CSIRO video transcript
Title: Preventative Health Flagship Duration: 6m28s Location: http://www.csiro.au/csiro/content/file/ppf2k,,.html Transcript Narrator: Look after yourself and stay healthy, it’s a basic rule of life. Prevention after all is so much better, than cure. By the year 2020, there will be four million Australians over the age of 65. Keeping them healthy is a huge social and economic issue. That’s the goal of the Preventative Health Flagship, a partnership between CSIRO and other organisations to help people lead longer, healthier and more productive lives.
Prof. Richard Head, Director, Preventative Health Flagship: “It’s a multi disciplinary effort; it involves scientists coming together with different disciplines, for example, mathematics, biology and physics, to help us understand better the very early markers associated with diseases, and thereby giving greater opportunities for intervention.”
Narrator: Powerful new medical tools enable researchers to explore the human body at the most minute level. Soon we will be able to track tumours in there first few cells, and pin genetic damage to individual molecules. The message at this level is very clear - catch the disease early, help the body to repair itself and sustain health. Researchers are exploring the foods we eat for medically valuable compounds. The targets – cancers, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Dr Lynne Cobrae: “In the past, we have had food technology over there and we have had nutrition over here and genomics and proteomics expertise over here. What we’re doing in P. Health is bringing all of that expertise and capability together and by combining those fruits together we can actually specifically design foods that should prevent or delay onset a whole range of chronic diseases.”
Narrator: Many of the natural medicines in our diet, like omega-3 fish oil, make valuable dietary supplements. The challenge is to deliver them to the right part of the body. A CSIRO team has been working on dietary powders made of microscopic particles, which are
really minute spherical containers. These micro-capsules can be used in food.
Dr Maryann Augustin: “That part of functional food development, which is actually understanding the component itself, making sure it is stable when it’s put into the food, making sure that it is stable when put in the environment during storage and get to where it needs to in the body, it’s I think a huge challenge.”
Narrator: Dr Jose Varghese and his team use techniques so powerful they can hunt individual molecules through the human brain. They’re hoping to stop the mind destroying scourge of Alzheimer’s disease. They are using the same tools to research the crippling autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and they may well find new ways for preventing heart disease. This combines many different disciplines.
Dr Jose Varghese: “I think, Australia particular, is a country has to with our limited number of resources and scientists, have to, sort of pool our resources together in order to attack problems like this, and I think with P. Health Flagship in collaboration with the Neuro Science of Australia is an example where we’re pooling together medical knowledge and biological knowledge with chemistry and physics.”
Narrator: Bowel cancer is a major cause of early death for Australians and the risk increases with age. The key is to locate it earlier enough for effective treatment. We need a diagnostic kit, which can be used at home so people can screen themselves. The search for biomarkers to provide the first warning is being carried out by Dr Trevor Lockett and his team.
Dr Trevor Lockett: “Being able to identify people with the previous positions of chorionic cancer permits us to make lifestyle and nutritional interventions that will delay the onset of disease. To be able to identify people early will result in improve therapeutic outcomes.”
Narrator: How do we know if children are developing normally? These twin studies into language learning will form part of a national database. Australia’s public health database is being combined to create a large scale compelling picture of our general wellbeing. A leader in the use of these insights is Professor Fiona Stanley.
Prof. Fiona Stanley, Australian of the Year 2003: “We’re setting up an integrated data network for Australia to enable different pattern of diseases
to be able to be monitored, to look at this complexity of pathways, to disease causation. The exciting thing about integrated network is that it’s going to be bringing together diverse data sets, which can bring different perspectives to these complex problems, for the first time in Australia.”
Narrator: If all goes well, these children can expect to live more than 80 years, will they end up suffering from chronic ill health or live happy productive lives into old age. The answer depends on partly on clever research partnerships and a visionary commitment to preventative health.
Prof. Fiona Stanley, Australian of the Year 2003: “The most important thing for Australia today is to put prevention back on the agenda that is absolutely crucial to the future of our health, our well being and our health services, mental health services across the whole nation. If we ignore the power of prevention, we are loosing opportunities to the help improve the whole nation. That’s the most important message.”
Contact: Ms Helen Beringen, Communications Officer, Preventative Health Flagship Phone: 61 8 8303 8903 Email: Helen.Beringen@csiro.au Web: www.csiro.au