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Natasha Beyersdorf

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POPULAR INDIAN SPICE TESTED FOR HEALTH BENEFITS

Indian food is full of flavour and tradition, and potentially it seems, a powerful health benefit to people at risk of type two diabetes. Scientists at the University of Newcastle are putting the well-loved curry spice tumeric to the test, seeing if it can help reduce inflammation. For more information on the trial call 4921 5636 or email rohithnagendra.thota@uon.edu.au

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BLOOD LEAD TESTS TO BEGIN

More than a decade after the closure of the Pasminco smelter, its legacy continues to trouble communities in northern Lake Macquarie. Next week, a round of blood lead tests will begin on young children and pregnant women, but locals say they want more… demanding the area be properly remediated.

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PROMISING TREATMENT FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and that theory could apply to an emerging treatment for the debilitating disease, multiple sclerosis. Scientists at the Hunter Medical Research Institute are trialling Vitamin D supplements for patients. It shows great promise, but in our final story for medical research week, we see how another simple concept – living life to the fullest – is also having an impact.

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NEWCASTLE RESEARCHERS TACKLE TEEN HEALTH

We know how important exercise is to good health, but keeping kids interested in sport is an increasingly big challenge. Researchers in Newcastle have hit on a winner, targeting the notoriously tricky teen years… and it’s about taking a more mature approach to fitness. As our series for Medical Research Week continues, we see how a CrossFit programme designed for adolescents is helping them achieve health AND academic goals.

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MAJOR REFUBISHMENT FOR NEONATAL UNIT

Sick and premature babies and their families are set to benefit from a major refurbishment at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is undergoing a $7-million upgrade, funded through the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund. Work began today on stage one, which includes 32 special care spaces, a palliative care room, and facilities for families. The unit cares for 1100 babies each year from throughout northern New South Wales. The refurbishment should take 12 months. (VISION ONLY)

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BEANIES FOR BRAIN CANCER

When Carrie Bickmore donned a beanie during her gold Logie acceptance speech last night, she started a conversation that’s had an especially big impact in Newcastle. Former Knights player Mark Hughes has since been overwhelmed by support for his foundation, which raises awareness and money for the fight against brain cancer. For more information on the Mark Hughes Foundation, click HERE.

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MINECRAFT GAME ASSISTS AUTISM STUDENTS WITH EDUCATION

Educators across the Hunter have added the game Minecraft into the classroom. Today, dressed in colours of the rainbow for World Autism Awareness Day, students at the Aspect Hunter School demonstrated how Minecraft helps them learn. The game is said to teach students about communication and social skills. Aspect has been working on the programme for four years and has now produced a virtual textbook, “Minecraft in your classroom” to share with other teachers. The resource is free and anyone interested can see the following website for details: www.autismpedagogy.com

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SCHOOL ADVENTURE BEGINS FOR YOUNG STUDENTS

While the school year has already started for most, the big adventure is just beginning for our youngest students. Kindergarten kids are getting ready to head into the classroom next week, but health experts warn, as many as 20 per cent of them aren’t fully prepared. For more information, visit the Hunter Institute of Mental Health’s website.

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