Professor Peter LeSouef, Head of the School of Paediatrics and Child Health, is QAS parents should not smoke around children when in cars or at home, even with the windows and doors open. “The adverse effects of second-hand smoke on children have been extensively documented over the past 30 years and I see these effects every day in my work,” he said. Every second child admitted to hospital in the first year of life with a respiratory disorder had parents who smoked, he said. He was speaking before the launch of a new hard-hitting WA campaign, Making Smoking History, that warns about the dangers of passive smoking.
Professor Osvaldo Almeida, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry in the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, is QAS that if the plasma concentration of the amino acid homocysteine could be reduced by one-fifth, the number of elderly Australians affected by depression could be reduced by the same amount. He was commenting on a study by his team at the WA Institute for Medical Research’s Centre for Health and Ageing of 3700 men which found that high levels of homocysteine increased the risk of depression in people over 70 by interfering with serotonin and noradrenaline, which act to lighten mood.
Professor Hugh Barrett, of the School of Medicine and Pharmacology, is QAS the ageing process of arteries, hastened by eating a lot of animal and saturated fats, smoking and having diabetes, begins in the late teens. “Studies have showed atherosclerosis starts to develop in even young people,” he said. “In fact, the current generation of teenagers is going to be at potentially even greater risk.” He was commenting on a study which found fatty diets are ageing the arteries of 40-year-olds by as much as 20 years.
Professor George Jelinek, Professor of Emergency Medicine, is QAS that frequent attenders form a small part of emergency department caseload, do not contribute much in terms of costs and genuinely require hospital care and could not be managed in other settings. He was commenting after the release of findings of a study by his research team which showed most “frequent-flyer” patients had serious or urgent conditions.