The News – 13 Feb 2015

Overview

  • Australian researchers at Royal Melbourne Hospital combined two types of stroke treatment with new technology and almost doubled the number of patients who walked out of hospital after the most severe form of stroke.
  • Australian scientists say they have unravelled a key mechanism in mice that may explain how obesity can be passed from a mother to her children.
  • Dubbed the “sandwich generation”, researchers described a cohort of women aged 35 to 59 drowning under the pressures of teenage children, ageing parents, work responsibilities and demanding partners.



News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 13th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-12/new-stroke-treatment-changes-way-doctors-approach-condition/6086908

Australian researchers have pioneered a stroke treatment that will change the way doctors approach the condition worldwide.

Researchers at Royal Melbourne Hospital combined two types of stroke treatment with new technology and almost doubled the number of patients who walked out of hospital after the most severe form of stroke.

Under the approach, doctors used advanced brain imaging to identify which parts of the brain were irreversibly damaged and which parts were salvageable.

They then used new stent technology to remove the clot.

When combined with traditional clot-busting medication the proportion of patients who did not sustain a disability after the stroke went from 40 to 70 per cent.

Researchers will present the results this morning at a major stroke conference in Nashville in the United States.

The study involved 14 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The new approach to treatment is major news for the one-in-six Australians who will suffer a stroke in their lifetime.

Almost two thirds of those who have a stroke develop some form of disability as a result.

The new approach would benefit those who suffer the most extreme form of stroke known as ischemic stroke, where a clot blocks an artery.

Removing the clot allows blood flow to return to the brain, which is critical in stroke recovery.

The lead investigator, neurologist Dr Bruce Campbell, said one of the key features of the study was advanced brain imaging.

Fellow investigator Associate Professor Peter Mitchell said it was a “revolutionary” development that was being welcomed worldwide.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/02/11/4177374.htm

Australian scientists say they have unravelled a key mechanism in mice that may explain how obesity can be passed from a mother to her children.
The mechanism may also provide insight into why obese women find it difficult to fall pregnant.

According to their study, obese mothers ‘transmit’ metabolic problems to their offspring through changes to the mitochondria in their eggs, long before conception has taken place.

The researchers were able to reverse this damage in eggs of obese mice using drugs that reduce cellular stress.

They say their findings, published today in Development , may point towards future therapies to help obese women overcome fertility issues and prevent multigenerational health problems related to obesity.

Lead author and cell biologist Associate Professor Rebecca Robker from the Robinson Institute at the University of Adelaide was interested in why obese women have such trouble conceiving.

She found that not only do obese women not respond as well to fertility treatments, but their embryos seem to develop slightly differently, and they are more prone to miscarriages regardless of whether they conceive naturally or not; all of which suggested to her that there might be developmental problems with the early embryos.

In their study, Robker and colleagues found big differences in the eggs of obese mice compared to those of lean mice; specifically, that the mitochondria — the energy producing components of a cell — are damaged, dysfunctional, and there are fewer of them.

They found the embryos of obese mice had less mitochondrial DNA in a whole range of tissues, from the heart, kidney, muscles and liver, even if those embryos were transplanted into a lean surrogate mother.

This could have lifetime consequences for the offspring’s metabolic function, Robker says.

In exploring how obesity might affect the mitochondria, the team speculated that it might have something to do with stress to another cellular component known as the endoplasmic reticulum.

When researchers treated the obese mice with a drug known to reduce endoplasmic reticulum stress, they saw an increase in the mitochondrial DNA in their eggs, suggesting that this treatment offsetted the negative impact of obesity.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-11/baby-boomer-women-turning-to-booze-at-problem-levels/6086378

More than 500,000 middle-aged Australian women are engaging in high-risk drinking and there is insufficient help available, researchers have warned.

Dubbed the “sandwich generation”, researchers described a cohort of women aged 35 to 59 drowning under the pressures of teenage children, ageing parents, work responsibilities and demanding partners.

They were identified in a University of Western Sydney study which was the first to investigate the increase in middle-aged women drinking at problem levels.

Lead researcher Dr Janice Withnall said among those sandwich generation women there were those who had limited coping abilities or nowhere else to turn and took solace in alcohol.

For 16 per cent of these women, the drinking was high-risk leading to dependence.

This equated to 624,000 women aged between 35 and 59 struggling with risky drinking or alcohol problems.

Dr Withnall said when women in this generation acknowledged they had a problem, they were often condescended to or ignored.

Her study showed such women could be helped if their anxiety-based triggers were identified early and they were given a multi-faceted treatment program.

Dr Withnall started the Women In Recovery study after witnessing women trying to cope through drinking after friends and relatives had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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