Gastric bypass surgery associated with increased sleep-medication use

A new study led by SPHPM PhD student Winda Ng has shown that gastric bypass surgery is associated with increased use of medication to enable sleep. The findings, published in Obesity, were consistent at both 3- and 5-years post-surgery and reveal a need for ongoing support to these patients. Winda and her research colleagues at Karolinska Institutet, Deakin University and The Baker Institute compared two groups of Swedish adults 18 years and over with obesity. One group lost weight by gastric bypass surgery, whilst the other underwent intensive lifestyle change programs. At one-year follow-up, the surgical group lost 37kg on average, and the lifestyle modification group lost 18kg on average. Read more >>

Viewing pornography now the norm for young Australians

A landmark study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health has shown extremely high use of pornography among young Australians. The study surveyed 941 young people aged 15-29 and is the first of its kind in Australia since smartphones simplified access to pornography. The researchers, from the Burnet Institute and Monash Public Health, found associations between pornography use and outcomes such as mental health problems and sexual activity at a younger age. Read more >>

Standing up for research participants

By law in Australia, any genetic finding discovered in the course of medical research returned to the participant must be disclosed to life insurance providers when applying for a policy, should the provider request it. Providers can use this as a reason to deny or restrict cover, regardless of whether the change is proven to increase the risk of disease. SPHPM's Dr Paul Lacaze and Jane Tiller made a case for legislation or a moratorium on the use of genetic information by life insurers at the Parliamentary Inquiry into the life insurance industry in Canberra recently. A legislative ban or moratorium would give researchers time to understand the clinical significance of genetic risk variants and would bring Australia into line with countries including the UK, Canada and most of Europe. Read more >>

'Natural' contraceptive methods on the rise in Australia

Although most people in Australia use a method of contraception to prevent pregnancy, many use less effective contraceptive methods and few use long-acting reversible methods such as IUDs and implants. A recent study by Monash University found that around one in seven sexually-active Australians use no contraception, and a further one in seven (15 per cent) use 'natural' contraceptive methods, such as withdrawal or fertility-awareness-based methods. This is a considerable increase from previous studies which have indicated that less than seven per cent of people use these methods. Read more >>

Ilana Ackerman

A/Prof Ilana Ackerman receives inaugural Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowship

A/Prof Ilana Ackerman was one of three recipients to secure an inaugural Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowship from the Victorian Government's BioMedVic. Ilana will be using the four-year fellowship to research how and why hip and knee replacements can sometimes fail, and develop methods to minimise it. Brigitte Smith, chair of the panel that awarded the fellowships, said that the three projects were selected to prioritise key research that "will have a real and lasting impact on people's health and wellbeing".


Professor Malcolm Sim shines a light on Black Lung

Prof Malcolm Sim was invited to give the keynote address at the recent Asian Conference on Occupational Health held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. His talk was on 'Re-emergence of traditional occupational diseases', with a featured case study of the recent MonCOEH project investigating Black Lung in Queensland coal miners. Malcolm also represented the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the management meeting of the Asian Association of Occupational Health, which was held during the conference. The next conference will be held in Seoul in 2020.


Dr James Trauer appointed to global TB body

Dr James Trauer, Head of SPHPM's Epidemiological Modelling Unit, has been appointed as a rotating committee member for TB-MAC (the TB Modelling and Analysis Consortium), the global coordinating body of tuberculosis modelling and analysis. James was one of four successful applicants from around the world selected to serve on the committee over the course of the next three years from a field of high-quality applicants. James will be travelling to Geneva in September to attend TB-MAC's face-to-face meeting on coordination of global TB modelling activities.

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