Life-time achievement, resistance, white teeth, and more…

FSM news & articles


Our Executive Member has been awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for advancing “the entire field and such advances have been recognised by all the societies of the world Federation of Neurogastroenterology and Motility”.  This is a notable achievement for a long and stellar career in creating and contributing to neurogastroenterology, a field that seeks to understand the neurological underpinnings of various gastroenterological diseases. Here is his acceptance speech.

“A life in a minute. Thanks Roberto for the almost grandiose summary of my humble achievements.

First of all I wish to congratulate the NGE community for introducing this award. Other senior researchers before me would have been worthy recipients and many of the younger generation I am sure will receive it.

53 years ago I published my first paper on the gut with my supervisor and mentor Giorgio Gabella in Turin. Five years later Geoff Burnstock invited me to Australia. I ask Daniela If she would marry me and come to Melbourne. She said yes. By the way a few weeks ago I asked her if she would come to Amsterdam with me and she said yes again. Thank you Daniela my loved wife, my life companion.

In 1975 my next mentors Laurie Geffen and John Chalmers appointed me to the new Medical School at Flinders where I am still, and I will acknowledge my younger mentors in my talk later this morning.

I published less than 300 papers but I did so with more that 180 colleagues. Many will be here today. Thank you. With some I have worked for a long time. 17 years with John Furness who taught me the proper Australian language and Simon Brookes for the subsequent 30 years (210 w in 1 min) who taught me the proper English. Neither I am afraid succeeded.

Scientists are the glue of humankind. Never like now we are needed to counteract the increasing isolationism of so many communities and countries towards dangerous nationalisms. The best way to resist is to keep an open society alive by holding rigorous yet amicable peer review systems. We should also resists the temptation to accept any pseudoscience even if under the umbrella of traditional medicines. “Electro-acupuncture”? Seriously?

I have received many accolades. But there is no greater satisfaction than being recognised by one’s peers. Today is the peak of my scientific career, and I would like to share it with all those friends and colleague who allowed me to have so much fun for such a long time.

I wish all of you to enjoy this exciting meeting and I hope to see all of you in Adelaide in 2 years time. Thank you.”

FSM Friends news & articles

Kratom – An emerging herbal drug: People are currently using reasonable doses of kratom to manage their own chronic pain, and I would not take that away from them. But perhaps they can continue to access a regulated form of kratom, under proper medical supervision, while studies are ongoing. This is not an appropriate drug for the street.


Five of the scariest antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the past five years: There are an estimated 78 million global cases of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhoea, a sexually transmitted infection affecting men and women. Although usually not deadly, serious and permanent health problems including infertility can result if the disease goes untreated. Around one-third of all Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic. More worryingly, a new extensively drug-resistant “super gonorrhoeae”, resistant to all but one antibiotic, has been discovered. Two of the first reported cases of this superbug were in Australia. This is cause for concern, as extensively drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae can spread quickly through a population if people have multiple partners. In rare cases, untreated gonorrhoea can enter the bloodstream, causing septic shock and death.

50 shades whiter – what you should know about teeth whitening: “Lab-based research suggests in-chair whitening by dentists increases the strength of enamel, making it more resistant to erosion from acid. In contrast, home whitening was shown to increase the loss of mineral content within enamel, which over time may lead to weakness. The researchers suggest home systems should be used under the supervision of a dentist. Whitening products bought over the counter, when used excessively, could lead to damage to teeth over time. The main difference is dentists will take a mould of your teeth and use that to make a whitening tray. This ensures the treatment touches your teeth only and not your gums.

It’s important hydrogen peroxide isn’t left in contact with gums for a long time as this can cause burns. Many outlets offering teeth whitening claim to use “peroxide-free” products. Consumers should ask what these actually contain. Products might be free of peroxide before use, but then release hydrogen peroxide when activated. Products that genuinely don’t contain or release hydrogen peroxide are unlikely to be very effective in whitening teeth.”

Vitamin D: a pseudo-vitamin for a pseudo-disease: Recent studies have experts wondering if there is anything real benefit to Vitamin D supplementation.

Thanks to Science

Needless medical procedures: when is a colonoscopy necessary? I expect most people about to undergo a colonoscopy don’t feel glad this procedure exists, but colonoscopy plays a very important role in diagnosing bowel cancer in at-risk people, or in those experiencing troubling bowel symptoms. However, despite the utility of the colonoscopy, the technique is becoming over-used in patient groups that see no benefit, and may actually be at risk of harm from the procedure.

Great moments in Health and Science

Invention of Electrocardiography (ECG): Quick, cheap, painless and safe, the ECG is one of the most useful medical investigations.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

‘National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: NCCIH has a new director, and she’s a true believer in acupuncture: Centres like the NCCIH tend to be stacked with true believers and to pursue a mission to ‘validate’ or to ‘prove’ alternative modalities. The studies conducted by such centres tend to be biased towards positive results, with negative results seen as a failure rather than as good science. “Basically, “integrative medicine” or “integrative health” or whatever you want to call it is nothing more than a strategy for mainstreaming quackery by combining it with science-based medicine. When this happens in academic medical centers, I like to call it quackademic medicine. Remember, the original purpose of NCCAM was to prove that quackery worked, not to produce negative studies.”

Did you know?

Health Check: What are nightshade vegetables and are they bad for you? Nightshade vegetables. Sounds ominous, yes? These vegetables, which include tomatoes, capsicums, chilli peppers, eggplant and potatoes, all belong to the family Solanaceae. This family also includes belladonna, more familiarly deadly nightshade. Self-appointed health experts like Gwyneth Paltrow and Dr.Oz contend they contain the same toxins as nightshade and are damaging to our health. This actually isn’t true, as explored in this article. So the message here? Don’t worry too much about which fruits or vegetables famous bloggers or TV doctors tell you to eat or not to eat. Enjoy them all, be sure to get your “two and five” serves, and store and wash them properly before you tuck in.