The Health News – 14 April 2017

Overview:

• The Government will provide funding for 26 new regional training hubs, to be coordinated by existing universities around the country. Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie said the move would help stem the flow of medical professionals headed to capital cities to finish their postgraduate training.

• Melbourne tech start-up Phoria is working with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Melbourne Zoo to design a VR experience for kids in hospital. The trial is tapping into the benefits of animal-assisted therapy by delivering a virtual excursion to the zoo for 80 patients at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

• For the first time, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has investigated people under the age of 25 to find health problems linked to having a high Body Mass Index (BMI). AIHW spokesperson Lynelle Moon said children and teens were 35 per cent more likely to have asthma if they were obese or overweight.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  14th of April 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-13/government-bid-to-keep-medical-specialists-in-rural-areas/8440474

More medical specialists will be able to complete their training in regional Australia as part of a Federal Government program to address shortages of health professionals in country areas.

The Government will provide funding for 26 new regional training hubs, to be coordinated by existing universities around the country.

Three extra university departments of rural health will also be set up at the University of Notre Dame in Western Australia, Charles Sturt University in New South Wales and the University of Queensland.

The new departments will focus on workforce shortages in their particular region, including nursing, midwifery and dentistry.

Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie said the move would help stem the flow of medical professionals headed to capital cities to finish their postgraduate training.

The Government has allocated $54 million to the program over the next two years.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-13/virtual-reality-bringing-animal-therapy-to-kids-in-hospital/8439470

Researchers are hoping virtual reality (VR) technology could become a drug-free tool to reduce pain and anxiety in chronically ill children.

Melbourne tech start-up Phoria is working with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Melbourne Zoo to design a VR experience for kids in hospital.

The trial is tapping into the benefits of animal-assisted therapy by delivering a virtual excursion to the zoo for 80 patients at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

Trent Clews-de Castella from Phoria said it was about giving kids a break from the hospital setting.

Animal-assisted therapy is not new, but bringing animals into hospitals is impractical and risky in terms of hygiene and infection …

The project involved the team at Phoria capturing 360-degree video using a multi-camera rig, both on a monopod and a robotic rover, so the patients could be immersed in the experience.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-13/overweight-and-obese-children-at-greater-risk-of-health-problems/8439716

Overweight and obese kids as young as five are at much higher risk of developing asthma, according to a new study.

For the first time, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has investigated people under the age of 25 to find health problems linked to having a high Body Mass Index (BMI).

AIHW spokesperson Lynelle Moon said children and teens were 35 per cent more likely to have asthma if they were obese or overweight.

Boys were more likely to have asthma than girls, as they had a higher rate of obesity.

Being overweight is thought to cause inflammation in the body, which is a risk factor for asthma.

But it is not just asthma affecting heavier kids; researchers found overweight or obese teens and young adults were also at greater risk of a number of cancers and gall bladder diseases.

Researchers from the AIHW used data from the Australian Health Survey in 2011-12, which found more than 60 per cent of Australian adults and 25 per cent of Australian children were overweight.

The AIHW already had a lengthy list of diseases linked to having a high BMI, but now it is adding more.

It found if a person was overweight or obese between the ages of 35 and 64, they had a 41 per cent increased risk of developing dementia, compared with those within a healthy BMI range.

The study found that if those at risk lost as little as 3 kilograms, it could significantly reduce the health impact of their weight.