The Health News Australia February 1 2018

  • Four million Australians have some problems with mental health or drugs and alcohol every year. For 3 million, the problems start before they leave school. It makes sense, therefore, to tackle these issues in the teen years. Professor Maree Teesson’s brainwave was to find a way of delivering critically important messages to teenagers, and she did it by combining an old art form — cartoons — with new technology.
  • For the first time there’s evidence that disability, renal failure and diabetes are causing high levels of psychological distress in older Indigenous Australians. New research by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute shows this is the case for half of all Aboriginal people suffering from significant health problems. The Institute’s Doctor Sandra Eades said the results should influence the Federal Government’s redesign of its Close the Gap targets. According to the study, Australians with severe physical limitations are more prone to being highly distressed, but that is especially a risk for Aboriginal people.
  • Eating food from only the right side of the plate, shaving or applying makeup to only one side of the face, and running into objects on the left are common traits post stroke and for some survivors current therapies aren’t working. University of Queensland researchers are leading a world-first project that might help overcome disability that can affect many everyday activities for stroke survivors. Stroke Foundation figures show that more than 475,000 Australians were living with the effects of stroke in 2017, with this number predicted to rise to 1 million by 2050.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 1st of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/north-shore/mental-health-and-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-innovator-honoured/news-story/64b6925e6fc21eacaae00992b635535a

Four million Australians have some problems with mental health or drugs and alcohol every year. For three million, the problems start before they leave school. It makes sense, therefore, to tackle these issues in the teen years. Professor Maree Teesson’s brainwave was to find a way of delivering critically important messages to teenagers, and she did it by combining an old art form — cartoons — with new technology.
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The result, an online program for teachers, parents and students called “positive choices”, was instrumental in her Australia Day appointment as a companion in the general division of the Order of Australia. The Chatswood resident, principal research fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at University New South Wales, was recognised for eminent service to medicine, particularly in preventing and treating substance use and developing innovative mental health policy.

She estimates her programs, made available to one hundred fifty Australian schools over the past five years, have resulted in one hundred twenty thousand fewer binge drinking incidents a year. She added:  “If implemented across Australia we would have ten thousand less hospitalisations a year.” Mental health and substance abuse problems cost the nation at least forty billion dollars annually.

Professor Teesson said higher rates of anxiety and depression had emerged as the number one issue for young Australians. “The world is not like it was. They are exposed to a much broader community with more complex issues, and they’ve got to have the skills and resilience to deal with them.” She said the first step was to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and get people to talk about it more openly and honestly.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-01/older-indigenous-australians-with-illness-risk-of-depression/9379344

For the first time there’s evidence that disability, renal failure and diabetes are causing high levels of psychological distress in older Indigenous Australians. New research by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute shows this is the case for half of all Aboriginal people suffering from significant health problems. The Institute’s Doctor Sandra Eades said the results should influence the Federal Government’s redesign of its Close the Gap targets. The policy to improve the life expectancy of the Indigenous community is being reviewed, because it has seen little success so far.

According to the study, Australians with severe physical limitations are more prone to being highly distressed, but that is especially a risk for Aboriginal people.

In the month before completing an interview for the study, a fifth of Indigenous patients aged forty five or over had experienced anxiety and depression requiring professional help, as well as feelings of restlessness and hopelessness.

Damian Griffis, the chief executive of First Peoples Disability Network Australia said: “They feel marginalised and they feel at the edges and periphery of society.” He added:  “Meeting the needs of Aboriginal people with disability, including their mental health needs, is one of the most critical and urgent social justice issues in Australia today.
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Mr Griffis has called for an overhaul of the National Disability Insurance Scheme to better accommodate Indigenous people. He said: “The Aboriginal share of the NDIS is between one point six billion and two billion dollars, so that’s indicative of how much unmet need there is out there.”

http://health.uq.edu.au/article/2018/02/new-treatment-offers-hope-better-stroke-recovery

Eating food from only the right side of the plate, shaving or applying makeup to only one side of the face, and running into objects on the left are common traits post stroke and for some survivors current therapies aren’t working. University of Queensland researchers are leading a world-first project that might help overcome disability that can affect many everyday activities for stroke survivors.

UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences researcher Associate Professor Timothy Carroll said the research would investigate a new therapy in which robots would guide the hand to retrain the stroke survivor’s brain.
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He added: “Up to eighty five percent of right hemisphere stroke survivors have reduced ability to attend to the left side of space, which can affect many activities.”
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One current treatment involves reaching towards visual targets while wearing spectacles containing prisms that shift the entire field of view towards the right. To reach accurately while wearing the prism spectacles, people with spatial neglect must learn to reach targets on their neglected side. Doctor Carroll said the treatment’s effectiveness varied dramatically for different patients; ranging from long-lasting functional improvement after a single session to no benefit at all.
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Stroke Foundation figures show that more than four hundred seventy five thousand Australians were living with the effects of stroke in two thousand seventeen, with this number predicted to rise to one million by two thousand fifty.

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