Health and Medicine

Why is there a rip-roaring measles outbreak in NZ? - Diplomatic Immunity

Helen Petousis Harris Aug 21, 2019

As with many countries around the world, NZ is experiencing the worst measles outbreak in over 20 years. Welcome back to the dark ages. This was predictable,  entirely preventable, and the government were warned. If this outbreak is not stamped out by March next year NZ will lose its hard-earned measles elimination status. There are four reasons for this – … Read More

Cheesecake Files: Machine learning heart attacks - Kidney Punch

John Pickering Aug 21, 2019

“Machine learning” rates very high on the buzz-word scale, right up there with “nano-technology” and “blockchain”. Like most buzz it is more noise than substance. However, every now and again it looks like there might be something in the noise that bites. This episode of the Cheesecake Files1 is about testing an algorithm (another buzz word) developed through a … Read More

Will we be less healthy because of climate change? - Climate: Explained

Guest Author Aug 15, 2019

Climate: Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Do you expect an increase in health issues due to the effects of climate change? – a question from … Read More

Authentic resistance or authentic distortion? - Diplomatic Immunity

Helen Petousis Harris Aug 05, 2019

Authentic resistance appears to be a two woman army advocating that the body’s natural immune system is all that is required to keep healthy. They assert that parents must make an informed decision about vaccines based on information from the medical literature. On the latter point we agree. The Resistance is holding seminars around the country on “Informed consent and … Read More

What can we learn from Healthy Housing Initiatives? New evidence from the Wellington Well Homes scheme - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Jul 17, 2019

Elinor Chisholm, Nevil Pierse, Cheryl Davies, Philippa Howden-Chapman We know that poor housing conditions result in ill health for many New Zealanders, and we know which interventions are required to ensure good quality housing that supports health. Healthy Housing Initiatives intervene to improve the homes of kids who are hospitalised for illnesses that could be related to poor housing conditions. Read More

Why the Australasian Health Star Rating needs major changes to make it work - Guest Work

Guest Author Jun 19, 2019

Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington; Alana Harrison, Victoria University of Wellington; Hongzhi Gao, Victoria University of Wellington, and Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington Unhealthy diets cause multiple physical and mental health problems. To help consumers make healthier choices, Australia and New Zealand introduced the voluntary Health Star Rating … Read More

“Raw” water – an update - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Apr 26, 2019

In January last year, I wrote about the US fad for “raw” water: water supposedly as nature intended it, free of any of the treatments used in municipal water supplies. Those promoting the stuff claim it’s ever so much better for you; given the prices they charge, it’s certainly good for their bank balances I’ve just come across a … Read More

Lessons from Canada for NZ: Carbon, Cycling, Tobacco, Nutrition and Cannabis - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Apr 08, 2019

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Amanda Jones, A/Prof George Thomson Canada has a number of progressive public policies which can influence health. In this blog we briefly look at 6 potential lessons for NZ in the domains of: (i) responding to climate change; (ii) supporting cycling; (iii) tobacco control; (iv) controls on food marketing directed at children; (v) healthy food … Read More

Limiting the size of single serve sugary drinks: New NZ study on health and cost impacts - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Apr 01, 2019

Dr Cristina Cleghorn, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Helen Eyles There is a lot of focus on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) internationally, due to their role in tooth decay, obesity and diabetes [1-3], their lack of beneficial nutrients, and potential acceptability as an intervention target [4]. Our just-published study has shown that an intervention to reduce the size of all single-serve SSBs … Read More

Vaping very likely to improve health in NZ – but how does this compare with other options? - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Mar 27, 2019

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Frederieke Petrović-van der Deen, Dr Cristina Cleghorn, A/Prof Coral Gartner, Prof Tony Blakely Our just-published modelling study suggests that easier access to nicotine via vaping as a replacement for tobacco smoking, will improve the health of the NZ population. The estimated health gain is about the same as 10% per annum tobacco tax increases … Read More