The Health News – 1 September 2016

Overview:
•  Lengthy delays in payment for disability services providers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are being blamed on a ‘short-lived’ technical glitch and a lack of information for people using a new computer system. It stems from a problem with the website established by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), with NDIS providers and participants having been unable to process their payment applications.

• The WA Peer Naloxone Project trained users and family members how to administer naloxone, which is used in emergency medicine to reverse the effects of opiates. The National Drug Research Institute said of 153 people trained, 32 of them reported they had saved lives with naloxone.

• Professor John Attia from the University of Newcastle is the lead investigator of the Australian Study for the Prevention through Immunisation of Cardiovascular Events (AUSPICE). The trial is currently looking for 6,000 participants in Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Gosford who are between the ages of 55-60 and have not had a heart attack or stroke.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  1st of September 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-31/ndis-payment-problems-blamed-on-short-lived-technical-glitch/7800828

Lengthy delays in payment for disability services providers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are being blamed on a “short-lived” technical glitch and a lack of information for people using a new computer system.

Federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the findings were based on initial advice from consulting firm PwC, which was commissioned to undertake an urgent review of the MyPlace website after it launched at the start of July.

It stems from a problem with the website established by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), with NDIS providers and participants having been unable to process their payment applications.

Some providers have reported going up to eight weeks without receiving payment for their services.

The review by PwC is due to be presented to the Minister in coming weeks.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-31/heroin-treatment-drug-trial-reduces-overdoses-naloxone/7800458

A trial giving family members and friends of heroin users a drug to prevent overdoses has been hailed a success, and may even reduce overall heroin use, researchers say.

The WA Peer Naloxone Project trained users and family members how to administer naloxone, which is used in emergency medicine to reverse the effects of opiates.

The National Drug Research Institute said of 153 people trained, 32 of them reported they had saved lives with naloxone.

The Institute’s Professor Simon Lenton said the findings showed the program should be continued and expanded.

The WA Peer Naloxone Project is funded on a yearly basis — its current funding is at the same level as last year.

The … program findings … [were] revealed on International Overdose Awareness Day on Wednesday.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-31/pneumococcal-vaccine-investigated-prevention-of-heart-attack/7799660

Australian researchers are recruiting participants for a trial to see whether the pneumococcal vaccine can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to 20 per cent.

Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer of Australians, and at-risk patients take statins, beta blockers and aspirin on a daily basis to help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

But one cheap, readily-available vaccine may provide the same benefit.

Professor John Attia from the University of Newcastle is the lead investigator of the Australian Study for the Prevention through Immunisation of Cardiovascular Events (AUSPICE).

He noticed some years ago that if the pneumococcal vaccine was given to mice, it seemed to protect them from the fatty build up of plaque in arteries that leads to heart attacks.

The …vaccine is currently given free to anyone over 65 or to those with diabetes, bronchitis… and other respiratory conditions.

Professor Attia said there was something in the cell wall of the pneumococcal bacteria that looked like plaque in arteries and the natural immune response was to clear that plaque away.

Since then studies have shown a similar link does exist in humans but it was unclear if lifestyle changes were responsible.

He said people have to take aspirin or statin medications daily to get a 20 per cent improvement in outcomes.

The trial is currently looking for 6,000 participants in Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Gosford who are between the ages of 55-60 and have not had a heart attack or stroke.

In order to participate they need to have two of three risk factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obesity.