Media Release Embargoed until June 4, 2013 New Science by New Investigators in the ACT!!
Tuesday, 4th June 2013 Sultry Summers Ahead! – Can climate change affect mental health?
Researches from the Australian National University have found that increasing humidity, as a result of climate change, could adversely affect mental health. “Our climate is predicted to become hotter and more humid due to greenhouse gas emissions” said Ning Ding from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at ANU. Analyzing data from the Australian 45 and Up study, the effects of heat and humidity on mental health was estimated in 21,737 women and 19,746 men. Ning found that heat alone only had modest effects on mental health, but “heat plus humidity would worsen mental health significantly, particularly for women”.
Getting the Toe-tal Story on Fungal Infections!
Fungal toenail infections are increasing in prevalence worldwide. Fungal toenail infections referred to onychomycosis or tinea unguium and can be painful and embarrassing, leading to low self-esteem and reduced quality of life among sufferers. Dr Jackson Thomas from the University of Canberra has been investigating the bacterial and fungal skin infections focussing on onychomycosis. His research has identified that lifestyle changes and an ageing population is contributing to an increase in the number of sufferers in Western societies. Furthermore, current treatments for onychomycosis are largely ineffective, oral medications have moderate to severe side-effects and not recommended in all patient populations. More research is warranted for the investigation and development of more effective and economical treatment options for the clinical management and prophylaxis of toenail onychomycosis said Dr Thomas.
Kunzea oil, from the Tasmanian native plant, kunzea ambigua, has shown promise in treating nail infections. Kunzea oil is already listed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for topical application to relieve arthritis and rheumatism pain, and general muscle and joint aches.
Dr Thomas reports: kunzea oil showed comparable efficacy to a commonly prescribed topical antifungal agent to treat fungal toenail infections. Dr Thomas said Kunzea oil shows promising potential as a cheap, effective alternative topical treatment for the long-term management of onychomycosis.
Electrical firestorms raging through the brain
Taming the electrical firestorm: A pathway to preventing epileptic seizures
By understanding the mechanism of how epileptic seizures develop, researchers at the Australian National University hope to discover new treatments for epilepsy. „An epileptic seizure can be thought of as a firestorm of electrical activity raging through the brain," said Jennifer Robertson, Eccles Institute of Neuroscience, ANU. It has recently been shown that epileptic seizures pass through a part of the brain called the piriform cortex before propagating to the whole brain. Jennifer now hopes that investigating how this brain circuitry goes awry will lead to new ways to prevent epileptic seizures.
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