The Health News – 19 July 2016

Overview:
• Dr. Rolf Gomes,company, Heart of Australia,launched "the heart bus", in October 2014, and in its first six months of operation, nine patients were referred for open heart surgery. Dr Gomes recently submitted a proposal to partner with the Queensland Government to expand to other regional towns and to include more specialty services such as respiratory physicians, gastroenterologists and urologists — but this has been rejected.

• Gold Coast exercise physiologist James Fletcher has pioneered a program to strengthen the breathing muscles of star athletes heading to Rio next month. The training involves software that makes it harder for an athlete to breathe, in turn strengthening their muscles.

• Associate Professor David Harrich, head of the HIV molecular virology laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, made the antiviral protein, known as the “Nullbasic”, by mutating an existing HIV protein. Once HIV-infected cells were treated with the protein, they stopped making virus particles.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  19th of July 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-18/heart-of-australia-qld-government-rejects-funding-proposal/7634974

The Queensland Government has rejected a proposal to help fund an innovative mobile cardiology clinic that treats hundreds of people in regional Queensland.

Known as “the heart bus”, the mobile clinic is the brainchild of Rolf Gomes, an electrical engineer-turned-cardiologist.

It was launched by Dr Gomes’ company, Heart of Australia, in October 2014, and in its first six months of operation, nine patients were referred for open heart surgery.

“These are the type of procedures that, left unattended, you could potentially die,” Dr Gomes told Australian Story.

The Heart of Australia mobile clinic travels some 8,000 kilometres each month, servicing 12 regional communities.

“We’ve now seen in excess of 2,000 patients and these are people who might never have seen a cardiologist,” Dr Gomes said.

People living in the country are 44 per cent more likely to die of heart disease than people living in the city, and in some remote areas the figure can rise as high as 63 per cent.

There are a number of other medical outreach services for people living in the bush, including some specialty services such as cardiology, but Dr Gomes said this was not enough.

It was as a young trainee doctor on rural rotations that Dr Gomes was first struck by the lack of medical services available to people living in the bush.

He estimated it would cost $1 million to build the truck, then another $1 million to keep it on the road for a year, and he struggled to find funding.

Something finally clicked when coal seam gas mining company Arrow Energy came on board as principal sponsor — other companies followed suit, and St Andrew’s hospital helped with the fit-out.

With the truck near completion, Dr Gomes and his wife took out a second mortgage on their house for $800,000.

The Federal and Queensland governments each contributed $250,000, boosting the funding by half-a-million dollars, for the project to finally get off the ground.

Dr Gomes said the Heart of Australia mobile clinic was an ambitious pilot that proved specialist services city people often took for granted could be delivered to remote regions.

He recently submitted a proposal to partner with the Queensland Government to expand to other regional towns and to include more specialty services such as respiratory physicians, gastroenterologists and urologists — but this has been rejected.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-18/rio-2016-adapted-breathing-technique-helps-athletes-prepare/7638814

A new breathing technique designed to treat lung disease has been adapted to help Australian athletes heading to the Olympics and Paralympics strengthen their muscles.

Gold Coast exercise physiologist James Fletcher has pioneered a program to strengthen the breathing muscles of star athletes heading to Rio next month.

The training involves software that makes it harder for an athlete to breathe, in turn strengthening their muscles.

Mr Fletcher has based the program on techniques used for medical patients with lung disorders, including his mother who suffers from a degenerative lung disease.

Swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes has been attending the specialised training for six months.

The training aims to simulate an athlete’s rhythm of breathing from a race.

It also focuses on dealing with anxiety before competing with a special program which mimics the effort to control breathing when an athlete is feeling anxious.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/hiv-breakthrough-brisbane-harrich-nullbasic-aids-aimr-berghofer/7631328

A protein has been developed in Brisbane which switches off HIV infection in cells, potentially paving the way for a cure for the deadly virus.

Associate Professor David Harrich made the antiviral protein, known as the “Nullbasic”, by mutating an existing HIV protein.

Once HIV-infected cells were treated with the protein, they stopped making virus particles.

Associate Professor Harrich, head of the HIV molecular virology laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, said the results exceeded his expectations.

So far the protein has only been used in laboratory tests, since 2009.

Associate Professor Harrich said the next step was to see if they could cure HIV in mice.

As of yet, it is not known at what point the protein is switched off by the protein.

In the future, Associate Professor Harrich said the protein could potentially form the basis for a functional cure for HIV, which could be administered as a one-off treatment.

The treatment would be different from currently available antiretroviral drugs, which stop the virus from spreading to other cells, but do not stop individual cells from making the virus.

Currently, patients have to keep taking the drugs long-term.

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