The Health News Australia November 12 2017

  • Genetic researchers say companies who refuse to insure people with genetic disorders are putting lives at risk and threatening important medical research. In Australia, life insurers are allowed to ask if an applicant has had, or is considering having, genetic testing and can then use the results to calculate risk and approve or deny coverage. It’s a practice that’s been temporarily banned in other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, because of concerns it discourages people from undertaking genetic testing and can impede research.
  • A study suggests that eating late at night could predispose a person to diabetes and heart disease. Researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico examined the impact of late night eating on fat levels in the blood of rats. The results, published in journal Experimental Physiology, showed triglyceride (fat) levels spiked more drastically compared to those of rats fed during the day.
  • Thousands of patients will now have access to new Medicare subsidies to treat epilepsy, stroke, lymphoma, heart diseases and other life-threatening conditions. From November 1, women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer will also have free access to Medicare rebates for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-08/genetic-discrimination-threatening-lives-impeding-research/9130670

When Peter Garvey tried to upgrade his life insurance policy for peace of mind after having three children, he was denied cover for cancer because he had disclosed a positive test for a genetic mutation. He was in his late twenties when he discovered he had lynch syndrome, which carries an increased risk of bowel and other cancers.
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Genetic researchers say companies who refuse to insure people with genetic disorders are putting lives at risk and threatening important medical research. In Australia, life insurers are allowed to ask if an applicant has had, or is considering having, genetic testing and can then use the results to calculate risk and approve or deny coverage. It’s a practice that’s been temporarily banned in other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, because of concerns it discourages people from undertaking genetic testing and can impede research.
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Mister Garvey underwent regular medical surveillance including colonoscopies, skin checks and ultrasounds which reduced his cancer risk dramatically. He said “I got in contact with various doctors that had written papers on that particular gene and how it affects your chance of getting cancer.” He spent months compiling the statistics but when he presented his research to the insurer he was knocked back again. In Australia, the insurance industry is self-regulated by the Financial Services Council, which argues companies need access to genetic data to make informed decisions.
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The Federal Government is currently holding a parliamentary inquiry into the life insurance industry, which is due to report back next month.

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/nutrition-and-hydration/42/news/aap/late-night-food-consumption-leads-to-a-spike-in-blood-fat-levels/3002/

The timing of when people eat could have an impact on health, with an animal study showing late night food consumption leads to a spike in blood fat levels. A study suggests that eating late at night could predispose a person to diabetes and heart disease. Researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico examined the impact of late night eating on fat levels in the blood of rats. The results, published in journal Experimental Physiology, showed triglyceride levels spiked more drastically compared to those of rats fed during the day.

The researchers propose that this may be because consuming food in the evening falls out of sync with the body’s natural twenty four-hour body clock.  “The fact that we can ignore our biological clock is important for survival; we can decide to sleep during the day when we are extremely tired or we run away from danger at night. However, doing this frequently – with shift work, jet lag, or staying up late at night – will harm our health in the long-term especially when we eat at times when we should sleep,” said study author Ruud Buijs. However, an Australian expert says it’s too early to be linking night eating to heart disease or diabetes.

Associate Professor Amanda Salis from the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders says the research is “interesting” but larger studies are needed before people start changing their food habits to avoid eating at night.
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According to the Australian obesity researcher, some larger studies have actually shown that Ramadan fasting – where food is only eaten when the sun is down – improves blood lipids and markers for cardiovascular risk. Professor Salis said “Basically eating a healthy diet is still the most important thing, plenty of fruits and vegetables, not too much processed foods.”

https://www.thesenior.com.au/health/new-article-31/

Thousands of patients will now have access to new Medicare subsidies to treat epilepsy, stroke, lymphoma, heart diseases and other life-threatening conditions. From November one, women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer will also have free access to Medicare rebates for BRCA one and BRCA  two genetic testing. Close relatives of women found to have the mutations will also be eligible for the tests which have previously cost between six hundred dollars and two thousand dollars. The federal government approved all the latest recommendations from independent experts on the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), Health Minister Greg Hunt will announce on Wednesday.

Among the new Medicare items are subsidies for more than two thousand patients with slow growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma to access PET (positron emission tomography) imaging to monitor the progress of their using nuclear medicine diagnostic services.

Epilepsy patients will benefit from six new Medicare items for vagus nerve stimulation therapy, designed to prevent seizures by sending mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve, much like a pacemaker. Pregnant women and new mothers will have improved access to mental health assessments during pregnancy and in the early postnatal period, as well as a new MBS item for home visits in the first few weeks after birth by a midwife, general practitioner or obstetrician.

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