COVID Booster: pandemic pluses, summer flu and long-lasting vaccine passes its first test

Pfizer jabs aren’t a heart attack risk for the over 75s Good news for those aged over 75, with a study from the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products, published in JAMA, finding that vaccination with Pfizer’s mRNA Comirnaty does not increase short-term risk of heat attack, stroke or other severe cardiovascular problems … Continue reading COVID Booster: pandemic pluses, summer flu and long-lasting vaccine passes its first test

Bernardino Ramazzini is on the job

Looking for a career in healthcare? Occupational medicine, with its focus on treating work-related injuries and illnesses, is “the medical specialty ranked among the highest in satisfaction and lowest in professional burnout”, claims the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It might come as a surprise to learn that the “scientific foundation to modern … Continue reading Bernardino Ramazzini is on the job

Alice Hamilton hates heavy metal

In the early 1920s, scientists from a wide range of disciplines were involved in what the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called “the frantic search” for a fuel additive that would improve the performance of internal combustion engines.  In a 1985 EPA Journal report titled “Lead Poisoning: A Historical Perspective”, the agency stated: “Iodine, aniline, … Continue reading Alice Hamilton hates heavy metal

Coffee may prevent chronic liver disease

Drinking coffee – whichever way you take it – may reduce the risk of liver disease, according to a new study published in the journal BMC Public Health. A team of researchers, from the universities of Southampton and Edinburgh in the UK, analysed UK Biobank data on 495,585 participants, followed over roughly 11 years, to monitor the development of … Continue reading Coffee may prevent chronic liver disease

Infertility of mice and men

A team of Chinese researchers has used mice to identify a gene that causes male infertility, which may pave a way towards treatment. Male infertility affects 20 million people globally, and – unsurprisingly – contributes to about 50% of infertility in couples. There are a variety of reasons for it, but one of the causes … Continue reading Infertility of mice and men

Australia’s path to mRNA vaccine production

Could Australia have its own mRNA vaccine production operation soon? Victoria has announced $50 million in funding for it, while international biotech company BioCina said they have the capability in SA with federal government support. But questions remain about the timelines and feasibility of getting up to speed. Australia had a lot riding on the … Continue reading Australia’s path to mRNA vaccine production

COVID-19 breaks out in Timor-Leste

Australia’s near neighbour, and former Portuguese colony with a population of 1.2 million, Timor-Leste has remained relatively untouched by COVID-19 for over a year. But its porous border with Indonesia and recent floods have raised concern the virus could spread and wreak havoc on Timor-Leste’s poorly equipped health care system. Over the past 12 months, … Continue reading COVID-19 breaks out in Timor-Leste

COVID vaccines: where the bloody hell are we?

Australia’s vaccine rollout program is now being overhauled due to new recommendations regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine. Based on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), the Federal Government has recommended that people under 50 preferentially receive the Pfizer vaccine over AstraZeneca. This follows similar decisions made by regulators in Germany, Norway, Canada, the … Continue reading COVID vaccines: where the bloody hell are we?

Health benefits from natural sounds

Adding to the myriad benefits bestowed by nature, scientists report that natural sounds alone – such as waterfalls and birdsong – are good for our health. In a synthesis of studies, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they found that natural sounds can deliver health benefits such as reduced pain, … Continue reading Health benefits from natural sounds

Novel solution for deadly allergies

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have discovered a function in the immune system that could hold the key to treating allergic conditions like asthma and stop life-threatening anaphylaxis. The process is driven by a protein in the body called neuritin. “We found this absolutely fascinating mechanism of our own bodies that stops the … Continue reading Novel solution for deadly allergies

Pill testing not a drug use driver

New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has found that access to pill testing would not give people an incentive to use drugs. The research, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, surveyed 247 attendees at a West Australian music festival. A significant majority – 212 – of those surveyed had previously taken ecstasy. Attendees … Continue reading Pill testing not a drug use driver

Hearts stopped young

Sometimes, the heart just stops for no perceivable reason. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a prevalent hidden killer, even for younger people: 40% of those who die from SCA are under 50 years old. “SCA is not as rare as we would like it to be,” says cardiologist Elizabeth Paratz, who’s undertaking her PhD at … Continue reading Hearts stopped young