The News – 2 June 2014

Overview

  • Pregnant women who take antipsychotic medication are at a higher risk of diabetes and their babies are more likely to need special medical attention, a new pilot study suggests.
  • Large coral reefs have acted as survival centres for fish biodiversity during periods of climatic upheaval, explaining the extraordinary biodiversity present in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • A comment from Ian Berryman, currently studying solar energy at Oxford: The Climate Commission has gone. The carbon tax is to be rescinded. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is to be abolished.


Stories Discussed
The news on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd June 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

Pregnant women and drugs, coral reefs, and a comment about science going back to the dark ages from Ian Berryman feature in today’s news.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/05/29/4013935.htm

Pregnant women who take antipsychotic medication are at a higher risk of diabetes and their babies are more likely to need special medical attention, a new pilot study suggests.

The findings suggest such women and their babies need careful monitoring and extra services on hand, says co-author Professor Jayashri Kulkarni of Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre in Melbourne.

Around 1 per cent of women have schizophrenia and 90 per cent of these women who are pregnant take antipsychotics, says Kulkarni.

In addition, she says, women with a range of other conditions such as anxiety disorder, depression and borderline personality disorder are also being prescribed these drugs.

Clinical trials that test the safety and effectiveness of drugs exclude pregnant women because of the unknown risks to the foetus, and therefore it is up to post-market surveillance of the drugs to check for problems.

Unfortunately, apart from one small study, such studies have been lacking, says Kulkarni.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/05/30/4015780.htm?site=science&topic=latest

Large coral reefs have acted as survival centres for fish biodiversity during periods of climatic upheaval, explaining the extraordinary biodiversity present in the Indo-Pacific region.

The findings appear in an international study published today in the journal Science.

Researchers used sediment core data to map the changing distribution of coral reefs around the world over the past three million years, examining sea surface temperatures and compared how these correlated with fish biodiversity today.

“The main purpose of this was to examine the role that coral reef habitat has played through time in preserving biodiversity in the marine environment,” says co-author and evolutionary biologist Dr Peter Cowman, formerly of the Australian National University and now Yale University.

Their data suggests that the huge network of coral reefs stretching from the northern coast of Australia up through Indonesia and the Philippines has protected and nurtured fish biodiversity through more than thirty interglacial cycles of major cooling and warming — including rising and falling sea levels — over three million years.

These stable reefs have also helped to reseed the surrounding habitats when the climate returned to more favourable conditions…

The finding underscores the significance of large coral reef networks in helping marine biodiversity survive climatic challenge.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/science-going-back-to-dark-ages-20140531-zrqmx.html

A comment from Ian Berryman, currently studying solar energy at Oxford:

The Climate Commission has gone. The carbon tax is to be rescinded. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is to be abolished. The promise of a “Million Solar Roofs” is broken. And in what can only be described as an ideological move, the Abbott government introduced bills to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, despite it making a profit last year. The Prime Minister has declared war on the Australian renewable energy industry, the environment and science itself.

The overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming is based on evidence, whether Tony Abbott chooses to act on it or not. A sceptic is someone who doubts accepted opinion; a denier is someone who refuses to accept fact. Scepticism is healthy, denial is dangerous, and intentionally dismantling the entire renewable energy industry of a country that is not only wealthy, sun blessed and windswept but also has the highest per capita CO2 emissions in the OECD is criminally reckless. Furthermore, it will cripple our future economic growth.

The global economy has embraced the renewable energy industry. …

Given our abundant renewable resources, we should be leading the world in research and investment, instead Abbott would have us squander our competitive advantage and destroy massive economic potential.

This budget has been decried as heartless; unfortunately, it is also brainless. The sun provides the Earth with enough energy in one hour to power civilisation for a year. …

The attacks on renewable energy have been performed without mandate, justified by falsehoods and are economically counterproductive.

Elsewhere, R&D is recognised as the path to future economic prosperity and not a burden on the present. The value added to British GDP by research is conservatively estimated at £30 billion ($55 billion), from a total research budget of £3.5 billion. This is why, when Britain faced a far greater debt to GDP ratio, several banking collapses and a GFC-induced recession, the level of nominal research funding was kept constant.

Cuts to ARENA, ANSTO, the CSIRO, and many other research bodies will severely damage our long-term economic health.

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.

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