Demand to stop quackery
A GROUP of 400 doctors and scientists is lobbying universities to stop offering alternative medicine courses and qualifications, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The Friends of Science in Medicine group, which includes Sir Gustav Nossal and Professor Ian Frazer, says the alternative medicine courses are damaging the reputations of universities. Almost one in three Australian universities now offer courses in some form of alternative therapy or complementary medicine, including traditional Chinese herbal medicine, chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology and aromatherapy.

Stem cell success in macular degeneration
EMBRYONIC stem cells have been used to treat two cases of age related macular degeneration, The Lancet reports. The treatment was found to improve vision, and to be well tolerated. The cells showed no signs of hyperproliferation, tumorigenicity, ectopic tissue formation, or apparent rejection after 4 months. The researchers said the future therapeutic goal will be to treat patients earlier in the disease processes, potentially increasing the likelihood of photoreceptor and central visual rescue. The development was reported by ABC’s PM program.

Food fried in olive oil okay for heart
THE consumption of fried food may not be associated with an increase in coronary heart disease or all-cause mortality if olive oil or sunflower oil is used for frying, according to research in the BMJ. Researchers in Spain, where olive and sunflower oils are used, studied more than 40 000 Spaniards for a median of 11 years and found no association between fried food consumption and risk of heart disease. The research was reported by BBC News.

Overtime really is depressing
WORKING long hours of overtime may predispose people to major depressive episodes, according to new research in PLoS One. Among middle-aged civil servants with no psychological morbidity at baseline, the odds ratio of a major depressive episode was 2.43 times higher for employees working 11 hours or more a day, compared with those working 7–8 hours. The research was reported in the Canberra Times.

Late-term abortion service closes
THE only Australian clinic offering late-term abortions (after 24 weeks) will no longer offer the procedure, The Age reports. Marie Stopes International Australia CEO Maria Deveson Crabbe told the newspaper the organisation was in the process of taking over full management and ownership of the Melbourne-based clinic, and the move to stop the service was an operational decision. The newspaper said the decision to cease late-term abortions appeared to leave Victorian women without access to late-term abortions for reasons other than foetal abnormalities. The clinic has been involved in recent controversies.

Posted 30 January 2012

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