The Health News – 22 January 2016

Overview:
• During the trials, researchers at the University of Melbourne found a similar and significant, reduction in the frequency and intensity of hot flushes from real and fake acupuncture treatments.

• Professor Russell Keast from Deakin University’s Centre of Advanced Sensory Science said when a person had a high fat diet and was overweight, they would be less sensitive to the taste of fat.

• The study found more that 98 per cent of all stillbirths occurred in low to middle-income countries. But the researchers found that Australia’s stillbirth rates were significantly higher than other developed countries.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 22nd January 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-19/real-acupuncture-no-better-than-fake-acupuncture-in-treating-me/7098662

Real and fake acupuncture treatments work to ease the symptoms of menopausal hot flushes for women equally as well, say researchers at the University of Melbourne.

During the trials the researchers found a similar, and significant, reduction in the frequency and intensity of hot flushes after both the real and fake treatment.

The trial was the largest of its kind conducted to look into acupuncture treatments.

The researchers used a sophisticated fake needling technique in order to test whether real or fake acupuncture was effective in treating one of the most inconvenient symptoms of menopause.

Dr Carolyn Ee, a medical practitioner also trained in Chinese medicine, conducted the study as part of her PhD research.

She said that the main findings in the trial was that it did not matter which treatment the women received, real or fake, both groups reported relief from symptoms.

“Both groups improved by about 40 per cent at the end of the treatment, so they were about 40 per cent better compared to before starting treatment,” Dr Ee said.

Dr Ee said that in order to trick patients in the control group into thinking that they had received a real acupuncture treatment, they used a fake needle.

Dr Ee said there were a number of reasons patients may have experienced a reduction in symptoms.

“One is that we do notice hot flushes do improve with time,” she said.

“So even if a woman came in and said, I’m having hot flushes, if you did nothing for a few months she’d probably be a bit better or quite a bit better in a few months anyway.”

Dr Ee said another reason could be that just seeing someone once a week and talking about their symptoms could help a person feel validated.

“That’s a very powerful healing tool as well and I think that needs to be something that all therapists and doctors take into account,” she said.

“And another is that there might be a placebo effect involved. So the expectation of getting an active treatment might cause women to not notice their hot flushes as much, so not report them as much at the end of the study.”

Dr Stephen Parnis, the deputy president of the Australian Medical Association, said that while the efficiency of acupuncture had not been proven for hot flushes, there was evidence that it did work for other ailments.

In the wake of a widely reported 2002 study which associated hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with increased risk of stroke and cancer, many women turned away from the treatment and have been looking for alternatives.

But Dr Ee said HRT was still one of the most effective options, and was safe for most women.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-19/resetting-taste-receptors-to-lower-peoples-fat-intake/7098732

Eating a diet that is too high in fat may lead you to unintentionally reset your taste buds and set yourself up for overeating, say researchers at Deakin University.

When people eat too much fat, their sensitivity to it decreases, meaning it will take more fat to satisfy their taste buds.

Now researchers say they have found that it is possible to change a person’s threshold for tasting fat.

Professor Russell Keast from Deakin University’s Centre of Advanced Sensory Science said when a person had a high fat diet and was overweight, they would be less sensitive to the taste of fat.

In the latest study published in the international journal Obesity, 53 overweight and obese people were put on a weight-loss diet for six weeks.

Some were given a low-fat diet, where less than 25 per cent of their total calories came from fat.

The others were put on a portion-controlled diet, where their calories were reduced, but 33 per cent of that intake came from fat.

Both groups of participants lost about the same amount of weight during the six weeks.

But only the people on the low-fat diet increased their sensitivity to fat, as well as the ability to identify fat in foods.

“It’s some form of re-tuning or adaptation of the senses,” Professor Keast said.

“When we get to a level where we can actually identify the taste of fat, it’s actually very unpleasant.”

Professor Keast said what researchers were measuring in the mouth was also being reflected throughout the gut.

The Deakin University team is now studying whether genetics play a role in the ability to taste fat, or whether food intake is the only cause.

Deakin researcher Andrew Costanzo said for that part of the study they are studying sets of twins.

The genetic research and the findings from the taste bud harvesting should be finished by the end of the year.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-19/women-in-low-income-countries-face-twice-the-risk-of-delivering/7098094

Women in low-income countries are twice as likely to deliver a stillborn baby as those in richer nations, while Australia lags behind other developed nations in tackling the problem, a new study published in The Lancet suggests.

The study found more that 98 per cent of all stillbirths occurred in low to middle-income countries.

An estimated 2.6 million third trimester stillbirths occurred in 2015.

One of the study’s authors, Associate Professor Vicki Flenady from the Mater Research Institute at the University of Queensland, said there were a number of factors that contributed to a higher risk of stillbirth delivery.

“The biggest factor is the lack of access to emergency obstetric care for women in labour, so when something goes wrong, to be able to deliver that baby by caesarean section quickly,” Professor Flenady said.

But the researchers found that Australia’s stillbirth rates were significantly higher than other developed countries.

 

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