Health round-up: Sperm, weight gain and coffee

Richard Laycock 13 July 2017

Needle inseminating egg

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

Children conceived using sperm donors are just as healthy

Those conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) are just as healthy as the general population, according to a study by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI).

The research, published on Reproductive BioMedicine Online, looked at the psychosocial development of 224 Australian children aged between 5 and 11 who were conceived using donor sperm.

Professor David Amor who led the MCRI study said that this is a positive result for prospective parents considering IVF or similar procedures.

"Our results should provide reassurance that the physical, psychological and mental health of children conceived using donor sperm is similar to that of children in the general population,” Amor said.

Smelling your food is your window to weight gain

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking? If so, stop. It might be making you put on weight.

A research team from University of California, Berkeley, has found that just being able to smell food might make you pack on the pounds.

The study looked at how mice with a normal sense of smell gained weight compared to those with either a diminished or heightened sense of smell.

The results found that those with a normal sense of smell gained weight faster than those with a diminished sense of smell while consuming the same fatty diet. Those with a heightened sense of smell or "super-smellers" gained weight even faster than the normal mice.

The findings suggest that the smell of food may play an important role in how your body burns or stores calories. They also back anecdotal evidence that these results can be replicated in humans, as people who lose their sense of smell are often prone to anorexia.

“Sensory systems play a role in metabolism. Weight gain isn’t purely a measure of the calories taken in, it’s also related to how those calories are perceived,” said senior author Andrew Dillin.

Yay for coffee

Coffee drinkers are less likely to die from a range of causes, according to research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The study, which looked at coffee drinking and mortality in 10 European countries, found that those in the highest quartile of coffee consumption had a statistically significantly lower mortality rate than those who did not drink coffee.

Those who consumed three cups of coffee a day had a lowered risk of death from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease and stroke by 18%.

What else is happening?

Roughly half a million Australians could be living with type 2 diabetes and not know it, according to research from Diabetes Australia.

The study found that over 60% of Australians are at risk of developing the condition.

One way prevent type 2 diabetes is by cutting sugary drinks out of your diet, according to an ANU study. The study concluded that sugary drinks were a major cause of type 2 diabetes, independent to weight gain. The results back recent calls for Australia to introduce a "sugar tax", similar to what is currently in the works in Chile, France, Mexico and the United States.

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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