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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:34 pm 
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Magic pill for obesity? Harvard scientists working on drug to ‘replace treadmill’

Dieters are constantly told that there is no ‘magic pill’ to make them skinny, that they need to watch what they eat and exercise. But researchers at Harvard University think they have found a way to turn bad fat into good, helping people lose weight.

Scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have taken “the first step toward a pill that can replace the treadmill” when combating obesity, the researchers said in a statement. The team has found two compounds that have the potential to turn white (or “bad”) fat cells into brown (or “good”) fat cells.

White fat cells store excess energy (think: calories), which they circulate in the blood to fuel muscles. These cells play a role in the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related illnesses, while brown fat is used to generate heat. It can reduce the amount of fat in your bloodstream (called triglycerides), reduce insulin resistance (associated with type 2 diabetes) and burn bad fat.

“What we wanted to do is take the white fat no one wants, especially post-holidays, and turn it into the fat everyone wants, the brown fat,” Cowan told Bloomberg.

http://www.rt.com/usa/212903-magic-pill ... e-obesity/


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:39 am 
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Researchers discover new class of stem cells

Researchers have identified a new class of lab-engineered stem cells -- cells capable of transforming into nearly all forms of tissue -- and have dubbed them F-class cells because they cluster together in "fuzzy-looking" colonies.

The discovery, which was described in a series of five papers published Wednesday in the journals Nature and Nature Communications, sheds new light on the process of cell reprogramming and may point the way to more efficient methods of creating stem cells, researchers say.

Due to their extraordinary shape-shifting abilities, so-called pluripotent cells have enormous value to medical researchers. They allow scientists to study the effects of drugs and disease on human cells when experiments on actual people would be impossible, and they have given rise to the field of regenerative medicine, which seeks to restore lost or damaged organs and tissues.

The F-class cells were created using genetically engineered mouse cells, and may not occur naturally outside the lab, according to senior author Andras Nagy, a stem cell researcher at Toronto’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital.

However, the find suggests that there may be other classes of pluripotent cells -- or a spectrum of reprogrammed cells -- yet to be discovered, authors say.

“We think that if we have time, and money and hands to do it, we might find additional novel cell lines,” Nagy said.

Until now, stem cells have been either obtained from embryos or produced in the lab through a painstaking process called induced pluripotency, whereby a virus is used to alter an adult cell’s genetic information and return the cell to a pliable, embryonic state.

That process, which was pioneered by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012, is extremely inefficient, yielding embryonic-stem-cell-like cells just 1% of the time.

Nagy and his colleagues, a consortium of international researchers called Project Grandiose, began their research by looking more closely at the castoffs of that process, or those cells that did not closely match the description of embryonic stem cells.

“We looked at it in an unbiased way,” Nagy said. “Instead of ignoring or discarding those cells that don’t look like embryonic stem cells, we thought we might find more than just one alternative cell type.”

Their hunch paid off when they identified half a dozen cells that were very similar to each other, yet very different from the gold-standard embryonic-like cells.

These F-cells were engineered in a slightly different way than most induced pluripotent stem cells. They were designed so that the cell reprogramming process would only occur when they were exposed to the antibiotic doxycline. Once the cells were no longer exposed to the medication, they either turned into an adult specialized cells or they died, Nagy said.

The newly discovered cells could reproduce quickly and were not “sticky," Nagy said.

“The adhesion is not that high, so they are amenable to bioreactor type of growth,” Nagy said. “We can put these cells into a big jar of media and grow them up in a suspension, which is much more efficient, cheaper, and less work to produce a huge number of cells.”

It remains to be seen whether human cells can be converted into F-class cells, but researchers say it seems highly possible.

“I think it’s inevitable that human F-class cells can be achieved in the near future through reprogramming,” said Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a developmental biologist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla.

However, Belmonte, who was not involved in the research but who co-wrote an accompanying News & Views piece, said that using human F-class cells for clinical applications might prove “problematic.”

The reason for this is that their constant need to express reprogramming factors may lead to tumor formation.

“So the next important step is to find culture condition(s) that can stabilize F-Class state without transgene expression,” Belmonte wrote in an e-mail.

Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at UC Davis, who was also not involved in the study, said he guessed that F-class human cells could be made, but probably less efficiently.

“I’m most excited about the concept that there can be different kinds of reprogrammed states and pluripotent states,” Knoepfler wrote in an email.

“With the arrival of F-class cells on the scene … [who's] to say that there aren’t additional types of pluripotent cells with unique properties that might be harnessed clinically?”

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


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:24 am 
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Intellectual disability groups believe the NDIS is unfairly geared to the physically disabled's needs

People with intellectual disabilities are being excluded from the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme despite making up more than two-thirds of future users of the service, advocates warn.

Researchers, carers and people with intellectual disabilities fear that without closer engagement, the $22.4-billion scheme will be disproportionately tailored to the needs of the physically disabled, leaving those with cognitive impairments as the sector's "poor cousins". They say the NDIS pilot schemes are showing signs of inadequate design.

Bruce Bonyhady, the chairman of the National Disability Insurance Agency that oversees the scheme, acknowledged at a conference last month that people with cognitive impairments had not been properly consulted on the design process and that this needed to be rectified. But advocates say time is running out ahead of the 2016 national roll-out. Mr Bonyhady was not available for comment.

Professor Christine Bigby, leader of the Living with Disability Research Group at La Trobe University, said that although people with an intellectual disability would comprise up to 70 per cent of NDIS users, there had been no formal engagement with the sector and no cognitively impaired representatives appointed to the boards of the disability insurance agency or its advisory council.

Kevin Stone, executive director of Inclusion Australia, said it was "late, but not too late" for improvements.

He said the group had recently been invited to quarterly meetings with the advisory council and to help design the NDIS service charter and outcomes framework.

But he feared this was not enough, and told the council: "The abuse at [disability support centre] Yooralla is on everyone's lips… But the most pernicious form of abuse is systemic abuse, which occurs in organisations that don't value and respect the voices of the people who are using them, and treat them like helpless beings.

"My greatest fear has been that the NDIA was turning into just such a creature, with an aloof management structure without processes to hear them. That's still a very real possibility."

Michael Sullivan has an intellectual disability and is vice-chair of the New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability. He said that despite making detailed submissions to the 2011 Productivity Commission on disability and the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS, his members had been ignored by the NDIA

He said quarterly meetings were not enough and their views could only be included via formal roles on the NDIA board and advisory council.

He said cognitively impaired people were chronically underestimated, and he criticised the emphasis on involving family members rather than disabled people themselves.

"People have an attitude that if you've got that label of an intellectual disability it means you can't do anything, which is clearly not true. But people have a very narrow view, which is absolutely [what's happening] within the NDIA... I think there's a real lack of exposure to what's possible."

An NDIA spokeswoman said people with intellectual disabilities, their families, carers and peak groups were "extensively involved at every level of engagement" in the design of the NDIS.

She conceded that though neither the NDIA board nor the advisory council had intellectually disabled representatives, they did include family members. "It is their lived experience and direct input which helps to guide the agency in its design and development of the NDIS."

Mr Sullivan said early indications were that NDIS pilot sites were not meeting the needs of cognitively impaired people, that the information provided was too complex, and that without more inclusive design the scheme's much trumpeted focus on "choice and control" would become redundant.

http://www.watoday.com.au/national/inte ... 2654g.html


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:49 pm 
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Potential hepatitis B cure hits trial stage

A new treatment developed by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, which has shown promise as a potential cure for hepatitis B, has entered phase I/IIa trials.

The trial will be conducted at sites across Australia and New Zealand, including Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. It will seek to enrol around 50 patients.

The treatment, which was developed by the institute in collaboration with US-based TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, uses the pharmaceutical company’s birinapant drug.

Birinapant breaks down proteins that prevent infected cells from self-destructing, allowing infected cells to die while not harming uninfected cells.

Lead researcher Dr Marc Pellegrini said the treatment has the potential to revolutionise how hepatitis B is treated.

“Used in conjunction with an existing treatment for hepatitis B, this drug has the potential, for the first time, to functionally cure chronic hepatitis B infections,” he said.

“Patients who develop chronic infections can be treated with drugs that prevent the virus from replicating, reducing the amount of virus in the liver, but do not completely eliminate the virus.”

Biotron recently published trial data suggesting that its BIT225 drug candidate can effectively cure hepatitis C.

http://lifescientist.com.au/content/hea ... 1033027742


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:33 am 
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Scientists discover why antidepressants ‘make people worse’

SCIENTISTS say they have worked out why popular depression drugs make people feel worse before they get better, sometimes increasing the risk of suicide.

The findings, revealed this morning in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, could pave the way for new drugs to help sufferers through peaks in their depression.

“Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors”, which increase levels of a brain chemical linked to motivation, are among the world’s most prescribed drugs for depression, anxiety and eating disorders. But while they can boost serotonin levels in under an hour, they take about two weeks to relieve symptoms.

During this period the drug can aggravate depression, making suicidal thoughts “a major problem during SSRI treatment”, the paper says.

Human and animal studies have also found that SSRIs entrench habits and encourage impulsive behaviour — things the drugs are supposed to suppress. Now German and Dutch researchers have found an explanation for these “puzzling” results.

They say that while SSRIs boost serotonin, they suppress levels of another chemical — glutamate — which is associated with pleasure and learning, and is the target of different types of antidepressants.

The theory builds on 20 year-old findings that brain cells which produce serotonin also release glutamate. A 2011 study found that the two chemicals acted on “different timescales”, while Chinese research on mice this year found that the two chemicals interfered with each other if serotonin production was artificially boosted.

The latest study has found that while serotonin production is immediately amplified by SSRIs, glutamate is “acutely suppressed”. “(This) is only normalised after several days of drug treatment,” said lead author Adrian Fischer of Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany.

“These differential time courses may help to explain the paradox of SSRI effects.”

The findings suggest that the anaesthetic ketamine and the antibiotic cycloserine — both of which boost glutamate production, and are being trialled as treatments for bipolar disorder — could “decrease the initial side effects of SSRI treatment, especially in subjects at higher risk for self-harm”.

“Patients at higher risk from suicide (could) benefit more from a treatment targeted at both serotonergic and glutamatergic components”, the paper says.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher- ... 7159854392


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:51 pm 
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Cricket: Crowe opens up about his battle with cancer

New Zealand cricket great Martin Crowe has given a frank account of his ongoing battle with cancer in a recent column.

In a piece published on the ESPNcricinfo website, Crowe reflected on cricket's highs and lows during the past year.

Brendon McCullum's triple century against India in February was among the highlights, while the recent death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes was singled out as the game's low point.

In reflecting on the Hughes tragedy, Crowe opened up about his own battle with lymphoma, which he was first diagnosed with in 2012.

"Death is something I have contemplated lately, only because the medical experts say it's nearly time," wrote Crowe.

He said his cancer had been in remission, but in the last few months it had reappeared in a new and more aggressive form.

"[T]o hear it had transformed into a rare blood disease called double-hit lymphoma, turbocharged to apparently give me very little time left (only 5% of patients live up to 12 months), was a shock out of the blue ...

"I tidied up my affairs, as they suggested, sold the farm (literally), wrote out a will and a funeral note, and braced myself. It's fair to say I thought the situation was a tad unfair."

However, Crowe said Hughes' death put his own situation into context.

"What transpired was unheard of, unprecedented," he wrote of Hughes' demise after being hit in the head by a short-pitched ball during a domestic cricket match in Sydney.

"At age 25, he was truly denied ... Whatever emotion I felt about my own plight subsided somewhat as the enormity of Hughes' death sank in. I didn't know him, and yet it had a great effect, as it rightly had on many.

"I was left feeling I wanted to sit with him a bit, to get some sense of his genuine passion for cricket and life."

Crowe is widely considered New Zealand's best ever batsman. He played 77 test matches, scoring 5444 runs at an average of 45.36. His 17 test centuries is still the record for any Black Caps batsman. He also played 143 one-day internationals, with the highlight being his remarkable batting and captaincy during the 1992 World Cup.

It was fitting, then, that he concluded his column by looking forward to the upcoming World Cup, which is being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia as it was in 1992.

The tournament would give the cricket community a chance to "join together down under and celebrate all that is well with the cricket world".

"I will see you there," he said.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/ar ... d=11377278


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:30 am 
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Asthma and allergy devices 'not used properly'

Patients with asthma and severe allergies are often not taught how to use their medical devices properly, charities have warned.

Asthma UK said in some cases poor technique led to people being put on stronger inhalers than they actually needed.

And studies by Allergy UK suggest people struggle with instructions on auto-injectors in allergy emergencies.

The charities are calling for better training for patients and NHS staff.

The warning comes after a separate US study revealed only 16% of those prescribed adrenalin auto-injectors in case of a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction used them properly.

Common errors included not holding the device in place for at least 10 seconds and not pushing down forcefully enough with the needle to allow the adrenalin in.

In the same study, only 7% of asthma sufferers were found to use asthma inhalers in the right way, researchers reported in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Training

Study leader Dr Rana Bonds from the University of Texas Medical Branch said the results suggested people weren't properly trained in using the devices in the first place or "forgot the instructions over time".

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30556329


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:24 am 
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Red wine compound activates stress response to promote health benefits

By now, most of us have heard of resveratrol - a compound found in red wine and grapes that has been linked to an array of health benefits, such as reduced risk of age-related diseases. Researchers have long investigated how resveratrol promotes such benefits. Now, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, offer a new suggestion; the compound stimulates a stress response gene, which activates a number of genes that protect the body.

Drinking two glasses of red wine can trigger the stress response that promotes numerous health benefits, according to the researchers.

The research team, led by Mathew Sajish of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), publish their findings in the journal Nature.

Past research has associated resveratrol with longevity and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Last year, Medical News Today reported on a study claiming the compound could help treat several cancers by sensitizing diseased cells to treatment, while another study claimed resveratrol can protect against hearing loss and cognitive decline.

More recently, however, some studies have blasted the health benefits of resveratrol. In May, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, claimed people who consume a diet rich in resveratrol are at no lower risk of CVD or cancer than those who consume small amounts of the compound.

Sajish and senior investigator Paul Schimmel - also of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI - note that some researchers have questioned the health benefits of resveratrol because many studies have used "unrealistically high doses" of the compound.

In this latest study, the researchers set out to determine if resveratrol really is beneficial for health and if so, how the compound promotes such benefits.

Resveratrol binds to TyrRS enzyme to activate protective genes
Sajish and Schimmel investigated resveratrol's association with tRNA synthetases - enzymes that aid translation of genetic material during protein synthesis.

In particular, the researchers focused on a specific tRNA synthetase called TyrRS - an enzyme that binds with an amino acid called tyrosine before linking up with encoding genetic material - after a former investigator at TSRI found that it can relocate to the cell nucleus under stressful conditions, effectively adopting a protective role.

Since resveratrol has been shown to have similar properties to tyrosine and has been associated with a comparable stress response, Sajish says he wanted to see whether TyrRS is a target for the compound.

Using X-ray crystallography and other tests to compare resveratrol with TyrRS, the researchers found that resveratrol mimics tyrosine, so much so that TyrRS was able to bind with resveratrol. The team explains that this attachment led TyrRS away from its protein translation activity and pushed it toward the cell nucleus.

Once in the nucleus, the researchers found that the TyrRS-resveratrol combination switched on a gene called PARP-1 - known to play a role in stress response and DNA repair and to have a major influence on aging. What is more, activating PARP-1 also switched on a number of other protective genes, including FOXO3A and SIRT6 - associated with longevity - and the tumor-suppressor gene p53.

The team notes that their findings were confirmed when they injected mice with resveratrol.

'A couple of glasses of red wine' could evoke protective effect of resveratrol

Interestingly, Sajish and Schimmel found that the TyrRS-PARP1 pathway can be activated with doses of resveratrol up to 1,000 times lower than doses that have been used in past studies investigating the compound's health benefits.

"Based on these results, it is conceivable that moderate consumption of a couple glasses of red wine would give a person enough resveratrol to evoke a protective effect via this pathway," says Sajish, adding:

"This stress response represents a layer of biology that has been largely overlooked, and resveratrol turns out to activate it at much lower concentrations than those used in prior studies.

With these findings we have a new, fundamental mechanism for the known beneficial effects of resveratrol."

He adds that because previous research has used such high doses of resveratrol, this may have confounded some results.

Resveratrol triggers a similar stress-response pathway in plant cells, according to the researchers, and they believe the compound has grown to produce a similar effect in human cells. "We believe that TyrRS has evolved to act as a top-level switch or activator of a fundamental cell-protecting mechanism that works in virtually all forms of life," says Sajish.

Earlier this month, MNT reported on a study by researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center claiming resveratrol has both cancerous and anti-cancerous properties.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287388.php


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:21 am 
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Office party eggnog challenge lands man in hospital

SALES manager Ryan Roche admits he possesses a strongly competitive streak. But this Christmas it nearly killed him.

As the 33-year-old was about to leave his office Christmas party, someone suggested that the father-of-three try and break the firm's record for downing two pints of egg nog. Mr Roche should have headed home, but he could not resist the challenge.

As it was, he downed the quart of egg nog, knocking a good ten seconds off the previous record. But within hours, Mr Roche was feeling seriously ill and had to be taken to hospital. He ended up spending three days in hospital after doctors said they believed he had contracted pneumonia after the egg nog entered his windpipe and triggered an infection.

"Everyone knows I'm pretty competitive," Ryan Roche of Lehi, Utah, told ABC News. "I just decided I was going to win. So I pretty much just opened it up and poured it down my throat."

Video footage of the event shows Mr Roche downing the carton of egg nog, traditionally made from milk, cream, sugar, whipped eggs and brandy, while his colleagues chanted "chug, chug, chug".

He can then be seen bending over. Having broken the record, Mr Roche left the party with his prize, a $50 voucher for Ruth's Chris Steak House.

But he said that within a few hours of getting home after the party on December 5, he began to feel unwell. Friends took him to hospital while his wife stayed at home with their children.

"Two hours later I was lying on the couch, shaking uncontrollably, nauseous, having fevers and panting," he said. At the hospital he was taken to the intensive care unit and put on antibiotics and a drip.

"The next few days my body would change from having a fever to shivering nonstop," he added. "It was like every hour on the hour it would change."

Mr Roche said the incident made him something of a celebrity in the hospital, where nurses and other staff commented on the fact that at least he had won the contest. However, it sparked warnings from health officials that anyone else thinking of partaking in seasonal eating or drinking challenges should think twice.

Now back home with his family, a rueful Mr Roche said he will not be repeating the challenge.

"I was never a big fan of it to begin with," he said of egg nog. "I could drink it again, but it's not my drink of choice."

http://www.coolum-news.com.au/news/offi ... l/2494981/


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:26 am 
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Homelessness increasing in Melbourne; family violence and expensive housing to blame

On January 5 this year homeless man Morgan Wayne "Mouse" Perry was fatally stabbed in the heart of the world's most liveable city. By shining a light on the dangerous living conditions experienced by Melbourne's most-vulnerable people, the 42-year-old's death prompted calls for change. But almost a year later, is life better or worse for the city's rough sleepers?

Has there been any reduction in the number of homeless people in Victoria?

Violence that takes place in the family home continues to be the number one driver of homelessness in Victoria.

The number of rough sleepers seeking assistance in the past financial year has actually risen by almost 25 per cent. At least an extra 1266 Victorians called the streets home in the 2013/2014 financial year according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Melbourne's street count also found a 40 per cent increase in the city's homeless population since the last survey in 2012. This year's count of 142 people was the highest in the count's six-year history. And with a significant amount of people found sheltering outside the survey area – including in public toilets in Docklands and Royal Park – the actual figure is likely to be much higher. The oldest person recorded was a man aged 77, while the youngest was a girl aged 17. It was revealed that even though most of the rough sleepers were visiting homeless services for basic aid such as hot meals, most were not receiving help to get into their own home. Meanwhile across Victoria, the number of people seeking help from homeless services rose by 7430 to almost 100,000 in the year to the middle of 2014. Almost 5000 additional women sought help as a result of family violence.

What action was taken by authorities in the wake of Mouse's death?

The Salvation Army has forged the way in attempts to improve the lives of Melbourne's homeless residents. Led by Major Brendan Nottle, the charity has changed how they run their outreach program, looking for the isolated instead of sticking to well-known and well-serviced homeless gathering places. A new seven-day-a-week "Night Watch" street team was launched, and more people have been helped into secure and supported accommodation with the addition of 22 new Magpie Nest properties. Shortly after Mouse's death the Salvation Army also begin running an overnight "safe space" at their Bourke Street headquarters, as well as a friendship club from 6pm to 8pm. Also, Melbourne City Council has undertaken a safety audit of the homeless camp where Mouse was killed and some improvements to the facilities at Enterprize Park are expected in the future. An extreme weather policy for the city's most vulnerable, first flagged by Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle last January, is also likely to be announced in the coming week.

What are the factors that drive people onto Melbourne's streets?

Violence that takes place in the family home continues to be the number one driver of homelessness in Victoria. More than 25,000 people visited the state's homeless agencies because of family violence in the 2013/2014 financial year according to AIHW. Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Tony Nicholson said declining housing affordability amid a rapid annual population growth of 2 per cent per annum was also leaving some out in the cold. He said those on low incomes were being forced to the outskirts of Melbourne and country towns – far away from key job centres. "We saw in the last Census data there was a 50 per cent increase in overcrowding. What that reflects is the simple matter of housing affordability." The proportion of Victorian rentals considered affordable has decreased from 31.2 per cent to 22.3 per cent since the year 2000 based on Department of Human Services' figures. But the closer you get to the centre of Melbourne, fewer homes are available for society's poorest. In a number of inner-city suburbs less than 2 per cent of rentals are affordable to low-income earners, including in the council areas of Melbourne, Yarra, Port Phillip and Stonnington. There can also be other factors at play which makes it harder for people to maintain housing and bounce back from hardships. A research project commissioned by the City of Melbourne in 2013 revealed that many of those sleeping on the streets had experienced significant cruelty as young people. Of the 24 people interviewed, 70 per cent said they were sexually or physically abused as children, often for long periods of time and in many occasions by family members.

What are the dangers that face homeless people sleeping in Melbourne?

Life on the street comes with immediate risks of violence and a shortened life expectancy linked to chronic illness, substance abuse, mental health challenges and exposure to the elements. Just days before he died, Morgan Wayne "Mouse" Perry told The Age while sleeping on a mattress at Enterprize Park: "You have to sleep with one eye open because you don't know who's going to bash you or stab you or rob you." It was a prophetic statement, as he was stabbed to death three days later. Melbourne City Council research has uncovered stories of rough sleepers being assaulted while they slept, having coffee poured on them and being urinated upon by members of the public. It also found half of the homeless people interviewed carried a weapon to protect themselves, including knives, metal bars and thin sharp pieces of wire. Homeless service Youth Projects said they often had to assist people who had their identification cards stolen or thrown into the Yarra River by drunken gangs of men. In late October this year a long-running homeless camp at a Fitzroy Gardens electrical substation was closed. The unprecedented decision was made after concerns about gas bottles being stored at the camp, drug-fuelled attacks by visitors and complaints about defecation in the area. In 2013, a survey by Melbourne Street to Home program concluded that more than half of the city's rough sleepers would die in the next five years without intervention. Almost three quarters of the 124 people surveyed were tri-morbid, which means they were battling substance abuse, chronic illness and mental health problems at the same time.

Is it possible to eradicate rough sleeping in Melbourne?

This is a question that always annoys Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Tony Nicholson who points out that homelessness starts in the suburbs – and people gravitate to the city to access services. "We'll never end homelessness in Victoria until we have a much more preventative approach," Mr Nicholson said. He said this means better availability of low-cost housing, a reduction in family violence and better opportunities for employment. Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle said even though eliminating rough sleeping in Melbourne was a goal worth working towards, it would be more realistic to aim for a scenario where everyone living homeless had the choice not to be. Earlier this year the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) put forward a plan calling for $143 million over 10 years to eliminate street homelessness in Victoria with investment in new supported social housing. But the initiative was ignored by the state government, while the street homeless population has grown. "We're not suggesting that we can end rough sleeping instantly, but we are certainly not going to do it with the current system we've got," CHP's Sarah Toohey said.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/homeless ... 2e3li.html


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:52 am 
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There have been more than 1,000 Australians die due to stimulant drug abuse on five years

AUSTRALIA’S epidemic of stimulant drug abuse has been linked to more than 1000 deaths in five years.

NT Police have been battling rising street crime and violence as the ice scourge – along with real and synthetic amphetamine substances – wreaks havoc in Darwin.

Between 2008 and 2012 the NT reported 19 drug-related deaths. Two Territory teenagers have died while on drugs in the past six months.

Figures reveal amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine are connected to fatalities at an unprecedented rate.

Causes of death included accidents like road smashes, falls, suicides and crimes of violence. By far the greatest influence were amphetamine products like ice, listed as a factor in 917 of the deaths.

The drug is known to have contributed to deaths in the Territory. In 2012, Joshua Walsh was high on meth when he kidnapped his girlfriend from a women’s shelter and shot himself during a short police siege. And Joshua Leigh Taylor killed his partner and two children when he crashed a car while “exhausted” from an ice binge last year.

Figures compiled by the National Coronial Information System show the drugs were a primary or secondary contributor in the deaths of 1049 victims. Findings include:

THE 2012 total, the last year surveyed, was the highest death toll on record.

A TOTAL of 737 people died from overdoses.

THERE were 117 road accident fatalities in which drugs were a secondary factor.

THE overwhelming majority of those to lose their life were aged 25 to 44.

702 were unintentional deaths and 186 deaths were due to intentional self-harm.

The 1049 total indicates a massive increase in the death rate. A similar previous five-year survey came in at 664.

Western Australia recorded an extraordinarily high 23 per cent of deaths.

Despite having a far smaller population, its 250 fatalities compared with 300 in New South Wales and was higher than that of Victoria.

Police reports, autopsy results, toxicology findings and coronial conclusions were used to compile the report.

http://www.news.com.au/national/norther ... 7168347344


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:13 am 
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Hangover cures come with their own doctors and IVs

Trying to erase the bad aftereffects of a late night has moved beyond hot coffee, or "hair of the dog that bit you." Hangover cures like Noho are sold in BevMo near the champagne aisle. Noho CEO Jay Grdina, who made his fortune in the adult film industry, said revenue topped $700,000 through the first nine months of the year, a 150 percent jump.

"We launched in Hong Kong and Macau in August this year," he said. Grdina expects the fourth quarter to be the strongest of the year, as people started stocking up at Thanksgiving.

However, the fastest-growing part of the anti-hangover biz is perhaps the most dramatic solution of all (short of not drinking): IV buses. Needles.

Two doctors in Greenwich, Connecticut, have started HungoverMD, which will make house calls Thursday "to hook up patients to IVs in an effort to rehydrate, effectively eliminating the fatigue, nausea and headaches that come with too many cocktails," reports Greenwichtime.com. The cost is $199.

The New York Post reports that a "new limo bus run by the Hangover Club" will be parked outside a club in Manhattan "and nurses donning black scrubs will check people in from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m." They will have enough IV bags to treat more than 200 people.

Those newcomers are following in the footsteps of Dr. Jason Burke, an anesthesiologist who created Hangover Heaven in Las Vegas after recognizing that the effects of waking up from surgery weren't that much different from a hangover. The company claims it has treated more than 20,000 customers.

"We have grown 50 percent year over year," Burke said. "To treat a Las Vegas-level hangover, the only real cure is an IV."

Hangover Heaven expects to treat at least 150 people Wednesday and Thursday, and 50 appointments have already been booked. The company will deploy a 45-foot-long bus and an ambulance. "We also treat clients in their hotel rooms, which has become very popular," Burke said.

Hangover Heaven offers several treatments. At the low end is "Redemption" for $99, consisting of a liter of IV fluid and a "proprietary blend of IV vitamins and antioxidants."

However, Burke said the most popular treatment is called "Rapture." In addition to the same IV fluids the other treatments offer, Rapture customers also get a B-12 shot and 30 minutes of oxygen. "It is our most expensive package at $239," said Burke, "but when people are in Las Vegas, money does not seem to be much of an object."

You don't need to spend $239 to make it all better for the first day of 2015. Burke suggests revelers prepare for Thursday night by taking a multivitamin before partying, eating a good meal and drinking "high-end clear alcohol," which he said doesn't carry the same punch the morning after as darker, cheaper alcohol.

"It is much easier to prevent a hangover than to deal with it after the fact," he said.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102303460#.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:36 am 
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Red Meat Increases Cancer Risk Because of Toxic Immune Response

Consumption of red meat has long been linked to the development of certain types of cancer. Now scientists believe they’ve found the culprit behind red meat’s carcinogenic effects.

A new study reports that a sugar molecule found in the flesh of beef, lamb and pork could be triggering an immune response in humans that causes inflammation, which ultimately contributes to tumor growth. Long-term exposure to this sugar in mice caused a five-fold increase in their chances of developing cancer.

Not So Sweet Sugar

Humans are the only carnivores that face an increased risk of cancer as a result of eating red meat, but no one really knew why. Although there’s an abundance of theories attempting to explain red meat’s ill effects, concrete evidence is still in short supply.

Researchers decided to focus on a single sugar molecule, called Neu5Gc, that has been found in high levels in cancerous tissues but isn’t produced by the human body – indicating that it comes from our diet. Neu5Gc is naturally produced in most mammals, but humans are the exception.

When researchers measured the amount of Neu5Gc in various foods, they found that red meat had especially high levels. Beef, bison, pork and lamb had the greatest amount of the sugar. Poultry, fish (with the exception of caviar), vegetables and fruits lacked Neu5Gc.

Testing Neu5Gc

Researchers suspected that the immune system could be to blame, launching antibodies against the sugar whenever humans ate it. That could cause chronic inflammation, a known contributor to cancer.

So researchers bred “humanized” mice that lacked the ability to produce Neu5Gc. They fed them the mouse equivalent of red meat, mouse chow enriched with Neu5Gc, for 12 weeks. The mice also received regular injections of Neu5Gc antibodies to mimic what happens in the human body.

And indeed, scientists found that the mice developed five times as many tumors as humanized mice fed a normal diet. The liver was the most common spot for tumors to develop, and biopsies of the tumors found Neu5Gc in them. Humans, by contrast, tend to develop cancer of the colon as a result of red meat-heavy diets. Researchers published their results in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It’s Not All Bad News

Researchers told The Telegraph that red meat is an important source of iron, proteins and other vitamins; so moderate red meat consumption does yield nutritional benefits. And the study doesn’t indicate that eating red meat is the direct cause of cancer. Rather, Neu5Gc appears to accelerate the development of cancer.

There are still plenty of questions to answer in regard to red meat’s link to cancer in humans. Why does Neu5Gc cause liver cancers in mice and colon cancer in humans? What other dietary and biological factors contribute to cancer progression in humans?

Regardless, it may be a good time to heed the advice of those Chick-fil-A cows and “Eat Mor Chikin.”

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-bri ... KcZd1XqFpA


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:54 pm 
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Study aims to find out if aspirin can aid in prevention of dementia

A new Australian trial is aiming to find out if aspirin could be used to prevent the onset of dementia.

Funded by the United States-based National Institute of Health, the $50 million trial also aims to find out if the affordable white pill could be used to prevent deafness, blindness and certain cancers, Fairfax Media reports.

The study of 19,000 patients is being run in conjunction between the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and the Berman Centre for Outcomes and Clinical Research in Minneapolis.

More than 2000 GPs across Australia collaborated on the project, helping to recruit patients over the age of 70 for the randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study.

The study has grown from its original aim of aspirin's preventative effects with heart attack and stroke, to new areas in an effort to keep the elderly active and out of nursing homes for longer.

"Increasingly with the elderly, the important issue is how to keep them as healthy as can be," Monash University Professor John McNeil said.

"This has become a priority for medicine."

Aspirin has the ability to stop blood platelets from sticking together, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack, however the active ingredient salicin also has an anti-inflammatory effect.

"There is a hypothesis that this low-grade inflammation may be damaging, so one of the things we are looking at is whether low doses of aspirin may be able to suppress this inflammation," Professor McNeil said.

Alzheimer's Australia's chief medical adviser Michael Woodward said the study is "incredibly important" and has a "number of end points that could prove beneficial for survival".

Aspirin does have negatives also, with stomach bleeding, anaemia, and some types of stroke all possible in some instances.

Results from the trial will be released in 2018.

http://www.9news.com.au/health/2015/01/ ... g-dementia


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:58 am 
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Doctors want to bar anti-vaccination campaigner

Doctors are calling for the federal government to stop a high-profile American anti-vaccination campaigner from entering Australia for a planned speaking tour in March.

Sherri Tenpenny, a trained emergency physician and osteopath, is due to begin a series of lectures about vaccines in Melbourne on March 1. The author of Saying No to Vaccines is expected to be joined by Australian homeopath Isaac Golden, who controversially promotes the use of natural products to prevent disease.

But three months after former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison cancelled the visa of self-described "pick-up artist" Julien Blanc for allegedly spreading his derogatory views about women, Australian doctors are calling for Dr Tenpenny to receive similar treatment.

John Cunningham, a Melbourne surgeon and spokesman for pro-vaccination group Stop the AVN, said the government should not allow someone of such poor character into Australia to spread fear, paranoia and misinformation.

Australian Medical Association's Council of General Practice chairman Dr Brian Morton also supported the call for her to be blocked from entering, saying her views were inconsistent with overwhelming scientific evidence supporting vaccination.

"Sherri is one of the highest-profile anti-vaccine liars in the USA, and we should be sending a strong message to these loons that in Australia we rely on facts, science, and rational and considered opinion by people with expertise," Dr Cunningham said.

Dr Cunningham said her tour had been arranged by Stephanie Messenger, author of the controversial anti-vaccination children's book Melanie's marvellous measles.

"Stephanie is organising the tour through the Get Rid of SIDS Project Inc and the GanKinMan Foundation, which are both dubious organisations. The money paid for tickets is going straight into her pockets," Dr Cunningham said.

Stop the AVN, a group of health professionals and scientists who have been trying to stop vaccination sceptics, formerly known as the Australian Vaccination Network, are running a social media campaign that is trending under #StopTenpenny.

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the minister was taking advice on this matter and would make further comment when appropriate.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Public discussion on immunisation is welcomed but parents should always ensure they are fully informed with accurate, scientifically based information on the benefits and risks of childhood immunisation."

Ms Messenger defended the tour and said hundreds of tickets had been sold. "This is about free speech and informed choice," she said.

It would be laughable for the government to block Dr Tenpenny's entry to the country, she said.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/d ... 2ixmw.html


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