Issues Magazine

Articles about health

Navel gazing: healthy gut bacteria can help you stress less

By Chelsie Elise Rohrscheib

New evidence indicates that the microbial community in our gut has a huge effect on brain function.

Striking new evidence indicates that the gut microbiome, the ecological community of microorganisms that share our body, has a huge effect on brain function – much larger than we thought.

It has long been established that our gut acts as a second nervous system and is capable of functioning without input from the brain.

Biodiesel Breathes Better

By Leigh Ackland*, Linda Zou and David Freestone

It is long-established that car exhaust fumes cause respiratory disease, and more recently the particulate matter in diesel exhaust has been implicated in the death of human airway cells. However, new research reveals that biodiesel is a safer alternative.

Driving a vehicle is one of the most polluting activities that the average person carries out. More people are driving cars, with rapidly developing countries like China putting 1000 new cars on the street every day.

Furthermore, people in affluent countries are driving bigger cars today than they were a decade ago. Four wheel drive vehicles are a common sight in the inner suburbs of Australia’s cities, and these generally produce more greenhouse gases and other exhaust emissions compared with passenger cars.

Study links intestinal bacteria to rheumatoid arthritis

Bacterial disturbances in the gut may play a role in autoimmune attacks on the joints, pointing the way to novel treatments and diagnostics

Researchers have linked a species of intestinal bacteria known as Prevotella copri to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, the first demonstration in humans that the chronic inflammatory joint disease may be mediated in part by specific intestinal bacteria. The new findings by laboratory scientists and clinical researchers in rheumatology at NYU School of Medicine add to the growing evidence that the trillions of microbes in our body play an important role in regulating our health.

A crowning glory: patent law and public health

By Matthew Rimmer

Tthe Australian Parliament is debating a bill on patent law reforms that will improve access to cancer testing and treatment and essential medicines for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Australian patent law reforms are critical to ensuring Australians have access to vital health-care services and technologies and that people in developing countries have access to affordable, life-saving medicines.

This week (ending 21 June 2013), the Australian Parliament is debating a bill on patent law and public health entitled the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2013 (Cth).