The Health News Australia March 6 2018

  • According to a new study, restricting licenses to sell tobacco in Tasmania’s lowest socioeconomic areas might help reduce smoking.  The study looked at the availability of tobacco in Tasmania, and found easier access was likely to contribute to tobacco-related harm. No Australian state or territory currently restricts the number or location of tobacco retailers. Shannon Melody from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research said as of December 2016, 769 tobacco licences had been issued in Tasmania, an average of 1.54 tobacco retailers per 1,000 residents, or one outlet per 650 Tasmanians.
  • Parents of babies born with heart disease should be offered specialised cardiac genetic counselling to reduce risk, prevent disease and improve treatment, according to world-first research led by UNSW, UTS and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.
    In a study of 100 parents of children with congenital heart disease who had surgery between 2000 and 2009, almost all parents showed a clear preference for a single genetics appointment with both a specialised clinical geneticist and a genetic counsellor, offered as soon as possible after diagnosis.
  • A sixth infant has died from congenital syphilis amid a devastating outbreak of the disease in parts of remote Australia. The young children have all died in Queensland, where the spate of cases emerged in 2011. Department of Health official Sharon Appleyard told Senate Estimates that 6 of 13 infants with reported cases of congenital syphilis had died. Congenital syphilis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths, or problems with a baby’s brain, blood, eyes, and ears.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 6th of March 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-05/tobacco-study-calls-for-fewer-tasmanian-retail-sales-licences/9508360

According to a new study, restricting licenses to sell tobacco in Tasmania’s lowest socioeconomic areas might help reduce smoking.  The study looked at the availability of tobacco in Tasmania, and found easier access was likely to contribute to tobacco-related harm.
No Australian state or territory currently restricts the number or location of tobacco retailers.

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, analysed tobacco retail outlet data according to remoteness and socio-economic status. Shannon Melody from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research said as of December two thousand sixteen, seven hundred sixty nine tobacco licences had been issued in Tasmania, an average of one point fifty four tobacco retailers per one thousand residents, or one outlet per six hundred fifty Tasmanians.

Doctor Melody said the results were not surprising, but they could help guide policy reform.

Doctor Melody said the study raised questions about whether a policy of licence restriction based on socio-economic status should be considered. She added: “Individuals of low socio-economic status are most sensitive to changes in tobacco pricing. As a result, tobacco retailing restrictions may be particularly effective in reducing smoking prevalence in areas of socio-economic disadvantage and may therefore have positive equity effects.” But Doctor Melody said further research was needed.

https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/childhood-heart-disease-parents-need-more-support-genetic-services

Parents of babies born with heart disease should be offered specialised cardiac genetic counselling to reduce risk, prevent disease and improve treatment, according to world-first research led by University New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. In a study of one hundred parents of children with congenital heart disease who had surgery between two thousand and two thousand nine, almost all parents showed a clear preference for a single genetics appointment with both a specialised clinical geneticist and a genetic counsellor, offered as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Lead author and UNSW Associate Professor of Medical Psychology Nadine Kasparian said the study published in Genetics in Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, showed that meeting a specialised clinical geneticist and a cardiac genetic counsellor, with support from online health resources, was a high priority for parents of children with heart disease.

Every day in Australia, eight babies are born with congenital heart disease, which includes malformations of the heart, heart valves or major blood vessels. Worldwide there are about one point thirty five million babies diagnosed with congenital heart disease each year. It is a leading cause of infant death and one of the most common reasons babies are admitted to intensive care.

Associate Professor Kasparian said the great majority of parents of babies with congenital heart disease would like to be offered this service, with ninety three percent of parents in the study indicating they would attend an appointment with a specialised clinical geneticist and a counsellor, if offered within two weeks of referral.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-02/sixth-infant-dies-of-syphilis/9503964

A sixth infant has died from congenital syphilis amid a devastating outbreak of the disease in parts of remote Australia. The young children have all died in Queensland, where the spate of cases emerged in two thousand eleven. Department of Health official Sharon Appleyard told Senate Estimates that six of thirteen infants with reported cases of congenital syphilis had died.

The latest death occurred in northern Queensland in January. The sexually transmitted infection can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. Congenital syphilis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths, or problems with a baby’s brain, blood, eyes, and ears.

The bacterial outbreak is severely impacting Indigenous communities and has now spread to Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. The Commonwealth is coordinating a national response and has committed eight point eight million dollars over three years for testing, treatment, and additional health workers. But Labor senator Patrick Dodson said syphilis cases were rising and the response was inadequate. But Department of Health official Caroline Edwards defended its work to date.
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The department said it was looking to work with several Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations to pilot its response. The Australian Medical Association has called for a national centre for disease control (CDC) to help control the outbreak.

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