Health News – 14 Jan 2015

Overview

  • A worldwide research project led by Brisbane researchers has uncovered six new gene variations that increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Pharmacists will soon be able to administer flu vaccines to South Australians for the first time. The move follows a successful trial in Queensland, which saw an additional 11,000 people get vaccinated over a five-month period.
  • Researchers at Deakin University have challenged soft drink manufacturers’ claims that caffeine improves taste, calling for the use of the addictive substance to be more tightly regulated.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 14th January 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-13/brisbane-researchers-discover-six-new-gene-variations/6013422

A worldwide research project led by Brisbane researchers has uncovered six new gene variations that increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer.

The QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the University of Cambridge findings take the number of known ovarian cancer gene regions from 12 to 18.

They studied more than 70,000 women from 30 countries as part of the project.

“This is the result of an extremely large study that we’ve been carrying out over several years,” QIMR Berghofer Cancer Program Head Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench said.

She said the discovery would ultimately help in better diagnosis and prevention of ovarian cancer and would also shine a light on the causes of other cancers.

Professor Chenevix-Trench said they needed personalised risks for individual women so each person could decide when their risk was highest and how they wanted to deal with it.

“By understanding more about who is at highest risk we should be able to modify our clinical treatment accordingly and that should reduce the risk of ovarian cancer,” she said.

Professor Chenevix-Trench said ovarian cancer was notoriously difficult to diagnose, and the discovery of these gene variants should make it easier to prevent.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-13/pharmacists-to-administer-flu-vaccinations-in-sa-from-march/6014298

Pharmacists will soon be able to administer flu vaccines to South Australians for the first time.

The move follows a successful trial in Queensland, which saw an additional 11,000 people get vaccinated over a five-month period.

The 2015 flu vaccine should be available South Australians at the end of March.

Under the changes, pharmacists will be able to provide the vaccine to adults over the age of 16 who are not already eligible for a free flu shot as part of the national immunisation program.

People who are eligible for the free vaccine as part of the annual influenza program, including pregnant women, people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, will still need to visit their GP to receive their free vaccination.

Some pharmacies have been offering flu shots for a number of years, however previously these had to be administered by a registered nurse.
Pharmacists wishing to administer flu vaccines will need to undergo appropriate training to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to both deliver the vaccine and identify and treat any possible side effects.

The pharmacy they work for will also need to be accredited by SA Health and undergo an audit every two years as per pharmacy industry standards.
Last year, there were more than 11,000 notified cases of influenza in South Australia, the highest number of cases on record, surpassing even the swine flu epidemic of 2009.

Health Minister Jack Snelling hoped the scheme would see a higher uptake of the vaccination, increasing the wider community’s immunity.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-13/call-for-tighter-regulation-of-caffeine-in-soft-drinks/6014264

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.


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

“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.

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