The Health News – 17 August 2016

Overview:
• Medical marijuana is expected to be made available to children with severe epilepsy sometime next year in Victoria, after the Government committed $28.5 million in this year’s budget.

• Former East German sportspeople have spoken to Foreign Correspondent about their doping past. Almost three decades after the end of the East German regime, they say their physical and mental health has been severely damaged by years of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

• Melbourne researchers say they have successfully grown and implanted cornea cells to cure blindness. Researchers are now preparing for human trials. The technique, developed by researchers at Melbourne University and the Centre for Eye Research, could replace transplants of donated cornea.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  17th of August 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-16/medicinal-cannabis-roll-out-overseen-by-independent-committee/7747504

An independent medical committee will oversee the roll out of medicinal cannabis in Victoria and advise on the next group of patients that will be given access [to] the drug, the Andrews Government has said.

Medical marijuana is expected to be made available to children with severe epilepsy sometime next year, after the Government committed $28.5 million in this year’s budget.

The Government announced Professor James Angus would lead the medical advisory committee that will look at expanding the scheme to other cohorts.

Premier Daniel Andrews earlier released photos from the Government’s secret site where the cannabis crop is being cultivated.

He said naming the chairman of the committee brought medicinal cannabis a step closer.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the committee of 16 people would advise the Government on the next group of patients that should be eligible for medicinal cannabis.

The Government said the roll out of the scheme was on track but would not say when in 2017 the product would be available to patients.

Mr Andrews said there would be many more milestones to celebrate.

Asked whether other states had expressed interest in buying Victoria’s medicinal cannabis, Mr Andrews said conversations were happening.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-16/athletes-with-doping-past-tell-russia-not-worth-it/7722080

Athletes who used performance-enhancing drugs in their glory years are warning Russian athletes, and others around the world, the price of doping is just too high.

Former East German sportspeople have spoken to Foreign Correspondent about their doping past.

Almost three decades after the end of the East German regime, they say their physical and mental health has been severely damaged by years of taking performance-enhancing drugs…

Their health problems are severe, and there is evidence to suggest they have been passed on to the next generation.

Athletes also claim there had been number of doping-related deaths.

… the Doping Victims’ Association supports hundreds of former East German athletes whose health deteriorated significantly in middle age.

The sheer size of the East German doping program has only come to light thanks to microbiologist Professor Werner Franke.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many secret documents were shredded, but Professor Franke realised there was a room in a small border town that was full of key documents which had escaped the shredders.

He was able to rescue the files which proved to be an extensive history of sports doping, containing names, dates and drugs, right down to the dosages of what athletes were given.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-15/cornea-cells-‘successfully’-grown-and-implanted-cure-blindness/7736240

Melbourne researchers say they have successfully grown and implanted cornea cells to cure blindness.

The cells were grown on a layer of synthetic film and transplanted into the eyes of animals, restoring vision.

Researchers are now preparing for human trials.

The technique, developed by researchers at Melbourne University and the Centre for Eye Research, could replace transplants of donated cornea.

The cornea is a transparent layer at the front of the eye. A layer of cells on its inner surface keeps it moist by “pumping” water out of it.

Trauma, disease and aging can reduce the number of these cells leading to deterioration and blindness.

Research scientist Berkay Ozcelik said it was an important breakthrough.

Mr Ozcelik said the synthetic film looks a bit like cling wrap, and can be implanted on the inner surface of a patient’s cornea through a very small incision.

The hydrogel film is thinner than a human hair and allows the flow of water between the cornea and the interior of the eye.

It then breaks down and disappears within two months.

Ophthalmic surgeon Mark Daniel said tissue engineering was a whole new way of thinking about fixing human problems.

“This way of using patients own cells, amplifying them outside the body and replacing them is a very exciting new area,” he said.

The Centre for Eye research is now looking for venture capital to set up the human trials.

If successful the film could be used to generate cornea cells for patients in China and Japan where donated tissue is not favoured.

 

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