The Health News – 17 October 2014

Overview

  • Early trials of naturally-occurring chemicals in turmeric, blueberries, Gingko biloba and green tea suggest they may help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, say experts.
  • There is little prospect the Federal Government will send health care workers or Defence personnel to fight Ebola in West Africa, because there is no way to ensure an infected worker could be adequately treated.
  • People who lose weight quickly are no more likely to pile the kilos back on than dieters who lose them slowly, according to a new study.


Stories Discussed

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/10/15/4098476.htm

Early trials of naturally-occurring chemicals in turmeric, blueberries, Gingko biloba and green tea suggest they may help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, say experts.

A new review of scientific evidence indicates these antioxidants may reduce inflammation, which is a possible cause of Alzheimer’s.

However, this information is based largely on in vitro and animal studies, while studies in humans have been mixed, suggesting further work needs to be done.

While the disease is characterised by amyloid beta plaques in the brain, attempts to remove amyloid have not slowed down the disease, says Dr Gerald Muench, a chemist working on Alzheimer’s drug discovery at the University of Western Sydney.

There is no cure and current drugs only treat the symptoms of the disease, he says.

Muench says a recent focus of research has been to target inflammation, which may be one of the driving forces behind Alzheimer’s.

Their findings were published recently in the journal CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-16/ebola-crisis-australia-unlikely-to-send-medics-to-west-africa/5818320

There is little prospect the Federal Government will send healthcare workers or Defence personnel to fight Ebola in West Africa, because there is no way to ensure an infected worker could be adequately treated.

Officials have advised the Government a return flight to Australia would take 30 hours, long enough for someone with symptoms of the disease to die.

Australian officials have also sought assurances from the US, UK and some European Union member states that if Australians were to be sent to West Africa, anyone infected could be treated in one of those countries.

To date, no partner country has been willing to give an ironclad guarantee that they would treat an Australian worker.

The possibility of treating people in West Africa has so far been discounted because, despite promises, no treatment centre for healthcare workers has been built or staffed.

Officials have stressed the mortality rate for Ebola means there is a seven in 10 chance that an infected patient will die.

The fatality rate for a healthcare worker is only slightly lower, at 56 per cent.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said … it would be “irresponsible of an Australian Government to order Australian personnel into this very dangerous situation if we didn’t have effective risk mitigation strategies in place”.

“And at the moment there is no way of doing that,” he said.

Pressure is being applied to the Government to do more to help fight the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in history.

The Opposition has written to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and and Health Minister Peter Dutton, urging them to send Australian health professionals as soon as possible.

Shadow foreign minister Tanya Plibersek said “some Australians who are ready and willing to go are being discouraged by the Government’s position”.

An open letter has been penned by 113 professors of health, demanding that the Government do more to fight the Ebola crisis.

The Government has committed $18 million to combating the disease but believes sending health workers or Defence personnel would be a breach of its duty of care, given it could not guarantee their safety.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/10/16/4108436.htm

People who lose weight quickly are no more likely to pile the kilos back on than dieters who lose them slowly, according to a new study.

Weight-loss guidelines have long counselled that kilos shed too quickly are likelier to creep back than those lost at a slower pace.

But a new Australian study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, found that over the long term, fast-track and slow-track dieters were equally likely to regain most of the weight they lost.

Research led by Joseph Proietto of the University of Melbourne divided 204 obese men and women into two groups.

One group entered a weight-loss programme of 12 weeks, the other a more gradual 36 weeks.

The 12-week group were restricted to a diet of 450-800 calories per day, while the other group had their energy intake reduced by about 500 calories per day.

Those who lost 12.5 per cent or more of their bodyweight from both groups were then placed on a three-year maintenance diet.

By the end of the trial, individuals in both groups had regained some 71 per cent on average of the kilos they had shed.

“By contrast with the widely-held belief that weight lost rapidly is more quickly regained, our findings show that regain is similar after gradual or rapid weight loss,” the team says.

Dieters are generally told that a weight loss of no more than 500 grams per week is best.

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