• The city’s first and only stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga classes have wrapped up after the first season and instructor Jo Flynn says the possibility of taking a plunge just made it all the more rewarding for her students. SUP yoga is exactly as it sounds — yoga classes held atop paddleboards on a body of water.
• The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has denied a terminally ill mother help to keep communicating with her family. Dr Harley, who is on the NSW Motor Neurone Disease Association board, said her impression of what [the NDIS planner] was saying is that the disease is likely to progress rapidly and therefore it’s not worth spending the money. Dr Harley is expected to appeal against the decision.
• The Diabetes Research WA funded study found children diagnosed with T1D had an elevated risk of end-stage kidney disease and stroke compared to the general population. The research team, led by Telethon Kids Institute PhD student Matthew Cooper, analysed the health records of more than 1,300 West Australians diagnosed with T1D as children. Diabetes Research WA executive director Sherl Westlund said this type of research had the potential to improve the lives of those living with T1D.
• 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.
• The Australian Government recommends everyone from six months old be vaccinated. All brands of flu vaccine available in Australia are safe; researchers are continuing to monitor for any side-effects week-by-week using SMS feedback from people who have been recently vaccinated.
• The report by Sonia Allan found decades of recommendations to formally collate and store information about donors, donor-conceived people and recipient parents had been effectively ignored by state governments. Dr Allan said during her review she spoke with people in South Australia worried about medical histories or even forming relationships with people they may be related to.
• The initiative to wind back excess salt consumption in Fiji and Samoa is being funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Centre and was assessed at a four-day meeting by scientists from the George Institute and Deakin University as well as collaborators from local health organisations.
• 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.
• Hillier resident Jenny Hallam’s home was raided by police back in January and products, which she says she only ever supplied to sick people for free, were seized. Lawyer Heather Stokes said she was “puzzled” about why it took police so long to charge her client.
• Dr Heather Smyth, a flavour and sensory scientist and research fellow from the University of Queensland, said temperature and memories worked hand in hand when it came to smell. The part of the brain that controls aroma or olfaction (sense of smell) also looks after long-term memories, behaviour and emotions. Dr Smyth said often the food people craved or desired in the cooler months had a strong emotional connection.
• Judge Cavanagh released his findings into the death of Yirrkala girl Gabby Wanambi, who was just 11 years old when she died in May 2014 after an ankle injury turned septic. Following the inquest into the death of Gabby, the Top End Health Service’s submission to the coroner outlined an Emergency Medicine Stream — a system to ensure high standards of care and risk management — for Top End hospitals at Gove, Katherine and Palmerston.
• A South Australian woman who admits to supplying cannabis oil to terminally ill people free of charge has said she’ll be an even more vocal advocate for medicinal cannabis after being charged with drug offences.
• More than 5,000 residents in a central Victorian shire have completed a youth mental health first aid course dramatically reducing their once high suicide rates to zero among participants. Started by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, the mental health promotion model, which began seven years ago, is aimed at reducing youth suicide in rural communities through its Youth Mental Health First Aid training.
• Fake wellness blogger Belle Gibson has been ordered to pay $30,000 in prosecution costs, with a further six-figure penalty possible, in a case brought by Consumer Affairs Victoria. Justice Debra Mortimer last month found the 25-year-old and her company Inkerman Road Nominees guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct. The company, which has since shut down, made $420,000 from sales of The Whole Pantry cookbook and smart phone application.
• One 15-year-old teenager is in juvenile detention and another is recovering at home, after the they bought 34 prescription benzoxazepine pills, used for anxiety and depression, to take with alcohol over the weekend. Local youth worker Dave Bell, from the Spirit Mentoring program, said parents were becoming increasingly concerned about their children buying prescription pills on the street. Professor Kate Conigrave, addiction specialist from the University of Sydney, said prescription drug misuse was one of the biggest health issues in Australia.
• The first major outbreak of measles in Sydney in five years was sparked by a traveller who contracted it in Indonesia, then introduced it to others in western Sydney, NSW health authorities say. Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Vicky Sheppeard, said “a variety of people have been affected”. Sheppeard also said that the 10 most recently notified measles cases have ranged in age from newborn to 47 years of age.
• Research from the University of New South Wales shows, in the past five years alone, four novel subtypes and three novel variant strains of influenza have emerged in humans. PhD student Dr Chau Bui from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC) Centre for Research Excellence in Epidemic Response said there was an increased risk a bird flu strain [that] could emerge …[which] could cause a human pandemic.
• Scientists at the University of Queensland’s Brain Institute (QBI) found using ultrasound scanning along with an antibody drug reduced Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. The technique allowed more of the medication to get into the brain to clear out the proteins that cause Alzheimer’s, Professor Jurgen Gotz from the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at QBI said.
• Despite offers of a salary package of more than half a million dollars per year, the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) has been unable to find a permanent clinical director of mental health for the Goldfields. The position, which is ultimately responsible for the care of mental health patients across WA’s Goldfields and Esperance regions, has been substantively vacant since April 2014.
• Senator Xenophon says Oakden, which cares for vulnerable dementia patients, is dysfunctional because of a litany of problems. The MP met with Barb Spriggs, whose late husband Bob suffered mistreatment, including drug overdosing and bruising. Senator Xenophon said there were questions the Federal Government should answer and he wanted Mrs Spriggs to be able to meet federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.
• Being overweight during the first trimester of pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of childhood epilepsy. The recent Swedish study, published in journal JAMA Neurology, of almost 1.5 million babies found the risk of epilepsy almost doubled from normal-weight women to very severely obese women
• Health Minister Roger Cook said the most recent test results he had seen showed lead was still present in parts of the hospital where children will be treated, but hailed John Holland’s practical completion claim as the start of “an exciting part of the process”. The terms of the contract require the lead issue, which has mystified officials since it was discovered last year, to be fixed before practical completion can be accepted.
• Children exposed to CT scans have a higher-than-previously-thought risk of developing cancer, according to research. A fresh analysis of 2013 research is being presented by researchers from the University of Melbourne at the World Congress of Public Health in Melbourne. The results indicated that most of the excess cancers occurring more than two years after a CT scan were caused by radiation from the scan.
• With at least 60 new amputees registered in Syria and Afghanistan each week, medical professionals are struggling to keep up with the demand for prosthetics. A program called the Human Study is trying to help by using the internet to reach students in some of the most dangerous places on earth.
• Ivanhoe Grammar School has partnered with e-NABLE, a community of online 3D designers, so students can learn how to make and produce prosthetics. Steve Brophy, the school’s director of information and communication technology and eLearning, said his students were now thinking like designers and considering the needs of others.
• Currently, Australians above a certain income threshold incur what is known as the Medicare levy surcharge. But Francesco Paolucci, the head of health policy at Murdoch University’s Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, has developed an alternative model. Professor Paolucci says his proposal builds on the strength of the current system but would let individuals decide the insurer and purchaser of their health services.