Monthly Archives: June 2019

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Exercise link to prostate cancer survival

Exercise training is being examined as a possible treatment for prostate cancer in a pioneering new study.

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A group of men with the illness are being put through their paces with weekly aerobic sessions by researchers to explore the possible health benefits.

Previous evidence has suggested that exercise can improve survival chances for those diagnosed with the disease.

Backed by Cancer Research UK, it is hoped the year-long study will lead to a full trial, thought to be the first of its kind, to determine if exercise should be used as an NHS treatment.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, with 43,400 cases diagnosed each year, claiming around 10,800 lives.

Volunteer David Curtis, 68, was diagnosed with the illness last March and is counting increased exercise as one of his New Year’s resolutions.

He said: “I was never someone to go to the gym, even though I’ve always been active, but now I go to the gym twice a week and do lots of walking.

“Since starting on the study, I’ve started to lose weight and my PSA level has come down which is a really positive indicator.

“I feel privileged to be on the study and pleased to be part of any research which might be useful to others.”

High levels of PSA, a protein produced by prostate cells, in the bloodstream can be a sign of cancer.

Current forms of treatment for prostate cancer include surgery and radiotherapy, both of which carry risks and side effects.

Study leader Dr Liam Bourk said: “Evidence suggests that men who are physically active after a prostate cancer diagnosis have better cancer survival than men who aren’t active.

“It’s not clear yet how this works, but it might be that exercise affects the way some genes regulate cancer cell growth and DNA repair.”

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Parents struggle to get kids to ‘unplug’

Convincing children to turn off the TV or computer is more difficult than getting them to do their homework, go to bed or take a bath, a UK poll suggests.

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Almost one in four mothers and fathers (23.1 per cent) found it difficult to control the amount of time their son or daughter spent watching television or playing on computers, tablets and phones, according to the Action for Children survey.

In comparison, just one in 10 parents (10.3 per cent) found it difficult to get their youngsters to do their homework, while 17.5 per cent struggled with getting them to bed, 10.5 per cent had trouble getting their child out of bed and ready in the morning and 4.6 per cent found it difficult to encourage their offspring to take a bath.

The poll, which questioned around 2000 parents, also revealed that healthy eating is an issue for some mothers and fathers, with nearly one in five (18.6 per cent) admitting that they found it difficult to get their child to eat the right foods.

The findings come amid continuing concerns that youngsters may be spending too much time online or watching TV, with some experts previously warning that pupils can turn up to school tired after spending time in front of a screen late at night.

Carol Iddon, managing director of operations at Action for Children, said: “Technology is an often necessary part of the lives of children and parents alike, but it’s important to maintain a balance with other activities and quality family time.

“We know from our extensive work with families that strong relationships with parents build resilience in children, making them less susceptible to bullying or abuse outside the home, and encouraging them to speak to their parents about any fears or concerns.

“As well as the conscious effort to cut down on screen-time, some parents benefit from additional support, such as dropping in for a chat or attending support groups at children’s centres, to learn how to better connect with their children.”

The children’s charity has published a series of tips to help parents to get their children to “unplug” from their TV and computer screens. These include planning family activities that do not include technology, and creating a weekly schedule based on the idea of one hour of technology use equalling one hour on other activities.

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PM facing discrimination, Dutton pressure

Labor continues to pursue the government over the Jamie Briggs affair, calling on the federal police to investigate the leaked photo of the public servant who complained about the former minister.

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Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has all but ruled out an investigation, even though he said Mr Briggs shouldn’t have shared the photo of the female public servant which ended up in the media.

But shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus says the “federal police or some other appropriate agency” should be called in to look into the matter.

Mr Dreyfus linked the Briggs affair to the government’s delay in appointing a full time Sex Discrimination Commissioner, four months after Elizabeth Broderick left the post.

Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs has been acting in the role, while Attorney-General George Brandis told parliament in November an “announcement will be made very soon”.

Mr Dreyfus said it’s unacceptable women suffering discrimination have been left with no dedicated advocate for four months.

“I’m floored that the government doesn’t seem to care that Australia has no Sex Discrimination Commissioner,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

The Greens have also called on Mr Turnbull to sack immigration minister Peter Dutton who labelled News Corp journalist Samantha Maiden a “mad f***ing witch” over a column she wrote criticising Mr Briggs.

The prime minister has described Mr Dutton’s text, which he accidentally sent to Ms Maiden instead of Mr Briggs, as clearly inappropriate.

But Greens leader Richard di Natale said Mr Dutton should be replaced by a “capable woman”.

“There’s no question there is a boy’s club in Canberra,” Senator Di Natale told reporters in Melbourne.

The actions of Mr Briggs and Mr Dutton have dominated the start of an election year for the coalition.

Mr Turnbull’s predecessor on Wednesday urged him to keep his promise of holding the poll toward the end of the year.

Tony Abbott made the comment while renewing his push for a registered organisations commission and the re-establishment of the construction watchdog, following royal commission findings into trade unions.

“Swift passage of the `clean unions’ legislation should mean an election at the usual time towards the end of the year as the prime minister has promised,” he wrote in The Australian.

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Vic govt wants Aust-wide hoverboard ban

Hoverboards could be banned in Australia after an explosive fire destroyed a Melbourne home.

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Victoria’s consumer affairs minister Jane Garrett has written to her federal counterpart Kelly O’Dwyer, asking her to consider a permanent ban of the toy following the blaze on Monday.

She has also spoken to colleagues in other states, and says there is widespread concern.

“It has been an issue that has caught the attention of consumer affairs officials right across the country,” Ms Garrett told reporters on Wednesday.

“We just can’t take those risks with, particularly, children’s safety.”

A hoverboard charging in a Strathmore home triggered a fire 10 minutes after it was plugged in on Monday night.

Fire investigators say the toy’s battery exploded, setting the device alight and sparking a fire which spread quickly through the home.

Ash Ibraheim fled with his four daughters and pets after trying to extinguish the blaze with a bucket of water.

Energy Safe Victoria said the unmarked hoverboard, purchased from a NSW distributor, did not comply with national safety standards.

The regulator is trying to figure out the model and supplier of the board, and what part of the toy triggered the battery explosion.

Authorities are urging consumers to check hoverboards they may have at home, with seven products recalled to date.

The device and its charger should be stamped with the Australian Regulatory Compliance Mark, a tick surrounded by a triangle.

If they’re not, the toy is probably illegal and dangerous, and it should be reported and returned, energy and resources minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.

“Please do not risk it. It is simply not worth it,” she said.

A squad of inspectors started visiting stores around Victoria on Wednesday, making sure they’re selling safe models that hadn’t been recalled.

Non-compliant products will be seized, with individuals doing the wrong thing facing fines of $4000 and companies $20,000.

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Malaysia Airlines lifts baggage ban

Malaysia Airlines says it has lifted a ban on check-in baggage on flights to Paris and Amsterdam, after the move angered many passengers who slammed the airline on social media.

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The U-turn came less than 24 hours after the airline announced that passengers cannot check-in baggage for Tuesday and Wednesday flights to the two European cities due to “unseasonably strong headwinds” on a longer flight path it is taking.

The airline said it recently had to operate a longer route to Europe, via Egyptian airspace, for safety reasons.

It said strong headwinds over the past four days were in excess of 200 knots, which can add up to 15 per cent to fuel burn on its Boeing 777 aircraft.

“Based on its current risk assessment, done on a daily basis, the airline is now able to take a shorter route on European flights. Malaysia Airlines maintains that safety is of utmost priority in its operations and will not hesitate to adjust its flight path based on its daily risk assessment,” it said in a brief statement.

It didn’t elaborate on the change in route, and airline officials could not be reached immediately for comment. A Malaysia Airlines jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by a missile in eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Many passengers left angry comments on the airline’s Facebook page, slamming it for being the only airline to impose such a ban.

Some of them said the airline should have limited the number of passengers and rejected freight instead. Others asked for a refund of their tickets.

Losses of two flights in 2014 hit the finances of already struggling Malaysia Airlines. One flight heading to Beijing disappeared and is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. That tragedy was followed months later by the Ukraine disaster.

Last year, the airline appointed its first foreign CEO, Christoph Mueller, the former head of Ireland’s Aer Lingus, to oversee a major restructuring.

Mueller has said the airline can break even by 2018 after cutting 6000 staff, selling surplus aircraft and refurbishing its international fleet.