The Health News – 10 May 2017

Overview:

• Associate Professor Patrick Charles, from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Austin Health, has presented evidence of the unusual side-effects of Faecal transplants to specialists at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians congress in Melbourne. He said while the science is not yet at the stage where doctors could treat conditions like depressive and weight disorders with faecal transplants, it was only the tip of the iceberg.

 Nursing posts in the towns of Cue, Mt Magnet and Yalgoo were unmanned for up to three days last week when the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) was unable to source coverage for the sites. Six shires across the Mid West and Murchison have renewed calls for the minimum numbers of staff at regional nursing posts to be increased from one to three.

• Professor Gabrielle Belz, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, said it was clear that hormones were “acting in different types of receptors in men and women to effect outcomes for viral infections and allergic diseases.” The study identified the immune cells that were associated with asthma, and found high levels of testosterone in men lead to them having fewer of the cells than women.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  10th of May 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-09/faecal-transplant-side-effects-explored-at-conference/8510270

There is growing evidence faecal transplants could be causing some patients to take on the physical and mental traits of their donors, including body shape and even symptoms of depression, an expert in infectious diseases says.

Faecal transplants are becoming an increasingly popular treatment for conditions like chronic fatigue, Parkinson’s, autism and irritable bowel syndrome.

More commonly, they are used to replace the gut bacteria of people who have complications after prolonged use of antibiotics.

The treatment involves transplanting a donor’s faeces into a patient’s bowel to improve the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Associate Professor Patrick Charles, from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Austin Health, has presented evidence of the unusual side-effects to specialists at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians congress in Melbourne.

Dr Charles said the treatment had been used in modern medicine since the 1950s, but doctors are still learning about its effects.

“It’s a very successful way to fix … an overgrowth of the bad bacteria causing terrible diarrhoea,” he said.

“What we’re learning about this now is the change in the mix of bacteria when you get this transplant can alter the person who is getting it to take on some of the characteristics of the donor sometimes.

“There have been people who have taken on the shape of the donor, such as if the donor is either overweight or underweight they’ve become more like that.

He said while the science is not yet at the stage where doctors could treat conditions like depressive and weight disorders with faecal transplants, it was only the tip of the iceberg.

“We’re just getting to the early stages of understanding this, but it’s something we need to learn a lot more about because it could have a role in the future,” Dr Charles said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-09/murchison-nursing-shortage-prompts-call-for-policy-change/8507664

Regional communities are calling on Western Australia’s Department of Health to change a policy that is leaving regional communities without nursing care.

Nursing posts in the towns of Cue, Mt Magnet and Yalgoo were unmanned for up to three days last week when the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) was unable to source coverage for the sites.

Community leaders say the issue is a policy that requires only one nurse to be present at a regional nursing post.

Six shires across the Mid West and Murchison have renewed calls for the minimum numbers of staff at regional nursing posts to be increased from one to three.

The nursing post at Cue was unmanned on Friday afternoon, when the local nurse was required to cover a shortage in Mount Magnet. The nearest hospital was almost 120 kilometres away.

There are only 11 single nursing posts left in WA, three of which are in the Murchison.

But WACHS Midwest operations manager Andrew Klein said, while sympathetic to the situation, the number of people presenting to the nursing posts in the region did not warrant a change in policy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-09/testosterone-could-key-creating-more-targeted-asthma-treatment/8509198

The male sex hormone testosterone could be the key to understanding why asthma affects women and men differently, medical researchers say.

The researchers said testosterone could block the production of an immune cell, and that could lead to more targeted asthma treatments.

Interest in the lung condition has peaked since a thunderstorm asthma event last year contributed to nine deaths in Victoria.

One in nine people in Australia are diagnosed with asthma (around 2.5 million people), and under the age of 15 the condition is more prevalent in boys.

But in many cases boys seem to grow out of it, and by adulthood asthma becomes more common in women.

Professor Gabrielle Belz, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, said it was clear that hormones were “acting in different types of receptors in men and women to effect outcomes for viral infections and allergic diseases.”

“And so there seems to be a balancing act going on in terms of which hormones are driving it in men and women over time.”

The study identified the immune cells that were associated with asthma, and found high levels of testosterone in men lead to them having fewer of the cells than women.

Which meant that men exhibited a reduced susceptibility to allergic airway inflammation in response to environmental allergens.

Professor Belz said the findings had surprised them, because when they began looking into asthma prevalence, they had initially thought it would be driven by estrogen.

Although asthma treatment improvements remain years away, Ms Horan said she hopes they will lead to better health outcomes for children with asthma.

The research was conducted with a team from France and has been published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

 

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