Early gastric banding
A PANEL of international experts has called for greater use of bariatric surgery to treat type 2 diabetes, The Canberra Times reports. In a statement prepared for the International Diabetes Federation, 20 leading medical specialists said weight loss surgery should be considered earlier in the treatment of diabetes. The co-chair of the panel and director emeritus of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Professor Paul Zimmet, said bariatric surgery could cause some cases of diabetes to go into remission for up to 15 years.

New prostate therapy
PATIENTS with localised advanced prostate cancer can double their chances of survival by undertaking hormone therapy in combination with radiology treatment, ABC News reports. The findings are the result of a 10-year trial, coordinated by the University of Newcastle’s Professor James Denham and published in The Lancet Oncology. A Newcastle-based prostate cancer support group says the research will help save many lives in the region.

MBBS for $220 000
THE AMA is calling on the federal government to stop universities reimposing fees of $220 000 for some domestic medical students, The Australian reports. The University of Melbourne has relabelled its medical degree as a master’s qualification, which means it avoids a ban on full-fee undergraduate degrees for domestic students. There are predictions that other universities will follow suit. The first 55 Australian students paying the $220 000 fee have already enrolled in the university’s remodelled medical course.

Pharmacy flu jabs
A PHARMACY group’s plan to offer flu vaccinations in its six Perth pharmacies has stirred up controversy, WAtoday reports. While a spokesman for the Priceline pharmacies says the scheme is intended to increase vaccination rates, the state’s AMA branch believes it is simply an attempt to “make a buck”. Each flu vaccine would cost $30 and would be administered by nurses.

Smoking lawsuit ends
THE marathon Rolah McCabe tobacco lawsuit has ended ― more than 8 years after she died of lung cancer, the Herald Sun reports. Lawyers on both sides agreed to walk away from their respective claims. In 2002, Mrs McCabe was awarded $700 000 after the Supreme Court ruled that British American Tobacco had deliberately shredded documents to sink her legal action. The payout was later overturned on appeal and there were several attempts to reopen the case.

Thank you for smoking
TOBACO companies are trying to turn smokers into a political force with an under-the-radar campaign encouraging protests against high taxes and bans on smoking in public, news.com.au reports. The “I Deserve to Be Heard” campaign, launched by Philip Morris Limited, involves slipping small cards into cigarette packets directing smokers to a website headlined: “It’s time to tell the government you’ve had enough”. The federal government says it will fight the industry’s campaign “tooth and nail”.

Leukaemia genes
THREE groups of mutations that cause acute myeloid leukaemia have been identified by scientists, the BBC News reports. The researchers suggest their work on mice, published in Nature Genetics, could lead to new treatments.

Pseudoephedrine restrictions?
FACED with a surging methamphetamine problem, a number of US states are considering contentious bills that would require a doctor’s prescription for decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, the New York Times reports. Two states, Mississippi and Oregon, already require prescriptions for pseudoephedrine, and prescription-only bills are being considered in other states. The proposals have met with stiff resistance from drug makers and pharmacy groups, who say the measures would place an undue burden on cold and allergy sufferers.

Heartbreak hurts
BREAKING up is not only hard to do — it’s also painful, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, psychologists studied the brains of 40 people who had experienced an unwanted breakup in the past 6 months. The regions of their brains that responded when thinking about their break-up overlapped those that reacted to physical pain. “These results give new meaning to the idea that rejection ‘hurts’,” the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Horrifying” burger
KFC has released a new bun-less burger which has two slices of melted cheese and bacon sandwiched between two pieces of deep-fried chicken, the Courier Mail reports. Leading nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton labelled KFC’s Double Down burger “horrifying”. In the grips of an obesity epidemic, Australians did not need any more fattening burgers, Dr Stanton said. However, at 1939 kj and 32.3 g of fat, the burger pales in comparison to Hungry Jack’s Ultimate Double Whopper, which delivers a whopping 5085 kJ and 80.5 g of fat.

Posted 4 April 2011

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