The Health News – 22 September 2016

Overview:
•  The film — Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe — has caused controversy for linking a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to autism and was withdrawn from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.  Australian Medical Association president Dr Michael Gannon said showing the film was irresponsible and wrongly placed guilt on the parents of children with autism.

• Scientists have previously shown an association between a variant of the FTO gene and surplus body fat, but little is understood about how the link works. Public Health England agency chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said the study adds to the evidence suggesting that environmental factors might dominate over at least common obesity-linked genes

• A group of Adelaide researchers at the University of South Australia, led by Associate Professor Krasimir Vasilev, found cacao can be used as a substitute for the hazardous chemicals.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  22nd of September 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-21/film-festival-plans-to-screen-anti-vaccination-documentary/7864716

The head of a central Victorian film festival says he is screening a controversial anti-vaccination documentary because it is in the public interest.

The film — Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe — has caused controversy for linking a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to autism and was withdrawn from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival (CLIFF) creative director, David Thrussell, said the public needed to be informed about the whistle-blower allegations to make an informed decision.

“What concerns me is the voices that call for censorship and treat the adult population as if they are infants,” he [said]…

“These voices assume that people are incapable of making good decisions about themselves.

“I assume, given a wide spread of all the available information, most people will be able to make a good decision for themselves.”

Dr Peter Sloan, director of medical services at Kyneton and Castlemaine District Health, said a study linking the vaccine to autism had been completely discredited.

“That’s probably the most dangerous association that’s there. Kids don’t get autism because they’ve been vaccinated,” he said.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Michael Gannon said showing the film was irresponsible and wrongly placed guilt on the parents of children with autism.

Dr Gannon said the claims in the film were not accurate and fed some people’s fascination with conspiracy theories.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-21/fto-gene-not-an-obesity-life-sentence-study-suggests/7864528

People who carry a variant in the so-called “obesity gene”, FTO, react just as well to diet and exercise as those without it, according to new research.

This means that people with the variant, which appears to be linked to a higher risk for being overweight, are not necessarily doomed to remain so, according to a meta-analysis published in The BMJ medical journal.

“Individuals carrying the [variant] respond equally well to dietary, physical activity, or drug-based weight loss interventions,” wrote the authors of the review of eight studies involving some 10,000 people.

This meant that genetic predisposition to obesity “[could] be at least partly counteracted through such interventions”.

Scientists have previously shown an association between a variant of the FTO gene and surplus body fat, but little is understood about how the link works.

The relative contribution of genetics and lifestyle to the global obesity epidemic is still very much in dispute.

The latest review showed that participants in weight loss programs who had the FTO variant started out almost 1 kilogram heavier on average than those without it.

But changes in weight were similar in people with the variant and those without it, regardless of other factors such as ethnicity or gender, the authors said.

Commenting on the latest research, Public Health England agency chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said the causes of the obesity epidemic may have little to do with genes.

The study, she said, “adds to the evidence suggesting that environmental factors might dominate over at least common obesity-linked genes”.

Such factors could include a high-sugar diet or insufficient physical exercise.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-21/cacao-could-be-key-to-wound-treatment-adelaide-researchers-find/7863978

Adelaide researchers are looking at taking advantage of cacao as a natural alternative to toxic chemicals traditionally used to produce wound treatments.

Silver ions and nanoparticles are known to fight bacteria, making it difficult for microorganisms to build effective resistance.

But processes used to synthesise the ions and nanoparticles often use hazardous chemicals, sometimes causing more harm than good.

A group of Adelaide researchers at the University of South Australia, led by Associate Professor Krasimir Vasilev, found cacao can be used as a substitute for the hazardous chemicals.

Professor Vasilev said cacao, which is usually used to make chocolate, contains a powerful reducing agent.

“It contains oxalic acid, which is a powerful reductive agent, so we used this to reduce silver nitrate and to synthesize the cacao-based silver nanoparticles, which we call chocolate silver nanoparticles.”

Professor Vasilev said now that the study has found cacao can be used in silver nanoparticles synthesis, researchers will continue to look at potential applications in the field of biomedical nanotechnology.

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