The News – 10 July 2014

Overview

  • A vaccine that protects against four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, does not increase the risk of blood clots in women, new research has found.
  • Plant-eating tropical fish species are causing serious damage to algae and kelp forests in sub-tropical and temperate regions around the world, an international team of experts warn.
  • More than half of Australian toddlers are eating more than the recommended daily intake of salt, researchers at Deakin University have found.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th July 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-09/hpv-vaccine-no-link-to-blood-clots/5584468

A vaccine that protects against four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, does not increase the risk of blood clots in women, new research has found.

The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association are based on a study of 500,000 girls and women aged 10 to 44 who received the HPV vaccine between 2006 and 2013.

Using data from national registries, researchers in Denmark found no evidence of an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clotting) in the 42 days after the shot, which they defined as the main risk period.

Of the 500,000 females in the study 4,375 reported cases of blood clots. Of those, 889 had been vaccinated during the study period.

When researchers adjusted for use of oral contraceptives, which can increase the risk of blood clots, they found no association between blood clotting and the vaccine.

The report said two earlier studies had suggested a link between the Gardasil vaccine, made by Merck, and a higher risk of blood clots.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in 2009 that there was an increase in patient reports of blood clots after the vaccination.

However, on further review, the CDC said 90 per cent of those “had a known risk factor for blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives.”

The vaccine aims to prevent the spread of HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection.

Certain HPV strains can cause cancers of the cervix, head, neck and anus.

US health authorities recommend the HPV vaccine for boys and girls before they become sexually active.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/07/09/4041782.htm

Plant-eating tropical fish species are causing serious damage to algae and kelp forests in sub-tropical and temperate regions around the world, an international team of experts warn.

The findings come from a review published YESTERDAY in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, which suggests that climate change is leading to ‘tropicalisation’ – the movement of tropical species towards the poles – as waters get warmer and ocean currents strengthen.

It reveals how algae and kelp-eating tropical fish such as rabbitfish have already led to the collapse of kelp forests – and their associated abalone fisheries – in Japan, and decimated the canopy-forming algae forests in the Mediterranean.

Two herbivorous tropical species – rabbitfish and drummer fish – have also been implicated in the loss of kelp forests on both the east and west coasts of Australia, says lead author of the study Dr Adriana Verges, marine ecologist at the University of New South Wales.

Overgrazing of algae and kelp by fish hampers recovery of the ecosystem from events such as heatwaves.

‘The west coast of Australia had a really bad heat wave that wiped out the kelp, and then because it was warmer, a whole lot of other species came in that prevented the kelp from coming back,’ says Verges.

Verges likens the loss of algae and kelp forests to the clear-felling of terrestrial forests.

‘Once the algae forests disappear, everything that goes with them goes, so we lose fish, we lose biodiversity, and we lose biomass,’ she says.

This also impacts on fisheries, as shown by the collapse of abalone fisheries in Japan following the loss of the kelp forests, the result of overgrazing by rabbitfish, parrotfish and drummer fish.

‘Crayfish and abalone are probably some of the most commercially-appreciated species that are supported by algae,’ says Verges.

Evidence from the United States suggests that turtles and dugongs are becoming more common in sub-tropical regions of the Gulf of Mexico, and are having a negative impact on seagrass beds, and on the fish and shellfish that use these areas as nurseries.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-09/parents-warned-about-high-salt-intake-among-toddlers/5584344?section=vic

More than half of Australian toddlers are eating more than the recommended daily intake of salt, researchers at Deakin University have found.

Researchers studied the diets of 300 children when they were nine months old and then again at 18 months.

They found the 18-month-old children were eating on average 2.7 grams of salt per day.

The upper limit recommended by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council is 2.5 grams per day.

The study’s lead researcher Associate Professor Karen Campbell said the findings are concerning.

“It seems bizarre to think of this as a concern when you’re only 18 months of age, but it is, because we know that even at this early age there’s a number of studies that suggest higher salt intake is related to high blood pressure, even at this early stage of life,” Professor Campbell said.

The research found a high sodium content in everyday foods like bread, cereals and cheese was to blame.

Professor Campbell said parents should be aware of how much salt is in processed food.

“When a child is taken away or moved on from breast milk or formula milk, they’re moved on to family foods and these foods become key in an 18-month-old’s diet as well,” she said.

“These are the very foods that we found were contributing the most to salt to most children’s diets – very, very simple, everyday foods that we have in our house.”

She said there was also a lesson in the research for the food industry.

“There’s a great call to action for the food industry to reduce the sodium in these basic foods,” she said.

“We know this can work because it’s been done incredibly successfully in the UK over the past 10 to 15 years where they’ve reduced salt in their food overall by probably somewhere between 7 and 12 per cent, and they’ve seen quite marked reduction in high blood pressure and in relation to that, stroke and cardiovascular disease.”

The research has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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.