Health round-up: Coffee might reduce your risk of dying, glucose’s effect on the brain and tobacco excise

Richard Laycock 31 August 2017 NEWS

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A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news.

Drinking coffee might help you live longer

Good news, coffee drinkers. That morning cup of joe might be life sustaining, according to research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2017 as part of the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Project.

The observational study of 20,000 people found that over a 10-year period those who consumed four cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who drank little to no coffee.

“Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people,” said Dr Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra.

Surprisingly, for every two additional cups of coffee a day, all-cause mortality reduced a further 22% across the board.

However, those who drank an additional two cups of coffee a day and were 45 years or older saw a 30% lower risk of mortality.

“In the SUN Project we found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above," she said.

The SUN project's findings support research presented in July 2017, which found that those who consumed three cups of coffee per day reduced their risk of dying from cancer, diabetes and other diseases by 18%.

Healthy glucose levels can promote healthy brain aging

Even normal glucose levels can impact brain atrophy in ageing, according to the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing (CRAHW) at the Australian National University (ANU).

Lead author and fellow at ANU Dr Erin Walsh said that its not just diabetics that have to worry about the impact of blood glucose on the brain.

“People without diabetes can still have high enough blood glucose levels to have a negative health impact.

“The research suggests that maintaining healthy blood glucose levels can help promote healthy brain ageing. If you don’t have diabetes it’s not too early and if you do have diabetes it’s not too late,” she said.

Time for smokers to butt out

From 1 September 2017, the tobacco excise will rise by 13%, meaning that the tax on cigarettes in Australia will rise from 66% to 69%.

The excise on other forms of tobacco, such as roll your own, will go up by 17%, from $771.60 to $901.39 per kilogram.

While the impacts of the excise have been divisive, anti-smoking measures seem to be having an affect on the uptake of younger smokers.

Earlier this month, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) 2016 found that the average age for someone having their first cigarette went from 14.2 years old in 1995 to 16.3 in 2016.

What else is happening?

A survey conducted by Alzheimer’s Australia found that 94% of respondents with dementia felt that they had been in an embarrassing situation due to their dementia.

The study also found that 60% of carers felt they'd been in an embarrassing situation because they were looking after someone with dementia.

“The way we respond as a community can leave people with dementia and their carers feeling socially embarrassed and uncomfortable,” Maree McCabe, National CEO Alzheimer’s Australia said.

This embarrassment can leave both carers and those with depression feeling despondent and isolated.

Alzheimer’s Australia is hoping September’s Dementia Awareness Month can help provide the general public greater awareness and understanding of dementia.

Each week our round-up offers a summary of the latest developments impacting Australian healthcare and most importantly, you, the consumer. Check in every Thursday to find out what's happening in health.

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