Sarah Laurie address to Australian Senate Inquiry
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… As I have listed in my submission, there are numerous doctors now, both in Australia and overseas, who have either conducted small studies on their patient populations, or conducted larger studies on patients who had developed the same health problems, since the wind developments had started operating near to their homes. We are all very concerned that these serious and mounting health problems are being ignored by our respective governments and health research institutions, previously held in high esteem.
I realized very early on that any research I did would be immediately seen by others to be tainted, and besides some of that work had been done and had been ignored. Hence my acceptance of the position of Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation, and the objectives of the Foundation, particularly to collect field observations and use those to then ascertain what research is needed, and to then ensure that the best independent researchers in the particular scientific fields were encouraged to investigate the problems.
I have been privileged to get to know and now work closely with researchers around the globe who are trying to help identify and describe the problems, and to work out the scientific mechanisms for the damage being done to health. These include medical practitioners from a variety of disciplines, acousticians,
physiologists, physicists, psychologists, and others. We are all united in our determination to find scientific answers to these questions.
We all have limited time and resources, and we need to ensure that any research which is done can be trusted by all parties, who are now very distrustful of each other. There is a lot at stake, for all parties. I am advised by Dr Bob Thorne, one of the independent acoustics researchers who has submitted a research proposal to the Foundation, that some very useful information and data could be gathered within 6 months. If our original requests for funding had been granted 6 months ago, when asked, we COULD HAVE HAD SOME RESULTS BY NOW. There is no more time to lose.
There is absolutely no doubt that these turbines, particularly at some developments, are making nearby residents very sick, and that their symptoms worsen over time. This is resulting in people abandoning their homes and farms, if they can afford to. A recent example of this aired on South Australian ABC Stateline last Friday night. I was told by a local from Waterloo in South Australia yesterday that there are now five households who have left or are leaving Waterloo, primarily because they cannot sleep. That wind development seems to be particularly damaging to the local resident?s health. We need to find out why some developments seem to be worse than others.
We need to find out what the mechanism for their symptoms is. We have our strong hypotheses that one of the mechanisms is low frequency sound and infrasound, but these need to be formally tested, with concurrent measurement of infrasound, and other indices such as sleep and blood pressure, in the homes of the affected residents, while the turbines are turning. We then need to compare this to what happens when the turbines are not turning, which will require the cooperation of the industry. Alternatively, we can measure what happens to these residents when they are away from their homes, if such industry cooperation is not forthcoming.
Interestingly I have been made aware of a number of other sources of industrial low frequency noise which have reproduced exactly the same symptoms as many residents adjacent to wind turbines are reporting, including the elevated blood pressure, the severe sleep disturbance from waking up in a panicked state, and what appears to be the Tako Tsubo heart attack episodes. One of these is listed in submission number 389 from the Parkville residents association. There is an urgent need for more basic primary physiological research, particularly with respect to blood pressure.
The connection between chronic severe sleep deprivation, which is commonly reported in adjacent residents, and a multitude of illnesses is well established in the medical literature. Most recently the meta analysis by Professor Carpuccio, from Warwick University, which I included as an attachment to my submission, clearly establishes that chronic sleep deprivation from whatever cause is directly implicated in significantly increased illness from heart attacks and strokes. This is in addition to the increased risk of accidents, suppressed immunity, mental health disorders, high blood pressure and diabetes. There is an urgent need for the sleep studies, across multiple sites, and on a number of occasions, as not every night is a problem, and this cannot be predicted in advance.
Similarly, the effect on blood pressure appears to be widespread and alarming. It needs to be properly measured, with the gold standard method of doing so, ie a 24 hour Holter monitor. We have the subjects ready and waiting, we need the funding, and we need the best independent blood pressure researchers we can find to go and do the work.
These Tako Tsubo heart attacks I have mentioned, where people adjacent to turbine developments are having ?heart attacks? but are then shown to have normal coronary arteries, also need to be properly documented and analysed. The mechanism for Tako Tsubo heart attacks has already been identified as a surge in stress hormones, particularly adrenaline. This surge in adrenaline is also suspected with the episodes of acute hypertensive crises being described by residents adjacent to wind turbines, both in Australia and in Canada. It is also suspected because it has been shown in animal studies, and it fits with the clinical descriptions of people waking up in a panicked state, anxious and frightened. We suspect that the body?s fight/flight mechanisms are being abnormally stimulated, and this is provoking the body to release substantial amounts of adrenaline, even while people are asleep. This needs to be properly investigated. …
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