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Helping families and carers of premature babies

A joint venture between the Royal Hospital for Women and the Sydney Children’s
Hospital has seen the establishment of iplay -a free, fortnightly play and support group
for children aged 0 to 6. This initiative is a result of feedback from parents of children
born prematurely with birth complications or congenital abnormalities. This indicates
that little help is available for these parents, compared to those families whose babies
are born without any problems.

The group will hold its inaugural meeting next month, with the aim of offering support to
families and carers who have had babies admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Units or
Special Care Nurseries, either through prematurity or complications as a result of birth
or congenital abnormalities.

Staff from the Royal Hospital for Women and the Sydney Children’s Hospital will attend
the groups to provide expert care and guidance in areas of: paediatric physiotherapy,
speech therapy, paediatrics, paediatric nursing, occupational therapy and social work.
The iplay group is specifically designed to meet the needs of premature babies and is
equipped with toys and activities recommended by therapists to maximise children’s
potential to develop physically. By guiding and assisting parents with their children’s
specific needs, the group hopes to help parents to maximise their children’s
development and overcome disadvantages associated with premature birth.

The group also provides a forum for families and carers to share similar experiences,
exchange ideas on parenting, build support networks and consult trained staff about
their or their children’s medical problems.

Source held by RMIT

Study Shows Women who Exercise Likely to Lose Weight

Scientists at the University of Adelaide have been researching how the menstrual cycle
affects the ability of women to exercise. They have found that exercising at particular
times in the menstrual cycle could help women to lose more weight.

Early results of the research show that exercising at the later menstrual phase could
burn more fat and help women to feel less tired. Results suggest that women are better
able to exercise during the later part of the menstrual cycle. At the later menstrual
phase, hormones increase the use of fats as an energy source to support exercise. The
use of fat in such activity results in the body producing fewer waste products. These
waste products normally contribute to fatigue.

The findings are of international interest to sport scientists and physicians involved in
prescribing exercise programs to women for sport, fitness or health. According to the
research, there would be clear benefits to women if their weight management programs,
as well as providing a sound diet and lifestyle, took into account the physiological
changes that occur during the menstrual cycle.

The University has received funding from a number of Australian and international
organizations to continue this important research. It is currently seeking women
between the ages of 18-30 to volunteer for the last phase of the study. This phase will
look at the impact of synthetic hormones within the oral contraceptive pill on women's
metabolism and exercise capacity.

Source held by RMIT

Young People in Asia face alarming HIV risk due to high drug use

At the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) we are very concerned that young
people in Asia are facing unprecedented health risks. There has been an escalation in
the abuse of amphetamine-type drugs and there is a high correlation between drug
abuse and HIV infection.

Our research indicates that young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for
the majority of new HIV/AIDS infections worldwide. Intravenous drugs are fuelling much
of these infections, with amphetamine-type substances increasingly becoming the drugs
of choice for young people around the world. This is especially the case in Asia.

Asia is home to approximately 33 million users of amphetamine-type substances, with

approximately two-thirds of them living in Thailand, the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan.
Children and young people account for the majority of new users. We are witnessing a
human tragedy unfolding at an alarming pace affecting our children and young people.
There is an urgent need for more effective and coordinated policies to tackle this
growing problem.

For its part, UNICEF is developing global, regional and national strategies to deal with
this growing threat to young people, both in and out of schools. Young people have a
right to information, skills and services to help protect themselves from the harm
associated with drugs. Of course, UNICEF cannot deal with this problem alone.
Accordingly, we are calling for governments in the Asian region to substantially increase
investment in education, community services and parental support. It is only through
such concerted action that we can protect young people from drugs.

Source held by RMIT