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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:36 am 
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Two thirds 'turn to drink' to relax in the evening

Almost two-thirds of people rely on alcohol to relax in the evenings, the charity Drinkaware has warned.

A poll of 2,000 adults aged 30-45 carried out by ICM found 44% drank all or most - and a third think about having a swift drink before they even get home.

Stress - and bad days at work - were the most common reasons for drinking.

Experts from Drinkaware warned that alcohol might appear to aid stress - but often made things worse.

A third of men surveyed who drank at home, and nearly half of women, said they drank above the daily limit - three to four units of alcohol for men and two to three for women.

Most - 68% - made sure they had alcohol at home, and 71% said they bought alcohol as part of the weekly grocery shop.

A third sit down in front of the TV after dinner for their first drink, while a quarter had alcohol with their evening meal.

Problems 'creep up'

Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns and communications at Drinkaware, says: "Alcohol can be a 'false friend' when you are trying to deal with stress.

"Even though it might seem like a few drinks can relieve the pressures of the day, in the medium to long term it can actually add to them - whether they're work, financial or family-related.

"Stress can also be an excuse for people to drink more than they should, especially if they don't realise the negative impact it can have on their health and well-being."

Emily Robinson, director of campaigns for the charity Alcohol Concern, said: "Many people use alcohol to relax but this can lead to more problems.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18724115


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:18 am 
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Aussies say they get little support to lose weight at work

AUSSIE workers are blaming their bosses for making them fat.

Fifty-two per cent claim there is little-to-no support for them within the workplace to lose weight, a Weight Watchers study has found.

And almost three quarters of Australians said not having enough time to exercise when at work is amongst the biggest “barriers” to a healthy lifestyle.

SA has the largest proportion of overweight workers at 63 per cent.

Queensland came in second at 59 per cent, followed by WA at 58 per cent, NSW at 56 per cent and Victoria at 47 per cent.

HR expert Roger Collins said that managers were partly responsible for a person’s physical and psychological wellbeing.

"But anything to do with health and wellbeing is primarily the responsibility of the individual and we can’t duck that one, we can't say the dog ate my homework," said Dr Collins, Professor Emeritus at the University of NSW.

Australian Human Resources Institute president Peter Wilson said that employers have a duty to provide a healthy and safe workplace.

"You can’t tell people how to live their lives but in the staff cafeteria you can provide healthy alternatives, you can encourage people to take rest breaks, go for a walk at lunchtime, do all those things," Mr Wilson said.

The survey of more than 1000 Australians also found that workers in Victoria and Western Australia were most likely to eat more because they were bored at work.

Thirty-four per cent of workers in those states said that the monotony of their jobs make them eat more, compared to 30 per cent in South Australia and 28 per cent in Queensland and New South Wales.

The study also found that more than one in three workers blamed their bad health on the drinking culture at their work.

"I think employers have got to be careful of the use of alcohol in the work environment," Dr Collins said.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/wo ... 6421779083


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:23 am 
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Doctors who treated teen before death 'missing'

Two doctors who managed the treatment of dead Perth teen Vaughn Rasmussen have "gone missing", according to his family.

The doctors – one an emergency department doctor from Fremantle Hospital and the other a paediatric registrar from Princess Margaret Hospital – were wanted for questioning at the coronial inquest into Vaughn's death on November 17, 2009.

However, the Rasmussens said it was their understanding neither had been located nor were they registered as doctors in Australia or abroad.

As a result, the Rasmussens say, the inquest is hearing "second-hand information" from medical professionals who did not have direct or adequately lengthy involvement in Vaughn's treatment.

Vaughn, who was unable to speak, died in agonising pain in the intensive care unit of Princess Margaret Hospital as a result of severe brain swelling, which was initially diagnosed as gastroenteritis at Fremantle Hospital on November 12.

Despite the insistence of his parents that Vaughn's cranial shunt was blocked and causing a build-up of fluid and their repeated requests a CT scan be conducted, no scan was carried out until 11.51pm on November 16.

By that stage, Vaughn had 35 centimetres of fluid around his brain - the normal range was zero to 10 centimetres - and after emergency surgery he was declared brain dead.

His parents, Richard and Donna Rasmussen, then had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off Vaughn's life support.

They believe their son's death was a result of medical negligence.

Yesterday, the inquest heard Vaughn's treating neurologist of 10 years, Dr Jonathon Silberstein, believed "clearly Vaughn was having serious problems" with his shunt in the days before his death.

He came to this conclusion after viewing the CT scan carried out at 11.51pm on November 15.

A needle test later confirmed Vaughn's brain was being squashed by fluid and he was rushed into surgery, which was marred by problems including a colon tear and catheter dislodgement.

Dr Silberstein said on November 14, he recommended Vaughn be admitted to PMH after a sudden seizure, but thought his condition must not have been serious because his parents wanted to take him home.

He did not talk to the Rasmussens and, as a result, did not understand the family was frustrated Vaughn had not undergone a CT scan.

"At the time I didn't get the sense I needed to talk to them. Unfortunately it didn't come across, their level of concern," he said.

Earlier in the week, consultant paediatrician at Princess Margaret Hospital Dr Helen Mead told the inquest Vaughn "appeared to be having intermittent to sub-acute shunt problems" when he presented at PMH on November 15 and that a CT scan was to be conducted the next day.

However, Dr Mead, who was the most senior doctor in the emergency ward, never examined Vaughn or spoke to his parents about the planned scan.

She said in "hindsight" she wished she'd spoken directly to the Rasmussens but that it was a "busy night" and she wanted to go home.

She admitted she had not taken notes about Vaughn's case and that her statement was not prepared until more than two years after his death.

To create the statement, Dr Mead said, she used his file notes and recall.

The inquest continues.

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/docto ... z20LMgOb89


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:15 am 
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Parents could be best pain relief

DO parents hold the key to helping alleviate their child's acute pain? This is a question Queensland researcher Candice Loopstra is hoping to answer in a bid to assist medical staff and parents to better manage children's pain.

Ms Loopstra, a PhD psychology researcher at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), is surveying parents about the strategies they use to help their children cope with pain.

"Often parents aren't considered as experts in pain relief, but they certainly have a huge influence on kids when they do go through medical procedures," Ms Loopstra told AAP.

"If we can work out what's behind these strategies we can really cater to parents and children within the context of any kind of acute pain.

"That can be during medical procedures, or it can be at home."

Ms Loopstra said most parents struggled to deal with their own emotions when their child was in hospital facing painful procedures.

Including parents in a strategy to manage pain could complement pain relief given during medical procedures for a better outcome, Ms Loopstra said.

It was important for parents to remain calm while their child underwent treatment, she said.

"It's really the parent's state of mind that's so important," she said.

Ms Loopstra said studies had shown it was important for very young children to learn how to cope and not be emotionally overwhelmed by pain, or they may fear medical procedures or avoid treatment later in life.

As part of the research, Ms Loopstra went to a Queensland children's hospital emergency department to interview parents whose of children about to have an intravenous needle or a nasogastric tube inserted.

The research, which will continue to be carried out using an online survey, is investigating how parents of children aged three years or younger help them cope with pain.

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/breakin ... 6425557670


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:44 am 
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Dr. Meera Sachdeva, Rose Cancer Center Founder, Pleads Guilty In Health Care Fraud Case

JACKSON, Miss. -- A cancer doctor and her former billing agent pleaded guilty Friday for their parts in a multimillion-dollar health care fraud case in which prosecutors said old needles were reused, chemotherapy drugs were diluted and public and private insurance was overbilled millions.

Dr. Meera Sachdeva, who founded the Rose Cancer Center in the south Mississippi town of Summit in 2005, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Jackson to one count of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements.

Standing before the judge wearing black-framed glasses and shackles with her long black hair draped over an orange prison jumpsuit, the 50-year-old doctor looked straight ahead while her lawyer denied the most serious allegations that she diluted chemotherapy drugs.

One of her patients, 76-year-old Wayne Spring, watched intently and left the court disappointed. He told The Associated Press that he contracted two bacterial infections from the clinic and now has regular tests for HIV and hepatitis. He beat cancer, but the ordeal left him shaken.

"She liked to have killed me," Spring said. "I'm disappointed in the whole thing."

Sachdeva faces up to 20 years in prison. If convicted on all counts she could have faced up to 165 years in prison and more than $3.2 million in fines.

Spring's son, Kirk, wanted Sachdeva to admit to the more serious allegations and was disappointed most of the charges were dropped.

"She's going to pay her due. No matter what happens in here, she will pay her due one day," he said just outside the courtroom.

Sachdeva's lawyer, Robert McDuff, told the U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III that his client admits to billing for treatments that happened when she was out of the country, but denied diluting drugs. Doctors are required to be in the office when chemotherapy treatments are given. The bills to Medicaid and Medicare alone were for about $15.1 million.

McDuff had no comment after the hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Gilbert said Sachdeva billed for more drugs than she had bought from suppliers.

The Mississippi Health Department closed the clinic in July 2011 because of "unsafe infection control practices" after 11 patients were hospitalized with the same bacterial infection. The scare led officials to test nearly 300 cancer patients for infections such as HIV. The department has said none of the patients tested had blood-borne viral infections related to the clinic's care. However, a civil lawsuit claims at least one patient died about the time the clinic was shut down from HIV he contracted there.

Sachdeva, a naturalized citizen from India, has been held without bond since her arrest last August because she's considered a flight risk. Prosecutors say she had considerable assets, including bank accounts in her native country, despite the seizure of about $6 million.

Monica Weeks, who handled the clinic's billing from her Ridgeland firm, Medical Billing Group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. The prosecutor said she provided Sachdeva with information that was used to falsify nine patients' charts ahead of an audit and lied to investigators about documents she removed from the clinic.

"The conduct to which Monica Weeks pled guilty today involved nine patient charts and less than $20,000," her lawyer, Cliff Johnson said in a statement.

"The facts the government recited to the court as the basis for Monica's plea do not include any action which jeopardized the health or safety of a single patient. Ms. Weeks has accepted responsibility for her actions, and she and her family look forward to putting this entire ordeal behind them," Johnson said.

Sentencing for both women is Oct. 1.

Office manager Brittany McCoskey pleaded guilty May 17 to one count of false statements and awaits sentencing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/1 ... 73219.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:25 am 
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Gym drug rush as ban looms

GOLD Coast gym junkies are scrambling to stock up on soon-to-be banned sports supplements graded as dangerous as heroin.

DMAA, an ingredient in many popular sports supplements, will be illegal to manufacture, sell or possess after July 31.

The Australian Department of Health has enforced the ban and will classify DMAA as a schedule nine drug, putting it in the same category as heroin, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine.

Anyone found making, selling or possessing the substance after July 31 will be prosecuted, although the penalties for an offence involving DMAA are not yet clear.

Local stores are holding massive clear-out sales of the product.

Ashmore's Nutrition Warehouse has emailed clients about its sale, but refused to comment to the Bulletin, while other stores are trying to offload the substance at reduced prices.

University of Queensland School of Pharmacy senior lecturer Treasure McGuire said misuse was the main problem when it came to DMAA.

"It's something that has the effect of a few cups of coffee in small doses, but when people have a bucket it becomes a stimulant," she said.

"It's been known to cause strokes and cardiovascular problems."

Despite the dangers Ms McGuire said it often took serious problems or misuse to bring such issues to the attention of authorities.

"It's a lot like pseudoephedrine, it was an effective cold and flu medicine but then people realised it could be used to make harder drugs," she said.

Fitness First Southport personal trainer Mark Wyer said he refused to take supplements with intense stimulants.

"They are like a drug -- highly addictive and hard to quit," he said.

"It's like a coffee drinker, if the people using these high-stimulant supplements don't have their fix they can't function properly.

"I prefer to encourage clients to use supplements with natural ingredients to help focus the mind."

The product is particularly popular among amateur bodybuilders such as Russell Mackenzie but he stopped using products with DMAA last year when the side-effects started to impact his job.

"The supplements with DMAA are very intense, they're great during a workout, but it's the after-effects that are the problem," he said.

"You feel like you're on drugs, it is a massive rush, I would go to bed at 9pm and still be lying there looking at the ceiling at 3am."

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/201 ... -news.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:18 am 
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Anti-ageing pills could be a reality

It sounds too good to be true: a pill that alleviates the worst aspects of ageing.

But anti-ageing drugs could be closer than we think, according to international genetics and ageing expert Dame Linda Partridge.

In fact, a drug already licensed to treat cancer is getting the results scientists are after in animals.

Professor Partridge, the director of the Institute of Ageing at University College London, said that when mice were fed the drug rapamycin they lived longer.

But the drug also offered protection against neurodegenerative diseases, which are closely linked to ageing.

"Ageing is the main risk factor for all these horrible killer and chronic conditions — dementia, cardiovascular disease, cancer," Professor Partridge said.

"What we are trying to do here is hit the underlying ageing process itself through understanding mechanisms to protect against all these things at once, rather than treating them piecemeal.

"Rapamycin is beginning to look like a proof of principle that that kind of approach is going to work."

How rapamycin works is based on studies dating back decades that showed mice forced to eat smaller amounts of food not only lived longer, but experienced better health as they aged.

These animals were less likely to get cancer, heart and kidney disease and had better immune systems and cognitive power for longer.

Professor Partridge said that although this knowledge had been around for a long time it was only in recent years that scientists began to unravel the molecular reasons behind how dietary restriction worked.

It turned out a network of molecules that senses nutrients in the body, involving insulin, amino acids and cellular energy, was responsible.

The aim has been to develop a treatment to derive the benefits of diet restriction, without actually going on a diet.

Rapamycin works by inhibiting a powerful molecule in this whole nutrient-sensing network, Professor Partridge said.

However, the drug — a natural product initially discovered in the soil of Easter Island — has its downside.

It's an immune suppressant and is also used to prevent the body rejecting an organ after transplant.

But there's potential to boost the drug's health benefits while minimising its undesirable side-effects, Professor Partridge said.

Other approaches under investigation to lessen the impact of ageing involve recycling old drugs for new uses, such as aspirin, Professor Partridge said.

The common analgesic is the subject of multiple studies which have shown it could protect against heart disease and various cancers.

"A lot of drugs have a much wider therapeutic range than we'd suspected," said Professor Partridge, who is also the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing in Cologne.

"Some re-using of existing drugs as well as development of new ones may well accelerate this kind of approach to human health," she said.

Lifestyle factors including diet and exercise are obviously an important part of staying well while ageing, Professor Partridge said, but it was difficult to get people to modify their behaviour.

"Given the impact of these ageing-related diseases, we're going to have to intervene pharmacologically."

Professor Partridge will deliver the 2012 Graeme Clark Oration in Melbourne tomorrow.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/antiagei ... 2282m.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:28 am 
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Cancer more likely in people with serious mental illnesses

People with serious mental illness —schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and disabling depression — are 2.6 times more likely to develop cancer than the general population, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

The study’s findings, published this month in the journal Psychiatric Services, raise questions about whether patients burdened with serious mental illness are receiving appropriate cancer screenings and preventive care related to risk factors for cancer, such as smoking.

“The increased risk is definitely there, but we’re not entirely sure why,” says study leader Gail L. Daumit, M.D., M.H.S., an associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Are these people getting screened? Are they being treated? Something’s going on.”

In a separate study, published online last month in the journal Injury Prevention, Daumit found that people with serious mental illness were nearly twice as likely to end up in a hospital’s emergency room or inpatient department suffering from an injury than the general population and about 4.5 times more likely to die from their injuries.

Daumit says roughly 5 percent of Americans have a serious mental illness, and this group is known to be two to three times more likely to die prematurely than those without disabling psychiatric problems. A small proportion of the higher risk, she says, can be attributed to the higher risks of suicide and homicide victimization in this population, but those factors do not account for most of the disparity. The top causes of death are cardiovascular disease and cancer, the same top causes of death for those without serious mental illness.

Daumit, a practicing internist, speculates that this population is “falling through the cracks.”

In the first study, Daumit’s team looked at data from 3,317 Maryland Medicaid beneficiaries with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, determining whether they developed cancer between 1994 and 2004 and what type of cancer they had. They found that patients with schizophrenia, when compared to the general population, were more than 4.5 times more likely to develop lung cancer, 3.5 times more likely to develop colorectal cancer and nearly three times more likely to develop breast cancer. People with bipolar disorder experienced similarly high risk for lung, colorectal and breast cancer. There were no racial differences in who developed cancer in this group, whose average age was between 42 and 43 years.

Daumit says one reason for the elevated risk of lung cancer could be smoking, which is more prevalent in people with serious mental illnesses. She also speculates that the breast cancer risk could be related to the fact that women with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are less likely to have children, and childbearing is believed to reduce breast cancer risk. Also, some psychotropic medications can increase levels of the hormone prolactin, a factor that has been linked to breast cancer. The colorectal cancer risk, she says, could be related to lifestyle issues, such as smoking, lack of physical activity and a diet lacking fruits and vegetables.

Daumit says more study is needed on the role of behavioral and pharmacological factors in increased cancer risk among people with serious mental illness, and the extent to which this population receives appropriate cancer screening and treatment. She says mental health providers and primary care physicians must work together to promote screening as well as to reduce modifiable risk factors such as smoking among this group.

In the second study, Daumit and her colleagues looked at similar Maryland Medicaid data from 1994 through 2001 in search of other patterns. They found that over the seven-year period, 43 percent of the 6,234 people with serious mental illness in the group studied were seen at a hospital emergency department or admitted with an injury. Among the members of the study group with any injury, 42 percent were injured once, 23 percent twice, 25 percent three to five times and 10 percent six or more times.

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201207 ... esses.aspx


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:53 am 
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Sports drinks 'just lolly water'

SPORTS drinks may not be as crucial to rehydration and recovery as their manufacturers claim, a UK investigation has found.

A series of articles in the British Medical Journal and an accompanying BBC Panorama special on Thursday poured cold water on many sports drinks' marketing claims.

A study by the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University assessed the evidence behind 431 performance-enhancing claims in advertisements for 104 different sports products, including sports drinks, protein shakes and trainers.

They contacted companies for more information but only one manufacturer, pharmaceutical giant and Lucozade maker, GlaxoSmithKline, provided studies to underpin their claims.

The Oxford researchers said only three of the 176 studies provided were reliable with a low risk of bias.

Lead researcher Dr Carl Heneghan concluded that the evidence was poor, the size of the effect was minimal and the claims didn't apply to the population at large who were consuming the products.

"Basically, when you look at the evidence in the general population, it does not say that exercise is improved [or that] performance is improved by carbohydrate drinks," he told the BBC.

But GlaxoSmithKline disagreed, saying all its claims were based on scientific evidence substantiated by the European Food Safety Authority.

Among the claims 'mythbusted' included advice from some sports drinks companies that their product should be consumed before, during and after sport.

Australian nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton said it was about time the myth was dispelled that people should drink even when they're not thirsty.

"Thirst is the body's normal method of telling you you need a drink," she told AAP.

"To say you must drink before you get thirsty is as ridiculous as saying you must eat so you never get hungry.

"It's just been a way to sell drinks."

The study also found no substantial evidence that combined carbohydrate and protein supplements after exercise improved recovery in the general population, and inconsistent results among professional athletes.

But Sports Dieticians Australia vice president Alan McCubbin said there was a place for sports supplements, depending on the training.

He said sports drinks would not be required to replace carbohydrates after an hour and a half or less of exercise.

But the drinks could be appropriate after longer or more intense workouts, he said.

Olympic swimmers, for example, who often have multiple races during one day with limited time in between, could benefit, he said.

He said Australia had tighter regulations than Europe in relation to performance-enhancing claims of nutritional products.

The research also raised concerns that the high number of calories in the drinks could be contributing to obesity when consumed by general population, in the belief they were 'healthy'.

The study also exposed financial links between companies such as Pepsico-owned Gatorade, an Australian Institute of Sport partner, and sports medicine journals publishing evidence.

http://www.news.com.au/news/sports-drin ... 6431346871


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:57 am 
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Calls for national approach to battle the world's fastest growing chronic disease killing 7000 Australians each year

STATE and federal governments are being called upon to help save Australian lives by funding a national type 2 diabetes prevention system.

In a bid to urgently halt the diabetes epidemic, Diabetes Queensland has launched Let's Prevent Diabetes, a prevention program which could lead to the saving of up to $1.37 billion in healthcare costs.

Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said Australia had no national approach to preventing type 2 diabetes - the world's fastest growing chronic disease that's killing more than 7,000 Australians every year.

Ms Trute said numerous international trials have shown the progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle behaviour change programs.

At last Thursday's Health Media Club lunch in Brisbane, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said anti-obesity campaigns were not working.

"People need to take responsibility and be in charge of their own health,'' Mr Springborg said.

"About 54.7 per cent of the population have some for of weight issues. Obesity costs $11.6 billion each year.''

"We haven't translated investment into outcomes when it comes to obesity.''

http://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews ... 6432888787


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:30 am 
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Teens 'shunning' drink and drugs

Teenagers are opting for a healthier lifestyle by shunning drink and drugs, research has suggested.

Over the last decade the number of schoolchildren taking illegal drugs, smoking and drinking alcohol has declined.

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows that drug-taking among secondary school children fell by 12% in the past 10 years.

The study, which analyses tobacco, alcohol and drug use among children in England, found that one in four 11 to 15-year-olds had smoked at least once. Researchers said this is the lowest proportion since the survey began in 1982.

In 2001, almost two-thirds of pupils said they had tried alcohol but this number fell to 45% in 2011. The research, conducted on 6,500 pupils, found that one in six pupils have taken drugs. In 2001 around a third of pupils reported that they had.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: "The report shows that pupils appear to be leading an increasingly clean-living lifestyle and are less likely to take drugs as well as cigarettes and alcohol.

"All this material will be of immense interest to those who work with young people and aim to steer them towards a healthier way of life."

Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns and communications at alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: "It is encouraging that over the last 10 years fewer children are drinking alcohol.

"While the decline in the number of children trying alcohol is good news, the report still shows there are 360,000 young people who reported drinking alcohol in the last week alone.

"Today's report provides even more incentive to parents to talk openly about alcohol with their kids and delay the age of their child's first drink for as long as possible."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpres ... 311408186A


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:47 am 
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How to eat ethically

More consumers than ever are demanding ethical foods and it is not uncommon to see people consulting apps and websites for information about the products they are buying.

"If you look at marketing research, it's clear that people are wanting humane products, such as free-range and grass-fed," says Rachel Ankeny, an ethical food consumption researcher at the University of Adelaide. "It's partially due to cooking shows and those like The Biggest Loser. People are more aware of what they're eating."

Farmers and supermarkets are heeding the message. "Retailers like Woolworths and Coles have developed lines, particularly in the animal-welfare domain, in response to consumer demand," Ankeny says.

But making food choices that align with your values is not always easy. Here's how to navigate the minefield and eat ethically.

Be eco-friendly

With food making up 28 per cent of our ecological footprint, it is crucial we consider what we are eating if we want to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. There are four key ways you can reduce your food footprint:

•Choose local produce. "If your food travelled a long way, it will probably have been refrigerated and used a lot of fuel," says Charlie Davie from Environment Victoria. Try shopping at farmers' markets or visit www.localharvest.org.au to find growers close to you.
•Cut back on processed foods. "A lot of products like breakfast cereals and soft drinks are packaged in intensive ways that use extra resources to produce," Davie says. "At the other end, we dispose of packaging – all that adds to the environmental impact of the food."
•Eat less meat. Not only does meat take thousands of litres of water to produce, but a UN study found the livestock industry is responsible for 18 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions. Many Australians eat well above the recommended dietary guidelines for meat, dietitian Nicole Senior says, and cutting back should not impact on your health. She suggests sticking to 450 grams of lean red meat a week.
•Choose sustainable seafood. Three-quarters of the world's oceans are over-exploited, so download the Sustainable Seafood Guide app from the Australian Marine Conservation Society for a list of sustainable fish options.

What you can do today:

•Swap flake for pieces of Australian salmon.
•Swap beef for kangaroo steaks.

Respect human rights

Australia has strict workplace laws, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for many other countries. Daniel Mackey from Fairtrade Australia says many popular products, such as coffee, tea and chocolate, come from developing countries where the workers are not treated fairly. Where possible, he suggests buying products marked with the Fairtrade logo.

"These products are being traded on fair terms and the growers of these products receive a fair price," he says.

In fact, in 2011, an estimated 1.2 million farmers and workers benefited from the Fairtrade program.

Fairtrade labelling in Australia is limited to a handful of products, but you can use the Shop Ethical app to find out about the environmental and humanitarian record of the companies whose product you buy. "It looks at companies, their different products and their environmental and human rights impacts around the world," Mackey says.

What you can do today:
•Swap regular chocolate for Fairtrade chocolate.
•Swap green tea for a Fairtrade green tea.

Stop animal cruelty

Whether it is pigs locked in tiny pens or chickens sitting on wet litter and getting breast blisters, there are myriad animal welfare issues surrounding the production of meat and eggs.

Victorian farmer Fiona Chambers, who produces free-range pork and lamb, is horrified by the conditions in which some animals are raised and slaughtered.

"It's unnecessary – it doesn't need to be like that," she says. Chambers suggests buying meat at farmers' markets so you can find out how the animal was raised. "It gives the consumer the opportunity to talk directly with the person who has grown that product so they get the story straight from the horse's mouth," she says.

Choosing food products marked with the RSPCA's "Paw of Approval" at the supermarket is one of the easiest ways to guarantee you are buying meat and eggs from farms that prioritise animal welfare.

"The RSPCA works with producers that voluntarily want to meet higher standards than those required by law," says Hope Bertram from RSPCA Australia.

Chambers says choosing certified organic meat is another way to ensure food was raised under humane conditions.

"It's a guarantee that those animals are free range for the entirety of their lives," she says. "Certified organic farmers are audited annually to make sure the relevant processes are in place."

It is also important to take these philosophies out of the home and into the restaurant world.

"Ask about food sources and encourage your local cafe to serve higher-welfare food as it will have a big impact on the wellbeing of farm animals," Bertram says.

What you can do today:

•Look for free-range certification when buying pork.
•Swap cage eggs for the free-range variety.

Go meat-free for a day

The Meatless Monday project urges people to have one day without meat a week to improve the environment and our health. Dietitian Nicole Senior suggests experimenting with plant proteins such as legumes.

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/food+diet ... ally,18857


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:17 am 
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Doctors Need to Be More Cautious, says Study

It has been found in a recent report by a team of researchers from the Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Association that hospitals have been less focusing on palliative care these days, though the number of admissions because of chronic illnesses is on rise.

A survey had been carried out by the group, which has found that most doctors are either not aware or are less conscious about the importance of having a word with terminally ill patients. Some 1,029 residents were enrolled in the study, a majority of whom reported that doctors were not involving with them for a discussion on their illness.

While nearly 70% of patients wished to talk to their doctors regarding end-of-life care options, it has been found that only 21% got a response. Lincoln physician Lisa Mansur has also revealed after a four-year observation that the services at hospitals have certainly improved with time. But, whether it is a physician or hospitalist or a specialist, he tends to ignore the problem on a wider scale.

“They provide outstanding care, but they may not feel they are the best person to have that conversation. They take care of their tree, not the entire forest”, affirmed Mansur.

http://topnews.ae/content/212490-doctor ... says-study


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:00 am 
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Are sleeping pills safe to use?

SLEEPING pills may seem like the answer but the dangers of prolonged use can be considerable.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) recently banned several types of sleeping pills after revelations elite athletes were relying heavily on them for extended periods.

The AOC has singled out zolpidem, sold under the brand Stilnox, nitrazepam (sold as Mogadon) and flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) for its black list. In extreme cases, our athletes will be allowed temazepam, sold as Restoril and Normison, at the London Games.

Almost half of Australians suffer insomnia at some point so, with the recent furore, exactly what is safe to take?

Reasonable use of sleeping pills

In certain instances, experts agree that taking sleeping tablets is an appropriate short-term option.

"It's not unreasonable to prescribe the drugs for a few days or weeks if there is a reason for it," says Professor Drew Dawson from CQUniversity's Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science. He lists such reasons as grief, jet lag or short-term insomnia and says, "Sometimes six hours of drug-induced sleep is better than no sleep at all."

Side effects of sleeping pills

However, he stresses that extended use has significant side effects as these drugs have the potential to become psychologically addictive or habit forming.

"A withdrawal effect might be rebound insomnia after you stop taking them. Because you are using artificial sleeping drugs, your body stops producing its own sleep-inducing compounds. When you stop taking them you won't sleep well, so you take another sleeping tablet and it becomes self-reinforcing behaviour," Dawson says.

Stilnox has rare but serious side effects, says Australian Medical Association president Dr Steve Hambleton. Bizarre behaviours such as sleep walking, sleep driving and even armed robbery and rape have all been reported, especially when the drug is mixed with alcohol.

Dangerous drugs

"Rohypnol gained notoriety as the date-rape drug because it doesn't have a taste and is odourless. It's not widely available in Australia and I would be very concerned about prescribing it," Hambleton says.

Mogadon should also be approached with caution as it is long-acting. He adds that elderly people should particularly avoid this drug as the hangover effect might cause an accident or fall.

Pharmaceutical companies claim the new type of non-benzodiazepine drugs, which include Stilnox, more closely mimic natural sleep patterns and are less addictive.

Hambleton disagrees. "Every time there is a new sedative, they claim it's less habit forming and addictive. But rather than reaching for a sleeping pill, it's better to try figure out why you're not sleeping. Often there is a medical reason, like sleep apnoea or stress."

Are natural sleeping pills safer?

There are several herbal medicines that can be used for both falling and staying asleep, says Sydney naturopath Kylie Seaton, who treats a number of athletes and international touring musicians.

"Passionflower, hops, oats, valerian, skullcap and magnolia are excellent. Most of these herbal medicines have been clinically trialled with promising results and negligible side effects," she says.

Look for medicines with a combination of these herbs for the best effect. You can purchase herbal remedies from a naturopath, chemist or health store.

Avoiding caffeine is a must if you're having trouble sleeping.

"Coffee is not your friend if you can't sleep well. Each cup of coffee puts you into a mini fight-or-flight stress response. The half-life of coffee is quite long, so just a few cups a day will mean that your system is caffeinated for 24-hour cycles," Seaton says.

If the problem is falling asleep, body+soul's naturopath Mim Beim recommends taking a large dose of herbs after dinner or just before bed. If waking between sleep cycles and being unable to fall asleep again is the issue, she suggests taking the dose at bedtime or again in the middle of the night if necessary.

Beim says, "Bad sleep is a pattern. When something like the herbs work, keep taking them for a good two to three weeks so your body is able to go back into a good routine."

Practical measures

A routine such as waking at the same time every day, sleeping in a dimly lit room, turning off electrical devices and winding down at least half an hour before bed is recommended for people who have trouble sleeping.

http://www.news.com.au/news/are-sleepin ... 6438973709


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:20 am 
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Women And Children First? Shipwreck Study Shows Men More Likely To Survive Maritime Disasters

Despite the widespread notion that women and children have a better chance at surviving a shipwreck because they will be saved first, a new study finds that that's just wishful thinking.

The captain, crew and male passengers are more likely to survive maritime disasters than women and children, finds a new study by economists at Uppsala University in Sweden.

When it comes to abandoning ship, "it appears as if it's every man for himself," said lead researcher Mikael Elinder in a statement.

Elinder and his colleague studied 18 shipwrecks, including the Titanic and Lusitania, from 1852 to 2011 that involved more than 15,000 passengers and more than 30 nationalities. They limited their study to disasters that included information on the sex of survivors, that involved at least 100 people, and where at least 5 percent survived and 5 percent died.

Their findings run counter to the notion that women and children get priority when escaping a shipwreck. The sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago, where three times more women survived than men, popularized this "unwritten law of the sea," because the captain ordered that women and children went into the lifeboats first.

But it turns out that this is the exception rather than the rule. Study co-author Oscar Erixson grew up on stories of chivalrous men on the Titanic who gave their lives for the women and children. "[So] the survival patterns we found [in this study] came as surprise to me," the economist wrote in an email to LiveScience. [Gallery: Stunning Shots of the Titanic Shipwreck]

In results published online today (July 30) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Erixson and Elinder found that overall, women were about half as likely to survive as men. And they found that crewmembers were about 18.7 percent more likely to survive than passengers, no matter how much time it took a ship to sink.

"The later observation is certainly not what one would expect given that the crew, and the captain in particular, are responsible for evacuating the passengers before putting themselves in safety," Erixson wrote in an email.

The researchers also found that women fared the worst on British ships, despite the fact that more "women and children first" orders were given on British ships than on others.

"Although maritime disasters are tragic events, they can contribute to our understanding of how people behave under extreme stress and when it is a matter of life and death," said Elinder in a statement.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/3 ... l?ir=Women


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