The Health News – 12 November 2014

Overview

  • About 40 Canberra homeowners have already opted in to the ACT Government’s buyback and demolition scheme for houses contaminated with Mr Fluffy asbestos insulation, authorities say.
  • The creation of a ‘Frankenstein’ chromosome that steals the DNA it needs to grow and survive has been detailed for the first time in research led by Australian scientists.
  • A photograph of a Queensland woman breastfeeding her young son at her university graduation has gone viral on social media.


News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th November 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-11/mr-fluffy-asbestos-home-owners-opt-in-to-act-government-buyback/5882940

About 40 Canberra homeowners have already opted in to the ACT Government’s buyback and demolition scheme for houses contaminated with Mr Fluffy asbestos insulation, authorities say.

The ACT Government plans to demolish more than 1,000 houses over the next five years to rid the territory of the potentially deadly asbestos legacy.

The head of the Asbestos Response Taskforce, Andrew Kefford, …[stated that] the Government would recoup some of the costs of the scheme, but would still be at least $300 million out of pocket.

Mr Kefford said homeowners had until June 30 next year to indicate whether they wanted to take part.

But he said families would not have to move immediately unless they chose to, as settlements on properties could be delayed the past the June 30 date.

At a recent community meeting many Mr Fluffy homeowners expressed disappointment about the ACT Government’s compensation plan and said it was not flexible enough to accommodate their needs.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/11/11/4125343.htm

The creation of a ‘Frankenstein’ chromosome that steals the DNA it needs to grow and survive has been detailed for the first time in research led by Australian scientists.

The work, published …in the journal Cancer Cell , shows how an extra chromosome, known as a neochromosome, found in up to three per cent of all cancers, is created.

Chromosomes, found in all cells of the body, protect DNA that contains specific genetic information. Each normal cell has about 23 pairs.

However, neochromosomes are much bigger than normal chromosomes, in some cases containing over 700 million base pairs, says co-author of the paper, Professor David Thomas, director of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre at the Garvan Institute.

Scientists have known about the presence of accessory neochromosomes in cancers such as liposarcoma (a cancer of the fatty tissues), sarcomas (soft tissue tumours), and some brain and blood cancers for decades, he says.

However, only the advent of next-generation genomic sequencing and mathematical modelling has made this latest work possible.

Thomas likens the research to that of archaeology.

The finding — an international collaboration that included researchers from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and Garvan Institute of Medical Research — also reveals potential targets for drug therapy.

He says mathematical modelling of biological processes will be a key to future cancer research.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-04/breastfeeding-photo-at-university-graduation-goes-viral/5865830

A photograph of a Queensland woman breastfeeding her young son at her university graduation has gone viral on social media.

Maroochy River mother Jacci Sharkey was snapped by her sister-in-law as she breastfed son Alek, then six weeks old, at her graduation ceremony from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in early October.

The image, and a message of thanks from the 24-year-old, was posted from USC’s Facebook page on Monday afternoon.

In the past 24 hours it earned more than 100,000 likes, 3,400 comments and 2,700 shares.

Ms Sharkey said the social media reaction stunned her.

“It was really heart warming … you do come across your keyboard warriors but it’s just nice to see the positive outweighs the negative.”

Ms Sharkey, who studied human resource management, said the photo was intended as a thankyou to the university and a message to other mothers and mothers-to-be that it could be done.

“It wasn’t a statement [on breastfeeding] or anything like that. I would have sent the same picture to the uni had he [Alek] had a bottle or a sandwich … it was just the fact that I’m a mum, it’s not I’m a breastfeeding mum, just I’m a mum,” she said.

“It was really a message of thanks and that other mums can do it as well.

“You don’t have to give up the career to have kids and you don’t have to give up kids to have the career … you can have it all.”

Both of Ms Sharkey’s children, Ari, 20 months old, and Alek, were born throughout her three and a half years at university.

Ms Sharkey said USC had been supportive of her and other mothers during her time there by allowing her to take her son to lectures.

This has been the news on Health Professional Radio. For more information on today’s items head to hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.