The Health News Australia January 8 2018

  • Researchers have confirmed positive evidence which could potentially give hope to some parents struggling with colic, or excessive crying in newborns. A new international study led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), in collaboration with eleven other institutions around the world, found the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri has the potential to provide some reduction in crying in exclusively breastfed babies less than 3 months old.
  • The Australian Medical Association has called for a tax on sugary drinks to tackle obesity and for water to be the “default beverage option” with meals. In a position paper that has been released, the AMA backed a number of measures to decrease obesity including banning junk food ads targeted at children. Although the AMA labelled a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages “a matter of priority” in September, the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, rejected the idea of a 20% tax on the grounds that consumers already paid “enough taxes” at the supermarket.
  • Australia’s budding medicinal cannabis sector is set for a major windfall after winning approval to begin exports. Health Minister Greg Hunt said allowing medicinal cannabis product exports will help the developing domestic market to grow. The federal government in 2016 legalised patient access to Australian-grown and manufactured medicinal cannabis, subject to state and territory regulations. Victoria became Australia’s first state to legalise cannabis for medical use and was quickly followed by New South Wales.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 8th of January 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/paediatrics/17/news/nc1/hope-for-parents-of-children-with-colic/3102/

Researchers have confirmed positive evidence which could potentially give hope to some parents struggling with colic, or excessive crying in newborns. It’s not known what causes colic and it can be hard to handle. The condition, which affects one in five families, is burdensome and is associated with maternal depression, child abuse such as Shaken Baby Syndrome, and early breastfeeding cessation. Up until now, there has been no effective treatment for colic. A new international study led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), in collaboration with eleven other institutions around the world, found the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri has the potential to provide some reduction in crying in exclusively breastfed babies less than three months old.

Researchers found compared to a placebo, the probiotic group was two times more likely to reduce crying by fifty percent, by twenty first day of treatment, for the babies who were exclusively breastfed. Lead author from MCRI and pediatrician Doctor Valerie Sung said in the last decade, many studies have looked at the role of probiotics in treating colic.

The study, published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, combined raw data from four major high quality double-blind placebo controlled trials from Italy, Poland, Canada and Australia.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/07/australian-medical-association-wants-tax-on-sugary-drinks-and-ban-on-junk-food-ads

The Australian Medical Association has called for a tax on sugary drinks to tackle obesity and for water to be the “default beverage option” with meals. In a position paper that has been released, the AMA backed a number of measures to decrease obesity including banning junk food ads targeted at children. Although the AMA labelled a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages “a matter of priority” in September, the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, rejected the idea of a twenty percent tax on the grounds that consumers already paid “enough taxes” at the supermarket.

The paper argues that although many Australians have access to high quality fresh foods “most do not consume these in the recommended amounts”.

It said that one-third of food intake comes from highly processed junk foods and beverages and half of Australian adults have a body weight that puts their health at risk  The paper notes that flavoured waters, sports drinks and fruit juices “contain significant quantities of added sugars”. The AMA said that energy drinks also contain large quantities of caffeine and “should not be readily available to those under eighteen years”.

The push for a sugar tax has been led by the Obesity Policy Coalition and its executive manager, Jane Martin, said obesity cost Australia an estimated eight point six billion dollars in two thousand eleven and two thousand twelve in direct and indirect costs such as general practitioner services, hospital care, and absenteeism. Researchers have suggested a tax on sugary drinks combined with a subsidy on fruits and vegetables could save the health sector three point four billion dollars.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-expected-to-become-world-s-top-medicinal-cannabis-supplier-health-minister

Australia’s budding medicinal cannabis sector is set for a major windfall after winning approval to begin exports. Health Minister Greg Hunt said allowing medicinal cannabis product exports will help the developing domestic market to grow. Mister Hunt said in a statement: “By helping the domestic manufacturers to expand, this, in turn, helps to ensure an ongoing supply of medicinal cannabis products here in Australia.” He hopes Australia can be the world’s top supplier of medicinal cannabis.

The federal government in two thousand sixteen legalised patient access to Australian-grown and manufactured medicinal cannabis, subject to state and territory regulations. Victoria became Australia’s first state to legalise cannabis for medical use and was quickly followed by New South Wales. The federal health department says three hundred fifty patients have accessed Australian-grown medicinal cannabis products.

However, there are some concerns doctors are reluctant to prescribe the products. Opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese said it was a “sensible move forward” for Australia to export medicinal cannabis products.

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