Home-grown polypill
AUSTRALIAN scientists have developed a pill that may halve the risk of heart disease and strokes, the Herald Sun reports. The “polypill” — containing aspirin, a statin, an antihypertensive and a diuretic — could be available within 2 years at a cost of just 20c a day. Researchers from Sydney’s George Institute for Global Health said the latest study showed people taking the polypill long-term could halve their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Fat jobs
RESEARCHERS have found a new culprit in the obesity epidemic — the American workplace, the New York Times reports. Jobs requiring moderate physical activity, which accounted for 50% of the labour market in 1960, have plummeted to just 20%, according to a report in PLoS One. The shift from physical to sedentary work translates to an average decline of 120 to 140 calories a day in energy expenditure, closely matching America’s steady weight gain in the past 5 decades.

Too much calcium?
A NEW study has found that consuming more than the recommended daily amount of calcium could actually promote bone fractures, the ABC AM program reports. The researchers found that between 700 mg and 800 mg of calcium a day was enough to protect bone health, and higher amounts did not confer benefit. In Australia the recommended daily dose is 1300 mg. The research found some evidence that high calcium intake may increase the rate of hip fractures, but the authors stressed that this finding needed to be interpreted with caution.

Opioid concerns
GPs are concerned that about 22 000 West Australians are addicted to opioids such as morphine and oxycodone, prescribed to them to manage chronic pain while they waited up to 12 months to see a pain medicine specialist, WA Today reports. The problem was exacerbated because of a 3-month delay in registering a patients’ opioid prescription on a state-wide database, allowing addicts to “doctor shop” unchecked. The concerns are detailed in an interim report from a WA government committee, which states that the number of people misusing prescription drugs is at a similar level to those consuming heroin.

Website uproar
HEALTH fund NIB has vowed to continue developing a website allowing the public to score the performance of more than 160 000 allied health workers, despite the government warning that its plans would break the law, The Australian reports. NIB was warned it would breach the Health Insurance Act if it used information provided to it by Medicare Australia for billing purposes to create the website’s list of provider names and addresses. Plans for the website provoked a storm of protest from allied health provider organisations, which fear privacy breaches from the publication of home addresses.


Posted 30 May 2011


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