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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:33 pm 
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Police on the scrap heap: the effect of the job on mental health

It cost Kate Carragher her marriage, her house, her career - and finally, her own mental health - after her husband was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder while he was working as a police officer.

"We tried to seek help through NSW Police Force many times. There is a huge culture of fear, stigma and silence surrounding PTSD," she said.

"Support for police officers is dismal at its best and nonexistent for many others.

"In the end, as a result of the disorder, we lost our marriage, house, our careers and I was also diagnosed with PTSD."

The spouses and children of police officers who have seen too many bloody crime scenes and road crashes are usually the first to see the signs, and feel the impact, of post-traumatic stress disorder. Many families fracture under the pressure.

Greens MP David Shoebridge is hosting a parliamentary forum on the treatment of police officers with mental health injuries on Tuesday and said figures from the Auditor-General show 30 to 50 police officers have made insurance claims for psychological injury each month since 2012.

What the statistics do not show is the number of families of injured police who feel the impact of their mental illness.

Ms Carragher, 31, from Newcastle, is among that hidden number of partners of injured police who end up being diagnosed with mental illness themselves, and will tell her story at the parliamentary forum.

Ms Carragher's husband was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2011.

She said after failed attempts to seek help for more than two years, her former husband's condition deteriorated and he needed to enter a hospital program. She believes his injuries could have been prevented with some basic support.

"PTSD is a brutal disorder not only for those suffering it, but for those closest to them," she said. "Many officers' family members, including children, suffer secondary trauma as a result of caring for them.

"The NSW Police Force do not even consider family members. But there is so much that can be done to prevent PTSD and support officers and their families."

Ms Carragher has been calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the treatment of injured officers and for a family support unit and management plan to change the culture of denial about mental illness.

Belinda Neil, 46, who was medically retired from the NSW Police in 2005, two years after she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, wrote a book about her experience.

As a former homicide investigator and hostage negotiator, she never stopped to process what she was seeing before moving on to the next task.

"I never had time to think about it. No one said, 'you need to take some time out'," she said.

Eventually, Ms Neil was experiencing flashbacks of crime scenes and could not get out of bed. Her marriage broke down after she became ill.

"There is a real stigma about mental illness, so you keep things to yourself, but, eventually, you fall off the perch," she said.

"I was so severely depressed, I was negotiating with myself to jump off a cliff."

When a doctor told Ms Neil she needed three months off work, one of her colleagues suggested she was putting on an act.

"That reaction was an indication of the police culture and lack of understanding about PTSD," she said.

"There needs to be more education and tracking of people with trauma."

Mr Shoebridge said the Minister for Police, Stuart Ayres, had declined an invitation to attend the forum.

"As an elected representative, and especially as Police Minister, there is surely an obligation to hear first-hand from police about the often traumatic consequences of their service," he said.

But Mr Ayres said he was already working with police and the police union to improve police welfare and dismissed Mr Shoebridge's forum as a political stunt.

"I have met with a number of current and former police officers and their welfare remains my highest priority," Mr Ayres said.

A NSW Police spokesman said it introduced 79 initiatives to promote wellbeing, prevent and manage injury and improve rehabilitation.

They include 24-hour trauma support and Beyond Blue mental-health training.

"The Auditor General recently reviewed the death and disability scheme and the NSW Police Force's welfare programs and found they are assisting officers to return to work and prevent injuries in the first place," the spokesman said.

"The Auditor General found more NSW Police officers are now returning to work after being injured, with fewer medical discharges than in previous years."

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/police-on-the ... 1wn1j.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:37 am 
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Mediterranean diet keeps people 'genetically young'

Following a Mediterranean diet might be a recipe for a long life because it appears to keep people genetically younger, say US researchers.

Its mix of vegetables, olive oil, fresh fish and fruits may stop our DNA code from scrambling as we age, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

Nurses who adhered to the diet had fewer signs of ageing in their cells.

The researchers from Boston followed the health of nearly 5,000 nurses over more than a decade.

The Mediterranean diet has been repeatedly linked to health gains, such as cutting the risk of heart disease.

Although it's not clear exactly what makes it so good, its key components - an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as poultry and fish, rather than lots of red meat, butter and animal fats - all have well documented beneficial effects on the body.

Foods rich in vitamins appear to provide a buffer against stress and damage of tissues and cells. And it appears from this latest study that a Mediterranean diet helps protect our DNA.

Telomeres

The researchers looked at tiny structures called telomeres that safeguard the ends of our chromosomes, which store our DNA code.

These protective caps prevent the loss of genetic information during cell division.

As we age and our cells divide, our telomeres get shorter - their structural integrity weakens, which can tell cells to stop dividing and die.

Experts believe telomere length offers a window on cellular ageing.

Shorter telomeres have been linked with a broad range of age-related diseases, including heart disease, and a variety of cancers.

In the study, nurses who largely stuck to eating a Mediterranean diet had longer, healthier telomeres.

No individual dietary component shone out as best, which the researchers say highlights the importance of having a well-rounded diet.

Independent experts said the findings were interesting but by no means conclusive.

Dr David Llewellyn, senior research fellow in clinical epidemiology at the University of Exeter, said: "All observational studies have the potential to produce misleading estimates, and we should not assume that the association with telomere length is necessarily causal.

"That said, this large well-conducted study is consistent with the hypothesis that dietary interventions may lead to substantial improvements in health."

The British Heart Foundation said: "These results reinforce our advice that eating a balanced and healthy diet can reduce your risk of developing heart disease."

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30296425


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:20 am 
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Another Ablett steps up to kick back against the scourge of ice

SIX months clean from ice, or crystal methamphetamine, Mark MacManus, 31, looks muscular and healthy, but as he stands ­before the crowd assembled inside a small weatherboard hall in the Victorian town of Drouin he ­voices the demon urge to use again. “It’s a daily battle, an hourly battle, a two-hourly battle,” he tells a Sunday night meeting of The Ice Meltdown Project.

There is a revivalist mood to these fortnightly gatherings led by Janice Ablett, sister of former AFL giant Gary Ablett, and aunt of Gold Coast Suns captain Gary ­Ablett Jr. A fighter like them, she’s behind a counter-insurgency-style campaign to free local youngsters hooked on ice. She has snared temporary accommod­ation for stop-gap detox programs while she rattles the can for a dedicated rehabilitation facility in a ­region starved of services.

Drouin is one of several towns in the La Trobe Valley, east of Melbourne, said to be “knee-deep in ice”. Resident magistrate Clive Alsop says this is the worst crisis he has witnessed in a legal career spanning almost 50 years. “I have been through the cannabis days, the heroin days, the stuff they stick up their noses,” he told the ­Victorian ice inquiry. “Nothing has had the sudden impact on the community at large that ice has had.”

Ablett is a born-again Christian who awoke to ice’s stranglehold after offering refuge to the ­addicted son of a family friend when he had nowhere else to stay. He stole her light bulbs to make ice pipes and climbed on her roof at 4am. “I said to him ‘You’ve got two choices. You can take the front door, which will lead you to the street and into the gutter, or go back into your room and decide to get help’. We went from there,” she says, her voice husky from talking to parents, kids, doctors, agencies, councils, community groups and anyone who wants to enlist.

With a couple of girlfriends she set up a Facebook page, a website, regular forums, and fundraising events. Warragul Apex gifted $1000. Ablett says she’s kicked in $7000 of her own. A local hero lent a vacant house where the fledgling detox program now has a waiting list of 200. “We really need to get together as a community. Our ­addicts are ready to get clean and break the cycle but there is ­nowhere local for them to get support,” she tells the Sunday night crowd who have paid a gold coin donation to hear the MacManus family’s odyssey.

Parents Sue and Gary Mac­Manus vowed to help when they stumbled upon The Ice Meltdown Project’s Facebook page. Sue had felt so isolated in the thick of Mark’s addiction that she volunteered to share their experience. Spontaneous applause erupts when Gary tells the roomful of strangers they’ve been married for 38 years. He wants them to understand that the strong are as much at risk as the weak and broken. “We were good parents,” he ­insists.

Mark was their youngest. He was married with a daughter when his recreational indulgence became a daily fix. He stayed awake for seven nights at a stretch; his weight plummeted to 70kg; he ­became agitated and paranoid; his marriage disintegrated; and when retrenchment tipped him out of work, he fell apart.

“I felt like he’d physically kicked me in the stomach,” Sue recalls the night he confessed to his ­addiction. “I felt as though I’d woken up in someone else’s nightmare.”

Gary wound up in hospital with a suspected heart attack the night the family begged Mark to get help. He accompanied his father in the ambulance. His parents had no idea until now that he smoked ice in the hospital toilet as Gary was admitted to emergency. “This is the realness of it. This is what this drug does. It tears families apart,” he says. The distance he’s come emboldens him to bare his darkest moments for the first time.

The MacManuses paid for Mark to attend a private residential rehabilitation program in Geelong. “I’d be dead or in jail otherwise,” he says. Grateful for a second chance at life, he wants his daughter to be proud of him. His story offers the triumph of hope and underpins Janice ­Ablett’s gutsy mission to ensure local ­addicts receive treatment in a ­region desperate for it.

Clinicians from the La Trobe Community Health Services told the Victorian ice inquiry that ­dependency is intensifying and that there is evidence of a disturbing increase in female users. They spoke of the rise in family violence and warned children were being exposed to ice’s harmful behaviour at a very early age.

Debbie Stoneman, a specialist nurse, detailed the risks for pregnant women. “There are some studies that are showing an impact on the unborn baby not only prenatally but in early childhood (with) an increase in attention deficit disorder for children who have been exposed to methamphetamines.”

Today’s The Weekend Australian Magazine chronicles heightened alarm at the damage being inflicted on the youngest, most innocent victims as grandparents across the country step forward to care for them.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/he ... 7146422868


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:58 pm 
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NDIS ‘up against it to meet deadline’

THE agency in control of the ­national disability insurance scheme is fast running out of time to make critical decisions about its future design, and the policy uncertainty is hurting the ability of service providers to prepare effectively for it, a major new report says.

The first ever survey of organisations in the disability sector, released by National Disability Services today, paints a picture of an industry willing to adapt for the future but without any clear indication of what lies ahead.

Crucially, the report reveals concerns state and territory ­governments will abdicate ­responsibility for funding ser­vices not included at the costly, high needs end of the NDIS reserved for people with severe and permanent disabilities.

Some 4.8 million people are included in what the scheme calls “Tier 2”: those who miss out on an individual support package but have a disability or are caring for someone who does.

“As the NDIS is implemented, there are signs that some state and territory governments will seek to reduce their investment in Tier 2 and mainstream services,” the report says.

“Significant pieces of the NDIS design are still being ­developed. They include a ­national quality and safeguards framework, services for people who just miss out on an individual support package and the ­design of the future disability support market.”

More than 80 per cent of ­providers in the sector said the policy confusion is detracting from their ability to plan for the NDIS.

The existing providers will be “severely tested” in the transition to the full NDIS as two-thirds don’t have steady cash balances and the new regime will see services paid on an ­individual-by-individual basis instead of block-funded.

Providers reported needing to hire more staff in NDIS trial sites to support the same number of clients. Despite the “raw nerves” about how the NDIS will be completed, providers agreed reform was heading in the right direction.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/nationa ... 7147744143


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:41 pm 
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Stop checking emails too often to relieve stress

Toronto: Is your inbox burning you out? Take heart and try not to open emails quite often to reduce stress.

According to researchers from University of British Columbia (UBC), easing up on email checking can help reduce psychological stress.

“Our findings showed that people felt less stressed when they checked their email less often,” said Kostadin Kushlev, PhD candidate at UBC’s department of Psychology.

During the study, 124 adults were instructed to limit checking email to three times daily for a week.

Others were told to check email as often as they could.

These instructions were then reversed for the participants during a subsequent week.

During the study period, participants also answered brief daily surveys, including information about their stress levels.

However, changing inbox behaviour may be easier said than done.

“Most participants found it quite difficult to check their email only a few times a day,” Kushlev said

People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress, he found.

Organisations may help reduce employee stress by encouraging their workers to check their email in chunks rather than constantly responding to messages, the authors said.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/sci-tech/ ... 09342.html


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:33 am 
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Drug commonly prescribed for back pain DOESN'T work - and is 'no better than a sugar pill'

People with back pain are being prescribed a drug which does nothing to help their discomfort.

A study has found a drug commonly prescribed to treat lower back pain is actually ineffective.

The drug pregabalin works no better than a placebo to control pain, doctors discovered.

Pregabalin, which is marketed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer under the name Lyrica, is commonly prescribed all over the world to treat chronic lower back pain syndromes such as lumbar spinal stenosis.

This syndrome, which is the leading reason why elderly people have spinal surgery, causes shooting or twinging pains, tingling, and numbness in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.

These symptoms are often called sciatica.

The pain is caused by a compression of the nerves in the back, which usually happens because the spinal canal – the space the spinal cord goes through – becomes more narrow as vertebrae, discs, muscles and ligaments in the spinal column are worn away with age.

As part of the study, researchers asked people with lumbar spinal stenosis to report on their pain levels while walking on a treadmill.

This is because the pain associated with the condition normally occurs when the person is standing or walking, and it usually feels better by bending forward at the waist.

This is why the elderly are often seen hunched over with a cane or a walker.

Researchers found there was no significant difference in the levels of pain experienced by those taking the drug and those that were given a placebo.

Meanwhile, common side effects include headaches, dizziness and feeling sleepy, but less commonly, blurred or double vision, co-ordination and balance problems and weight gain can occur, amongst many others.

Doctors often prescribe pregabalin, even though it is not technically approved to treat back pain.

This is one of it's 'off-label' uses, a common and practice where doctors prescribe a medicine they think might help, but have not been tested in official clinical trials.

WHAT IS LUMBAR SPINAL STENOSIS?

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition where the spinal canal becomes narrowed.

If the narrowing is substantial, it causes compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerves, which causes the painful symptoms.

Patients can develop low back pain as well as pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness or decreased sensation in the legs.

Surgery is recommended when treating pain with drugs has failed and for patients with increasing weakness of the legs or loss of bowel or bladder function.

However, while surgery usually initially works, the pain may return within a few years.

This is because there are few other treatments for lumbar spinal stenosis, which can sometimes be so severe it leaves people unable to walk.

They may also lose their bladder or bowel functions.

In such cases, patients might try strong pain medications and epidural steroid injections, which are given to help with back pain.

Some patients decide to have an operation to remove a part of the bone or disc in the back to give the nerve roots more room and stop the pain.

This procedure – called a lumbar laminectomy – is the most common reason for spine surgery in people over the age of 60.

Lead author Dr John Markman, of the University of Rochester, said: 'Chronic low back pain is one of the most common reasons why older adults go to the doctor and lumbar stenosis is the leading indication for surgery in this age group.'

Doctors have looked for alternatives to opioids, a group of drugs used to control pain but that are addictive and have many side effects, he said.

So they have increasingly turned to drugs like pregabalin to help patients manage their pain, even though there has been no credible evidence to show they are effective for this problem, he added.

He continued: 'Given the cost and potential side effects associated with pregabalin, it is critical that we understand the efficacy of this drug.'

'This study convincingly demonstrates a lack of relief with pregabalin for the walking pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis.'

The study was published in the journal Neurology.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... -pill.html


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:59 am 
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Why Women Suffer More Holiday Stress (And How To Stop It Highjacking The Festive Spirit)

For many people, the holiday season can be more frantic and stressful than festive and fun. If you’re a woman, and particularly if you’re a working mother, then it’s even more likely that you’re stress levels will be higher than average as the clock ticks down to Santa’s arrival and year-end deadlines. Indeed a recent study of over 2,000 men and women by Lantern found that women will be 11% more stressed than men this holiday season. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why women suffer more from ‘holiday stress’. Despite the progress women have made in the paid workforce, they still carry the bulk of domestic duties, including the tasks of merry-making! From buying thoughtful presents and entertaining holiday guests, to arranging memorable family outings and organizing the annual holiday cards, women tend to have much longer holiday-related “To Do” lists than the men they spend their lives with (regardless of whether they work similar hours!) As I often lament to my husband, who does earnestly try to carry his share of the holiday load, if only we women had the capable multi-tasking wives that men do!

Of course there is no quick fix to change the well entrenched gender norms and expectations. Nor will a few brandy eggnogs permanently alleviate anxiety. However, given stress is ultimately created by the way we process and interact with our environment, a few simple shifts in mindset can help to keep stress from highjacking your holiday spirit.

1. DON’T ‘SHOULD’ ON YOURSELF
Take a minute to tune into the language of people around you and you’ll soon hear them using the word ‘should’ in relation to something that they feel pressure to do but, very likely, don’t particularly want to do. Listen to yourself and you may find that you do too!

I should have my (neighbours-boss-friends) over for a drink
I should make a gingerbread house with the kids
I should bake shortbread, make my own Christmas cake and decorate the house like our neighbours

Our ‘shoulds’ generally stem from the social norms, pressures and expectations of those around us ahead of what we may truly want for ourselves. Left unchecked, they can have us living what Dr Fritz Perl’s called a “Shouldie Life.” So when I hear someone ‘shoulding’ on themselves, I will often say “Who says you should?!” While people ‘should’ on themselves all through the year, during the holidays our ‘shoulds’ are amplified tenfold as pressures mount pressure from every direction – relatives, friends, colleagues, media, marketers… even our precious children! “You should’ve helped us make a gingerbread house by now!,” my thirteen year old admonished me just this morning. “No,” I replied, “You should’ve helped me make one!” A useful trick to avoid living under the stressful ‘should-shadow’ is to replace it with ’could’ and add in another option that may hold more appeal. For instance, “I could host holiday drinks party or I could ask my closest friends over for a casual festive pot luck dinner instead.’ You could also just go out for a drink at your local bar too! Or skip drinks all together (do you really need another one!) and go to a movie with your partner.

2. FORGET PERFECT
Perfectionism can be a stress-inducing, joy-sucking, burden at any time of year. In the festive season it’s even more so, totally sucking the festive spirit out of those striving so hard to attain it. Of course it’s easy to get socially conditioned into believing that our holiday table should resemble the front cover of a Martha Stewart magazine, and our family should get along like The Waltons. The truth is that by striving to achieve some idealized image of holiday utopia you miss the point of how this season came be festive in the first place, actually make it harder to experience it’s joy and meaning. So make the brave decision to let go trying to ‘keep up’ and decide to let your dinner or party be ‘good enough.’ Doing so will free your energy to focus on genuine connection, celebration and community building. Heck, you might even have some fun! One things for sure, there’s noting more stressful than a stressed out host (or mother, or wife, or daughter, or sister, or friend!) When you ‘forget perfect’ and relax it makes it easier for your guests to do so also. Holiday_Stress3. LEND A HELPING HAND Science has clinically proven that when we extend kindness to others it releases ‘feel good’ hormones that can be as effective as any anti-depressant. So if you’re feeling uptight, a bit sorry for yourself or simply out of sorts, look around you and see who might benefit from a simply act of kindness. Stanford psychologist Dr. Megan Jones recommends looking around you to find others who’s needs are greater than your own – whether lending an ear to a friend who’s struggling, volunteering at a local community program or simply opening the door for someone at the store. Little helpful moments can lift your own mood and truly help you connect to the ‘reason for the season.’

4. KEEP UP STRESS BUSTING RITUALS
Stress tends to breed more stress. The more uptight you get, the more easily triggered you are by stressors in your environment. Unfortunately, the more pent up you get, the more likely you also are to eat rubbish food, drink more than you should, and make excuses for not getting to the gym and keeping up the routines and rituals that would help you keep stress in check! The key is to regularly and intentionally invest in activities that short circuit your stress response before it highjacks you completely. For instance, when you feel the stress mounting, take a long deep breath, count to five and as you breath out, exhale all those worries, upsets and anxieties. You could also pick up a book, walk the dog, have a bath, do some stretches or anything that reconnects you to your ‘best-self’ and redirects your attention back to the positive emotions – gratitude, joy, generosity, love - that you want to embody. At the end of the day, it’s all about perspective. Remembering that you have one life to live and one season every year to celebrate new life, the end of another year and beginning of a new one. So don’t should on yourself, don’t let anyone else should on you either, get off your own back and connect (daily, if not hourly) to what really matters most. Everything else can wait. Including baking.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarre ... ay-stress/


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:10 pm 
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Study supports 'male idiot theory'

In 1998, South Carolina murderer Michael Anderson Godwin had his death sentence reduced to life in prison. It was ironic then, that he died by electrocution. Godwin was sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix the television when he bit down on a live wire.

He later became the recipient of a Darwin Award – a posthumous accolade given to people who eliminate themselves from the gene pool in such an idiotic manner that their action ensures one less idiot will survive.

It has been consistently demonstrated that men are bigger risk takers than women but we don't really know why.

The Darwin Awards have been in the news recently because of a British Medical Journal (BMJ) study that has used data from the awards to claim that men are idiots.

The study came about when Dennis Lendrem from the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Britain's University of Newcastle had an intriguing conversation with his son, Ben.

"A fan of the Darwin Awards, the paper began with [Ben] regaling me with case studies from the first book, pointing out that they were all men."

Lendrem asked his son why he thought that might be. "Because men are idiots," Ben replied.

The pair then spent some time analysing 20 years of data from the Darwin Awards. With the help of Andy Gray, an expert on risk-seeking behavior and emergency medicine (and another fan of the Darwin Awards), the study was written up and published in the Christmas edition of the BMJ.

The study claims that while there was anecdotal data supporting "male idiot theory" there was no systematic analysis of sex differences in idiotic risk-taking behaviour.

"We reviewed all Darwin Award nominations, noting the sex of the winner," notes Ben Lendrem, who at 15 years is the youngest published author in the BMJ.

"Our analysis included only confirmed accounts verified by the Darwin Awards Committee. Urban legends and unverified accounts were excluded. Honourable mentions - worthy examples of idiotic behaviour not resulting in elimination from the gene pool - were also excluded from the analysis."

Of the 413 Darwin Award nominations, 332 were independently verified and confirmed by the Darwin Awards Committee. Of these, 14 were shared by male and female nominees (usually overly adventurous couples in compromising positions), which left 318 valid cases for statistical testing.

Of these 318 cases, 282 Darwin Awards were awarded to males and just 36 awards given to females. There is a marked sex difference in Darwin Award winners Males made up 88.7 per cent of Darwin Award winners.

The study supports "male idiot theory" which states that men are idiots and that idiots do stupid things.

Dr Jessica Green who works in a Sydney ER was not surprised by the results of the study. "We definitely see more men than women present [in ER] after doing 'idiotic' things," she says. "It has been consistently demonstrated that men are bigger risk takers than women but we don't really know why. In my opinion, men and excessive alcohol is a bad combination which often results in injuries, probably a lot of these being due to increased risk-taking behaviour while under the influence."

It is important to note the limitations of the study. One possible explanation for the significant difference in male and female Darwin Award winners could be that women are more likely to nominate men for the award.

Although some websites have claimed the study is a hoax, the BMJ's Emma Dickinson was able to verify that the study is legitimate. "It's not a hoax. All The BMJ Christmas articles go through our usual peer-review processes. It's the subject matter that is quirky and fun, but they are all real scientific papers."

Denis Lendrem thinks that it is the British tradition for "scientific hoaxes and spoof articles" that has led to speculation that this study is a hoax, but confirms; "The paper is real, and was subjected to the usual rigorous BMJ review process, including a full statistical review."

For any men offended by the study, Lendrem says that the paper is just reporting the facts.

"As good scientists, we acknowledge the limitations of the study, and we are quite prepared to believe 'male idiot theory' is wrong," he says. "But the study does seems to have touched a nerve."

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/st ... 27z0r.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:45 am 
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More with cancer but fewer die

A more than doubling in the number of new cancer cases in Australia since the early 1980s has a silver lining - a marked rise in survival rates over that time.

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report shows the magnitude of cancer's toll in recent years, with a steady increase in new cases linked to the ageing population and better diagnostic technology.

Health experts predict almost 124,000 Australians will have been diagnosed with cancer this year, and more than 45,000 will have died from the disease now responsible for three out of every 10 deaths.

The report, Cancer in Australia 2014, shows new cancer cases rose from 47,417 to 123,920 between 1982 and 2014.

There were significant increases in cancers of the prostate, bowel, breast and lungs.

WA had a lower than average rate of cancer in 2005-2009 when adjusted for age and population, and one of the lowest death rates.

AIHW spokesman Justin Harvey said the big rise in cancer cases could be mostly attributed to the rise in the incidence of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer in women and lung cancer.

The increase could be partly explained by the ageing and increasing size of the population, improved diagnosis through population health screening programs such as Breastscreen, and improvements in technology used to detect cancer.

Death rates from cancer have fallen, with lung cancer still the deadliest even though it is not one of the most common types.

"Survival from cancer has improved significantly, with five-year survival from all cancers combined rising from 46 per cent in 1982-1986 to 67 per cent in 2007-2011," Mr Harvey said.

"Australians diagnosed with cancer generally had better survival prospects compared with people living in other countries and regions.

"However, these improvements haven't been consistent across all cancers."

Cancers with the biggest improvement in survival rates were prostate cancer, kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

An AIHW report this year predicted WA would have more than 13,000 new cancer cases this year and more than 19,100 a year in a decade.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/natio ... fewer-die/


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 3:25 pm 
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6 Simple Strategies to Stop Email-Induced Stress

Advances in technology mean you can check your email from wherever and whenever you want. Presumably, this ready access to your inbox should make life less stressful. But according to a new study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, it may actually have the opposite effect.

For the study, University of British Columbia researchers divided 124 adults into two groups. One group was allowed to check their email just three times a day, while the other could check it as often as they wanted. Then the researchers measured the participants’ stress levels. They found that those who visited their inboxes more often felt more stressed, while those who were limited to checking three times per day felt less stressed.

“Checking email too frequently may compromise your sense of being on top of things because you are being yanked back and forth between tasks, which may reinforce the feeling that you have so much to do and not enough time to do it,” explains study author Kostadin Kushlev, a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. “Email also contributes to fragmented attention so it may make you feel overwhelmed and stressed.”

So how can you kick the email-checking habit, especially considering your mental health is at stake? Consider these six strategies to get you to a more stress-free place:

1. Close your email & switch off alerts
This was the strategy used in the University of British Columbia study to help participants fight the urge to constantly peruse their inboxes — but it doesn’t have to stop at just email. “The general message from our research — as well as previous research — is to try to minimize task interruptions and multitasking,” explains Kushlev. Close browser windows, social networking site updates and chatting options like instant messaging. If you have a Mac, turn off the Notification Center, which alerts you to all your texts, Facebook updates, emails and the like on your desktop. ”This can help minimize the stress and tension associated with mixing all the different tasks and activities of life,” says Kushlev.

2. Assign email times
Maybe you visit your inbox right before or after mealtimes. Or maybe you read through emails once in the morning to deal with urgent issues and scheduling for the day, and then once again in the evening. Regardless of how you set it up, the point is to have a plan so that you don’t get derailed when “You’ve got mail.”

3. One to-do before checking email
So maybe you aren’t able to only check email once or twice per day. Even if this is the case, make a point to accomplish at least one thing on your to-do list before seeing what’s new in your inbox. For example, only check email when you finish the first draft of that report, rather than when you’re only halfway done. “Several studies show that the very act of switching between email and other tasks can deplete attention and working memory,” explains Kushlev.

https://www.yahoo.com/health/6-simple-s ... 75027.html


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:01 pm 
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Public plea to help find missing Wacol patient

POLICE are seeking public assistance to find 28-year-old David Terelinck who failed to return to The Park Centre for Mental Health in Wacol last week.

Mr Terelinck, who is also known as David Casper, was granted community leave as part of his treatment plan on Wednesday but failed to return by curfew.

Mr Terelinck is described as Caucasian, 176cm tall with a slim build, short brown hair, with tattoos on both arms.

Anyone who may have seen Mr Terelinck or has any information in relation to his current whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Meanwhile a 16-year girl who was reported missing from Churchill on Friday has been found safe and well.

The girl had been missing since being seen at a Mining St train station on Wednesday about 11am.

http://www.qt.com.au/news/public-plea-t ... e/2492012/


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:48 am 
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Mom Behind Mysterious Rubber Ducks Identified

People have been finding little handmade and rubber duckies with cash strapped to them all over the world, and the identities of the people spreading the adorable act of goodwill have been revealed: It’s a mom and friend of her late daughter, both of whom are keeping their loved one’s memory alive with her favorite animal.

Over the past eight months, more than 2,300 ducks have been discovered in 56 countries such as Australia, Peru, Japan, Nigeria, and India. The ducks are found in random places — on a cafe table in Berlin, inside an airport in Singapore, at Esther Island in the gulf of Alaska — each with a note attached that reads, “Hello. Please take me home. I was made with love just for you” and an invitation to visit The Little Yellow Duck Project to learn about the project’s mission: Raising awareness for organ and tissue donation. Although many have been uncertain as to who was behind the duckies, the women supporting the project never made their mission a secret.

British mother Ann Rowcliff’s 26-year-old daughter Clare Cruickshank died on April 15, 2013 from cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disease, after the family could not find a matching donor for a lifesaving lung transplant. Before Clare died, she asked her mother to donate her own organs to save a life and Clare’s corneas ended up restoring the sight of two strangers. Clare also loved little ducks and owned a huge collection. To honor Clare, Rowcliff, 59, and Clare’s best friend Emma Harris (who reportedly also suffers from cystic fibrosis) launched The Little Yellow Duck Project one year after Clare’s death to remind people of the importance of organ donation. Although Harris, a mother of a seven-year-old boy, founded the organization, she tells Yahoo Parenting that Rowcliff has been a key supporter, even learning to knit so she could make her own duck.

Rowcliff and her friends began handing out the ducks in their hometown of Peterborough, Cambridegeshire, but the craze quickly took off — people who found the ducks began leaving them for others to find (along with cash ranging from $15 to $80) or designing their own knitted, fabric, or crochet versions through a service advertised on the project’s website. Despite reports that some ducks have come strapped with cash, Harris tells Yahoo Parenting that The Little Yellow Duck Project doesn’t distribute money. Instead, people have taken it upon themselves to strap cash to some ducks. ”The ducks… carry a deeper message which is that some random acts of kindness can literally save people’s lives through the gifts of blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donation,” she says.

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/mom-beh ... 54942.html


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:27 pm 
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Child Abuse May Increase The Risk Of Migraines

Recent findings published in the journal Neurology show that childhood abuse may increase the risk of future migraines.

For the study, researchers examined over 8,300 people with migraines and more than 1,400 with tension headaches.

Findings revealed that emotional abuse was reported among about 24.5 percent of participants and another 21.5 percent of those with tension headaches.

"Childhood maltreatment can have long-lasting effects, like associated medical and psychological conditions including migraine in adulthood," said lead study author Dawn Buse, director of behavioral medicine at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City, said in a news release.

The study also showed that people who experienced emotional abuse before the age of 18 were a third more likely to have migraines than tension headaches.

Even after considering numerous factors, such as age, race, sex, income, anxiety and depression, the findings still held true to the results.

Participants who had experienced emotional neglect were also more likely to experience migraines.

http://www.scienceworldreport.com/artic ... raines.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:40 am 
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How a liver transplant saved Libby's life

On the surface, Libby Mutimer looks like any other bubbly 28-year-old.

The Spence woman is planning to start a family with her husband of three years, Scott, and is looking forward to spending the festive season with her loved ones.

But Ms Mutimer's life may have taken a tragic turn if it had not been for the ultimate gift from a stranger.

The 28-year-old was born with a rare liver disease called biliary atresia and her only hope of survival was a liver transplant.

"I was a bit jaundice when I was born but I was sent home and everything was fine, but in the first year, my mum had noticed some things like I wasn't growing properly and other symptoms that were going on," Ms Mutimer said.

"I was about one when I was diagnosed. Biliary atresia is basically where the bile ducts become blocked and there's a build up of bile in the liver that damages it.

"I had a Kasai procedure which is an attempt to correct that by draining the bile ducts and getting them to flow properly so the bile flows into the intestines better."

Ms Mutimer had two Kasai procedures but both were unsuccessful and she was put on a waiting list for a donor liver.

Fortunately she received the liver she so desperately needed through an organ donor, with the gift of life arriving on her mother's birthday.

Ms Mutimer said although she does not know anything about her donor or the donor's family, she is forever grateful for the second chance at life their gift gave her.

"Without them, I wouldn't be here. It's really humbling to think about," she said.

Ms Mutimer said since her liver transplant, she had lived a very normal life.

"It has always been something that has made me a bit special as I was growing up. [But] I live my life like anybody else would - there's nothing I can't do, I play sport, you wouldn't know by looking at me and I kind of like that in a way," she said.

"I do feel special sometimes because it means I can do things like this and hopefully help other people with their journey through it."

Ms Mutimer has decided to share her story to encourage others to consider registering to become organ donors.

In the ACT, there have been 10 deceased organ donors this year and 30 transplant recipients. According to transplant waiting list data, the highest need is for kidneys followed by livers.

On average there are 217 liver transplants in Australia each year.

Ms Mutimer said people should discuss their organ donation wishes with their loved ones.

"You need to talk to your loved ones to make sure they understand your wishes and what you want because that's what it comes down to in the end," she said.

"If people don't make that decision and don't have that discussion and don't make their wishes apparent to their family, people like me wouldn't be here."

"It just means it provides people who need it with that second chance and it's just the greatest thing you can do for somebody else."

For more information about organ donation, visit: donatelife.gov.au.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... 29lat.html


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:56 am 
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One sentence that explains why nearly everything we think about food is wrong

If you want a quick primer on everything that's wrong with how we think about food today, read "Are some diets 'mass murder'?" in the British Medical Journal.

Dr. Richard Smith, the former editor of the journal, combed through five of the most popular nutrition science books of the last several years. In this sentence, he perfectly encapsulates why we have been led astray with food: "In short, bold policies have been based on fragile science, and the long term results may be terrible."

Smith explains why studies on diet and nutrition are so unreliable, borrowing insights from Nina Teicholz's fantastic book The Big Fat Surprise to unpick the low-fat and Mediterranean Diet crazes. Many of the health policies and personal dietary choices we made related to fat (and saturated fat in particular) were based on very flawed and biased evidence. Contradictory research findings that challenged the paradigm were systematically stifled and ignored, and self-interested researchers — as much as Big Food — shaped the research agenda, media reporting on diet, and public perception.

Our bias against saturated fat remains firmly in place today, Smith writes, and this has had untold consequences for our collective health:

Reading these books and consulting some of the original studies has been a sobering experience. The successful attempt to reduce fat in the diet of Americans and others around the world has been a global, uncontrolled experiment, which like all experiments may well have led to bad outcomes. What's more, it has initiated a further set of uncontrolled global experiments that are continuing.
To borrow a quotation from Teicholz's tome, there's a really good reason why scientifically flawed diet fads won't change any time soon: "The food world is particularly prey to consumption, because so much money is made on food and so much depends on talk and especially the opinions of experts."

(When you have time to read more than Smith's article, I also recommend The Big Fat Surprise.)

http://www.vox.com/2014/12/29/7463349/n ... ence-flaws


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