In brief – Snapshots from the news – 1 June 2023

Emma Tinning

writer

Emma Tinning

Health and Public Policy Adviser

Emma Tinning

 

Cognitive functional therapy significantly improves low back pain; cancers in distant organs affect liver function and more…

Cognitive functional therapy effective for low back pain

Australian researchers have found cognitive functional therapy (CFT) can produce large and sustained improvements for people with chronic disabling low back pain. CFT is a physiotherapy-led, psychologically informed approach that targets unhelpful pain-related cognitions, emotions and behaviours that contribute to pain and disability. The NHMRC funded RESTORE study – a phase 3, three-arm RCT in 20 primary care physiotherapy clinics in Perth and Sydney- found that CFT alone and CFT with biofeedback significantly decreased activity limitation from back pain and increased quality of life. Both interventions were also less costly in terms of societal costs, including productivity loss.

Cancers in distant organs can damage the liver

New research from the USA has found cancers in distant organs can affect liver function. The study, published in Nature, found tumours often secrete molecules – extracellular vesicles and particles (EVPs) – containing fatty acids into the bloodstream. These EVPs induce accumulation of fat molecules in liver cells, effectively reprogramming the liver in a way that resembles fatty liver disease. The researchers suspect that this process turns the liver into an energy source to fuel cancer growth. Investigations of potential strategies to inhibit and mitigate this process are ongoing.

New treatment protocol significantly improves chances of surviving a brain haemorrhage without major disability

Results from a major RCT have the potential to transform the treatment for intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH). Data from the phase 3study presented at European Stroke Organisation Conference in Munich and published in the Lancet, demonstrate that a new combination of treatments significantly improves the chances of surviving without major disability. The protocol uses a combination of readily available treatments, including early intensive lowering of systolic blood pressure, strict glucose control, fever treatment and rapid reversal of abnormal anticoagulation. Researchers believe the new protocol could save tens of thousands of lives each year, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where most (ICH) cases occur.

Study demonstrates the benefits of walking for brain health and memory in older adults

Researchers have found walking in older adults strengthens connections within and between three of the brain’s networks, including one associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study of 33 participants found moderate-intensity walking four days per week for 12 weeks led to changes in network functional connectivity and memory performance in both participants with intact cognition and older adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. The findings suggest regular participation in simple aerobic exercise may induce neuroplastic effects even in the face of Alzheimer’s disease-related neurodegenerative processes

“Peanut patch” a potentially promising treatment for peanut allergy in toddlers

A global phase 3 clinical trial has found that a year-long immunotherapy through a skin patch safely desensitized toddlers with peanut allergy, lowering the risk of a severe allergic reaction from accidental exposure. The multicentre, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving children 1 to 3 years of age with peanut allergy, found epicutaneous immunotherapy for 12 months was superior to placebo in desensitizing children to peanuts and increasing the peanut dose that triggered allergic symptoms.

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Emma Tinning

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Emma Tinning

Health and Public Policy Adviser

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