The Health News – 12 April 2017

Overview:

• Australia will become the first country in the world to introduce a tough new system to protect patients from medical professionals who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Under the new arrangements, patients would have more information on why a doctor was under supervision and chaperones would be replaced by “practice monitors” with medical training who were not paid directly by the doctor.

• Researchers from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute surveyed more than 3,500 children, asking their parents about socioeconomic circumstances, diet and lifestyle. They found 9 per cent of Queensland children aged between five and 17 were obese, with a further 19 per cent above the ideal weight for their age. QIMR’s study is aimed at helping policy makers develop better age and gender-specific programs to tackle childhood obesity.

• In a world first, scientists have replicated Parkinson’s disease in a zebrafish — and in doing so found drugs that restored movement in the laboratory animal. The Australian researchers from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research said it brought new hope to sufferers on World Parkinson’s Disease Day. Researchers tried 1,000 drug treatments and found three drugs that restored normal movement to the fish.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  12th of April 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-11/changes-ahead-for-doctors-accused-of-sexual-misconduct/8435160

Australia will become the first country in the world to introduce a tough new system to protect patients from medical professionals who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Previously, chaperones supervising doctors under investigation while they treated patients were not required to be trained medical professionals, and doctors did not have to explain to patients why they were used.

Under the new arrangements, patients would have more information on why a doctor was under supervision and chaperones would be replaced by “practice monitors” with medical training who were not paid directly by the doctor.

The changes came out of an independent review into whether chaperones should be imposed on doctors to protect patients while allegations of sexual misconduct are investigated.

It was triggered by the case of Andrew Churchyard, a Victorian neurologist who was accused of molesting a number of patients before taking his own life last year.

Tom Monagle was 19 when he was allegedly twice sexually assaulted by Dr Churchyard during routine medical examinations.

The Medical Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) commissioned the report last August, and it was released …[yesterday].

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-11/obesity-research-girls-single-parents-likely-to-be-obese/8434854

Young girls living in a single-parent home are more than twice as likely to be obese as those living with two parents, Queensland researchers have found.

Researchers from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute surveyed more than 3,500 children, asking their parents about socioeconomic circumstances, diet and lifestyle.

They found 9 per cent of Queensland children aged between five and 17 were obese, with a further 19 per cent above the ideal weight for their age.

Senior biostatistician Professor Peter O’Rourke said for boys aged between five and 11, the level of a parent’s education, a lack of organised sport and takeaway food consumption were linked to their obesity.

“With the girls, the takeaway food was not as prominent, so that is a major sex difference.

“We do not know why girls from single-parent households are more likely to be obese. More research is needed in this area.”

University education versus a lack of education was also a key factor in driving up weight gain.

Professor O’Rourke said girls aged 12 to 17 whose parents were not university educated were significantly more likely to be obese than those whose parents were.

QIMR’s study is aimed at helping policy makers develop better age and gender-specific programs to tackle childhood obesity.

The study found all obese children were likely to watch at least two hours of television daily.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-11/fish-with-parkinsons-uncover-life-improving-drugs/8433108

In a world first, scientists have replicated Parkinson’s disease in a zebrafish — and in doing so found drugs that restored movement in the laboratory animal.

The Australian researchers from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research said it brought new hope to sufferers on World Parkinson’s Disease Day.

They expect it will be the first of many diseases to be modelled in zebrafish, which can offer faster results than mice research.

The research has been published in the journal, Cell Chemical Biology.

“For us this was a major discovery that capped several years of hard work,” said Dr Daniel Hesselson, laboratory head at the Garvan Institute.

Researchers tried 1,000 drug treatments and found three drugs that restored normal movement to the fish.

“We looked at one of the drugs more closely and found that it acted by helping to recycle the energy production centre inside the cell,” Dr Hesselson said.

“And this prevented the loss of the dopamine-producing neurons in the zebrafish.”

He said there was potential for those drugs to be modified for human use, or for others to be developed.

About 80,000 Australians are estimated to be living with Parkinson’s disease.