Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Can physical activity improve the mental health of older adults?
    Lautenschlager, NT ; Almeida, OP ; Flicker, L ; Janca, A (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2004-06-29)
    The world population is aging rapidly. Whilst this dramatic demographic change is a desirable and welcome phenomenon, particularly in view of people's increasing longevity, it's social, financial and health consequences can not be ignored. In addition to an increase of many age related physical illnesses, this demographic change will also lead to an increase of a number of mental health problems in older adults and in particular of dementia and depression. Therefore, any health promotion approach that could facilitate introduction of effective primary, secondary and even tertiary prevention strategies in old age psychiatry would be of significant importance. This paper explores physical activity as one of possible health promotion strategies and evaluates the existing evidence that supports its positive effect on cognitive impairment and depression in later life.
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    Combination of contrast with stress echocardiography: a practical guide to methods and interpretation.
    Moir, S ; Marwick, TH (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2004-08-26)
    Contrast echocardiography has an established role for enhancement of the right heart Doppler signals, the detection of intra-cardiac shunts, and most recently for left ventricular cavity opacification (LVO). The use of intravenously administered micro-bubbles to traverse the myocardial microcirculation in order to outline myocardial viability and perfusion has been the source of research studies for a number of years. Despite the enthusiasm of investigators, myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) has not attained routine clinical use and LV opacification during stress has been less widely adopted than the data would support. The purpose of this review is to facilitate an understanding of the involved imaging technologies that have made this technique more feasible for clinical practice, and to guide its introduction into the practice of the non-expert user.
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    Genetics and public health - evolution, or revolution?
    Halliday, JL ; Collins, VR ; Aitken, MA ; Richards, MPM ; Olsson, CA (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2004-11-01)
    During the 19th and early 20th century, public health and genetics shared common ground through similar approaches to health promotion in the population. By the mid-20th century there was a division between public health and genetics, with eugenicists estranged and clinical genetics focused on single gene disorders, usually only relevant to small numbers of people. Now through a common interest in the aetiology of complex diseases such as heart disease and cancer, there is a need for people working in public health and genetics to collaborate. This is not a comfortable convergence for many, particularly those in public health. Nine main concerns are reviewed: fear of eugenics; genetic reductionism; predictive power of genes; non-modifiable risk factors; rights of individuals compared with populations; resource allocation; commercial imperative; discrimination; and understanding and education. This paper aims to contribute to the thinking and discussion about an evolutionary, multidisciplinary approach to understanding, preventing, and treating complex diseases.
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    Nicotine dependence in a prospective population-based study of adolescents: the protective role of a functional tyrosine hydroxylase polymorphism
    Anney, RJL ; Olsson, CA ; Lotfi-Miri, M ; Patton, GC ; Williamson, R (LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2004-02-01)
    Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter of the mesolimbic reward pathway in the human brain, and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine biosynthesis. Consequently, the gene encoding TH is a strong candidate for involvement in the genetic component of addiction. The importance of this gene in nicotine dependence is supported by many studies showing a link between nicotine administration and TH expression. A functional tetranucleotide repeat polymorphism within intron 1 of the TH gene (HUMTH01-VNTR) has been shown to modify tobacco use in two independent Caucasian samples from the USA and Australia. Using information drawn from an eight-wave Australian population-based longitudinal study of adolescent health, we tested the effect of the HUMTH01-VNTR on nicotine dependence. Comparisons were made between dependent smokers and non-dependent smokers. These data provide further support for a protective association between the K4 allele and dependent smoking (odds ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.28-1.0). No associations were observed at any of three other common TH polymorphisms (rs6356, rs6357 and HUMTH01-PstI). Including these data, three independent studies, two of which use identical phenotypes, have now identified a protective relationship between the K4 allele of the functional HUMTH01-VNTR polymorphism and high-level smoking.