The Health News – 16 February 2016

Overview:
•Health and consumer advocates are calling for better labelling in Australia’s health supplement sector. It follows a reports of a Western Australian man who had an emergency liver transplant after taking a weight loss supplement. His doctors say most likely the culprit is the green tea extract, which has been linked to dozens of cases of liver damage around the world.

• Having Neanderthal DNA in your genes may increase the risk for depression, nicotine addiction, stroke, pregnancy complications and many other health problems, a new study at Vanderbilt University suggest.

• The rate of cancer diagnosis in Queensland has more than tripled in a 31-year period, the Cancer Council says. In 1982 a total of 8,274 cases were diagnosed and in 2013, this jumped to 26,335 cases. The increased rates were largely due to rise[s] in population and an aging community.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th February 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-15/advocates-call-for-better-labelling-of-health-supplements/7164770

Health and consumer advocates are calling for better labelling in Australia’s health supplement sector.

It follows reports of a Western Australian man who had to have an emergency liver transplant after taking a popular weight loss supplement in a protein powder.

His doctors say the most likely culprit is the ingredient, green tea extract, which has been linked to dozens of cases of liver damage around the world.

He also took a popular weight loss supplement called garcinia cambogia which may have also possibly contributed.

The case has prompted health and consumer advocates to call for more clear labelling in the sector so consumers are better informed.

The protein powder … Matthew Whitby consumed is typically regulated as a food and subject to different labelling rules.

However, the garcinia cambogia supplement Mr Whitby took, which doctors say may also have contributed, is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Public health advocate Dr Ken Harvey from Monash University said green tea extract did fall into a regulatory “grey area”.

Dr Harvey has long called for reform of labelling of health foods and supplements.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-12/neanderthal-dna-linked-with-depression-nicotine-addiction/7163170

Having Neanderthal DNA in your genes may increase the risk for depression, nicotine addiction, stroke, pregnancy complications and many other health problems, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Science, shows how ancient liaisons between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans continue to impact our genetic heritage.

Previous studies have suggested that when early Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa they interbred with different species in Asia and Europe.

Sequencing of the Neanderthal genome has made it possible to link Neanderthal DNA to aspects of appearance and the health risks of today’s Europeans and Asians.

“This study has modern-day clinical relevance, because it reveals how evolutionary history has led to some differences in disease risk between populations,” senior author Assistant Professor John Anthony ‘Tony’ Capra said.

“In terms of treating these diseases, it will be important to understand how these bits of Neanderthal DNA exert their influence at the molecular level.”

Dr Capra, an evolutionary geneticist and assistant professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, and his colleagues analysed a database containing the anonymous health records of 28,000 US patients.

The scientists next looked at the genomes of each person, focusing on their Neanderthal DNA, and then compared the two sets of data to see how the DNA had influenced the patients’ risks for the different health problems.

A finding is “that having Neanderthal DNA at one location in the genome significantly increased risk for blood hyper-coagulation,” Dr Capra said.

Back in the day, this trait might have helped early humans to seal wounds more quickly, preventing infections, but now it can increase the risk for stroke, blood clots and pregnancy complications.

Neanderthal DNA also appears to affect skin and hair colour, freckles, and even warts and calluses.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-15/cancer-diagnosis-more-than-triples-in-qld-in-30-years/7169418

The rate of cancer diagnosis in Queensland has more than tripled in a 31-year period, the Cancer Council says.

In 1982 a total of 8,274 cases were diagnosed and in 2013, this jumped to 26,335 cases.

The increased rates were largely due to rise[s] in population and an aging community.

Half of all Queenslanders will be diagnosed with cancer before 80 years of age, and one in seven of those will die from the disease.

Ami Reynolds, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, said people concerned about their health should take action.

She immediately had surgery following her diagnosis and underwent six months of chemotherapy.

Ms Reynolds has now been clear of cancer for almost three years.

“I have no previous family history, I had no previous symptoms, so it was definitely a very, very big shock,” she said.

“It took me a while to probably get my head around that diagnosis.

“Definitely go and see a doctor, and if you still don’t feel happy after seeing a doctor, see another doctor.”

Cancer Council Queensland chief executive officer Professor Jeff Dunn said it was calling on people to take steps to reduce their risk of getting preventable cancers.

But while cancer diagnoses had increased, survival rates had improved.

The average five-year relative survival rate across all cancer types was 69.9 per cent, which is up from 53 per cent in 1982 to 1989.

Professor Dunn said the two leading causes of cancer-related death in Queensland in 2013 were lung cancer and colorectal cancer.

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