The Health News – 25 November 2015

Overview:
• The plain packaging of cigarettes is being credited for a significant drop in the number of high school students who smoke. The research, commissioned by the Victorian Cancer Council in 2014, surveyed 23,000 students and found 5.1 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds had smoked a cigarette in the week prior to completing the smoking survey.

• United States pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced the second-biggest corporate merger in history, joining with Irish drug company Allergan in a deal worth $US160 billion ($220 billion).

• Researchers say they now know some people can die of a broken heart and are trying to understand more about what triggers such deaths, and develop prevention strategies which might help people most at risk.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 25th November 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-24/young-people-smoking-less-plain-packaging-victoria-cancer/6968390

The plain packaging of cigarettes is being credited for a significant drop in the number of high school students who smoke.

The latest Victorian research revealed a 24 per cent drop in the past three years in the number of students who smoked.

The research, commissioned by the Victorian Cancer Council in 2014, surveyed 23,000 students and found 5.1 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds had smoked a cigarette in the week prior to completing the smoking survey.

When the survey was last conducted in 2011, 6.7 per cent of high school students had smoked in the previous week.

In the 2008 survey, the figure was 7.3 per cent.

Cancer Council Victoria chief executive officer, Todd Harper, said the results were statistically significant.

He attributed the decline to the introduction of plain packaging, mainly, and also the increased cost of cigarettes and bans on smoking in public areas.

The biggest change was recorded in students aged 12 to 15 where there was a 43 per cent drop in the number of smokers over six years.

Only 3 per cent of junior high school students now smoke, compared with 5.3 per cent in 2008.

Associate Professor Vicki White co-ordinated the research and said the latest results showed a welcome trend.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-24/pfizer-merger-with-allergan-to-make-biggest-drug-company/6967644

United States pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced the second-biggest corporate merger in history, joining with Irish drug company Allergan in a deal worth $US160 billion ($220 billion).

The deal would bring together the corporations behind such well-known pharmaceuticals as Viagra and Botox, creating the biggest drug company in the world.

Pfizer’s vast portfolio of drugs and vaccines, addressing cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments, would join smaller-rival Allergan’s holdings, including eye care, dermatology and urology treatments.

Executives emphasised the benefits of marrying the two companies’ portfolios and research departments, achieving $2.8 billion in operational savings.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-24/dying-of-a-broken-heart-recognised-medical-condition/6966896

Researchers say they now know some people can die of a broken heart and are trying to understand more about what triggers such deaths, and develop prevention strategies which might help people most at risk.

Angela Kucia, an emergency department cardiac assessment nurse in Adelaide, told 891 ABC Adelaide broken heart syndrome had only been medically identified fairly recently.

Ms Kucia, who is a senior lecturer in nursing at the University of South Australia, said a research team in SA was trying to understand more about the syndrome.

“I do think we need to look more closely into anxiety disorders,” she said.

“I do frequently see people who come in with chest pain related to anxiety that is put down to a panic attack, but I do think we need to look at this more closely.

“We have had some reports of young women with a cardiac arrest after, for example, an argument with a boyfriend, but it does tend to be in older women.”

The nursing researcher said dying of a broken heart still seemed to be a rare cause of death.