University of Otago

Science proves it: South Islanders are genetic mutants

No, not the feral gene, or even the Ginger gene, but another with serious potential health issues.

Many South Island melanoma patients have a different gene mutation than North Island patients and may end up being treated by different drugs.

A large study of patients led by the University of Otago has found similar BRAF gene mutation rates in both the North and South Island, but stark differences in the NRAS gene.

Mutations to the NRAS were found in 38 percent of South Island melanomas, but only in 21 percent of North Island ones.

Study co-leader Professor Mike Eccles of the Dunedin School of Medicine says the South Island rate sticks out “like a sore thumb”, and is out of line with results in other countries as well.

Researchers don’t think ethnic differences explain the mutation rates of the NRAS gene but sunburn or strong exposure to UV-radiation, especially during spring, may.

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Otago Uni public health ‘expert’ blog gets it wrong

So much for the University of Otago’s positioning as so-called public health experts.

On Tuesday they raced out a blog post trying to shame Health Minister Jonathan Coleman into supporting a sugar tax on fizzy drinks here in NZ.

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It’s written by the usual anti-sugar troughers. Lets’ remind ourselves who some of them are.

Dr Wilma Waterlander is obviously the lead author. She and Dr Helen Eyles had a lovely time recently at the 5-star Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh with its exciting social programme.

Prof Nick Wilson is a well-known trougher from the Otago University’s Wellington Department of Public Health Troughers, who last year was exposed by the Taxpayers’ Union over his misleading claims over a salt tax.

Then there’s 11-million-dollar woman Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, well known for calling for a 20% tax on fat, salt, dairy, meat etc.

But hang on a minute, what’s this? Looks like they’ve been caught out botching their references.   Read more »

Otago University really needs to get over itself

Oh boo hiss, those poor public health academics troughers from the University of Otago really do need to get over themselves.

Today’s ODT runs the article Challenging ‘big food’ can mean attacks, continuing the positioning of troughers as hard done by because they are apparently facing a dastardly foe called ‘big food’. This time the comments are from visiting Oxford University academic Professor David Stuckler, who says:

Taking on “big food” and other business interests can mean facing personal attacks and underhand tactics from powerful vested interests, a prominent Oxford University professor told health academics in Dunedin yesterday.

The “real politics” of the arena included attacks aimed at individual careers, and attempts to create arguments and division within the ranks of health advocates, Prof David Stuckler, a professor of political economy and sociology, said.

Tactics used by “big tobacco” appeared to be deployed by “big food” companies, too.

“We confront powerful vested interests who make and manufacture products that when used as intended cause grave harm.”

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What a waste of bacon

Of course PETA are upset, but all I can think of is the complete waste of prime bacon.

A New Zealand research project in blood spatter analysis used 9mm pistols to shoot animals at point blank range.

The project, carried out in 2009, used both slaughtered and live pigs to measure backspatter of blood and bone matter from gunshot wounds to the head.

The details of the experiment have only just come to light after the findings were recently published in the International Journal of Legal Medicine.

The project was a collaboration between researchers from the University of Otago, the University of Auckland and the Crown-funded Institute of Environmental Science and Research.

The findings were hoped to be able to help forensic scientists understand and interpret backspatter from gunshot fatalities.    Read more »

Intervention? You want intervention?

Health troughers are calling for more money to investigate interventions for fat bastard Maori too useless to get off their ever-widening arses.

A report out today on Māori obesity levels ‘Challenges to addressing Obesity for Maori in Aotearoa-New Zealand’,published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, points to the need for more government intervention to help Māori make better and healthier food choices.

The 2008/9 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey found that nearly half of all Māori adults were obese.

The two leading causes of health inequality between Māori and non-Māori are diabetes and vascular disorders, which are often brought on by obesity.

The 2008/9 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey found that nearly half of all Māori adults were obese.

The report was co-authored by Dr Lisa Te Morenga, Dr Rachael McLean and Dr Reremoana Theodore, from Otago University’s Departments of Human Nutrition and Preventive and Social Medicine.

The survey showed that Māori are significantly more likely to experience obesity-related illnesses including pre-diabetes, high-blood pressure and heart attacks that non-Māori and non-Pacific Islanders.

The report out today said the issue of obesity as a health problem for tāngata whenua warranted urgent attention, and obesity and related illnesses looked to become an increasingly significant burden on New Zealand, with a greater burden on Māori communities.

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Otago Uni’s Department of Arse Clowns

Arse Clowns

The other day academics troughers from the University of Otago’s Department of Public Health Troughers pimped out a claim that a salt tax could reap in $450 million.

The Taxpayers thought the claim was a pile of goat poo and looked into this wild claim.

As a result of their investigations they’re now calling out Otago University to pull in their researchers.

Research by the Taxpayers’ Union indicates that the $450 million tax revenue suggested by Otago University Associate Professor Nick Wilson from a salt tax would result in a 2,500% increase in the price of salt for Kiwi consumers.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“The vast majority of the salt manufactured in New Zealand is used for pharmaceutical and agricultural purposes, with only around 30,000 tonnes being used for food products.Professor Wilson’s $450 million over 30,000 tonnes is $15,000 in tax per tonne. A tonne of food grade salt is currently worth around $600 in the wholesale market.”

“Unless Professor Wilson is wanting to tax the salt consumed by cows and the saline solution used by hospitals, his numbers mean consumers will be paying 25 times the current price for salt.”*   Read more »

Anti-sugar troughers desperate for attention

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Yesterday we saw Radio New Zealand run the headline ‘Sugar hit is no GDP sweetener’ and the usual use of alarming statistics to try and scare politicians into supporting a sugar tax/fat tax.

According to a report from Morgan Stanley ‘high sugar consumption is set to slash New Zealand’s future economic growth by more than 20% over 20 years’.

They also trotted out the other alarming pearl that ‘when it comes to waistlines, New Zealand…is the third fattest country in the developed world’.

The qualifier of course is to say ‘in the developed world’, so no mention of our Pacific neighbours who would send New Zealand’s obesity ranking tumbling down the list. Country comparisons is like matching apples with walnuts.    Read more »

Doug Sellman teams up with discredited troughers

Professor J. Douglas Sellman

Professor J. Douglas Sellman

While on the topic of prohibitionist and supermarket hater Doug Sellman, his organisation Alcohol Action NZ is gearing up for a big fight with the Government over the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship.

Travel and lifestyle blogger and pinko David Farrar commented on all the bans the forum recommended the other day, saying it was all a bit depressing, and that it will eventually end up with plain packaging for drinks and food.

Farrar’s post would have incensed Doug Sellman, who is now saying that Alcohol Action NZ is ‘sponsoring an independent expert committee on alcohol advertising and sponsorship (IECAAS), which is monitoring the work of the Ministerial Forum’. From this an ‘independent report’ will be produced. It’s worth a look to see who is on this so called ‘expert committee” that will produce an ‘independent report’.

Oh dear look who we have here. Read more »

Otago Uni trougher at it again #dirtypolitics

Some people really can’t help themselves. Looks like Otago University’s lawyers are going to be kept busy by Otago University academic Lisa Te Morenga.

The other week she had a crack on Twitter at Jordan Williams from the Taxpayers’ Union. Jordan had never heard of her before, but took offence at being called a “twat” and as a result, the University of Otago made Lisa Te Morenga apologise to Williams.

Lisa Te Morenga clearly likes to be seen as the poster-girl for the public health troughers, even getting faux support from the unionist Ian Powell from the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.

Remember this pearl of a tweet (now deleted) by Lisa Te Morenga. Apparently Ian Powell was so incensed at WOBH highlighting this he started calling everyone “hate merchants”.

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It was only a matter of time before this academic from Otago University launches into more twitter abuse. She’s back it with this tweet. She seems to have a real thing for Carrick Graham.

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Watch out for the white van in #DirtyPolitics

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One thing Dirty Politics has done is feed the troughers with deep fears of a corporate conspiracy.

They don’t like it when people challenge them or run one up their expensive junkets to flash overseas destinations.

Troughers like 2013 Trougher of the Year Boyd Swinburn particularly doesn’t like people knowing where his latest overseas conference is located. He thinks it’s all right to take millions from the public purse and we should all be grateful.

No wonder the PM’s chief scientist is looking at code of conduct for scientists.

But just like in the movies, big corporations are now the enemy. And this suits the framing of the public health debate just fine.

In New Zealand a lot of this framing of the public health debate is out of well-known trougher hang-out the University of Otago in Wellington.    Read more »