September, 2018

Childhood exercise brings lasting benefits

Vigorous exercise begun in childhood could lead to a healthier heart in adulthood, researchers say.The impact of vigorous exercise during childhood may have been underestimated, with new research showing it could determine whether or not they survive a heart attack later in life.
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An Australian study conducted on rats has shown that when exercise begins early in life the number of muscle cells in the heart multiply.

This is significant as it’s always been assumed the heart stops producing these protective cells, known as cardiomyocytes, at birth, lead researcher Associate Professor Glenn Wadley from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University said.

With Australian children considered to be among the least active in the world, Prof Wadley says the study, recently published in The Journal of Physiology, gives parents another reason to get their kids off the couch and huffing and puffing; and the younger the better.

“Clearly, endurance exercise is beneficial for the heart at any age, but it appears that a window of time exists in the younger heart whereby exercise might be able to grow more cardiomyocytes,” Prof Wadley said.

The window of opportunity to grow the extra muscle cells is from childhood up until puberty, Prof Wadley said.

Cardiomyocytes are responsible for the contraction of the heart, working together they produce around 100,000 hearts beats per day, every day.

The more cardiomyocytes a person has in reserve the better, particularly for heart attack survivors, Prof Wadley explained.

A heart attack kills tens of millions of irreplaceable cardiomyocytes instantly.

“The amount of muscle cells you lose will have an effect on how well you’ll recover from that heart attack,” Prof Wadley said.

For the study, rats were placed into four groups, one group remained sedentary and the others completed a four-week exercise program but at different stages of life.

The three active groups completed four weeks of exercise between either five to nine weeks of age (juvenile); 11-15 weeks of age (adolescent) or 20-24 weeks of age (adult).

The three active groups ran on treadmills, doing a daily workout at a moderate pace and then their hearts were examined microscopically to determine changes in the structure, function and shape.

“Our research showed that after just four weeks of exercise, the juvenile rats had an increase of 40 per cent in heart muscle cell number, but also an increase in the size of the cells, compared to the sedentary rats,” Prof Wadley said.

“However, the most exciting discovery is that these additional muscle cells were still present in the juvenile exercised rats when we examined them later in adulthood, despite them being couch potatoes for a long time after the training had stopped,” he said.

While more research is needed, Prof Wadley said there’s no reason to think these findings wouldn’t translate into humans.

Australian Associated Press


Salim Mehajer accused of peddling pills

Salim Mehajer has been charged with supplying prohibited prescription drugs (file)Beleaguered Sydney businessman Salim Mehajer has been hit with fresh charges of possessing and supplying prohibited prescription drugs, and perverting the course of justice.
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Police allegedly found more than 200 anxiety and painkiller pills – 50 Xanax tablets and 174 Endone and Targin tablets – at the property developer’s Lidcombe mansion during a raid on November 8.

The 31-year-old was charged with two counts of possessing and one count of supplying a prohibited drug on Wednesday, along with the new count of perverting the course of justice.

He had been slapped with the same charge in February after he allegedly misled Burwood Local Court during a bail application.

The former Auburn deputy mayor, who has already thrice been denied bail, is due to make a fourth bid on Thursday in the NSW Supreme Court.

Mehajer was expected to appear at Burwood Local Court via video link from prison on Wednesday over allegations he staged a car crash and defrauded an insurance company.

But the court heard that technical and industrial problems prevented the link, so his matter was adjourned to June 6.

Last October Mehajer was on his way to face court on charges over the assault of a taxi driver when his Mercedes collided with another car at an intersection in Lidcombe, allegedly days after he’d insured it for more than $150,000.

Mehajer was freed by firefighters and taken to hospital but his passenger and the two female occupants of the other vehicle were not injured.

Many of his co-accused who are charged with conspiring with each other and Mehajer to cheat and defraud an insurer faced court on Wednesday.

Mehajer’s business associate Ahmed Jaghbir, who is under house arrest, appeared in Burwood Local Court alongside Elias Moufferrige, Fakaha Ki Malinda Moufferrige and Nora Anne Bush while lawyers represented Rafi Noori and Michael Moufferrige, the latter being in custody.

Mehajer has already been in court this week as he continues to fight several legal battles.

Less than three years after his lavish western Sydney wedding made headlines, Mehajer on Tuesday faced charges of stalking or intimidating his estranged wife and dangerous driving.

Last week he was declared bankrupt by a Federal Circuit Court judge and he awaits a verdict next month on alleged electoral fraud offences.

Last month Mehajer was found guilty of assaulting a television reporter when he slammed his car door on her arm and earlier this month he was placed on a good behaviour bond for the April 2017 cabbie attack.

Australian Associated Press


Sparkling display from moment cork pops on Blanc de Blanc

Sparkling display from moment cork pops on Blanc de Blanc TweetFacebookBlanc de Blanc largely sum up the nature of the show, with a bright spotlight shining down on a bottle of champagne in a man’s hand on a darkened stage and making it glow.
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The sparkling white wine and references to it are features of many of the acts, with a woman adeptly using her feet and toes to lift a bottle and pour champagne into a glass. And a female performer has watchers in awe when she makes amazing movements while most of her body is inside a clear giant balloon that represents a champagne bubble.

Blanc de Blanc has a lively mix of comedy, cabaret, dance and acrobatic events, with an early scene showing gymnast Milena Straczynski doing incredible things on a luggage trolley lifted high above the floor, and an aerial routine by Hampus Jansson and Milena Straczynski using straps above a pool.

The stage-end pool is increasingly used as the show progresses, with the initially debonair and elegantly garbed show host Monsieur Romeo wearing a Speedo while sitting in it with a champagne-drinking woman.

Monsieur Romeo is helped and hindered by his assistant, amusing Spencer Novich, who does very funny things with language, confusing his boss’s use of the French word “merci” with “messy”. Novich’s comic timing is laugh-raisingly extraordinary, especially in a scene which has him clothesless alongside two naked women and, like them, adeptly using his hands to cover body parts that usually remain hidden.

The other performers – Cassie Audiffrin, Jess Mews, J’aiMime, Laura New and Shun Sugimoto – add to the fun, with director Scott Maidment and the backstage team helping to make what could be seen as a very rude show generally enjoyable. And the background music used, including songs such as La Vie En Rose, Mr Sandman, Good Morning, and Pop Goes the Weasel, underline the timelessness of many of the situations shown.

The show could be tighter in places. While there is understandably audience participation, including one person taken on stage and shown, in a smile-raising manner, how to open a bottle of champagne, a second act scene that has many watchers come up and take photos of themselves with performers needlessly slows the action.


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China says Kim pledges denuclearisation

Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping Xi held talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has pledged to denuclearise and meet US officials, China says after an historic meeting with President Xi Jinping.
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After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed Kim had visited Beijing and met Xi during what China’s Foreign Ministry called an unofficial visit to China from Sunday to Wednesday.

The China visit was Kim’s first known trip outside North Korea since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the US.

North Korea’s KCNA news agency made no mention of Kim’s pledge to denuclearise, or his anticipated meeting with US President Donald Trump that is planned for some time in May.

Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of secretive North Korea, but ties have been frayed by Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough UN sanctions in response.

China’s Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.

“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearisation on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to the statement.

North Korea is willing to talk with the US and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.

“The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace,” Kim said.

Kim Jong-un’s predecessors, grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il, both publicly promised not to pursue nuclear weapons but secretly continued to develop the programs, culminating in the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 under Kim Jong Il.

The North had said in past failed talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear program that it could consider giving up its arsenal if the US removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.

Many analysts and former negotiators believe this still constitutes North Korea’s stance on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and remain deeply sceptical Kim is willing to give up the nuclear weapons.

Billed as an unofficial trip, Kim’s appearance in Beijing contained almost all the trappings of a state visit, complete with an honour guard and banquet at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

China briefed Trump on Kim’s visit and the communication included a personal message from Xi to Trump, the White House said in a statement.

“The United States remains in close contact with our allies South Korea and Japan. We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea,” the statement said.

Australian Associated Press


Lowndes tells drivers it’s ok to be late

Craig Lowndes has helped launch a national road safety campaign ahead of the Easter break.V8 Supercar champion Craig Lowndes is used to driving really fast, but gets very annoyed at distracted drivers when he’s off the track.
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“For me it’s frustrating driving on public roads, seeing people using mobile phones all the time and you can see the distraction of the car path,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Lowndes was on hand to help launch a new road safety campaign in the lead up to the Easter long weekend, about taking personal responsibility on the roads, called ‘I Choose Road Safety’.

“Just because of who I am, I’m not exempt from any wrongdoings on the road,” Lowndes said, insisting it was more dangerous to be on a public road than a race track.

Asked about a reported trial in western Sydney to give young drivers $100 in exchange for fitting technology in their cars to monitor their driving, he said any opportunity to advance knowledge was a great idea.

“It’s not about the privacy for me, it’s about educating and getting them safer on the roads,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack used the event to announce $32.9 million for extra black-spot funding.

Statistics reveal road crashes have already resulted in 188 deaths this year, 13.3 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Australian Associated Press