August report for Environment Climate and Health

8 August 2018

Research projects

The PFAS Health Study: Another shipment of bloods was received in early July, this shipment contained the first bloods from the participants in Katherine, NT. To date we have received just over 1,200 samples.

Ethics approvals for the focus groups in Katherine, NT were obtained from the Northern Territory, Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs and ANU. Cathy, Tambri and Liz will be travelling to Katherine, the week beginning 5 August, for the focus groups discussions.

A Planning Meeting was held on 27 July to discuss the upcoming Blood Serum Study, Cross-sectional Survey and Data Linkage Study. For the first time one session of this meeting was attending, via teleconference, by community members on the Community Reference Panel.

The Relief in MS Study: The Relief Study is a nutraceutical intervention in people with MS who are troubled by fatigue. Participants will be randomised to the intervention (a dietary supplement containing a number of compounds thought to support mitochondrial function) or placebo for 16 weeks. We are currently working on study documentation, ethics approvals, and a multi-institution agreement.

Epigenetics of MS in the Ausimmune Case control Study: our funding application to the US MS Society to undertake epigenetic analyses (EWAS) in the Ausimmune Study cases and controls was successful. This work is a collaboration with the University of Newcastle and the Ausimmune Study Investigator Group. We are currently working on multi-institution agreements to commence this work.

Papers accepted/published:

  1. Larson A. Evaluation amidst complexity: eight evaluation questions to explain how complex adaptive systems affect program impact. Evaluation 2018;24(3):353-362


  1. Hughes LJ, Black LJ, Sherriff JL, Dunlop E, Strobel N, Lucas RM, Bornman JF. Vitamin D content of Australian native food plants and Australian-grown edible seaweed. Nutrients (accepted 3 July 2018)


  1. Black LJ, Rowley C, Sherriff J, Perieira G, Ponsonby A-L, Ausimmune Investigator Group, Lucas RM. A healthy dietary pattern associates with a lower risk of a first clinical diagnosis of central nervous system demyelination Mult Scler J (accepted 18 July 2018)


  1. Cha L, Jones AP, Trend S, Gatt PN, Fabis-Pedrini M, Carroll WM, Byrne SN, Lucas RM, Coles JM, Booth DR, Kermode AG, Hart PH. Tryptophan and arginine catabolic enzymes and regulatory cytokines in clinically isolated syndrome and multiple sclerosis Clinical and Translational Immunology (accepted 25 July 2018)


  1. Fearnley EJ, Lal A, Bates J, Stafford R, Kirk MD, Glass, K. Salmonella source attribution in a subtropical state of Australia: capturing environmental reservoirs of infection. Epidemiology and Infection (accepted 17th July 2018)


  1. Vette K, Bareja C. Clark R, Lal A. Establishing thresholds and parameters for Pandemic Influenza Severity Assessment, Australia. Bulletin of the World Health Organization.



Robyn Lucas gave a keynote presentation entitled “Weighing the risks and benefits of sun exposure: skin type and location matter”, at the International Skin Care Conference in Bangkok, 11-13 July 2018.


Robyn Lucas has been invited to review the 10-year projections and planning for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.