The great prostate debate; bringing science to wellness; making babies; and is fruit making you fat?

Healthy doses of science around Australia

Tuesday 18 August 2015

… and there’s more on each below.

Let’s debate your prostate, with Bernie Hobbs and experts – Hobart, TAS

Should all men aged 50-69 years have annual prostate cancer screening with a PSA test?

Bernie Hobbs from ABC Science Online will moderate the debate between six experts on a topic that’s particularly important in light of the 3,300 Australian men that die from prostate cancer each year, and the 20,000 diagnoses annually.

The Menzies Director, Professor Tom Marwick, will host this light-hearted look at a serious subject. Thursday 20 August Event details

Debating for the negative:

  • Professor Frank Bowden (Professor at the Australian National University Medical School and Staff Specialist at Canberra Hospital)
  • Dr Liesel Fitzgerald (Prostate cancer genetics researcher, Menzies Institute for Medical Research)
  • Professor Mark Nelson (Chair, Discipline of General Practice at the University of Tasmania, Senior Professorial Fellow at , Menzies, GP)

Debating for the affirmative:

  • Professor Paul Glaziou (Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Bond University and part-time GP)
  • Dr Michael Vaughan (Practising Urologist)
  • Penny Egan (CEO, Cancer Council Tasmania)

Media enquiries: Miranda Harman, or 03 6226 7751, 0427 199 562

Crap or credible? Bringing science to wellness – University of Sydney, NSW

Actress and anti-vaccination campaigner Jenny McCarthy says she got her degree from the University of Google. Belle Gibson infamously claimed she cured herself from brain cancer through diet and nutrition… and, off the back of this, made a best-selling app and a career as a wellness guru, despite never having had cancer.

What would it take to encourage a more rational approach to wellness, and why don’t more evidence-based scientists participate in this growing industry?

ABC Radio’s Natasha Mitchell will host a discussion of these potentially life and death issues, with a panel of research and medical experts and communicators including consumer advocate Christopher Zinn, a Professor of Dietics Margaret Allman-Farinelli, neuroscientist and health blogger Dr Sarah McKay and lifestyle journalist Liz Graham, acting editor at body+soul. Tuesday 18 August Event details

Dr Sarah McKay is available for media interviews.

Contact: or 0412 002 226

There’s more to making healthy babies than what goes on in the bedroom – Adelaide, SA

babiesWhat triggers a pre-term birth? And how do you make a healthy baby?

Fertility experts will talk about their latest research on pregnancy at a free public symposium in Adelaide as part of The Society for Reproductive Biology’s annual conference.

Topics include:

  • risk of complications for mother and baby
  • the genetic, nutritional, and lifestyle factors that affect pregnancy outcome
  • a paradigm shift in the understanding of triggers of preterm birth
  • the long-term impact on children of preterm birth
  • and what doctors see in the clinics of Australia and Africa.

The symposium will also be streamed live from the Society’s website. Sunday 23 August Event details

Media enquiries: Lydia Hales, or 03 9398 1416, 0457 854 515

Meet the woman who survived an ‘overdose’ of 50 homeopathic sleeping pills – Hindmarsh, SA

And she did it just to prove they don’t work.

Prolific blogger and YouTube sensation SciBabe Yvette d’Entremont is dedicated to debunking pseudoscience. She is always looking at the alternative medicine and pseudoscience movements with a sceptical eye, using a combination of real science and humour.

SciBabe is touring Australia for National Science Week, and is in Adelaide on Monday 24 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Rona Sakko, or 0419 827 723

See where the science is done – Open Day at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research – Nedlands, WA

Put on a lab coat and try your hand at being a medical scientist at the first ever Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research open day.

Take a walk through the history of medicine on a guided tour, hear about the latest cancer research, and check out what goes on inside the human body with giant MRI scans. Saturday 22 August Event details

Media enquiries: Carolyn Monaghan, or 0448 021 932

Is fruit making you fat? – Mowbray, TAS

Can too manyfruit bananas, apples and oranges cause chronic disease?

We’re told to eat our daily serving of fruit and veggies. But fruit can have high amounts of glucose and fructose, which can lead to obesity and heart disease.

See two experts battle it out to decide if fruit it good or bad for you.

Dr Gary Fettke, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Senior Lecturer of the University of Tasmania, will discuss the role of fruit in a modern diet – is it natural to have fruit in your diet?

Professor Roger Stanley, Foundation Director of the Centre for Food Innovation at the University of Tasmania, will talk on the health properties of fruit and advocate why we are better off with them in our diet. Thursday 20 August Event details

Media enquiries: Damien Blackwell, or 03 6165 4508

Are you at risk of chronic disease? – Alice Springs, Nightcliff & Palmerston NT

Chronic diseases account for 90 per cent of all deaths in Australia. Are you at risk?

Find out at the Menzies HealthLAB, where you can test your total body fat percentage, blood pressure and expired carbon monoxide from smoke exposure, all factors which can increase your risk of developing chronic disease.

Be the subject of the tests and conduct the tests yourself, meet health researchers, and find out just how healthy you really are. Wednesday 19 – Monday 24 August Event details (multiple events)

Media enquiries: Susan Sayers, or 0418 849 200

Secrets of your brain revealed – South Brisbane, QLD

Three experbraints put their heads together to talk the lastest research on brain and mental health research and where future technologies might take us at a free public lecture at the University of Queensland (UQ).

Pick the brains of the speakers, and people from Parkinson’s Queensland Incorporated, Lifeline and Uniting Care Community, and more.

Speakers include:

Professor Peter Silburn, AM, Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation (APCN) at UQ and expert in the treatment and research of Parkinson’s disease, related neurodegenerative disorders and Deep Brain Stimulation therapy.

Associate Professor James Scott, a child and adolescent psychiatrist from the UQ School of Medicine and School of Psychiatry with a focus on depression, anxiety, aggression, self-harm, developmental disorders and pharmacotherapy.

Dr Jacki Liddle, an occupational therapist and researcher for APCN at UQ on quality of life, participation and life transitions related to ageing, illness, and related treatments. Saturday 22 August Event details

Media enquiries: Tiffany Au, or 07 3346 6101

About National Science Week

National Science Week is Australia’s annual opportunity to meet scientists, discuss the hot topics, do science and celebrate its cultural and economic impact on society.

Australia’s eighteenth National Science Week will be one of Australia’s largest festivals, with 1,500 plus registered events expected to reach over a million people.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and sponsors NewScientist, Cosmos, Popular Science and PrimaryConnections.

National Science Week 2015 will run from 15-23 August. Event details can be found at


National Science Week general media enquiries:

Tanya Ha – or call 0404 083 863