Weighty future in store for pre-term babies

Parents of premature babies need to be extra vigilant in ensuring their children eat a good diet and remain active, with researchers today revealing a link between pre-term birth and weight-related health complications in later life.
Parents of premature babies need to be extra vigilant in ensuring their children eat a good diet and remain active, with researchers today revealing a link between pre-term birth and weight-related health complications in later life.
Wayne Cutfield, Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology at the Liggins Institute, Auckland, told attendees at the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) conference in Adelaide that: ‘Research reveals that babies born before 32 weeks are at an increased risk of developing metabolic disease in later life.’
‘Furthermore, adults who were born preterm tend have children who are more likely to be overweight, suggesting the effects of prematurity may extend to the next generation as well,’ he added.
‘We are trying to understand what the triggers and mechanisms are that lead to these long-term changes in the health of babies born preterm. A likely contributing factor are differences in the gut bacteria of preterm children. Studies have shown that gut bacteria can influence the risk of obesity and diabetes.’
Professor Cutfield noted that pre-term babies have different gut bacteria than those who are born at full-term and it appears that these differences are also present in late childhood.
Professor Cutfield’s research includes multiple studies involving first born children, as well as pre-term and overdue children, and explores the relationship between early life events and later risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
‘Our health and well-being in utero influences our health lifelong. It is a special time in which we were all vulnerable. Fetal health is delicately poised and when there are shifts away from an optimal fetal environment there are increasing risks of later diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,’ he said.
‘The health, well-being and care of expectant mothers and fathers, and for mothers throughout pregnancy, are paramount. While the gestational period is largely controlled by our genes, we know that when equipped with the right knowledge and support, expectant parents can take positive steps to optimise their pregnancy and the long-term health outcomes for their child.
‘The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, those being the months leading up to conception, throughout pregnancy and into toddlerhood, is a critical period for establishing the child’s long-term health and we strongly encourage parents to invest in it.
Positive lifestyle choices before and during pregnancy around a healthy balanced diet consisting of plenty of leafy greens, limiting alcohol consumption, moderate exercise and sensible maternal weight gain can have a profound impact on the health prospects of the child, he said.
‘The message is simple – modify the early care of children and improve their chances of a healthier life.’



Successful women investors and entrepreneurs need to stand up and be counted if diversity is to be encouraged in the heavily male dominated field of private equity and leveraged transactions
Successful women investors and entrepreneurs need to stand up and be counted if diversity is to be encouraged in the heavily male dominated field of private equity and leveraged transactions the 2016 New Zealand Private Equity & Venture Capital Association’s (NZVCA) Workshop on Women in Growth Capital was told (23rd May).
Chania Rodwell, director, Helmsman Capital, Sydney says: `We do have to drive recruitment to private equity. It can appear less attractive than some of the other alternatives open to female applicants. It helps if women working in the industry build recognition to break down the misconceptions and help others to see the opportunities.’

Chania joined private equity firm Helmsman Capital, in September 2008 following 12 years working in the audit, recovery, restructuring and business advisory practices of KPMG and subsequently McGrathNicol Corporate Advisory in Australia and London. She has been acting as CFO of the Aviator Group, one of the companies in Helmsman Capital's portfolio, since October 2013.
Chania is involved in Ladies in Leverage which was set up over 12 years ago to support women involved in private equity, venture capital and associated sectors including finance, legal, banking, accounting and superannuation in Australia. The association now boasts over 200 members.
Chania is also part of a pilot mentoring programme for women in PE and says: `I’ve learned a few key lessons. You may get offered roles or opportunities that you would be good at but that may not be in your best interest long term.  You should make your own choices, not follow what other people want you to do. Life is too short to worry about what might go wrong – follow what interests you. Listen to your fans, the people who believe in you and make you feel good about yourself - you will achieve your best for them. And don’t be so hard on yourself. In respect of work-life balance – you can’t do it all, but that’s OK, be happy with what you choose.’
For Andrea Miller, CEO, Breathe Easy Therapeutics her daughter’s cystic fibrosis provided the motivation she needed.
She says: `I have skin in the game and a lot to lose. My daughter was ill and simply wishing for good health was not enough. Entrepreneurship is an attitude. It’s about doing the right things and doing them right.’
Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic genetic illness affecting the lungs and digestive systems of approximately 75,000 children and adults worldwide. Breathe Easy Therapeutics is developing an inhaled medicine called Citramel, which is expected to be positioned as a core therapy to improve lung function and to potentially enhance the effectiveness of other inhaled CF therapies such as antibiotics.
She explains: `We’ve been figuring out for the last three years how to take it from the test tube to the bedside. We raised over $600,000 through Snowball Effect in New Zealand’s first wholesale investor/equity crowdfunding co-investment opportunity. We had already raised over $1 million from the NZ angel investor community, Pacific Channel, and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF). We’re just about to start an approved Phase IIa (safety and efficacy in humans) clinical trial of Citramel in New Zealand.’
Norah Barlow, the former CEO of retirement village operator Summerset Holdings and now an independent director says: ` It’s a really good time to be a woman in governance – diversity is needed.  I want to see women have more choice in what they do in business. Although I’ve never felt there was problem being a woman, I do see that for some guilt is an issue. I was lucky, I had my children early. There is more pressure but you can strive to be what and who you are. See value in your other skills. See value in building relationships and networking.
‘There is a very real difference between governance and management. You need to work more through others. Measure what’s done. Motivate people. Discover other ways of uncovering the truth. While CEO and board connection is vital, a board needs to engage with management at all levels and openness is vital.’
Norah established her own accountancy practice Barlow and McCormack in 1992, before moving to Summerset as its accountant in 1999. She became chief executive of Summerset in 2001, leading the company in its initial public offering in late 2011. At the time she was the only female chief executive of a listed company on the NZX50.
She has been president of the Retirement Village Association and chaired the committee which developed the Code of Practice for retirement villages in New Zealand. Norah also serves on the board of ASX-listed Ingenia Communities, as well as Cigna Life Insurance.
NZVCA CEO Colin McKinnon says: `Investing in growing businesses takes courage, skill and experience. To build scale it helps to lean on experienced and sophisticated investors and entrepreneurs. Together with our supporting organisations we were pleased to bring together some leading women who are connecting and investing in growth businesses.’



Your choice of handbag and how you carry it may be affecting your health long term, according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.
Your choice of handbag and how you carry it may be affecting your health long term, according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.
NZCA spokesperson and chiropractor Dr Cassandra Fairest explains: `Regularly carrying a large, heavy bag, texting and looking down can cause an alteration in your natural posture. When you add the combination of high heels it becomes a recipe for accelerated symptoms. The heels tilt your pelvis forward and cause adaptive muscle shortening over time, predisposing you to back pain. The heavy bag over one shoulder magnifies the risk of chronic pain and neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction.
`Shoulder bags are one of the biggest issues. Your natural posture is disrupted if you carry one, and loading it with heavy items adds to the strain on your spine. It alters the way your arms and legs swing when you walk and increases tension in muscles as they work to counter-balance the weight. Long term this can make your body lopsided and affects your spinal posture. Chiropractors are highly trained in assessing and assisting with the damage that this may cause[1]. Prevention is of course always better than cure.’
Dr Fairest points out that all the weight of the bag is on one shoulder, and most people will carry their bag on their dominant side. This causes the muscles in the dominant shoulder to become bigger and chiropractors are commonly seeing people  with significant asymmetry in posture, such as one shoulder higher than the other.
`This asymmetric load also causes the opposite side go into spasm to compensate as it attempts to stabilise your spine. The muscle spasm and fatigue then also affects lower down at the base of the spine, forcing all the muscles below the shoulders to work even harder’, Dr Fairest adds.  ‘Not only can it cause a lot of stiffness and eventually soreness in the upper back, the shoulder area and the neck, it’s been associated with a decreased curve in the neck, a pathological condition, which is known as “military neck[2].”  Military neck, or forward head carriage, then speeds up degeneration in the spine, and this can cause many ongoing problems as we age as nerves and other tissues are affected.’
There is a longer term risk that women will develop arthritis in their lower neck, and will have difficulty turning the head.  The dreaded “Dowager's Hump” can also be a consequence. Tension headaches may also result from spasms in the shoulder and neck muscles, which may cause pain in the back of the skull that radiates around to the front. Compression or irritation to nerves supplying the arms, hands and other areas can arise with various associated symptoms.
Posture has also been shown to have an effect on many other areas of health and wellbeing beyond symptoms of pain such as mood, energy levels, self-confidence, range of motion, and change in the release of stress hormones.[3] [4] Poor posture can also negatively impact on job prospects, decision making, work productivity and other areas of life.[5]
Dr Fairest advises her patients to never carry more than five percent of their body weight in a shoulder bag. She says: `You’d be surprised at how much some of us are carrying and the bag itself can weigh quite a lot on its own if it has a lot of studs and big zippers. I also look for bags with handles plus a wide strap as the strap distributes the weight over a wider area, and the handles give an option to carry the bag in your hand or over your forearm.’
She advises bags with handles or those with longer straps for crossbody wearing distribute the weight more evenly but adds: `Change things around regularly by switching to the opposite shoulder at intervals when walking so that you balance the way your body carries the weight and your muscles develop equally.’


[1] http://www.jmptonline.org/article/S0161-4754(13)00237-6/abstract
[3] www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-mind/mind-body/article/body-mind-connection
[5] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/237511.php

Mid-market private equity builds on increasing investment activity

The New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Monitor, released today, highlighted an increase of investment in 2015 for both private equity and venture capital markets.
The New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Monitor, released today (5th May 2016), highlighted an increase of investment in 2015 for both private equity and venture capital markets. Mid-market investment increased to NZ$284.1m from NZ$243.5m in 2014. The average deal value at NZ$16.7m was greater than the average of NZ$12.8m in 2014. The increase in investment activity was coupled with continued strength in divestment as the portfolio companies of domestic funds sought investors for future growth.
Brad Wheeler, partner EY says ‘Venture and early stage funds invested NZ$62.5m across 69 transactions, continuing momentum from the last three years. IT and software has continued to be the dominant sector for venture activity continuing the trend of the last three years. Health and Biosciences remain at historical low levels reflecting the challenges of long lead-times and large capital requirements for innovation commercialisation.
‘The high level of mid-market activity included a mix of investment themes from international fund managers active in turnaround and secondary acquisitions from New Zealand owners. While new public listings were quiet in 2015 the market for private transactions was resilient with New Zealand owners and management wanting to see those businesses taken to their next stage.’
Total activity (investment and divestment) across all private equity and venture capital was NZ$494.4m, down from $919.5m in 2014, mainly due to there being no large buy-out deals. Large buy-out activity in 2014 was mainly driven by Pacific Equity Partners’ divestment of Griffin Foods to URC (Philippines). Total investment value was NZ$346.6m spread across 86 deals, while total divestment was lower at NZ$147.8m in 2015, down from NZ$620.3m in 2014.
Deals in 2015 included the acquisition of Manuka Health by Pacific Equity Partners, Tembusu Partners’ investment in CricHQ, Pencarrow’s investment in Icebreaker, Allegro Private Equity’s acquisition of Carpet Court and Archer Capital’s acquisition of the Aspire2 Group.
Matt Riley, chair of NZVCA says, ‘The outlook for the New Zealand PE and VC market remains positive. 2015 proved to be a successful year for mid-market divestments. This is a success oriented industry where the durability of the fund managers is wholly dependent on performance. There were no new funds raised in 2015 as managers continued building portfolios and other managers were returning capital from successful divestments. Several fund managers have announced intentions to raise new funds in 2016.’
Wheeler adds, ‘For the year ahead, the PE and VC fund managers outlook remains positive, with some optimism generated by the emergence of new investor groups. EY’s latest Capital Confidence Barometer indicates a strong acquisition appetite globally with companies combining strategic M&A and cooperative alliances to navigate a complex and disruptive business landscape.’
Colin McKinnon NZVCA executive director says, `The strength of the mid-market continued in 2015. New Zealand privately owned businesses with private equity shareholders were able to execute growth aspirations by introducing new shareholders with capital and skills. Some of the new shareholders brought international capability to the New Zealand company growth trajectory.
‘Private markets and privately-owned companies continue to dominate the New Zealand business landscape. New investors have been able to access private markets through community and retirement savings platforms.
‘Kiwi founders and owners demonstrate innovation and determination that can be coupled with private capital to accelerate growth. More businesses growing makes a difference to New Zealand’s economic prospects.’
Media contact:
Colin McKinnon 0276406406 colin.mckinnon@nzvca.co.nz
Brad Wheeler 0212285490 brad.wheeler@nz.ey.com
About the New Zealand Private Equity & Venture Capital Association
The NZVCA is a not-for-profit industry body committed to developing the Venture Capital and Private Equity industry in New Zealand. Its core objectives include the promotion of the industry and the asset class on both a domestic and international basis and working to create a world-class Venture Capital and Private Equity environment. Members include Venture Capital and Private Equity investors, financial organisations, professional advisors, academic organisations and government and quasi- government agencies.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organisation, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organisation, please visit ey.com.

© 2016 Ernst & Young, New Zealand. All Rights Reserved.

New Zealand Research Suggests Pregnant Women May Benefit From Chiropractic Care

New Zealand research suggests that pregnant women may benefit particularly from chiropractic care adding weight to the positive outcomes many women have reported.
New Zealand research suggests that pregnant women may benefit particularly from chiropractic care adding weight to the positive outcomes many women have reported. Results from a pilot study, due to be published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, indicate that chiropractic adjustments of pregnant women appear to relax the pelvic floor muscles at rest [1].
Commenting on the study, Dr Cassandra Fairest, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association says: `As there were no changes documented when they adjusted the non-pregnant comparison group, this finding in the pregnant women appears to be an effect unique in pregnancy’.
‘This relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles seen after the women were adjusted may mean that chiropractic care could be of benefit to pregnant women, as it may help them have a natural vaginal delivery. Excessive tension and restriction in the pelvic floor may be a contributing factor to the need for some assisted deliveries requiring intervention with forceps or c-section. The primary findings of this study are incredibly encouraging, especially given the fact that quantitatively assessing the effect of spinal adjustment on pelvic floor muscle function has not previously been done.’
The study, funded by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation, was conducted by internationally award winning researcher Dr Heidi Haavik, Director of the Chiropractic Research Centre at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic, Dr Jenny Kruger, midwife and Research Fellow at Auckland University’s Bioengineering Institute and Dr Bernadette Murphy, Professor Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
The study saw participants undergo ultrasound examination, and perform three different manoeuvres – squeezing as hard as they could, bearing down (that pushing which opens up the Hiatus hole in the pelvic floor) and at rest. They studied the women in the control group and the active group, and looked at them pre and post adjustment.
Dr Fairest says: `The pelvic floor muscles (the Levator Ani muscle complex) are known to have active roles in pregnancy and childbirth, as well as in spinal stabilisation. When the pelvic floor muscles are damaged or stressed over time, health issues like incontinence and vaginal prolapses can occur. We know these are problems with massive emotional, physical, social and financial costs across the world and a significant cause of stress for these women.’[2]
Commenting on her research Dr Heidi Haavik says: `For a woman in labour, the ability to relax pelvic floor muscles (as well as contract them) to allow the baby to move through the birth canal is incredibly important, especially as the baby crowns. If the woman can’t relax these muscles as the baby moves through, she will tire more quickly and may require intervention to assist with the birthing process. Muscles that cannot relax may also result in a birth requiring intervention. In an ideal situation, strong pelvic floor muscles with an ability to relax would better prepare a mother for a natural, vaginal birth.’
`We were expecting to see changes in the squeezes and pushes, but we saw nothing. But what was really interesting is that the actual (hiatus) hole itself became larger at rest. What it suggests is the muscles that form the pelvic floor rim that support our internal organs and that contract and relax to give birth to a baby, must have relaxed. That alone is extremely exciting. The relaxation of those muscles is so important and assists in being able to give birth naturally.’
Dr Haavik points out that it’s early days in terms of understanding the full impact of this study’s findings and that further research is required. But she explains: `We do now know that adjusting women during their pregnancy gives them a greater ability to relax the pelvic floor. For pregnant women, this has the potential to give them a greater degree of control over the pelvic floor muscles, which in turn may make vaginal childbirth easier. At this point, we can only speculate on what the impacts could be in terms of reduced need for medical intervention, or increased well-being of mother and child. But it does indeed show us that chiropractic may be of significant benefit to pregnant women. The current findings are from a pilot study and of course further scientific studies are required to validate these initial results.’

For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association visit www.chiropractic.org.nz



1. Pelvic floor functional changes with spinal manipulation in pregnant and non-pregnant women: A pilot study. JMPT 2016. In Press.
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498251/