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Law J.,University of Newcastle | Rush R.,Queen Margaret University | King T.,University of Newcastle | Westrupp E.,Latrobe University | Reilly S.,Griffith University
Child Development | Year: 2017

Oral language development is a key outcome of elementary school, and it is important to identify factors that predict it most effectively. Commonly researchers use ordinary least squares regression with conclusions restricted to average performance conditional on relevant covariates. Quantile regression offers a more sophisticated alternative. Using data of 17,687 children from the United Kingdom's Millennium Cohort Study, we compared ordinary least squares and quantile models with language development (verbal similarities) at 11 years as the outcome. Gender had more of an effect at the top of the distribution, whereas poverty, early language, and reading to the child had a greater effect at the bottom. The picture for TV watching was more mixed. The results are discussed in terms of the provision of universal and targeted interventions. © 2017 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.


Briffa J.F.,University of Melbourne | McAinch A.J.,Victoria University | Romano T.,Latrobe University | Wlodek M.E.,University of Melbourne | Hryciw D.H.,University of Melbourne
American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2015

Emerging research has highlighted the importance of leptin in fetal growth and development independent of its essential role in the maintenance of hunger and satiety through the modulation of neuropeptide Y and proopiomelanocortin neurons. Alterations in maternal-placental-fetal leptin exchange may modify the development of the fetus and contribute to the increased risk of developing disease in adulthood. In addition, leptin also plays an important role in reproductive functions, with plasma leptin concentrations rising in pregnant women, peaking during the third trimester. Elevated plasma leptin concentrations occur at the completion of organogenesis, and research in animal models has demonstrated that leptin is involved in the development and maturation of a number of organs, including the heart, brain, kidneys, and pancreas. Elevated maternal plasma leptin is associated with maternal obesity, and reduced fetal plasma leptin is correlated with intrauterine growth restriction. Alterations in plasma leptin during development may be associated with an increased risk of developing a number of adulthood diseases, including cardiovascular, metabolic, and renal diseases via altered fetal development and organogenesis. Importantly, research has shown that leptin antagonism after birth significantly reduces maturation of numerous organs. Conversely, restoration of the leptin deficiency after birth in growth-restricted animals restores the offspring’s body weight and improves organogenesis. Therefore, leptin appears to play a major role in organogenesis, which may adversely affect the risk of developing a number of diseases in adulthood. Therefore, greater understanding of the role of leptin during development may assist in the prevention and treatment of a number of disease states that occur in adulthood. © 2015 the American Physiological Society.


Goddard M.E.,University of Melbourne | Goddard M.E.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Whitelaw E.,Latrobe University
Frontiers in Genetics | Year: 2014

This review considers the evidence for inheritance across generations of epigenetic marks and how this phenomenon could be exploited in the cattle and sheep industries. Epigenetic marks are chemical changes in the chromosomes that affect the expression of genes and hence the phenotype of the cell and are passed on during mitosis so that the daughter cells have the same chemical changes or epigenetic marks as the parent cell. Although most epigenetic marks are wiped clean in the process of forming a new zygote, some epigenetic marks (epimutations) may be passed on from parent to offspring. The inheritance of epigenetic marks across generations is difficult to prove as there are usually alternative explanations possible. There are few well documented cases, mainly using inbred strains of mice. The epimutations are unstable and revert to wild type after a few generations. Although, there are no known cases in sheep or cattle, it is likely that inherited epimutations occur in these species but it is unlikely that they explain a large part of the inherited or genetic variation. There is limited evidence in mice and rats that an environmental treatment can cause a change in the epigenetic marks of an animal and that this change can be passed on the next generation. If inherited epimutations occur in sheep and cattle, they will already be utilised to some extent by existing genetic improvement programs. It would be possible to modify the statistical models used in the calculation of EBVs to better recognise the variance controlled by epimutations, but it would probably have, at best, a small effect on the rate on genetic (inherited) gain achieved. Although not a genetic improvement, the inheritance of epigenetic marks caused by the environment experienced by the sire offers a new opportunity in sheep and cattle breeding. However, at present we do not know if this occurs or, if it does, what environmental treatment might have a beneficial effect. © 2014 Goddard and Whitelaw.


Sanders D.,University of the Western Cape | Baum F.E.,Flinders University | Benos A.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Legge D.,Latrobe University
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health | Year: 2011

The promised revitalisation of primary healthcare (PHC) is happening at a time when the contradictions and unfairness of the global economic system have become clear, suggesting that the current system is unsustainable. In the past two decades, one of the most significant impediments to the implementation of comprehensive PHC has been neoliberal economic policies and their imposition globally. This article questions what will be required for PHC to flourish. PHC incorporates five key principles: equitable provision of services, comprehensive care, intersectoral action, community involvement and appropriate technology. This article considers intersectoral action and comprehensiveness and their potential to be implemented in the current global environment. It highlights the constraints to intersectoral action through a case study of nutrition in the context of globalisation of the food chain. It also explores the challenges to implementing a comprehensive approach to health that are posed by neoliberal health sector reforms and donor practices. The paper concludes that even well-designed health systems based on PHC have little influence over the broader economic forces that shape their operation and their ability to improve health. Reforming these economic forces will require greater regulation of the national and global economic environment to emphasise people's health rather than private profit, and action to address climate change. Revitalisation of PHC and progress towards health equity are unlikely without strong regulation of the market. The further development and strengthening of social movements for health will be key to successful advocacy action.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Scientists in Britain have raised concerns about Australia’s $15m plan to release a herpes virus in the nation’s largest river system to eradicate carp, saying it poses a serious risk to global food security, could cause “catastrophic ecosystem crashes” in Australia, and is unlikely to control carp numbers long term. In a letter published in the Nature Ecology and Evolution journal this week, University of East Anglia researchers Dr Jackie Lighten and Prof Cock van Oosterhout say the “irreversible high-risk proposal” could have “serious ecological, environmental, and economic ramifications.” The Australian government allocated $15m in the 2016 budget to a national carp control plan, centred around a plan to release the koi herpes virus into the Murray-Darling river system to kill common carp, or Cyprinus carpio. It followed extensive research by the CSIRO, which conducted seven years of tests to ensure that native fish, birds, amphibians, and other species in the river system could not contract the virus. Lighten and van Oosterhout say the use of the carp herpes virus should not be compared to the release of the myxomatosis virus to control the rabbit population, arguing: “compared with the biocontrol of terrestrial vertebrates, the biocontrol of large, highly fecund aquatic animals such as carp adds novel risks.” They argue that laboratory tests “cannot rule out the possibility of cross-infection” and that the virus will have “an enormous evolutionary potential” once released in the wild, and could evolve to attack other species. They also say that releasing a notifiable disease that attacks the most commonly-farmed fish in the world could impact the global food supply, and that the oxygen loss caused by millions of tonnes of rotting carp killed by the virus in the Murray Darling Basin could “lead to catastrophic ecosystem crashes”. “[Koi herpes virus] is a highly efficient killer of common carp, and since its initial outbreak and rapid global spread in the 1990s it has caused millions of dollars of losses to the carp aquaculture and angling industries,” van Oosterhout said. “Carp is one of the most farmed fish in the world and an important source of protein in lower to middle income countries, so is vital to food security.” The coordinator of the National Carp Control Plan, Matt Barwick, said the concerns raised by Lighten and van Oosterhout were already being examined by the Fisheries Research Development Corporation. Barwick, who has been dubbed “The Carpinator” by the agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, and is an enthusiastic supporter of the project, has been given two years to develop the carp control plan and provide a detailed risk assessment to the federal government. That process will include further testing to ensure the virus does not affect other species, and Barwick said there was no evidence from countries where the virus was already present that it had evolved to attack other species. “This virus is now found in almost every river and lake system in Japan, and in another 32 countries,” he told Guardian Australia. “Despite that, the only species that this virus has been detected to cause disease in is the common carp. In these countries they are sharing a waterway with other species of koi, very closely related to the common carp, and those other species haven’t contracted the virus. Barwick said he did not believe it would threaten global food security, because all the countries that relied on carp as an aquaculture species already had the virus. Dealing with mass carp deaths after the virus’s release was a significant problem, he said. Carp was introduced to Australia in the 1800s and makes up 90% of the fish biomass in the river system, to the devastation of native fish species and the general health of the waterways. It is not farmed for food purposes in Australia and cannot be traded with other countries, due to Australia’s tough biosecurity laws. There is some commercial farming of ornamental koi, which are the same species as the common carp and are therefore susceptible to the virus. Latrobe University senior ecology lecturer Dr Susan Lawler, who is based on the Murray River, said Lighten and van Oosterhout “don’t understand the Australian perspective”. “The reason they are terrified of it going wrong is because they don’t understand how terrified we are that all the native fish in Australia are going to die off because of carp,” Lawler said. “There’s an ecological disaster going on right now.” Lawler said all of the concerns raised in the article, including that the virus could evolve to attack other fish, or that fish could die off in a eutrophic event caused by millions of dead carp, presupposed that native fish were not already dying. “I am not worried about it because at the moment these fish are dying anyway.” She agreed that the virus would not kill the entire carp population, and that their numbers would recover, but said that did not mean it wouldn’t be a long-term solution. “In my mind, 90% carp biomass reduced to 50% would be a long-term solution. Modelling done by the national carp research project anticipated the carp population would recover to between 30% and 40% of its current numbers after suffering the first mass mortality from the virus. Barwick said secondary control measures would be introduced to keep numbers down.


Buxton M.,RMIT University | Haynes R.,RMIT University | Mercer D.,RMIT University | Butt A.,Latrobe University
Geographical Research | Year: 2011

The 7 February 2009 bushfires in the peri-urban region to the north of metropolitan Melbourne heralded what many have called an entirely new epoch in terms of weather-related disasters in Australia. A total of 173 people and 2000 properties were destroyed and, as with the 1939 fires in Victoria, a Royal Commission was subsequently instituted to inquire into the causes and responses to the fire. The Royal Commission has heard much evidence about alleged failings of fire response, communication and administration. It also considered land use planning issues and the associated regulatory framework. Using the Shire of Murrindindi as a case study, this paper argues that the location of population growth, and associated regulatory failure, are contributory, yet under-researched, factors associated with life and property losses. The adoption of more robust planning tools which incorporate climate change considerations, we argue, is essential to anticipate and minimise the impacts of disastrous natural events such as bushfires. In the latter part of the paper, attention is drawn to a recent Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision which is groundbreaking in its use of the precautionary principle to prevent dwelling construction in an 'inappropriate' location as well as to some major inconsistencies between planning for flood and bushfire threats. © 2010 The Authors. Geographical Research © 2010 Institute of Australian Geographers.


Custovic E.,Latrobe University
IEEE Engineering Management Review | Year: 2015

This article raises the case for including learning experiences in the basic skills in the discipline of engineering management. Engineering curriculums tend to cover fundamental and complex topics from electromagnetic theory to quantum mechanics. However, there is little emphasis on the management discipline. Students graduate with an excellent aptitude in applying mathematics, physics and general science to solve problems in industry. However, it is no surprise that industry often evaluates graduates differently, focusing on soft skills. The article concludes with a discussion on the need of effective and collaborative mentoring between engineering managers, educators, researchers, and other practitioners to encourage growth and development of young professionals. © 1973-2011 IEEE.


Patent
Latrobe University | Date: 2013-07-19

The present invention relates generally to a method of diagnosing, prognosing or monitoring the development or progress of metastatic cancer, more particularly bone metastatic cancer. The method of the present invention more particularly provides a method for detecting metastatic cancer, or a predisposition thereto, by screening for the differential expression of a panel of genes which comprise an IRF7 binding site. In a related aspect, the present invention provides a method of therapeutically or prophylactically treating metastatic cancer, in particular bone metastatic cancer. More particularly, the present invention provides a means of therapeutically or prophylactically treating metastatic cancer by upregulating type I IFN levels.


Patent
Latrobe University, Grains Research, Development Corporation and Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd | Date: 2010-10-20

The present invention provides a method for disrupting pollen development in a plant, the method comprising inhibiting the expression of an endogenous nucleic acid molecule which is, under normal conditions, detectably expressed in anther tissue of a plant during pollen formation, and which codes for a protein belonging to the MYB class of DNA binding transcription factors. Particularly, the nucleic acid molecule whose expression is blocked encodes MYB 103. The invention also provides nucleic acid molecules for use in the method, use of the method in producing male sterile plants and transgenic plants produced in accordance with the method.


Australian capacity in distributed renewable energy ('RE') systems is complementary to addressing regional energy poverty needs. Australia has a wide range of RE industry business models and technologies that could be incentivised, by a combination of emissions trading scheme offsets and/or tax incentives. Additionally, specialist financing techniques have been developed for RE projects in developing countries, and combining them with these regulatory measures is critical to scaling up Australian RE exports. Domestic and international RE-related Australian institutions have been well placed to address this kind of scale-up. However, a substantially privately funded, industry-based organisation could help to address energy poverty with RE technology, through developing specialist financing and project development expertise. The main barriers to scaling up RE projects that address energy poverty are not technological, but capacity and financing related. These barriers can in large measure be addressed by these regulatory measures, specialist institutions and financing techniques. © Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law 2013.

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