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MSWA Bulletin Winter 2019

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RESEARCH CURTIN

RESEARCH CURTIN UNIVERSITY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA Study finds Red Meat as Part of a Healthy Diet Linked to Reduced Risk of MS This research, led by Dr Lucinda Black and funded by an MSWA Postdoctoral Fellowship, was recently published in the Journal of Nutrition. The findings suggest that people who consume unprocessed red meat as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet may reduce their risk of MS. The research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, examined data from 840 Australians who took part in the Ausimmune Study; to determine if there was a link between consuming a Mediterranean diet that includes unprocessed red meat, such as lamb, beef and pork, and a reduced risk of a first episode of CNS demyelination, a common precursor to MS. Dr Lucinda Black, from the School of Public Health at Curtin University, said the number of people being diagnosed with MS was increasing globally, suggesting environmental factors such as low sun exposure, low vitamin D, and poor diet may be contributing factors. “Previous research suggests that a Mediterranean diet can help to reduce the risk of certain health issues, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and improve overall life expectancy. However, there is inconclusive evidence to suggest a Mediterranean diet also reduces the risk of developing MS,” Dr Black said. “Our research found that consuming one daily serving (65 g) of unprocessed red meat as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet may be beneficial for those at high risk of developing MS.” “It is unclear why consuming red meat combined with a healthy diet may lower the risk of MS, but red meat contains important macro and micronutrients including protein, iron, zinc, selenium, potassium, vitamin D, and a range of B-vitamins, many of which are important for healthy neurological function.” To ensure that the risks do not outweigh the benefits, Cancer Council WA recommends eating only a moderate amount of unprocessed lean red meat, which equates to no more than one daily serving, where a serving is 65 grams of cooked meat. (MSWA can provide you with a copy of the article upon request). MS RESEARCH AUSTRALIA SEE MORE AT MSRA.ORG.AU EBV Infection and MS Risk Genes Infection with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is a well-known risk factor for MS. A new study by the Westmead Institute group looked at the effect of EBV infection on genetic activity in immune cells and their findings showed that EBV controls some MS risk genes. This indicates that the MS risk genes may work together with EBV infection to facilitate the development of MS and this interaction may be one way that genetic changes act to increase the risk of MS. This provides a better understanding of the way that EBV infection relates to developing MS and may see new therapeutic approaches. Fatigue Linked with Worse MS Outcomes Studies suggest between 52% to 90% of people with MS experience fatigue, with most describing it as one of their top three most troublesome symptoms. An international survey of over 500 people with MS showed that fatigue is linked with higher levels of disability, greater levels of depression and anxiety, and poorer cognitive function and sleep in people with MS. A recently published study, led by Dr Scott Rooney and his colleagues in Glasgow in Scotland, explored these relationships in both progressive and non-progressive forms of MS. Most respondents were female (82%), average age 46, and on average 9.6 years post-diagnosis. In this study, people with progressive MS were much older than the reported average age, had the disease longer, and reported higher levels of disability and unemployment compared to participants with non-progressive MS. The results showed that 70% of people with MS in this study experienced fatigue, confirming that fatigue is a common symptom of MS. A higher proportion of participants with progressive MS (81%) reported fatigue compared to those with nonprogressive forms of MS (64%), which is also consistent with past studies. However, most importantly, this study showed for the first time that fatigue is linked with higher levels of disability, greater levels of depression and anxiety, and poorer cognitive function and sleep in people with MS. These results were comparable for both people with progressive and non-progressive MS. With such a huge impact on quality of life, fatigue remains an important area of research. Some ongoing research funded through MS Research Australia includes: / Investigations on ways to best combat heat-related fatigue in people with MS / A study on whether MRI techniques can be used to assess the effectiveness of a dietary supplement that may be able to combat fatigue in relapsingremitting MS 10

NURSING IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE FLU! The Australia Department of Health advises that currently, influenza and influenza-like illness activity are high for this time of year compared to previous years. WA has experienced significant cases of flu in May/June and recorded some deaths including, sadly, a 10-year-old boy. An annual flu vaccination is recommended. It reduces the chances of both catching and transmitting the flu. This is especially important for those at-risk of complications arising from influenza and those in close contact with at-risk people. See your GP or local pharmacy for advice. While it can happen any time, it's more common to catch the flu, or experience flu-like symptoms, in the colder months of the year (April to October). For information visit www.healthdirect. gov.au/colds-and-flu-treatments. Call Health Direct 24/7 for free advice or speak to a registered nurse, on 1800 022 222. SUE SHAPLAND, RN BN GENERAL MANAGER – STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS DO YOU WANT TO RECEIVE THE BULLETIN ONLINE? Register your email address today to start receiving our monthly Vitality e-newsletter or the Bulletin magazine online. Email damien.hill@mswa.org.au or call 9365 4814 and let us know your current email address, or to update your contact details. 11