Virtual Medical
Issue 105 | Tuesday 20 September 2011

Message from the VMC Medical Spokesperson

Dr Joe Kosterich



Dr Joe

Welcome to this edition of Health eNews!

Springtime is allergy season for many people. This is because in spring more dusts, grasses and plant matter are floating in the breeze. Many people are sensitive to these and get a runny nose, watery eyes or the sneezes. Hayfever, whilst annoying is not serious and can be managed with simple measures until the season passes. Please read on to find out more.

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Yours in good health,

Dr Joe Kosterich

Dust mite sensitivity and asthma

article image Early dust mite sensitivity predicts asthma later
Children aged one two years with a family history of allergy, who have a positive skin prick test to house dust mites, have a higher risk of developing asthma later in life. Study results showed....
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Healthy eating

article image Unravelling the disease/diet relationship
It's the era of food labels, Heart Foundation 'ticks' and nutritional guidelines. After years of government nutrition campaigns, most people now know how important a healthy diet is. However, as evidence of the importance of healthy eating continues....
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Rectifying misinformation about MMR vaccine

article image Mistaken fear of measles shot has 'devastating' effect
The reappearance of the potentially deadly virus is the result of unfounded fears about a link between the measles shot and autism that have turned some parents against childhood vaccination. Fears about the MMR vaccine were sparked in 1998...
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Teacher, pilot, nurse or engineer?

article image Sex hormones impact career choices
Sex hormones strongly influence people's interests, which affect the kinds of occupations they choose, according to psychologists. "Our results provide strong support for hormonal influences on interest in occupations characterised by working with....
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Petrified of the dentist?

article image CBT may be the answer!
People with severe dental phobia may be able to overcome their anxieties with a single session of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The authors of a new study concluded that the benefits were of such significance that they advise dental providers....
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Ten years after 9/11

article image World Trade Centre firefighters have greater cancer risk
In the largest cancer study of firefighters ever conducted, research found that New York City firefighters exposed to the 9/11 World Trade Centre (WTC) disaster site were at least 19 percent more likely to develop cancer in the seven years following the disaster....
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Nutrition information at a glance

article image 9 in 10 consumers give traffic light food labels green light
Research reveals Australian grocery buyers are overwhelmingly (87%) in favour of clearer nutrition labels on packaged food in the form of traffic light ratings.....
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How to burn unhealthy belly fat

article image Hit the road not the weights to burn belly fat
When researchers conducted a head-to-head comparison of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and a combination of the two, they found aerobic exercise to be the most efficient and most effective way to lose the belly fat that's most damaging....
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Virtual Medical Centre Interactive


VIDEO: Dr Joe talks about allergies
Dr Joe Kosterich talks about springtime allergies, including what causes them, why you get them in spring, and what to do to help prevent or treat them.
Watch the video

3D animation ANIMATION: How hayfever symptoms start
View the animation
Tool TOOL: Dry Eye Syndrome Evaluation
Dry eye syndrome or just allergies? Use this tool to find out
Use the tool
Disease search on VMC ENCYCLOPAEDIA: Popular health topics
View the most popular topics on Virtual Medical Centre.

The support of the following commercial entities is gratefully acknowledged:

Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Novogen Regenerate

Specialised Therapeutics
Boehringer Ingelheim

Pfizer Oncology

St Jude
Bayer Health Care

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Today's Survey

Do you suffer from spring allergies?

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Cucumber, Yoghurt and Mint Salad

This simple recipe makes a creamy cucumber salad that can be served as a side dish with spicy meals, or as a healthy dip for crackers or vegetables sticks.

Makes 4 servings of a side salad


  • 2 large (300 g) Lebanese cucumbers, grated or very finely diced
  • 250 mL low-fat Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (optional)
  • Juice of half a lemon


1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

2. Mix together with a spoon.

3. Serve chilled.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: No cooking
Difficulty rating: Easy

View more healthy recipes.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

George works in a local nursing home looking after the elderly. During the admission procedures he always asks new arrivals if they are allergic to anything and if they are, he prints it on an allergy band which he places on their wrist.

One day, he asks a new arrival, "OK, Esther, I have just one more thing to ask you. Are you allergic to anything?"

"Yes I am," replies Esther. "I'm allergic to bananas."

Later that morning, Esther's son comes storming angrily into the office shouting, "Who's responsible for labelling my mother 'bananas'?"

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