HIV “game changer”
HEALTH campaigners say a new front has opened in the 30-year war on AIDS after a study showed early use of antiretroviral drugs slashed the risk of HIV infection through sex, The Australian reports. “It’s a game-changer,” said Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, the Jjoint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. The randomised controlled trial, sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, showed that if an HIV-infected partner began immediate antiretroviral treatment and adhered to it, there was a 96% fall in HIV transmission to their partner.

Hot flashes last a decade
HOT flashes of menopause may last an average of more than 10 years, more than twice as long as previously assumed, ABC Science reports. The research published in Obstetrics & Gynecology also found that women who start getting hot flashes (also known as flushes ) before or in the early stages of menopause will have them for longer than women who start later.

Mental health tempered
JUBILIATION in the mental health sector about extra funding in the federal Budget was tempered by concern and even criticism, ABC News reports. The government has promised an extra $1.5 billion over the next five years to help the mentally ill. But the AMA says the government is “penny-pinching” by taking money away from GPs who were helping to provide mental health plans for patients.

Expert witness questioned
A PROFESSOR of psychiatry who appeared in court as an expert witness for the man who threw his daughter off the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne should be sacked from his university job, according to a federal Liberal MP, The Age reports. Senator Julian McGauran has accused Professor Graham Burrows of giving concocted evidence at the trial of Arthur Freeman. Professor Burrows, a psychiatrist with 40 years’ experience, told the jury that Freeman was mentally ill and did not know what he was doing when he threw his daughter off the bridge.

Stroke campaign fails
A PUBLICITY campaign costing millions of dollars to get people to recognise the symptoms of stroke faster has failed to have a lasting effect, according to a study of how the condition is treated, The Telegraph reports. The UK Department of Health funded the 2009 FAST — face, arms, speech, time — campaign to drive home the message to act immediately on the first signs of stroke. Yet new figures from the annual National Sentinel Stroke Audit show that the proportion of patients admitted to hospital within three hours of first symptoms, at 56%, is “slightly worse than in 2008”.

Coffee cuts cancer
GOOD news, coffee fiends: your skinny latte may do more than just make your morning bearable — it may help protect you against developing a particular kind of breast cancer, ninemsn reports. A Swedish study published in Breast Cancer Research found that women who drink five or more cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancer than women who drink one or fewer cups a day.

Posted 16 May 2011

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