Martin, Tigers beat Blues in AFL opener

Carlton were on the wrong end of a potent reminder that Dustin Martin is a lot easier to taunt than he is to stop.

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The Richmond star was best afield on Thursday, leading the Tigers to a 43-point win over the Blues in their AFL season opener at the MCG.

The Carlton pre-game banner cheekily took aim at the Tigers and Martin’s haircut.

“Richmond’s five-year plan has become a disaster – the vision impaired like Dusty’s barber”.

Martin’s hair and prominent tattoos make him stand out, but on Thursday night it was his football that commanded attention.

He had 33 possessions and kicked four goals, plus he gave away two more and is guaranteed three Brownlow Medal votes.

It was the perfect start to a massive year for Martin and Richmond.

He and Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe are by far the biggest names among the players who become free agents at the end of the season, while the Tigers are coming off last year’s drop out of the finals.

Earlier this month, Martin looked uncomfortable and then walked away from a media conference when questions were asked about his future.

But there is nothing shy about his football when he is full flight.

“That’s what good players do,” coach Damien Hardwick said when asked about how Martin copes with on and off-field pressure.

“He’s the ultimate professional, Dustin – he goes about his business, he trains incredibly hard, he looks after himself and he get the result that he deserves (against Carlton).”

It also helps Martin that the Tigers have recruited Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy – as Hardwick noted, it means the star onballer can go forward more often.

But Martin was also outstanding in defence, launching a booming kick from halfback early in the last quarter that went 70m and set Caddy up for the game-sealing goal.

Hardwick liked what he saw on Thursday night, saying Richmond could not be faulted for their effort.

He admitted the third term was frustrating – Carlton stayed in the game by kicking 5.0 to 2.6 – but Hardwick liked the way his team finished off the match.

“The key for us is the consistency we’re looking for with that effort and we get a great test, round two against Collingwood,” he said.

Another feature was the tackle count of 88-66 in Richmond’s favour – Nick Vlaustuin had 10 to halftime.

“People say his possession rate wasn’t high, but his influence on the game was massive,” Hardwick said.

Apart from Caddy and Prestia, first-gamer Dan Butler (two goals) was another Richmond newcomer who impressed.

Carlton’s Matthew Kreuzer beat Richmond’s ruck import Toby Nankervis, but Hardwick said it was a duel worth watching.

London attack: Crowd honours victims at Trafalgar Square vigil

London Mayor Sadiq Khan led the tributes in a heavily-policed Trafalgar Square, vowing “Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism” after a 52-year-old British-born man went on the rampage at Westminster.

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“The victims were people who came from all corners of our world,” he said.

Standing alongside Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Craig Mackey, the acting commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, Khan lit a candle in an act mirrored by the crowds gathered in the famous square.

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A man draped in Britain’s Union Jack flag was among those lighting candles placed on sand, while others left flowers in the square.

Messages of defiance were brought to the vigil, including a “Hate will not divide us” sign held by a member of the public and “We are not afraid” written on the ground.

At Trafalgar Square, thousands pay their respects at a candlelit vigil. @SBSNews pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/z9Naeho7HJ

— Ben Lewis (@benlewismedia) March 23, 2017’We will carry on’

Retiree Wendy Scott was among the hundreds of people who came to Trafalgar Square to express her solidarity with victims of the attack.

“We will carry on,” she told AFP, before laying a bunch of daffodils in the square.

Naveed Mirza, a Muslim student, said he had received “overwhelming” support since the attack described by police as “Islamist-related terrorism”.

“We have come to say how, as Muslims, we unequivocally condemn all the violent actions that took place yesterday,” he told AFP.

“People have been coming to us, they have been very supportive telling us we should have nothing to fear,” Mirza added.

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The Islamic State group claimed one of its “soldiers” was behind the attack in which a British woman, an American man and a London policeman were killed.

The Metropolitan Police held a meeting of faith leaders on Thursday to discuss how to tackle “the discord, distrust and fear that terrorists seek to create”.

Police officers in Trafalgar Square were approached by numerous people who offered their condolences for the death of their colleague, who was stabbed to death outside parliament by a man police named as Khalid Masood.

“I told them I’m sorry for your loss and we stand by you for your work,” said Anne-Marie Wilson, a 53-year-old charity worker.

“They have lost a brother, it could have been any one of us,” she told AFP.

Masood intially drove across Westminster Bridge, ploughing into pedestrians before crashing the car and stabbing police officer Keith Palmer, before being shot by police.

Forty people were injured in total, including two people who are battling life-threatening injuries and five in a critical condition.

Giants vow to overcome Green’s absence

Midcourter Jamie-Lee Price says the Giants will overcome the loss of their decorated captain Kimberlee Green ahead of Saturday’s Super Netball clash with the Melbourne Vixens at Hisense Arena.

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Green has been ruled out for the season after rupturing her ACL against Adelaide last week.

Price said the Giants will need to build on their emotion-driven victory over the Thunderbirds if they’re to win the top of the table clash against the Vixens and maintain their clean sheet without Green.

“Obviously we were really gutted at the start of the week, but we’re building and that’s a good sign,” Price told AAP ahead of her 50th game.

“Kim is around us every single day. She’s really positive which is good, because I think if she came across as really sad it would impact us quite a lot. But she’s so positive and she’s still there for us.

“We’re confident, but not cocky. We believe in ourselves. There’s no pressure on us at all …we just have to build from what we’ve been doing pretty much all season.”

Taylah Davies replaced Green at wing attack last week and is expected to start in the midcourt against the Vixens. Training partner Amy Parmenter will also travel with the Sydney-based side to Melbourne.

Without Green, the Giants are a different assignment and the Vixens’ midcourt of Liz Watson, Kate Moloney and Chloe Watson will draw on their experience and well versed combinations from the junior ranks to try and expose a weakness.

In form defending duo Jo Weston and Emily Mannix will also look to apply pressure from inside the circle to slow the feed and shut down the Giants’ shooters space.

Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald said her side is expecting that pressure from their opponents.

“We are preparing as best we can…I was really pleased with the fact that we re-grouped so well last Sunday against the Thunderbirds,” Fitzgerald said.

“We’ve been training really hard this week to rebuild the combination down that attack end and are ready to take on the Vixens.”

The second-placed Vixens have lost just one game this season and will head into the crucial match boosted by their strong 16-goal win against Queensland Firebirds last week.

Vixens suffered a late blow ahead of the match with midcourt replacement Khao Watts being ruled out with a knee injury which required surgery. Tayla Honey has replaced Watts in the squad for the round.

The Melbourne Vixens host the Giants on Saturday night at Hisense Arena with the match to be televised live on 9GEM from 7pm local.

‘We are not afraid,’ May tells MPs as parliament reopens

Britain’s parliament reopened Thursday with a minute’s silence in memory of three people killed in a suspected “Islamist-related” attack on the symbol of the country’s democracy.

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With MPs projecting an air of “business as usual,” armed police arrested eight people in raids linked to Wednesday’s deadly assault carried out in the shadow of Big Ben that sowed panic in the heart of London.

Around 30 people were treated in hospital, including seven in critical condition, some with “catastrophic” injuries after the attacker mowed down pedestrians on a nearby bridge before stabbing a policeman at the parliament gates.

View the gallery

As MPs resumed business, police officers lined up outside their Scotland Yard headquarters nearby for a minute’s silence in front of the eternal flame to those officers who have given their lives in service.

A packed parliament paid tribute, heads bowed.

“We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism,” said a defiant Prime Minister Theresa May. 

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Britain had until Wednesday’s attack been spared amid a series of deadly jihadist assaults in Europe.

The attack in London came a year to the day after Islamic State jihadists killed 32 people in twin bomb attacks in Brussels.

Attacker ‘acted alone’

Britain’s top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley said police had raided six houses in London, the central city of Birmingham and elsewhere.

“It is still our belief… that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism,” he said.

Rowley acknowledged Muslim communities “will feel anxious at this time” due to previous extreme right-wing attacks and that the police would work with community leaders to ensure protection.

One of those killed was Aysha Frade, who worked in the administration team at a school a few hundred metres away.

Among the injured were three French school children and a number of foreign nationals from China, Portugal, Romania and South Korea.

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‘Sick and depraved’

At the scene of the attack, helicopters circled overhead and a blue forensics tent was in place where the assailant died. Where the policeman was killed, there was blood on the ground.

Hundreds of extra police were on patrol as officers worked around the clock to piece together what happened in the deadliest attack in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 people on London’s transport system in July 2005.

The British flag over parliament flew at half-mast in a sign of mourning.

Press Association news agency photos believed to be of the knifeman lying on an ambulance stretcher showed a burly man with black clothes and a beard.

Other pictures showed a knife on the cobblestones inside the vehicle entrance gates to parliament, while three shots were heard ringing out on video footage as terrified passers-by fled.

Standing outside her Downing Street residence after an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday, May said Britain’s alert level would remain unchanged at level four, or “severe”.

The prime minister was in parliament at the time of the attack and was ushered away in a silver car as gunfire rang out.

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood, whose brother Jonathan was killed in the 2002 Bali bombing, was pictured with his face smeared with blood helping to give first aid to the fatally wounded police officer.

Candlelit vigil

Queen Elizabeth II postponed her appearance on Thursday to open the new headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police and London’s mayor Sadiq Khan called a candlelit vigil on Trafalgar Square later in the day.

Britain’s allies vowed to stand with London in the fight against terror while lights on the Eiffel Tower in Paris were switched off at midnight in solidarity with the victims.

US President Donald Trump and French President Francois Hollande both spoke to May and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany stood with Britons “against all forms of terrorism”.

Britain’s last terror attack was last year’s assassination of MP Jo Cox by a pro-Nazi sympathiser in her constituency in northern England shortly before the vote to leave the European Union.

International victims

Several international tourists visiting one of London’s most iconic sights were caught up in the violence.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault travelled to London to visit three French pupils on a school trip who were among those hurt.

Five South Korean tourists were wounded, Seoul’s foreign ministry said, while the Romanian government said two of its citizens were also injured.

A Portuguese man was hurt, the country’s government said, while a seriously injured woman was rescued from the River Thames following the incident.

A Chinese tourist was also slightly injured.

Police said 40 were injured after the attacker ploughed a car along a pavement on a bridge before stabbing the police officer outside the parliament.

Here is what we know about the victims so far.

A minute’s silence is observed outside New Scotland Yard in London to pay respect to the victims of terror attack.AAP

Police officer

The police officer killed has been named as 48-year-old Keith Palmer, a husband and father who was part of the parliamentary protection force.

Tributes have poured in from across the country for Palmer, who was unarmed and was stabbed to death just inside the vehicle entrance gates to parliament.

Palmer had been in the police for 15 years.

He previously served in the British army alongside James Cleverly, now a Conservative MP, who tweeted: “A lovely man, a friend. I’m heartbroken.”

Female pedestrian

British police said one of the victims run down and killed by the attacker was a woman in her mid-40s.

According to a Spanish diplomatic source, she had a Spanish mother but was a British citizen.

Media reports said she was a 43 year-old mother of two and taught Spanish in London.

In the hours after the attack sowed confusion on heavily-trafficked Westminster Bridge, Colleen Anderson, a junior doctor at the nearby St Thomas’ Hospital, said she had confirmed the death of a woman at the scene.

“She was under the wheel of a bus,” she said, without explaining how the victim came to be under the bus. 

Male pedestrian

British police said the third victim was a man in his mid-50s but provided no further details.

Injured

Westminster Bridge is a busy tourist spot with its views of parliament’s Big Ben clock tower, and the injured included several foreigners.

Police said 29 of around 40 people wounded were treated in hospital. Seven remained in a “critical condition” on Thursday.

Three French pupils on a school trip to London were among those hurt, including two who suffered broken bones but were not reported to be in life-threatening condition.

The teenagers are from a high school in Concarneau, in the western Brittany region, and were joined by their families on Wednesday evening.

Five South Korean tourists — four women and a man in their 50s and 60s — were also wounded after being knocked to the ground by people trying to flee as the assailant mowed down pedestrians in a car, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

A woman with serious injuries was rescued from the River Thames near Westminster Bridge after the attack. No mention was made of her name or nationality. 

Other casualties include a Portuguese man, a Chinese person and two Romanians, authorities in their respective countries confirmed.

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Leaks show CIA working to hack iPhones

New WikiLeaks documents point to an apparent CIA program to hack Apple’s iPhones and Mac computers.

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Security experts say the exploits are plausible but suggest they pose little threat to typical users.

They say many of the tricks are older – the iPhone hack involves the 3G model from 2008, for instance.

The techniques also typically require physical access to devices, something the CIA would use only for targeted individuals, not a broader population.

Apple has not responded to a request for comment.

The CIA has not commented on the authenticity of this and earlier WikiLeaks revelations but has previously said it complied with a legal prohibition against electronic surveillance “targeting individuals here at home, including our fellow Americans”.

The agency declined further comment on Thursday.

The leaks come about two weeks after WikiLeaks published thousands of alleged CIA documents describing hacking tools it said the government employed to break into computers, mobile phones and even smart TVs.

The latest disclosures are much more focused and consist of just 12 documents, all involving Apple products.

The documents describe techniques for rewriting devices’ firmware in ways that would maintain a hacker’s access even if a user resets a phone or computer to factory settings.

A December 2008 document describes “NightSkies,” a tool apparently designed to target the iPhone 3G; the document claims it can retrieve files such as contact lists and call logs and execute other commands.

Other documents released describe similar exploits for Mac computers.

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Hazlewood impressed by Cummins’ comeback

Josh Hazlewood was in awe of how Pat Cummins bowled in his Test comeback, especially given how placid the pitch was in Ranchi.

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Cummins unleashed almost six years of angst on India’s batsmen in the third Test, having been sidelined from the sport’s highest level since a sparkling 2011 debut in Johannesburg.

The 23-year-old was comfortably the visitors’ most potent bowler, extracting remarkable bounce from the slow-and-low surface throughout his 39 overs.

“Everyone was taken aback by the way he bowled and to get that lift and pace off the wicket like that,” Hazlewood said.

“He’s a pretty special player and to bring that extra pace is what you need sometimes on those wickets to get those breakthroughs.

“It’s great to have him back. I’ve spent a lot of time with Patty and to finally get to play a Test with him was great.

“He obviously had a great hit-out in that last Test and bowled fast for the whole duration, so it’s amazing what he’s going to do back in Australia and on bouncy wickets.”

The tourists hope the deck for the series decider will be exactly that.

The fourth Test starts on Saturday in Dharamsala. The venue has a reputation of being among India’s most pace-friendly grounds.

Australia liked the look of the pitch on Thursday, when they trained there for the first time.

However, Hazlewood suggested there might be some changes before the toss.

“I’d love to see it fast and bouncy,” he said.

“We’d love it to be that way, would feel a bit more like home but I don’t think we’ll get that.

“The way they saw Patty Cummins bowl the other day, they don’t really want it any faster than Ranchi I wouldn’t think.”

Cummins was sent for scans following the match. However, it was a precautionary measure because of his history of serious setbacks.

The right-armer has avoided injury and is set to back up in the series decider.

Frigate project to clock up milestone

Plans to build a fleet of nine anti-submarine warships are set to reach an important milestone.

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Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a tender request for the $35 billion Future Frigates project will be brought forward and released to the shortlisted bidding companies by the end of next week.

It means the government will outline its final requirements.

Three shipbuilders are in the running – the BAE Systems with its Type 26, Fincantieri of Italy with its FREMM and Navantia of Spain with an updated F100.

The winner will be announced in 2018.

They will replace eight Anzac frigates from the mid-2020s, in a project that will create more than 2000 jobs.

“It will create knock-on benefits up and down the supply chain across the country,” Mr Pyne told an Australian Strategic Policy Institute dinner overnight.

The European-designed frigates will be built at Osborne in South Australia.

But Mr Pyne has grand plans for the fleet, beyond just making them in Australia.

“We should aspire to not only build the frigates in Australia, but to design them here as well,” he said.

“Our aspiration should extend to selling those designs overseas to our allies and regional partners.”

Beefing-up Australia’s export capacity is one of the minister’s main tasks.

Australia ranks fifth in the world for defence imports, but 20th in the world for exports.

“We will strive to reverse those numbers,” Mr Pyne said.

The Turnbull government will release a defence export strategy later in 2017.

“Australians – outside the defence and government bubble – need to understand the linkage between national and economic security,” Mr Pyne said.

London attack: family and friends remember victims

Westminster Bridge, where the attacker mowed down pedestrians before stabbing a police officer, is a busy tourist spot with its views of parliament’s Big Ben clock tower.

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Those injured in the attack included many foreigners.

Here is what we know about the victims so far.

‘Hero’ police officer

Unarmed police officer Keith Palmer, who was fatally stabbed as he stood guard at an entrance to parliament, has been hailed as a hero.

The 48-year-old husband and father had been a police officer for 15 years and was part of the parliamentary protection force.

Prime Minister Theresa May called him “every inch a hero”.

View the gallery

He previously served in the British army alongside James Cleverly, now a Conservative MP, who tweeted: “A lovely man, a friend. I’m heartbroken.”

As a tribute, Charlton Athletic football club placed a scarf in its red and white colours on Seat 166 of its stadium, which Palmer held as a season ticket holder.

Thousands of people also donated money to Palmer’s family via a crowdfunding page set up by the police force union.

Within a day, it had already collected more than £300,000 ($375,000, 350,000 euros).

A picture of British policeman Keith Palmer is seen among flowers near London Parliament.EPA

Mother-of-two

Colleagues of Aysha Frade, a mother who was run down and killed as she was on her way to pick up her children, said she was “loved” and would be “deeply missed”.

A Spanish diplomatic source confirmed to AFP that Frade was a 43-year-old British national whose mother was Spanish.

Media reports said her daughters were seven and nine years old.

Rachel Borland, principal of DLD College London where Frade worked in the administration team, said she was “highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues”.

‘A great American’

Kurt Cochran from Utah in the United States has been named as the third victim.

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to pay tribute to “a great American” adding that his “prayers and condolences are with the family and friends”.

Clint Payne, Cochran’s brother-in-law, explained in a statement that Cochran and his wife Melissa Payne Cochran had been in London to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

A great American, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the London terror attack. My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2017

“Our family is heartbroken,” he said in a statement emailed to AFP.

Cochran’s wife is reportedly in hospital, where she is recovering from a broken leg and rib and a cut on her head.

The police said only that a man in his 50s had died.

 Kurt Cochran was among those killed in the London attack Wednesday. Wife Melissa was seriously injured.AP

75-year-old man

A 75-year-old man who was injured in the attack died of his wounds on Thursday evening, police said.

“The man had been receiving medical treatment in hospital following the attack and life support was withdrawn this evening,” police said in a statement, without giving further details of the victim’s background.

Injured

Police said 29 of around 40 people wounded were treated in hospital. Seven remained in “critical condition” on Thursday.

Three French pupils on a school trip to London, all aged 15 or 16, were among those hurt, including two who suffered broken bones but were not reported to be in life-threatening condition.

The teenagers are from a high school in Concarneau, in the western Brittany region, and were joined by their families on Wednesday evening. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrived in London on Thursday to visit them.

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Five South Korean tourists — four women and a man in their 50s and 60s — were also wounded after being knocked to the ground by people fleeing as the assailant mowed down pedestrians, Seoul said.

In an address to parliament on Thursday, May said that among the people admitted to hospital were 12 Britons as well as two Greeks and two Romanians, one German, one Pole, one Irish citizen, one Chinese national, one Italian and one American.

A woman with serious injuries rescued from the River Thames near Westminster Bridge after the attack, as well as her fiance, are believed to be the two Romanians.

Believed to have fallen in the Thames: Andreea Cristea.Facebook

Local media in the eastern European country have named them as Andreea Cristea, a 29 year-old architect and Andrei Burnez. Authorities did not confirm the reports.

The injured also included three police officers who were returning from an event recognising their bravery, two of whom remain in serious condition.

Among the injured British nationals were four students from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk in northwest England, who were on an educational visit to the parliament.

Londoners light candles during a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London where thousands gathered to remember the victims.EPA

Student Travis Frain, 19, was thrown over the bonnet of the car, his mother said.

“He loves politics, that is his ideal trip, going to Parliament. He was probably buzzing with excitement,” said Angela Frain.

The teenager’s injuries include a fractured leg and arm and he is due to remain in hospital, while three other university students hurt in the attack were released.

Security to be reviewed at UK parliament

Security at Britain’s parliament is being reviewed following the horrific attack that left one of the Palace of Westminster’s police officers dead.

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Prime Minister Theresa May said the police “heroically” did their job in the incident, in which officer Keith Palmer was stabbed to death.

Terrorist Khalid Masood was shot dead by police but questions have been asked about the security arrangements in the political heart of the UK.

Former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers suggested it was time to consider whether police who guard “sensitive sites” such as parliament should routinely carry “personal protection weapons” even if they were not formally part of an armed response unit.

In her House of Commons statement, May told MPs: “In terms of security here in Westminster, we should be clear first of all that an attacker attempted to break into parliament and was shot dead within 20 yards of the gates.

“If his intention was to gain access to this building, we should be clear that he did not succeed.

“The police heroically did their job.

“But as is routine, the police together with the House authorities are reviewing the security of the parliamentary estate, co-ordinated with the Cabinet Office, who have responsibility for the security measures in place around the government secure zone.”

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the review would look at whether security arrangements were “adequate” and whether police at the front gates should be armed.

But he said it was neither possible nor desirable to seal parliament off from the public.

Asked why a policeman on the front line at one of the country’s most prominent potential terrorist targets was unarmed, Sir Michael told Sky News: “Some police in parliament are armed and some are unarmed.

“Obviously the security arrangements of the Commons will now be reviewed to see whether that is completely adequate.”

But “parliament can’t be hermetically sealed”.

“We have visitors, quite rightly, we are the home of democracy. Our constituents come and see us,” he said.

“It’s not possible to seal off parliament from the public, nor would that be desirable.”

Checkup Medical Column for March 24

A WEEKLY ROUND-UP OF NEWS AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH

SURGERY MAY NOT BENEFIT TENNIS ELBOW: STUDY

A study of 26 patients with the condition, which causes pain around the elbow and upper forearm, found that those who underwent a common surgery aimed at repairing their damaged elbow had the same outcomes as those who had a placebo procedure.

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Half the group had surgery to remove a degenerated portion of their capri radialis brevis arm muscle, with the remaining half receiving an incision over their outer elbow.

The study’s lead researcher Martin Kroslak, from Sydney’s Orthopaedic Research Institute, said those who underwent the placebo treatment experienced the same improvements as those who had surgery.

“Our data shows both groups experienced significant improvements in pain measures by 26 weeks after surgery, including frequency of pain with activity,” he said.

“Further, these results were consistent or improved after one to four years of follow-up, with no significant difference between the two groups at any point.”

The research was presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Specialty Day in San Diego.

FODMAP DIET MAY HELP WOMEN WITH IBIS, ENDOMETRIOSIS

Women with endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome may benefit from following a low FODMAP diet, research suggests.

An analysis of 160 women who attended a specialist IBS clinic in Christchurch, New Zealand, found that 36 per cent also had endometriosis.

Of the women who had both conditions, nearly three quarters experienced improvement in bowel symptoms after four weeks following a diet low in FODMAP carbohydrates, researchers from Melbourne’s Monash University found.

Half the women who had IBIS but not endometriosis also reported improvements.

“The low FODMAP diet appears effective in women with gut symptoms and endometriosis,” the researchers wrote in an article published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

IBS, a common gastrointestinal disorder, affects one in seven Australian adults and includes symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and wind.

Carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) contribute to IBS symptoms as they are poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.

MERINO WOOL NO IRRITANT FOR KIDS WITH ECZEMA

Kids with eczema may no longer have to avoid all woollen clothing for fear of it irritating their skin.

A clinical trial by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne found superfine merino wool can reduce rather than exacerbate symptoms for kids with mild-to-moderate eczema.

Thirty nine children aged between four weeks and three years wore superfine merino wool clothes for six weeks before changing to cotton garmets. For the next six weeks they wore cotton before switching to the merino wool.

The study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, found when children switched to wool after wearing cotton, there was a significant decrease in eczema severity.

However the eczema worsened when the children changed to cotton from wool.

“When comparing with cotton, there are inherent differences in fibre properties, [Merino] wool’s greater ability to transfer moisture vapour and heat than other major apparel fibres enable it to maintain a more stable microclimate between the skin and garment,” said the study’s lead author, Associate Professor John Su from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

SNEAKY SNAKES

Nearly half of all snake bites in Australia occur in urban areas rather than the country.

The first report in a quarter of a century on death by snake bite in Australia has found most victims are male and bitten during the warmer months of the year.

More than half of the bites occur in or near home, with the brown snake responsible for 23 of the 35 deaths recorded between 2000 and 2016, the study by the Australian Venom Research Unit at the University of Melbourne found.

Lead researcher Dr Ronelle Welton said the review challenged widely held assumptions about where snake bites are most likely to happen.

“While the perception remains that snake bite incidents occur in rural areas, we found that nearly half the incidents occurred in an urban environment,” she said.

The study was published in the Journal Toxicon.