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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:18 pm 
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Carer support needs in focus

As Australia marks National Carers Week, two new reports highlight the strain experienced by carers and the lack of appropriate respite and resources to support them.

“I need physical assistance for my son because I’m getting old and don’t always have the strength to help him,” says one carer.

Another carer says: “Currently I use respite time to do shopping, obtain scripts from chemist, attend doctors’ appointments and physio and hydrotherapy for self. … I feel guilty but need help now that I am on my own.”

“I need someone to talk to when things get tough, also social contact with other men,” says another.

These are the voices of older parent carers over the age of 60 who are still caring for a son or daughter with a disability.

Coinciding with National Carers Week, which runs 12-18 October, Anglicare Sydney has published the results of a five year survey that highlights the special concerns of this group of carers.

Personal care and assistance, respite, social support, case management and transition planning were key areas where carers required support, according to the survey.

The report found that the concerns raised by ageing parent carers, together with factors such as Australia’s ageing population, increasing lifespan, people with a disability living longer, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), “highlight the need for several policy solutions to be implemented.”

Among the recommendations, the Anglicare report called for:

the government to amend the NDIS to include provision for a separate carer assessment in addition to the participant’s assessment and plan;
governments and the NDIS Agency to provide support for carers of people with a disability who are not NDIS participants;
governments and NDIS should provide flexible respite services.

The extent and nature of future carer supports was unknown and it was essential that ageing parent carers had guaranteed specialised carer services, the report said.

It also called for ageing parent carers and their care recipients to have access to appropriate and secure accommodation options to enable them to plan for the future.

Commenting on the release of the report, Ara Cresswell, CEO of Carers Australia, said carers of all ages were prone to stress and anxiety and likely to need support in their caring role.

“However the concerns of older carers about what will happen to their adult children when those carers cease to have the capacity to provide care or die is particularly acute… This was a strong theme raised by carers who met with us during the Prime Minister’s Pollie Pedal bike ride to raise funds for Carers Australia this year”, said Ms Cresswell.

The NDIS was designed in part to address such concerns, she said. “However it will take some years before the NDIS is fully rolled out across Australia and it will be important to maintain a focus on transition arrangements for those who will not be able to access these services in the meantime.”

‘At breaking point’

Elsewhere, new research by Carers Queensland has warned that many carers are at breaking point because they have no respite from the demands of their caring role.

Carers Queensland’s annual Quality of Life survey found that 69 per cent of unpaid family carers have less than eight hours of personal time per week, with 43 per cent reporting less than three hours.

Carers Queensland president Jim Toohey said carers performed a vital job within the community, but support systems were sadly lacking.

“There’s a real lack of respite for carers – we have found that three quarters of carers who responded to our survey have no formal respite care in place, and respite affordability is a real issue.

“Many carers also feel guilty about taking a break. They feel like they should be able to look after their loved one without help, and they worry about leaving their loved one in the care of someone else,” said Mr Toohey.

Nationally there are an estimated 2.7 million people in Australia providing unpaid care and support. They spend an average of 40 hours per week providing essential care and support to people who are frail, aged, living with a disability, mental illness, chronic or terminal illness. ... eds-focus/

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:06 pm 
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Energy drinks a public health liability: World Health Organisation

Energy drinks are raising health researchers’ blood pressure, with a World Health Organisation report warning that the booming market could have major public health consequences.

A study published in the Frontiers in Public Health Journal, has recommended that caffeine levels be capped as new "extreme, highly caffeinated" drinks enter the market.

Excessive caffeine can cause heart palpitations, hypertension, vomiting, convulsions and in extreme cases heart failure leading to death.

Although some coffees have comparable levels of caffeine as some energy drinks, the study points out that the latter can be drunk cold and therefore more quickly and that caffeine levels in energy drinks are variable and sometimes "extreme". Furthermore, the drinks are aggressively marketed to children, adolescents and young people.

The impact of caffeine on children is of particular concern, with potentially "harmful adverse and developmental effects". The report also recommends that the restriction of sales to children and adolescents be considered.

Energy drinks often claim to improve performance and may include other ingredients like guarana, taurine and B vitamins, which the researchers say require further investigation, particularly their interaction with caffeine.

Also a growing global trend is combining the drinks with alcohol, which poses separate risks of injury, excessive intoxication and alcohol poisoning.

The energy drink market has enjoyed global growth of 620% over the last 15 years, making it a $US27.5 billion business last year. In the States, sales have grown by a whopping 5000% over the same period.

The report says more research is needed so that the full impact of the rise in popularity of energy drinks can be quantified. ... ganisation

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:17 am 
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Testing reveals asbestos in houses in Sunshine North

SUNSHINE North residents have reacted angrily to the news that tests have found deadly asbestos dust in the roof spaces of their houses.

The Sunday Herald Sun commissioned contamination experts to test the ceiling cavities of eight homes in streets surrounding the Wunderlich factory site.

AP Consultants collected dust and fibre samples from homes north and east of the deadly site on Wednesday and Thursday. Two other homes had previously been tested.

In total, eight of 10 homes in Barwon Ave, Compton Pde, Cranbourne Ave and Hassett St tested positive for brown or white asbestos, or both.

An investigation by the Sunday Herald Sun published last Sunday found 16 residents had died and a number suffered from serious asbestos-related disease after living near the factory or playing in white dust at the back of the site.

AP Consultants occupational hygienist Peter Bird said the samples were taken from the central area of the roof cavities to prevent cross contamination with any asbestos materials, including cement sheeting eaves.

“None of the houses had asbestos roofs, and therefore we would not expect to find significant asbestos contamination in that situation,” Mr Bird said. “For houses without asbestos cement roofs, this is an unusual result.”

Mr Bird said the two negative tests — for houses in Barwon Ave and Comley St — did not conclusively rule out asbestos dust contamination in those homes.

“We would need more sampling before we could confidently say there is no contamination,” Mr Bird said.

Peter Thomson has lived in Compton Pde for 48 years, but now fears his home is a ticking time bomb.

The tests found brown and white asbestos dust in his ceiling cavity. ... 7094923384

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:46 pm 
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Changes to Murraylands health services

THE Murraylands will lose its Country South SA Medicare Local (CSSAML) from June next year.

Five Medicare Locals in South Australia will cease operation and be rolled into just two Primary Health Net-works for the State.

In a move announced by the Federal Government last week, one of the networks will cover Adelaide, while the second will be responsible for the rest of the State.

Currently, the CSSA-ML plans and coordinates improvements in primary health care for 130,825 people across the southern region, but as of June 30, a single office will manage a population of about 370,000 across all regional towns in South Australia.

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Associ-ation chief executive Alison Verhoeven said the Primary Health Networks offered opportunities to drive reform in health care, but would face challenges in meeting the needs of all people in their regions, given the larger size compared with the current Medicare Locals.

"There are significant lessons to be learned from the experience of Medicare Locals, and organised primary health care internationally, and these should not be ignored as the Primary Health Net-work model is developed," she said.

"The changes being made must represent real and not simply be a reorganisation exercise.

"Addressing service gaps and duplication is critical, as is effective use of evidence and research to ensure people across Australia have access to the best possible primary health care system."

Medicare Local was introduced by the Labor Government in 2011 as a way to support primary health-care services and providers, particularly general practitioners and private allied health providers, to improve their services, fill gaps, coordinate care and make it easier for patients to understand the various services.

The transition from Medicare Locals to a Primary Health Network will be an open tender process and there will be requests for organisations to tender in partnership.

Tenders are expected to open in November for the networks who will be tasked with improving patient outcomes by ensuring that all health services work together.

Country South SA Medicare Local, which includes the Murray-lands and Mallee, would not comment on whether they were planning to submit a tender until after the tender documents had come out.

But, the Country North SA Medicare Local (CNSAML), responsible for the Barossa Valley, Ceduna and Far West areas, has confirmed they will bid to provide the new country SA network. ... ces/?cs=12

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:21 pm 
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Fruits and vegetables boost happiness

Here’s one more reason for you to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Australian researchers have found that consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables can make you happier. According to the study, not only do they elevate physical fitness, but also improve mental health, reported IANS.

The University of Queensland (UQ) study, involving more than 12,000 Australian adults, inferred that eating eight or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day improves mental wellbeing. Dr Redzo Mujcic, a health economics researcher from UQ’s School of Pharmacy said, “What I wanted to look at is whether it improves our mental health as well as physical health.”

For the research, Mujcic examined people’s choices of fruits and vegetables in congruence with their levels of satisfaction, stress and vitality, among other mental health indicators. “The methods I employed are a lot richer than just observing people at one point in time because we observed them over multiple periods. But still, the causal effect is very difficult to get at,” he added, reported ABC News.

The research, titled Are fruit and vegetables good for our mental and physical health? Panel data evidence from Australia, read “The estimation results indicate fruit and vegetable consumption positively and independently influences a wide range of self-reported mental and physical wellbeing measures.” Mujcic said the study showed that the effects were the strongest among women.

“The more [fruits and vegetables] you eat, the better… Eating about five fruits and five vegetables per day makes us the happiest we can be in that case,” added Mujcic. He shared that wellbeing levelled out among people who consumed more than the said amount, but that less than 10 per cent of those studied were eating the maximum 10 portions per day. ... happiness/

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:01 pm 
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Sun fights flab and diabetes

Perth researchers have found that small doses of sunlight ward off obesity and diabetes and could help children stay slim.

The findings, part of an international trial using mice and published in the journal Diabetes, show regular exposure of the skin to moderate amounts of ultraviolet radiation - such as a few minutes in the summer midday sun - suppresses the development of obesity and the diabetes-linked metabolic syndrome.

Vitamin D, produced by the body in response to sunlight and often lauded for its health benefits, did not play a role.

The effects were linked to the compound nitric oxide, which is released by the skin after exposure to sunlight.

The study was carried out by the Telethon Kids Institute, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and the universities of Edinburgh and Southampton. Researchers showed that shining UV light on overfed mice slowed weight gain and reduced signs of diabetes such as abnormal glucose levels and insulin resistance.

Telethon Kids researcher Shelley Gorman said exposing mice on a high-fat diet to a high dose of UV radiation of about 10 minutes in midday summer sun, or a low dose of two to three minutes, warded off the development of obesity and diabetes symptoms.

"We didn't observe the same effect in mice fed a diet that included vitamin D supplements, so the mechanism seems to be due to other factors induced by sunlight," Dr Gorman said. "The findings are important as they suggest that casual exposure of the skin to sunlight, together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent the development of obesity in children."

More research was needed to better understand the effect and people concerned about the benefits of exposure to UV radiation from sunlight were advised to check guidelines on safe levels of exposure. Studies also needed to confirm whether UV radiation had the same effect on people as on mice.

Perth co-author Prue Hart said that while the research had significance around the world, it was particularly important in Australia.

"Given our climate and our lifestyle, our research is very relevant to the future health and wellbeing of our kids and we look forward to expanding on it," she said. ... -diabetes/

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:15 am 
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Does online brain training work?

Why didn't Einstein do online brain training?

1. The internet and apps weren't yet invented

2. He understood that sticking to the basics (such as quality sleep, exercise, nutrition and freeing the mind from unnecessary distractions) provides the building blocks for optimum brain function.

Recently there has been a proliferation of information about 'brain training' products ranging from apps, specific software and online gaming, through to Sudoku, crosswords and puzzles.

There is some research showing these programs improve memory, enhance spacial perception, sharpen concentration and improve creativity; but some of the research is very controversial (especially studies commissioned by the companies behind the programs rather than independent bodies).

A pair of scientists in Europe recently completed a meta-analysis of 23 investigations of memory training programs and concluded that while gaming may yield improvements in the narrow task being trained, this does not always transfer to broader skills including arithmetic or other measures of intelligence. In other words, playing the games makes you better at playing the games, but doesn't transfer across to other areas of our lives.

So, how did mega intellects such as Albert Einstein in ye olde days possibly develop their brain if they didn't have all the tools and techniques we have at our fingertips today? And how did Einstein stumble upon his theories without Google, Twitter and constant news updates?

Apparently young Albert started playing the violin at 13 and used this as relaxation time when he became stuck in his thinking process. Einstein slept for up to 10 hours each night and took regular daytime naps, especially when he was overloading the grey matter. He enjoyed bike riding and credited his best insights to the unconscious work his mind did while he was taking a cognitive (brain) break.

In many ways, Einstein enjoyed a huge advantage over modern-day brainiacs, as a lack of technology meant he avoided brain overload – that surplus of information created by our obsession with constant connectivity that ends up swamping our brains with data and leaving us in a vegetative state. You know the feeling you get when you have info overload and you end up just staring at the wall?

Research from The Brain Foundation, Australia's largest independent brain and spinal injury research body, gives strength to Einstein's old-world approach. It recommends a healthy diet, regular exercise, sleep, rest and challenges (stimulation) as key ingredients to a healthy and flourishing brain.

Senses working overtime
My job puts me in contact with tens of thousands of employees from a range of different industries every single year. And what I can emphatically tell you is the average employee is overloaded (too much to do and not enough time to do it in), fatigued (tired due to minimal recovery and not managing stress effectively) and distracted (pulled in every direction from sunrise to sunset).

The team I work with approaches this by building extra capacity through saving time (working smarter), improving energy (physical activity, nutrition, stress management) and sharpening attention (minimising distractions and training mindfulness). All of which put you in a much better position to access your brain and use it how it was originally designed: to think, create, innovate, implement and decide.

I'm not saying to write off brain training altogether. What I am saying, however, is to not rush off and download the latest program onto your device thinking brain training is the magic pill for cognitive performance and memory. Most of you don't need another software program to improve brain function - start by making sure you follow all of the lifestyle basics to ensure your brain is in the best possible condition to perform.

Start by stripping back and building capacity (time, energy, attention) before filling your brain with anything else. Otherwise, jumping straight into the brain training is like pouring water into an already full glass.

Five lifestyle tips for a high-performing brain
1. Quality sleep improves memory and is crucial for storing information in the brain. During sleep, brain regions such as the hippocampus and the neocortex are literally at the same wavelength, resulting in better connectivity between the two allowing new experiences made throughout the day to be integrated into our existing knowledge and stored as long-term memory.

2. Regular breaks during the working day allows the brain to temporarily pull back and unconsciously integrate new information with existing knowledge. This helps to make novel connections and to come up with new ideas.

3. Cardiovascular training prevents cognitive decline as we get older by ensuring the survival of existing neurons as well as enhancing the growth of new neurons and synapses in the brain.

4. Drinking water throughout the working day ensures good cognition such as enhanced working memory, which is absolutely crucial for problem solving or planning.

5. Eliminating constant multi-tasking results in finishing projects quicker and making fewer mistakes. Structuring periods where you focus on one task increases cognition and uses less energy.

As I write this blog we are completing a High Performance Thinking program with senior leaders at a large accounting firm. The program focuses on building capacity (time, energy and attention) through training the body and calming the mind, then we are going to see how much more efficiently their brains respond. I'll report on the results in a month's time. ... 1c6zu.html

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:05 pm 
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Study: Obese youths with ALL have worse outcomes than lean counterparts

Obese youths with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are known to have worse outcomes than their lean counterparts. To find out why, investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles studied patients who were obese at the time of their diagnosis with ALL to determine if body mass index (BMI) impacted response to initial chemotherapy. This response to initial chemotherapy (or induction therapy) is measured by the absence of leukemia cells in the bone marrow. Called minimal residual disease (MRD), in which residual leukemia cells cannot be seen under microscope but can be detected by more sensitive methods, it is among the strongest predictors of long-term survival and disease recurrence. As reported in First Edition of the journal Blood on October 27, following induction chemotherapy, obese patients were more than twice as likely to have minimal residual disease, than non-obese patients.

"Induction chemotherapy provides a patient's best chance for remission or a cure," said principal investigator Steven Mittelman, MD, PhD, of The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "Our findings indicate that a patient's obesity negatively impacts the ability of chemotherapy to kill leukemia cells, reducing the odds of survival."

The study looked at 198 patients, diagnosed with ALL and between the ages of 1 and 21 years. Each patient's BMI was converted to a percentile and classified according to CDC thresholds for overweight (85 to 94%) and obese (greater than 95%). Patients at less than 85% BMI were considered "lean". About one-third of the patients were obese or overweight at the time of diagnosis.

MRD was determined by testing of bone marrow specimens taken at the end of induction therapy, and patients were followed for two to five years from the time of diagnosis. The investigators found that lean patients with minimal residual disease had similar outcomes to obese patients without evidence of residual disease. Obese patients with residual disease had the worst outcomes. Additionally, although nearly a quarter of the patients initially deemed "lean" gained weight and become obese during the first month of treatment, these patients still showed similar outcomes to those who remained lean.

"In addition to increasing a patient's likelihood of having persistent disease following treatment, obesity appears to add a risk factor that changes the interaction between chemotherapy and residual leukemia cells," said Hisham Abdel-Azim, MD, of The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles and co-lead investigator on the study. Abdel-Azim also explained that the investigators were able to examine this interaction in a large number of patients because CHLA had established MRD testing and made it available to all patients before it became widely used as the of standard of care.

Findings from this study offer new avenues for investigation that include modifying chemotherapy regimens for obese patients and working to change a patient's weight status beginning at the time of diagnosis. ... parts.aspx

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:22 am 
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In Sierra Leone, Ambulances Carry Ebola Patients, Big Questions

KENEMA, Sierra Leone—Boarding an ambulance in Freetown last Friday, a pair of Ebola patients began what some in Sierra Leone call the journey of no return.

On a blazing afternoon, an ambulance transporting a brother and sister arrived at the Red Cross Ebola clinic just outside the town of Kenema—a four-hour and 190-mile drive from Sierra Leone’s capital. A child’s wails could be heard while a team of six health workers disinfected the vehicle. A naked 14-year-old boy later stepped out, but not his younger sister.

“She’s dead,” shouted one worker near the vehicle. The ambulance then drove slowly to the back of the clinic, where her corpse was unloaded at the morgue.

In Sierra Leone, an ambulance brings a 14-year-old boy to an Ebola clinic

Sierra Leone’s ambulances zip down freeways, blow by crowded street markets and bob over rutted jungle roads. Yet all that movement has exposed a dangerously disjointed emergency-response system, one that sends gravely ill patients across the country for hospital beds they sometimes don’t live to see.

That has prompted a rethinking of how the country dispatches its emergency vehicles, in the hope of establishing a template for other countries battling Ebola.

“The ambulance link is really important and it’s not quite working” said Steve McAndrew, Freetown-based head of emergency operations for the Ebola Virus Response at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “It may be making matters worse.”

Until recently, Sierra Leone’s ministry of health handled calls for emergency vehicles and then sent word to its local officers to follow up. Now, the nation’s president has appointed a former soldier to head its new National Ebola Response Center. District Ebola Response Centers will track the status of patients who need to get to a hospital; or persons who need to be monitored; or bodies that need to be buried.

“This new organization is not a talking shop,” said retired Maj. Palo Conteh, the new Ebola czar, on Wednesday. “It’s a place of action.”

Maj. Conteh said soldiers would be trained as drivers and appealed for more vehicles, but didn’t elaborate on why the existing ambulances are traveling so far afield.

International aid agencies have said they would like to see the response centers replicated in other places where Ebola is surfacing. Experts say a much stronger emergency response is needed if West African countries are going to slow a virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people.

Sierra Leone shows how much work is left to do.

Despite having Ebola clinics in Freetown, ambulances often transport suspected patients far beyond the capital, in a sign of the poor coordination matching Ebola patients with available beds. Health workers describe opening ambulance doors and seeing piles of people soaked in vomit, blood and excrement.

Not long after the Red Cross opened its first Ebola treatment center in Kenema in September, an ambulance arrived with 12 Ebola patients crammed inside the sport-utility vehicle. Other emergency vehicles appear unexpectedly, sometimes not having identification for the patients; sometimes not knowing what hospital dispatched them.

“One driver just said ‘the white man in Freetown sent me,’ ” said Amanda McClelland, a senior Red Cross emergency worker who was heading the organization’s Ebola treatment center in Kenema. “It’s tough to say no.”

Unlike Liberia and Guinea, where disease is concentrated in pockets, Sierra Leone’s Ebola cases stretch across the country, from the metal shacks of coastal Freetown to the mud huts of Kailahun near the eastern border.

Some ambulances have showed up at Kailahun from Freetown in search of empty beds at the local Ebola treatment center, said doctors and ambulance drivers. The last stretch of that 250-mile journey is over roads that are little more than brown gashes cut through jungle shrubs and trees.

“The distances are too much to take for patients who are very weak,” says Mohamed Kamara, a 37-year-old ambulance driver in Kailahun. “Some lose their lives.”

Public-health experts said they suspect the shuffle has had as much to do with the search for empty beds as it has with moving those with Ebola away from clinics and hospitals that aren’t prepared to treat them. The long ambulance trips, said John Otoo, a World Health Organization official in Kailahun, “puts strain on the system and the patient.”

The drives aren’t just hazardous for the patients. The bad roads mean health workers tending to the patients are often bumping up against ambulance drivers—and potentially transferring the virus to another host.

Kenie Lahi, the 52-year-old chief ambulance driver for Kailahun, said he requires his drivers to don personal protective equipment, including goggles and rubber gloves. That requirement was put in place after two of his drivers died of Ebola as the outbreak began to spread out of control in June.

Some ambulance drivers said they face hostile communities, residents of which sometimes throw stones at vehicles to prevent them from taking away neighbors.

Bottles of water are placed in the back for patients to slake their thirst in the scorching heat. But for the very sick, even holding a bottle can prove too difficult. Those who arrive alive at an Ebola clinic may be too drained to put up much of a fight later.

After the older boy was led out of the ambulance to the clinic, and his sister’s body was taken to the morgue, the mother followed in another ambulance with a 4-day old baby. The baby soon died, said Red Cross workers. A couple of days later, the weakened boy died, too. The husband, also a suspected Ebola patient, had died earlier.

On Tuesday morning, the mother sat alone, legs folded to her side behind a plastic net barrier with other female Ebola patients. In the span of days, her family had been wiped out.

A more upbeat coda unfolded for a pair who had arrived earlier from Lungi, outside Freetown. The clinic’s workers handed over sacks of rice, a bit of cash and certificates of discharge for a mother and her daughter.

They had survived the long ambulance drive to beat the virus. Now a regular old SUV was taking them home.

“People said those who left wouldn’t come back,” said Marie Kamara, the mother who was dressed in a flowered orange blouse. “We are very happy to be discharged.” ... 1414686785

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:18 am 
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'Healthier lifestyles are not just for young' says Non Evans

MAKING sure you exercise regularly and keep an eye on what you eat is of real importance whatever age you are.

A few changes in your daily routine can go a long way to improving your physical and mental wellbeing.

Healthy eating can improve your quality of life and may help you avoid diseases associated with ageing.

There's a lot you can do to introduce healthier foods into your diet without giving up some of favourites.

Keeping mobile and active can also prevent falls.

There's a lot you can do to maintain your mobility and independence as you age.

Keeping physically active not only improves your health and quality of life, it can also help you to live longer.

Physical activity can be anything from everyday tasks like cleaning the house to specific exercise like walking or swimming. Stretching is important too on a daily basis.

Studies show that mental decline is not an inevitable part of ageing.

People who lead intellectually stimulating lives may be more likely to be free of dementia conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

It is possible to keep your brain in shape and to cope with changes in your mental ability.

Healthy eating and taking part in physical activity are great ways of living a fitter and healthier life.

This may even reduce the risk of developing heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure.


No matter what your age try to exercise At least a few times a week. Even if it's just a walk or swim.

Do some basic stretching at home on a daily basis.

Keep your mind active. This may prevent mental decline.

Eat healthy meals. Small meals little and often throughout the day. ... story.html

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:44 pm 
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FIFO workers fear antidepressants stigma

Fly-in fly-out workers who need antidepressants aren't taking them because they fear the drugs will be detected in workplace urine tests and hurt their career, a union says.

After surveying more than 300 FIFO workers, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union said almost 60 per cent of respondents did not seek help for mental health issues because they were worried it might have adverse repercussions on their employment.

AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said some were so worried they didn't take medication for mental health conditions.

"Management find out a person is suffering from depression and then usually confidentiality is out the window and the whole team finds out," one of the respondents said.

Another said workers suffering stress would be fired if they told management about their problem.

"Management openly lie and say they are there to help, and then if you go to them they say `you are not suitable to be in this environment' and sack them," another worker told the union.

Mr McCartney said pressure on FIFO workers to stay quiet about mental health issues was going to mount with the slowdown in the resources construction boom.

He said worries about family were the key drivers of stress among FIFO workers.

"Almost 70 per cent of workers said they were worried about family at home, with 65 per cent of them citing poor communications services from site to home as a problem," he said.

"When we asked them what they would change about the FIFO lifestyle, almost 80 per cent suggested shorter roster lengths, so they could see their families more often, with improvements to communications services on site also suggested."

The union has submitted its findings to a parliamentary inquiry into the mental health impacts of FIFO arrangements. ... ifo-deaths

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:07 pm 
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Here’s Where People Are Happiest Growing Old

Happiness rises consistently from the mid-40s onward in the U.S.

Will you get happier as you grow older? That might depend on where you live, according to a new Lancet study.

On average, people in high-income English-speaking countries tend to maintain higher levels of wellbeing, but that experience isn’t consistent over time. As people in these countries age, life satisfaction tends to follow a U-shape. In their young days, people report being happy, but that feeling declines as they face increased responsibilities in their 20s and 30s. Finally, happiness rises consistently from the mid-40s onward.

Reported happiness trends look completely different in former Soviet countries, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Happiness remained consistently low in Sub-Saharan Africa. Happiness began high in Latin America and declined slightly before leveling off in people’s 40s. In Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, people see a precipitous decline in happiness as they age: it starts high, but dips consistently as they grow old.

“It’s not a great surprise that the elderly in those countries are doing really badly relative to the young people,” says study author Angus Deaton, a Princeton University professor. “The young people do can all sorts of things…whereas the old people have no future, and the system they believed in all their life is gone.”

The study also evaluated differences between regions in other metrics of wellbeing, like emotions and physical conditions. And there’s some good news for everyone: In most regions, people reported fewer emotional issues as they grew older.

“Many people have hypothesized that you just get emotionally more skilled when you get older,” says Deaton. “You make mistakes, and you learn.”

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:02 pm 
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Benefits of med diet, exercise seen a year later

People who consume a Mediterranean diet and increase the amount of exercise they do for just eight weeks, may still be reaping the health rewards of this one year later, a new study suggests.

UK researchers looked at people over the age of 50 who were originally assessed over an eight-week period. During this time, one group of participants were encouraged to just take up exercise, however the second group was encouraged to take up exercise and consume more fruit, vegetables, oily fish, nuts and olive oil - all commonly found in a Mediterranean diet.

The study found that those who took up exercise and changed their diet had improved blood flow in their endothelial cells - these are cells found in the inner lining of all of the body's blood vessels.

Improvements in the functioning of these cells is linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease.

The researchers noted that overall, those in the diet and exercise group displayed more health benefits than those in the exercise-only group.

Furthermore, they emphasised that the improved functioning of the endothelial cells seen in the diet and exercise group was still present one year after the eight-week programme had been completed.

"Preserving a patient's endothelial function as they get older is thought to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so these findings are very encouraging. Although exercise on its own can be beneficial, other lifestyle factors such as nutrition, play an important role as well," commented lead researcher, Dr Markos Klonizakis, of Sheffield Hallam University.

The researchers said that it is essential to find ways of reducing cases of cardiovascular disease.

"With cardiovascular disease adding a huge burden to healthcare systems around the globe, it is important to find ways to reduce the number of cases. Even a medium-duration intervention with a Mediterranean diet and exercise regime can promise long-term health benefits, especially in people at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease," added co-researcher, Geoff Middleton, of the University of Lincoln.

Details of these findings are published in the journal, Microvascular Research.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:18 am 
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Location: Australia
Sunday night reporter PJ Madam drinks camel milk for a month to test its health benefits

THIS is a story about camels, their milk, and my bowel moments.

What could possibly be more interesting and attractive?

As a reporter on Sunday Night, I’m encouraged to get involved in the story as much as possible.

In the case of camel milk — all I had to do was drink some, right? Well, drink and document the effects, which has been a little tricky.

See, I’m one of those people who repeatedly test negative to allergies and intolerances.

According to multiple tests, I should be able to digest the main culprits: wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts.

Yet I’m embarrassed to say, my stomach tells me otherwise.

For the past 10 years, I’ve had a sensitive and weak constitution. I get cramps, sharp pain, bloating followed by the bathroom dramas.

It’s humiliating and frustrating.

Sometimes there’s a pattern. Most times, there’s not.

My doctor strongly believes I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ve been asked to have a colonoscopy and urged to try a food elimination diet but make every excuse under the sun to dodge both.

I like so many Australians, just watch what I eat, and put up with the symptoms.

So never in my wildest dreams did I imagine turning to camel milk to help the symptoms.

To me, the whole concept was plain weird.

Who wants to drink milk that comes from a camel?

They spit, they kick, they smell, they grunt and a whiff of their bad breath is enough to make you pass out.

I figured there was no point to investigating the health benefits of camel milk if I wasn’t drinking it myself.

For the past two months I travelled through the Middle East and outback Australia, investigating if the benefits of camel’s milk were fad or fact.

I spoke to many families who drink it to treat their child’s autism or asthma.

One man I spoke to suffers from Common Variable Immune Deficiency and swears by it being a staple in his diet.

The list doesn’t end there. The science behind the milk — known as ‘white gold’ — shows it can also help treat diabetes, cholesterol, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis and leaky gut.

Nearly everyone I met told me it has helped.

It sounded too good to be true. Annoyingly, some were even calling it a ‘super food’.

I was comfortably sceptical.

And that’s when I was given a challenge.

Tucked away among the hills in Perth is Australia’s only camel dairy farmer.

At 70, Chris O’Hora is hilariously inappropriate, very generous but incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about camel milk.

Chris O’Hora sells his camel milk raw, unpasteurised, which scientists say is better for you.

Under Australian law, selling raw milk also happens to be illegal. Chris covers his milk bottles with stickers saying “not fit for human consumption” so it’s my choice whether to drink it or not.

I chose yes. I’d been to Chris’ farm; saw the camels, where they lived, the milking process and hygiene standards so I felt very confident about drinking his milk.

That farm was cleaner than my kitchen.

Also, camels unlike cows naturally carry lower levels of dangerous bacteria that force us to pasteurise bovine milk. Despite this, Chris insists testing his milk every single day. I saw this and was more than confident about what I was about to do.

The crew and I travelled to his farm after weeks of trying to find someone in Australia who milks camels daily.

It’s a rare hobby and business.

Australia has the largest population of wild camels in the world but that doesn’t mean they line up and stand still to be milked.

Catching them in the wild is difficult and expensive. Once you have one, they yield around four times less than a cow.

It also costs $25 a litre.

Arriving at Callamunda Camel Farm, we filmed me milking ‘Ebony’, a young mother who’d recently given birth.

I’d never cleaned the udder of a camel, let alone milked one.

At roughly 700 kilograms in weight, Ebony felt my inexperienced hands clumsily squeeze her teats and reacted as I would. She kicked me multiple times.

Despite Ebony’s best efforts, I got enough milk to fill a cup.

It was warm, sweet, frothy and actually tasted pretty good. No beastly aftertaste at all.

I told Chris about my ‘funny tummy’ and he challenged me to drink a glass of raw camel milk for four weeks to see if it made a difference.

So every morning, I drank one glass. Sometimes two.

My first impression was that I wasn’t hungry. There were some days I skipped and even forgot about breakfast. It stole my appetite.

At this point, I wasn’t seeing a difference to my digestion. Things remained inconsistent, which was consistent for me.

I increased my amount to two glasses a day and that’s when it got interesting.

Call it the ‘unexpected detox’, which required me to stay close to the toilet up to three times a day.

It flushed out everything in my system (okay, so I was drinking way too much!).

Perhaps the biggest score was that I instantly had a flat stomach.

It was as if I’d been secretly doing up to 300 sit-ups a day and overnight I’d gained a washboard effect.

Something had to give. This flat stomach was going hand in hand with a lot of time spent in the bathroom. It was too much.

That’s when I lowered my dosage, stopped running to the toilet, and began to feel normal again.

Actually I felt great.

After a month, my stomach symptoms didn’t stop entirely, but they weren’t as severe. Very little cramping, and the bloating disappeared.

I did feel better which made me more conscious of my eating habits and portion size.

I’m not sure that camel milk is the great elixir to everyone’s gut problems and I’m not convinced that it’ll cure my IBS but it’s definitely had a positive affect.

It won’t feature on my weekly shopping list but I think I will keep drinking camel milk when I can. The biggest issue here in Australia is getting it.

Until it floods the supermarket shelves, the only way I can buy it if flying it from Chris’ farm in Perth.

For me, I believe it’s worth it.

*Yes, I paid for every drop of camel milk. ... 7115069267

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:17 pm 
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Location: Australia
10 foods you should eat every day

Forget what we should not be eating; instead let's focus on the powerful super foods that pack a serious nutrition hit for their punch and the foods that we should aim to eat on a daily basis. Once you build your diet around a few of these nutrient rich wonders, not only do you build a strong health platform for your body long term, but there is far less room left for unnecessary snacks and high-calorie extras that tend to slip in when our baseline diet is lacking.

1) Berries

It does not matter which type of berry you choose, they are all good for you. Berries are not only low in calories but they contain some the highest-known food concentrations of antioxidants as well as good amounts of fibre and a number of key vitamins including Vitamin C. You can enjoy them fresh or frozen, and just ½ a cup a day made into a smoothie, eaten with low-fat yoghurt or added to cereal in the morning will give you a daily antioxidant hit.

2) Green tea

Swap a coffee or two for a strong cup of green tea a day and your weight and immune system are likely to benefit. Not only is green tea exceptionally high in antioxidants, there is also some evidence to show that it can help promote a fast metabolism. Aim for a cup after each meal and caffeine-free varieties are available if you find you are caffeine sensitive. If you do not love the flavour of plain green tea, the flavoured varieties do not affect the positive nutritional attributes and remember, the longer you leave the tea bag in, the better it will be for you.

3) Probiotic yoghurt

Probiotics, found in a number of yoghurts, are the micro-organisms naturally found in the human digestive tract that improve the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut. Probiotics have been shown to help reduce digestive symptoms such as constipation and bloating; help restore gut flora after consuming a course of antibiotics and help rebalance the bacteria required for optimal nutrient absorption. Research is also building to show the link of gut health to overall immune function, which gives even more reason to include probiotics in your daily food regime.

4) Red capsicum

Forget an apple a day; a red capsicum will give you a massive Vitamin C boost for minimal calories. A rich source of carotenoids, the group of antioxidants known to play a powerful role in helping to down regulate a number of inflammatory pathways in the body. Individuals who have had a higher intake of carotenoids during their lives have been associated with lower risks of mortality from common disease states including heart disease, cancer and stroke in large population based health studies. Red capsicums are a great vege snack teamed with hummus or cucumber dip, roasted with a little olive oil and enjoyed with salads or as an ingredients in omelettes, frittatas and stir fries..

5) Tomatoes

Rich in Vitamin C and beta carotene, cooked tomatoes in particular will give you a daily dose of the nutrient lycopene, another powerful antioxidant linked to reduced incidence of some cancers including stomach and pancreatic cancer. Enjoy them drizzled with a little olive oil, cooked into a sauce with vegetables, as tomato paste or even in tomato sauce to reap the nutritional benefits.

6) Walnuts

Although all nuts have a number of health benefits, the unique thing about walnuts is that they are the nuts richest in long chain polyunsaturated fats. Just 30g of walnuts each day again helps to optimise cell wall composition and has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and helps to increase our consumption of the powerful anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats. Grab a handful a day or add to salads or baking – just 10 a day is all you need.

7) Oily fish

Fresh tuna or salmon give massive doses of omega 3 fat, the type of fat associated with reduced inflammation in the body. It is well documented that the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; DHA and EPA, that are found in highest concentrations in deep-sea cold fish have a number of roles that are beneficial for health. The numerous other health benefits of omega 3 fats include reduced triglycerides, blood pressure and inflammatory processes in the body. When we think of oily fish we often think of tuna, but salmon and sardines are also excellent sources and can be enjoyed on toast, in salads or with pasta dishes for a daily omega 3 boost.

8) Broccoli

Not the dietitian's favourite vegetable for nothing – the rich phytonutrient content of broccoli is difficult to find in many other foods. Broccoli is a rich source of folate; the antioxidant lutein that can delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the phytochemical called sulphoraphane, which has specific anti-cancer properties. Lightly steam to retain as much of the nutrition as possible, or enjoy with a little olive oil and added to salads, stir-fries or dips on a daily basis.

9) Vegetable Soup

Whether you make it yourself, or keep a ready prepared supermarket variety, keeping a vegetable based soup handy means that you never have an excuse to not eat your vege, no matter how busy you are. Whether you enjoy it as a light meal, use it as a filling option before you head out for a big night or use it to manage hunger during the day, soup is a must have fridge staple for weight control. In fact, studies from The Pennsylvania State University have shown that you eat up to 25 per cent fewer calories when you enjoy vegetable based soup as part of a meal.

10) Dark Chocolate

If you are going to enjoy some chocolate regularly, make it dark. Chocolate made with a high proportion of cocoa contains high amounts of the antioxidant molecules, the flavonoids and the phenolic phytochemicals and is actually rated higher than both tea and red wine in terms of antioxidant capacity. That said, naturally controlling your portion size is the key. Aim for just 20g for roughly 100 calories and 5-7g of fat and remember when it comes to the nutritional benefits of chocolate, the darker the better. ... -every-day

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