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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:59 am 
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Australian researchers discover new ways to grow body parts for transplant

Australian scientists say they have discovered new ways to grow human tissues and organs for transplant.

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) were part of an international consortium called Project Grandiose looking at how specialised body cells can be reprogrammed to behave like cells from an early embryo.

Professor Thomas Preiss and his colleagues believe it could be the first step in implementing successful regenerative medicine therapies, where a small sample of a patient's cells could be used to grow new tissues and organs.

Humans develop from just one cell, the fertilised egg, and this cell contains within its DNA a series of instructions to make all of the different types of cells in the body.

"The new type of stem cell we identified and characterised is easier to grow and manipulate, which will aid in drug screening efforts and disease modelling in the laboratory," Professor Preiss said.

"This kind of work will speed up the development of treatments for many illnesses that currently have no cure.

"It could one day lead to treatments for age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes, blood and kidney diseases, and many others which are associated with tissue damage and cell loss."

The Canberra-based team helped map the process involved in producing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS).

"The race is on to make reprogramming a safe and efficient process so that the resulting stem cells can be broadly applied in therapies," Professor Preiss said.

"We have described in unprecedented detail the molecular changes that cells undergo as they reprogram into stem cells and also discovered a new kind of pluripotent cell that can be seen as a prototype for therapeutic cell production."

The international research has been released in five related scientific papers in Nature Journal and Nature Communications.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25741662/au ... source=wan


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:02 am 
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7 Ways To Naturally Treat ADHD

Let’s say you’ve set aside a few hours to get some things done — could be to put together a report for work, compose a toast for a friend’s wedding or maybe write an article on ADHD. But as soon as you sit down everything else (except the task at hand) seems eminent. You suddenly realize that a particular bill hasn’t been paid yet, so you get that done. The barking dogs outside are a distraction, so you need to drown them out, but what music are you in the mood for? Then, without realizing it you’ve spent almost an hour trying to find the “right” playlist on YouTube — and it continues until, maybe, you finally get the job done.

If a person has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, this is quite possibly a frequent occurrence. For people with ADHD, relatively simple tasks can feel difficult — and children and adults may find it challenging to complete tasks in an orderly manner. Moreover, besides being more restless, impulsivity is another factor.

According to Medical News Today, health experts conclude that ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder that starts during childhood. However, it doesn’t only affect children — people of all ages can suffer from ADHD.

Health care professionals tend to use the following terms when describing a child (or an adult) who is overactive and has difficulty concentrating — attention deficit, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hyperkinetic disorder, and hyperactivity.

Medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are frequently prescribed to help people with ADHD and increase their ability to focus, improve their grades, and feel better about themselves. But these medications are psychostimulants with many potential side effects that include insomnia, headaches, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, heart problems and depression.

Additionally, in 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings about ADHD medication side effects such as stunted growth and other psychiatric problems like mood swings and suicidal thoughts or actions.

Statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health are reporting that between three and five young children in every 100 have some kind of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is 3 to 5 percent of pre-schoolers having difficulties focusing, acting on impulse or not being able to sit still for seconds at a time. Today, 6.4 million children ages four to seven have been diagnosed with ADHD — and 61 percent of American children are currently being treated for ADHD with medication.

Many parents of children with ADHD (rightly) worry that pharmaceutical drugs may do more harm than good. However, there are actually natural treatments that can help to mitigate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. And though the below options are mostly framed by the case of a child, they are also applicable to teens and adults.

Start a Rigid Routine
Children with ADHD need to have some guidance and boundaries in their day-to-day life. If they are allowed to do whatever they want, then it will be difficult to settle them down when the time comes. Routines, however, can help keep children with ADHD stay focused and prepared for the rigors of each day. Start a morning exercise routine. Set aside a specific time to do homework or other necessary tasks. Make sure they get relaxation at the same time each day and eat on a regular schedule. Maintaining a rigid routine like this can help balance a child with ADHD so that they aren’t looking for new, more exciting things to keep their attention.

Restrict Electronic Access
This tip sort of piggybacks off of tip number one. Make sure there’s time in each day set aside for using electronics like television, video games, and computers. At the same time, be sure to provide strict guidelines for how long your child can use these electronics and when they can use them. Electronics are one of the major distractors for children with ADHD, and limiting their exposure to them can work wonders.

Herbal Medicine
If you want to avoid standard medications, then natural, herbal medicines are a great alternative. Many different herbs are designed to soothe the nervous system and reduce hyperactivity, stress, and anxiety. Chamomile, passion flower, Valerian, lemon balm, and others have all proven effective at mitigating hyperactivity in children with ADHD. These natural medicines can also be used to help your children get to sleep on time. Be sure that you use the right dosage for children, which is generally about a quarter or a half of the standard adult dose.

Note, however, that supplementing without a doctor’s oversight can be dangerous, so seek the advice of a doctor or dietician first.

Monitor Their Diet
Preservatives and sugars in food have been shown to increase hyperactivity, especially in children with ADHD. It’s important for your child to receive a balanced and healthy diet that promotes the production of valuable amino acids, Vitamin B, and magnesium in their bodies. Many children with ADHD have tested low for these necessary nutrients. Make sure that your child’s diet includes these three nutrients, even if you have to supply them with supplements.

Additionally, the Mayo Clinic notes that certain food colorings and preservatives may increase hyperactive behavior in some children. Therefore, try to avoid foods with these colorings and preservatives: sodium benzoate, FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow), D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow), FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine), and FD&C Red No. 40 (allura red).

Try EEG Biofeedback
Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback is a type of neurotherapy that measures brain waves. A 2011 study suggested that EEG training was a promising treatment for ADHD.

During a typical session, a child may play a special video game. They’ll be given a task to concentrate on, such as “keep the plane flying.” If they’re distracted, the plane will start to dive or the screen will go dark. Over time, the child learns new focusing techniques, and begins to identify and correct their symptoms.

Massage
Most people think that a massage is relaxing. For those with ADHD, it may be even more beneficial. A 2003 study published in Adolescence examined the effects of massage on mood and behavior. Students with ADHD who received massage therapy for 20 minutes twice a week over the course of a month experienced improved short-term mood and longer-term classroom behavior.

Yoga and Tai Chi
Studies indicate that yoga may be helpful for those with ADHD. Research published in 2004 reported significant improvements in hyperactivity, anxiety, and social problems in boys with ADHD who practiced yoga regularly.

Similarly, some early studies suggest that tai chi may also help improve ADHD symptoms. In 2001, researchers found that adolescents with ADHD displayed less anxiety, daydreaming, hyperactivity, and inappropriate emotions when they participated in tai chi classes twice a week for five weeks.

ADHD is not an easy disorder to deal with for both the patients and their family. But before reaching for chemical-laden prescription drugs that could negatively affect your child’s life indefinitely — why not try a natural alternative with their optimal health being the primary focus?

http://www.inquisitr.com/1670054/7-ways ... reat-adhd/


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:28 am 
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Australian Teeth Are Getting Worse And Doctors Need To Join Dentists In Fixing Them

Medical and dental treatments need to be linked to combat a rise in tooth decay and oral disease in Australians, says the author of a perspective published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Dr Lesley Russell, a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute in Canberra, believes the time has come to end the “medical–dental divide”.

“Medicine and dentistry remain distinct practices that have never been treated the same way by the health care system, health insurance funds, public health professionals, policymakers and the public,” Dr Russell wrote.

And yet oral diseases can ravage the rest of the body, and physical illnesses and trauma can affect oral health.

Poor oral health has been linked to infective coronary heart disease, stroke, adverse pregnancy outcomes and pneumonia.

A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) found that Australians’ dental health has not improved.

There’s been a rise in the average number of children’s baby teeth affected by decay and an increase in the number of adults reporting adverse oral health.

Nearly half of all children aged 12 years had decay in their permanent teeth.

Over one-third of adults had untreated decay, more than 50% of people aged 65 years and more had gum disease and one in five had complete tooth loss.

Dr Russell said dental and medical professionals need to partner in delivering health care including shared training, recognition of dental services as a part of primary care and the inclusion of dental information on patient records

A Dental Health Service Corps made up of dentists and dental staff, doctors be established.

“It is time for governments, health professionals, policy makers and community groups to put their money where their mouths are and act together to improve the oral health of all Australians, so that in the future the only gap-toothed Australian smiles are those indicating a visit from the tooth fairy,” Dr Russell said.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/austr ... em-2014-12


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:06 am 
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NSW Health advice on Lindt cafe siege

LOOKING AFTER YOUR LOVED ONES IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE LINDT CAFE SIEGE

*MANY will find the siege distressing. People can react in a variety of ways.

*Many might experience sadness, insomnia, fear or anxiety. The response may be immediate or delayed.

*Having distressing thoughts and feelings after such events is normal, not a sign of weakness.

*If these responses persist or significantly impact on your ability to return to your usual activities you might need support.

*Children particularly absorb tension, uncertainty, confusion and fear after traumatic events. Try to create a sense of calm.

*Reassure children they are safe and there is someone to take care of them.

*Recovery from trauma is often helped by talking.

*People who get support from family, friends, clergy or others generally recover better from stressful situations - prevention is better than cure.

*If you experience persistent issues that interfere with your life you are encouraged to talk to your General Practitioner or health care provider.

*In NSW you can contact your local mental health service via the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/la ... 7157812408


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:48 pm 
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Ever Thought About Nursing? 7 Reasons You Should

Nursing Is More Than A Job, It Enables You To Positively Affect All Of Society

One of the most gratifying and rewarding careers, nursing makes a rich, valuable contribution to society. Even as a “second career” nursing is a fruitful choice for people who feel they are not in the right job. Here are seven of the many reasons you should opt for a vocation that brings joy to your life by you bringing joy and comfort to others.

No Greater Responsibility

As a nurse, you are at the frontline of patient care. They need you to make important, indeed life-saving decisions for their wellbeing. You work closely with doctors to analyze records and test results to advise on treatment. You will often be responsible for bringing the right specialist doctor and are often the first on the scene to treat people in an emergency. Every day, nurses make decisions that can be the difference between life and death. This responsibility is a great burden but it is also demonstrates the importance of the role and underlines the need for quality nurses. If you find this position of trust and the importance of the role to be tremendously inspiring, nursing could be for you.

Making A Difference

Nurses are people with strong principles, great compassion and endless empathy for human suffering, regardless of their background and beliefs. Everyone who comes into contact with a nursing professional needs their care. As a result, nurses have a unique appreciation for the value of life and the difference each of us make to those around us.

Every Day Is A Schoolday

With the ceaseless challenges that face a nurse, you will always be learning, always understanding more, about people and their suffering. There are opportunities to work in various departments and at various levels, ensuring you can focus on specific areas of care and meet different types of people, each facing different stresses and requiring different level of support and care from you. You will benefit from watching and learning from the experienced nurses around you. And, as new nurses require guidance, your insight and instincts will rub off on the next generation of carers proving that nursing is a career with a great legacy.

Always In Demand

Your skills as a nurse will remain relevant and required for your lifetime and beyond. This brings job security, a good wage, career mobility, and chance to define your own career path. You can work part or full time according to your preference. You can be flexible on work location and specialism. If you see a particular area that interests you, you can follow that as there will always be the need for quality nurses with passion for their work. Jobs in the field are in high demand, with significant opportunities to learn, grow and reach senior leadership positions. Even in a recession or economic downturn, people still need nurses. And they always will.

At The Cutting-Edge Of Technology

The constant strive for the very best healthcare means that new technology in nursing is constantly introduced. You will be expected to use this effectively for your patients and so a smart mind and confidence with IT or cutting-edge practices is necessary. You will need to use the tools, plus interpret the results they produce to be able to treat patients and, just as important, deliver news of their status to them and their loved ones.

The Influencer

Because nursing is at the very frontline of healthcare, few other careers experience the direct impact of major policy decisions. You see suffering among every area of society, giving you a valuable insight into what people need and how politics interferes for good and ill in their lives. Policy-makers need nurses’ wisdom and insight to deliver the best strategy and investment for their community.

The Powerbroker

Nurses make up the largest number of healthcare professionals. You are part of a special family that has a role as advocate both inside and outside of the workplace. You will directly and indirectly help people through your care and sharing positive behaviour and healthy practices. Your advice on which doctor to consult, where to attend local clinics, treatments and health education will forever be of value and your opinion always sought.

http://www.newsweek.com/great-nursing-schools-2014


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:37 am 
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Subway manspreaders told: close your legs and let other people ride

As 2014 comes to an end, one thing New York commuters can expect in 2015 is an official city campaign against a growing problem: “manspreading”.

Manspreading is the act or practice – typically male – of spreading one’s legs in a manner which prevents others from occupying nearby seats on the subway, commuter train or bus.

A Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) spokesman, Kevin Ortiz, described the practice thus: “To, you know, extend their legs more than they need to in a manner that would take up more than one seat.”

In January, the MTA will unveil ads calling for better subway manners. According to the New York Times, one such poster will bear the message: “Dude … Stop the Spread, Please.”

Social-media sites have magnified criticism of manspreading, as people have posted images on sites like Twitter and Tumblr in an effort to shame culprits and compel them to keep their legs together.

The epidemic has spread – Boston transit police have posted photos of people taking up more than one seat on Twitter with messages such as: “#MBTA etiquette; if you are already seated PLEASE do not occupy seat next to you with your feet. Thanks.”

Dr Marc Goldstein, director of the center for male reproductive medicine and microsurgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center, told the Times crossing one’s legs for a subway ride does not – contrary to apparently accepted wisdom – pose health risks to a man’s reproductive organs.

The New York City blog Gothamist interviewed manspreaders. “It’s not super crowded – if it was crowded, I would probably constrict,” said one.

Said another: “Have I ever thought I am taking up to much space, not really? But maybe now I am.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014 ... n-new-york


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:45 am 
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Living with HIV in China: Hundreds of Villagers Reportedly Sign Petition Seeking to Ban Child with HIV

China is facing a crisis: a part of the country wants to ban a boy who is living with HIV.

China has a growing campaign for the fight against HIV, as in proper treatment, and they are against discrimination for those living with the disease. So this incident is a head-scratcher.

The banning of the 8-year-old boy who is living with HIV comes from a small village named Shufangya in Xichong county, in China. The condemnation and requested banishment of the young boy came from a petition that was signed by over 200 villagers. It was brought to light last week via China's newspaper the People's Daily.

The People's Daily reported that the Shufangya villagers unanimously voted for the boy's removal in early December. To make matters worse, the child's own "grandfather" has even signed the petition.

The petition reads: "Kunkun is diagnosed with AIDS, causing great fear among the villagers and village children. In order to ensure the safety of villagers and children, we demand that authorities quarantine Kunkun for treatment," CNN reported.

For the protection of the boy's identity, Kunkun is a pseudonym that is being used.

Kunkun's life since his diagnosis in 2011 has been a nightmare: he has been expelled from school and ostracized by members of his community. Kunkun had contracted the disease from his mother when he was born, CNN reported.

One villager was adamant that Kunkun poses a danger to them and their children.

"He's a ticking time bomb. My daughter is around his age, and goes to a boarding school now," He Jialing said, according to CNN. "What happens if she gets bitten while playing with him here at home? That boy is too dangerous."

The People's Daily has quoted Kunkun as saying, "No one wants to play with me."

The county government office is currently discussing Kunkun's case.

China has been progressive in HIV and AIDS awareness. Even China's First Lady Peng Liyuan was appointed the World Health Organization's goodwill ambassador for AIDS in 2011. Liyuan has appeared in public advertisements holding hands and playing with HIV+ children, CNN reported.

The question is why is this happening? Ye Dawei, the director of the China Red Ribbon Foundation, an anti-HIV/AIDS organization, says that the news is heartbreaking but understandable, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"What those villagers did sounds extreme or unreasonable," Dawei said, the Wall Street Journal reported. "But it's actually understandable. It's all because they still don't know much about the disease and fear it too much."

Dawei admits that their organization has not done enough "propaganda work" at the "grassroots" level.

The people in the small town are mostly elderly and some of Kunkun's family are ill. Kunkun's "grandfather," who is 69, says that he cannot take care of the little boy. The local newspaper has identified the man as Luo Sheng, and that Sheng is not Kunkun's biological grandfather. Sheng is simply the father of the man who is living with the boy's mother, The Wall Street Journal reported.

There have been no messages from the boy's parents.

The stigma of Kunkun has stretched beyond the little boy, to the rest of the family who is taking care of him. Sheng says that his younger son's wife has divorced him and has taken his two grandsons away, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"If we don't send him away, who will want to marry my younger son?" Sheng said.

At the moment, only a few people have shown interest in adopting Kunkun. But no clear arrangements have been made.

According to the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, since 2011, 780,000 people have been living with HIV/AIDS in China. People living with HIV or AIDS face widespread discrimination and stigma, especially in rural areas where there is lack of access to education about the disease, CNN reported.

China has been battling against stigma for the disease by creating laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination against people with HIV.

http://www.latinpost.com/articles/28219 ... ld-boy.htm


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:29 pm 
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Echolocation Gives 'Sight' to the Visually Impaired

Visually impaired people who use echolocation to "sense" their environment -- in the same way bats and dolphins do -- are using the same parts of their brains that people with normal vision do, researchers have found.

The proof, ironically, came from a study that showed their echolocation can create perception mistakes about objects in their environment that are the same as those experienced by sighted people, researchers in Canada and Scotland found.

"Some blind people use echolocation to assess their environment and find their way around," says Gavin Buckingham of Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. "They will either snap their fingers or click their tongue to bounce sound waves off objects, a skill often associated with bats, which use echolocation when flying.

"However, we don't yet understand how much echolocation in humans has in common with how a sighted individual would use their vision."

To try and find out, the researchers conducted an experiment with three groups of people -- blind echolocators, blind people who did not use echolocation, and people with no visual impairment -- and asked them to judge the weight of three cubes of different sizes.

Despite the size differences, the cubes in fact were all of identical weight -- which set up the groups to possibly experience a "size-weight illusion" where the size of the cube might fool them into perceiving their weights as different, the researchers report in the journal Psychological Science.

"The blind group who did not echolocate experienced no illusion, correctly judging the boxes as weighing the same amount as one another because they had no indication of how big each box was," Buckingham explained. "The sighted group, where each member was able to see how big each box was, overwhelmingly succumbed to the 'size-weight illusion' and experienced the smaller box as feeling a lot heavier than the largest one."

Surprisingly, the researchers found, blind echolocators, whose echo technique was able to give them some idea of the boxes' size, experience the same illusion.

"This showed that echolocation was able to influence their sense of how heavy something felt," Buckingham says. "This resembles how visual assessment influenced how heavy the boxes felt in the sighted group."

The findings support earlier studies that have shown blind echolocators, when listening to their own echoes and processing them, use the same "visual" parts of their brains as sighted people.

It suggests echolocation can serve not just as a functional aid in helping visually impaired people move around in an environment, but could be considered a comparable sensory substitute for vision, the researchers say.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/22975 ... paired.htm


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:25 pm 
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Ethan’s Christmas wish comes true

IN A YouTube video uploaded before Christmas a young boy named Ethan is given a card by his mother addressed ‘to a wonderful brother’.

The confused 10-year-old opens the card that has a picture of his mother’s sonogram in it. This is when he realises what is going on and begins to cry with happiness.

According to the video description Ethan had been asking for a sibling since he was two years old.

“This year we were able to give him it. The moment the penny drops is priceless. The look on his face has made my year. What an awesome brother he is going to be!!” his parents wrote.

As he bursts into tears after he finds out he is going to be a big brother he whispers how happy he is and begins to giggle.

The heartwarming clip is nearing a million hits already and bringing grown men to the brink of tears.

“I’m a 22 year old man and I’m almost in tears!!” wrote one YouTube watcher.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parent ... 7167153744


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:17 pm 
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Survivor shares paintings of anorexia years

It was the stark blue colour of her feet which led the family of anorexia sufferer Rachael Stevens to take her to hospital, a physical alarm bell after a decade of denial of her eating disorder.

"I was very dizzy, I never told anyone that; and I was having trouble breathing, I never said that," Ms Stevens said.

"I probably couldn't have kept going if I hadn't been hospitalised.

"[It] was the time I made decisions about did I want to live, did I want to die - all the tough stuff."

Now - eight years later - the aspiring Canberra author and artist has put colour on canvas to express her thoughts about the battle which began after her parents divorced when she was six.

The 12 paintings chart her battle, under titles such as Devoured by Guilt and Scavenging for Hope. They combine various shades of blue with a mix of brighter colours in abstract images which the 23-year-old said received a positive reaction in her first public exhibition last week.

"I guess the most prominent reaction I've had is people say 'wow, the message of hope is so strong'," she said.

"I tried to make it have a positive undertone to it, a lot of conversations about mental health get negative."

Stevens said her eating disorder worsened in high school and was never about weight.

"I hated change, my parents are divorced so it was definitely a control thing," she said.

The Weston Creek resident said a conscious effort to help others in the hospital's psychiatric unit – "anorexia is such a narcissistic thing" – and embracing Christianity helped her change her life and eventually beat the disorder, although she struggled with depression until her 2012 marriage.

Ms Stevens said she wanted her artwork and the simultaneous release of her book The Skeleton Diaries, which covers a three-month period in 2007 including the hospital stay, to encourage others not to lose hope in difficult times.

"I know what it means to go to war with my own thoughts of self-hatred and anxiety," one of the diary entries read.

"I also know that the war can be won."

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration has said eating-related mental illnesses affect one in 20 Australians.

About 15 per cent of women will have an eating disorder during their lifetime.

The national Eating Disorders Hope Line can be reached on 1800 33 4673, and Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/act-new ... 2bfsn.html


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:20 pm 
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My fitness wristband took over my life

Blame it on the boredom of Heathrow airport. I had just disembarked from a long-haul flight and I was in what Oprah might call "a vulnerable place" – sleep-deprived and guilt-ridden over all those delicious white dinner rolls I had consumed on the way over. Reader, I had not spared the butter. Neither had the complimentary wine cart escaped my attentions. And there seemed to be no way to amuse myself for five hours without spending money.

Whatever the psychological cocktail that led me there, I decided it would be a good idea to buy one of those fitness tracker wrist-band things so trendy they have been personally endorsed by Rupert Murdoch.

And since then, life hasn't been the same.

These wristbands are the latest technological step in the "self-quantifying movement", the contemporary craze for accumulating and analysing data on yourself – from daily calorie counts, to steps walked and energy burned, to your mood and sleep patterns.

Mine was black and slim, and fit snugly around my right wrist. I quickly began wearing my handbags on my left side to accommodate the hand-swinging action it needed to pick up my activity. This was the first in many ways in which the wristband began to control my life.

The gadget was paired with an app on my smartphone, which could magically tell how many steps I had taken that day, how many hours I had slept at night and whether I had taken vigorous exercise. It wanted me to take 10,000 steps a day and I quickly became its slave, walking unnecessarily and even jiggling more in an attempt to please it.

The app could also be paired with a calorie counter that told my master how much I had consumed in a day. The omniscient creature would then calculate whether I had arrived at an energy deficit. If I had, my wristband would communicate warm congratulations. Sometimes it even vibrated in approval, and I would feel a surge of disproportionate pride which was actually a strong signal that the relationship had become unhealthy.

Soon, the fitness tracker went from fun gadget to panopticon. I began to believe it saw everything, and the things it didn't see – for example, if I accidentally left it at home while off for a run – seemed pointless if it couldn't record them.

As with all technology, my black manacle-master is fast becoming out-dated. I find myself eyeing others on the market that can measure my heart rate, or tell me exactly how many hours I have left to live on earth.

But the truth is I am too frightened to upgrade. It will know.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well- ... er-my-life


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:02 pm 
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Cancer is the best way to die and we should stop trying to cure it, says doctor

Cancer is the best way to die because it gives people the chance to come to terms with their own mortality, the former editor of the British Medical Journal has claimed.

Dr Richard Smith, an honorary professor at the University of Warwick, said that a protracted death allowed time to say goodbye to loved ones, listen to favourite pieces or music or poetry and leave final messages.

He claimed that any pain of dying could be made bearable through ‘love, morphine, and whisky.’

Writing in a blog for the BMJ, Dr Smith admitted that his view was 'romantic', but said charities should stop spending billions trying to find a cure for the disease because it was clearly the best option for an ageing population.

However Cancer Research UK claimed his comments were ‘nihilistic’ and gave little thought to young people whose lives are cut short by the disease.

Cancer will evolve to get past any treatment to kill it and so scientists should develop ways to manage it

His views were also criticised by the families of sufferers who accused the doctor of insensitivity.

In his blog Dr Smith quoted the Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel who warned that many patients risked suffering a ‘horrible death, kept at bay by the miracles of modern medicine.’

Bunuel died of pancreatic cancer in Mexico City in 1983 but managed to spend the last week of his life discussing theology with a Jesuit brother.

“Death from cancer is the best, the closest to the death that Buñuel wanted and had,” said Dr Smith.

“You can say goodbye, reflect on your life, leave last messages, perhaps visit special places for a last time, listen to favourite pieces of music, read loved poems, and prepare, according to your beliefs, to meet your maker or enjoy eternal oblivion.

“This is, I recognise, a romantic view of dying, but it is achievable with love, morphine, and whisky.”

Dr Smith, who also worked as a TV doctor for the BBC and TV-AM for six years, is now chair of both the medical records company Patients Know Best and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research.

He added: “I often ask audiences how they want to die, and most people chose sudden death.

“That may be OK for you,” I say, “but it may be very tough on those around you, particularly if you leave an important relationship wounded and unhealed.

“Death from organ failure—respiratory, cardiac, or kidney—will have you far too much in hospital and in the hands of doctors.

“(And) the long, slow death from dementia may be the most awful as you are slowly erased.”

Dr Smith warned people to ‘stay away from overambitious oncologists’ and said that charities should stop wasting billions trying to cure the disease and ‘potentially leaving us to die a much more horrible death.’

However Cancer Research UK said it was important to keep funding research to find cures for cancer.

Around 330,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Britain each year according to the latest figures, and one in three people will be affected in some way by the disease.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, said: “Of course we are all going to die, but cancer takes far too many people far too young.

“It's only by being ambitious in our research that we can give people a measure of choice, and the more we know about cancer the more we can give people options.

“My patients are very clear about when they do and when they don't want treatment, and they would much prefer me to be ambitious than nihilistic".

Readers of Dr Smith's blog also branded his comments as ‘ignorant and insensitive’

“Watching my mother rapidly ravaged by Cancer a few years ago, never ever did I think it was the best way for her or us,” wrote the daughter of one cancer victim.

“The haunting final images of her as her body finally gave up are burned into my mind and they aren't the memories I would choose.

“A chance to say goodbye? Her final weeks were made up of endless nurses visits, her anxiety and fear of how it would end, deterioration and paranoia.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healt ... octor.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:05 am 
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New disability pension laws divide Canberra GPs and advocates

ACT disability groups and general practitioners have split over new government reforms designed to reduce the number of people claiming the disability pension.

From January 1, people with disabilities who want to claim the disability support pension will need to visit a Commonwealth-appointed doctor to prove they are eligible

Advocacy for Inclusion general manager Christina Ryan said the vast majority of people on the support pension were people who seriously needed it and to imply otherwise was marginalising.

She said it would affect people with disabilities who were attempting to find a job.

"It's not a very positive policy – it reduces people on the pension in the eyes of the community, which makes it harder for them to find jobs," Ms Ryan said.

"If the government did want people with disabilities to find jobs they'd be working on a jobs plan rather than blaming people for not having a job."

She said it was exhausting for people with disabilities to constantly have to prove their condition for various government services and departments.

"Whether you're getting a parking voucher or whether you're trying to get the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme] or income support, you're constantly having to prove you have a disability," Ms Ryan said.

"It's all about something being wrong with you and having to prove how wrong your life is."

But Canberra general practitioner Thinus van Rensburg said he thinks the new policy is a good idea.

"We as GPs are often between a rock and a hard place," he said.

You don't necessarily agree with what this person wants but you don't want to upset the patient-doctor relationship."

Dr van Rensburg said he and other doctors would err on the side of caution rather than lose a patient who may need them in the future.

"Whether they have [a disability] should be the only factor on whether they get the pension, and as a GP we aren't always in a position to do that [objectively]," he said.

"We can but then next time comes round and they don't bring their sick kid in and I think, 'well, maybe if I'd been more lenient last time'."

Australian Medical Association Council of General Practice chairman Brian Morton said there was a division among some doctors who felt they were in a place to give an opinion as well as a judgement on patients.

But he said he was broadly supportive of the reforms, which he said were a better outcome for overall patient care than putting the pressure on individual GPs.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... 2ghvx.html


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:25 am 
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How Pasteur Made Our Modern Food Bonanza Possible

The death of a three-year-old child caused by drinking unpasteurized milk late last year invited much commentary about food safety and regulation. But little has been said about the man who gave his name to the process that makes dairy products, and many other foods, safe for mass production: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).

While the natural food movement insists sterilization techniques destroy many nutritional benefits, there can be no doubt these same techniques have been instrumental in reducing morbidity and mortality from the consumption of bacteria-ridden food and drink. Of these, pasteurization is one of the most important. It involves heating food or drink to a temperature where most harmful bacteria are eradicated. It’s particularly associated with milk, but is used across a wide range of products.

Most people probably don’t think about who or what lies behind pasteurization. But it’s definitely a question worth asking because it emerged from one of the most important eras in the history of science. A time when our understanding of both life and disease was irrevocably changed.

An influential man

Pasteurization, of course, commemorates one of the greatest members of science’s pantheon, the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur. But while Pasteur was responsible for the theory that underlay the process, it was only towards the end of his life that technology was developed to implement his principles on an industrial scale.

Pasteur was born of humble origins but rose to become one France’s most celebrated heroes. As one Pasteur critic said a few years before Pasteur’s death:

In France, one can be an anarchist or a nihilist, but not an anti-Pastorian. A simple question of science has been made into a question of patriotism.

But what was this “simple question of science”? Today, Pasteur is mainly remembered for the discoveries that did so much establish the germ theory of disease, which posits that many diseases are caused by bacteria. We think, in particular, of his work on anthrax and rabies, which included the development of vaccines for both.

We might remember his ferocious competition with the German microbiologist Robert Koch (1843-1910), which led to so many pathogens being identified. We see the continued glory of the Institut Pasteur, which has continued the work of the great man for the benefit of humanity.

Pasteurization was itself the by-product of discoveries that led to the germ theory of disease. Pasteur had started his scientific career in chemistry, working in the field of crystallography. From there, his interests broadened to explore the process of fermentation, particularly in wine and beer, industries that were critical to France’s prosperity.

A tangential discovery

Pasteur was a deeply patriotic and conservative man. He was a supporter, no less, of Louis-Napoleon III (1808-1873), who had grabbed power from the Second French Republic in 1851. While not overly religious, he was a supporter of the Catholic Church, and affirmed belief in a God-Creator.

What’s more, like many of his scientific contemporaries in France, he was hostile to the notion of evolution, even after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. In particular, he was against the notion of spontaneous generation, the idea that life could organize itself from inert matter with no intervention from a supernatural force.

Spontaneous generation had been at the heart of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s pre-Darwinian theory of evolution. It was associated with materialism – the belief that life can be explained by natural forces – and atheism.

During the late 1850s, Pasteur set out to explode the belief in spontaneous generation. He aimed to do it through an assault on the experimental methods of Félix-Archimède Pouchet (1800-1872), who had appeared to demonstrate that life could be created from inorganic materials.

Using a series of ingenious and exhaustive experiments, including the use of his famous swan-necked flasks, Pasteur was able to demonstrate that Pouchet’s spontaneous generation was actually the result of microbial contamination of the materials used in his experiments.

By 1864, Pasteur had not only been able to demonstrate that life could only emerge from life, but also that fermentation was a biological and not chemical process. A by-product of this research demonstrated that subjecting wine, beer, or milk to short burst of heat could mostly destroy the bacteria that caused them to sour.

This was nothing less than the birth of pasteurization. But it would be many years before the technique was developed and implemented on the industrial scale required to make diary products safe.

Pasteurization’s rise

At the time, not much attention was paid to food hygiene. Meat products might be infected with anthrax, and diary products with a variety of bacteria. Milk itself often contained the bacilli of bovine tuberculosis, or Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

And because the germ theory of disease had not been fully accepted, there was little impetus for state-driven intervention, even though the technology for industrial-scale pasteurization had existed since the 1880s. Indeed, even as late as 1900, there were many within the medical profession who argued the germs cholera vibrio, tuberculosis bacillus, or typhoid-causing bacteria, were not, in themselves, enough to cause someone to fall ill.

The discovery that some people might be asymptomatic and, therefore seemingly healthy carriers of these pathogens, didn’t help the cause.

Against a back-drop of arguments about the risks of infection posed by microbes in the food supply, and counter-arguments about the negative impacts of pasteurization upon the nutritional value of milk, the spread of the practice was slow and uneven. And legislative intervention in favor of pasteurization was tardy.

In 1908, Chicago became the first municipality to demand compulsory pasteurization, while Ontario, in 1938, demanded milk be pasteurized throughout the province. So powerful was the argument provided by the germ theory of disease, that more often than not it was consumer choice that drove pasteurization, rather than state legislation. From the 1920s and 1930s, many dairies across the developed world instituted the practice voluntarily as the pro-pasteurization lobby gained ground.

In some places, unpasteurized milk has never banned. Unlike Australia, where unpasteurized milk must be labeled a cosmetic product, in England and Wales it remains a matter of choice. But pasteurization remains one of Pasteur’s greatest legacies, even if it sprung from the great man’s belief in an interventionist God, a dictatorial emperor, and the greater glory of France.The Conversation

James Bradley, Lecturer in History of Medicine/Life Science at University of Melbourne, does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

http://www.science20.com/the_conversati ... ble-151964


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:02 pm 
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Graphene 'flying carpet' strips deliver two cancer drugs, each to a different cell target

Treating cancer often requires a multiple-pronged approach with different drugs acting together to attack different parts of a tumor or perform different functions to stop cells from dividing uncontrollably. With drug delivery platforms that can carry two drugs separately, this can be accomplished in a single treatment.

Researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina and China Pharmaceutical University have developed graphene strips that have demonstrated the ability to carry two different cancer drugs and target each to the part of the cell where it will be most effective, according to NCSU. The surface area of a flat strip in particular suits these particles to the delivery of the cancer drugs TRAIL and doxorubicin. The work has been published online in Advanced Materials.

TRAIL is most effective on the surface of the cell, whereas doxorubicin does its work on the cell's nucleus. The doxorubicin is tied in to the graphene's structure, while TRAIL latches onto the surface of the graphene via peptide connections. With TRAIL on the surface of the graphene strip, receptors on the cancer cell zero in on the molecule, attaching the whole nanoparticle to the cell's surface at first, where the TRAIL will remain to perform its function. The graphene with the doxorubicin, on the other hand, is absorbed by the cell, allowing the drug to initialize cell death from the nucleus within, while TRAIL works from the outside--a battle on two fronts.

The team used human lung cancer tumors implanted in mice to test the technique--which they call a "flying carpet"--and it showed to be more effective than doxorubicin or TRAIL alone or even a combination of the two with graphene that didn't allow for the separation of TRAIL at the cell's surface.

Lead author Zhen Gu and his team specialize in delivering multiple cancer drugs at a time in a single particle, having developed platforms such as nano-cocoons and nano-daisies in the past. What stands apart with the graphene strips is the surface area of the particle, which allows for more effective and efficient delivery.

"These drug-rich graphene strips are introduced into the bloodstream in solution, and then travel through the bloodstream like nanoscale flying carpets," Gu said in a statement. "We've demonstrated that TRAIL itself can be used to attach a drug delivery system to a cancer cell, without using intervening material--which is something we didn't know. … And because graphene has a large surface area, this technique enhances our ability to apply TRAIL to its target on cancer cell membranes."

http://www.fiercedrugdelivery.com/story ... 2015-01-07


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