What ‘clicked’ with you in 2021?
This year has been like no other year. We’ve seen the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 across the world and also witnessed great human resolve to overcome the pandemic. Scientists around the globe have pioneered vaccines and therapeutics in record time and health workers in remote areas have overcome significant challenges to deliver these to the community. The focus on public health has never been as sharp as it is now.
We’re immensely proud to be part of this global effort to improve peoples’ health and well-being. Here are the top five most-read stories of 2021 on our website.
August saw the publication of the landmark Salt Substitutes and Stroke Study showing that replacing table salt with a reduced-sodium, added-potassium ‘salt substitute’ significantly reduces rates of stroke, heart attack and death.
Lead investigator, Professor Bruce Neal said that the scale of the benefit seen in the study could prevent millions of early deaths if salt substitutes were widely adopted.
“Almost everyone in the world eats more salt than they should. Switching to a salt substitute is something that everyone could do if salt substitutes were on the supermarket shelves,’’ he said.
In September, our research amongst the world’s biggest consumers of dairy foods showed that those with higher intakes of dairy fat - measured by levels of fatty acids in the blood - had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with low intakes. Higher intakes of dairy fat were not associated with an increased risk of death.
Lead author Dr Kathy Trieu said that consumption of some dairy foods, especially fermented products, have previously been associated with benefits for the heart.
“Our study suggests that cutting down on dairy fat or avoiding dairy altogether might not be the best choice for heart health.”
In April, The George Institute India launched the TGI India Health Innovation Fellowship – an initiative to provide a learning environment to convert an innovative research idea into a working, market-ready solution.
With mentoring from senior researchers at The George Institute India, the program is targeted towards anyone who believes in the power of innovation to disrupt the status quo. The fellowship is open to individual innovators or start-ups in digital health, MedTech and tech-enabled health service delivery providers.
A study led by Prof Simone Pettigrew, published in June, compared different ways of encouraging people to reduce their alcohol intake and found that telling people alcohol causes cancer makes them want to drink less, and encouraging them to count their drinks helps them do it.
“We found that pairing information about alcohol and cancer with a particular practical action - counting their drinks - resulted in drinkers reducing the amount of alcohol they consumed,” said Prof Pettigrew.
In June 2021, Dr Janine Mohamed became a Distinguished Fellow at The George Institute, linked to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program. Currently CEO of the Lowitja Institute - Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research - Janine has been recognised for her contributions on multiple occasions, including a University of South Australia Alumni Award in 2016, the ACT Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander “Individual” NAIDOC Award in 2018 and the 2019 NATSIHWA Lifetime Achievement Award due to her integral role in establishing a national professional association for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.
Thanks for following our work and watch this space for more ground-breaking research in 2022!