Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Tony Blakely, Dr Cristina Cleghorn
A large prospective study on dietary salt and health has recently been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. While reinforcing extensive past work that a (very) high intake of salt is hazardous to health – an increased hazard was also found for low intakes of salt (i.e., a “J-shaped” or “U-shaped” relationship). This blog post considers this new study in more detail and suggests that we need a high-level international review to clarify the research and policy agenda from here. Our interpretation should be treated as preliminary on what may be an important study; therefore, we welcome and encourage comments on this blog post. [SEE MULTIPLE COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG BELOW. AND IN PARTICULAR SEE SUBSEQUENT BLOG WHERE WE UPDATE ANALYSIS BELOW BASED ON DISCUSSIONS WITH COLLEAGUES – IMPORTANT.]
Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Frederieke S. van der Deen
Southern saltmarsh mosquito: A disease vector successfully eliminated from NZ
At the Public Health Congress in Auckland last week, one of us presented on potential public health endgames – partly to inform thinking around the tobacco endgame in New Zealand (the Smokefree Nation Goal for 2025). This blog post provides a brief historical perspective and international perspective on public health-related endgames. It also considers what additional endgames this country could be bolder about tackling.
Dr Helen Eyles, Dr Wilma Waterlander (both from The National Institute for Health Innovation), Professor Tony Blakely
Image from: http://www.life-enhancement.com
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you’ll be aware that sugar and its negative impact on dental caries, body weight, and other long-term health conditions such as diabetes, is highly topical. The World Health Organization has recently announced that we should reduce our daily sugar intake to less than 5% of total energy. In this blog, we consider two new articles assessing the evidence for artificial sweeteners and their impact on body weight and metabolism – one a lab experiment on mice published in Nature that was widely covered in the media, and one a systematic review of human studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The former shows deleterious effects of artificial sweeteners on the glucose metabolism of mice, but the later net benefits of artificially sweetened beverages on body weight among humans.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Tony Blakely
A recently published review has quantified the estimated benefits and harms of taking regular aspirin for disease prevention. The results indicate a relatively favourable benefit-to-harm ratio (good for preventing various cancers and heart attacks – but also harmful in terms of causing gastric bleeding and one type of stroke). But for some people, the relative size of the benefit may still not be enough to outweigh the dislike of taking daily medication. This blog briefly looks at the issues and considers possible responses by NZ health agencies and research funders.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson
The recently published Report on the safety of water fluoridation (Royal Society of NZ & the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor) gave a green light for expanding water fluoridation in New Zealand given the scientific evidence for health benefit and safety, reduction in inequalities in oral health, and the cost-effectiveness. This blog post goes further to explore what else could be done to maximise the benefits of fluoridation for the oral health of New Zealanders.