20 Feb 2017

Gastric band surgery helpful for overweight diabetic patients

Prof Wendy Brown and her team perform
a gastric banding procedure
by Anne Crawford

A long-term study by Monash University researchers – the first of its kind – has found that gastric band surgery has significant benefits for moderately overweight people with type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have focused on obese people.

The five-year study by Monash’s Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE), found that gastric or Lap-band surgery improved the patients’ chances of diabetes remission, reduced the need for diabetes medication and dramatically enhanced their quality of life.

National Diabetes Strategy critiqued by Prof Paul Zimmet

Professor Paul Zimmet critiques the National Diabetes Strategy.
Video: 1:05 mins
Professor Paul Zimmet was on the National Diabetes Strategy Advisory Group (NDSAG), which made recommendations for the Commonwealth government's National Diabetes Strategy (NDS), published in November 2015.

Substantial NDSAG advice including rationale and key recommendations were omitted. Prof Zimmet published a letter in the Medical Journal of Australia (20 Feb 2017) agreeing with Jane Speight, a critic of the plan, that its rollout will be fragmented and delayed, thereby reducing its effectiveness.

See more:

    15 Feb 2017

    Photo of the week: Dr Orla Morrissey

    Dr Orla Morrissey presented at the CCS Monash Department of Infectious Diseases' highly successful advanced course (200 attendees) on Infections in the Immunocompromised Host last year. Along with Professor Anton Peleg, Orla set up and widely promoted the course to infectious diseases specialists around Australia.
    Congratulations to Dr Orla Morrissey, who was recently appointed as a Fellow of the European Confederation of Medical Mycology! This prestigious award is in recognition of her international reputation as an outstanding and expert educator and researcher in the area of medical mycology. Her most recent publication is:

    What's on at CCS 20-24 Feb 2017

    PhD student Angela Nguyen
    presenting at CCS's 2016
    Honours information night
    Central Clinical School has regular seminar series and postgraduate presentations. Event notices are posted on the CCS Events calendar.

    CCS staff & students can see details of both public and local events (including professional development courses, trade fairs and Graduate Research Student calendars) and deadlines, at the CCS intranet's Announcements page. Various departments have their own calendars.

    See CCS seminar index:www.med.monash.edu.au/cecs/events/seminars.html

    What's on for 20-24 Feb 2017

    Tons! See list below. All items are linked to calendar detail.

    CCS publications up to 17 Feb 2017

    Professor Magdalena Plebanski (seated, above)
    is author on a paper discussing the economics of
    malaria vaccine development. See CCS story.
    Recent publications for Central Clinical School affiliated authors in the departments of the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD), Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Gastroenterology, Immunology and Pathology, Infectious Diseases, Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre (MAPrc), Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) and Surgery:

    Malaria vaccines need forethought in development

    The malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, amidst the
    blood cells. Image: Aku Analis
    by Anne Crawford

    Monash University infectious diseases researchers have called for a new approach to malaria vaccine development, criticising those developing malaria vaccines that fail to act on the parasite’s polymorphism – or ability to change form.

    Malaria kills almost 500,000 people a year globally and can have a crippling economic effect on the countries in which it is endemic. Some 3.2 billion people live in areas where they are at risk of malaria. No commercially available vaccine exists to prevent the disease.

    Professor Magdalena Plebanski and Dr Katie Flanagan, from the Department of Immunology and Pathology’s Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Unit, say in a review published in the high-impact journal Trends in Parasitology that current malaria vaccines that have progressed to human trials largely fail to provide broad-spectrum protection against different polymorphic parasite variants.

    Brains of people with diabetes have to work harder

    Professor Velandai Srikanth is a clinician-
    researcher based at
    Frankston Hospital in 
    the south of Melbourne
    by Anne Crawford

    It was exactly the sort of investigation – and findings – that excites Professor Velandai Srikanth: Twenty-two sets of twins, all aged about sixty, controlled for factors including age, sex, genes and early shared environment. One twin in each pair had type 2 diabetes.

    Comprehensive measures of brain structure and function were obtained. The twins in the study, funded by the Diabetes Australia Research Trust, showed no difference in brain volumes and ultimately performed the same in standard tests of cognitive function. But when it came to testing memory during a functional MRI, it became evident that the diabetic twin’s brain was much working harder, needing to recruit more areas to do the task.

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