Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 01/11/2017

In today’s talking points: Australian-led study detects genetic risk factors for asthma, hay fever and eczema; Empowered consumers take control of their health; Australian study reveals major benefits of an age friendly workplace; Herbal extracts improve symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome, new study shows


Australian-led study detects genetic risk factors for asthma, hay fever and eczema

Hay fever, eczema and asthma often occur together and thanks to an Australia-led study we now have more of an idea why. The study, published yesterday, located 136 risk prone genome positions from over 360,000 study participants. Inheriting these genes is only half of the story, however, as environmental factors also determine the activity or inactivity of the genes. A gene called PITPNM2, for example, is often switched off in smokers, putting them at greater risk of developing allergies. By more thoroughly understanding “why allergies develop in the first place,” the study’s lead author, Dr Ferreira, said the research could potentially “give us new clues on how they could be prevented or treated.”

Read more at: ABC


Empowered consumers take control of their health

Chinese company CloudHealth Medical Group plans to integrate their consumer experiences “with personal ‘pan-omics’ data to redefine the way [they] engage with consumers,” said the company’s chair Baojun Gao. Novel new healthcare methodologies are needed, as consumers, healthy or otherwise, grow more likely to manage their health through the Internet and social media, prior to visiting a doctor. CloudHealth Medical Group’s executive director, Dickson Setzo, said that the company aims to “empower [consumers] by making their data more interactive,” in a world “in which consumers are having more influence and control over the products used in their care.”

Read more at: China Daily


Australian study reveals major benefits of an age friendly workplace

Data from a decade long survey of 1,700 Australian people aged between 45 and 64 has shown that an age friendly workplace, that allows a worker to voluntarily retire, contributed to better health and longer careers of older workers. The data measured participants’ changes in health in relation to their transition out of the workplace. Those that involuntarily left a paying job showed an increase in dissatisfaction with their health, finances and life.  In addition, these workers were more likely to depend on welfare and experience mental distress. According to Professor Hal Kendig, “Enabling mature aged workers to have longer careers offers benefits for both individual wellbeing and government budgets.”

Read more at: Xinhua


Herbal extracts improve symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome, new study shows

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition that affects up to 21 per cent of Australian reproductive age women and includes symptoms such as infertility, irregular periods, facial hair, acne, polycystic ovaries, metabolic disorders and psychological disorders. While lifestyle intervention is recommended, as the condition is more prevalent in those who are overweight, additional pharmaceutical medication is often prescribed. In a recent study by the National Institute of Complementary Medicine, 122 women were split into two groups, with both changing their lifestyle to include regular exercise and healthy eating, but just one group receiving herbal extracts. Results showed that both groups symptoms improved, but those receiving the herbal extracts showed a greater improvement.

Read more at: Sydney Morning Herald