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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:48 am 
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Study links cancer to WA mining town of Wittenoom

PEOPLE exposed to asbestos as children in a Western Australia mining town are developing cancers and dying sooner than the general population.

An Australian study, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, is the first to look at the long-term health effects of children from Wittenoom in WA, which closed eventually after the deadly blue-asbestos mine shut in 1966.

The study found girls up to the age of 15 who lived in Wittenoom had higher death rates and were more likely to develop the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma, ovarian and brain cancers.

Boys who lived in the town between 1943 to 1966 when the mine was in operation had higher rates of mesothelioma, leukaemia, prostate, brain and colorectal cancer.

They also had circulatory and nervous system diseases and excessive death rates, the study found.

The Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) study found that 2460 Wittenoom children had been exposed to the asbestos before the age of 15, with the median age of exposure being three years of age.

By the end of 2007, 228 of them had died from a range of causes. There were 215 cases of cancer in 207 individuals at the end of 2009.

Breast cancer was the most common cancer among women, with 28 diagnoses, followed by mesothelioma with 13 cases.

Mesothelioma was the most common cancer in men, with 29 affected, followed by skin cancer which affected 17.

Wittenoom girls had a 20 to 47 per cent greater risk of dying from any cause while the risk for boys was 50 to 83 per cent higher than the general Western Australian population.

The township of Wittenoom was originally just 1.6km from the mine but it was moved 12km away in 1947 as the population grew.

Most of the children left the town before the age of 16, so were they were exposed to asbestos only in childhood.

WAIMR Associate Professor Alison Reid said tailings from the mine were used throughout the town in roads, pavements, car parks, the racecourse and school playgrounds.

"They were even used in people's backyards, where, of course, children often played," Associate Prof Reid said.

"We will continue to follow this group to provide important information on the long-term implications of exposure to asbestos during childhood," she said.

http://www.news.com.au/national/cancer- ... 6464354454


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:31 am 
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Russian Ban on Public Smoking to Go To Parliament by Nov. 1

Russia will submit a law banning smoking in public places to parliament by Nov. 1, defying opposition from leading cigarette makers Philip Morris International Inc. (PM) and British American Tobacco Plc. (BATS)

“Selling cigarettes is basically illegal if we look at it from the point of view of protecting consumer rights,” Deputy Health Minister Sergei Velmiaikin told reporters today in Moscow.

Russia, the world’s largest tobacco market after China, loses 1.5 trillion rubles ($46.3 billion) a year, or 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, because of premature deaths caused by smoking, Velmiaikin said. That doesn’t include the extra health costs of treating people who suffer from tobacco-related diseases, he said.

A draft law published Aug. 31 by the Health Ministry calls for outlawing all cigarette advertising immediately, ending retail sales at kiosks and banning smoking in public buildings such as bars and restaurants by Jan. 1, 2015. Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East generated about a third of sales volumes at BAT and Philip Morris, according to the companies.

‘Big Success’

“Russia is a big success story” for cigarette makers, Erik Bloomquist, an analyst at Berenberg Bank, said by phone from London. The proposed measures “have the potential to reduce the ability of the companies to compete for consumers.”

About 39 percent of Russia’s 143 million people are habitual smokers, compared with 28 percent in China and 27 percent in the U.S., the World Health Organization estimates.

Smoking-related diseases kill 23 percent of Russian men and cause economic damages equal to 6.3 percent of GDP, according to the Health Ministry, which says its proposed law could cut smoking by as much as half and save 200,000 lives a year.

Japan Tobacco, Asia’s largest listed cigarette producer by market value, has lobbied against the proposed legislation.

“I have doubts that these restrictive measures can achieve the set goals of reducing tobacco consumption given the mentality of Russian consumers,” Anatoly Vereshchagin, a spokesman for Japan Tobacco (2914) in Moscow, said by phone.

Total Ban

The Tokyo-based company, whose brands include Camel and Winston, relies on the region encompassing Russia, the other ex- Soviet states excluding the Baltic countries, the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Mongolia for 46 percent of global sales volumes, according to its website.

The tobacco companies, which don’t break out Russian sales data, say a total ban on smoking in public places and on advertising cigarettes is too draconian, while ending kiosk sales will only end up hurting small businesses.

They also argue that steep tax increases won’t impact demand as much as the Health Ministry envisages because it will lead to a flood of cheaper imports from neighboring countries such as Belarus, Kazakhstan and China.

“We understand that we limit someone’s economic interests with our actions,” Velmiaikin said. “But these interests are different from the interests of the country and society.”

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-0 ... -nov-dot-1


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:20 am 
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Hotels blast traffic cop Robert Hill's suggestion for the alcohol limit to be dropped to .02

THE hotel industry has blasted Victoria's top traffic cop for saying the blood-alcohol limit should be dropped from .05 to .02.

But assistant commissioner Robert Hill yesterday defended his raising of the issue for debate.

Australian Hotels Association chief executive Brian Kearney said the move was "excessive and ill-informed".

He said the current .05 blood-alcohol limit was "overwhelmingly accepted by the community as a reasonable threshold".

The Herald Sun yesterday revealed Mr Hill was in favour of cutting the level to .02 and buying more mobile and fixed speed cameras.

Mr Hill put the .02 issue on the agenda in commenting on the Baillieu Government's road safety survey, which raises dramatic proposals being considered to cut the road toll and slash Victoria's $3 billion a year road trauma bill.

He yesterday urged every Victorian to complete the survey, which is open until October 3 and is available online.

"The good thing about the survey is it encourages the community to think about what could and should be introduced to save lives and prevent injuries," Mr Hill said.

"It gives people the opportunity to provide input on various road safety issues and turns proposals into policy."

Mr Hill said when Sweden reduced its alcohol limit from .05 to .02 its level of fatalities and serious injuries dropped by 10 per cent.

"So if you do the maths and we did the same here we could potentially save 28 lives a year and 500 less people would be seriously injured on Victorian roads. Reducing the level makes sense," he said.

Working Against Culpable Driving co-founder Penny Martin yesterday praised Mr Hill for raising the issue.

"Every major change in road safety measures has been police led," she said.

"So I was really pleased to see the assistant commissioner come out and say he is in favour of lowering the legal limit for driving from .05 to .02."

Ms Martin, whose son Josh died at the hands of a drink-driver in 2001, said a limit of .02 was way overdue.

"The evidence is there from around the world that reducing the level would save lives," she said.

Ms Martin said she hoped the State Government would take notice of Mr Hill's comments and act on them by introducing legislation to drop the limit.

Australian Drug Foundation CEO John Rogerson said he supported cutting the limit to .02, which would mean most people wouldn't be able to drink any alcohol before driving.

"At .02 you can have one standard drink but you're going to have to wait two hours before you can drive," he said. "That's one of the things that's confusing at the moment.

"We say don't drink and drive but the reality is you can drink and drive if you stay under .05, this way don't drink and drive means exactly that."More

THE Herald Sun asked drinkers their view on the proposed change to the blood alcohol limit. Those surveyed were surprised just one drink could tip them over the limit. Here's what they had to say:

* Martin Moore, 36, was surprised he blew .05 after drinking one pint of cider. He said: "I think you should be able to have one pint after work and still drive so it should stay at .05."
* Sam Dunne, 25, who blew .04 after drinking just one stubby of beer, said: "Alcohol affects different people in different ways so it's safer to say just don't drink anything. I think just do .00 an no one can drink and drive.
* Mark Hampson, 51, drank one glass of white wine and recorded a blood alcohol reading of .01 per cent. He said: "When they brought in .05 it was controversial, but it's fine now. I think we're a nanny state enough now and .05 is plenty."
* Wendy Judge, 72, who registered a .01 reading after polishing off a glass of red wine, said: "I am all for it if it saves lives. If it will help the road toll I will say definitely drop the limit."

http://www.news.com.au/national/traffic ... 6473719393


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:15 am 
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Stroke key to dementia

PREVENTION is the most powerful medicine in the fight against dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to a leading international researcher. ''Prevention is very important, more than any drugs we have or plan to develop,'' said Serge Gauthier, director of the Alzheimer's disease research unit at McGill University in Canada, who is in Australia for Dementia Awareness Week. He said the majority of dementia cases in those aged over 85 were preventable and small strokes were key contributors to dementia in this group, he said.

Losing weight, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption could cut the risk of strokes, Dr Gauthier said. ''This is where we can have an impact right now. If you can prevent small strokes, you probably delay dementia by 10 years.''

About 280,000 Australians have dementia.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/nationa ... z26kwHZPtF


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:22 am 
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Shape up for summer

Can it really be spring and another year since you last told yourself you were going to get in shape? What happened? After the initial enthusiasm it's easy to let good intentions slide so we asked motivation, fitness and nutrition experts to reveal the secrets of making lasting changes and how to keep your enthusiasm on track.

Motivational speaker and life coach, Craig Harper, says getting in shape requires more than simply being motivated at the start. "That emotional state of 'I've just watched Sally Pearson win a gold medal in the 100 metre hurdles and I'm pumped and excited and going for a run' doesn't last," says Harper. "Motivation doesn't work. People who rely on motivation rarely achieve permanent change because they only tend to do the things that produce the change when they are motivated and nobody is permanently motivated."

Instead, says Harper the key is to find ways to stay productive when you are not motivated. "There are certain things that for us are negotiable, for example saying: 'I'll exercise if I don't have a busy day, I'll exercise if the kids aren't screaming,' rather than saying: 'I'll exercise five times a week no matter what and I'll just find a way.' I say to people what is it you want to create in your life with your body, your health, your fitness, and then what behaviours are required? What are non-negotiable behaviours for you? This is a level or two or three above motivation."

To create lasting change in our thinking, health and bodies we need to turn "sometimes behaviours" into "all the time habits," he says.

Don't make the mistake of trying to change 50 things at once, says Harper. "What we know about behavioural change and real world results is that the more things we try and change at once the less likely we are to change anything long-term. I always say to the people I work with, as much as possible when it comes to changing your body, turn down the emotions and turn up the logic."

One way to create permanent change is to get some accountability measures in place, suggests Harper. Keep a food and exercise diary or get regular assessments. "Success is personal," he says. "For some people success is measured in running 10 kilometres, for others success is losing 10 kilos, for some people success is being able to get out of bed without back pain but in order for us to succeed we need to get clear about what success looks like for us, so we need to define it and when we define it, and are specific, we get a bit excited and when we get excited we create momentum."

Once you have committed to your fitness goals, you'll be ready to start exercising. Donna Aston is a health and fitness expert and author who has trained celebrities including Simon Cowell, Peter Alexander, Sigrid Thornton and Kat Stewart. She says that often the reason we become disheartened with exercise is because "generally you won't see instant visual gratification." However, there are so many health benefits to exercising and, if you're consistent with your commitment, you will reap the benefits, she says.

Aston says interval training (short intense bursts of strength and/or cardio) is more effective than endurance exercise for boosting your metabolism and burning body fat. "Following high intensity interval training the body enters a state known as 'excess post-exercise oxygen consumption', or EPOC. After you finish your workout, your body will be working overtime for up to 24 hours in order to restore your body back to its resting state. This means you will be burning energy/kilojoules at a much higher rate, even whilst sedentary. The other advantage is that you don't have to work out for long periods. In fact, unless you're training for a competitive event, anything over 30 minutes is unnecessary. For example, the following circuit could be repeated for 30 minutes: 60 seconds each – sprint, rest, ab crunches, rest, squats, rest, push ups, rest, repeat."

She recommends a minimum of 210 minutes of walking every week (30 mins/day) plus three sessions using your strength. "This commitment is sustainable and will get the desired results."

As well as consistency Aston recommends pacing yourself. "More is not necessarily better. It's important to listen to your body. As a general rule, I'd recommend high intensity training no more than three times a week with a rest day in between to allow a full recovery. Rest days may consist of walking or any gentle activity, which is not taxing on your body. If you do not allow adequate recovery time, not only will you be increasing your risk of injury, you may in fact lose valuable muscle tissue."

If working out doesn't suit you and you are looking for a gentler plan, The Dieticians Association of Australia has the answer. The secret to long-term weight loss is turning off the television it says. According to the National Weight Control Registry, which is tracking more than 10,000 successful weight 'losers', two thirds of them watch less than 10 hours of television per week."

It also recommends incorporating exercise into your normal daily activities. For example, instead of meeting friends for a coffee, suggest going for a walk instead, says the DAA. "Take a lunchtime walk with work colleagues, or get into the habit of parking further away from your destination. Need a little more motivation? Buy a pedometer and aim to reach 10,000 steps each day."

With your fitness goals on track, it's time to turn your attention to your diet and here's the good news — the DAA recommends ditching the diet. "Fad diets often cut out important food groups leaving you feeling deprived and running on empty. Use positive thinking and focus on what you can eat rather than what you can't."

A few simple changes can bring about weight loss, it says but always eat breakfast. "Breakfast eaters tend to be a lighter weight than those who skip breakfast," says the DAA, "so wake up to a healthy breakfast each morning with wholegrain cereal and reduced-fat milk, grainy toast with a poached egg, or reduced-fat yoghurt and fruit. For lunch and dinner remember that spring is salad season. Fill half your plate with salad or vegetables at every meal. Try grilled tomato and mushrooms at breakfast, salad at lunch, vegetable sticks with a healthy dip as snacks, and a range of different coloured vegetables at dinner."

Remember long lasting change is achievable. If you really want to shape up this spring follow Harper's advice and ask yourself: "Am I going to keep going round in circles, losing the same weight, gaining the same weight and having the same conversations in my head or am I actually, genuinely, going to create some permanent change in my world?"

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-an ... z26wf9v8Tu


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:05 am 
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Psychopaths have poor sense of smell: scientists

PARIS — Psychopaths have a remarkably poor sense of smell, according to a study published on Thursday.

Researchers in Australia tested a theory that psychopathy -- a severe personality disorder characterised by lack of empathy, antisocial behaviour and callousness -- may be linked to impaired smell ability.

Both phenomena have been independently traced to dysfunction in part of the brain called the orbito-frontal complex (OFC).

Mehmet Mahmut and Richard Stevenson of the Department of Psychology at Sydney's Macquarie University trialled the olfactory skills of 79 individuals, aged 19 to 21, who had been diagnosed as non-criminal psychopaths and lived in the community.

Using "Sniffin' Sticks" -- 16 pens that contain different scents, such as orange, coffee and leather -- they found the participants had problems in correctly identifying the smell, and then discriminating it against a different odour.

Those who scored highest on a standard scorecard of psychopathic traits did worst on both counts, even though they knew that they were smelling something.

The finding could be useful for identifying psychopaths, who are famously manipulative in the face of questioning, says the paper, published in the journal Chemosensory Perception.

"Olfactory measures represent a potentially interesting marker for psychopathic traits, because performance expectancies are unclear in odour tests and may therefore be less susceptible to attempts to fake 'good' or 'bad' responses."

The OFC is a front part of the brain responsible for controlling impulses, planning and behaving in line with social norms.

It also appears to be important in processing olfactory signals, although the precise function is unclear, according to previous research.

Odour molecules bind to specific nerve cells in the base of the nose, which then send signals via the lateral olfactory tract to the primary olfactory cortex.

From there, the signals go to OFC via a brain organ called the mediodorsal nucleus, located in the thalamus.

The study makes clear that a poor sense of smell does not by itself mean that someone is a psychopath. Olfactory dysfunction can also occur in schizophrenia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, it notes.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/ar ... 7876ea.761


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