Go healthy for good – December 2016


The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show, the New York Times has reported. The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, and published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease, including many of today’s dietary recommendations, may have been shaped by the sugar industry.

Despite half of Australians experiencing at least one chronic disease such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and asthma in 2014-15, more than half (56 per cent) rated their health as “excellent, or very good,” with just 10.4 per cent rating it as “fair,” and just 4.4 per cent as “poor,” according to a recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Go Healthy For Good December

Your brain, the first body system to recognise a stressor, triggers a release of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). The brain can stimulate the stress response for up to 72 hours after a traumatic incident—real or imagined—and longer, if you keep rehearsing it. Everyone needs effective stress-management strategies, but they may be even more critical for females, as their brains appear twice as vulnerable to some stress-related disorders. In the stressed male-rat brain, researchers found that arrestins pull in some of the receptor molecules from the surface of locus ceruleus neurons deep in the brain stem’s alarm centre. With fewer receptors available to bind with CRF, the male brain has, in effect, a toned-down stress sensitivity. Without this mechanism, the female-rat brain takes the full hit, making it more difficult to cope with high levels of CRF, as occurs in depression and post traumatic stress disorder. According to Debra Bangasser, PhD, even in the absence of any stress, the female stress-signalling system is more sensitive from the get-go. Understanding that males and females experience differing brain-stress responses to a similar incident can help you avoid harbouring hurt feelings.—Dr Arlene R Taylor

Non-communicable diseases (NCD), which include cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease, are responsible for nine out of 10 deaths in Australia, and also reduce people’s quality of life and ability to function. The Medical Journal of Australia reports on their prevalence and impact, and says that tackling the growing personal, social and national economic impact of NCDs (also referred to as chronic diseases) is imperative. The MJA report argues that the Australian government is devoting insufficient attention to health policy, funding and program implementation for the effective prevention of NCDs. Many NCDs share common, preventable risk factors such as smoking, harmful alcohol use, poor nutrition and physical inactivity, and contribute to biomedical risk factors such as obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol levels.

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