Dame Jenny Shipley, Sir Richard Hadlee promote Heart Foundation appeal as numbers with heart disease jump

Former prime minister Dame Jenny Shipley and cricket great Sir Richard Hadlee are among Kiwis featuring in a campaign to help the Heart Foundation fund more life-saving research into heart disease.

Seven Sharp reported the number of people living with heart disease in New Zealand has gone up from 172,000 to 186,000 in just one year.

And surprisingly, it's an increase across nearly all age groups.

So an advertisement has been made to get support for the Heart Foundation's appeal.

It's a cause that's close to the hearts of the people taking part in the ad.

Dame Jenny told the programme she's just 66.

"I must have been 48 when I had my heart attack. So it was just not long after I'd finished being prime minister," she said.

"For weeks I had been going to the doctor and was told I had tennis elbow.

"The Heart Foundation walks with you after you've had an event, but the Heart Foundation raises funds to invest in people," Dame Jenny said.

Sir Richard, 67, said the foundation uses funds "to train cardiologists and gain information, and to save lives basically". 

Radio host Sela Alo, 45, also took part in the ad.

"I'm glad that I'm here to show that it's not an old man, old woman disease, that anyone can get it," he said.

Also among those involved in the ad campaign are Celeste Esera and her six-year-old daughter Ava who are both affected by heart disease.

The Heart Foundation has decided to tackle the problem with an ad campaign. Source: Seven Sharp

Te Papa celebrates its 20th birthday today

Te Papa marks its twentieth birthday today with a special evening concert and activities including special free tours and film screenings. 

After a dawn ceremony, at midday on February 14, 1998, yachtsman Sir Peter Blake led two children through the doors of Te Papa Tongarewa The Museum of New Zealand, "our place", on Wellington's waterfront. 

The concept for Te Papa was that it would be a bicultural museum, and incorporate both the national museum and national art collection. 

Kaihautū (Māori Co-leader) of Te Papa Arapata Hakiwai speaks to Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

As the biggest ever investment in New Zealand culture and heritage, and one of that decade's biggest museum projects globally, Te Papa was the subject of major scrutiny. 

From the 35,000 visitors who saw Te Papa on its opening day, to the more than two million who visited in its first year, Te Papa was embraced by New Zealanders. 

Controversies raged - including protests about the Tania Kovats “Virgin in a condom” artwork - but the public continued to visit Te Papa in their thousands. 

By today, Te Papa will have had almost 30 million visitors, discovered more than 400 new species, hosted more than 3,000 pōwhiri, and rocked visitors with more than 1.3 million shakes of its famous earthquake house.

Chief executive Geraint Martin says major changes are ahead for Te Papa in the coming years.

Next month a new art gallery, Toi Art, will open in Te Papa, the biggest change to the museum since opening, he says.

The $8.4 million space offers a large newly-created gallery able to hold works that have never been shown at Te Papa before, and the opening on March 17 will reveal major commissions by contemporary New Zealand artists. 

After Easter 2018 Te Papa will begin work on a new nature and environment section which will open in 2019, Martin says. 

Today the museum will be open until 9pm for its birthday activities.

Crowds at the opening of Te Papa on February 14, 1998. Source: Te Papa


Arthritis drug could halve risk of dementia, study finds

Drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could halve the risk of patients developing dementia, a study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Oxford analysed the records of more than 5800 people living with the condition across the UK.

They compared 3876 patients who took disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), particularly methotrexate, with 1938 patients who did not.

The findings, published in the journal Alzheimer's And Dementia: Translational Research And Clinical Interventions, found those on the anti-inflammatory medication had approximately half the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

"This study shows a positive link between patients taking drugs to treat arthritis and reducing their risk of developing dementia - potentially by up to 50 per cent," said lead researcher Professor Chris Edwards, of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.

Currently there is medication available that can temporarily reduce some symptoms or slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease but there is no cure for the condition.

"The results we've seen make us optimistic that we are getting closer to better treating this neurological disease and supports further investigation in clinical trials to confirm if these drugs can be used to prevent or treat dementia," said Professor Edwards.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.

It develops when the immune system attacks the cells that line the joints and can also affect other parts of the body, including the lungs, heart and eyes.

The inflammation it causes is a characteristic feature of many other conditions, including dementia

It's thought drugs used to treat the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis may also be beneficial for patients with other diseases.

"This has already been shown to be the case for treating patients with heart disease, where initial promising results are now being further investigated in large clinical trials," said Professor Edwards.

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