ADFA Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Business cards have arrived!

My ADFA Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Inc business cards have arrived in the mail. I am now officially ADFA’s Social Media Voice and I’m very proud and honoured to be asked to take on this very important role and one that I am very passionate in getting the word out that there is no safe asbestos, asbestos kills. Helping via Social Media to create awareness, support and advocacy is a very powerful tool in today’s modern technology.Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA) is a not-for profit organisation working to provide support to people living with asbestos related diseases, family members, carers and friends. ADFA is a community based group founded by Trade Unions, victims, families of victims, and concerned citizens to meet the needs …

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Passive smoking causes irreversible damage to children’s arteries

Exposure to passive smoking in childhood causes irreversible damage to the structure of children’s arteries, according to a study published online today in the European Heart Journal.The thickening of the arteries’ walls associated with being exposed to parents’ smoke, means that these children will be at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life. The researchers from Tasmania, Australia and Finland say that exposure to both parents smoking in childhood adds an extra 3.3 years to the age of blood vessels when the children reach adulthood.The study is the first to follow children through to adulthood in order to examine the association between exposure to parental smoking and increased carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) — a measurement of the thickness of the innermost two layers of the arterial wall — in adulthood. It adds further strength to the arguments for banning smoking in areas where children may be present, such as cars.The study was made up of 2401 participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, which started in 1980, and 1375 participants in the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health study, which started in 1985 in Australia. The children were aged between three and 18 at the start of the studies. The researchers asked questions about parents smoking habits and they used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the children’s artery walls once they had reached adulthood.The researchers found that carotid IMT in adulthood was 0.015 mm thicker in those exposed to both parents smoking than in those whose parents did not smoke, increasing from an average of 0.637 mm to 0.652 mm.”Our study shows that exposure to passive smoke in childhood causes a direct and irreversible damage to the structure of the arteries. Parents, or even those thinking about becoming parents, should quit smoking. This will not only restore their own health but also protect the health of their children into the future,” said Dr Seana Gall, a research fellow in cardiovascular epidemiology at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania and the University of Tasmania.”While the differences in artery thickness are modest, it is important to consider that they represent the independent effect of a single measure of exposure — that is, whether or not the parents smoked at the start of the studies — some 20 years earlier in a group already at greater risk of heart disease. For example, those with both parents smoking were more likely, as adults, to be smokers or overweight than those whos parents didn’t smoke.”The results took account of other factors that could explain the association such as education, the children’s smoking habits, physical activity, body mass index, alcohol consumption and biological cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels in adulthood.Interestingly, the study did not show an effect if only one parent smoked. “We think that the effect was only apparent with both parents smoking because of the greater overall dose of smoke these children were exposed to,” said Dr Gall. “We can speculate that the smoking behaviour of someone in a house with a single adult smoking is different. …

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Fires, floods, winds and snow – 4 seasons in 1

By being connected through social media we find out and éxperience’ where others live around the world without actually leaving home! That is what makes social media so fascinating – the fact that we can keep in touch thanks to modern technology, being connected to the internet and even seeing/sharing immediate pictures of our lives and day to day experiences. Fires have been near here the last few days, floods and strong winds in UK and heavy snow falls in USA and Canada.Valentine’s day yesterday was interesting as to how it is celebrated globally. What is extra special is seeing not just it being celebrated with couples in love, but also families counting their blessings having the love of children, friends and other ‘friends’ they have …

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New maps reveal locations of species at risk as climate changes

In research published today in the journal Nature, CSIRO and an international team of scientists revealed global maps showing how fast and in which direction local climates are shifting. This new study points to a simpler way of looking at climatic changes and their likely effects on biodiversity.As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to track their ideal climate.”The maps show areas where plants and animals may struggle to find a new home in a changing climate and provide crucial information for targeting conservation efforts,” CSIRO’s Dr Elvira Poloczanska said.The study analyzed 50 years of sea surface and land temperature data (1960-2009) and also investigated two future scenarios for marine environments (‘business as usual’ and a 1.75C temperature increase).The new maps show where new thermal environments are being generated and where existing environments may disappear.”The maps show us how fast and in which direction temperatures are shifting, and where climate migrants following them may hit barriers such as coastlines. Our work shows that climate migration is far more complex than a simple shift towards the poles,” ecological geographer with the project Kristen Williams said.”Across Australia, species are already experiencing warmer temperatures. In terrestrial habitats, species have started to seek relief by moving to higher elevations, or further south. However, some species of animals and plants cannot move large distances, and some not at all.”Species migration can have important consequences for local biodiversity. For example, the dry, flat continental interior of Australia is a hot, arid region where species already exist close to the margin of their thermal tolerances.Some species driven south from monsoonal northern Australia in the hope of cooler habitats may perish in that environment.”In the oceans, warming waters and a strengthening of the East Australian Current have mobilised the Long-spined Sea Urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii), previously only found as far south as southern NSW, to invade the eastern Tasmania coast. This has resulted in the decline of giant kelp forests with knock-on effects for commercially-fished rock lobsters,” Dr Poloczanska said.CSIRO and University of Queensland’s Anthony Richardson said the study cannot be used as a sole guide as to what to do in the face of climate change.”Biological factors such as a species’ capacity to adapt and disperse need to be taken into consideration,” Professor Richardson said.”But in an unprecedented period of climate change, economic development and fast growing demand on an already pressured planet, we need to act fast to make sure as much of the world’s living resources survive that change.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Traffic pollution and wood smoke increases asthma in adults

Aug. 20, 2013 — Asthma sufferers frequently exposed to heavy traffic pollution or smoke from wood fire heaters, experienced a significant worsening of symptoms, a new University of Melbourne led study has found.The study is the first of its kind to assess the impact of traffic pollution and wood smoke from heaters on middle-aged adults with asthma.The results revealed adults who suffer asthma and were exposed to heavy traffic pollution experienced an 80 per cent increase in symptoms and those exposed to wood smoke from wood fires experienced an 11 per cent increase in symptoms.Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is one of the most chronic health conditions.Dr John Burgess of the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne and a co-author on the study said “it is now recommended that adults who suffer asthma should not live on busy roads and that the use of old wood heaters should be upgraded to newer heaters, to ensure their health does not worsen.”In the study, a cohort of 1383 44-year old adults in the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study were surveyed for their exposure to smoke from wood fires and traffic pollution. Participants were asked to rate their exposure.The survey asked for exposure to the frequency of heavy traffic vehicles near homes and the levels of ambient wood smoke in winter.Results were based on the self-reporting of symptoms and the number of flare-ups or exacerbations in a 12-month period. Participants reported from between two to three flare-ups (called intermittent asthma) to more than one flare-up per week (severe persistent asthma) over the same time.Traffic exhaust is thought to exacerbate asthma through airway inflammation. Particles from heavy vehicles exhaust have been shown to enhance allergic inflammatory responses in sensitised people who suffer asthma.”Our study also revealed a connection between the inhalation of wood smoke exposure and asthma severity and that the use of wood for heating is detrimental to health in communities such as Tasmania where use of wood burning is common,” Dr Burgess said.”Clean burning practices and the replacement of old polluting wood stoves by new ones are likely to minimise both indoor and outdoor wood smoke pollution and improve people’s health,” he said.”These findings may have particular importance in developing countries where wood smoke exposure is likely to be high in rural communities due to the use of wood for heating and cooking, and the intensity of air pollution from vehicular traffic in larger cities is significant.”The study revealed no association between traffic pollution and wood smoke and the onset of asthma.It was published in the journal Respirology.

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Resourceful microbes reign in world’s oceans

June 24, 2013 — A research team led by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has discovered that marine microbes are adapted to very narrow and specialized niches in their environment. This may explain why so few of these microbes — usually less than 1% — can be grown for study in the laboratory. By utilizing new genetic tools, the researchers’ new ability to read and interpret genetic information from the remaining 99% will be pivotal in detecting and mitigating the impact of human activities in the ocean.The cutting-edge technology that proved critical to the research, and was implemented on a large scale for the first time, is called single cell genomics.”While other tools are available to analyze genes in uncultured microbes, they seldom tell us how these genes fit together and what microbes they come from,” said Ramunas Stepanauskas, the study’s senior author and director of the Bigelow Single Cell Genomics Center (SCGC). “By developing and applying high-throughput single cell genomics, we obtained the first near-complete genomic blueprints of many microbial types that dominate marine ecosystems but used to be inaccessible to scientific investigation.””We found that natural bacterioplankton are devoid of ‘genomic pork,’ such as gene duplications and noncoding nucleotides, and utilize more diverse energy sources than previously thought. This research approach opens a new chapter in the exploration of microbial life in the oceans and in other environments on our planet.””We found that genomic streamlining is the rule rather than exception among marine bacterioplankton, an important biological feature that is poorly represented in existing microbial cultures,” said Brandon Swan, lead author and postdoctoral researcher in the SCGC. “We also found that marine microbes are effectively dispersed around the globe, but they stay within their temperature ‘comfort zones.’ Bacteria that thrive in the frigid Gulf of Maine don’t show up near Hawaii. However, as long as the temperature is right, the same types are found anywhere in the world, whether on the coast of British Columbia, Northern Europe, or Tasmania.””Thanks to single cell genomics and other technological advances, we now have a much more accurate understanding of the biological diversity and processes taking place in the ocean,” said Tanja Woyke, a key co-author from the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. “The amount of adaptations and biochemical innovation that have accumulated in marine microorganisms over billions of years of evolution is astounding — a glass of seawater encodes more genetic information than a desktop computer can hold. This information represents a largely untapped source of novel natural products and bioenergy solutions, both essential for human well-being.”Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is an independent, non-profit center for global ocean research, ocean science education, and technology transfer. The Laboratory conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography — examining the biology in the world’s oceans at the molecular level — to the large-scale processes that drive ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions.Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

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