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Leading athletes and medical experts push for medicinal cannabis in sport

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Leading lawmakers, medical experts and athletes are pushing for therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain and injury

Basketball star Brittney Griner is one of the leading players of her generation. She jumped into the spotlight for serving a sentence for possession of cannabis oil in Russia.

It begs the question whether medicinal cannabis and athletes are a good mix. Well, many lawmakers, health experts and athletes around the world want to break down the stigmas associated with its use.

Many want to use Griner’s ordeal as motivation to change cannabis laws and therapeutic use exemptions in sports.

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health has spoken closely with Dr. Peter Brukner who is a world-renowned Australian sports medicine clinician and researcher.

Dr. Peter Brukner

Brukner believes athletes should be able to compete in their field with medicinal cannabis because it doesn’t enhance their performance.

“Medicinal cannabis is arguably performance diminishing rather than performance enhancing…

It’s likely to be taken off the ban list in the near future.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

“I don’t see there are any risks at all.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

Brayshaw believes there are higher risks for athletes becoming addicted to anti-inflammatory and opioids. As opposed to any risks associated with taking medicinal cannabis.

He explains it enables athletes to function in a healthy way, pain free.

Overall, there is hope Griner’s case will break down stigma surrounding natural medicines and athletes.

In Australia, there are tens of thousands of new applications for medicinal cannabis every month.

“We’re seeing a significant stigma reduction… There are 30,000 new applications every month [in Australia] for medicinal cannabis...

In the right hands, and through a GP it can be a very safe alternative to opioids and anti-inflammatories in the treatment of chronic pain.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

There are also growing calls for countries to adopt therapeutic use exemptions in sport, including in the Australian Football League.

“We’ve got Alistair Clarkson and Damien Hardwick on our board, they’ve taken a keen interest… Yes, it’s on the rise.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

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Why is China’s changing its strategy to handling the pandemic?

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Changes to China’s COVID policies are coming thick and fast, much faster than many people anticipated given how strict the country has been in the last few years, the latest big announcement is around an app that people had to install on their phone

Then it tracked them when they travelled across the country, alerting them if they’ve been to a high risk COVID area, the government says that that app is now deactivated and people no longer have to have it installed on their phones.

It’s yet another indication of the change in China’s strategy to handling the pandemic.

We’ve seen changes related to quarantine, and also testing as well. And a real change in narrative from the authorities when talking about the virus and how dangerous it is. Now officially case numbers are dropping.

But that is largely due to the fact that much less testing is taking place, and we are seeing signs that in reality cases are surging.

There’s queues of people outside of pharmacies, queuing to get medication for colds and for fevers, and also self testing kits as well.

On social media, many people in China now saying that they have caught COVID For the first time, or that they know a number of people who have COVID When previously they didn’t know anyone at all.

So it’s clear that cases are rising, and this is coming just the month before the Chinese New Year holidays, which will take place at the end of January, traditionally a time when millions of people will travel across the country.

We would expect that to happen this year, as travel within China is now much easier.

So we would expect COVID cases to spread across the country talking to travel and is yet no sign of when the borders will open internationally.

Still very, very hard to get into China and very strict. When people do enter and the procedures they have to follow.

Maybe the government will wait and see how the first phase of reopening goes domestically, before thinking internationally?

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TICKER NEWS INSIGHT

Children are our future, but cancer is impacting far too many of them

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Children are our future and that’s why investing in childhood cancer is critical to improving treatments and research

Cancer does not discriminate. It is a major cause of death in children worldwide. While there has been tremendous progress in fighting childhood cancer, significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.

Lance Kawaguchi, who heads Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is passionate about raising awareness and funds to beat childhood cancer.

“It’s critically important that we invest more in childhood cancer…I want to make sure that we can have enough funds to support not just certain types of cancer… But also the ones that have less volume.”

Lance kawaguchi, ceo, cure brain cancer

Why invest in Childhood Cancer?

Childhood cancer is a major cause of death in children worldwide, impacting children aged 0-14.

The most common cancers diagnosed in children is leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), brain and nervous system cancers.

Significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.

Often, certain types of cancers remain underfunded and under-researched. However, just because they’re less common, shouldn’t mean they’re less important.

Brain Stem brain tumours like DIPG, primarily affects children, with most diagnoses occurring between 5 and 7 years of age.

It makes up approximately 10-15% of all brain tumours in children. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of children survive.

Simon Gray lost his son Tom when he was seven years old, and is on a mission to prevent other parents from going through the same grief.

We need to raise more funds for this kind of cancer… We don’t want another parent to have to sit in a room with a bunch of doctors and be told ‘just go create some memories, there’s no if buts or maybe, he’s just going to die’

Simon Gray, cancer advocate

Need For More Specific Paediatric Cancer Treatments

There is a need to develop cancer treatments specifically for children and invest more in enabling this to happen effectively.

A relative lack of cancer research in children limits how to treat them. As a result, some children with cancer are dealt adult treatments, which are often ineffective.

Childhood cancer treatments very rarely reach FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) or EMA (European Medicines Agency) approval.

Therefore, it’s critical that more money is invested into treatment and research for childhood cancer.

Katie Banovich’s 6-year-old son Greyson is a cancer survivor. Greyson has emerged as an inspiration to all those who hear his story. His courage and resilience are a testament that no one should ever give up hope when confronted with adversity.

Katie believes it is through our collective efforts that we will continue to make strides in the fight against childhood cancers.

“Get involved, everyone can help. Awareness of the problem leads to motivation to solve it. And motivation leads to action.”

Katie banovich, cancer advocate

Any family can be impacted by childhood cancer, it does not discriminate. For some they have a positive outcome, but for many they are forced to live out a nightmare.

It’s crucial that we make the fight against childhood cancer a global fight.

In our experience, the key flaws have been a lack of options for treating paediatric brain cancers.

Our daughter Olivia was diagnosed at 18 months… It’s very high risk giving children radiation at such a young age.
.. We had limited options.

Andrew macphillamy, cancer advocate

Centres of Excellence fighting childhood cancer

1. Australia – Children’s Cancer Institute

The Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in Australia is celebrating thirty years of working with like-minded individuals and organisations to fund innovative research projects, world-class clinical care, and quality family support programs. To date, the foundation has raised over A$60.5 million. This capital was spent on a range of programs that align with the CCIs goals of improving the lives of children affected by cancer.

2. Qatar – Sidra Medicine

Sidra Medicine, located in the innovative Education City in Qatar is a benchmark for family healthcare in the Middle East. This 400-bed medical centre caters solely to women and children, offering state-of-the-art health care in a collaborative, research-driven environment. Sidra Medicine aims to establish itself as a global leader in the research of cancer and precision medicine. In September 2022, the institute published a study highlighting the successful use of precision medicine to guide the treatment of some paediatric cancers.

3. US – National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death resulting from illness in children aged four to fourteen in the United States. Sadly, only 4% of the billions of dollars spent on cancer research annually go to funding research for paediatric cancers. The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF) formed an innovative collaboration called the Sunshine Project. The primary goal of this project is to fast-track a more targeted and less toxic cure for paediatric cancer by bringing together the nation’s foremost researchers and medical professionals. Since 2005, the Sunshine Project has funded several clinical trials and translational studies in excess of US$ 33 million.

4. The European Society for Paediatric Oncology

The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) was established to ensure optimal care and outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. The society is active across many areas including research, care, training and education, and EU advocacy. They are driven to facilitate collaborative research across the European continent as well as the promotion of novel treatment modalities in use in clinical trials. Seated in Brussels, SIOPE is ideally situated to promote and advocate better policies for children with cancer to EU policy makers.

Report contributed by Holly Stearnes, Lance Kawaguchi and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

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“Woman. Life. Freedom,” Iran protests now on the world’s stadium

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Protests are engulfing Iran as a revolution against oppression spills onto the global stage, with the world unable to turn a blind eye

In Iran, protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression. 

Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.

“Woman. Life. Freedom”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.

Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.

Women in the country and around the world, are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption.

“What is happening in Iran fills me with both fear and hope… Hope that there might be some meaningful change.”

Donna miles, writer, & Columnist

Pure desperation

For nearly forty years, women in Iran have faced a life of control and oppression. Subject to the strict Islamic Republic rules, bound by religion.

There have been protests in Iran before, but nothing like what we see today.

Women and men are filling the streets of the entire country, in a show of solidarity against the regime, putting their lives on the line.

Footage of Iranian women burning the hijabs and cutting their hair has encapsulated social media.

“People are risking their lives… The regime is very brutal. It significant that this time round that there is international focus and attention on Iran.

One thing is clear…The revolution is taking place, at least in people’s hearts and minds.”

Donna miles, writer, & Columnist

Spilling onto the global stage

The uprising against the regime in Iran and its treatment of women is openly and loudly spilling onto the global stage.

Its voice is so powerful it is even flooding into the sporting arena. In Qatar, Iranian soccer players refused to sing their national anthem before their World Cup game.

Credit: Al Jazeera

While the move from the sporting stars was seen by a global audience, a cloud of fear now looms over the safety and wellbeing of the players returning to their homeland.

“The players have been extremely brave. This is a significant issue for them. Enough to take a political stand to refuse to sing the national anthem.”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

As history shows us, sport has often been used as an avenue to express a political stance.

At the 1968 Mexico Olympics, U.S. athlete Tommie Smith raised his black-gloved fist, in defiance of racial segregation.

This is perhaps one of the most iconic moments, illustrating the blurred line between politics and sport.

Credit: The New York Times

UN finally calls out Iran

During the Iran protests, footage of authorities using brutal force against protestors sparked global attention and outrage.

Now, the United Nation has called out Iran’s actions.

At its 35th special session, the UN Human Rights Council launched a new investigation. It will independently investigate alleged human rights violations during the protests.

https://twitter.com/UN_HRC/status/1595800550758838273?s=20&t=J0qMFhprMi3udCO1Y0nJbw

“It will be independently investigated.”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

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