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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:47 am 
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African-American breast cancer survivors report inadequate information, options, support services

African-American breast cancer survivors were satisfied with their cancer treatment, but most were never offered clinical trials opportunities or support services during or after their treatment, according to a study by a UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher and her community partner, Rev. Tammie Dynse.

The study, "The Unmet Needs of African-American Women with Breast Cancer," involved interviews with 137 African-American women who survived breast cancer. Researchers sought to assess patients' clinical experiences, concerns and needs, asking participants questions about their treatment, access to information, support services and clinical trials, insurance and employment status, general health and lingering effects of cancer treatment.

"Anyone who takes care of people with cancer should be aware of these concerns," said Marlene M. von Friederichs-Fitzwater, director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center's Outreach Research and Education Program, principal investigator and lead author of the study, which was published online in Advances in Breast Cancer Research in April. "We know that one powerful factor in cancer outcomes is the extent to which patients obtain information and participate in their treatment decision-making."

African American women have the highest incidence of breast cancer of any population group in the United States, and the highest mortality rates, according to the National Cancer Institute. The death rate -- 33 per 100,000 -- is more than twice that of Asian-American women and Hispanic women.

But while many studies have documented African American disparities in breast cancer screening, detection, mortality and disease staging, few have looked at the experiences from a patient's post-treatment and survivorship perspective.

For the study, von Friederichs-Fitzwater telephoned African-American women throughout the Sacramento region known to have been treated for breast cancer. The women were identified through support groups and advocacy organizations, survivorship events and other agencies.

A majority (90 percent) of participants reported that they were satisfied with their treatment, but nearly one-fourth of them were not satisfied with the information they received about breast cancer and treatment options from their doctors.

For example, more than 80 percent of respondents would have liked to have received information about complementary medicine options but did not, and 60 percent reported that they sought treatment information on their own. Seventy-eight percent of interviewees said their doctors did not talk to them about clinical trials, but the same percentage said they would have enrolled, if eligible.

Additionally, nearly half of the women (43 percent) said their doctor or other health-care provider did not provide information about support services, but 62 percent said they wanted such services.

Of the minority of women who did access support programs, about one-fourth of them said they were not at all satisfied. One respondent said she felt out of place at a support group meeting where she was the only African-American woman, and never returned after her first visit.

The study also underscored the fact that many African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer perceive discrimination in the delivery of their care. Concerns included perceptions that information or certain types of treatment were being withheld because of their race or socioeconomic circumstances.

Study co-author Denyse, president and founder of Carrie's Touch, a Sacramento-area nonprofit community organization for African-American women with breast and other cancers, said the findings confirmed many of the concerns that she had heard from individuals in the community.

"The experiences that these women encounter have a lot to do with a lack of trust of the medical professional community," said Denyse, herself a breast cancer survivor. "Our culture as a whole is very silent about breast cancer. When you find out a woman in the African-American community has had cancer, it's usually at her funeral."

Von Friederichs-Fitzwater said such perceptions -- whether based in reality or not -- can affect a patient's satisfaction and overall outcome. "This study points to the need to develop more patient-centered care that is culturally sensitive and to deliver comprehensive care that addresses the physical, mental, psychosocial and spiritual needs of patients," she said.

For example, von Friederichs-Fitzwater said African-American women could benefit greatly from a peer navigator program, in which specially trained breast cancer survivors would work one-on-one with newly diagnosed women, guiding them through the earliest, most difficult phases of diagnosis and treatment.

"If you don't have someone continually educating and supporting you and reminding you of the symptoms that can come along with chemotherapy and radiation, you will think you are dying, and then stop your treatment," added Denyse. "I hope this research is a stepping stone to a more in-depth study so that we can really learn some of the challenges African-American women are facing in an effort to save their lives."

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-05-a ... quate.html


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 7:15 am 
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Easing the stress of cancer patients

Inside Gippsland Rotary Centenary House, light hues of cream and yellow colour the walls.

Plush couches invite you to sit down and high ceilings featuring large windows let the morning light in.

The community-based not-for-profit facility provides accommodation for patients and their families who attend the Cancer Care Centre at Latrobe Regional Hospital.

Patients receiving treatment for long term degenerative disease and families of very sick children can also access the service.

With the second phase of development recently completed, the house now boasts 17 individual rooms for patients and their families.

The cost of accommodation is kept low, with guests paying about $15-$30 for each night they stay at the facility.

Each room is fitted with two single beds, a kitchenette and a private bathroom.

Most guests stay for an average of six weeks.

Patients who go home to visit family on weekends are not charged a fee to secure their rooms for the following week.

Patients' guests can stay for free.

"We really encourage that support while they're here. The idea is to supply safe, secure and affordable accommodation, so we're not adding to the stress and financial stress of organising accommodation," house manager Carol Crewe says.

While there is currently no waiting list at Centenary House, Ms Crewe says that may change.

"At the moment it's meeting the needs, but as the hospital ramps up their oncology service we expect to see an increase in demand," Ms Crewe says.

Evonne Setters, has been staying at Centenary House for five weeks.

She's receiving treatment for breast cancer at the Latrobe Regional Hospital.

Thanks to Centenary House, she only has to walk 250 metres to the hospital.

"There is no way I could drive the four hour round trip to Philip Island every day, this just makes it a lot easier for me," Ms Setters says.

http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2012 ... 493958.htm


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 8:10 am 
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Aussie teenager Shaun Wilson-Miller's dying wish is to make the most of life

A TEENAGER has recorded an emotional goodbye video after being told by doctors he will soon die, telling friends and family he has had "an awesome ride".

And he had one final wish for his loved ones - please look after his dad.

Shaun Wilson-Miller, 17, suffers from a chronic heart condition and medical experts have told the Melbourne teen he does not have long to live.

His body has not accepted his second heart transplant and doctors told him he could not undergo a third.

The brave battler used the online video to urge his friends to make the most out of life.

"Hi guys, I have some bad news I have to tell you all," he said in the video which has been viewed by people all over the world.

"I won't be here for as long as I thought but I want to say this has been an awesome ride and I have no regrets.

"Live life to the fullest because you never know what's going to happen."

The teen, who became a Heart Kids Ambassador at the age of 13, said he loved his family and friends and would miss them but didn't want them to cry for him. He had one request: "I do ask all my friends to make sure my dad will be OK."

Shaun has been inspiring kids as a motivational speaker and is also writing a book describing his journey.

In a 2009 newspaper interview he told of his desire to overcome his serious health problems: "I just keep positive in everything I do and everything comes out the best for me."

Shaun decided to make his heart-wrenching video to spread a positive message and to encourage people to deal with whatever life throws at them.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/nati ... 6346320074


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 6:05 am 
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Lack of sun harms children's eyesight

SNUBBING the outdoors for books, video games and TV is the reason up to nine in 10 school-leavers in big east Asian cities are near-sighted.

Neither genes nor the mere increase in activities such as reading and writing is to blame, new research suggests, but a simple lack of sunlight.

Exposure to the sun's rays is believed to stimulate production of the chemical dopamine, which stops the eyeball distorting the focus of light entering the eye.

''It's pretty clear that it is bright light stimulating dopamine release which prevents myopia,'' researcher Ian Morgan of the Australian National University said of the findings published in The Lancet medical journal.

Yet the average primary school pupil in Singapore, where up to nine in 10 young adults are myopic, spent only about 30 minutes outdoors each day - compared with three hours for children in Australia where the myopia prevalence among children of European origin is about 10 per cent.

The figure in Britain was about 30 to 40 per cent and in Africa ''virtually none'', Professor Morgan said.

The most myopic school-leavers in the world are to be found in cities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/science/ ... z1tvvRnkkc


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 5:56 am 
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Cancer screen message not effective

Many Australians in the age groups at greatest risk of developing bowel cancer are missing out on screening for the disease due to a lack of publicity for the testing program or because they have trouble reading English.

The federal government announced at the weekend that it would spend $50 million expanding the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Australians turning 50, 55 and 65 are currently posted a one-off free faecal occult blood testing kit. Eventually all Australians aged between 50 and 74 years will be offered a test every two years.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... z1u7aPmoID


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 7:52 am 
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Smokers need not apply - publishing firm's job ad

Online advertisements calling specifically for non-smokers have sparked debate about the line between personal choice, discrimination and protecting workers' health and productivity.

The jobs range from drivers to personal trainers, publishers, disability workers and even receptionists.

A South Melbourne publishing firm, advertised for an experienced full-time graphic designer, with the line: "Smokers need not apply!".

A similar push is happening in the US where some hospitals have begun testing workers for nicotine use in their drug screens.

Action on Smoking and Health Australia chief executive Anne Jones said some employers should be allowed to hire only non-smokers.

"I think there is going to be more ads like this because most workplaces are quite concerned about the loss of productivity from smoking," she said.

"What is very understandable is that some workplaces are saying they don't want smokers to apply because they see it as a productivity issue."

Ms Jones said health organisations and hospitals would have particular reason not to employ smokers.

But she said every workplace was different and some would be better off paying for staff to undergo quit courses.

Australian Institute of Fitness coach Andre Sammut said non-smokers were preferred because it reflected on company values.

"We are delivering training in fitness and health and we want to promote a fit and healthy lifestyle," he said.

Acting Victorian Equal Opportunity Commissioner Karen Toohey warned advertisements must not discriminate.

She said: "Stipulating smokers need not apply for a job may be against the law. Employers should not seek to exclude smokers from applying for a position, unless the need not to smoke is an inherent requirement of the role."

Ms Toohey said factors such as weight, height or smoking were not relevant to a person's ability to do their job. Every employer should be looking for "the best person for a job".

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-n ... 6352432500


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 6:29 am 
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Meditation linked to better wellbeing and health, including mental health

(Medical Xpress) -- The experience of 'mental silence' is linked with better health outcomes and greater wellbeing according to a University of Sydney study.

The area of greatest difference was in mental health, where long-term meditators, with a minimum of two years of regular practice, were more than 10 percent better off than the general population.

"We found that the health and wellbeing profile of people who had meditated for at least two years was significantly higher in the majority of health and wellbeing categories when compared to the Australian population," said Dr Ramesh Manocha, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, who led the research.

He worked with Professor Deborah Black and Dr Leigh Wilson from the Faculty of Health Sciences.

"Most markedly there was a robust relationship between the frequency of experiencing mental silence and better mental health. This definition is based on it being the form of meditation practised for centuries."

The national study is a world-first health quality-of-life survey of long-term meditators. It used the same measurement instruments as the one used by the federal government's National Health and Wellbeing Survey.

More than 350 people from across Australia who have meditated for at least two years were assessed for the national study which has been published in the journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

"We focused on the definition of meditation as mental silence and surveyed practitioners of Sahaja Yoga meditation who practise a form of meditation aimed at achieving this state rather than relaxation or mindfulness methods that are usually the focus of other forms," Dr Manocha said.

The meditators were asked how often they experienced 'mental silence' for more than a few minutes at any one time.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said that they experienced mental silence "several times per day or more" while 32 percent were experiencing it "once or twice per day".

"Our analysis showed very little relationship at all between how often the person who meditated physically sat down to meditate and mental health scores. However the relationship was clearly apparent in relation to how often they experienced the state of mental silence.

"The health advantage appears to be connected to this aspect more than any other feature of the meditation lifestyle. In other words it is quality over quantity.

"While we did expect that there would be some differences between the meditators and the general population we didn't expect the findings to be so pronounced. We repeated large components of the survey several times to confirm our results and got the same outcomes."

The Australian government survey give a numerical score to each facet of mental and physical health and because it has been applied as a national measure for the past 10 years in studies around the world involving millions of people. It allowed the researchers to accurately compare the health profile of the meditators surveyed with the general Australian population.

The meditators were primarily non-smokers and non-drinkers, so to adjust for that potential bias the researchers also compared the meditators to those parts of the Australian population who did not drink or smoke, and achieved the same results.

"This is one of the first studies to assess the long term health impacts of meditation on health and wellbeing. When we take the evidence of this study, along with the results of our other clinical trials, it makes a strong case for the use of meditation as a primary prevention strategy, especially in mental health," Dr Manocha said.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-05-m ... ental.html


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:37 am 
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Premier has faith in dodgy doctor probe

The Queensland premier says it's too early for a police investigation into claims a doctor killed two patients.

Former independent Queensland MP Rob Messenger has vowed to alert police to the allegations, which are outlined in a taped interview between Mr Messenger and a former colleague of the accused doctor.

But Premier Campbell Newman says he has faith in a probe being conducted by retired judge Richard Chesterman on behalf of the CMC.

"If Mr Messenger's got stuff he wants to go to the police on, well he's a free citizen, go for it. I welcome that," he told reporters in Brisbane on Monday.

"But the point is there is currently an investigation under way into these allegations and I think it should give it time to do its work."

In a taped interview obtained by AAP, a doctor claims his former colleague prematurely killed a woman on life support by turning her oxygen down.

On another occasion, it is alleged a surgeon had to restrain the doctor for 15 minutes to stop him from hurting a patient.

http://www.news.9msn.com.au/health/8467 ... ctor-probe


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:01 am 
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Ten ways to reduce cancer risk

Here's the bad news: Nearly half of today's North American men and one-third of women will develop cancer, making it the second leading cause of death after heart disease.

To some people, fate deals a bad hand when they inherit genes that increase the risk of cancer. But here's the good news. Drs. John Swartzberg and Jeffery Wolf at the University of California say that lifestyle changes can help people reduce the risk of at least 65% of cancers.

1. Use alcohol moderately

Cancers of the esophagus (stomach tube), mouth, throat and larynx are linked to alcohol. The more you drink the greater the risk. For women who know they have a higher risk of breast cancer or have had breast cancer, the advice is to forego the alcoholic drink or do so occasionally. Moderate drinking means one or two drinks a day for men and one for women.

2. Test the water for arsenic

This should not be necessary for city dwellers. But if you're on a farm and use well water, high levels of arsenic have been associated with cancers of the bladder, colon, kidneys, liver, lung and skin. Arsenic is tasteless, odourless and is found in soil, rocks, water and air. Water filters that are placed on the faucet do not remove arsenic. The only solution is bottled water.

3. Decrease workplace exposure to carcinogens

Bartenders and waiters who work in venues that still allow smoking should look for a smoke-free environment to decrease the risk of lung cancer. Funeral directors and those who work in nail salons can become exposed to formaldehyde increasing the risk of nasal cancer. Others who work in chemical or printing plants may be exposed to benzene, a chemical that is linked to leukemia and Hodgkins lymphoma.

4. Decrease sun exposure

Ultraviolet light from suntanning beds is estimated to cause 2 million cases of skin cancer every year. Remember this summer that no sunscreen blocks all radiation.

5. Get moving

Prostate, lung and cancer of the uterus are associated with inactivity. Exercise enhances the immune system and decreases cancer risk by lowering cellular growth.

6. Shed pounds

Studies suggest that being obese accounts for 14% of cancer deaths in men and 20% in women. These deaths occur from cancers of the large bowel, esophagus, liver, uterine cancer and leukemia. Why this happens is not totally understood, but there's evidence it may be associated with the production of hormones. Obesity is also linked to chronic inflammation, which may trigger cancer growth.

7. Decrease high-heat cooking

Heating food over coals or flames creates chemicals called heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are believed to increase cancer risk. Most people associate this risk with grill cooking. But it's also true for pan-frying foods on the stove. These chemicals are associated with an increased risk of pancreatic, prostate and colon malignancy. You can lower risk by using the microwave to pre-cook food for a few minutes before putting meat or chicken on the grill and then turn food often to prevent charring.

8. Limit radiation exposure

It seems unbelievable, but every year 10% of Americans get a CT scan. Equally frightening, the number getting this procedure increases every year. These scans now account for half of our radiation exposure. One CT scan is the same as 500 X-rays of the lungs. So always ask your doctors if the same result could be achieved by either an ultrasound or MRI test.

9. Don't smoke

I tell patients to see a psychiatrist if they still smoke cigarettes, pipes, smokeless tobacco or cigars. Smoking is the leading cause of premature preventable deaths in this country. Remember it is never too late to quit and stop needless lung and other cancer deaths.

10. Eat a nutritious diet

What is an anti-cancer diet? Authorities state repeatedly it's prudent to limit the amount of red meat, pork and particularly processed meats, and to increase the amount of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/05/16/te ... ancer-risk


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 7:42 am 
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How to live without regrets

WHEN your time is up, will you be happy with the life you’ve lived? It’s time to make those changes now.

If you are not familiar with the term "bucket list", it refers to a list of the things you would like to do before you die (kick the bucket). But do people who are dying think about whether or not they have done these things or might they have a deeper agenda: a bucket list of the soul, perhaps?

"Non, je ne regrette rien" (“No, I regret nothing”). So went the words to a popular French song sung by Edith Piaf in the 1960s. If we were to imagine our last days, would we be able to say the same thing? Or would we have regrets about how we lived our lives?

Some may think it is morbid to dwell on death, but it is actually extremely life-affirming. Death puts things into perspective. It makes us think about what is really important in life. When something is going to end we begin to appreciate it. So, again, if your life were to end, would you have regrets about how you lived?

Palliative care nurses tend to people in their last stage of life and they are in the unique position of being able to talk with patients who may be confronting what life has meant to them.

One of these nurses, Bronnie Ware, wrote a blog, then a book, called The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying (Hay House), about her experiences. She found that people did indeed have regrets before they died and these had little to do with their bucket lists.

Ware discovered the dying have five common regrets. If we were to take heed of these regrets, we would have a head start in life.

We can deal with the issues now, so we don’t end up with the same regrets when it is our turn to kick the bucket.

** Be true to yourself

Ware found the most common regret of dying people was not being true to themselves. Many of us care too much about what others think and let society’s expectations influence us, when we have the freedom to make our life what we want it to be.

If you were truly yourself, what would you be like? What would your heart be telling you to do? What would bring meaning to your life? Try making a list of small changes you could make that would head you in the direction of more authentic self-expression.

** Work less

So many people work themselves to exhaustion, yet Ware found that many of the dying wished they hadn’t done so. They were from a generation where men were the breadwinners, but now that women work just as much they too are at risk of missing out on other important things in life.

Do you let a stifling work culture dictate priorities in your life? Have the courage to tell yourself you want something better. Then begin the search. It might take time but it will be worth it.

** Express your feelings

I have lost count of how many people have owned up to me about never speaking up because they "want to keep the peace" and they "don’t want to make waves".

Others don’t do so because they are afraid of the feelings it might unlock in them. But this is a damaging way to live.

Ware found many of the dying regretted not having spoken up in life. They feared others’ reactions and this kept them mute. Ultimately, though, they would much rather have said something.

In reality, there is little risk if you speak up. It can help you move through difficulties and if someone doesn’t like what you have to say, you don’t need to stay in a relationship with such a person.

If the person responds, you are on the way to creating a healthier relationship. You also rid yourself of the resentment and bitterness that might otherwise contribute to ill health.

** Keep close to friends

A busy lifestyle can see friendships drop by the wayside, but Ware discovered that when people are dying they really begin to appreciate the relationships they had. However, they are too ill to do anything about it by then. So make time to keep in touch with people. You won’t regret it!

** Let go

The dying told Ware they wished they had let themselves be happier in life. Instead, they had limited themselves by trying to keep up appearances and by ensuring life was comfortable and controlled. But our comfort zone is not necessarily an enjoyable place.

We need to step out every so often and take a risk. When was the last time you were silly? What would make you laugh more? Whatever it is, let it into your life more often.

** Be guided by love

The theme of all the regrets Ware encountered is love, especially self-love. This does not mean selfishness. On the contrary, it means taking responsibility for creating the circumstances of a loving life.

Do you make decisions based on duty, finances or other people’s rules or is love, including self-love, the fundamental principle for how you live? Each of these things leads to a particular quality of life.

And the message from the dying is loud and clear: stay in touch with love and there will be less to regret later. Maybe then you too will be able to sing, "non, je ne regrette rien".

** Top regrets of the dying

+ I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

+ I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

+ I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

+ I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.

+ I wish I had let myself be happier.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/how-to ... 6360058577


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:24 am 
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Headaches led to discovery of tumour - in the other twin

IDENTICAL twins Craig and Brenton Gurney, 38, were inseparable as children, shared a bedroom until they were 22, and have played in the same soccer team since they were five. They even ended up marrying women named Nicole.

''We've always been really, really close,'' Brenton says.

If extrasensory perception exists between twins it was Craig who was the intuitive one. From 2700 kilometres away he once divined when his brother had a life-threatening mystery rash, and when he had dislocated a shoulder.

So the story of the Gurney twins is even more remarkable because it was Brenton who started getting the persistent headaches. It was Brenton who persuaded hale and hearty Craig to join a study of twins (looking into mental health and resilience) because it included an MRI scan.

The MRI test picked up no abnormalities in Brenton's brain. But Craig, who never suffers headaches, got the shock news: a massive and rare tumour in the base of his skull.

''I was hoping they had mixed up the MRI results and got the wrong twin,'' Brenton says.

When Craig underwent a complex 10½ hour operation to remove a 4.2-centimetre tumour, his wife and family in the waiting room cast meaningful looks at Brenton as if he were a barometer on his brother's progress.

''It was unspoken but everyone was looking at me,'' says Brenton, who had no sixth sense about the events transpiring on the operating table.

A year since the operation at Westmead Private Hospital,

and following two months of intensive radiation therapy, Craig says: ''Ultimately Brenton saved my life.''

The twins - Brenton from West Pennant Hills, Craig from nearby Mount Colah - have participated in twin studies since their mother registered them with the Australian Twin Registry soon after birth.

Craig believes it is almost a duty for twins, whatever their age, to register and take part in studies because of what scientists can learn from twins about the nature/nurture debate - the extent to which genes or environment influence physical and mental health.

''I thought I was participating in a research study as a way of helping others but as it turned out it helped save my life,'' Craig says.

The brothers said in separate interviews, but using almost identical words, that the ordeal had brought them closer, ''if that was possible''.

The director of the Australian Twin Registry, Professor John Hopper, said work with twins benefited all Australians, and the registry was always looking for more participants.

Justine Gatt, of the Brain Dynamics Centre at the University of Sydney, the co-ordinator of the twin study on resilience, said the team had been shocked to discover Craig's tumour. ''It's not something that happens often.'' As for a telepathic connection between twins, Dr Gatt says, ''There's so much we don't know.''

For any researcher on resilience, Craig is a case study in positive thinking. Five weeks after neurosurgery, he was playing competitive soccer. However, for the first time, it was not in his brother's team. He was a little out of condition.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/h ... 1yz2z.html


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:28 am 
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Palliative Care in Australia

Do you have an End of Life plan... do you even know what an End of Life plan is? It's Palliative Care Week so that's as good a time as any to think about your wishes... presuming you're in a position to use one! Palliative Care Australia has surveyed 1000 Australians to guage their views on dying and end of life care. 88% of the survey's respondents said they'd prefer to die at home... but what does that mean for their family? Dr Yvonne Luxford is CEO of Palliative Care Australia.

Download audio - http://blogs.abc.net.au/files/yvonne-luxford.mp3

http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2012 ... ralia.html


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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 8:29 am 
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Six hours a day puts kids at risk of 'screen addiction'[

YOUNGSTERS are at risk of "screen addiction" because of the time they spend watching TV and playing computer games, according to a new study.

A study has shown that in the UK, 10 and 11-year-olds have access to five screens in the average house and the average screen time for British adolescents is 6.1 hours per day and rising.

Researcher Aric Sigman told Sky News that he believes a generation of children is now at risk of becoming "screen addicted".

He said, "We've always thought that it's only substances that affect the chemicals in our brains".

"We now know that experiences - whether it's gambling or playing computer games, looking at screens - also produce similar brain chemical changes, particularly a chemical called dopamine. It's a reward chemical, it makes you feel good when you do something you like.

"If children are producing this day after day, for many hours per week, during the important developmental years for their brain, this would have consequences later on, leaving some children unable not to look at screens for much of the day."

Some countries recommend a limit of two hours per day of "recreational" screen exposure for children over seven years old.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/tech ... 6364110146


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 9:03 am 
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NY bride who faked cancer sentenced to time served

A NEW York mother who faked having cancer so donors would pay for her wedding and Caribbean honeymoon has been sentenced to the two months she has already served in jail for duping individuals and businesses out of more than $13,000.

Jessica Vega, who apologised in court for the scam, was expected to be released later in the day from the county jail where she has been held since April 25.

A prosecutor said she has paid back more than $US13,368, with nine victims getting checks ranging from $US500 to $US3700.

Vega also was sentenced to five years of probation and must serve 300 hours of community service. She also must enter substance abuse and mental health programs.

Vega was arrested April 3 and pleaded guilty three weeks later to charges of scheming to defraud and possession of a forged instrument.

When asked before sentencing how his 25-year-old client was doing, defense lawyer Jeremiah Flaherty replied: "Not good."

"She's never been in jail in her life. It's had a toll on her," Flaherty said.

Flaherty told Judge Robert Freehill that Vega misses her two young children.

"She's done everything that was required and she will continue to do that after she's released," he said.

Before being sentenced, Vega apologised "to anyone in the courtroom offended by the crimes I have committed." She asked Freehill to "give me the opportunity to live a more positive lifestyle and return to my children and my family."

Freehill said he was sceptical that Vega was the sole perpetrator of the scam, then told her she was fortunate she didn't suffer from the disease she claimed to suffer when she sought donations for her wedding.

"No one likes to be taken advantage of. No one likes to be made a fool of," the judge told her.

Her ex-husband, Michael O'Connell, said Vega will live with his family, including his parents, in Wallkill in neighboring Ulster County. The judge said he would transfer her post-sentencing supervision to Ulster County.

Vega claimed in 2010 that she was dying of leukemia and wanted a "dream wedding" to O'Connell, the father of her baby. The couple has since had a second child.

Vega was living in Montgomery, north of New York City, when she began the scam, which picked up steam when her story was featured in a newspaper, the Times Herald-Record of Middletown.

After their May 2010 wedding, O'Connell came to the newspaper with questions about her story and the couple divorced.

She was arrested in early April in Virginia, where she was again living with O'Connell and their second child.

Outside the courthouse, O'Connell said he was relieved the ordeal was over. He said there was a chance for the two could rekindle their relationship, "as long as she doesn't mess up again."

http://www.news.com.au/world/ny-bride-w ... 6365197542


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 7:29 am 
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Cancer diagnosis may increase risk of death in men with mental illness

Men suffering from psychiatric problems when diagnosed with cancer are more likely to die from the disease, according to a new study published today in the British Journal of Cancer (Wednesday).

And those with psychiatric illness are likely to be older when they are diagnosed with cancer - possibly indicating a delay in diagnosis.

Wellcome Trust, scientists from University College London (UCL), University of Southampton and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden looked at 16,498 men with cancer. Of these, 941 (5.7 per cent) had been admitted to hospital with mental illness prior to their cancer diagnosis.

Researchers found that, within a year of a cancer diagnosis, around 23 per cent (215) of men with mental illness had died compared with just under nine per cent (1321) of men without psychiatric illness.

UCL's Dr David Batty, one of the study authors, said: "Our findings show that men with mental illness at the time they are diagnosed with cancer are less likely to survive the disease than men who have no history of psychiatric disorders. There may be many reasons for this: those with mental illness may be more likely to have other illnesses, they may be less likely to comply with cancer treatment, and they may be more likely to be obese and to smoke.

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201205 ... lness.aspx


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