Thoracic and Sleep Group Queensland People caring for how you breathe and sleep

February 8, 2016

February 7, 2016

February 4, 2016

World Cancer Day 2016: reducing the global burden of cancer

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 10:39 pm

A truly global event taking place every year on 4 February, World Cancer Day unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer. It aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action. Currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years). World Cancer Day is the ideal opportunity to spread the word and raise the profile of cancer in people’s minds and in the world’s media.

For full details visit the World Cancer Day website:

Dietary fibre and lung health: eat well, breathe easy

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 12:53 am

Research published this week in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society demonstrates that a diet high in fibre might reduce the chance of developing lung disease – yet another reason to eat healthily.

Could eating more fruits and vegetables keep your lungs healthy?

Lung disease is a major issue in America and the world at large. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third biggest killer on a global scale.

Despite this fact, ways to curtail and minimize risks to the lungs are few and far between.

The only major recommendation to mitigate the chances of COPD is to stop smoking.

A recent study was carried out at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre by Corrine Hanson; she and her team poured over data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHNES) on the hunt for nutritional clues into lung health.

The NHNES was organized and conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and involves data from 1,921 people aged 40-70.

The participants completed a survey asking questions about diet and lifestyle; each session also involved a physical examination, making the NHNES a unique and incredibly useful data set.


Dietary fibre and health

Eating high-fibre foods, including vegetables, fruits and grains, already has proven health benefits. Fibre can help us maintain a healthy weight by keeping us feeling fuller for longer; fibre regularizes bowel movements, lowers cholesterol and can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The Nebraska team wanted to see if a high dietary intake of fibre would also make a positive difference to lung health. To this end, they split the NHNES data by the amount of fibre consumed. The upper quartile consisted of people who ate at least 17.5 g of fibre per day and the lower quartile consumed less than 10.75 g.

The team adjusted for factors including socioeconomic status, smoking, weight, demographic and health factors before beginning the analysis.


Fibre and lung health

Even after the data had been adjusted for the factors listed above, the lungs of the individuals in the high-fibre group fared better than those in the lowest quartile. Of the high fibre consumers, 68.3% had normal lung function compared with 50.1% of the lower quartile; only 14.8% of the high fibre consumers had airway restriction, compared with 29.8% in the lower quartile.

The results infer that sticking to a high-fibre diet will do your lungs a favour.

Of course, these results alone cannot prove cause and effect; additionally, the authors are quick to note that they did not adjust for physical activity, and they could not analyse fibre’s impact on lung function over time.

Having said that, their findings add weight to previous investigations. A study using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study found that individuals who consumed the most dietary fibre had the highest lung function, compared with those who consumed the least.

Another previous study found a relationship between higher fibre intake and a lower risk of COPD; another still demonstrated that higher fibre consumption was associated with a 40-50% reduction in respiratory-related deaths.

Hanson hopes that, if the findings are further replicated, public health bodies will be able to “target diet and fibre as safe and inexpensive ways of preventing lung disease.”

How could fibre benefit the lungs?

If fibre truly is a protector of the lungs, what mechanisms might it use? The authors believe that it might be due, at least in part, to the proven anti-inflammatory properties of dietary fibre.

Inflammation underlies a number of lung diseases, and a reduction in this response might be enough to improve the lung’s overall health. C-reactive protein is believed to be important in the inflammation response and does appear to be reduced in people with high-fibre diets.

Another potential mechanism involves fibre’s ability to change the makeup of the gut flora. These changes could protect the body from infections and release lung-protective agents, including neutrophils.

Research into lung health and diet will no doubt continue to throw out intriguing and, perhaps, unexpected results. The evidence for fibre and its protective role seems to be mounting. But, either way, eating additional fruits and vegetables can never be a bad thing.



Rising levels of childhood obesity are being partly blamed for a big increase in WA children being referred to hospital with sleep problems.

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 12:37 am

Princess Margaret Hospital’s sleep clinic has had 283 referrals in the past six months, more than the 250 new cases received in the 2011-12 financial year.

The spike in referrals has led to waiting times for children to be seen in the clinic reaching between 18 months and two years unless their case is considered urgent.

Respiratory and sleep consultant Adelaide Withers said it was a concern that more obese children were having sleep problems, particularly because their condition was often only treatable with weight loss.

“It’s definitely had an impact,” she said. “The incidence of sleep apnoea is rising and one of the contributing factors is the increased rate of obesity.

The clinic deals with various sleep problems from physical conditions such as sleep apnoea to psychological conditions, including night terrors.

Dr Withers said a common cause of sleep apnoea — when breathing stops momentarily during sleep because the walls of the throat come together — in children was enlarged tonsils and the problem could often be remedied by removing the tonsils.

But obesity is the most common cause of sleep apnoea in adults and increasingly in children.

“When people are obese, they often have a lot of excess fat around their neck which collapses their windpipe when they’re asleep,” Dr Withers said.

“It also puts an extra load on their chest. It’s harder for your chest to expand when you’re obese.

“This gets a lot worse when you’re asleep because when you’re asleep, all of the muscles in your body relax.”

Obese children often also have larger tonsils, exacerbating the problem.

Some obese children with sleep apnoea resort to using a CPAP machine — a device which blows air into the windpipe to stop it collapsing during sleep — every night, like many adult sufferers. Untreated, sleep apnoea can harm a child’s health and development.

Dr Withers urged parents to look out for any warning signs such as snoring, difficulties at school, irritability and a lack of growth.



Sleeping Naked Makes You Healthier and Wealthier

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 12:02 am

What if I told you in just 10 seconds a day, you can sleep better, make more money, reduce stress, and lose weight? Sleeping naked can do all these things and more. All you have to do is take off your clothes. While there are countless strategies floating around out there to help you improve in these areas, none is as simple—and many are less effective—as stripping down before you go to sleep.

Since only 8% of people sleep naked, most everyone can discover the benefits of sleeping in the buff. This may sound far-fetched, but hear me out before you throw those cosy flannel pyjamas on.

You Sleep Better Naked

We’ve always known that quality sleep is good for your brain, but recent research from the University of Rochester demonstrates exactly how so. The study found that when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. The catch here is that your brain can only adequately remove these toxic proteins when you have sufficient quality sleep. When you don’t get high-quality, deep sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc and ultimately impairing your ability to think. This slows your ability to process information and problem solve, kills your creativity, and increases your emotional reactivity.

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that lowering your skin temperature increases the depth of your sleep and reduces the number of times you wake up in the night. Stripping down to your birthday suit is a great way to lower your skin temperature without changing the temperature of the room.

Sleeping Naked Reduces Stress

We all know that prolonged stress is bad news. It suppresses your immune system and increases your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity in addition to decreasing your cognitive performance. Stress throws your cortisol levels out of whack. Proper rest helps to restore normal cortisol levels, which improves your stress level regardless of what’s happening around you. As described in the section above, sleeping naked will help you to get a better night’s sleep.

Sleeping Naked Is Healthier

Sleeping naked has a slew of health benefits, including helping you to lose weight. A study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health found that keeping yourself cool while you sleep speeds the body’s metabolism because your body creates more brown fat to keep you warm. Brown fat produces heat by burning calories (300 times more heat than any organ in the body), and this boosts your metabolism all day long to help you lose weight. In addition to the metabolic effects of sleeping in the buff, removing your clothes improves blood circulation, which is good for your heart and muscles. The quality sleep you’ll enjoy also increases the release of growth hormone and melatonin, both of which have anti-aging benefits.

Sleeping Naked Builds Confidence

Confidence doesn’t just feel good; it’s the pillar of success. It pushes you to try new things, take on challenges, and persevere in the face of adversity. A University of Melbourne study found that confident people earn higher wages and get promoted more often than their less confident counterparts. Sleeping naked makes you more comfortable in your own skin. As your comfort with your body increases, so does your self-esteem and confidence.


Bringing It All Together

The benefits of sleeping naked are many—so many that you owe it to yourself to give it a try.



February 3, 2016

High schools listening to scientists, letting teens sleep

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 11:06 pm

More school districts around the U.S. are heeding the advice of scientists who have long said that expecting teens to show up to class before 8 a.m. isn’t good for their health or their report cards. The Seattle school board voted last month to adopt an 8:45 a.m. start time beginning next year for all of its high schools and most of its middle schools, joining 70 districts across the nation who adopted a later start time in recent years. The movement still has a long way to go: There are more than 24,000 U.S. high schools. Supporters expect that such decisions will be made more quickly now that people have mostly stopped debating the underlying science.

Proponents of later start times got a boost last year when the American Academy of Pediatrics said that while starting later isn’t a panacea for teen health and academic problems, it can improve students’ lives in many other ways. “Essentially, across the board, any domain that you look at improves pretty dramatically,” said Dr. Judy Owens of Boston Children’s Hospital and author of the academy’s policy statement on teen sleep. After the report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also pushed for later bell times.

Research studies have shown later start times help combat sleep deprivation in teens, who naturally fall asleep later than their parents would like, and improve academic success, attendance, mental health and cut sleep-related car accidents. “We’re going to look back on this time period and wonder why it took so long,” said Phyllis Payne of Start School Later, which helps parents groups advocate for later bell times. She said 49 new local groups have started in the last three years.

The obstacles to change are mostly financial. St. Paul, Minnesota, public schools delayed the adoption of later start times for all its high school students, even after seeing great results in a one-school pilot, because of transportation issues. The district could not overcome parent complaints about earlier start times for elementary students, which were made necessary because of the new later times for high school students. It would cost St. Paul about $8 million to add more buses, explained Jackie Statum Allen, assistant director for strategic planning and policy.

“It would be much better to put that in the classroom rather than the gas tank,” Allen said.

In Seattle, officials encountered the same resistance. Some parents of younger children objected when bus schedules were flipped and their kids were put on an earlier schedule for next year. Some argued that later start times will get in the way of after-school activities like football practice. The Seattle change was approved in part because the district listened to parent feedback on an initial proposal and made the final plan more expensive but also more popular, said Cindy Jatul, a Seattle teacher and parent and volunteer with Start School Later Seattle.

An effort to move school start times in Chicago failed because the district tried to make the change without community input. “It backfired terribly,” said Jatul, who got involved in the effort in Seattle when her kids hit puberty and as a teacher, she was facing groggy teens at home and at school. Bridget Shelton, a freshman at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, believes the change in bell times will help her move from getting 6-7 hours of sleep to closer to 8 hours next year. “I know many students that come in and are just struggling to stay awake,” she said. “Many of my friends are falling asleep in class.”

Katie Benmar, a sophomore, doesn’t think the new start time will make anything better. She expects her life will just shift one hour later — from after-school activities to dinner to homework and bed. “I’m going to bed at midnight and waking up at six,” Benmar said of her current schedule, which includes jazz choir after school. “I’m really tired right now.”

For more information about teens and sleep visit:


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