The Health News – 28 Nov 2014

Overview

  • An experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in all 20 healthy volunteers who received it in an early-stage clinical trial, scientists reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • The New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics study, which examined the effects of large drug raids and supplier arrests over the decade to 2011, is believed to be the largest project of its kind undertaken in Australia.
  • One popular theory says that if you drink more water, you will lose weight. The belief is that drinking water helps suppress your appetite. Not likely, says Professor Neil King, coordinator at the Human Appetite Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th November 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-27/ebola-vaccine-passes-early-safety-test/5922168

An experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in all 20 healthy volunteers who received it in an early-stage clinical trial, scientists reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The trial, which began on September 2 and will monitor the volunteers for 48 weeks, is primarily aimed at assessing how safe the vaccine is.

But the immune response offered hope that it would also be effective.

The intramuscular vaccine was developed at NIAID and Okairos, a biotechnology company acquired by GlaxoSmithKline.

Because it is unethical to expose volunteers to Ebola, researchers assess the effectiveness of candidate vaccines by whether they trigger production of anti-Ebola antibodies and immune-system T cells.

The trial enrolled volunteers aged 18 to 50. Half received a lower dose and half a higher dose.

All 20 developed anti-Ebola antibodies within four weeks, with those on the higher dose producing more.

Dr Daniel Bausch of Tulane University, who wrote an accompanying commentary, called the results promising but cautioned that there are many more challenges ahead before the vaccine’s safety and efficacy are established.

Another GlaxoSmithKline vaccine is undergoing safety trials in England, Mali and Switzerland, while one from Iowa-based NewLink Genetics is being tested in Maryland.

This week, Merck announced that it would buy the rights to NewLink’s vaccine for $50 million. A trial of an Ebola vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is scheduled to start in January.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-27/police-raids-do-not-cut-drug-harm-study-says/5922870

Large, highly-publicised drug seizures are not reducing drug crime or drug-related harm, a study suggests.

The New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics study, which examined the effects of large drug raids and supplier arrests over the decade to 2011, is believed to be the largest project of its kind undertaken in Australia.

Bureau director Don Weatherburn said it found the raids had “no effect on crime, no effect on overdoses [and] no effect on use and possession of drugs”.

“Whenever you see police with a table full of some huge seizure of cocaine amphetamines or heroin you often hear it said that those are drugs that didn’t get on the street and didn’t cause anyone to die or suffer,” Dr Weatherburn said.

However, he said, police were finding drugs more frequently because more drugs were coming into the country.

“The only effects we found … was a tendency for when the seizures went up, for overdoses to go up, and for arrests, for use and possession to go up,” Dr Weatherburn said.

He said that was an indication that “when there is a big seizure that you have actually got more drugs coming in, rather than fewer drugs getting to the street”.

The study, which was funded by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, concluded that in the months following large seizures there was no reduction in the use of heroin, cocaine or amphetamines such as speed or ice.

However, it found several major anti-cocaine operations in 2010, which seized almost 700kg of cocaine in three raids, did have a positive effect.

“They were the only three which we saw produce a reduction in overdoses and a reduction in arrests for use and possession, but it was only temporary,” Dr Weatherburn said.

Dr Weatherburn said the results did not mean drug raids were a waste of time.

http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2014/11/25/4135771.htm

When it comes to losing weight, most of us are willing to try anything; well at least anything that doesn’t involve eating less and moving more.

One popular theory says that if you drink more water, you will lose weight. The belief is that drinking water helps suppress your appetite.

But is the answer to weight loss really as simple as guzzling an extra glass or two of H20?

Not likely, says Professor Neil King, coordinator at the Human Appetite Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

“There’s no compelling evidence to support the idea that drinking water suppresses appetite significantly, and therefore leads to weight loss,” King says.

“Some people might anecdotally report that they drink lots of water and they lose weight, but that doesn’t mean that drinking water is causing the weight loss.”

A research review published in 2013 did suggest drinking water before a meal could help those who were overweight and on weight loss diets to lose weight, along with other weight loss measures.

But the authors concluded evidence linking increased water consumption with weight loss was limited, and this was mainly due to a lack of good-quality studies.

…One reason King doesn’t believe this theory stacks up is because liquids tend to pass through your gut very quickly.

Food, in contrast, “takes longer to digest, longer to come through the gastric system” and therefore you feel satisfied for longer than if you have merely consumed liquids, King says.

This is why people trying to lose weight are often encouraged to avoid consuming too many kilojoules in the form of drinks, as it’s too easy to guzzle more energy than you need in liquid form and

still feel hungry.

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