The Health News – 18 October 2016

Overview:
•  Professor Tuan Nguyen (Garvan Institute of Medical Research and University of Technology Sydney) led the new osteoporosis research, he says the findings overturn long-held skepticism in the bone health field about the role of genetics in the clinical management of osteoporosis.

• The AMA has joined forces with the Australian Academy of Science to promote and distribute the Academy’s revised and updated booklet, The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers, an important resource to inform all Australians about the facts, evidence, and benefits of immunisation.

• The research by the Cancer Council of New South Wales backs the Federal Government’s renewed National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) which will come into effect in May 2017, to start screening women for cervical cancer from age 25, rather than between the ages of 18 and 20.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  18th of October 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/outwitting-the-2018silent-thief2019-how-clues-in-our-genes-could-help-prevent-osteoporotic-fracture

Osteoporosis is dubbed ‘the silent thief’, because bone loss occurs without obvious symptoms until a bone is broken. Because of the silent nature of osteoporosis, it is very difficult to predict who will or will not fracture.  For this reason, one key goal of osteoporosis research is to identify those who have a high risk of breaking a bone – with the ultimate aim of preventing avoidable fractures.

Professor Tuan Nguyen (Garvan Institute of Medical Research and University of Technology Sydney) led the new research.  He explains, “Our study shows, for the first time, that we can classify an individual’s risk of breaking a bone much more reliably when we take genetic factors into account alongside clinical factors.

“This is a major step towards personalised medicine for osteoporosis.

Prof Nguyen says the findings overturn long-held skepticism in the bone health field about the role of genetics in the clinical management of osteoporosis.

The new findings arise from Garvan’s leading Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, the world’s largest and longest running population-based study of osteoporosis in men and women. The Dubbo Study has been gathering broad-ranging health data, including bone health and genomic information, from thousands of residents of Dubbo, NSW for 27 years.

Among other major contributions to our understanding of osteoporosis, the Dubbo Study has enabled the development of theGarvan Fracture Risk Calculator (GFRC), one of two major algorithms worldwide that is used clinically to determine an individual’s risk of osteoporotic fracture. The GFRC uses clinical risk factors (age, sex, history of falls and fractures, and bone density) to assess an individual’s fracture risk.

Importantly, the new findings now show that genetic profiling further improves the accuracy of the GFRC.

Professor John Eisman (Garvan), who heads the Dubbo study, says the findings, and their clinical relevance, are heartening.

Professor John Mattick, Executive Director of Garvan, adds, “Once individual genome sequences become a routine part of medical records, this genetic risk information will be readily available and be used to optimise the management of health in older people.”

The research has recently been accepted for publication in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the premier journal in bone biology internationally.

https://ama.com.au/media/new-booklet-debunks-anti-vaxx-myths

The AMA has joined forces with the Australian Academy of Science to promote and distribute the Academy’s revised and updated booklet, The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers, an important resource to inform all Australians about the facts, evidence, and benefits of immunisation.

The booklet was launched [this month] at Parliament House in Canberra by Health Minister, Sussan Ley; the President of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Andrew Holmes; AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon; and Professor Peter Doherty, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on immune cells.

Dr Gannon said it is vital that parents are provided with the most authoritative, scientifically-backed, clear, and easy-to-understand facts and evidence about the safety and effectiveness of immunisation.

“Immunisation saves lives. That is an undeniable fact.

“This booklet will help educate the general public, public health services, schools, and the media about the benefits of immunisation.”

Dr Gannon said that since the introduction of the Government’s No Jab No Pay policy6000 children previously registered as conscientious objectors are now fully immunised, but more needs to be done.

To date, 72,000 copies of The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers have been distributed to key locations, including doctors’ surgeries, around Australia, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

The booklet is available at https://www.science.org.au/learning/general-audience/science-booklets/science-immunisation

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-17/cervical-cancer-screening-should-start-at-later-age-study-shows/7937226

A new study supports a move to start screening women for cervical cancer from age 25, rather than between the ages of 18 and 20

The research by the Cancer Council of New South Wales backs the Federal Government’s renewed National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) which will come into effect in May 2017.

A human papilloma virus (HPV) test will replace the current pap smear examination.

The HPV test will be conducted every five years, compared to the pap smear which is presently carried out every two years.

The study’s author Megan Smith said cervical cancer was rare for women under the age of 25, many of whom were now vaccinated against HPV.

The study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, found screening women aged 20 to 24 had no significant impact on the rate of cervical cancer.

The findings were consistent with overseas studies which had found screening women under 25 years of age did not appear to be effective.

The Cancer Council of New South Wales said until the new screening regime came into effect, it was essential that women kept having pap smears to ensure they were not at risk of developing cervical cancer.

The Cancer Council also urged all women to begin screening promptly from age 25 when the program changes to the HPV test.