will include a pretty spread of leg ham or turkey with cranberry sauce, accompanied by side salads or roast vegetables, cheese and bread, followed by pudding or pavlova,

Pudding AND pavlova. ... 1xo0d.html

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:45 pm 
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A spiritual approach to weight loss?

Looking back over the diet lore of 2014, it's not hard to imagine the top two weight-loss regimes coming straight from the writing room at Ab Fab. "Paleo, darling! If I can't club it to death and drag it back to my North Shore cave – I'm not interested!" As for the 5:2 diet, that's straight from Ab Fab PR maven Edina Monsoon's playbook "I've finally found a way to legitimise the "binge five days a week and starve for two" diet! I want it Sciencey, Pats, with numbers and a colon!"

And now, former PR executive turned best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein is coming to Australia in January to run a series of workshops on, among other things, a spiritual approach to weight loss.

Dubbed "a new role model for New York's former Carrie Bradshaws" by The New York Times ("doling out inner peace and self-love for the postmodern spiritual set", Elle Magazine), at 25 Bernstein found herself running her own PR company, and addicted to cocaine and alcohol. A spiritual experience led to her recovery. But, she says via Skype, "when I became sober I turned to food as another addiction. I was brought up with a mother who was an overeater and there was always that mentality of 'there's not enough'."

Since a spiritual approach had worked with drug and alcohol cravings, she applied the same principles to overeating, with remarkable success. "The biggest shift was this moment when I realised I was no longer wanting to abuse myself. It was this moment I was offered a cupcake, and realised 'no, I love myself too much to do that'. I found a new level of respect for myself."

Connecting to "something deeper", via practices like meditation and prayer played a huge part in changing her relationship to food cravings. In her workshops, Bernstein teaches simple daily practices to stay "more connected", which ultimately has an effect not only on mental and emotional wellbeing, but waistlines too. "I don't define spirituality for anyone. I could give you this beautiful, elaborate definition of what it means to me, but my work is about helping people define that for themselves."

When nutritional knowledge isn't enough

When you look at the plethora of articles on miracle foods, we're hardly lacking in nutritional knowledge. But judging by the number of people who either have disordered eating or struggle to lose weight, yet another research breakthrough on the weight-loss properties of Himalayan berries isn't going to make a lot of difference.

A friend of mine once told me a story about going to rehab. At lunchtime she was put on the special table for people with eating disorders. "Every second person at the table was a nutritionist," she said. Knowledge isn't always enough.

"What I call 'technical' dieting will only work if it's merged with spiritual healing," says Bernstein. "Or else it will work but you won't get to that root cause. So you can lose weight but you'll still be obsessing over food, or falling back into patterns of bingeing at night after restricting during the day. That's why I believe in 12-step programs like Overeaters Anonymous, because they can get right to the root cause."

"The way I look at it is that concept of being 'finally full'. The more spiritually full I became, the less I needed to anaesthetise myself with food. It's about moving from body-identification to spirit-identification. But it's about honouring the container [the body] through which you're expressing it. When we don't respect the vessel, when we see it merely through the lens of the ego, we're not in highest service."

"So for example, just before the interview a messenger came by with a gift from someone I did some work with – a five-pound box of brownies. Sugar, for me, isn't great, and so I just took it back downstairs and gave it to the doorman 'Happy Holidays!' It wasn't going to serve my highest good."

'Treating yourself' v 'treating yourself well'

For a generation brought up on 'moderation, not deprivation', the idea of passing on a box of brownies may seem a little … killjoy. But Bernstein says it's as simple as recognising something that's serving you and cutting out what isn't.

"It's about finding your trigger food ... and abstaining," says Bernstein, who, for some people, recommends abstinence in the way an alcoholic would abstain from drinking. "Personally, I have a lot of success with abstinence, so when the brownies came to the door it was no problem to just hand them over to someone else. If I had one, it would be not enough, but at the same time too much."

Bernstein teaches that incorporating short daily practices has the most enduring effect (rather than, say, a once-yearly Yoga retreat.) "To this day [if I'm not taking time to connect] I can still eat too fast and have that nervous energy around food."

3 tips for a spiritual approach to weight management

1. "Shift your perception. You're more than just your body. Try and move from 'body identification' to 'spiritual identification'. Establish an understanding that if you abuse your body, you abuse your instrument.

2. "Pray your way out. If you're in the middle of a craving, or you've started on something and want to stop, pray for guidance and to be able to forgive yourself."

3. "Abstinence from your trigger foods combined with spiritual faith. But abstinence without faith is just torture. You're going to feel deprived, and it's just another form of abuse."

Eating in a spiritual way, says Bernstein, is about joy. "There's no reason for it to be a struggle." ... 29m1u.html

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:36 am 
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Christmas a time for sadness for those missing loved ones

What if all you wanted for Christmas was the loved one who can never return?

Heli Harrison lost her partner of 30 years, Lyndon, in February, making her one of many Canberrans feeling the pain of separation at this traditional family time.

"It will be 10 months on Christmas Eve, and coming from a European background we always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve," she said.

"He'll be very conspicuous by his absence. We are going to miss him a lot.

"But I don't know how I'll react on the day."

Ms Harrison, 70, said the personal grief of losing your partner for life was something many people – even other widows or widowers – did not understand or want to talk about.

"It's indescribable – it changes your life completely," she said.

"I've never been a person who has cried, even when Lyn was diagnosed [with motor neurone disease], and I've cried more tears then I've cried in my life since his death."

For Ms Harrison, it was only the support of fellow partners in grief through self-help group Solace ACT that helped her recover.

The group, nearing the end of its 25th year, allows women and men who have lost partners to share their stories.

"To each his own, people's grief is all different, but for me it has been a godsend, " Ms Harrison said.

"You feel very safe in this environment – I feel I can say what is on my mind and on my heart, knowing that the others will understand, will not be critical, and that they may have suggestions about dealing with things."

Solace ACT president Pam Burrowes said the group had 54 members – its numbers had been boosted by a "surprising" six to eight new arrivals since October.

Members had been aged from 28 to 91 years, but the the majority were above 50, Ms Burrowes said.

Joining the group soon after her husband died eight and-a-half years ago, she said this time of the year was difficult for many.

"The first and second Christmas is particularly sad because everyone is tied up with their families and friends and you don't have that loved one who was there," Ms Burrowes said.

Further information on the bi-monthly support group can be obtained by calling Ms Burrowes on 62886434 or by email ... 29bjz.html

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:02 am 
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Royal Adelaide Hospital delays confirmed

The South Australian government has confirmed a cost blowout and delays to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital ahead of a state budget update.

Health Minister Jack Snelling says Tuesday's mid-year budget review will include an extra $177 million in funding for the 800-bed hospital, taking its cost to about $2 billion.

It was due to open in April 2016 but an independent review has concluded the project won't be finished until the second half of that year.

The additional funding comes amid concerns about an apparent lack of planning behind the transition from the existing Royal Adelaide hospital to the new facilities.

Mr Snelling says the government will keep both hospitals in operation for a period of about 10 weeks to ensure patient care isn't compromised.

"This is the most complex transition project the state has ever undertaken," he told reporters.

"I won't compromise on patient safety."

Doctors told a parliamentary committee last week there was a lack of transparency on how the hospital would operate and whether it would have sufficient capacity as the state's largest public hospital.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said the government was aware of cost blowouts at the hospital long before they were confirmed.

"I think that this is a terrible situation where the people of South Australia are being kept in the dark on this major project," he told reporters.

"This has been a problem project since day one and I think there's much more bad news to come."

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has warned of a $254 million dent to the state's revenue base from federal funding cuts and the government's failure to pass a proposed car park tax. ... -confirmed

PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:22 pm 
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For your mental health, get back in touch with nature

I've just got to get through extended Christmas festivities - and subsequent mopping up - and I'll be off on my hols. What am I doing this year? Same as most years: heading for the bush. This time we're going to the mountains.

As a denizen of the inner city I've long had a great desire to get out into the country whenever possible. Get into the grass and trees, where the air is clean and the sleeping seems better.

Another study notes that the first hospitals in Europe were infirmaries in monastic communities where a garden was considered an essential part of the environment in that it supported the healing process.

There's a place we rent not far up the coast that backs onto a national park. I call it Lyrebird Lodge. And even when we go overseas I often find the country towns beat the big cities.

In recent times I've been singing the praises of big cities: how efficient they are and how they promote creativity and productivity, particularly in the era of the information economy.

But cities have their dark side and insufficient grass and trees is it. That's more than just a personal preference. Environmental psychologists and others have been gathering impressive evidence of the health-given properties of greenery.

It's evidence to support the American biologist E. O. Wilson's "biophilia" hypothesis: because humans evolved in natural environments and have lived separate from nature only relatively recently in their evolutionary history, people possess an innate need to affiliate with other living things.

Research published last year found that people who live in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater wellbeing - less mental distress and higher life satisfaction - than city dwellers who don't have parks, gardens or other green space nearby.

Mathew White and colleagues at the University of Exeter Medical School used a national longitudinal survey of households in Britain to track the experience of more than 10,000 people for 17 years to 2008.

They found that, on average, the positive effect on wellbeing was equivalent to about one-third of the difference between being married rather than unmarried and a 10th of the effect of being employed rather than unemployed.

A different study followed the experience of more than 1000 people over five years, in which time some moved to greener urban areas and some to less green areas. The results showed that, on average, people who moved to greener areas felt an immediate improvement in their mental health. This boost could still be measured three years later.

"These findings are important for urban planners thinking about introducing new green spaces to towns and cities, suggesting they could provide long term and sustained benefits for local communities," the lead author of the study said.

A study from Canada began by summarising all the various benefits from contact with nature that other research had found: it can restore people's ability to pay attention, improve concentration in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and speed recovery from illness. It may even reduce the risk of dying.

Yet another study notes that the first hospitals in Europe were infirmaries in monastic communities where a garden was considered an essential part of the environment in that it supported the healing process.

This study of studies, from Norway, says that "in most cultures, both present and past, one can observe behaviour reflecting a fondness for nature. For example, tomb painting from ancient Egypt, as well as remains found in the ruins of Pompeii, substantiate that people brought plants into their houses and gardens more than 2000 years ago".

Many studies find health benefits from contact with nature. The Norwegian paper says a key element in this may be nature's stress-reducing effect. Stress plays a role in the causes and development of cardiovascular diseases, anxiety disorders and depression.

Contact with nature may help "simply by being consciously or unconsciously 'pleasing to the eye'". Office employees seem to compensate for lack of a window view by introducing indoor plants or even just pictures of nature. One study found that having a view to plants from the work station decreased the amount of self-reported sick leave.

One of my favourite blog sites, PsyBlog, conducted by the British psychologist Dr Jeremy Dean, notes research estimating that people now spend 25 per cent less time in nature than they did 20 years ago. Instead, recreational time is often spent surfing the internet, playing video games and watching movies.

But this is more up my line: Dean reports a study finding that taking group walks in nature is associated with better mental wellbeing and lower stress and depression. The study evaluated a British program called Walking for Health, and involved nearly 2000 participants, divided into two matched groups of those who took part in the walks and those who didn't.

The walks, which extended over three months, combined three elements, each of which you'd expect to make people feel better: walking, being in nature and being with other people.

Those who seemed to benefit most were those who'd been through a recent stressful life event, such as divorce, bereavement or a serious illness.

"Our findings suggest that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group may not only improve someone's daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression," one of the study's authors said.

You beaut. When I get to the mountains I'm hoping to do a lot of bush walking. ... 2cnv2.html

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:21 pm 
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Coeliacs turn on their charity

A rift has emerged within the body that represents the interests of hundreds of thousands of Australians who suffer from severe allergic reactions to gluten after it supported a food-industry push to allow more gluten in foods that are supposed to be free of it.

Coeliac Australia will now review its decision to support a push by the food and grocery council to change the definition of "gluten free", which caused outrage among disgruntled members who fear it will save money for manufacturers at the cost of causing severe illness among some Australians with the condition.

They have complained the organisation, which counts grocery chain Coles as one of its biggest sponsors, has been unwilling to allow any criticism of the move and has exaggerated the safety of any change.

But Coeliac Australia says the existing standard, under which a "gluten free" product must contain no detectable gluten, in reality about three parts or fewer per million, is unworkable because improved testing now picks up smaller and smaller amounts of the protein.

The food industry would like to see the standard set at 20 parts per million, which would bring Australia into line with the United States.

However, there is very little evidence available about just how much gluten will cause harm to people with Coeliac disease, a condition in which the body reacts abnormally to the presence of gluten and begins attacking the lining in the gut.

In severe cases the gut becomes so damaged a person can no longer absorb the nutrients they need from food, and not only becomes malnourished but faces an increased risk in the long term for conditions such as cancer.

However, it appears to affect people with varying levels of severity, and many are unaware they have the condition.

In addition, many people who buy gluten-free food can tolerate much higher levels of gluten because they do not have Coeliac disease but avoid gluten for other reasons.

Geoff Forbes, a gastroenterologist at Royal Perth Hospital who developed a special interest in the gluten-free diet after family members were diagnosed with Coeliac disease, said the standard should not be changed when it was not clear what level of gluten was safe for people with severe disease.

He said when he reviewed the studies examining safe gluten thresholds, he "immediately became aware that the evidence they were basing this argument on was not right".

"Rather than us meeting the American or European standards, perhaps it should be the other way around," he said.

And Australian Medical Association NSW head Saxon Smith, who has Coeliac disease, agreed Australia should take a careful approach.

"There would have to be very good evidence that the safety and health of coeliac sufferers was protected if a change was to be considered," he said.

Coeliac Australia national president Tom McLeod said the organisation would not support an application for 20 parts per million if one were made.

But he said there was a clear need for a new standard to be set, and Coeliac Australia would now undertake a review of gluten-free products duringthe next six months.

"We not believe there is sufficient evidence to support 20ppm as the threshold to define gluten free at this time," he said.

Coeliac Australia's position on the issue would never be influenced by sponsors, Mr McLeod said.

"Coles has not discussed, expressed a view or sought to influence Coeliac Australia's position on this or any issue," he said. "The relationship with Coles is a commercial relationship of approximately 10 years' standing."

"All Coeliac Australia members are aware of the relationship with Coles as all members receive a Coles branded member discount card and information about discounted products."

But Jenni Brackenreg, one of nine Coeliac Australia volunteers who support people with the condition and who have been advocating for Coeliac Australia to reject the 20 parts per million standard, said she was "yet to be convinced".

"There is an impending application [to change the standard] and I have heard nothing to indicate there has been any change to Coeliac Australia's policy," she said.

Any review of the policy should involve full and open consultation with members, she said. ... 2dhpm.html

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 8:29 am 
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Exercise monitoring devices could run users into legal trouble

Fitness fanatics wearing gadgets to monitor how many steps they have walked or run could find their data being used in court.

Courts across the world are grappling about whether to allow data from Fitbits and other devices as evidence, especially in personal injury claims.

The devices, often in conjunction with smartphone apps, monitor activity, heart rates, sleep and kilojoules consumed.

In the Canadian city of Calgary, one law firm is set to use data from a fitbit to prove their client, a young women, is significantly less active than she was five years ago because of a personal injury.

Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Geraldine Collins said she was not aware of such devices being used as evidence in an Australian court but added it was an "interesting idea".

"It's one of various tools that may be used but it's not going to replace other evidence," she said.

The problem with introducing such devices into the court system was that such data would need to be verified.

"It's problematic in that regard," Ms Collins said. "How does the court know the person in question actually wore the device? Also, these items are very subjective – they show how long someone has walked but not the impact that had on them."

The Calgary case could possibly be a world-first: McLeod Law is representing a young womanwho claims she is significantly less active because of an accident she was involved in four years ago.

Her lawyer Simon Muller said his client's device would back up her claims and avoid having to solely rely on "clinical interpretation" by doctors.

"Now we're looking at longer periods of time though the course of a day, and we have hard data," he said. "We're expecting the results to show that her activity level is less and compromised as a result of her injury."

Slater and Gordon senior associate of medical law, Nick Mann, said it was likely insurance companies would be eager gain access to data, which would be used to discredit claims, thus making it easier to avoid paying out dubious claims.

That potential raises privacy issues, Mr Mann said, especially if insurance companies filed subpoenas to gain access to people's exercise regimes.

"I have no doubt they'd be eager to use this. A device that measures your blood pressure – they'd be very keen to access that data. That's a concern, but I don't think they could force someone to wear one." ... 2dv14.html

PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:15 pm 
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Woman at Walmart Is Accidentally Shot Dead by 2-Year-Old Son

HAYDEN, Idaho — The details are shatteringly ordinary. A 2-year-old toddler, sitting in a shopping cart in a Walmart, his mother’s purse unattended and within reach as she shopped. Three girls, all under age 11 — relatives of the boy and his mother, the police said — tagging along. A frosty morning in the northern Idaho panhandle, the temperature in the teens. Holiday break. The clothing aisles near electronics, back of the store.

Then, shortly before 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, as the store video cameras recorded the scene, the little boy found a gun in his mother’s purse and it discharged once at near point-blank range from where she stood, less than arm’s length away, said Lt. Stu Miller, a spokesman for the Kootenai County sheriff’s office. She died at the scene, he said, her death appearing to be accidental.

“He probably still doesn’t even know what has happened,” Lieutenant Miller said of the boy.

The victim, Veronica Jean Rutledge, 29, of Blackfoot, Idaho, about 380 miles from Hayden in Idaho’s southeast corner, was visiting family members here in this community of about 13,000 people bordering the resort town of Coeur d’Alene, about 40 minutes from Spokane, Wash. Both her parents and her husband’s live in the area, Lieutenant Miller said.

He did not know whether Ms. Rutledge had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Her husband came to the store to collect his son and the girls after the accident.

“This situation is such a tragedy, particularly happening so close to the holidays,” Lieutenant Miller said. Asked why the woman might have felt the need to go armed to the Walmart, he said that carrying a weapon was not particularly remarkable or unusual.

“It’s pretty common around here — a lot of people carry loaded guns,” he said.

This part of Idaho, about 100 miles from the Canadian border, is not part of the state’s famed agriculture belt, known for its potatoes, which stretches far to the south. Up here, evergreen forests, the blue expanse of nearby Lake Coeur d’Alene, and the deep historical imprint of the silver mines that defined life for decades starting the 1800s, make it feel more like Montana or Washington, the states that sandwich it on either side.

“It’s a small-town atmosphere with a lot of tourism and a lot of growth,” said Stefan T. Chatwin, the city administrator, in an interview at City Hall, about three blocks from the Walmart, which sat closed, its parking lot mostly empty, on a stretch of U.S. 95 that wends down from British Columbia. The store is expected to reopen on Wednesday,

Mr. Chatwin also said that guns are a part of the culture here. The city amended its gun laws just last week, he said, to conform with state laws and make it clear that a gun owner is justified in firing a weapon in defense of persons or property.

Judy Minter, a self-employed artist who was working on an art display at City Hall, said that she too supported the right to bear arms, though she said she did not carry a weapon herself. The wisdom of when to go armed or not seemed to her to be more the question at issue in Tuesday’s accident.

“There’s a lot of people who do carry guns in this area,” said Ms. Minter, who had spent most of the day photographing bald eagles, a common sight on Lake Coeur d’Alene. “But for her to have it within reach of her child — that was not very smart.” ... .html?_r=0

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:56 pm 
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Mum who refused cancer treatment to save baby dies of disease

A MOTHER who refused treatment for terminal cancer to save the life of her unborn baby has died.

Kathy Taylor, 34, from Utah, had already lost the child after she gave birth 14 weeks premature in September. The baby boy, who was named Luke, survived for two weeks.

The mother-of-five had been diagnosed with a melanoma in late August and had opted to forego treatment because of concerns about the effect it would have on her baby.

Her husband Nathan described her passing on her blog, Kathy’s Miracle.

“Today around 4pm my cherished wife passed away,” he wrote.

He went on to describe how he had been in bed suffering with a headache when his mum called him into the bathroom.

He wrote: “She told me she thought Kathy had passed. I sat on the tub next to Kathy and started checking for signs of life. As I realised she had gone I gathered her in my arms and embraced her. I could not believe it. I was so sad that I had been asleep and not been with her when she passed. I was so sad it was already goodbye.”

He said he was so overcome he passed out, coming to a few minutes later on the bathroom floor.

Kathy’s story attracted attention after the bravery and self-sacrifice she showed in refusing treatment in an attempt to save her baby. She was forced to deliver the baby premature when her liver began to fail.

While the doctors first gave her only days to survive she lived for five months after the initial diagnosis.

In her final blog post dated Christmas Eve Kathy admitted she was in a lot of pain and was unable to walk or stand for more than five minutes at a time.

She wrote: “I pray to die peacefully without pain but don’t know if that will be granted so I’m hoping Christ continues to sustain me and keep me from having fear and anxiety.” ... 7172268883

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:02 am 
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New e-cigarette laws implemented in Queensland

Queensland will start 2015 with new legislation that regulates the use of e-cigarettes.

While Twitter declared 2014 the "year of the selfie", the Oxford Dictionary selected "vape" as its 'word of the year' due to the increased popularity of e-cigarettes, as the word describes what smokers of the new product do when they use the nicotine alternative.

The practice has been promoted as a safer alternative to nicotine cigarettes due to the vapour that e-cigarette users consume after a liquid nicotine product—which smells and tastes sweet, and is sold in lolly-like wrappers—is converted by the device.

The global popularity of e-cigarettes has been significant enough for researchers to track their use. In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that, between 2010 and 2013, the use of e-cigarettes more than doubled among adults.

However, the impact of e-cigarettes upon human health remains under question. After London's Royal College of Physicians published a March 2014 commentary stating that the emissions from e-cigarettes "are much less hazardous" than the smoke from traditional cigarettes, the World Health Organisation (WHO) then reported on "electronic nicotine delivery systems" (ENDS) in August, stating that regulations are required to "prohibit unproven health claims about e-cigarettes". The WHO report also stated that non-smokers and young people need to be deterred from taking up 'vaping'.

Queensland's new laws stipulate the following:

• Use in existing no-smoking indoor and outdoor places is prohibited.
• Children under 18 years of age may not use or purchase e-cigarettes.
• E-cigarettes cannot be advertised, promoted or displayed at retail outlets.

The laws also apply to 'vaping' on the premises of all schools, hospitals and health facilities—including within five metres of their boundaries—while on- the-spot fines of A$230 will be given to offenders.

Heart Foundation Health Director, Rachelle Foreman, praised the Queensland e-cigarette development:

"E-cigarette vapour is drawn deep into the lungs, delivers poisons and chemicals, including toxic metals. Our greatest concern is that e-cigarettes appear to be encouraging the uptake of smoking amongst children and could see another generation addicted to nicotine."

Ms Foreman's statement comes after a one-year-old child died in New York from liquid nicotine poisoning in mid-December. While e-cigarettes are not yet regulated in America, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking into the implementation of federal legislation. ... /19014.htm

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:20 am 
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Is milk the best post-workout drink? Study says yes

Chocolate milk, not brightly hued sports drinks, can be a better way to enhance exercise and speed up recovery, research has found.

And the milk industry wants everyone to know it.

Dairy Australia has urged Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which has proposed to ease health-claim labelling rules for electrolyte sports drinks, to consider milk and milk-based beverages as well.

The milk industry is promoting the health benefits of milk for athletes.

"There's lots of evidence that shows milk can replenish fuel stores after a workout, rehydrate, repair muscles, and support exercise performance," said Helen Mair, policy adviser at the industry services body. "We want to communicate these [on milk packaging]."

New research, funded by Griffith University, found Pauls full cream milk, So Good soy milk and Sustagen Sport liquid meal replacement restored lost fluids better than Powerade sports drink.

In the study, published last month in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 15 men rode on stationary bikes wearing heavy clothing to encourage sweat loss.

At the end, they were stripped nude, dried and weighed. The men lost nearly 2 per cent of their starting body weight. They then consumed one of the four drinks in the first hour and were weighed again three hours later.

The researchers, led by Associate Professor Ben Desbrow, found milk was as good, if not better than, sports drinks in replacing lost fluids after intense exercise.

"The results of this investigation demonstrate that consumption of a milk-based liquid meal supplement following exercise results in improved fluid retention when compared with cow's milk, soy milk, and a carbohydrate–electrolyte drink. Additionally, cow's milk and soy milk were similarly effective at enhancing fluid restoration in comparison with the carbohydrate-electrolyte drink," the researchers reported.

Dairy Australia's submission to Food Standards pointed to five academic papers that found chocolate milk restored and supported exercise performance after intense exercise.

Geoff Parker, chief executive of the Australian Beverages Council, said he welcomed the dairy industry's push for increased labelling rights, as long as there was credible and substantiated research to prove milk's effectiveness on athletes.

The organisation's members include Coca-Cola - the maker of Powerade - and producers of flavoured milk.

"Research proving the effectiveness of sports drinks has been around for three decades. So if milk can meet that same evidence base, they should be able to make a sports-related health claim," he said.

Veteran nutritionist Rosemary Stanton said the general population did not need to worry about rapid fluid replacement and other electrolyte benefits if they were not engaged in strenuous, high-endurance sports at elite levels.

She is against FSANZ's proposal to ease restrictions on manufacturers to allow them to add health claims on sports drinks, which can have as much sugar as soft drinks.

"But milk's good for everyone, so I don't have any objections to that," she said. "The next stage is to find out about fortified milk. Some don't have much protein, such as rice milk, and may not be as effective."

Part of FSANZ's proposal could lead to sports drinks being exempted from a regulation that prohibits health claims on products deemed unhealthy overall.

Jane Martin, from the Obesity Policy Coalition, said she did not want to see chocolate milk with high added sugar being promoted as healthy.

"It might be better to drink a milk-based product instead of Coca-Cola because there is some benefit to it, but people are already very confused by what's healthy and what's not," she said.

"Health claims are a very powerful marketing tool and unfortunately I think we're going to see more of these kinds of challenges to the food code."

Dairy Australia also wants lactose, which can account for up to 8 per cent of milk, to be added to the regulator's list of specified sugars required in electrolyte drinks. ... y-says-yes

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:57 pm 
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Morning haze: why it’s time to stop hitting the snooze button

t’s 6.30am and after a long holiday break, your alarm clock is insistently telling you it’s time to get out of bed. For many people – me included – the automatic reaction is to hit the snooze button, often more than once.

But while it might feel like those extra minutes leave you more rested, morning snoozes can leave you feeling groggier and less alert. And late.

Sleep regulation
Sleep is regulated by two mechanisms: a homeostatic process based on prior sleep and wake, and a circadian process commonly referred to as our 24-hour body clock. These processes work together to influence when we go to sleep and get up, and sleep structure during the night.

Throughout the night, sleep cycles between deep sleep and light sleep, with each cycle lasting approximately 90 to 100 minutes. Deep sleep – which is difficult to wake from – dominates in the early parts of sleep, while light sleep – which is easier to be woken from – is more common closer to natural waking.

Each time we fall asleep, sleep starts at the beginning of the cycle.

You snooze, you lose
Shortly before waking, our sleep becomes lighter, our core body temperature rises and levels of hormones such as cortisol increase. If we were to sleep naturally without that pesky alarm clock, these factors would allow our bodies to gradually prepare for waking.

When we use an alarm clock, we may be woken during the middle of a sleep cycle when our bodies have not had time to fully prepare us for waking. This may lead to an increase in sleep inertia, the groggy feeling you have immediately upon waking, and often the inevitable snoozing cycle.

So when you hit snooze and fall back asleep, your sleep cycle starts from the beginning. Except this time when your alarm goes off, if you’re in a deeper stage of sleep, it’s a lot harder to wake up.

The end result is that the last proportion of your sleep becomes highly fragmented. This means you miss out on the recovery benefits of consolidated sleep, and your ability to function effectively during the rest of the day may be impaired.

Why do some people love to snooze?
While the ability to resist hitting the snooze button may just come down to self-control, there are two biological reasons why some of us are more inclined to do so.

The first relates to diurnal preferences. People who are morning birds generally find it easier to wake up unaided while us night owls find it a lot harder.

The circadian rhythm of early birds allows them to fall asleep earlier and therefore they’re more likely to complete their natural sleep cycle by the time the alarm goes off in the morning.

Night owls prefer to stay awake for longer at night and sleep later into the morning, making it difficult to get up in the morning and often resulting in a truncated sleep.

The desire to hit snooze may also relate to whether you’re suffering from sleep loss. When you’re sleep-deprived, you require longer, deeper sleep periods. There is a greater chance of being woken during a deeper stage of sleep, and therefore want to snooze, when you’re sleep-deprived.

How to resist the urge
The best way to keep your hand off the snooze button is to have a regular sleep schedule every day of the week. Set a bedtime and wake time and keep to it, even on weekends. After a while your body will naturally adapt to this schedule and it will be easier to wake up in the morning.

If your boss or job allows it, flexible working hours can allow you to sleep according to your natural circadian preference. For many people this is not possible, and so you may need to shift your body clock. The easiest way to do this is to get natural sunlight during the daytime and to reduce light exposure at night.

Other lifestyle factors can also help you sleep better and wake more refreshed. Regular exercise and a healthy diet along with natural morning light exposure can improve sleep.

Minimising your alcohol and caffeine intake can also help consolidate your sleep period and make waking easier. So if your New Year’s resolution is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you might see your sleep patterns improve too. ... 13896.html

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:44 am 
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More than 100 sick from salmonella outbreak

Health authorities have confirmed salmonella as the cause of an outbreak of food poisoning that's affected more than 100 people.

Logan City Council shut down the Chin Chin Chinese restaurant at Springwood on Monday after dozens of people presented at hospitals with vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and other symptoms.

At least 110 people were affected, with the number expected to rise again in the next 24 hours as more people report.

The youngest victim so far is two years old, with the eldest in their 80s.

Kristy Bax and her son Lucas dined at the eatery on Saturday night as part of a large birthday party.

"At dinner everything tasted fine, we didn't notice anything wrong at the time," she said.

"By lunchtime on Sunday I was in pain, I had the diarrhoea, the vomiting, the sweats and high fever, and Lucas was the same as me," she said.

"Out of our 29-strong group, we worked out 15 or 16 people were sick by Sunday."

Ms Bax said paramedics called to their home on Monday suggested rest and seeing their GP, but when she and her son didn't get better, she called another ambulance to take them to hospital on Tuesday night.

The pair was discharged on Wednesday after being dosed up with nausea and stomach cramp medication as well as plenty of fluids and electrolytes.

"Queensland Health also took samples from us to see what was going on," Ms Bax said.

Public health physician Dr Kari Jarvinen said the speed and severity of this particular bout of salmonella was concerning, and people who suspect they have it shouldn't try to be heroes.

"Left untreated, people can become very sick from gastro and the longer they don't seek treatment the more dehydrated you become and the recovery time increases," he said.

"People should take general hygiene precautions while sick - such as washing their hands carefully - to avoid spreading germs."

Dr Jarvinen said anyone affected should stay away from work or other gatherings until they had been clear of the bug for 24 hours – 48 hours for anyone who prepared food.

Tests are continuing, but a Metro South Health spokesman said the bacteria were likely linked to a batch of bad eggs.

The majority of sufferers had eaten the restaurant's deep fried ice cream, made with egg batter. Others had eaten different foodstuffs containing egg products.

Ms Bax said she couldn't pinpoint a particular suspect food.

"My daughter ate deep fried ice cream and she hasn't had any issues at all, whereas my son had only the honey chicken and honey king prawns, and he's still sick now."

Ms Bax said she was "not impressed" the restaurant had continued to trade for as long as it did.

"We notified the restaurant on Sunday that something wasn't right," she said.

"They were aware something had gone wrong, and they still kept going." ... 2kb23.html

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