vertebral fractures - with cement!
With compliments of ACA Channel 9
19 August 2003
Reporter: Jane Hansen
fractures are common among severe osteoporosis
sufferers but up until recently there
have been few alternatives to manage the
pain. Now, as ACA reports, a procedure
known as vertebroplasty - which involves
an injection of concrete into the fracture
- is giving patients new hope of an improved
quality of life.
hard to believe but just 24 hours ago,
Marie Englund could barely move after
a fall fractured her spine and she says
the pain was agonising.
couldn't even talk, it crossed under my
chest, it was agony," she says. "It's
the most terrible pain and I can't describe
hours, Marie's fracture was pinpointed
and treated with an injection of cement
by specialist Dr William Clark, which
he says stops the movement in the broken
bone and abolishes the pain almost immediately.
Professor Terry Diamond says the treatment
is a remarkable improvement on traditional
therapies, which have largely been ineffective
for many years.
of the spine is very difficult to do so
treatment has centred on heat and cold
packs and analgesia with rehabilitation,"
he says. "Six to six months is the
natural history for how long spinal fractures
take to heal."
Margaret McGuiness, who fractured her
spine just a few days ago, undergoing
vertebroplasty seems a little daunting
but she fears the alternative.
no alternative really," she says.
"Only sitting in a chair with painkillers."
to Dr Clark, Margaret's spine actually
looks as though there is a fracture right
through the middle of the vertebral body
and these types of injury tends to be
very painful. That's why this procedure
- which involves the same cement orthopaedic
surgeons have been using for many years
to glue hip joints - is so appealing.
mix up the cement by adding some liquid
to some powder and we have a working time
of about three to four minutes to inject
the cement," explains Dr Clark.
hour later, the local anaesthetic has
worn off and Margaret is resting more
therapy is by no means a cure for osteoporosis
but it's an effective treatment that returns
the quality of life to the elderly and
in some cases saves lives. Without the
procedure, 90-year-old World War II veteran
Gordon McIlvene may not have survived
after fracturing his back two years ago.
Diamond says Gordon's severe back pain
began when he got off the bus he'd caught
into town. The pain ended up getting much
was eventually wheelchair-bound and started
to get secondary infection in his lungs
because of the pain," says Professor
Diamond. "He's the classic patient
who is at risk of pneumonia, ending up
in hospital, getting clots in the legs
and dying from a pulmonary event - in
this group, the therapy is amazing."
Gordon, he's back to his cheeky self,
ready and looking forward to marching
at next year's ANZAC Day parade.
[surgeons] do things behind your back,
you know?" he jokes. "I still
don't know what they actually did but
I've been alright ever since.
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vertebroplasty: what is it?
With Compliments of ACA Channel 9
19 August 2003
in the following fact sheet has been provided
by Associate Professor of Medicine, Terry
is a vertebral fracture?
spinal column comprises a number of vertebral
bodies (cervical, thoracic and lumbar). With
severe osteoporosis, a vertebral body can
fracture either spontaneously following a
cough, sneeze or with minimal trauma such
as lifting a small shopping bag.
fracture is associated with severe, excruciating
back pain, requiring narcotic analgesia and
hospitalisation. Patients are usually elderly
and may develop significant complications
following fracture, such as pneumonia, blood
clots and even death (increased by as much
recently, analgesia, bracing, heat packs and
physiotherapy offered some benefit.
or cementoplasty is a technique whereby liquid
cement is injected through a fine needle into
a vertebrae body under careful X-ray screening.
cement is injected in liquid form and rapidly
undergoes a thermal reaction and solidifies.
When the liquid substance is injected, it
first dissipates throughout the fine fractured
trabecular network of the vertebral body and
then solidifies, acting as a solid support
for the pain-sensitive vertebral endplates
and the spinal column above. This process
results in dramatic pain relief.
can benefit from this treatment?
was first developed in 1987 for the treatment
of spinal tumours. It is now recognised as
a very effective modality for treating acute
painful vertebral fractures in elderly osteoporotic
patients. This procedure is predominantly
of benefit in individuals who have MRI evidence
of acute vertebral fractures.
results in prompt pain relief and allows for
the rapid rehabilitation of patients, thereby
preventing hospital admission and fracture-related
procedure is performed on a day-only outpatient
service. The overall reduction in costs and
bed days associated with acute vertebral fractures
treated by successful vertebroplasty may have
significant savings on the ailing health economy.
Are there any drawbacks?
· Not all patients are suitable for
vertebroplasty. This technique is indicated
for treating patients with acute severe osteoporotic
vertebral fractures. It is not a technique
for treating chronic vertebral deformities.
· Vertebroplasty is contraindicated
in individuals who are on blood thinners (anti-coagulants)
and those in whom the fracture deformity impinges
on the spinal cord.
· It is not without risk. Complications
may be related to cement allergy, bleeding
from the procedure and leakage of cement into
surrounding structures and blood vessels.
· Vertebroplasty should currently be
reserved for the elderly patient (60+), since
the long-term risks of increased spinal stiffness
associated with recurrent fractures remains
there any other treatment required after vertebroplasty?
is important to note that vertebroplasty only
treats the symptoms. Most patients have severe
underlying osteoporosis placing them at high
risk of recurrent fractures. Treatment with
appropriate anti-osteoporotic drug therapies
is indicated. Moreover, an optimal rehabilitation
program with hydrotherapy is indicated after
the procedure, so as to allow the individual
to return to his/her pre-fracture lifestyle.
performs this procedure?
are very rare but can be significant. Vertebroplasty
is very much operator-dependent. It is imperative
that vertebroplasty only be undertaken in
tertiary care referral centres with highly
trained and skilled radiologists with optimal
radiological imaging equipment.
research (Diamond et al, American Journal
of Medicine 2003) indicates when compared
to conservative therapy, vertebroplasty results
in prompt pain relief and rapid rehabilitation.
In experienced hands, it is considered a safe
and effective procedure for treating acute
osteoporotic vertebral fractures.
The two articles above are from ACA Channel
A special thank you to Channel
9 & ACA.
any articles on any of our pages are for reference purposes only. Please,
we urge you to always seek the advice of your Health Professional for
diagnosis and treatment and answers to any questions you are seeking.
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to know more about this disease? Here is a great site that provides
links to State organisations, support groups as well as the latest
The is an American Web site
on the same subject which also offers various information on the disease
and its treatments.
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Anti - Alzheimer's day
a crossword puzzle, play a board game and then go dancing - this could
be the agenda for an anti-Alzheimer's day.
A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine
has suggested that brain exercise extends functional brain life. New
York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine neurologist Joe Verghese
said it was not clear whether using the grey matter actually slowed
the degeneration process or increased the number of brain cells that
could later be lost. But either way, the result was a significant
reduction in dementia.
The study found that those who regularly challenged themselves mentally
through such activities as reading, playing board games, doing crossword
puzzles or playing a musical instrument reduced their chances of developing
dementia by about two-thirds.
Verghese and his team have followed hundreds of elderly volunteers
for more than 20 years and believe they have collected sufficient
information to confirm the 'use it or lose it' theory.
One specific finding of the study was that people who did crossword
puzzles four days a week had only half the risk of dementia when compared
to those who did the puzzles one day a week.
Physical activity seemed to have little effect, except for dancing.
Those who frequently danced lowered their risk by 76 per cent.
up: a radical procedure for replacements
Australian surgeons have pioneered a radical procedure for knee replacements,
which for the first time can be done using keyhole surgery.
According to medical professionals, it lessons the impact of surgery
and dramatically improves the recovery time. Douglas
Blanchonette is one of 20,000 Australians undergoing knee replacements
each year, a legacy of plenty of sport and age-related arthritis.
thought I was bulletproof when I was young," the knee replacement
patient said. In
recent years, a trend to do partial knee replacements has resulted
in smaller and smaller incisions.
But now, Australian surgeon Ray Randle has developed a world first.
virtually a keyhole surgery technique, assisted by a camera on what's
called an arthroscope, a hole about two centimetres is all that is
needed to insert the partial knee replacement. "By
using this technique we don't disturb any deep soft tissues or muscle
and that means there's less swelling and that the patient's recovery
is much faster," said orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Ray Randle.
The Australian team developed special instruments to make the new
procedure possible, recently demonstrated at the biggest orthopaedic
conference in America. Here,
surgeons were so impressed that they have ordered the first run of
instruments. However, they, and Australian surgeons, will need special
training before the procedure is generally available. "There's
no doubt it's technically more difficult than doing it through an
open cut, but it is certainly a win for the patient," said Dr
Patient Lorraine Leuckel was mobile just 48 hours after surgery.
all fixed, none of the dramatic pain compared to the heartache that
I thought I was going to be going through," she said.
Keyhole-arthroscopically assisted partial knee replacement:
Gold Coast Surgeon Dr Ray Randle
Ph: 1800 21 22 00 (only for Queensland)
Interstate: (02) 66 21 2200
Source: A special thank you to National Nine News for
Remember, any articles on any of our pages
are for reference purposes only. Please, we urge you to always seek
the advice of your Health Professional for diagnosis and treatment
and answers to any questions you are seeking.
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Right to life fears over Victorian ruling
Critically-ill patients being tube-fed can now choose to end their
lives after a Victorian court ruled such feeding was medical treatment,
not palliative care.
Right to life groups claimed the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court
would lead to the deaths of vulnerable people who were not imminently
dying. But medical and legal experts said it finally clarified a "grey"
area of Victoria's Medical Treatment Act and there were safeguards
in place to protect the lives of patients.
The court made its ruling in the case of a 68-year-old woman who has
been unconscious in a nursing home for three years. The woman, known
only as BWV, is suffering from a rare form of dementia known as Pick's
disease and has been kept alive by being fed through a stomach tube.
Stuart Morris found the artificial feeding was a medical procedure
under the Act, rather than palliative care, and as such could be
refused. He said the ruling would enable the Public Advocate, Julian
Gardner, "to decide on behalf of BWV whether it is now time
to allow her to die with dignity".
Mr Gardner said the decision made it clear that everyone had a right
to refuse medical treatment and it would not endanger the lives
of other tube-fed patients.
"This decision relates to people who made their wishes known
while they were competent and if those wishes were not made known
or they didn't ever have any wishes, then if I for example were
their guardian, I would fight to continue to get the medical treatment,"
he said. "This case is about someone who, while they were competent,
made their views and wishes about medical treatment clearly known.
"What the decision does is to respect that and mean that they
will now be allowed the same rights as the rest of us. They will
not be treated as second-class citizens." Mr Gardner would
not say when BWV's treatment would cease.
The woman's family said they were grateful for the court's decision.
"The family feel that the court has considered the best interests
of BWV and know that this is the outcome she would have wanted,"
they said in a statement. "The primary concern is that BWV
receives the best care possible and the family are sympathetic to
others in the same situation."
But Right to Life Australia president Margaret Tighe said it was
"not an act of love to kill somebody by dehydration and starvation".
Mrs Tighe said the ruling could result in the untimely deaths of
other tube-fed people. "I do feel fearful for the lives of
many people who will be considered expendable," she said. "There
will be lives that are lost, lives that should never have been lost,
simply because the nutrition and hydration will have been removed,
and even though that patient might well have recovered.
"Some people would say it's not euthanasia, but clearly it's
a decision to end a person's life by an act of omission."
A special thank you to AAP & Channel 9 news for
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YOU CAN FIND OUT ABOUT DRUG
REACTIONS AND MEDICATION ERRORS
Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care
19 December 2003
now have easy access to advice about adverse drug reactions and
medication errors following the recent launch of Australia's first
Adverse Medicine Events consumer reporting hotline.
hotline, which operates Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm (AEST),
is part of an 18-month trial by The Australian Council for Safety
and Quality in Health Care to track people's adverse medicine experiences
in order to improve medication safety.
and Quality Council Chair, Professor Bruce Barraclough, says the
hotline allows people to report any adverse reactions, medication
errors or 'near misses' with prescription medicines, over the counter
drugs, and complementary medicines.
Mater Health Services is conducting the trial, following a successful
two-year pilot of the concept in Queensland. The Adverse Medicine
Events Line is staffed by pharmacists with specialist training in
Barraclough says one woman found that taking a cranberry tablet
was causing her insomnia. "She was taking the tablets for her
bladder while on the anti-depressant medication, dothiepin, when
she started having trouble sleeping," he says. "A call
to the hotline and the pharmacist was able to pinpoint how the herbal
preparation was likely to be lowering the dose of her anti-depressant
medication and reducing the effectiveness of her medication - thereby
stopping her from getting a good night's sleep."
Barraclough says de-identified data will be collected through the
hotline service and fed back to health professionals to assist in
changing systems to help prevent the reoccurrence of these adverse
feedback about the use of medications is an important tool in assisting
us to improve our processes regarding medication management,"
can go wrong in complex health systems and the important thing is
to identify the potential areas of risk, and to change our systems
of care to make them safer for patients."
are encouraged to call the Adverse Medicine Events Line to report
or get advice on medication problems on 1300 134 237.
can see the Safety Council's website at:
support for the aged to stay at home!
Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Ageing
16 December 2003
will receive increased support to remain in their own homes as they
age, following the announcement of 1,345 new aged care places by
the Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop, today.
places, supported with over $27 million in Australian Government
funding, have been allocated to 97 approved providers operating
144 separate services across Australia.
latest round of placements form part of the Australian Government's
on-going commitment to providing more aged care places for older
Australians", Ms Bishop said.
new places comprise 906 Community Aged Care Packages (CACP) and
439 Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH)packages, both of which provide
aged care to people in their own home.
coming to office in 1996, the Australian Government has increased
funding for Community Aged Care Packages by more than 700 per cent.
In doing so we have helped fulfil the aspirations of more than 27,000
Australians who wish to remain living independently in their own
home and community as they age," she said.
Bishop said the aged care industry sector showed strong interest
in working in partnership with the Australian Government by applying
for the available places.
are allocated to those applicants who have demonstrated they can
best meet the care needs of the ageing community within a specified
of the key priorities for 2003 were to provide care to people living
with dementia and improving access to aged care services for people
with special needs," Ms Bishop said.
prescribed special needs groups are veterans, including a spouse,
widow or widower of a veteran, people in rural and remote Australia,
people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, people
from non-English speaking backgrounds and people who are financially
or socially disadvantaged."
total of 8,666 places funded with more than $186 million in Australian
Government subsidies have been made available in the 2003-04 Aged
Care Approvals Program. The allocation of residential aged care
places and capital grants is expected to be announced early in the
may find more information about this subject and others on the Department
of Health and Ageing Internet site.
any articles on any of our pages are for reference purposes only.
Please, we urge you to always seek the advice of your Health Professional
for diagnosis and treatment and answers to any questions you are
& Prostate Cancer
New findings on prostate cancer risk and sexual activity
17 July 2003
The Cancer Council Victoria has announced the results of research
undertaken into the relationship between prostate cancer and ejaculation
in men aged under 70.
A research team led by Professor Graham Giles, Director of the Cancer
Council's Cancer Epidemiology Centre, has found that there is evidence
that the more frequently men ejaculate between the ages of 20 and
50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer.
The researched showed that the protective effect of ejaculation
is greatest when men in their twenties ejaculated on average seven
or more times a week. This group were one-third less likely to develop
aggressive prostate cancer when compared with men who ejaculated
less than three times a week at this age.
Professor Giles said, "We looked at a number of different aspects
of sexual activity including the number of sexual partners, the
frequency of ejaculation, as well as the number of times men ejaculated
at different ages, from their twenties through to their fifties.
"The study looked at ejaculation in the context of intercourse
with another person, masturbation, nocturnal emissions etc.
"This is a different approach from previous studies which have
mostly looked at links between sexual intercourse and prostate cancer.
"Our research indicates that there is no association between
prostate cancer and the number of sexual partners, which argues
against infection as a cause of prostate cancer in the Australian
"We also found no association between maximum number of ejaculations
in a 24 hour period and prostate cancer. Therefore, it is not men's
ability to ejaculate that seems to be important.
"While it is generally accepted that prostate cancer is a hormone
dependent cancer, apart from age and family history, its causes
are poorly understood."
"For this reason, our explanations are fairly speculative -
one possible reason for the protective effects of ejaculation may
be that frequent ejaculation prevents carcinogens building up in
the prostatic ducts."
"If the ducts are flushed out, there may be less build up and
damage to the cells that line them."
"However, this is only one study and our findings require further
corroboration in other studies.
The research was conducted with men who were under the age of 70
when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and with a group
of similarly aged healthy men. There were 1079 men with prostate
cancer and 1259 healthy men in the study. The men were from Melbourne,
Sydney and Perth.
The men filled in a confidential questionnaire which sought details
of their sexual activity at various times in their life. The results
of the survey were treated confidentially.
Professor Giles said, "We believe that the men who participated
in the study were likely to have been honest about their sexual
activity because of the way the research was conducted, particularly
using a questionnaire that men filled out themselves, and respecting
"The fact that we did not find any association with the number
of sexual partners argues against the possibility of the finding
in regard to ejaculation being due to bias, as if this was the case
we would have expected both associations to be positive."
The project involved researchers from The Cancer Council Victoria,
The University of Western Australia, The European Institute of Oncology
and the Dunedin Medical School, University of Otago, New Zealand.
The research was funded by the National Health and Medical Research
Council and supported by funding from Tattersall's and The Whitten
Foundation, as well as The Cancer Council Victoria.
The research is being published in the British Journal of Urology
vol 92, p 211.
Media contact: Leigh Raymond 03 9635 5191
Professor Graham Giles is available for interview from 9 am 17 July
The Australian Cancer Council site is at www.accv.org.au/index.htm
The British Journal of Urology article can be seen at:
thank WebMD for this article.
MORE THAN ONE MILLION OLDER AUSTRALIANS
BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT REBATE MOVE
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Health Insurance Association,
Russell Schneider, today applauded the Federal Government's commitment
to retain the private health insurance rebate and increase it for
"More than 1 million people over 65, many of them on fixed
incomes, will benefit directly from the rebate increase," Mr
Schneider said. "It will have a very beneficial effect on the
whole health care system, both private and public."
"Stresses on the public hospital system will be reduced because
the increased rebate will mean more people in this age group will
be able to either keep their private health insurance or afford
to take out cover."
"People aged more than 65 use more hospital services than any
other age group. For more than one million of them, private health
insurance is essential. If affordability forced even small numbers
to drop their cover, the impact on the public system would be devastating.
The 30-percent rebate has made it possible for many older people
on fixed or low incomes to remain insured. The increases announced
today will make it even more affordable for them."
At June this year 1,054,729 people aged 65 or more had private health
insurance. In the year ended June 2004 health funds paid more than
$2.2 billion for almost 700,000 hospital episodes involving people
over 65, and many hundreds of millions more for a wide range of
ancillary health services including dental, optical and physiotherapy.
"This new initiative should be welcomed by all concerned with
improving our health system," Mr Schneider said. "It will
certainly be strongly welcomed by more than one million people over
65 who are proud of the fact that they are contributing to their
own health care needs, and appreciate the Government's recognition
of their desire to be able to be treated as private patients.
"In the last few weeks I have been inundated with letters and
calls from older people who have been very distressed by ongoing
criticism of the rebate and lobbying by some groups to have it removed.
"This announcement will delight more than one million responsible
older Australians who want private health care. It unequivocally
confirms the Federal Government's commitment to the private health
insurance rebate. I would hope all other political parties will
similarly indicate their strong support for the rebate and for the
extension announced today."
Canberra - 22 August 2004
For further information contact Russell Schneider
on 02 6288 2145 or 02 9286 6000.
Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Studies Show a Brisk Walk Can Help Improve Heart Health
By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
May 30, 2008 (Indianapolis) --
If you have high blood pressure or are extremely overweight, walking
may hold the key to improved heart health.
That's the message from researchers who spoke here this week at
the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
A Korean study shows that walking just 40 minutes a day lowered
blood pressure in people with hypertension. A U.S. study suggested
that taking a stroll offers cardiovascular benefits for people who
are morbidly obese.
The Korean researchers studied 23 men with prehypertension or hypertension.
"Normal" blood pressure is a measurement of less than
120/80. Hypertension is defined as a reading of 140 over 90 or greater.
Those with blood pressure readings between normal blood pressure
and high blood pressure are considered to have prehypertension.
The researchers measured the men's blood pressure following a 40-minute
brisk walking session and four, 10-minute brisk walking bouts. What's
brisk? About 3 to 4 miles per hour, says Saejong Park, PhD, of the
Korea Institute of Sport Science in Seoul.
Blood pressure dropped by similar amounts after each type of exercise
session. The top number in the blood pressure reading dropped about
5 points after the 40-minute walk and 3 points after the four 10-minute
walks, Park tells WebMD. The bottom number of the blood pressure
reading dropped about 2 points for both walking sessions.
While longer studies are needed, "we think the benefits will
be sustained over time if the men keep exercising," Park says.
The bottom line, she tells WebMD, is that you have a choice when
it comes to exercise. "Some people like to work out all at
once, but others say they can't comply with an exercise program
because they have no time. These findings suggest people with time
crunches and busy schedules can fit bits of exercise in throughout
the day and reap the same health benefits."
The findings are in line with ACSM recommendations, which call for
healthy adults to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical
activity five days a week. The guidelines state that three 10-minute
sessions are as effective as one longer session.
Jeffrey A. Ross, DPM, a clinical professor of medicine at Baylor
College of Medicine in Houston, recommends alternating walking with
"Instead of walking seven days a week, take a day off and go
swimming or biking. That way you'll work out different muscles and
reduce your chance of overuse injuries," Ross says.
We sincerely thank WebMD for this artcile. WebMD is a wonderful
American site with much health information and you can see their
site by Clicking here
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Walking Helps Morbidly Obese
The U.S. study involved 14 morbidly obese patients who were scheduled
to undergo weight loss surgery. Their average body mass index (BMI)
was 46; a person with a BMI of 40 or over is considered to be morbidly
Patients were asked to walk 1 mile at as brisk a pace as possible.
They were able to stop and take breaks, but most walked the mile
in under 30 minutes, says Thomas Spring, MS, a senior exercise physiologist
at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.
Results showed that all 14 "got their heart rate up to an adequate
level to have benefits in term of cardiovascular health," Spring
"Walking is a great way for the overweight and obese to begin
an exercise program, but always check with your doctor before starting
any exercise program."
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for Alzheimer's sufferers
· Reporter: Alison Fan
· Broadcast Date: July 09, 2008
With a growing number of people developing it, researchers in Perth
are leading the world in research to help sufferers of Alzheimer's disease.
Computer specialist Tony Shipley, 55, was only in his early 40s when
he suddenly forgot what he was doing.
"So in the beginning it was very difficult for me to go to the
doctors and say I've got Alzheimer's or memory problems," he said.
"I knew I was losing something but doctors didn't seem to want
to diagnose anything around Alzheimer's or dementia."
Tony was a computer designer working for the Government when he realised
he was becoming easily confused.
"I decided I had Alzheimer's or something like that but none of
the doctors would prescribe that because I was very young."
Professor Ralph Martins is a major reason why Perth is now leading the
world in Alzheimer's research.
Alzheimer's specialists now know what to look for. Victims and their
families say they wish they had known earlier what was happening to
It begins with mild symptoms of memory loss then disorientation. As
the brain damage increases, victims experience more problems with everyday
tasks until eventually they need full time care.
After decades of research all over the world, the first major breakthrough
came in Perth.
The Perth team found that a build-up of a sticky substance in the brain,
a protein called beta-amyloid, kills off brain cells.
Professor Martins and his team at Edith Cowan University and McCusker
Research Foundation have pinpointed lifestyle factors that can lead
They include high cholesterol, lack of weight bearing exercise, low
physical and mental activity and poor nutrition.
Trials are now being held checking the protection powers of green tea
and fish oil capsules.
While the developments are too late for advanced patients, there is
hope for others like Tony.
McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease Research
(08) 9347 4200
184 Hampden Rd, Nedlands WA 6009
National Dementia helpline number: 1800 100 500
We thank yahoo7, today tonight for this article.
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or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.
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