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How a trip to the beautician ruined one woman's "whole life"

<p>A woman in Russia has told how she "lost her face" in the days after a seemingly innocent trip to the beautician. </p> <p>Svetlana, 37, claims the procedure she underwent has the opposite intended effect which destroyed her looks and “irreversibly aged her 10 years”.</p> <p>“My skin sagged like a rag, the face completely departed from the skull,” Svetlana said.</p> <p>“The connection of the skin to the skull, the so-called ligaments of the face, disappeared.”</p> <p>A criminal case has been launched into her situation in Russia, as Svetlana says her career and love life have been ruined by the botched procedure and wants to warn other women. </p> <p>“It’s very scary,” she said.</p> <p>“As if you were killed, you decompose – and see it every day in the mirror."</p> <p>“It’s like your face is melting and you can’t stop it."</p> <p>“Doctors don’t know how to treat it.”</p> <p>Her issues began when her cosmetologist advised that she undergo a removal of old lifting gel implants using injections of Longidaza. </p> <p>According to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ntv.ru" target="_blank">Russian channel NTV</a>, the drug has multiple uses and was recently approved for overseas use.</p> <p>Svetlana originally sought out the treatment after her boyfriend kept “joking” that she was “old” and that he would find himself a younger model.</p> <p>However, Svetlana, who is an architect, said once she undertook the surgery, he dumped her when it went horribly wrong.</p> <p>Her "skin became saggy" after the drug "destroyed the collagen" on her face. </p> <p>She had consulted a surgeon in March 2020, <span>who she claims assured her that the Longidaza would break down excess gel under the skin beneath her eyes.</span></p> <p>“In the evening I went to the mirror and saw that my face had began to change,” Svetlana explained.</p> <p>“The skin under my eyes dried up and literally fell through."</p> <p>“In the morning, the volume of dried tissue under the eyes increased even more."</p> <p>“Rapid changes were taking place, every hour my face was altering."</p> <p><span>“I couldn’t understand what was going on.”</span></p> <p><span>After the drastic changes in her appearance, Svetlana said she became reclusive and stopped interacting with people. </span></p> <p>“Everyone asked what happened to me, why I didn’t look like myself, what was wrong with my eyes.</p> <p>“I continued to swell a lot, and stopped leaving the house so as not to scare anyone.”</p> <p>She hopes that by sharing her story, other women will educate themselves on the dangers of cosmetic procedures. </p> <p>“Two years ago I was successful, everything worked out for me, my career was going in an upward trajectory, everything was fine.</p> <p>“And this fatal mistake – my visit to a beautician – broke my whole life.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: East 2 West News</em></p>

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The best (and worst) days to start a diet, according to science

<p><strong>Best: the day you feel ready</strong></p> <p><span>Being prepped to make a life change will help you get started. </span></p> <p><span>But being confident that you know the exact day may be more of a gut feeling: often the most successful dieters start because of a wakeup call, says dietitian, Amy Stephens. </span></p> <p><span>Maybe you went to the doctor and he told you that you’d have to go on medication unless you did something to get your cholesterol down, or a family member has a heart-to-heart with you about your health, or a friend gets sick. </span></p> <p><span>“When these things happen you set a goal that’s more emotional rather than weight-based, and that’s often more successful,” explains Stephens. “If things get rough along the way, you can remind yourself why you’re on this journey,” she says.</span></p> <p><strong>Best: after your birthday </strong></p> <p>Experts dub this “the fresh start effect.” I</p> <p>n a study from the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that people were more likely to act on their health goals after landmark dates, including holidays and birthdays.</p> <p>When you’re thinking about how to start a diet, this is an ideal time. They explain that after a milestone, you’re less likely to dwell on past mistakes, making it easier to perform behaviours more in line with “the new you.”</p> <p>It also helps you think in big-picture ways, which can drive you toward your goals. You’ve got this!</p> <p><strong>Best: Monday</strong></p> <p>It’s a new start to the week and you’re ready to take that “new beginnings” mindset to heart.</p> <p>You know any Monday is a great day to begin anew. People report seeing Monday as a “reset” button and greater motivation to tackle their goals at the start of the week, reports <em>The Monday Campaigns. </em></p> <p>Besides, if you’ve been indulging all weekend, you’re probably ready to embrace lighter, fresher food.</p> <p><strong>Best: any day in October</strong></p> <p><span>With the abundance of sweet treats, alcohol, and holiday cheese platters around the months of November and December, it’s no wonder that research in the New England </span><em>Journal of Medicine</em><span> has shown that it can take people as many as five months to lose the weight from too many canapés. </span></p> <p><span>Though there are good ways to beat the holiday bulge if it does happen, the easier fix is to make that resolution in October, says study co-author Brian Wansink. </span></p> <p><span>The idea is that preventing kilos is much simpler than trying to shed them later.</span></p> <p><strong>Best: after a big life change</strong></p> <p><span>Let’s say you moved to a new home and are all settled in. </span><span>Or you’re in a line of work where you have the summer off. </span></p> <p><span>“A new lifestyle and routine is the perfect time to start with new good habits,” says Stephens. </span></p> <p><span>That might mean you make small tweaks to start marching toward your larger goal, like starting the day with a healthy breakfast (now’s the time to break out your avocado toast skills) or reducing the amount of sugar you have in your coffee.</span></p> <p><strong>Worst: new years</strong></p> <p><span>The problem with new years is that we pick lofty goals that are difficult to achieve – and weight loss is one you shouldn’t plan for. </span></p> <p><span>“You’re simply setting yourself up for more failure. If it hasn’t worked in the past, why would this new years resolution be any different?” says Stephens. </span></p> <p><span>If you’d like to set a goal when the clock strikes midnight, plan one thing at a time, like vow to stop eating in front of the TV or eat dessert every other night instead of every night, she advises. </span></p> <p><span>Then, set your weight loss goal another time.</span></p> <p><strong>Worst: when you have big project due at work</strong></p> <p><span>When life gets super busy and you’re preoccupied by something – you had a baby, you’re really busy at work, you’re taking on caregiver responsibilities for a family member – today is not the day to vow to lose weight. </span></p> <p><span>Stressful, busy circumstances are not the time to test your resolve and stick-to-it-ness, and there are also practical limitations, like lack of time or sleep. </span></p> <p><span>For dieting to be successful, “all the stars need to be aligned,” says Stephens. </span></p> <p><span>Now more than ever good health habits are important (eating energising food, for instance), but tackle that weight loss goal once life calms down.</span></p> <p><strong>Worst: Friday</strong></p> <p><span>The weekend is coming up and you have brunch, pizza, and ice cream cones on the calendar. </span></p> <p><span>Cornell University research found that people’s weights tend to be lowest on Friday or Saturday and highest on Sunday and Monday. </span></p> <p><span>But that’s not a bad thing – you don’t necessarily have to vow to be super strict on the weekends. They concluded that people who compensate during the week for extra kilojoules consumed over the weekend actually lost the greatest amount of weight over time. </span></p> <p><span>“Long-term habits, it appears, make more of a difference than short-term splurges,” the researchers conclude. </span></p> <p><span>All that to say: go ahead and treat yourself over the weekend – it can help you stay the course.</span></p> <p><strong>Worst: Saturday or Sunday </strong></p> <p><span>Along with occasional splurges being good for your psyche, the weekend is a bad time to start because you have too much free time, says Stephens. </span></p> <p><span>Your schedule is off, so it’s harder to stick to the healthy habits you practise all week. </span></p> <p><span>For instance, you may not be sitting down to oatmeal in the morning but rather running out for coffee and a muffin. </span></p> <p><span>Rather than cooking a meal at home, you’re going out to eat. </span></p> <p><span>Save it for when you have a normal routine or a more rigid schedule, like the workweek, which can help you stick to a diet.</span></p> <p><strong>Worst: right after a holiday</strong></p> <p><span>For many people, this is when they let loose and eat to their heart’s content. </span></p> <p><span>But dieting right after might be even worse. In an older study from 2002, researchers examined the psychological impact of planning a diet for the future. </span></p> <p><span>They discovered that planning to go on a diet can cause some people to overeat. You may have heard of it as the “last supper effect.” </span></p> <p><span>You think, what the heck, I’m going to come home and be super strict with myself, so might as well load up on as many cakes as I can now, but that can slide you into a worse place than you started.</span></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/the-best-and-worst-days-to-start-a-diet-according-to-science" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Body mass index miscalculation

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>For the first time in my life, to my horror, I noticed I had developed a spare tyre, so I put myself on a diet to get rid of it.</p> <p>It was a very simple diet: eat less. I lost 7 kg in three weeks and I looked trim. Bouncing triumphantly off the scales one morning, I decided to check my body mass index (BMI).</p> <p>To my great surprise, with a BMI of 24.1, I was at the high end of ‘normal’, <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.health.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/healthy-weight" target="_blank">defined as between 18.5 and 24.9</a>. The charts told me I could lose another <span style="font-family: inherit;">20 kg and still be normal, but that would leave me skin and bones.</span></p> <p>It naturally got me wondering: how scientific is the body mass index (BMI)?</p> <p>It may be a <a rel="noopener" href="https://academic.oup.com/ndt/article/23/1/47/1923176" target="_blank">188-year-old staple of health statistics</a>, but modern health professionals have documented many flaws.</p> <p>For starters, the BMI doesn’t distinguish whether body weight comes from fat or muscle, so Michelin Man and the Terminator might have the same BMI despite their very obvious differences in fat and muscle distribution.</p> <p>Neither does it factor in other key health criteria such as age, gender or body type. For instance, people who deposit fat around their waists are at a higher risk of disease than people who deposit it on their hips and thighs.</p> <p>My concern, however, is that the BMI ignores elementary physics.</p> <p>The problem traces back to Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, the Belgian statistician who invented the BMI in 1830.</p> <p>Quetelet failed to consider the mathematics of scaling. He defined the body mass index as weight divided by height squared.</p> <p>Note, however, that weight is proportional to volume, which is proportional to height cubed. The upshot of this is that, all other things being equal, BMI varies directly with height, which it clearly should not. (See formula below.)</p> <p>Perhaps the fault goes back to Jonathan Swift’s <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gutenberg.org/files/17157/17157-h/17157-h.htm" target="_blank">wildly popular 1726 tale of </a><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gutenberg.org/files/17157/17157-h/17157-h.htm" target="_blank">Gulliver’s Travels</a>. Swift’s giant Brobdingnagians and tiny Lilliputians could not actually exist.</p> <p>For example, consider a giant twice as tall as myself but with exactly my shape and looks.</p> <p>If the giant was standing on a beach with no other objects in sight, a far-off observer could not tell that he was not me.</p> <p>Because his mass would be proportional to my height cubed, my double-height doppelganger would weigh eight times more than me.</p> <p>However, the cross-sectional area of his legs would be proportional to my height squared, so they would be only four times stronger.</p> <p>Those poor bones! They would be over-stressed by carrying eight times the weight.</p> <p>My giant double would collapse under his own weight. Now create a version of me half my height. He would weigh one-eighth of what I weigh, but his leg bones and muscles would be twice as strong as they needed to be.</p> <p>Nature understands this, which is why elephants look like elephants and ants like ants.</p> <p>The BMI formula does not share this insight. It can make tall people appear overweight when they are not.</p> <p>Compared with a 152 cm (five foot) individual with a ‘normal’ BMI of 22, an identically proportioned 183 cm (six foot) person would have a BMI of 26.5 – overweight.</p> <p>Based on BMI ranges, most Australians are too plump: 28% are classified as obese, 35% overweight, 35% normal and a mere 2% underweight.</p> <p>No doubt this skewing towards being overweight reflects a genuine health problem. But it might be affected by the increase in the average height of the population since 1830.</p> <p>Fortunately for Quetelet, there were few Terminators back then to question his BMI.</p> <p>And fortunately for Jonathan Swift his satire was not questioned by an incurable engineer who would have pointed out that the Brobdingnagian giants, at 12 times the height of Gulliver, would have weighed more than 100 tonnes, with a BMI in the hundreds.</p> <p>I don’t suggest changing the way the BMI is calculated, despite its flaws, because we would not want to throw out the past 188 years of BMI records (noting that in most cases the raw data – height and weight – will not have been kept).</p> <p>Instead, we could adjust the standard <span style="font-family: inherit;">BMI numerical ranges for underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese based on height, and perhaps even gender and body shape.</span></p> <p>Then your quite trim incurable engineer could relax instead of dieting himself to skin and bones.</p> <em>Image credit: Shutterstock                        <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=21579&amp;title=Body+mass+index+miscalculation" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication -->          </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/body-mass-index-miscalculation/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Alan Finkel.</em></p> </div> </div>

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We need to talk about women and concussion

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Every year, around <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.braininjuryaustralia.org.au/brain-injury-australia-completes-study-on-post-concussion-syndrome-mild-traumatic-brain-injury/" target="_blank">3000 Australians</a> are hospitalised from a sports-related concussion – and most won’t even know it.</p> <p>But while the rules surrounding concussion management are informed by science, there is a huge gap in knowledge regarding its causes – especially among women.</p> <h2>Where do the rules come from?</h2> <p>Despite many claims that concussion management rules are arbitrary, they are actually dictated by an <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.chiro.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Consensus-Statement-on-Concussion-in-Sport-the-5th-international-conference-on-concussion-in-sport-Berlin-2016.pdf" target="_blank">international consensus statement</a>.</p> <p>Every four years, a group of experts -called the Concussion in Sport Group – meets to update the consensus statement with new research. This is later translated back to clubs to implement.</p> <p>“[The group is] from all over the world. They’re usually doctors, psychologists or physios who’ve been studying this area for a long period of time,” says Shreya McLeod of the University of Newcastle.</p> <p>The group were due to meet in 2020, but the conference is <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.concussionconference.org/" target="_blank">postponed until 2022</a> because of the pandemic.</p> <h2>We know a lot of the aftermath, but not as much about the cause</h2> <p>When it comes to concussions research, four years is a long time. New technologies are continuously bringing in new information. Sometimes, this is why new club rules are added even though the consensus hasn’t been updated.</p> <p>“The space is changing rapidly. So, five years ago, people were advised complete physical and cognitive rest after concussions. It was quite often that people were prescribed a week’s rest cognitive and physical rest,” McLeod says.</p> <p>“However, we now know that 24 to 48 hours is all we need to rest for true cognitive rest. In fact, [some] submaximal aerobic exercise is important in recovery. I guess part of it is the changing research space”.</p> <p>And recovery research isn’t the only type of research conducted. Knowing <em>why </em>and <em>how </em>injuries are sustained is as, if not more, important than clinical rehabilitation. Again, this is necessary to inform how training and play can be made safer to prevent injuries in the first place.</p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><strong><em>Read more: <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/concussion-what-happens-and-what-are-its-effects/" target="_blank">Cosmos Q&amp;A: Concussion</a></em></strong></p> <p>But here is the catch – there isn’t much data about how injuries are sustained because most of the data comes from <em>after </em>a concussion occurs. Data from before play is necessary to identify fine biological changes. After all, not every concussion is even recognised.</p> <p>“The gold standard is to look at preseason and postseason imaging data sets, particularly with very advanced techniques like diffusion tensor imaging,” says Alan Pearce of La Trobe University.</p> <p>“Using these techniques In the United States, they’ve shown that, without any [diagnosed] concussions, there are [still] changes in white matter, which is a little bit scary.”</p> <p>Right now, the knowledge basis is skewed towards concussion after it has happened, so the minute factors that induce a concussion are still unclear.</p> <p>Beyond this, concussion is highly individual. Proper management techniques cannot be employed until we understand <em>all </em>players – and that includes women.</p> <h2>Women and concussion</h2> <p>Another gap in concussion research is how it affects different people. This is because most research has focused on professional male athletes.</p> <p>In science, the average person is traditionally a Caucasian male because that is who previous studies have focused on.</p> <p>So, what about women? Are they affected differently?</p> <p>“I am very interested in this space because, as a physio, I have enjoyed working with female athletes,” explains McLeod. “They are mentally and physiologically different from men.”</p> <p>“We know that there is definitely a hormonal component with other musculoskeletal injuries, such as knee injuries.</p> <p>“For example, we see a lot of ACL [injuries] that happen around a certain phase of the menstrual cycle, so it’s intuitive [to] think concussion would also follow in a similar pathway.</p> <p>“But, of course, that needs further investigation”.</p> <p>This translates to, potentially, more severe or long-lasting concussions in women because of hormonal or biological differences.</p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><em><strong>Read more: <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/medicine/blood-test-makes-for-fast-safer-concussion-diagnosis/" target="_blank">A safer and faster concussion diagnosis</a></strong></em></p> <p>“With the very limited evidence, women seem to have higher, more severe symptoms and take longer to recover than men – with the caveat that I don’t think that men are honest enough,” says Pearce.</p> <p>“But it’s a really good question because we don’t know [whether women are more susceptible] at this stage. All we know is the aftermath of the concussion.”</p> <p>This bias means women were excluded from studies but still subjected to the same types of concussion management men used.</p> <p>“I think from our end, there is a gap between the consensus and the amount of research and data coming in,” explains McLeod.</p> <p>“It’s only just now that we’re all doing a lot more work in this space.”</p> <p>Bias even leaks into diagnostics because covert signs of concussion in men are used as a standard for all athletes.</p> <p>“We actually don’t have any of that [type of] data for women at all,” says McLeod.</p> <p>“We have nothing for the female space. Everything we’ve been looking at has been carried over from the male space to the female space – a one shoe fits the more kind of thing.”</p> <h2>If women are so severely affected, then why play at all?</h2> <p>This is the wrong question, McLeod says. Women may be impacted in ways men aren’t because the management practices are geared towards men. What’s needed, she says, is more information about women and concussions to build better frameworks.</p> <p>“I think part of it is education, and part of it is working on a structure for females,” says McLeod.</p> <p>“We don’t actually know whether women tackle differently. We don’t actually know whether breast tissue is involved in the way we tackle.”</p> <p>This all gets back to the question of <em>how </em>concussions are sustained and what factors contribute to them.</p> <p>Instead, the solutions require team concussion management to reflect women-specific data, especially when it comes to techniques to safeguard the brain.</p> <p>“The thing to do is figure out whether we can make the games safer,” says McLeod.</p> <p>“[We could do this by] looking at tackle characteristics. Is there a big difference between males and females and the way we tackle?”</p> <p>Not only this, but young girls are less likely than boys to have played other forms of amateur or casual sports where tackling and fall techniques are taught.</p> <p>“These girls who started playing collision sports come from a non-collision sport background. They’ve never had that opportunity [to learn how to tackle].</p> <p>“We need to start them learning to tackle and roll.”</p> <p>Ultimately, when it comes to managing concussions in athletes, we can’t forget about our girls.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/we-need-to-know-more-about-women-and-concussion/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Deborah Devis.</em></p> </div> </div>

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“Like a monster”: Extreme reaction triggered during pandemic

<p>Lauren Rigby, a 22-year-old training to be a vet nurse, was one of many lives dramatically changed by the coronavirus pandemic. </p> <p>But not in the same way as everyone else. </p> <p>After a seemingly innocent trip to her local shops, Lauren's life was thrown into disarray as she noticed a rash forming on her hands.</p> <p>"They were saying please use hand sanitiser so I just put a little bit on and it started burning," she said.</p> <p>"I asked mum 'are your hands burning'? she said, 'no'."</p> <p>In the following weeks, Lauren developed severe eczema, which was impacting her everyday life. </p> <p><span>"I started noticing at the shops they were spraying disinfectant, even on the clothes, and then I noticed my body was covered in a rash after trying on clothes," she said.</span></p> <p><span>Her fragile skin started to peel off and her hair began to fall out, as her body had an extreme reaction. </span></p> <p><span><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844688/lauren-rigby.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a235e027209e4af2b2496e47870439ba" /></span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Channel 9 - A Current Affair</em></p> <p>"I was so swollen that it if you touched my arm it would leave a dent and my skin peeled off into piles that we had to vacuum up," Ms Rigby said.</p> <p>Lauren was hospitalised after her eczema triggered a genetic condition called Erythroderma, all caused by hand sanitiser. </p> <p>More than 12 months on, Lauren has a strict skincare regiment that is helping to slowly bring her eczema under control. </p> <p>"How can something so tiny change my life," she said.</p> <p>"I've never used hand sanitiser this year and I'll never use it again."</p> <p>Melanie Funk from Eczema Support Australia said there had been an increase of people seeking help during the COVID-19 period.</p> <p>"Certainly hand eczemas and facial eczemas are increasing with the pandemic measures," she said.</p> <p><span>"You shouldn't suffer in silence, there are others that understand, get support, get help, get treatment."</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Channel 9 - A Current Affair</em></p>

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Breakthrough discovery links deadly disease with "eye twitch"

<p>Victorian researchers have made a ground-breaking discovery in what could help diagnose Australia’s most deadly mental illness.</p> <p>The Swinburne Anorexia Nervosa Research Group found that anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to as anorexia, can possibly be diagnosed by an eye twitch.</p> <p>The twitch, paired with anxiety, create a biomarker for the illness.</p> <p>A biomarker is a measurable characteristic in the body, such as heart rate or blood sugar levels, and none have ever been used to diagnose mental illness before.</p> <p>Head researcher Dr Andrea Phillipou, who has been researching the illness since 2012, said they initially stumbled on the discovery.</p> <p>“It was an accidental finding, it happened when I was chatting with a patient while doing eye-tracking and I noticed her eyes were jerking a little bit,” she told news.com.au</p> <p>“We had all this data from the tracking and were able to link the eye tracking to a part of the brain.”</p> <p>As research progressed, Dr Phollipou and her team found that a combination of a type of twitching eye movement called ‘square wave jerks’ together with anxiety is a promising two-element biomarker for anorexia.</p> <p>These eye jerks were found in people currently with the illness, survivors and sisters of people with anorexia nervosa. The finding in sisters is critical as it shows there is likely a genetic link.</p> <p>Anorexia has the highest death rate of any mental illness. It also has extrememly low recovery rates with just 50% of patients completely bouncing back.</p> <p>Alongside the weight-loss, suffers often have heart, organ and brain issues.</p> <p>Dr Phillipou is hopeful this research will allow early detection of the illness.</p> <p>“Being able to detect the twitcing eye movement as a screening tool, via an iPad or phone, would be extremely beneficial for GPs or in clinics where there is a suspected diagnosis,” she said.</p> <p>“We are hoping this research helps identify people at risk, early in the development and we are hopeful that the research plains the biology behind the illness – that which parts of the brain are contributing.”</p> <p>There are more than one million Australians who suffer from eating disorders.</p> <p>Of those, 4% have anorexia nervosa and 80% of those are women.</p> <p>One young Australian woman, Imogen Barnes, documented her recovery from the illness on social media. Her Instagram page, im_powering, has 50,000 followers, she discusses the illness in hope of transforming “pain into power.”</p>

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8 health problems that can be improved with strength training

<p><strong>Reduce fatigue in multiple sclerosis </strong></p> <p>When it comes to signs of MS, a central nervous system disease, about 80 per cent of people experience fatigue, bladder control issues, balance difficulties and limb tingling.</p> <p>To control symptoms, consider picking up weights.</p> <p>Compared to a control group, patients who underwent progressive resistance training for six months experienced favourable brain changes that could deter the progression of the disease, reports a study in the <em>Multiple Sclerosis Journal</em>.</p> <p>Patients who have MS experience faster-than-normal brain shrinkage, explain researchers in a press release.</p> <p>“Drugs can counter this development, but we saw a tendency that training further minimises brain shrinkage in patients already receiving medication. In addition, we saw that several smaller brain areas actually started to grow in response to training,” said Ulrik Dalgas, associate professor in the department of public health at Aarhus University in Denmark.</p> <p><strong>Reduce discomfort in low back pain</strong></p> <p><span>There are many reasons for back pain, and it’s really common. </span></p> <p><span>In fact, 80 per cent of people will feel the ache sometime in their lives. </span><span>But rather than resting to get better, you should move. </span></p> <p><span>In a small study published in </span><em>BMJ Open Sport &amp; Exercise Medicine</em><span>, low back pain sufferers who did three free-weight training sessions per week for 16 weeks experienced 72 and 76 per cent less pain and disability, respectively. </span></p> <p><span>They also reported an improved quality of life. The researchers note that staying inactive through back pain can lead to fear-avoidance behaviours, where you stiffen up in response to activity, thereby exacerbating the problem. </span></p> <p><span>Moving more, including lifting (and lifting heavy weights), helps you heal both physically and mentally.</span></p> <p><strong>Improve mobility in Parkinson's</strong></p> <p><span>Patients who have Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative movement disorder, experience a worsening of motor skills, resulting in tremors and impaired movements. </span></p> <p><span>They also may experience early, easy-to-miss symptoms such as a reduced sense of smell and trouble with depression. </span></p> <p><span>One 2017 Italian review set out to examine 13 trials that analysed the role strength training can play in the disease. </span></p> <p><span>The researchers concluded that it could help improve physical symptoms as well as quality of life, though they note more studies are needed to work out if strength training is the preferred activity over others. </span></p> <p><span>Until that’s known, the weight room can be your friend.</span></p> <p><strong>Reduce bone loss in osteopenia</strong></p> <p><span>For strong bones throughout life, experts recommend load-bearing exercises from jogging to jumping to create adaptations in bones that builds them stronger. </span></p> <p><span>Be sure to get strength training in there, too. Women who were diagnosed with osteopenia (bone loss that can precede osteoporosis) were instructed on an exercise protocol, including resistance exercise using free weights and elastic bands. </span></p> <p><span>A 16-year follow-up showed that in order to increase bone mineral density, they had to exercise at least twice per week (about two hours), according to the study published in the journal <em>Bone</em>. </span></p> <p><span>Because getting people to start and stick to an exercise routine can be so tough, the researchers note that exercise consistency may be the most important factor in preserving bone mass.</span></p> <p><strong>Boost fitness in heart disease</strong></p> <p><span>To prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends logging 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days per week. </span></p> <p><span>If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, it’s still important to break a sweat. </span></p> <p><span>One 2017 research review in the European <em>Journal of Preventive Cardiology</em> looked at 34 studies and concluded that resistance training improved aerobic fitness just as much as aerobic exercise, while improving lower and upper body strength. </span></p> <p><span>Other surprising heart-healthy habits include expressing gratitude and getting regular sleep.</span></p> <p><strong>Better breathing in COPD</strong></p> <p><span>If you’re dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an incurable condition marked by difficulty breathing, you may think it’s safest to avoid the gym. </span></p> <p><span>But it may be just what you need. </span></p> <p><span>In fact, loss of muscle strength and weakness is common in patients, something researchers say drags down the quality of life. COPD patients who performed a combo of endurance and strength training (30 minutes of each per session, three times a week) improved muscle strength more than those doing endurance training or receiving medical treatment only, per a 2017 study.</span></p> <p><strong>Improve blood sugar management in type 2 diabetes</strong></p> <p><span>In prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, exercise is key. </span></p> <p><span>After all, it helps your muscles soak up glucose from your blood and use it for energy. </span></p> <p><span>While cardio helps your body manage insulin, strength training makes it more sensitive to it, explains the American Diabetes Association. </span></p> <p><span>What’s more, it also helps you build muscle, and more muscle mass not only burns more calories, but it can also improve glucose control, points out a study in Nutrition &amp; Metabolism. </span></p> <p><span>Y</span><span>our prescription? Both resistance and aerobic exercise will give you the well-rounded routine your body needs.</span></p> <p><strong>Turn down the volume on anxiety</strong></p> <p><span>Exercise is a known stress buster, but it can also have measurable effects if you suffer from anxiety. </span></p> <p><span>One study in <em>Frontiers in Psychology </em>found that performing a bout of resistance exercise of one rep max (where you lift the heaviest weight you can for one rep) is the most effective in lowering anxious feelings both after a single session and long-term practice. </span></p> <p><span>Though it isn’t quite clear why, strength training can drive down levels of the stress hormone cortisol, telling your stress system to simmer down.</span></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/8-health-problems-that-can-be-improved-with-strength-training" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>. </em><span></span></p>

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EXCLUSIVE: Susie Burrell shares tips for getting your Omega-3

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Looking after our health is incredibly important, especially as we start to get older.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From exercising regularly and having healthy sleeping habits to maintaining our social lives and eating well, there are plenty of areas we need to balance out in order to stay healthy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to diet, ensuring we get the right vitamins and minerals can be particularly crucial as we age.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To help figure out how to get the most out of your diet and improve your mental and physical health, we sat down with leading dietician and Tassal ambassador, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/susieburrelldietitian/?hl=en" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Susie Burrell</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and asked her some foodie questions.</span></p> <p><strong>O60: What are the benefits of regularly eating foods rich in Omega-3 and B vitamins, especially as we get older?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we get older, it’s important to regularly eat foods that are rich in Omega-3 and B group vitamins as they can help to support cognitive function, support energy regulation, and optimise immunity. A high intake of Omega-3 fats is associated with improved memory, reduced risk of developing heart disease and reductions in inflammation. In addition, B group vitamins - including B12, folate, biacin, biotin, and riboflavin - are essential for older people as they support healthy nerve function, heart health and blood pressure.</span></p> <p><strong>O60: How can diet impact mental health and energy levels?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it’s widely known that diet plays a key role in our physical health, it can directly affect our mental health and energy levels too.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The connection between our diet and mental health stems from the relationship between our brain and gut microbiome - the rainforest-like ecosystem in your gastrointestinal tract where </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">good</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">bad</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> bacteria reside. Eating healthy food will promote the growth of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">good</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which tells our brain to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, regulating our mood and emotions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the other things your </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">good</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> bacteria does is help absorb nutrients from the food you eat, including B vitamins, magnesium and iron, which are crucial for good energy levels. The </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">bad</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> bacteria has the opposite effect, and when they overgrow, the absorption of these nutrients is compromised. If the nutrients that are key for maintaining healthy energy levels are not adequately absorbed, then greater tiredness and fatigue is likely to follow. That’s why our diet is one of the main factors that affect this balance between the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">good</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">bad</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> bacteria, and in turn, our energy levels.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/nothing.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1a03d132c986484080485d10291d4d70" /><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844581/susie-burrell.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a00dc2d21bc44a8b8b0feb85a9c2398e" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><strong>O60: What other essential vitamins and fats should we be consuming more of?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Calcium and vitamin D are also important nutrients older Australians should be consuming, as they work closely together to support our bone health. As we know, calcium helps build and maintain healthy bones, while vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. These nutrients  can be found in  foods such as dairy, dark leafy greens, and a variety of fish, like Tassal Tasmanian Salmon.</span></p> <p>With many of us still in lockdown and juggling work, home-schooling, and other responsibilities, what are some quick and easy ways to add more Omega-3 to our diets?</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A quick and easy way to incorporate more Omega-3’s into our diets is by consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans, and with two or more weekly servings of oily fish, such as  salmon. I love to start my mornings with a nutritious, balanced, and mood-boosting meal, especially while we’re in lockdown, which is why I regularly have salmon for brunch.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When brainstorming brunch ideas, you can be really creative. Rather than sticking to traditional options such as toast, cereal, porridge or eggs, switching to salmon will not only provide you with a nutrient rich breakfast option, but also get the entire family involved in creating something exciting and different. Some of my favourite brunch-inspired salmon recipes are Tassal’s</span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tassal.com.au/recipes/corn-fritters-and-smoked-salmon/" target="_blank"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Corn Fritters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> or</span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tassal.com.au/recipes/slt-sandwich/" target="_blank"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">SLT Sandwich</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> with either Tassal Smoked Salmon or cooked and ready-to-eat Tassal Hot Smoked Salmon.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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Pain and the brain: Closing the gap between modern pain science and clinical practice

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Statistics show that chronic pain affects 3.4 million Australians – that’s almost 14% of the population.</p> <p>But while pain science discoveries have enormous consequences on chronic pain treatment, the medical community knows little about them.</p> <p>Pain scientists have been urging clinicians for decades to ditch the traditional biomedical approach and adopt a multidisciplinary and multimodal methodology to chronic pain treatment.</p> <p>This latter approach considers the biological, psychological and social factors that affect the patient’s perception of danger.</p> <p>Evidence-based treatment includes a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0004951414601690?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">combination</a> of pharmacological and non-pharmacological techniques, including pain education, physiotherapy management and mental health support.</p> <p>“We have developed a four-steps process that brings together all these ideas (drawn from modern pain science),” says Professor Benedict Wand, a pain scientist at the University of Notre Dame.</p> <p>The first, fundamental step of this process, he says, is modern pain neurobiology education, which helps people gain a less threatening understanding of pain. </p> <p>The second step is helping the person feel safe to move, while the third step includes an active progressive rehabilitation that gradually loads the body so that movement continues to feel safe.</p> <p>Lastly, the focus shifts towards making the body stronger.</p> <p class="has-text-align-center"><strong><em>Read more: <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/medicine/chronic-pain-in-women-could-be-genetic/" target="_blank">Chronic pain in women could be genetic</a></em></strong></p> <p>The biomedical model in which most health professionals in Australia have been trained describes pain as a direct consequence of tissue damage – the more severe an injury, the stronger the pain.</p> <p>In this model, pain provides an accurate measure of the state of the tissues, and it can be ‘fixed’ by providing pain relief.</p> <p>“We originally thought that pain was a simple readout of noxious information from the body,” says Wand. “But that is certainly not the process that underpins complex and long-standing pain experiences.”</p> <p>Decades of <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://www.cor-kinetic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/reconceptualizing-pain.pdf" target="_blank">research</a> in pain science have led scientists to believe that the level of pain is not an indication of the level of tissue damage.</p> <p>Instead, scientists have discovered that pain is a vital mechanism that happens in the brain (and not in the tissues) to protect us from more severe injuries.</p> <p>When we get hurt, pain receptors send a ‘possible threat’ signal to the brain, which then evaluates the danger of the threat by drawing information from current and past experiences and the state of the mind.</p> <p>If the brain does not perceive the circumstance as dangerous, it will not cause pain.</p> <p>If we are anxious or frightened, our brain might perceive the situation as dangerous and produce pain to protect us. </p> <p>“An interaction between incoming information from the world around you and held information – things that you already think and feel and believe – gives rise to an experience of pain when you judge your body to be under threat or needing protection,” says Wand.</p> <p>In one <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://journals.lww.com/pain/Fulltext/2007/12150/The_context_of_a_noxious_stimulus_affects_the_pain.9.aspx" target="_blank">study</a>, scientists placed an ice-cold rod on the back of volunteers’ hands while showing them either a red or blue light.</p> <p>The rod was at the same temperature each time, but those who were shown the red light, which in our imagery represents danger, reported more intense pain than those who saw the blue light.</p> <p>In another <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://journals.lww.com/pain/Fulltext/1998/01000/The_role_of_prior_pain_experience_and_expectancy.24.aspx" target="_blank">experiment</a>, volunteers put their heads inside what they thought was a ‘head stimulator’.</p> <p>In front of them, researchers manoeuvred an ‘intensity knob’.</p> <p>The volunteers reported levels of pain that correlated with the intensity on the knob, although the stimulator was doing nothing at all.</p> <p>These studies suggest that pain is not a response to real danger or physical damage but to perceived danger, says Professor Lorimer Moseley, a pain scientist at the University of South Australia.</p> <p>Consequently, psychosocial factors that alter our perception of threat play a crucial role in the level of pain we experience.</p> <p>When pain becomes chronic, it is less about physical damage and more about a pain system that has become excessively protective.</p> <p>A physical cause of the pain might never be found in scans, yet the pain people feel is real, says Moseley.</p> <h2><strong>Go the distance for pain science</strong></h2> <p>While lack of access to multidisciplinary pain services is a countrywide issue, rural and regional areas are severely underserved.</p> <p>Pain Revolution is <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.painrevolution.org/" target="_blank">an organisation</a> set up to close the gap between modern pain science and clinical practice in rural and regional communities.</p> <p>The organisation has established a Local Pain Educator Program that trains rural and regional GPs and health professionals in modern pain science and management.</p> <p>In turn, they support their communities by providing pain education to the public.</p> <p>With another project called the Local Pain Collectives, Pain Revolution helps rural and regional health professionals establish community-based, interdisciplinary networks to build their skills in contemporary pain education and management.</p> <p>“Two essential ingredients for recovery from persistent pain are learning and movement,” says Moseley, who is also CEO of Pain Revolution.</p> <p>“There is very strong evidence that movement is medicine. Our muscles, bones, ligaments, skin, tendons – you name it – <em>love</em> movement.”</p> <p>To support its work, Pain Revolution has launched a virtual challenge to raise funds called Go the Distance.</p> <p>“Go the Distance is challenging everyone to learn a bit more about pain and get moving, and walking, running and cycling are three easy ways to do it,” says Moseley.</p> <p>The initiative has replaced the annual Rural Outreach Tour, which had previously been the major Pain Revolution fundraiser.</p> <p>“Like many events in 2021, COVID has meant that we had to find an alternative to the tour,” says Moseley.</p> <p>The initiative will be held in October, and it challenges participants to walk, run or ride as far as possible to support people who suffer from chronic pain and often don’t receive medical care that is based on the latest scientific evidence.</p> <p>If you want to help, support our science writer Manuela Callari, who has taken the challenge, by donating <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://painrevolution.raisely.com/manuela-callari" target="_blank">here</a>. If you want to sign up as an individual, or join a team, go to <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://painrevolution.raisely.com/" target="_blank">painrevolution.raisely.com</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published by <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/pain-and-the-brain-closing-the-gap-between-modern-pain-science-and-clinical-practice/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Dr Manuela Callari.</em></p> </div> </div>

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“Scary to talk about”: Changing discussions around breast cancer and sex

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As one of the most common cancers in Australian women, the challenges of breast cancer are experienced by thousands of women each year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But one of the areas some say isn’t talked about enough is the impact of breast cancer on women’s sex lives and body image.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Health professionals are comfortable and used to talking about the side effects of chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting to patients, but many do not feel comfortable discussing the other side effects of treatment, and how these may impact intimate relationships,” says Kate White, a professor of cancer nursing from the University of Sydney Nursing School.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“[Doctors] often wait for the patient to bring it up, rather than proactively explaining it as another potential side effect.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Medical oncologist Dr Belinda Kiely agrees that changes in the conversations around breast cancer and sex need to come from doctors.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We, as doctors, are very good at asking people about their pain, or their nausea or their constipation, but another line of questions should be ‘what’s happening with your sex life?’ or something along those lines,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think we could do a better job of bringing it up and not relying on women to bring it up when it is a bit scary to talk about.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Kiely also points out that changes in physical and mental symptoms can impact the sex lives of patients in various ways.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professor Fran Boyle agrees, noting that issues surrounding intimacy can arise when any serious illness is diagnosed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, there are some issues unique to breast cancer patients when it comes to getting intimate with a partner, such as hormonal changes due to breast cancer treatment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Breast cancer also affects a part of the body which is important for many women for arousal as well as body image, and, when sore or numb post-surgery, women may not wish to be touched on the breasts,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Hair loss from chemotherapy can also affect body image and relationships.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other issues can include low libido, vaginal dryness or soreness, as well as hot flashes and sleeping problems, which Professor Boyle says can have an “impact on the desire for closeness”.</span></p> <p><strong>A gap in the discussion</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rebecca Angus was diagnosed with breast cancer at 33, and her eventual journey to recovery impacted her life in countless ways.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In her experience, Rebecca found that discussions around sex with medical practitioners focused on medical aspects, leaving the effects on mental health unspoken.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Sex is explored at the beginning of chemotherapy education. However, it mainly focuses on fertility preservation, ovarian suppression and contraception during treatment,” Rebecca says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Rebecca recovered, fatigue from treatment and medical restrictions on how she could engage in sexual activity had dramatic effects on her sex life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You’ve got this cancer in your body that has tried to kill you, so you don’t have the best relationship with your body at that stage,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There are a lot of rules around when and how you can have sex as well. Your body for a while is not your own, it belongs to health professionals.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though her experience may not be universal, Rebecca says, “Having a good sex life within a relationship is so valuable for anyone with cancer”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She also hopes to normalise conversations around these more sensitive topics so that women can obtain the help they need.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You can get help from your psychologists, gynaecologists and oncologists - your specialists are there to help you.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professors White and Boyle will be appearing alongside Dr Kiely and Rebecca Angus for a Q&amp;A all about breast cancer and sex on Thursday, September 30.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844487/qa.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0a06a22ca4574d9481ca358a26eeab95" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s Talk About Sex</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is a free Q&amp;A session run by The Breast Cancer Trials and moderated by journalist Annabel Crabb that offers the chance for anyone to ask questions about this important issue.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The online event will take place between 5pm and 6.30pm, and attendees can register </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.breastcancertrials.org.au/qa-events" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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Game-changing cancer treatment enters second clinical trial

<p>Game-changing low-cost and non-toxic treatment could offer people battling cancer a new alternative to chemotherapy.</p> <p>Researchers at The Australian National University have discovered a way to use dead bacteria to help kickstart the body’s immune system and shrink the cancer.</p> <p>Aude Fahrer, lead research at ANU said ongoing clinical trials of the Complete Freund Adjuvant treatment had shown promising results and could significantly improve outcomes for patients battling the disease.</p> <p>“We do think it could be a game charger. If this works well, it will be a new treatment option with far fewer side effects, which will be available for cancer patients,” Associate professor Fahrer said.</p> <p>Complete Freund Adjuvant is made up just three ingredients: mineral oil, surfactant, and dead bacteria.</p> <p>Associate Professor Fahrer’s team tested the treatment on eight cancer patients at Canberra Hospital.</p> <p>“They were all late stages, but in one case in particular we were able to significantly improve the patients’ quality of life,” she said.</p> <p>The new treatment was able to reduce the amount of liquid around the patient’s lungs and shrunk their tumour.</p> <p>Associate Professor Fahrer said the new approach was less time-consuming and physically taxing than other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.</p> <p>“The best things about this new treatment is that it requires few dosages, is simple to administer, and has how side effects,” she said.</p> <p>Extreme hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and physical pain are just some of the impacts of chemotherapy.</p> <p>And while some cancer immunotherapy treatments can cost up to $40,000, the ANU researcher’s new treatment is very affordable – clocking in at just $20 per dose.</p> <p>The bacterial-based immunotherapy is a simple, but unusual approach to treating tumours.</p> <p>“It involves injecting a slow-release solution of dead mycobacteria directly into the cancer,” Associate Professor Fahrer said.</p> <p>“The idea is this will bring immune cells into the cancer to attack the bacteria, even though they’re dead, and as a side effect cause the immune cells to attack the cancer as well.</p> <p>“Once the immune cells multiple they can travel around the body, so it would not only attack the cancer at the injection site, but any metastases – where the cancer has spread to another part of the body.”</p> <p>While trials have only been conducted on late-stage human cancer patients so far, Associate Professor Fahrer said the new treatment was able to eliminate some earlier stage tumours in animal studies.</p> <p>If the new treatment continues to show success in clinical trials, researchers say the treatment has the potential to help treat all forms of solid tumour cancer.</p> <p>Ms Fahrer’s research was largely funded by the Lea Chapuis Memorial Fund, a cancer patient who’s dying wish was to improve treatment options for sick Australians.</p> <p>“Lea asked people to contribute to the research in lieu of flowers when she passed way,” Associate Professor Fahrer said.</p> <p>A second clinical trial of the new treatment at the Canberra Hospital has already been approved.</p>

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Harry Potter star speaks about "scary" collapse

<p>Harry Potter star Tom Felton has taken to social media to update fans on his condition after suffering a “scary” health related incident.</p> <p>The 34-year-old actor assured his followers that he was “on the mend” after collapsing during a celebrity golf match at the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin last week.</p> <p>“Hello everyone, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the lovely well wishes as of recent,” Felton said in the video.</p> <p>“Bit of a scary episode, really – but on the mend, people have been taking really good care of me. So thank you very much to anyone who has sent messages of get well soon because I am on the mend, officially.”</p> <p>Switching into a singing voice he added: “Don’t you worry ‘cause Tom will be doing fine…So don’t you worry, Tom will be doing fine.”</p> <p>Tom was loaded onto a stretcher on the golf course on Thursday after reportedly collapsing at the 18th hole, and driven off for medical attention.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844428/new-project-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d35583503cf7435bbf3d5fe3d6735134" /></p> <p>Image: Getty</p> <p>The PGA of America confirmed the incident in a statement to CNN shortly afterwards.</p> <p>“In today’s Ryder Cup Celebrity Match, actor and Musician Tom Felton experienced a medical incident on the course while participating for Europe,” A spokesperson said.</p> <p>He was transported to a local hospital for treatment. No further details were available.</p> <p>Felton is best known for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise – a role he landed at 14 years old. He went on to appear in all eight Harry Potter movies.</p>

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Women disadvantaged when it comes to cardiac care

<p><span style="font-size: 14px;">Women with some cardiac conditions receive less evidence-based treatment than their male counterparts, research </span><a style="font-size: 14px;" rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2021/216/3/sex-differences-management-and-outcomes-non-st-elevation-acute-coronary" target="_blank">published</a><span style="font-size: 14px;"> today by the </span><em style="font-size: 14px;">Medical Journal of Australia</em><span style="font-size: 14px;"> has confirmed.</span></p> <div class="copy"> <p>Researchers from the University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital and Concord Repatriation General Hospital analysed registry data for patients diagnosed with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTE-ACS) – which includes myocardial infarction and unstable angina – in 43 Australian hospitals from 23 February 2009 to 16 October 2018.</p> <p>The authors found important differences in baseline characteristics by sex. Concerningly, this included fewer treatment plans offered to women than men.</p> <p>Professor Roxana Mehran, Director of the Center for Interventional Cardiovascular Research and Clinical Trials at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, described these findings to <em>MJA InSight</em>+ as “a huge, huge issue for women”.</p> <p>In an <em>MJA InSight</em>+ exclusive podcast, Mehran said that women’s undertreatment in this area was mostly a result of a lack of data and female participation in clinical trials.</p> <p>“The disparities continue to remain there, despite all of our education,” she said.</p> <p>“We’re seeing that the prevalence of acute myocardial infarction is actually increasing instead of decreasing, especially among women over the age of 45. We are seeing that recurrent myocardial infarction and recurrent events are higher for women compared with men.</p> <p>“We’re seeing increasing myocardial infarction in young women, or admissions for younger women presenting with an acute coronary syndrome, and we know that women present differently, they have different triggers, their lesion and their vessels look very different than men.”</p> <p>In an <em>MJA</em> editorial, Mehran and her co-authors wrote that: “Even in patients with documented coronary artery disease, secondary prevention therapies were less frequently prescribed for women than for men. Further, women were less likely to be referred for cardiac rehabilitation.”</p> <p>The researchers’ findings, wrote Mehran and her co-authors, “add to the body of evidence that differences in treatment constitute a problem that is not adequately managed even in high income countries.</p> <p>“The authors have provided further evidence for sex‐based disparities in the management and treatment of people with NSTE‐ACS. Their findings indicate the importance of the further investigation of sex‐specific pathophysiological mechanisms and the urgent need for evidence‐based sex‐specific strategies and recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of ischaemic heart disease.</p> <p>“Women with NSTE‐ACS are both understudied and undertreated, and the report … is a valuable contribution to increasing global awareness of differences between men and women in the characteristics of heart disease, and to promoting cardiovascular health in women.”</p> <p>A total of 7783 patients were eligible for analysis, including 2422 women (31%).</p> <p>Patients’ outcomes, both in-hospital and at six-month follow-up, were assessed. The researchers also separately assessed these differences in patients with documented coronary artery disease.</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=166238&amp;title=Women+disadvantaged+when+it+comes+to+cardiac+care" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/women-disadvantaged-when-it-comes-to-cardiac-care/" target="_blank">This article</a> was originally published on <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank">Cosmos Magazine</a></em> and was written by <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/ian-connellan" target="_blank">Ian Connellan</a>. Ian Connellan is editor-in-chief of the Royal Institution of Australia.</p> </div>

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Fact or fiction? 5 myths about heart health, busted

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to heart health, cardiovascular disease is still affecting </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/about-whd/world-heart-day-2021/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">520 million people</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> around the world. In Australia, 16.6% of the total population is currently living with cardiovascular disease</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">[1]</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This continues to be the leading underlying cause of death in the country</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">[2]</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">,not only amongst the elderly but also for people </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-death/deaths-in-australia/contents/leading-causes-of-death" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">aged 45–64</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Knowledge is power and understanding how to look after our heart is as essential as separating facts from fiction when it comes to our heart health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844397/ross-walker.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b080367c7cb546658786946d3b956a01" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ahead of World Heart Day on 29 September, we spoke with Dr Ross Walker, an eminent practicing cardiologist with over 40 years experience as a clinician to discuss the top 5 myths surrounding heart health and help us separate truth from myth.</span></p> <p><strong>Myth 1: Heart disease is a man’s problem</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Like men, women can be diagnosed with a range of heart conditions. The common risk factors for cardiovascular disease for Aussie women are high cholesterol, overweight and lack of physical activity. In fact, 90% have one risk factor for heart disease, and </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/risk-factors-for-women" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">50% have two or more</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Although cardiovascular disease develops 7 to 10 years later in women than in men, the risk </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12471-010-0841-y" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">increases significantly</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> after menopause. The truth is that most heart research has been done on male patients rather than females, but </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12471-010-0841-y" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">studies have shown</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that women have gender specific symptoms when it comes to heart disease and failure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What you can do whether you are a man or a woman is to get your heart checked every twelve months even if you are feeling fine. This way, if your blood pressure or cholesterol is not well controlled, you can commence treatment right away. The earlier you begin to treat these issues, the better.</span></p> <p><strong>Myth 2: After heart failure, exercise can be dangerous</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After heart failure, physical activity can actually assist you in restoring your usual day to day activities. Although you may be worried about which exercises you can and can’t do, staying physically active </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ehf2.12225" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">reduces your chances</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of having another heart attack. Being involved in a supervised cardiac rehabilitation program is recommended, especially if there is a prior history of heart disease or you have a very strong risk factor profile.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can start by talking to your doctor and follow advice on how to gradually restore your fitness in a safe and suitable way. Walking, for example, is a great way to start. You can begin with a daily 5-10 minute walk and build up slowly to 30 minutes over several weeks.  </span></p> <p><strong>Myth 3: It is okay to have high blood pressure as we age</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we age our cardiovascular system changes, and high blood pressure is more common in older people. As we age, our arteries </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">become stiffer</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> causing our blood pressure to rise. However, this is not necessarily good for our health or heart. In fact, high blood pressure should be monitored regularly, as it increases the risk of suffering from stroke and a possible heart attack. </span></p> <p><strong>Myth 4: Good vs bad cholesterol</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A major misconception around cholesterol is that one type is good and one type is bad. Incorrectly, low-density-lipoproteins (LDL), is labelled as “bad” cholesterol while high-density lipoproteins (HDL) is labelled as “good” cholesterol. The truth is both types of cholesterol carrying proteins contain “good” and “bad” elements. LDL and HDL both contain small and large components.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The large components of LDL and HDL are beneficial for normal body metabolism, keeping cholesterol away from our arteries and removing any excess from arterial plaque, which </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/australian-health-survey-biomedical-results-chronic-diseases/latest-release" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">helps to prevent heart disease</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The small components of LDL and HDL promote fatty deposits in the artery wall. This is what can contribute to cardiovascular disease.  The small components of LDL circulate in our blood and may build up in our arteries, forming plaque that may rupture, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/cholesterol/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">leading</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to blocked arteries. On the other hand, the small components of HDL are </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/biof.1205" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">pro-inflammatory</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although heart disease &amp; cholesterol have strong genetic components, it is also important to avoid foods containing trans fats and processed carbohydrates, eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, and conduct regular physical activity to help maintain good health. You may also need to check in with your GP to assess if your cholesterol levels are high and if you are deemed at high risk for a vascular event such as heart attack or stroke, the medications, such as statins or blood pressure therapy, may be necessary.</span></p> <p><strong>Myth 5: Supplements are of no benefit</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While a good balanced diet and exercise are key to good health, our food today has lower nutritional value and we encounter many toxins in our day-to-day. Supplements can bridge the gap between the nutrients we need and the food that is lacking them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, numerous studies have proven that </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ubiquinol.net.au/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ubiquinol</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the active form of Coenzyme Q10, helps promote heart health by </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.eurekaselect.com/161292/article" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">providing the cellular energy needed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to keep the heart pumping well.  Ubiquinol helps improve heart function by maintaining healthy levels of LDL cholesterol as well as the overall maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While this antioxidant is found in many foods – including oily fish, meats and whole grains – it is difficult to achieve the daily recommended dose without consuming excessive amounts, e.g. 14kg of sardines or 60 avocados! In this case, taking Ubiquinol in supplement form may help achieve the recommended daily dose to support optimal energy levels and cardiovascular health. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seek advice from a healthcare practitioner to determine if supplementation is right for you. Always read the label and use only as directed.</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">This article was written by Dr Ross Walker.</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">[1]</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, National Health Survey 2017-18, Data customised using TableBuilder</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">[2]</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Causes of Death 2019, cat. no. 3303.0, October</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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4 signs your body is ageing earlier than it should

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Out of the millions of things an individual will experience in life, one of them is the physical signs of ageing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Age is a sliding scale, as some people can start to feel the physical effects of growing older much sooner than others. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it happens to everyone, there are a few telltale signs of premature ageing that, if caught early, can be slowed. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are four key signs to look out for when talking about ageing. </span></p> <p><strong>Sunspots</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After years of enjoying our sun-kissed country (and no doubt experiencing a couple of brutal sunburns along the way), age spots are guaranteed to develop. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sunspots often first come up on your face or the back of your hands, or wherever is most exposed to the sun. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While most spots are harmless, it’s still a good idea to have them assessed by a professional dermatologist. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To avoid them from developing or worsening, invest in a 50+ SPF sunscreen and cover up in the summer sun. </span></p> <p><strong>Wrinkles</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wrinkles are the biggest tell-tale sign of physical ageing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They start to happen when our collagen (our body’s most abundant protein) production starts to slow down.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Collagen generally keeps our skin looking plump and youthful, so when it starts to slow down we can see our skin start to lose some of its shape. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wrinkles can also be made worse by dehydration, so to keep on top of them, invest in some quality skincare and drink more water throughout the day. </span></p> <p><strong>Lingering hangovers</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After a night of drinking alcohol, hangovers are the punishment we receive from our bodies the next morning. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Complete with nausea, headaches, anxiety and dizziness, these symptoms tend to be prolonged the older we get after a few too many to drink. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Simply cutting back on alcohol is the most sure fire way to avoid these hellish mornings, as well as eating a balanced, nutritious meal before you start drinking. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another way to prevent a hangover is to swap out every second alcoholic beverage for a glass of water, making sure you’re staying hydrated and keeping your organs happy. </span></p> <p><strong>Random aches and pains</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you find yourself struggling to get up from the couch, unable to do as much exercise or having bouts of pain when you move in a particular way, there could be a lot of reasons why. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your body may be experiencing some inflammation if you’re not getting a balanced diet that is full of fruits and vegetables. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The long-term effects of eating a healthy, balanced diet are instrumental in fighting signs of ageing, from helping you live longer, to reducing the risk of developing certain diseases. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your body will definitely thank you for making these changes in order to combat physical signs of ageing. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

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Promising pain relief

<p><span style="font-size: 14px;">Chronic pain is a global health burden. In Australia, it is estimated that over 3.4 million people suffer from persistent pain. Nonetheless, a lack of therapeutics has led to </span><a style="font-size: 14px;" rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/medicine/pain-education-could-end-the-opioid-crisis/" target="_blank">overprescription of opioids</a><span style="font-size: 14px;">, which provide only limited relief in patients with chronic neuropathic pain and can lead to severe adverse effects, </span><a style="font-size: 14px;" rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/medicine/opioids-and-overdose-risk/" target="_blank">including addiction and overdose</a><span style="font-size: 14px;">.</span></p> <div class="copy"> <p>Neuropathic pain is often chronic and occurs when the pain system – brain, nervous and immune system – is not working correctly. When the pain system function well, nerves fire “danger” signals to the brain when a threat is present – when your hand is touching a stove, for example. If the brain perceives the threat as dangerous – the last time you touched the stove, your finger got badly burned – it creates pain to protect the body. </p> <p>An injury, a viral infection, a disease or cancer treatment can damage the pain system leading the nerves to misfire such danger signals and the brain to misinterpret threats. The pain persists because the brain thinks the body needs constant protection.</p> <p>Opioids are the most commonly prescribed painkillers, but while they might be very effective in acute pain episodes, they are ineffective for the long-term treatment of ongoing pain and carry many severe side effects.</p> <p>In a new study <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03897-2" target="_blank">published today</a> in <em>Nature</em>, Monash University researchers reported a new class of molecules that might be a safer and effective alternative to opioids.</p> <p>“The world is in the grip of a global opioid crisis, and there is an urgent need for non-opioid drugs that are both safe and effective,” said Professor Arthur Christopoulos, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University and author of the study.</p> <p>The researchers discovered that these molecules, called positive allosteric modulators (PAM), bind the adenosine A1 receptor (A1R), which has long been recognised as a promising therapeutic target for non-opioid drugs to treat neuropathic pain, with high precision in rats.</p> <p>By binding to A1R, the PAM regulates the increased adenosine levels in the spinal cord of rats with neuropathic pain.</p> <p>Although non-opioid analgesic agents targeting A1R had been studied before, the development of therapeutics has failed because of a lack of drug-A1R binding selectivity, which led to low efficacy and adverse effects.</p> <p>The Monash researchers used high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy to solve the structure of the A1 receptor bound to either its natural activator, adenosine, and an analgesic PAM to the atomic level. That allowed them to zoom in into the mechanism underpinning allosteric drug actions, said Associate Professor Wendy Imlach, head of the Pain Mechanisms lab at Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and an author of the study.</p> <p>Understanding the drug-A1R binding mechanism to the atomic level could help researchers design an allosteric drug that best binds A1R.</p> <p>“This multidisciplinary study now provides a valuable launchpad for the next stage in our drug discovery pipeline, which will leverage structure-based insights for the design of novel non-opioid allosteric drugs to treat chronic pain successfully,” said Professor Christopoulos.</p> <p>While the current best scientific evidence on chronic pain treatment includes a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/australia/pain-and-the-brain-closing-the-gap-between-modern-pain-science-and-clinical-practice/" target="_blank">combination of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical therapies</a>, the lack of therapeutics has led to a global opioid crisis. If proved safe and effective in humans, this new class of analgesics could offer some relief to the millions who suffer from chronic pain across the world.</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=164905&amp;title=Promising+pain+relief" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/non-opioid-painkillers-are-on-the-way/" target="_blank">This article</a> was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/manuela-callari" target="_blank">Manuela Callari</a>. Dr Manuela Callari is a Sydney-based freelance science writer who specialises in health and medical stories.</p> </div>

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3 things hurting your heart health

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though it keeps us alive and pumps blood around our bodies, we might not think about our hearts all that much in the day to day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But heart conditions are quite common, especially among women, so it is important that we keep an eye on how healthy our hearts are.</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mamamia.com.au/how-to-improve-heart-health/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Nikki Stamp</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a heart surgeon, says, “A lot of women don’t know that heart conditions can impact them; we still think it’s a disease of our fathers and brothers but heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Luckily, there are some steps you can take to improve your heart health, including stopping some unhelpful habits.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Stamp shares three things that can have a negative effect on your heart, as well as what to do to improve.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Not enough sleep</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of us may be surprised to find out that sleep can have a huge impact on various aspects of health, including heart health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“One thing I find people aren’t always aware of is the impact sleep can have on your heart health,” Dr Stamp says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Poor sleep or sleep disorders can directly hurt your heart or make it harder to do those things like eat well and exercise that are protective for the heart.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In fact, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27467177/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">research</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has found that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, and strokes.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Poor lifestyle habits</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Along with poor sleep, unhelpful lifestyle habits can also play a part in worsening our heart health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Dr Stamp, most people know about this risk factor, which can include binge drinking, a poor diet, and a lack of exercise.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think most people are aware the things like diet, exercise and smoking are all things that can place undue stress on your heart," Dr Stamp says.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Missing your regular check-ups</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As much as getting your heart checked can seem to be a pain, but it can be incredibly beneficial.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Having your heart checked is not difficult or painful! Simple tests like having your blood pressure checked, your blood sugar to assess for diabetes and your cholesterol can be done </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">quickly and easily by your GP and give you a good idea of your risk of heart disease,” Dr Stamp says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“However, if you’re not seeing your GP regularly, these checks can be missed.”</span></p> <p><strong>Things that can help</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As for what you can do to look after your heart, Dr Stamp says the key is keeping it simple.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s loads of advice floating around that is complicated, ineffective and unachievable to keep you healthy,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Move your body - anything is great, eat a diet full of veggies, fruit, whole grains and healthy oils, sleep well and give up the smokes.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty</span></em></p>

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Tobacco giant angers medical community

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Philip Morris International has made a £1 billion bid to take over a company that makes inhalers used to treat lung disease, sparking outrage in the medical community.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The tobacco company behind the Marlboro man has made an offer to buy Vectura, a UK company that develops inhaler technology for lung illnesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Medical experts are concerned that the takeover could see Philip Morris profiting from the treatment of smoking-related lung diseases it has helped create.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If they buy Vectura, Philip Morris will then be making money not only from selling cigarettes that cause lung disease, but they’ll also be making money from the technologies that treat patients who have lung disease caused by smoking,” respiratory pathologist and chief executive of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Graham Hall said.</span></p> <p><strong>Changes to research and treatment </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a result, many are concerned that research and the treatments doctors prescribe to patients with lung disease could change to avoid directing funds to the tobacco giant.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For some of the 464,000 Australians with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who use Vectura inhalers, this could result in the prescription of different medications by their doctors.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:414.0625px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844087/copd-diagram_160331_100539.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e0a76635bd59443fbe1c71d6f4dcc0f9" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: healthflexhhs.com</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">COPD describes a group of diseases that affect the lungs, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic asthma, which cause a progressive decline in lung health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Up to 50 percent of smokers develop COPD to some level.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“How can we in good conscience give a treatment to a patient where the funding from that treatment will be going to the company that caused the disease to begin with?” asked Professor Hall.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“No doctor is going to want to prescribe a treatment to a patient, that they know may be funding a tobacco company.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Research into these diseases could also be at risk, as many doctors, health bodies, and journals have policies banning professionals from dealing with tobacco companies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Cutting-edge research would be able to be published in these journals if there was known links to Vectura if it’s acquired by Philip Morris,” Professor Hall said.</span></p> <p><strong>‘Indirectly’ funding tobacco companies</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Currently, Australians are prescribed any of 10 different dry powder inhalers that use technology made by Vectura.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2020, 2 million scripts for different brands of these inhalers were dispensed and cost about $121 million to taxpayers, according to figures from the federal government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though most of the profits go directly to the pharmaceutical company, Vectura has licensing and royalty deals with companies that use its technology, meaning it gets some of the funds as well.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It could be the situation where the Australian government is paying taxpayers’ funding indirectly to a tobacco company to treat patients who have lung disease caused by tobacco,” Professor Hall said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, the result could put Australia in a breach of a global treaty it signed and ratified on tobacco control.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the inhalers are subsidised under the PBS, the government would indirectly funding Philip Morris, violating the treaty.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a UN tobacco control treaty and it’s been signed and ratified by more than 180 countries, including the UK, including Australia,” Melbourne-based GP Dr Bronwyn King said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“One of the provisions of the treaty is that it explicitly prohibits engagement between governments and the tobacco industry.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A spokesperson for the federal Health Department said the government was closely monitoring tobacco activities, but the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">ABC </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">reports they were unaware of the 10 products on the PBS which used Vectura technology.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The takeover bid has already been approved by Vectura’s board, and will go before the company’s shareholders in London.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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Vaccines lower risk of long Covid

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New research suggests that being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 not only reduces the risk of infection, but can make it less likely to turn into long Covid.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new study suggests that the minority of fully-vaccinated people who get the virus are 50 percent less likely to develop symptoms lasting more than a month, when compared to unvaccinated people.</span></p> <p><strong>What is long Covid?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For most of those who contract COVID-19, recovery takes up to four weeks. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But some experience symptoms that continue or develop in the weeks or months after they were initially infected in what is sometimes called “long Covid”.</span></p> <p><strong>Vaccines reduce long-term symptoms</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To determine the effect of vaccines on an individual’s likelihood of developing long-lasting illness, the researchers analysed data from the UK Zoe Covid Study app, which tracks people’s self-reported symptoms, vaccination statuses, and tests.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Between December 2020 and July 2021, 1.2 million adults who received one dose and 971,504 who received two jabs tracked their health using the app and were included in the study.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The team found that 6030 (0.5 percent) of those who had received one jab later tested positive to COVID-19, while only 2370 (0.2 percent) people tested positive after receiving two doses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And, of the 592 fully vaccinated people who were infected and continued to provide data for more than a month, only 31 (5 percent) went on to get long Covid.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In comparison, 11 percent of unvaccinated people in the study reported getting long Covid.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers also found that some people had a higher risk of breakthrough infections - getting Covid after being vaccinated - including frail, older adults, and those living in deprived areas.</span></p> <p><strong>Why this matters</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lead researcher Dr Claire Steves said the priority for booster vaccinations should go to those with greater risks of getting sick.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In terms of the burden of long Covid, it is good news that our research has found that having a double vaccination significantly reduces the risk of both catching the virus and if you do, developing long-standing symptoms,” Dr Steves said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study was published in </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(21)00460-6/fulltext" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Lancet Infectious Diseases</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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5 breakfast myths that you didn’t know about your cereal bowl

<p><em>Molecular nutritionist Dr Emma Beckett shares 5 breakfast myths that you didn’t know about your cereal bowl.</em></p> <p><strong>Myth #1: Traditional breakfast foods are bad for you</strong></p> <p><strong>Truth: </strong>Some foods high in carbohydrate, such as wholemeal bread and breakfast cereals contain dietary fibre, which helps us to feel fuller, therefore starting the day off right. </p> <p>Breakfast cereal is a simple and convenient way to start the day and it can often provide more nutrients such as Iron, B-vitamins and fibre, than non-cereal breakfast choices. What’s better, cereal pairs well with other nutrient dense breakfast foods such as Greek yogurt, and nuts, which are a source of protein. Protein is essential in the diet as it is the most filling macronutrient that can help reduce grazing habits throughout the day. </p> <p>Some cereals, like Kellogg’s iconic All Bran and Sultana Bran, are high in fibre and have a 4.5 or even the maximum 5 Health Star rating. Cereals like this have been a popular choice for almost 100 years.</p> <p><strong>Myth #2: Processed = bad? </strong></p> <p><strong>Truth: </strong>Most food needs to go through some sort of processing for it to even be edible and digestible – processing is a broad term that includes cooking, cutting and packaging.</p> <p>For many foods it is necessary to undergo some sort of processing in order to preserve the food and prevent wastage, and to make them tasty and practical. From a nutritional perspective, key nutrients like protein aren’t necessarily lost during processing, they can sometimes be retained or made easier to access through processing. Others like B vitamins and iron may be added back if they’re lost, in a process called enrichment. Staple foods, like breakfast cereals and breads are also often fortified with extra nutrients – these foods are chosen because they are affordable, accessible, shelf stable and popular. It is also important to consider to what degree the food item has been processed, with ultra-processed items to be consumed in moderation. </p> <p><strong>Myth #3: It’s expensive to have a healthy diet</strong></p> <p><strong>Truth: </strong>According to recently published Australian research based on modelling, it is possible to improve Aussie diets while spending less money on food, choosing low-cost nutritious foods improves diet quality and can reduce a family’s grocery bill by over 25 per cent.</p> <p>It can be a misconception that healthy food is far more expensive than unhealthy and takeaway options. There are actually lots of healthy options that are cheap to buy and aren’t going to spoil quickly. Wholemeal bread and breakfast cereals are good for the budget and last for a while. <span style="text-decoration: line-through;"> </span>When it comes to buying fruit and vegetables, canned and frozen options are just as healthy as the fresh ones, and you can buy them cheap and store or freeze ahead of time. If you do your research and shop around, healthy eating really doesn’t have to be as expensive as it might seem!</p> <p><strong>Myth #4: Breakfast cereal is too sugary and has no nutritional value</strong></p> <p><strong>Truth: </strong>Australian data has shown that cereal contributes less than 3 per cent of added sugar in the diet. Many cereals contain whole grains and fibre which many people are not getting enough of. They are full of essential vitamins and minerals that are important for health and wellbeing, and are the number one source of iron in the Aussie diet, especially in children. Cereal contains a range of sugar levels, there are some sweeter ones, but most are moderately sweetened and many sweetened with added fruits which contain natural sugars. </p> <p>For example, half of Kellogg’s 55 cereals contain 2 or less teaspoons of sugar per bowl. Updating formulations have meant that they have removed over 700 tonnes of sugar and 300 tonnes of salt from Aussie diets – that’s the equivalent to the weight of around seven blue whales! </p> <p><strong>Myth #5: If it isn’t wholegrain it doesn’t contain fibre</strong></p> <p><strong>Truth</strong>: Whilst whole grain foods contain fibre, not all fibre-containing foods contain the whole grain. Fibre is found in the outer part of the grain called the bran. The bran can be removed from the grain and used in foods. Foods made with bran may not always contain whole grain but they do contain plenty of fibre. </p> <p>Two out of three Aussies are not meeting their daily fibre targets. In fact, four out of five Aussies don’t eat enough fibre to protect themselves from chronic disease! An adequate intake of fibre is between 25 and 30 grams a day for most of us. That might sound hard, but getting your daily dose is actually easy if you eat high-fibre options including fibre rich breakfast cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.</p> <p>Did you know that different whole grains have different levels and types of fibres - for example whole grain brown rice and corn both have naturally less fibre compared to other whole grains such as whole grain wheat and oats, which have higher amounts of fibre. </p> <p>Just because a whole grain has less fibre doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial - it is! Whole grain is exactly as it sounds - it’s the entire whole grain kernel! Fibre is one component of the whole grain kernel and all components work together to bring health benefits. </p>

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