The Health News – 28 October 2015

Overview:
• A world-first study has found a hormone used to induce labour in pregnant women, oxytocin, has significant benefits for some children with autism. Associate Professor Guastella said the results were promising, with about a third of participants in the study showing significant improvement.

• The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released findings which may prompt many of us to ditch bacon, ham, salami, sausages and other processed meats. Consumption of red meat was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A) with the WHO saying there was also an association with pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

• Canberra’s pollen levels are twice as high this hay fever season compared with last year, according to researchers at the Australian National University (ANU). The university’s Canberra Pollen project shows record high pollen levels, with Canberra identified as Australia’s hay fever capital.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th October 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-27/oxytocin-benefits-for-children-with-autism/6889850

A world-first study has found a hormone commonly used to induce labour in pregnant women, oxytocin, has significant benefits for some children with autism.

One in 68 Australian children is diagnosed with the disorder, which affects their communication skills and makes it difficult for them to interact socially.

“Often people with autism are incredibly bright and have lots of potential in so many ways,” Associate Professor Adam Guastella, from the University of Sydney, said.

“But they often miss the important cues that guide social behaviour.”

In the study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, Researchers at the University’s Brain and Mind Institute looked at 31 children aged three to eight and monitored them over 15 weeks.

During a five-week period, the children were given a nasal spray containing oxytocin.

Sydney mother Christine Blue said the impact on her son Hayden was dramatic.

“By week three and four my husband and I were saying ‘yes this is the active ingredient and we are noticing a difference’. By week five we were just really, really pleased with the results,” she said.

“He was more willing to be in a group. He was more willing to be involved in a conversation … He was just a happier child. His eye contact was better. It wasn’t perfect but it was better. And he was just talking a whole lot more.”

Ms Blue said the oxytocin spray seemed to unlock her child’s personality, and allow him to reap the rewards from years of therapy.

Now the vibrant seven-year-old is happy to discuss his love for dinosaurs, monster movies and his sister, Sophie.

Associate Professor Guastella said the results were promising, with about a third of participants in the study showing significant improvement.

He said when there was more evidence that the nasal spray worked he had no doubt drug companies would be able to distribute it.


He said researchers at the Brain and Mind Institute and the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth were recruiting 120 children with autism aged under 12 for a larger study.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-27/cancer-link-what’s-so-wrong-with-processed-meats/6889356

If you sat down to bacon and eggs this morning, you may well have been put off your breakfast when you heard it may cause cancer.

The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released findings which may prompt many of us to ditch bacon, ham, salami, sausages and other processed meats.

After reviewing hundreds of studies the group classified consumption of processed meat as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on evidence in human studies that has found processed meat causes bowel cancer.

Consumption of red meat was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A) with the WHO saying there was also an association with pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

The experts say each 50-gram portion of processed meat you eat every day increases your risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-27/godzilla-hay-fever-season-hits-canberra-as-pollen-count-doubles/6888438

Canberra’s pollen levels are twice as high this hay fever season compared with last year, according to researchers at the Australian National University (ANU).

The university’s Canberra Pollen project shows record high pollen levels, with Canberra identified as Australia’s hay fever capital.

Project leader Professor Simon Haberle said pollen levels were higher than last season, which included a record day for emergency admissions for chronic asthma at Canberra Hospital.

“It’s the Godzilla of hay fever seasons,” Professor Haberle said.

“Despite that being a little flippant, I think it is fair to say that we are experiencing a very strong hay fever season, and all the anecdotal evidence is that many people are suffering more than they have in previous years.

“We’re starting to see a lot more grass in the atmosphere this year.”

Professor Haberle said above-average rainfall in winter and a warm spring had brought early north-westerly winds blowing the pollen into the city.

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