The Health News – 20 August 2015

Overview:

• South Australia’s Education Department has issued an official alert to schools to be on the lookout for flu symptoms among staff and students following high rates of absence, more than 5,700 flu cases have been reported this year.

• Researchers at Adelaide University are investigating how a chemical receptor in chili can activate nerves in the stomach which send messages to the brain about how full the body is. It could hold the key to helping people to eat less to lose weight, and ultimately fight obesity.

• An almost fully formed brain has been grown in a laboratory for the first time, scientists from Ohio State University say. The unconscious brain, the size of a pea and comparable with a five-week-old fetus, could speed up neuroscience research into conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 20th August 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-19/flu-warning-for-sa-schools/6708940

South Australia’s Education Department has issued an official alert to schools to be on the lookout for flu symptoms among staff and students following high rates of absence.

SA Health said more than 5,700 flu cases have been reported this year — almost three times the number recorded for the same time last year.

The department has asked schools to follow infection control procedures and have reminded parents to keep sick children at home until they have completely recovered.

SA Health chief medical officer Professor Paddy Phillips said the peak of the flu season was still to come.

He said 31 per cent of all flu cases were children under 10.

“We know that children can be hospitalised for influenza and in past years influenza has been one of the more common reasons for children being hospitalised for respiratory illnesses, so influenza can be a serious illness in children, just as in adults,” he said.

“It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing flu in the community by getting a flu vaccination, including school children.

“Flu immunisations have excellent coverage against circulating flu strains.” [he said] Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-19/hot-chilli-maybe-the-secret-ingredient-to-weight-loss/6706932

A chemical found in hot chilli peppers could hold the key to helping people to eat less to lose weight, and ultimately fight obesity.

Researchers at Adelaide University are investigating how a chemical receptor in chilli can activate nerves in the stomach which send messages to the brain about how full the body is.

They also found high-fat diets may also impair receptors that signal fullness, which leads to overeating.

Research published in the journal PLOS ONE investigated the association between hot chilli pepper receptors (TRPV1) in the stomach and the feeling of fullness in laboratory studies.

Dr Stephen Kentish, from the university’s Centre for Nutrition and Gastrointestinal Diseases, said previous studies had shown capsaicin, found in hot chillies, reduced food intake.

“What we have studied and identified is that if we get rid of this channel [receptors], and make these nerves unable to respond to capsaicin, the mice in the study, actually consumed more food, which suggests that this is a mechanism that is potentially vital in controlling how much food we eat,” he said.

“The aim is to see how feasible this is as a potential treatment not just for obesity itself but maybe also in the prevention of gaining weight.

“If they could take something which makes them feel fuller sooner that would of course go a long way to preventing people from reaching an obese position.”

New research will look at developing a therapy using the chemical minus the spicy effect.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-19/first-fully-formed-brain-grown-in-us-laboratory/6709400

An almost fully formed brain has been grown in a laboratory for the first time, scientists from Ohio State University say.

The unconscious brain, the size of a pea and comparable with a five-week-old foetus, could speed up neuroscience research into conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The model brain was engineered from adult human skin cells but the method is largely under wraps because of a pending patent.

Lead researcher Professor Rene Anand, who presented his data at a military health symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said they had reproduced every part of the brain.

“Not only does it look like a brain, it is expressing all of the genes that help make a brain, and that means the entire thing from cortex to the spinal cord is present,” he said.

However, the brain does not have the capacity to be conscious and Professor Anand said ethical concerns were therefore non-existent.

“It has no sensory input whatsoever, so largely it is a living tissue that replicates the brain,” he said.

“And when there are genetic causes or environmental causes, we can assess how they alter the migration of cells, for example, or the formation of synapses or the formation of circuits.

“So it gives us incredible access to knowing when something goes wrong, how does it go wrong, and maybe one day we’ll figure out how to fix it.”


The researchers said the next step would be to attempt to build the vasculature, which is the blood supply.

The model brain will then become useful to treat things like stroke.

This has been the news on Health Professional Radio. For more information on today’s items head to hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!