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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:58 am 
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Former psychiatrist Francis Bostock ordered to pay damages to patient he abused

A former Melbourne psychiatrist who had sex with a patient for years and billed Medicare $16,000 for their time together has been ordered to pay the woman nearly $400,000 in damages.

A Supreme Court judge recently heard former Kew psychiatrist Francis Tudor Bostock breached his duty of care by having sex with and sexually assaulting the woman over three-and-a-half years while she had depression.

The patient first sought Dr Bostock's help in 1990 for her mental illness, which other treatments had failed to alleviate.

Dr Bostock initially used psychoanalytical psychotherapy on her with some success, but in 1997, the pair started having sex in his rooms whenever she attended.

While the therapeutic relationship ceased when the sex began, Dr Bostock continued to bill Medicare when she visited his rooms until 1998. In total, Medicare paid him $16,464 for their time together.

The woman visited him up to three times a week until she ended their relationship in 2001. Apart from their sexual relationship, they did not interact or socialise outside of his office.

In her judgment on damages, Associate Justice Melissa Daly said the woman fell in love with Bostock and became obsessed with her therapy and feelings about him.

The woman decided to end their relationship when she learnt about the concept of transference in psychotherapy — the process whereby a therapist, in addressing issues associated with the loss of love from a parent, in effect replaces the role of a parent in a patient's consciousness. This made the woman realise how wrong their relationship was and how Dr Bostock had abused his position of power.

The court heard that during their relationship and for many years afterwards, the woman was consumed by guilt and shame and struggled to work. She became depressed, anxious, untrusting of others and suffered migraines and panic attacks.

In 2005, she started seeing a new psychiatrist, who was angry and appalled by what had happened to her. He told the court that Dr Bostock's sexual relationship with the woman was a major boundary violation that was equivalent to child abuse.

He said the woman was unable to give rational consent to a sexual relationship with Dr Bostock, that his actions "massively damaged" her and had aggravated her mental illness. She now exhibits elements of post traumatic stress disorder and has dreams and flashbacks about him.

In 2010, the woman reported him to the Medical Board. In response, Justice Daly said, Dr Bostock admitted the relationship and agreed to wind up his practice. His registration ceased in early 2011. He was nearly 70 at that time.

While Dr Bostock declared himself bankrupt last year, seven months after the woman issued a writ against him, Justice Daly ordered Dr Bostock to pay the woman $384,029 in damages.

She said Dr Bostock did not file a defence and "as such is taken to have admitted the allegations in the statement of claim".

The woman's lawyer, Slater and Gordon principal Anne Shortall, said her client would pursue compensation when the term of Dr Bostock's bankruptcy ends in 2016.

http://www.standard.net.au/story/276888 ... sed/?cs=12


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 2:57 pm 
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Surge in WA kids given ADHD drugs

The number of young children prescribed powerful stimulant medications to treat ADHD has surged in WA by more than 40 per cent in the past five years.

Government figures reveal that 2853 WA children under the age of 12 were on drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder last year - including 223 aged two to six - compared with 2003 children in 2008.

The number of adults using medication rose 47 per cent, while the number of 12-to-16-year-olds on the drugs fell 5 per cent.

The Department of Human Services figures were obtained by the activist group Citizens Committee on Human Rights, which campaigns against the use of ADHD medication.

They show 62,000 children under 17 were prescribed medication such as Ritalin and dexamphetamine last year, costing the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme $28.6 million.

Experts are divided over the issue, with some arguing children are being diagnosed and treated for ADHD for convenience. Others say they are being undertreated.

Child psychiatrist Jon Jur- eidini, from the University of Adelaide, said some doctors were grossly overprescribing the drugs to children, including pre-schoolers.

He said ADHD had become a homogenous label for children with complex and varied psychological and behavioural issues. He had concerns that ADHD medication affected children's growth and eating and sleeping patterns.

"Going down the 'diagnosis leads to medication' pathway is really dumbing down the whole process of understanding children's behaviour," Professor Jureidini said.

"There are two to six-year-olds with profound behaviour problems but I'm not convinced diagnosing them with ADHD and medicating them should be the response." Perth psychiatrist Roger Paterson, who is on the professional advisory committee of WA's Learning and Attentional Disorders Society, said it was encouraging that stimulant medication was used more because there had been concerns about under-treatment.

He said the National Health and Medical Research Council estimated that 5 per cent of children had ADHD but WA Health Department data showed only 1.3 per cent of the State's children were on medication.

"Stimulant medications such as dexamphetamine and methylphenidate are an important part of a multi-modal treatment package for ADHD," Dr Paterson said.

"If ADHD remains untreated, there can be severe long-term consequences such as academic failure, emotional and behavioural disturbance, substance abuse and widespread difficulties in adult relationships and employment."

LADS president Marian Mau-ghan said everyone with ADHD should be able to get treatment, which could include medication.

"The under-treatment suggests some people may be deterred from seeking treatment for what is a recognised medical condition due to ill-informed information and comment," she said.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/ ... dhd-drugs/


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:37 am 
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Alcohol study shows immune system boost in moderate drinkers

PERHAPS all that pre-Christmas boozing has benefits after all.

According to new research, it may even be ensuring you’ll face up to the big day fresh and flu-free!

So the merrymaking may really be all the merrier thanks to all those naughty tipples.

Alcohol, according to a study published in the science journal Vaccine, can actually boost the immune system.

There is a catch of course: It only works if you drink in moderation (so it’s no excuse for going blotto at the bosses do).

The study, which has implications for how to improve the body’s response to infection and vaccinations, involved giving a group of 12 trained monkeys (no, not your office colleagues) “cocktails” — mixed drinks containing 4 per cent ethanol.

They were then given a steady supply of free drinks for 14 months. Well, half of them — six got the un-spiked version of the punch.

All had been vaccinated against small pox (have your colleagues?).

So, what happens when you give trained monkeys free alcohol for 14 months?

Some got stewed. Some were sippers. Others were bingers. Then there were the happy, romantic, sad and obnoxious drunks.

“Like humans, rhesus macaques showed highly variable drinking behaviour,” said Ilhem Messaoudi, the lead author of the paper.

The drinkers were quickly identified as belonging to two main groups: The “heavy drinkers” (those over the blood-alcohol level of 0.08), and the “moderate” drinkers.

The heavy drinkers had a “greatly diminished” response to the effect of vaccination in comparison to the tea-totalers.

The moderate drinkers, however, had an “enhanced response”.

“It seems that some of the benefits that we know of from moderate drinking might be related in some way to our immune system being boosted by that alcohol consumption,” one of the study’s authors writes.

Cause for celebration!

So is this new?

And should you start lobbying for “free vaccination-enhancers” at the office?

Studies have long show moderate alcohol consumption appears to extend life, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and boost the heart and circulatory system.

But the immunity bit is a bit of a surprise.

Once you have a cold, however, a deft dose of alcohol won’t work. It’ll only dehydrate you further, making the virus’ symptoms worse.

And despite that brandy bottle in your aunt’s medicine cabinet, alcohol has no inherent disease-fighting abilities anyway — beyond sterilising a wound and dulling the pain.

Science has the final word:

“For the average person who has, say, a glass of wine with dinner, (alcohol) does seem in general to improve health and cardiovascular function. And now we can add the immune system to that list.”
The next step? Figuring out why.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/christ ... 7161423002


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:56 am 
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Phone apps promote heavy drinking to young people: James Cook University study

Educating kids on how not to take up the bottle may start with them putting down their phones.

Or at least regulate gaming apps which encourage them to drink.

A James Cook University research team examined free apps which involved alcohol use across Apple and Android app stores and found 80 per cent promoted heavy drinking.

Social media has been examined for its impact on underage drinking, but the JCU team found that apps had so far escaped the academic gaze, despite smart phone penetration hitting 65 per cent of the population in Australia and with teenagers, that figure is estimated to be at more than 75 per cent.

Professor Lynne Eagle of JCU said the research found $100 million of the alcohol tax revenue in 2010 came from underage drinkers.

She said apps, including 'Drink Thin', which encouraged people to drink themselves thin by engaging in an alcohol-only diet and 'Campus Beer Run - Drunk College Sorority Girls & Frat Boy Party Edition', where you can play as 'Sophie Shame', the drunken walk of shame sorority girl and search the college campus for "just one more beer", "blatantly encourage unhealthy, unsafe or violent behavior in concert with drinking."

Professor Eagle, who specialises in marketing communication and what impact "persuasive communication" has on children, said the apps, with their bright colours and cartoon characters were "clearly aimed at young people" – and likely to work.

"Presenting smoking and drinking in an entertainment context encourages young people to start smoking and drinking," she said.

"There is plenty of material showing that what they are doing is effective."

But she said it also showed that self-regulation of the industry was not working.

"If the industry can't effectively regulate itself then it allows the cowboys to develop and use these apps," she said.

"You don't want to have to wait for a generation of teens to start showing signs of problem drinking before you act."

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensl ... 2cfbg.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 12:31 pm 
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Deputies: Three children found in Inverness home with meth lab

Three children were found living in an Inverness home that was also serving as a meth lab, officials said.

The children were discovered Tuesday when members of the Citrus County Sheriff's Office searched a home on East Dawson Drive. Deputies had learned the house was being used to manufacture methamphetamine, officials said.

Investigators said they found several pieces of equipment and ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine, as well as nearly three pounds of a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine.

The three children were turned over to the care of the Department of Children and Families. Officials said they had been in the presence of the active meth lab. However, none of the children were reportedly injured, officials said.

Three people were arrested during the search:

Travis Savage is facing charges of possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia.
Christopher Adcock is facing charges of trafficking in methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child, possession of listed chemicals, and possession of paraphernalia.
Alisa Donahue is facing charges of trafficking in methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child, possession of listed chemicals, and possession of paraphernalia.

Deputies said they are still looking for Harley Taylor, who has an active warrant out for violation of probation on the original charge of possession of methamphetamine.

http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/ba ... child.html


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:58 am 
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Don’t stop believing you can find work with Individual Placement and Support

Alex Whitelaw wants to work. She feels strongly that she should pay her taxes. She has qualifications, intelligence, enthusiasm and is physically fit. But because the 24-year-old has severe mental health problems, she has spent most of her adult life being told by health professionals that paid employment is beyond her.

“If you’re told that too often, you start believing it,” she said. “But working and paying my taxes makes me feel like I’m contributing to society. I only feel like I’m worth something if I’m doing something for other people.”

Whitelaw has been under the care of mental health professionals since childhood abuse led to an attempt to kill herself at 19. She has repeatedly tried to return to work but without professional support, her CV is a long list of jobs she has walked out of. “The fact that I have a mental illness makes it more important that I work,” she said. “The more time there is for me to think and be on my own, the more ill I will get.”

Thanks to Individual Placement and Support (IPS), an innovative approach dedicated to getting those with long-term and severe mental health problems into work, Whitelaw has been employed by her local BHS department store for the past two and a half months. “After a lifetime of being told I couldn’t work or finding jobs on my own that were badly suited to my mental health needs, the IPS employment specialist found me my perfect job just eight weeks after we met for the first time,” she said. “Equally important is the fact that I know whenever I have a wobble, he’ll be there to help me.”

IPS is championed by the Centre for Mental Health, one of the Guardian and Observer’s nine Christmas appeal charities. The centre’s conviction is that the employment rate of people with mental illness can be raised to a level near that of the general population. It is far from a baseless belief: in a recent US review, the average competitive employment rate for IPS was 61% compared to 23% for traditional vocational approaches. Jobs were found nearly 10 weeks earlier than the control group, with about two-thirds of helped into employment working 20 hours or more per week.

A 2008 study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, commissioned by the cross-government Health, Work and Well-being programme, found an increase from 11% to 32% in people securing competitive, paid employment 12 months after IPS was implemented. There were also additional increases in people placed in mainstream education or training (6% to 16%) and voluntary work (7 to 15%); more people placed in employment, education or voluntary work in the integrated teams compared to the non-integrated prevocational services; and lower costs of getting someone into open employment in the IPS services - this was 6.7 times higher in the prevocational service.

Whitelaw is one of the lucky ones. She is being helped by a mental health specialist from the Dudley and Walsall mental health trust IPS employment service, one of 14 centres of excellence in Britain for their use of IPS.

“The traditional model of vocational rehabilitation for people with mental health conditions in England is based on certain assumptions,” said Andy Bell, deputy chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health, which is championing IPS in Britain.

“Namely, that mental health conditions are ‘illnesses’ and, as with other illnesses, people should refrain from work and receive treatment until they are better. Then, once better, work rehabilitation should be offered in a ‘train then place’ fashion: starting the journey back to work in a safe, sheltered and segregated setting to develop skills and confidence before moving on to competitive employment.”

In contrast, IPS is a direct, individualised search for competitive employment that avoids lengthy pre-employment preparation or training. It does not screen people for work “readiness” or “employability”, and does not exclude people on the basis of diagnosis, symptoms or substance misuse. Mental health problems have a greater impact on people’s ability to work than any other group of disorders. They cause about 40% of all days lost through sickness absence and cost the UK economy up to £100bn a year.

Since 2009, the number of sick days lost to “serious mental illness” has doubled. In 2013, 40.9% of ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) recipients had “mental and behavioural disorders” as their primary condition. The chief medical officer has said that this may be an underestimate.

In addition, those with a mental illness are more likely to face stigma, prejudice and discrimination in the workplace, with fewer than 40% of employers saying they would consider employing someone with a mental health problem – and this despite the fact that about 85-90% of unemployed people with a mental illness say they would like to work.

Thanks to the Centre’s support, training and advice, IPS is available in about half of the NHS mental health trusts in England. But the Centreworks on a tight budget.

“What readers’ donations would give us is the opportunity to explore ways of adapting IPS for those who haven’t benefited from it, such as those in the criminal justice system, as well as finishing the job of having IPS services across the country,” said Bell. “Crucially, donations would ensure we can carry on without depending on government or commercial or other interests. That is, to continue to be truly independent, impartial and cutting-edge.”

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014 ... yment-help


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 8:23 am 
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Professor Alistair Burns shows the link between drinking and dementia

DRINKERS should make cutting back on alcohol their New Year’s resolution to reduce their chances of suffering dementia, a specialist is warning.

England’s top dementia doctor, Professor Alistair Burns, says most studies suggest drinking large amounts of alcohol increases the risk of dementia in later life.

“The New Year is the perfect chance for us all to consider our lifestyles and think if there is anything we can improve or change to increase our healthiness — both physical and mental,” Burns said.

“While stopping drinking altogether isn’t a reality for many people, cutting down can make a huge difference.

“However, it can be very easy for one glass to lead to two and then to a bottle and this can seriously increase your risk of developing dementia in later life along with many other health conditions.”

The National Health and Medical Research Council states that for healthy men and women, “Drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.”

One unit is roughly equivalent to half a beer or a small glass of wine.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/p ... 7168385331


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:33 pm 
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New Year's Eve: Sydney doctors praise lifting of lockout laws but brace for busy night

Medical staff at hospitals across Sydney are preparing for an influx of patients needing urgent treatment during New Year's Eve celebrations.

Police have described alcohol-fuelled violence as the number one risk to community safety as 1.6 million people head into the city for parties and harbourside fireworks displays.

St Vincent's Hospital emergency department director Gordian Fulde said New Year's Eve was "the most alcoholic evening-morning-night that we have".

"It'll be full on, but we're hoping it won't be as boozy as it usually is," Professor Fulde said.

He said he expected the majority of injuries would be caused by drunken falls and minor altercations.

"Hopefully only small injuries - cuts, bruises - and if they do get into a fight hopefully it'll just be split lips and no big brain injuries."

Authorities have decided not to enforce lockout laws, which were introduced earlier this year to address alcohol-fuelled violence by requiring licensed venues to stop admitting patrons at 1:30am in Sydney's CBD and Kings Cross.

Professor Fulde said that was a sensible decision.

"The last thing you need is a whole lot of people who've been drinking, people who are tired, people who are intolerant, all hustling and bustling at one point in time.

"You can't just suddenly open the doors and all these people flood out."

The family of Daniel Christie, who died after a one-punch attack at Kings Cross on New Year's Eve last year, has expressed disappointment with the decision.

Acting deputy police commissioner Jeff Loy said he understood the family's concern, but relaxing the laws was a commonsense approach to an extremely busy night.

"The police, we lived that grief with the family," he said.

"It is a situation whereby we have to take the whole of the public safety and the broader picture into account and, again, it doesn't demean their loss."

https://au.news.yahoo.com/nsw/a/2588143 ... usy-night/


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:29 am 
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Twelve hangover cures to mend your aching head

Feeling the pinch this morning after a night of crazy partying? It wouldn't be New Year's Eve without some revellers imbibing too heavily and then regretting it the next day.

So if your brain hurts like it's being squeezed in a vice, try these magic hangover cures which are sure to be a soothing balm to that poor head.

Greasy food

Run, right now, and hunt down your nearest bain-marie. Ask the person behind the counter to fill up that paper bag with as many piping hot dim sims, chips and chicken strips as they can muster. And don't forget bacon, mmmm bacon, as in this tasty BLT with egg roll recipe.

Water

After a night of partying, your body is probably screaming out for lots and lots and lots of water. Booze is pretty much the king of dehydration, so the sooner you get some H20 the better.

Soft drink

Vending machines are your friends on days like this. Find your closest one, throw in a couple of bucks and seek your deliverance through a sugary can of delicious cola. The best bit is you don't have to talk to someone.

Bloody mary

For those who like to put off things rather than confront them head on. Take two parts vodka, add four parts tomato juice, a swig of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of hot sauce. Throw in a stick of celery. Down the hatch.

Sports drinks

Athletic people get hangovers too and they don't drink regular liquids like the rest of us. Servos stock sports drinks ending in the word "ade". Apparently, such drinks are rich in electrolytes, whatever they are.

Berocca

As the jingle goes: Berocca gives you back your b-b-bounce (after too much b-b-booze). Who knows what's in those tablets that makes water go all orange and fizzy, but gee that ad was catchy.

Swimming

Some people swear by this one. Wash away your sins with a bracing dip in an ice-cold swimming pool or ocean. A bathtub will do in a pinch. You'll be cleansed and ready to go for 2015.

Paracetamol

The cure for everything, pain relief meds can sometimes help a hangover too. Pop a couple in your mouth and wash down with a glass of water.

Eye drops

Your eyes feel like dried-out sultanas? It's probably the dehydration thing again. Chemists will sell you some eye drops, which will clear up those bloodshot eyes in no time.

Caffeine

Sweet, sweet caffeine. Some fools might have made their New Year's resolution to give up coffee. Stuff that. This is the time to turn singles into doubles and let the black jolt cure all your troubles.

Exercise

If you can gather the strength to make it to the gym, a nice solid session could help sweat out all the bad stuff. Just don't push it too hard and drink heaps of water.

Hair of the dog

If the bloody mary wasn't enough to do the trick, maybe it's time to start all over again. Responsibly, of course. Or maybe don't drink next time, it's a good way to feel high and mighty over your fellow man.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/lifesty ... 2gc3u.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:45 am 
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Warning on impact of binge drinking to immune system of young people

In the wake of the holiday season, which continues for many Australians, binge-drinking research findings have emerged from the U.S. Elizabeth Kovacs, PhD, a co-author of the study, spoke of a reduced awareness among drinkers of alcohol's harmful effects upon areas like the immune system.

Ms Kovacs, who is also the director of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine's Alcohol Research Program, clarified that the participants did display knowledge of the way in which binge drinking changes people's behaviour. However, a particular issue that was raised was the misconceptions held by younger drinkers regarding the advantage that their age provides.

The Loyola researchers recruited eight men and eight women with a median age of 27 years. Each participant drank four or five shots of vodka, which complies with the American definition of binge drinking.

Blood samples were taken 20 minutes after the subjects achieved peak intoxication, and the immune systems of the participants appeared to be "revved up." When the immune responses were measured again at 2- and 5-hour intervals after peak intoxication, the participants' immune systems were actually more sluggish than the levels that were taken prior to the consumption of alcohol. The Medical News Today website reported:

"The intervals at which the blood samples were taken are relevant because these are the times following intoxication when patients typically arrive at trauma centers seeking treatment for alcohol-related injuries."

The study concluded that people who binge drink are not only more likely to develop infections, but their bodies will also struggle more intensively to recover from binge drinking-related accidents.

http://www.christiantoday.com.au/articl ... /19089.htm


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:15 am 
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Wealthy, educated, single men risk highest alcohol consumption in later life

Our findings suggest that the group most at risk of heavy drinking in later life are older single men with high levels of education and above average wealth

Ten year study reveals reduction in alcohol consumption post 45
Wealthy, single and educated men drink more in later life
Health, relationship status, wealth and education major factors on alcohol consumption

A decade long research project into the drinking habits of over 45s has found that rich, educated, single males are at greatest risk of failing to cut their drinking habits in later life.

The ten year study of more than 4,500 men and women over 45 years of age from academics at Keele University and UCL, has identified the drinking habits of older adults and how these habits changed over a ten year period in reaction to life course events. The study sought to find how the relationship between alcohol consumption, individual characteristics such as wealth and education and life events varied for men and women. The life course events studied were for partnership status, health, and employment.

The study, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, found that single, educated and wealthy men continue to drink more into later life, while women over 50 cut down their drinking after the loss of a partner.

For women, the end of a partnership is associated with a reduction in how much they drink. From the people studied, women who lost a partner reduced their drinking levels by more than 16% at the end of the ten year study. This was a considerably larger reduction than those in a partnership who saw a drop of little more than 11% during the same period.

Wealthy, educated, healthy single males that used to or still do smoke are the most likely to drink more in later life. Major factors for this greater consumption are likely to be associated with multiple opportunities to socialise, due to a single life, and a disposable income. Those with this profile drank on average an equivalent of 24 small glasses of wine a week at the start of the study. This was in sharp contrast to single, retired men with poor health and no qualifications who drank on average an equivalent of five small glasses of wine a week at the start of the study. The trend that poor health and lower levels of education equals lower alcohol consumption is found for women.

Older people with poor or deteriorating health were found to have the steepest decline in the quantity and frequency of alcohol consumed. This is contrary to the popular belief that high alcohol consumption and poor health go hand in hand. Possible reasons for this include the limits that poor health places on opportunities for social drinking, as well as medical advice about alcohol consumption and interactions with medication.

One additional finding related to health and drinking is that over 50s who had stopped drinking completely at the start of the period of observation and remained in the study were more likely to experience an improvement in health compared to drinkers.

Professor Clare Holdsworth, professor of Social Geography at Keele University and lead researcher on the project, says: “Over the Christmas period many people consume more alcohol. Our findings suggest that the group most at risk of heavy drinking in later life are older single men with high levels of education and above average wealth. Suggesting that health organisations target this group is not necessarily straightforward as these men might not identify their drinking as problem behaviour. Also this group are less likely to have poor health in the short term, hence the need for intervention might not be apparent.

“Our findings also challenge the assumption that the end of a partnership is associated with alcohol misuse in later life, which has been found in other smaller-scale studies. In particular, our analysis of drinking behaviours demonstrates that change in partnership status for women is associated with a reduction in alcohol consumption. As a result it is not necessarily appropriate to target alcohol services at this group of older people.”

http://www.healthcanal.com/substance-ab ... -life.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:51 pm 
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Federal government accused of inaction over alcohol policy development

Community health organisation, the National Alliance of Action on Alcohol (NAAA) has awarded the federal government a Fizzer award for its ‘inaction’ in developing and implementing alcohol policy in 2014.

NAAA developed the National Alcohol Policy Scorecard in 2013 to assess the policy response of Australian jurisdictions.

According to the Alliance, the Australian federal government’s performance in 2014 was very poor, resulting in the lowest score overall at nine percent, representing a 20 percent drop from the previous year. No state or territory scored above 50 percent.

“The majority of jurisdictions again did not score well this year for their alcohol policies, with all scoring below a pass grade,” said Professor Mike Daube, co-chair of the NAAA and Public Health Association of Australia alcohol spokesperson.

“The Australian government was by far the lowest performing jurisdiction in the country and in recognition of this has received the 2014 Fizzers award.”

Daube says the Australian government is falling further behind the rest of the country when it comes to developing and implementing evidence-based policies that reduce alcohol-related harm, adding that its low score largely reflects the “lack of action and deep funding cuts in a number of key alcohol policy areas.”

“The most critical shortcomings include the lack of a national alcohol strategy since 2010, and inaction in the areas of alcohol taxation, regulation of alcohol marketing, and labelling of alcohol products,” he said. “Other backward steps also include the government’s dismantling of a number of key advisory groups such as the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) and the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (AHPHA)."

NSW received the ‘most improved’ award gaining 10 percentage points to a total score of 41 percent. The Alliance says that this is due to a number of reforms including the introduction of 1:30am lockouts and 3:00am last drinks in Sydney’s CBD, bans on the sale of shots after midnight, a state-wide 10pm closing time for all bottle shops, a ban on high risk promotions, and a community awareness campaign to address binge drinking.

“The results of this year’s National Alcohol Policy Scorecard highlight that NSW is on the right track when it comes to the prevention and reduction of the state’s heavy alcohol toll,” said Michael Thorn, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive. “Their improved score reflects the strong action taken by the government following the tragic events in Sydney last summer, which saw the death of Daniel Christie and a community campaign led by medical, public health and law enforcement organisations.”

The ACT government was also praised for receiving the highest score overall of 48 percent.

The NAAA has called for action in three priority areas – alcohol pricing and taxation, alcohol marketing and promotion and alcohol availability – supported by strong education and information programs.

http://www.hospitalitymagazine.com.au/b ... owards-dev


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:34 am 
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The Secret to Preventing Teen Drinking

Practice makes perfect — even when it comes to discouraging kids from underage drinking. Parents’ consistent and sustained messages to their children about restricting alcohol make a real difference in reducing adolescent drinking, according to research published in the December issue of Addictive Behaviors.

The three-year study, conducted by Craig Colder, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, included annual interviews with parents and their kids starting when the children were 10 and 11 years old. Families were asked questions about drinking and the home environment. “We wanted to understand how kids’ attitudes develop,” Colder wrote in a press release.

Household rules against booze were successful in discouraging children from drinking, he found. But as time went on and parents slackened the rules, eased the consequences of breaking them and spent less time talking with their kids about the dangers of drinking, parents’ power to prevent underage imbibing weakened. “We found a correlation between the shifting of those three aspects of parenting and increases in alcohol use,” wrote Colder. “The more rapid those declines, the more rapid the increase in the onset of alcohol use.”

“What our data are suggesting is that you can’t control all of your kids’ decisions, but you can help them to make good choices in situations where alcohol is available,” said Colder. “You want kids to think about and reflect upon the pros and cons of drinking based on your previous discussions.”

With more than 24 percent of underage kids (between 12 and 20 years old) drinking, and 15 percent of them binge drinking, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these talks are as important as ever.

The trick to catching kids’ ears isn’t periodic interventionesque sit-downs, though. “Parents need to bring it up as a part of natural conversation, every time underage drinking comes up on TV, in the newspaper, in a movie and such,” Proactive Parenting educator Sharon Silver tells Yahoo Parenting. “If it becomes part of a natural dialogue, then your message becomes woven into the fabric of who the child is. It becomes part of their values.”

Waiting for that perfect moment to talk just doesn’t work. “It’ll come out as a lecture and kids will automatically tune it out,” she explains. But through continuous stories about your experiences as a teen, and talks about the dangers of drinking highlighted in the news, Silver says a kid will “internalize that it’s not OK because they’ve been having these conversations all of their life.”

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/the-sec ... 23422.html


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:12 pm 
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Call for tighter regulation of caffeine in soft drinks

Scientists have challenged soft drink manufacturers' claims that caffeine improves taste, calling for the use of the addictive substance to be more tightly regulated.

Researchers at Deakin University found the addition of caffeine to soft drinks increases the amount people consume but did not change its flavour.

The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, said large soft drink manufacturers claim it is added as a flavour enhancer.

Their study included 99 participants who were split into two groups and given a caffeinated or non-caffeinated version of the same soft drink.

The participants were given one month to drink as much of it as they wanted, with the amount monitored daily.

The results revealed participants given the caffeinated drink consumed 419ml of the soft drink per day, while those who had the non-caffeinated drink consumed only 273ml on average.

Associate Professor Lynn Riddell, from Deakin University's Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, said the results clearly linked caffeine with consumption.

"Our findings clearly show that caffeine as an additive in soft drinks increased consumption - and with it sugar calories - and that is a significant public health issue given the prevalence of obesity," Professor Riddell said.

"It supports the ongoing need for caffeine to be tightly regulated as an additive in the food supply, as it appears an ingredient for overconsumption."

It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of soft drinks currently on the market contain caffeine.

The study's lead author, Professor Russell Keast, said the results support the findings of existing research showing caffeine having a purely subconscious effect.

"Caffeine promotes liking and consumption via subconscious influences that may be related to reversing caffeine withdrawal symptoms," Professor Keast said.

"Additive compounds such as caffeine that promote consumption via subconscious effects work against efforts to minimise energy consumption.

"The research provides evidence in support of the need for strong regulation of caffeine as an additive to foods."

The research was funded by the Diabetes Australia Research Trust.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25983532/ca ... ft-drinks/


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:25 pm 
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Long work hours and alcohol abuse linked

Too much work and too much wine go together like biscuits and cheese, a new international study finds.

Employees who work more than 48 hours a week are 11 per cent more likely to over consume alcohol than those who work a standard week, Finnish researchers say.

The study looked at more than 300,000 people in Australia, Europe and North America.

No differences were seen between men and women, says the study, published in the British Medical Journal.

Risky alcohol consumption is considered as more than 14 drinks a week for women and more than 21 drinks a week for men.

About 20 per cent of Australians drink at levels that put them at risk of lifetime harm from injury or disease.

Drinking alcohol can affect the liver or cause brain damage, heart disease, high blood pressure and increases the risk of many cancers.

Study author Marianna Virtanen said while alcohol might help ease the stress of working long periods of time, risky consumption could lead to difficulties in the workplace, such as poor performance.

The European Union Working Time Directive ensures that workers in EU countries have the right to work no more than 48 hours a week, including overtime.

"But many people, for example well-educated managers and professionals, work much longer hours to achieve faster promotions, salary increases, and more control over work and employment," said Prof Virtanen, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

In Australia, it's recommended that healthy men and women drink no more than two standard drinks a day.

Separately, as employees return to work, mental health awareness organisation beyondblue is reminding people to be mindful of their mental health.

"It is natural to feel a bit down when returning to work but if you are experiencing those feelings for more than two weeks you should seek help," said beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman.

The organisation also wants employers to make mental health at work a priority this year.

"Simple measures such as speaking openly about mental health in the workplace, making information about support available, and checking with workers who may be struggling, could make 2015 a better year for both employees and businesses," beyondblue said.

http://www.9news.com.au/health/2015/01/ ... use-linked


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