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10 health stories that got people talking this year

January 15, 2020
Health stories that made the news in 2019
It’s been a busy year for our health and medical researchers. From our own research into diet, climate and vaccination to expert commentary on sports doping, measles and bushfires.

Here are just some of our stories that dominated the news in 2019 and got people talking in Sydney and around the globe.

Rear view of man walking up stairs

1. The new exercise trend that is made for everyone

You’ve heard of HIIT but what about HIIPA? From washing the car to climbing stairs or carrying groceries, each of these activities is an opportunity for short, sharp bursts of ‘High Intensity Incidental Physical Activity’, according to an international research team. Read more

cows in paddock

2. Increased Q-fever vaccination needed for rural residents

Researchers are calling for increased Q-fever vaccination for rural residents as a new study finds people who are not in recognised high-risk groups are still at increased risk of catching the highly infectious disease. Read more

3. What is Ligandrol and how does it work?

Australian freestyle swimmer Shayna Jack tested positive to the banned substance Ligandrol before the world swimming championships in South Korea. An expert from the University of Sydney Pharmacy School explains the history of Ligandrol and how it works. Read more

4. Brain disease found in former league players

For the first time, a brain disease linked with repetitive head injury reported in American sport has been identified in the brains of two former Australian rugby league players. Read more

5. Eating a bit less reduces heart attack risk, study shows

The link between obesity and cardiovascular disease is well known but in what is believed to be the first study of its kind, an international team has found even restricting calorie intake moderately, by people only marginally overweight, can significantly reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Read more

6. Preeclampsia risk may be reduced by a healthy high-fibre diet

New research suggests gut bacteria could have an impact on the outcome of pregnancies, with a high plant-based fibre diet recommended. Read more

7. Is it safe to use an electric fan for cooling?

New research published in Annals of Internal Medicine calls into question current guidelines from most public health authorities that suggest fans may not be beneficial when the temperature rises above 35 degrees Celsius. Read more

8. What happens when students call an aged-care facility their home

Student Hannah and Scalabrini resident Neville.
Student Hannah and Scalabrini resident Neville. Credit: ABC News 

It’s not every day your neighbours are 160 older people with dementia or age-related care needs, but four health sciences students from University of Sydney students are very happy to call an aged care facility their home. Read more

9. Codeine misuse in Australia reduced by prescription-only changes

The move to prescription-only codeine in Australia has seen a 50 percent reduction in the monthly rate of codeine-related poisoning calls and halved codeine sales, finds new research led by the University of Sydney. Read more

10. DNA time capsule reveals birthplace of modern humans

A landmark study, published in Nature, pinpoints the birthplace of modern humans in southern Africa and suggests how climate change may have driven the first migrations. The study was featured in the Altmetric Top 100 list of the most-discussed works of 2019. Read more

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