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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:20 pm 
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8 questions to reveal your Type 2 diabetes risk

Steps like changing diet, losing weight and increasing exercise can then help those at high risk to prevent the disease, say experts.

They claim that even after Type 2 diabetes has developed, it can be reversed if caught early.

European Society of Cardiology spokesman Professor Eberhard Standl launched the questionnaire to mark World Diabetes Day today.

It asks eight questions about age, body mass index, waist circumference, physical activity, consumption of fruits and vegetables, use of high blood pressure drugs, history of high blood glucose and family history of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Experts use a point-scoring system applied to each answer to arrive at an assessment of the risk of respondents developing Type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

For scores of seven to 11, the risk is “slightly elevated” which means an estimated one in 25 will suffer.

Scores of 12 to 14 indicate a moderate danger, which would affect around one in six. A score of 15 to 20 is high risk, meaning one in three.

A score of over 20 is considered “very high risk” and one in two would be likely to develop diabetes.

Professor Standl, from the Munich Diabetes Research Group, said: “The questionnaire is very easy and people can do it themselves.”

He warned there has been a dramatic increase in Type 2 diabetes which “has exceeded expectations”.

But he added: “The epidemic seems unstoppable yet there is very good and strong evidence that people can stop diabetes with lifestyle changes.

“Regular physical exercise is the most important thing you can do, followed by eating fibre-rich food and losing weight.

“To reverse or prevent Type 2 diabetes, the goal is 30 minutes of decent physical exercise every day.

"This could be brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling.”

People who want to reverse early diabetes or prevent the disease from developing need to lose about five per cent of their body weight, he said, adding: “You have to limit your fat intake, particularly saturated fats – foods such as butter, sausages, fatty cuts of meat, cakes and cheese.”

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/hea ... isk-Type-2


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:56 pm 
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NSW Government bans smoking in national parks to reduce bushfire risk

LIGHTING up a cigarette in a national park in NSW is set to be outlawed as the State Government moves to stamp out a key cause of bushfires.

The ban will apply to picnic areas, campgrounds, beaches, lookouts and walking tracks in all 860 national parks, including the key tourist hotspot of Sydney Harbour National Park.

Motorists driving a through a national park will also be forced to stub out their cigarettes with the regulation also applying to local roads, although State and Federal roads are excluded.

The ban will only take effect from January 1 to allow for the implementation of a community education campaign before fines of $300 take effect.

Despite both fire authorities and the government acknowledging discarded cigarette butts contribute to the State’s bushfires, smoking has to date been permitted in all national parks.

The Royal Commission into the Victorian bushfires identified cigarette butts as one of the likely causes of bushfires in the Australian environment.

Emergency Emergency Services Minister Stuart Ayres recently doubled fines for littering lit cigarettes to $660 — $1320 if caught on a Total Fire Ban day.

Environment Minister Rob Stokes said a total smoking ban would not only address a key bushfire threat but help reduce the thousands of cigarette butts left behind by smokers in the State’s parks network.

Cigarette butts contained hazardous chemicals such as arsenic and lead, which leached into the environment, contaminating waterways and the environment, he said.

“Seven billion cigarette butts are littered in Australia every year, putting lives and property at risk, ruining beaches, spoiling the beauty of our parks and endangering wildlife,” Mr Stokes said.

A NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman said discarded cigarettes butts were among the key “human” causes of bushfires, along with unattended campfires, barbecues and arson.

With the latest Bureau of Meteorology weather outlook predicting above average temperatures over the next three months, volunteers are bracing themselves for a busy bushfire season.

Neil “Dolly” Dowsett loves to have a smoke while fishing in Woko National Park near Gloucester.

The keen fisherman who has been frequenting the parks for a regular fishing session for the past 20 years said he believed a total ban was “over the top”.

“I think it’s over the top — how are they going to police it?” he said.

“We take anything we bring into the park back with us, including our cigarette butts. I have absolute respect for people who don’t smoke, but this is a bit ridiculous.”

According to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), littered cigarettes are believed to start around 1200 grass fires each year in NSW with butts accounting for more than one-third of all littered items in the state.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/n ... 7123243509


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:26 pm 
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Woman wins $808,114 payout after dentist botched tooth extraction

A Bookham woman has won more than $800,000 in damages after a piece of tooth was forced into her sinus during a botched molar extraction.

The woman visited Dr Hock Nien Ng with a toothache in December 2009.

An inspection revealed the upper right molar had extensive decay under an existing filling.

Dr Ng told the woman her options were either a tooth extraction or root canal therapy.

She opted to have the tooth pulled, but the procedure went wrong when the crown of the tooth broke.

Dr Ng continued with the extraction, taking breaks in between to see other patients, and managed to remove part of the root of the tooth.

He then took a further x-ray and continued, but accidently pushed the remaining part of the tooth into her sinus.

Dr Ng stitched the socket and told her she required surgery.

The woman then went to Calvary Hospital's emergency department after feeling ill and was referred to the maxillofacial unit at Canberra Hospital.

She was given antibiotics in preparation for surgery.

She reported that water would come out of her nose when she had a drink.

But the woman lost control and sensation in the right side of her face – which was later diagnosed as Bell's Palsy - and developed an infection which required hospitalisation.

She underwent surgery about a week after the botched extraction, with doctors successfully removing the piece of tooth that had been freely moving within her sinus.

The operation was successful, but the woman then lost sensation in her upper teeth and gums.

She then suffered an infection to her jaw bone and required treatment until September 2011.

The woman's career as a vet was severely affected by her continued health issues.

The woman launched civil action against the dentist, claiming personal injury as a result of negligence.

But Dr Ng argued he had continued the procedure upon her instruction.

Master David Mossop, in a judgment published in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday, found in the woman's favour and awarded her $808,114 to cover damages, loss of income, and out-of-pocket expenses.

Master Mossop found Dr Ng had breached his duty of care by failing to refer her to a surgeon and continuing his attempts to extract the tooth after the second x-ray.

"[Dr Ng] continued the extraction in circumstances where a reasonably competent general dentist would have recognised that the risks associated with continuing were significantly greater than if the plaintiff was referred to an oral surgeon," Master Mossop wrote.

"Notwithstanding the expressed wishes of the patient, it is the dentist that remains in control of the procedure and whether or not it is pursued.

"The desire of the patient to have the process successfully completed does not compel or justify a dentist in continuing to persevere when the risks outweigh the benefits."

Master Mossop said he had been satisfied that the dentist had breached his duty of care to the woman and that the breach caused the wall of the maxillary sinus to be perforated.

"Had the plaintiff, no later than the second x-ray, been referred to an oral surgeon then it is likely that the roots of the tooth would have been able to be extracted without a communication with the sinus being created.

"Even if I had accepted [Dr Ng's] version of events, I would have found him to have breached his duty."

http://www.smh.com.au/act-news/woman-wi ... 1oumb.html


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:04 am 
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Just how safe is your microwave?

I use my microwave nearly every day, mostly for heating leftovers, rewarming my morning coffee and "steaming" vegetables.

Because, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, more than 90 per cent of homes in the US have the appliance, I figured it was universally regarded as safe; so I was taken by surprise when a recipe I posted online generated some passionate anti-microwave comments.

A quick web search of "microwave dangers" brought up some startling claims and concerns. There are questions about radiation leakage, arguments that microwave cooking "violently" rips apart food molecules rendering them void of nutrients, and earnest warnings that ice crystals from microwaved water form a similar shape to those from water that was repeatedly exposed to the word "Satan." (You just can't make this stuff up.)

Although the devil-water concept is a bit, um, farfetched, some of the other claims cited seemingly sound sources, so I decided to investigate.

How do microwaves work?

The microwave contains an electron tube called a magnetron, which produces electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength a little shorter ("micro") than that of a normal radio wave. These waves cause the water molecules in food to vibrate, which ultimately produces the heat that cooks the food. That's why ingredients with a high water content, such as vegetables, cook very quickly in a microwave.

It's a common myth that microwaves cook from the inside out. In fact their waves don't actually penetrate foods very well, which is why you get cold spots in thicker foods and need to let them rest after microwaving to allow the heat to disperse for even cooking.

Do they emit radiation?

Microwaves do leak some radiation, but before you panic, read on. To put things in perspective, your laptop, cordless phone and mobile all leak electromagnetic radiation, too.

The Food and Drug Administration has strict limits on the amount that can leak from a microwave oven throughout its lifetime, and it is far below the amount known to harm people. Part of the requirement is that the appliances are built with double "interlock" systems that stop the production of microwaves as soon as the latch is released.

The level of normal exposure also drops dramatically as you move away from the oven - so, to be extra cautious, simply stand away from it while it's on. Microwaves turn on and off like a light bulb: when they are off, no waves are emitted, and microwave energy cannot linger in the oven or in food.

Although there is no clear evidence of harm, many people are concerned that low levels of electromagnetic radiation may impact human health over a long time. It is certainly something that needs to be studied. The thing is, when you consider the persistent and cumulative exposure from all your WiFi-enabled devices and the multitude of other radiation sources we have around us, the occasional microwaving of some leftovers seems the least of the problem, if there is one at all.

How does microwaving affect nutrition?

Microwaving is one of the most healthful ways to cook vegetables because it cooks them quickly and without a lot of water, much as steaming does. Multiple studies have supported this, including a 2010 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry that identified microwaving as the best cooking method for maintaining the color and cancer-fighting phytochemicals in brussels sprouts.

One study that came up in many internet anti-microwave arguments was done in 2003, when Spanish researchers concluded that microwaving broccoli destroyed nearly all its flavonoids (antioxidant-like compounds). The problem is that the researchers microwaved the broccoli for a long time in a bowl of water. That made it more akin to boiling, which leads to similar nutrient loss.

To "steam" a vegetable in your microwave (one of my favourite techniques), just wash it and pat it dry, place it in a microwave-safe bowl, cover tightly and microwave it for the same amount of time you'd steam it - four minutes for a cut-up head of broccoli, for example. The result will be bright green, crisp and nutrient-rich.

Is it safe to heat in plastic containers?

Takeout containers, foam trays or any plastic storage or grocery bags not specifically designed for microwave use can melt and leach into food. So use plastic containers only if they are explicitly labeled microwave-safe. It's best to look for a label on paper plates, too.

Thick, nondecorative glass, wax paper, parchment paper and white (undyed) paper towels are all fine in the microwave.

The bottom line

Microwaving can be a healthy, convenient way to cook. Just be sure your appliance is in good repair and use a microwave-safe container.

The biggest health risk involved is probably the foods you choose to microwave. Rather than use it for heating hyper-processed salty meals and snacks, try it out with more healthy items, such as fresh vegetables.

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/homesty ... 1pp2m.html


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:46 pm 
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Brain tapeworm caused man's four-year headache

e tapeworm was nearly 4 inches long and had traveled from one hemisphere of a man’s brain to the other. By the time doctors finally removed it, after nearly four years of it wriggling through his brain matter, the 50-year-old had suffered memory flashbacks, pain on his right side and complex seizures.

Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute outside Cambridge, England, just reported their analysis of the parasite’s genome, which will be helpful in finding ways to fight it.

But I’m so not done with the worm.

Besides having a stunning number of vowels, Spirometra erinaceieuropaei needs no fewer than three hosts to mature to its adult stage, and it can occupy a variety of tissues, according to the study, published Friday in the journal Genome Biology.

The worm has been found in humans in its secondary larval form, known as a sparganum, which has no mouth or hooklets and can’t proliferate but can move around.

The worm matures as it works its way up the food chain to its preferred hosts — cats or dogs. It hatches from eggs and infects freshwater copepods, sometimes called water fleas, which are eaten by tadpoles, frogs or snakes, at which point the worm reaches its more advanced larval stage.

Humans become infected with that larval stage when they ingest these host animals, or in some cases through use of frog-meat poultices applied to open wounds or the eyes as part of traditional medicine in some areas of China, according to the study.

There have been only seven reported cases of human infection in Europe but more than 1,000 in China, the study said.

During a biopsy they actually pulled out a small globular object and the pathology department identified it as a worm.

The patient whose brain had been infected, who was of Chinese ancestry, had lived in Britain for two decades but made frequent trips to China, the researchers said. He first reported headaches, seizures and episodes of altered smell and flashback memories in 2008. Multiple tests and scans were inconclusive, but a series of MRI images over the course of four years showed that brain lesions had migrated at least two inches. A biopsy caught the culprit.

“During a biopsy they actually pulled out a small globular object and the pathology department identified it as a worm,” said the study’s lead author, Hayley Bennett of the Sanger Institute. “It was inside his brain, and the MRI scans showed lesions where the worm was. They actually moved from one hemisphere of the brain to the other, over four years.”

Bennett, who specializes in worm genomics, was understandably intrigued. Tapeworms of other species wreak havoc in the developing world, including another species that can infect the brain and is the most preventable cause of epilepsy in developing countries.

“Tapeworms are a big issue across the world,” she said.

Scientists are eager to learn anything they can about fighting the pest and have already developed some promising drugs. Bennett and her colleagues looked for areas of the newly outlined genome that were similar to those of other species for which drugs have been developed.

“Because this is such a rare infection, it doesn’t really make any economic sense for anyone to develop a drug for it,” Bennett said. “But if drugs that were developed for other, more common infections can be repurposed, that could help patients with this infection in the future.”

Although they identified several promising targets for existing drugs, much more research will be required to find out whether the worm can be stopped, or at least kept from doing as much damage to tissues.

As for the patient, he has recovered, though he continues to suffer symptoms from the infection, according to the study.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencen ... story.html


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:20 am 
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How to survive the Christmas sugar frenzy

DON'T worry about the sugarplums this Christmas - it's the sugary drinks that are going to knock you about.

Shocking new figures put Australia in the top 10 countries in the world for sucking back sweet drinks, and it's having dramatic effects on our health.

Christmas - a thirsty and indulgent season for most Australians - is a danger time for overconsumption of sugar and alcohol.

But even outside the silly season, Queenslanders are over-achieving in the consumption of "discretionary beverages" (including booze).

According to a report from the state's Chief Health Officer released last week, our worst offenders are 19 to 30-year-old men, who are sinking the equivalent of about five cans a day, and 31 to 50-year-old women with about three cans a day.

When you consider that a 600ml bottle of regular soft drink contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar, that's a worry.

And that's where the ugly term "obesogenic environments" comes in, i.e. environments that encourage people to eat unhealthily and not do enough exercise.

The report said sedentary people or those short for their age or sex - or those trying to lose weight - should not eat *any* "discretionary foods". If you're taller, more active or a healthy weight, two to three serves a day of extras would be okay.

The festive season is a difficult time of the year to stay focussed when it comes to eating well and exercising. Temptation is everywhere and food and drink make up a large part of most festive events.

But, when you consider the festivities can kick off in November and roll through until January, it's a substantial period of time to be overindulging.

One of the simplest and best things to keep in mind is to enjoy yourself, but do so in moderation.

Remember it's okay to say "no thanks" if you're full.

No one will be offended if you have a drink of water rather than a soft drink or a beer or wine, or if you remove yourself from temptation by standing by the dance floor rather than the food table.

It's also a good idea to have a healthy snack before you head to a function. This way, you won't arrive hungry and reach for the unhealthy foods.

And to put that advice into perspective, here's some facts:

Aussies are buying 1.28 billion litres of sugary drinks each year. Cola is the most popular at 447 million litres.
There are 7 teaspoons of sugar in a little 250ml energy drink.
If you drink a can of soft drink a day you could spend more than $1000 a year (depending on the price you pay)
If you drink a 600ml bottle of orange fruit drink every day for a year, you have consumed 23kg of sugar.
Half of Australia's children are having sugary drinks (including energy drinks) every day.

So a good Christmas present for yourself might be reaching for a glass of water instead of a "discretionary beverage". You can still have fun, but you won't be setting yourself up for an unhappy new year.

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/ne ... y/2458116/


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:45 am 
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Newborn in drain: mother followed best practice protocols leaving hospital early

A woman who allegedly dumped her baby in a drain within hours of giving birth followed NSW Health's best practice protocols in her decision to leave hospital soon after delivery.

A trend towards shorter postnatal stays in hospital has been growing for decades and is among the aims of NSW Health's "Towards Normal Birth" directive to simplify childbirth.

Hospitals are encouraged to discharge women from hospital four to 48 hours after the birth, provided that they had normal pregnancies, uncomplicated vaginal births, healthy babies and family support at home.

NSW Kids and Families chief executive Joanna Holt said postnatal care plans were developed with women and their partners during pregnancy and included discussions about what family and social support was available after the baby was born.

"The length of time a woman stays in hospital after the birth of her baby will vary and be decided in partnership with the woman and her healthcare professional and take into account the health and wellbeing of the woman, her baby and the level of support available following discharge," Ms Holt said.

Depending on their circumstances, the midwife might link a woman to support services.

In 2011, 17 per cent of NSW mothers were discharged less than two days after birth, up from 11 per cent in 2002 and 4 per cent in 1994.

Just over 3 per cent of NSW mothers were discharged after less than one day.

Police allege the 30-year-old woman whose baby was discovered down a stormwater drain on Sunday had left Blacktown Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after delivering him in the early hours of that morning.

Australasian College of Midwives spokeswoman Hannah Dahlen said it was best practice for women to leave hospital as soon as possible after childbirth, provided they had been screened for mental health issues and had ongoing support from their midwife at home.

"If everything is normal there's a move to increasingly discharge women earlier and earlier but with the understanding that you have postnatal services for the first week," Dr Dahlen said.

NSW had excellent antenatal psycho-social screening processes to ensure women were well supported on discharge, she said.

But there was no way of ensuring that they always told the truth about their circumstances. Nor could staff stop women from leaving hospital if they were determined to do so.

"Of course, there's autonomy to do that," Dr Dahlen said.

"We can do a lot more to support women [after childbirth] but staying in hospital longer is not going to make a difference and, in fact, sitting in hospital is going to lead to more infections, poorer sleep, conflicting advice, so that's not the answer."

A Sydney mother admitted to police that she dumped her newborn baby boy down a drain knowing it would kill him, court papers showed.

The case against the 30-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was heard briefly in Blacktown Local Court on Monday after she was charged with the attempted murder of the boy.

Police will allege the boy was born in the early hours of November 18 and pushed down a stormwater drain near the M7 motorway at Quakers Hill only hours later.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/newborn-in-dr ... 1tpe7.html


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:22 pm 
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Well-meaning advice on weight loss does a fat lot of good

Tempted to tell an overweight friend, lover or family member to think twice about eating another piece of cake? New research suggests you would be doing more harm than good.

Overweight Australians are regularly encountering unhelpful stigma thought to exacerbate weight gain, even though it might have been well intended.

A recent study of 46 overweight and obese people found that most experience negative treatment related to their weight on a daily basis, such as being laughed at or having a doctor blame an unrelated problem on their size.

The most frequent perpetrators of what has been called "the last socially acceptable form of discrimination" were strangers, spouses or partners, friends, parents and the media.

The research, led by the University of New South Wales and published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioural Science, suggests many overweight and obese people are in a negative environmental cycle that discourages them from losing weight to improve their health.

Previous studies have shown that media coverage presenting negative portrayals of obese people as lazy or overindulgent can encourage unhealthy behaviour. One study found that overweight women who watched stigmatising media portrayals in a video ate more snacks compared to overweight women who watched a control video.

Research has also shown that overweight and obese people face discrimination in the workplace, health care facilities and in the dating scene.

Most participants in one survey said they would prefer to date a recovering drug addict, mentally ill person, or someone with a sexually transmitted disease than an overweight person. Another study found employers viewed overweight job candidates as less qualified, less effective, and less trustworthy than their slimmer counterparts.

Public health campaigns aimed at reducing obesity have also used stigmatising images on the premise that if it were sufficiently unpleasant to be obese, overweight people would be motivated to change their behavior and lose weight.

But UNSW psychologist Dr Lenny Vartanian, who conducted the recent study on 46 people in Sydney, said there was growing evidence this was not the case. He said stigma could cause low self-esteem and depression, and make people feel less motivated to diet and more likely to binge eat.

If people want to help loved ones lose weight, Dr Vartanian said they could propose constructive ideas such as joint exercise or cooking healthier meals together.

"If you look at your partner across the table and say 'Don't you think your arse is fat enough?' That is not going to help. If you're trying to support people you care about, treat them with dignity and respect and be supportive and encouraging. Help them in their goals rather than thinking you will do any good by demeaning them," he said.

http://www.watoday.com.au/ek-health/wel ... 1v718.html


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:56 am 
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These Bitter Foods May Help Treat Cancer

A team of researchers from University of California and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences have found a certain compound present in fruits and veggies like pumpkin, watermelon and cucumber that may help treat cancer and diabetes. The study was published in the Journal Science. Using high-tech genomics, researchers have identified the genes responsible for the intense bitter taste of wild cucumbers. The team is of the opinion that the same compounds may also help treat cancer and diabetes.

The experts specifically looked at wild cucurbits that includes cucumber, pumpkin, melon, watermelon and squash. Wild cucurbits have been used by the Indians and the Chinese for medicinal purposes. They have been used for over thousands years to treat liver related diseases. Experts attempted at studying the fruit and leaves of wild cucurbits to find out more about a compound called cucurbitacins that renders bitterness to pumpkin, cucumber and other foods of the same family. Cucurbitacins were further studied to establish that the compound is capable of killing or suppressing growth of cancer cells.

Scientists explained that the presence of this bitterness as an element helps protect wild plants against their predators. William Lucas from the University of California, Davis, Sanwen Huang at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and their team employed the latest in DNA sequencing technology to identify the exact changes in DNA associated with bitterness.

Essentially, bitterness is known to be controlled by two genetic traits, Bi which confers bitterness on the whole plant and Bt, which leads to a bitter fruit. The team was able to identify nine genes that were involved in making cucurbitacin. It was found that the two bitterness traits - Bi and BT - could be traced to two transcription factors that switch on these nine genes to produce cucurbitacin.

The research also sheds light on how domestication tweaked cucumber genetics to make the fruit more edible and less bitter. Understanding this process might help in developing other food crops that are naturally either inedible or poor in nutrition. It will help scientists produce cucurbitacins in larger quantities to be used in clinical trials and potentially in medicine.

http://cooks.ndtv.com/article/show/thes ... cer-627244


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:23 pm 
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‘I was 26 and most type 1 diabetics are diagnosed in childhood': The deadly danger too many diabetics aren't warned about

Hannah Postles discovered she had type 1 diabetes after going to A&E with blurred vision.

It wasn’t her only symptom.

For the previous three weeks, she’d been thirsty, drinking two bottles of water at lunch, had lost weight and felt run down.

‘My boss suggested I might have diabetes after looking up my symptoms online, but my GP seemed to dismiss it because of my age,’ says Hannah, a press officer for the University of Sheffield.

‘I was 26 and most type 1 diabetics are diagnosed in childhood.’

Luckily, Hannah spoke to a doctor friend who told her to go to A&E, where she was tested for diabetes, and immediately put on an insulin drip.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose levels in the blood.

Typically, people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed around the age of 12 — although occasionally adults are diagnosed in later life.

Type 2 diabetes, which can be diagnosed at any age, occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin itself does not work properly.

Not only did Hannah have diabetes, her blood sugar levels were so out of control by the time she was diagnosed that she had developed diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition when blood glucose levels remain persistently high for days or weeks.

The condition can be caused by illness or infection or by the mismanagement of diabetes — which, as Hannah, now 29, discovered, can be the result of not knowing you have it.

Symptoms include vomiting, headaches, abdominal pain and, if left too long, coma and even death. Had Hannah not gone to A&E, she might have died.

In July 2012, new mother Nicky Rigby, 26, from the Wirral, did die from undiagnosed type 1 diabetes.

She’d assumed her chronic tiredness and weight loss were due to the stress of having given birth to daughter, Lily, five months earlier.

There are 300,000 people in the UK with type 1, and diabetic ketoacidosis is the main reason they are admitted to hospital — 41 per cent need treatment, according to the NHS National Diabetes Inpatient Audit.

The number of children admitted has doubled since 2005 — partly because parents and even health professionals can be unaware of the symptoms.

Libby Dowling, a diabetes nurse and clinical adviser for Diabetes UK, says: ‘Diabetic ketoacidosis is often caused by an illness — because the body’s natural response is to raise blood glucose levels to fight infection — or less often, by misjudging how much insulin to take.’

Insulin helps push glucose into the body.

Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when insulin levels have fallen critically low, so there is surplus glucose in the blood.

Without insulin, the body tries to expel glucose through urine, so patients need the loo a lot.

But if the body isn’t getting energy from the glucose, it starts breaking down fat cells.

This process produces chemicals called ketones, which make you feel unwell.

‘Ketones make the body too acidic, which causes dehydration,’ says Professor Steve Bain, a diabetes specialist at Swansea University.

‘People with diabetic ketoacidosis pass lots of urine which upsets potassium levels in the body.’

Potassium helps to regulate the heart, so upsetting the balance can stop it beating.

Diabetic ketoacidosis can also cause cerebral oedema, a swelling of the brain, which can lead to coma and death if it is left untreated.

‘Diabetic ketoacidosis is treated as a medical emergency in hospital with insulin to bring down glucose levels, and fluids to combat dehydration,’ says Professor Bain.

Some patients are given bicarbonate of soda to balance acid levels — this was the treatment which Hannah needed.

Worryingly, Hannah says that even after her diagnosis and treatment, she was not warned that ketoacidosis might be a danger in future.

This lack of knowledge almost proved fatal.

Last August, more than two years after being admitted to hospital, she fell unconscious after feeling sick and vomiting for a couple of days.

She was rushed to hospital with a blood glucose reading off the scale.

‘I was unconscious for three days, and so dehydrated that doctors had to pump 19 litres of fluid into me,’ she says.

Hannah had kidney failure from losing so much fluid, and was in intensive care for a week.

‘I gained 4st in fluid because my kidneys couldn’t cope,’ she says.

‘Fluid settled in my arms, legs and tummy and I couldn’t take water tablets because they might have damaged my kidneys.

'By the time my kidneys had returned to normal and I could take water tablets, I was losing half a stone in water a day.’

Doctors weren’t sure what caused the episode, suggesting it may have been an infection or that Hannah may have misjudged how much insulin to take.

‘If I’d been diagnosed as a child, I think I’d have had more support,’ she says.

‘As an adult, you’re pretty much left to get on with it.

'I was told high blood sugar is dangerous in the long-term, not short-term, or that it could come on within hours or leave me in intensive care.’

According to figures for 2012-13 from the National Diabetes Audit, patients under 40 receive worse care than older patients.

Only a third with type 1 and 46.3 per cent with type 2 diabetes received eight of the nine checks recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which assesses the effectiveness of treatment and emergence of early complications.

These include weight, blood pressure and cholesterol tests, and eye and foot examinations.

Compare this with patients aged 65 to 79 — 59.9 per cent for those with type 1 and 66.7 per cent for those with type 2 diabetes received eight of the nine processes.

And the NHS’s National Diabetes Audit found only 43 per cent of people with type 1 receive the care they need to manage their condition.

Cuts in specialist nursing may be partly to blame, says Libby Dowling.

‘Although it seems logical to tell patients they can get diabetic ketoacidosis if their blood glucose is not managed properly, we know people with diabetes aren’t necessarily getting access to specialists, who have in-depth knowledge.’

Hannah believes other sufferers are also unaware of the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.

‘When I talk to other patients, many haven’t heard of it.’

More than three years after her diagnosis, Hannah is due to go on a week-long NHS course teaching type 1 patients how to estimate the carbohydrate in each meal and inject the right dose of insulin.

‘[Budget] cuts affect people getting on these courses,’ says Libby Dowling.

‘They are not run at all hospitals and there are waiting lists, but it’s worth asking for a place.’

‘Until now, diabetes hasn’t been properly explained to me,’ adds Hannah.

‘Perhaps I should have educated myself more, but it’s a complex condition.

‘Living with diabetes is a huge adjustment, and health professionals need to be more frank about the risks.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... about.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:23 am 
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10 most popular complementary medicines may interact with cancer therapy

According to new research presented at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia's (COSA's) Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne, Australia, researchers at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne have found that the 10 most asked about complementary medicines all may result in drug interactions with administered with chemotherapy, radiation, or prior to surgery.

For the study, researchers identified the 10 most commonly inquired about complementary medicines by providers and patients to the hospital's Medicines Information Centre. Excluding vitamins and minerals, the 10 most commonly asked about complementary medicines were: astragalus, coenzyme Q10, fish oil, ginger, green tea, lactobacillus, licorice, milk thistle, and reishi mushroom.

The researchers note that any of those found in a normal healthy diet would not likely cause adverse effects, but higher quantities consumed in complementary medicines could. These supplemental medicines have the potential to alter the effects of chemotherapy, thereby increasing the patient's risk of toxicity or decreasing the effectiveness of the chemotherapy.

Products that contain high levels of antioxidants can potentially interact with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Patients should be aware that a natural product may not be safe and a complementary product does not necessarily complement standard cancer therapies.

NSAIDs linked to decreased breast cancer recurrence among obese women

10 most asked about complementary medicines all may result in drug interactions.

The ten most commonly asked about complementary medicines all interact with conventional treatments, potentially posing a threat to patient health and reaffirming the need for complementary or alternative therapies to be discussed between patients and their healthcare provider.

http://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/pop ... le/386383/


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:11 am 
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Brain link for obesity and high blood pressure found

The elusive link between obesity and high blood pressure has been pinned down to the action of leptin in the brain, and we might be able to block it with drugs.

We've known for more than 30 years that fat and high blood pressure are linked, but finding what ties them together has been difficult. One of the favourite candidates has been leptin – a hormone produced by fat cells.

Under normal circumstances, when fat cells produce leptin, the hormone sends the message that you've had enough food. But in people with obesity, the body stops responding to this message, and large levels of leptin build up.

Leptin is known to activate the regulatory network called the sympathetic nervous system, and it's the activation of sympathetic nerves on the kidneys that seem to be responsible for raising blood pressure. Leptin has thus been linked to blood pressure. However, conclusive evidence has been hard to come by.

No leptin, no problem

Michael Cowley of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues have now conducted a string of experiments that provide some evidence. Through genetic and drug experiments in mice, they have pinpointed an area in the mouse brain that increases blood pressure when it is exposed to high leptin levels.

This region is called the dorsomedial hypothalamus, and is thought to be involved in controlling energy consumption. Their findings show that high levels in leptin do indeed boost blood pressure, via this brain region.

The team then looked at people who either couldn't produce leptin or couldn't respond to leptin. In both those groups, being obese did not lead to high blood pressure – suggesting that leptin was a crucial linking factor.

Cowley says it used to be thought that leptin specifically activated the sympathetic nervous system connected to brown fat, which can directly burn energy. "But it also spills over into activation of the sympathetic nervous system of the heart and the kidney," says Cowley. "And so it's sort of a cruel twist of fate that as the brain tries to help you lose weight, it increases heart rate and blood pressure."

"It really is an impressive piece of work," says David Grattan from the University of Otago in New Zealand. "The animal data are extremely strong and the human data are consistent," he says.

But Murray Esler from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, says he's still not convinced that leptin does regulate blood pressure in humans. "If you administer leptin to obese people for a year or two, it never puts up their blood pressure," he says. "And we've looked for a connection between the sympathetic nerves firing in the kidney and increased leptin and no relationship exists."

However Grattan says that when researchers give people leptin in studies, it's often associated with weight-loss, which could cause blood pressure to drop, counteracting blood-pressure rise from the hormone.

Ravenously hungry

Cowley says the chemical his team has used in the mice to block leptin, or one like it, might work in humans, but it's not a promising treatment – it would probably also make people ravenously hungry. Instead, his team might need to narrow down the pathway between leptin and the sympathetic nervous system and try to block some component of that instead.

But Cowley thinks just having the knowledge of how obesity leads to heart disease will help patients directly. "For the first time the conversation is not 'you need to lose weight because being obese increases your risk of heart disease'," he says. "Now it's 'there's a hormone secreted by your fat that causes heart disease. Having a conversation about increased risk is nowhere near as persuasive as one about the direct cause."

"I think that might have a bigger clinical impact that the potential therapeutic development," he says.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2 ... IIf_1XqFpA


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:49 pm 
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Father gives right arm for his two sons

Many parents talk about giving their right arm for their children but Craig Tobin has done exactly that.

The 34-year-old had his arm removed in drastic surgery last month, which also took his collar bone, shoulder blade and half a lung, in order to be able to spend more time with his sons Daniel, 3, and Michael, 1.

"It's a small price to pay to see my boys go to school," he says. "It was a shock at first but the doctors said without the surgery I would die, there was no chance for me."

Craig first discovered a lump in his chest in October last year. He was diagnosed with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour, an aggressive cancer that attacks the connective tissue that surrounds nerves. He has since had three operations as well as high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

His cancer is an extremely rare form, affecting less than 1 per cent of cancer sufferers, and even fewer when found in the torso. The last case Craig's surgeon had seen affecting the torso was 30 years ago.

Craig's wife Kim said Craig has been extremely positive since the operation, vowing to physically do as much as he can for himself.

"This has completely changed Craig as a person, he used to be someone who was happy to hang out at home, play with the kids and work on his car," she says. "Since the operation he wants to go out and visit friends and really live every day of his life, it's been a huge wake up call."

But things have not been easy. Craig feels excruciating phantom pains and their three-year-old has not yet come to terms with what has happened.

"Daniel knows his father has lost a limb but he sees Craig take off his t-shirt and still asks, 'Where's your arm daddy?'. It's heartbreaking," says Kim.

The couple live with Kim's parents but had been saving to buy their own house before cancer came calling. Craig has been unable to work and Kim has had to look after him and their two boys, so cannot return to her job either.

Much of their savings have gone on medical bills. "How can you put a price on your husband's life?" Kim says. "My priority is to have him here and everything else can come later. We just need to try and beat this cancer."

"The best Christmas present will be if my next scan is clear," Craig says.

They know there are no guarantees the surgery will work but are grateful to each of the doctors who have helped Craig along the way.

The family will soon need to move out of their rental home in Merrylands into a property that can be modified to suit Craig's needs. Close friend Gisele Karame-Kemp is trying to raise funds to help them get back on their feet.

"They are just a loving couple and Craig is wonderful with the boys. They're going through something no one should have to endure but are doing it with such amazing diginity."

http://www.smh.com.au/national/father-g ... 22fmd.html


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:34 pm 
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Healthcare savings ‘to see patients pick up the bill’

HEALTH consumer advocates have warned that bulk-billing rates will fall and patients will ­inevitably pay for the government’s Medicare savings.

From July 1, the Medicare ­rebate paid to doctors will fall by $5. But the doctor will be allowed to recoup this from the patient and still continue to bulk bill.

The changes will define a ­standard consultation as being ­between 10 and 20 minutes in an attack on so-called six-minute medicine.

The changes reduce the rebate for consultations that last less than 10 minutes from January 19 next year.

Health Minister Peter Dutton said eight million vulnerable and disadvantaged patients would be exempt.

There will be no change in ­rebates for those under-16, for concession cardholders, veterans, attendances at residential aged-care facilities, health assessments, GP mental health plans or GP management plans.

The changes announced yesterday will not apply to diagnostic imaging and pathology services.

However, for patients outside these exceptions the Medicare ­rebate paid to doctors will be ­reduced by $5.

The rebate changes will be made through regulations.

But the Health Insurance Act will be amended to allow doctors to charge $5 or less and receive the Medicare rebate directly, rather than asking patients to pay all the cost upfront and then to seek reimbursement.

“This will assist those doctors who currently bulk-bill general ­patients to continue to receive the same level of funding per service. It simplifies the arrangements for patient contributions,’’ the government said.

If the measure is voted down in the Senate, patients will be forced to pay the full charge and then seek a refund.

However, the argument might be moot. The Senate has the power to disallow the rebate cuts because they are regulations.

But any fall in bulk-billing rates could leave some patients more than $5 worse off.

If a doctor chose to scrap bulk billing for a non-concession card- holder and charge a private fee, the patient could end up paying significantly more than $5 for a visit to the GP.

In areas where doctors are not bulk billing, some patients are left more than $30 out of pocket per visit after they have claimed the Medicare rebate.

The other measure announced yesterday is a continuation of the freeze on indexation of Medicare rebate paid to doctors, which was introduced by Labor and will now be extended from 2016 to 2018.

The Consumers Health Forum chief executive Adam Stankev­icius said patients would inevitably pay for the government’s “sly cut” to Medicare benefits to doctors.

“While pensioners and other concession patients, children and veterans may still be covered by bulk billing, the squeeze on doctors’ income could well see a ­dramatic downturn in their ability to continue bulk billing which currently benefits more than 80 per cent of cases,” Mr Stankev­icius said.

AMA president Brian Owler said he was pleased that concession cardholders, those under 16 and residents of aged-care ­facilities would not be subject to reduced Medicare rebates for general practitioner services.

“However, we remain disappointed that rebates for GP ser­vices for everyone else will be cut by $5. This comes on top of a freeze on Medicare patient rebates until July 2018. This means that, by 2018, Medicare rebates for many services will have been frozen for almost six years while inflation continues to rise,’’ Associate Professor Owler said.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/nationa ... 7150456141


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:46 am 
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The fruit juice with almost no fruit and FOURTEEN teaspoons of sugar: 'Healthy' supermarket snacks revealed

Australian manufacturers have been accused of creating a 'health halo' around their products to mislead consumers about the fruit and vegetable content.

Researchers have found packaged foods are routinely fudging fruit and vegetable claims on labels which has prompted the call for the government to crack down on the practice by bringing the claims within the scope of the food standards code.

The Cancer Council NSW and Sydney University researchers found one third of the products failed a basis nutrition test after scouring the shelves for days in the country's five largest supermarkets - Woolworths, Coles, Supa IGA, Aldi and Franklins (now IGA as well).

Roll Ups (left) are only 25 per cent fruit. Twisters (right) have 99.7 per cent fruit, but both products contain none of the fibre of real fruit because they are made of 'concentrated puree' or 'concentrated juice'

The poetic licence taken by manufacturers stems from there not being a required limit on fruit and vegetable claims because they refer to ingredients rather than specific nutrients.

Out of about 760 labels from juices, soups and snacks that the researchers photographed by the researchers and half displayed a fruit or vegetable claim.

About one-third failed a basic nutrition test based on sugar, salt and fat levels and many were found to lack the vitamins, minerals and fibre of genuine fruit and vegetables.

One brand of fruit bar, Go Natural Twisters, claims to have one serve of fruit a serve, was 18 grams - short of the 30 grams defined as a dried fruit serve.

Charlie's Raspberry Quencher, a fruit juice 'made with real-life raspberries', contained 13 per cent fruit juice and 14 teaspoons of sugar.

Co-author Clare Hughes, of Cancer Council NSW, said food companies were cashing in on the recommendation to eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables.

'We don't want people to be relying on these products for their fruit and veg content,' she said.

'Nothing beats the real thing.'

She urged shoppers to ignore claims and interrogate the ingredient list instead.

Fruit and vegetable claims are those stating the presence of fruit or vegetables ('made with real fruit'), the fruit or vegetable content ('80 % real fruit') and/or the number of servings of fruit or vegetables they contain ('one cup contains three serves of vegetables').

'Claims on food products can create a 'health halo', meaning that consumers perceive products carrying claims to be healthier than those that do not carry claims,' the report stated.

The report says less than 50 per cent of adults consume the recommended two servings of fruit and less than 10 per cent consume the recommended five servings of vegetables each day.

It also states that increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables has been a public health priority for more than 20 years in Australia.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -cent.html


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