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NOVEMBER 2015

Join the fight against antibiotic resistance

To encourage the responsible use of antibiotics across the health sector, agriculture, industry and communities, we're joining NPS MedicineWise to promote Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 from 16 to 22 November. 

Antibiotic Awareness Week encourages all Australians to play a part in addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance, which would mean simple infections that are treatable today may become untreatable tomorrow. This is already happening in Australia with some types of infections such as golden staph and gonorrhea already resistant to multiple antibiotics.

With the theme Antibiotics: Handle with care, the week will encourage everyone that by using antibiotics responsibly now, we can change the future. You can play you part by taking a pledge to become an Antibiotic Resistance Fighter on the NPS MedicineWise website.

COPD Athlete completes the New York City Marathon

On Sunday, Russell Winwood aka COPD Athlete, set a new world record and fulfilled his dream of completing the New York City Marathon unaided.

But while completing the famous race with a time of 6 hours and 5 minutes – only five minutes short of his target – is a fantastic personal accomplishment, Russell’s greatest achievement is raising awareness of the benefits of exercise for people with chronic lung disease in Australia, the United States and across the world.

“If I can run a marathon, hopefully it proves to people with serious asthma and COPD, along with all the scientific evidence out there, that getting active is one of the best ways to deal with your condition.”

We are very proud to have supported Russell and congratulate him on reaching his goal. We look forward to working with Russell in the future in raising awareness of the benefits of exercise for people with chronic lung conditions. 

Preventing the development of asthma and allergies – it's in your gut

Asthma news doesn't often cross over to prime time very often but over the last month, the findings of this Canadian research have been appearing everywhere: the good bacteria in your gut may prevent the development of asthma and allergy.

Mirroring a range of recent research into the microbiome that has found the trillions of organisms living in our bodies help as much as hinder our health, this University of British Columbia research found that infants can be protected from getting asthma if they acquire four types of gut bacteria by three months of age.

The research supports the well-known 'hygiene hypothesis' which suggests that modern environments and a lack of exposure to certain bacteria from the moment of birth are to blame for the steady rise in asthma and allergy.

It's a thing: thunderstorm asthma

This is the time of year that weather across most of Australia is very unsettled and that combined with peak pollen season makes it a dangerous time for people with asthma and allergies.

Thunderstorm asthma is definitely real but it remains a bit a mystery to researchers who have not been able to pinpoint the perfect combination of environmental and meteorological factors that cause it. Rain's impact on pollen and other wind-borne allergens certainly play a part, but the sudden drop in temperature that often accompanies a thunderstorm also plays a role.

The best advice we can give at this time of year is to remain extra vigilant, stick to your preventer treatment, always keep your reliever close by and if particular bad weather is forecast, try to stay indoors.

It's also a good idea to keep an eye on your local pollen count – most Australian capital cities now have an online and app-based pollen counting platform available.

'Staggering' signs from NZ study on smart inhalers

Tech-enhanced asthma devices have been emerging more and more, and this week a new study out of New Zealand has caused quite a stir with the results described by a clinical pharmacist  as 'staggering'. 

The University of Auckland study showed big improvements in the number of young people taking their preventer and they were also found to wake less at night and show fewer asthma  symptoms.


The results of the study – the largest in the world to investigate the effects of this type of inhaler device – were published in The Lancet.

Participants required: can you help with research into chronic disease and work/life balance?

Researchers from the University of Queensland are conducting a study on how work and family conflicts affect quality of life for parents and their children, with a particular emphasis on the impact of chronic diseases like asthma.

This series of research studies aim to compare parents with chronically ill children and parents of healthy children to investigate differences in work/family-conflict, parenting and quality of life. Both parents and children are required as study participants.

To participate, all parents and children need to do is complete an online questionnaire. Children must be aged between 5-12 years to participate.
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