Tag Archives: diabetes

Fighting the new killers: The Australia- Indonesia Centre Health Cluster

Heart attacks, cancers, mental disorders, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise in Indonesia and Australia. In 2007 they caused 60 per cent of Indonesian deaths; by 2014 this had risen to more than 70 per cent.

NCDs also account for over 90 per cent of Australian deaths. More than half the country’s adults are considered overweight or obese and a 2014 study found Australia’s obesity rate was rising faster than anywhere else in the world.

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Taking autoimmune disease personally

More than 1.2 million Australians have an autoimmune disease. But any two people may experience it very differently, even if their disease has the same name.

Carola is using genetics to fight autoimmune disease. Credit: John Curtin School of Medical Research
Carola is using genetics to fight autoimmune disease. Credit: John Curtin School of Medical Research

Unlike infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases are not passed from person to person. They are our bodies fighting themselves, making every person’s disease unique.

“A lot of clinical trials fail as they treat all patients with a certain ‘disease’ as one big group,” says Professor Carola Vinuesa, from the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence in Personalised Immunology at The Australian National University.

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Glucosamine study raises fertility concerns

Research on the effects of the popular joint supplement glucosamine has raised fears for women’s fertility, and a knee-jerk reaction from the vitamin industry, as Adelaide scientists reveal its threat to conception.

Photo: Green staining in a glucosamine-treated egg (bottom) shows increased activity in the glucose-sensing pathway compared with a control (top). Credit: Robinson Research Institute

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Obese dads leave kids with fat chance

An obese father increases the risk of his children and grandchildren becoming obese, even if they follow a healthy diet. That’s the implication of a series of mouse studies conducted at the University of Adelaide.

Photo: A mouse with diet induced obesity and its control counterpart. Credit: Robinson Research Institute

The researchers found that a father’s high-fat diet could change the molecular make-up of his sperm, leading to obesity and diabetes-like symptoms in two generations of offspring.

“With obese fathers, changes in the sperm’s microRNA molecules are linked with programming the embryo for obesity or metabolic disease later in life,” says Tod Fullston, the study’s lead author and an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellow with the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute.

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Academy recognition

Photo: Wouter Schellart’s geodynamics research into the activity of the Earth’s mantle, including the Mt Etna volcano, earned him the AAS Anton Hales medal for Earth Sciences. Credit: NASA

The Australian Academy of Science recognised five individuals for their career achievements in 2013.

Health check for live cells

Unhealthy cells are less “squishy” than their healthy counterparts. That difference is used by a small device developed by engineers at Monash University to test living blood cells for diseases, such as malaria and diabetes. The device can then sort the cells for future culturing and experimentation without harming them.

A simulation of a red blood cell being trapped and strained for measurement in the Monash device. Credit: Yann Henon, Andreas Fouras & Greg Sheard
A simulation of a red blood cell being trapped and strained for measurement in the Monash device. Credit: Yann Henon, Andreas Fouras & Greg Sheard

The patented “lab-on-a-chip” and accompanying control system has attracted considerable interest from pharmaceutical companies, according to co-inventor Dr Greg Sheard of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Continue reading Health check for live cells

Fresh Science 2010

Each year we identify early-career scientists with a discovery and bring them to Melbourne for a communication boot camp. Here are some of their stories.

More at www.freshscience.org.au

Print your own lasers, lights and TV screens

Print your own lasers, lights and TV screens
Jacek Jasieniak sprinkling quantum dots. Credit: Jacek Jasieniak

Imagine printing your own room lighting, lasers, or solar cells from inks you buy at the local newsagent. Jacek Jasieniak and colleagues at CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and the University of Padua in Italy, have developed liquid inks based on quantum dots that can be used to print such devices and in the first demonstration of their technology have produced tiny lasers. Quantum dots are made of semiconductor material grown as nanometre-sized crystals, around a millionth of a millimetre in diameter. The laser colour they produce can be selectively tuned by varying their size.

Cling wrap captures CO2
Colin Scholes operates a test rig for his carbon capture membrane. Credit: CO2 CRC

Cling wrap captures CO2

High tech cling wraps that ‘sieve out’ carbon dioxide from waste gases can help save the world, says Melbourne University chemical engineer, Colin Scholes who developed the technology. The membranes can be fitted to existing chimneys where they capture CO2 for removal and storage. Not only are the new membranes efficient, they are also relatively cheap to produce. They are already being tested on brown coal power stations in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley, Colin says. “We are hoping these membranes will cut emissions from power stations by up to 90 per cent.”

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A milk protein that encourages exercise?

Milk contains a protein that builds muscles in mice. Credit: Vicci Crowley-Clough
Milk contains a protein that builds muscles in mice. Credit: Vicci Crowley-Clough

Victorian scientists have discovered a milk protein with the potential to treat metabolic syndrome and chronic muscular and bone diseases.

The protein, when given daily to mice, caused them not only to build more muscle but also to want to exercise. The findings also showed an increase in muscle in mice not given exercise.

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Breaking the link between fat and diabetes

Michael Cowley has shown how our brain tells our body we are full. Credit: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Michael Cowley has shown how our brain tells our body we are full. Credit: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Why do we get fat? What’s the link between obesity, diabetes and hypertension? Can we break the link? These are critical questions around the world. Prof. Michael Cowley may have the answers.

He’s shown how our brains manage our consumption and storage of fat and sugar and how that can go wrong. He’s created a biotech company that’s trialling four obesity treatments.

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Could Vitamin D have a role in diabetes?

On Mondays, Jenny Gunton sees diabetes patients at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital. And from Tuesday to Friday, she heads up a diabetes research laboratory at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. She’s also the mother of two-and-a-half-year-old “Action Boy”.

Jenny Gunton, Photo credit: SDP Photo, Tim Morison
Jenny Gunton, Photo credit: SDP Photo, Tim Morison

Gunton is one of a growing band of physician-scientists. “It’s not a financially sensible decision, but I enjoy it,” says Gunton. “It’s also a better way for me to ask questions and attempt to answer them. And in that way, I help my patients.”

And now, with the help of her L’ORÉAL Australia For Women In Science Fellowship she will be exploring the link between Vitamin D and diabetes.

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