New blood test to help predict Alzheimer's disease

A group of international scientists has developed a new blood test which can predict Alzheimer's disease more than a decade before its symptoms develop.  The study, released in the journal Nature Medicine today, shows changes in the levels of a protein in the blood could shed light on damage in the brain.

Alzheimer's is now Australia's second biggest killer, and while there's no way to cure it, scientists hope the test could help in the trial of new drugs.

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Researchers examine how being in nature improves health through DIGnity program

Scientists know that nature keeps people healthy, now a team of researchers from a diverse range faculties at the University of Tasmania are trying to figure out how. One of the programs that has already demonstrated that being outdoors is good for people's mental and physical health is the DIGnity gardening program.
The program reaches out to people who are isolated because of physical and mental health, disabilities or social circumstances, such as having young children or being single parents.
Francie Korotki is an aged care resident who comes for lunches at one of the DIGnity community gardens, where adults with disabilities and their carers also share the space.

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Health Benefits of Going On-Country

Going On-Country is expected to have many benefits for the physical, social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal people living in remote areas. Whilst there is evidence that ‘Caring for Country’ programs can improve Aboriginal health, there has been little consideration for the potential benefits of self-initiated activities when On-Country. This research was therefore aimed at finding out if self-initiated On-Country activities are an important source of health benefit for the Anindilyakwa people of Groote Eylandt.

Whilst there are several barriers to going On-Country, the study suggests it is an important source for improving health. In particular, the evidence shows that collecting traditional foods is a culturally inclusive activity that is self-initiated and commonly performed On-Country, which in turn can have several health benefits.

The Health Benefits of going On-Country

Singing helps brain injury sufferers with aphasia learn to speak again

A Queensland choir is using music therapy to unlock language problems and in turn, help sufferers learn to speak again after a brain injury.A person with Aphasia loses the ability to speak following a brain injury like a stroke, but the music therapy bypasses the injured brain cells using rhythm and memory to prompt the words.

Band manager Peter Stuart has mild aphasia and said it sometimes feels like the word he wants to say is on "the tip of his tongue" but he just cannot get it out.

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Been there before: Mental Health peer workers make recovery their Mission

Hospital wards around Orange will have 7 new staff working through them from the end of next week helping people in their darkest hours. However, these staff members aren’t medical professionals – they’re cleaners and footballers and teachers and everything in between – but they’re all people who have been through their darkest hours and no want to help others avoid the same fate.

The 7 new workers are part of a new Mission Australia program to help alleviate the stigma and trauma from mental illness at Bloomfield by having people who have “lived experience” – either themselves or from close family members – dealing and coping with mental health.

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Calls for immediate government action on Indigenous youth suicide crisis

An alarming rise in the number of young Indigenous Australians taking their own life has sparked calls for immediate government intervention. Last year saw the highest ever number of Indigenous youth suicides in a single year and, already, this year, four Aboriginal girls have taken their own lives.

Researchers fear Indigenous children will soon make up half of all youth suicides.

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Malignant hyperthermia resources

Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) is a reaction to commonly used anaesthesia drugs where the body produces too much heat. If it is not recognised and treated in its early stages, MH can lead to death. The risk of developing MH is associated with a change in the genes that are responsible for controlling the release of calcium in muscle cells.

An MH reaction is a rare event, occurring in about one in every ten thousand general anaesthetics. Probably at least one person in every five thousand in the population is potentially susceptible.

Triggering anaesthetics do not necessarily cause an MH crisis every time someone at risk is given them. MH is hereditary; it is passed on through the family. It affects males and females equally, and can occur in every ethnicity. A person with MH has a 50% chance of passing that risk on to each child that they have.

The new Malignant Hyperthermia Australia & New Zealand website provides information for anaesthetists and patients, as well as an online training program and referral contacts.