The Health News – 19 September 2016

Overview:
•  In his third ABC Boyer Lecture, epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot argued that a divide is emerging in society between busy, interesting jobs that give life meaning, and jobs that harm the body and damage the soul. Studies have found the stress of a work environment that is high in demand and low in control increases risk of mental illness and of coronary heart disease by about 50 per cent.

• Gidon Goodman, 13, requires regular medical infusions to control his symptoms and has started an online petition for parking rates to be independently regulated. The teenager said he was worried people would stop visiting sick family members in hospital because of high parking costs.

• Manufacturer Siemens issued a recall of the kits used to screen for cytomegalovirus (CMV) after it was revealed there was a risk they could have been producing false-negative results. But if a woman catches the virus while pregnant and it is passed onto the unborn baby, there is arisk of the child being born with a disability.

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

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-18/boyer-lectures-michael-marmot-work-harming-your-health/7853642

Scavengers cleaning latrines in India and pickers working in the vast warehouses of online retail businesses have something in common: firsthand experience of the kind of low-status work said to contribute to inequalities in health.

In his third ABC Boyer Lecture, epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot argued that a divide is emerging in society between busy, interesting jobs that give life meaning, and jobs that harm the body and damage the soul.

Studies have found the stress of a work environment that is high in demand and low in control increases risk of mental illness and of coronary heart disease by about 50 per cent.

Other stresses characteristic of low-status jobs — such as an imbalance between effort and reward, organisational injustice, social isolation, shift work and job insecurity — have also been proven to damage health.

While work can be bad for health if it deprives people of control over their lives or does not pay adequately, Sir Michael pointed out that unemployment has its own health risks.

“Unemployment is bad for health and it blights lives. Young people who leave school for the scrapheap are in danger of never getting the habit of work — potentially, they face a lifetime on the margin. Bad work may be bad for health; unemployment may be worse.

“Unemployment is particularly bad for mental health. Some of our politicians claim that unemployment is a lifestyle choice. If so, it is an odd one as it puts people at increased risk of depression and suicide.”

Studies have confirmed this connection. Figures examined by Oxford University’s David Stuckler show a correlation between a rise in a country’s unemployment rate and a rise in that country’s suicide rate.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-18/hospital-parking-fees-petition-gains-support-on-change-org/7855822

A teenager with a rare blood disorder is leading a push to cap parking fees across NSW hospitals.

Gidon Goodman, 13, requires regular medical infusions to control his symptoms and has started an online petition for parking rates to be independently regulated.

The change.org petition has so far received more than 46,000 signatures.

The teenager said he was worried people would stop visiting sick family members in hospital because of high parking costs.

A regulating agency, such as the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunary, should be charged with setting capped rates at hospitals, he said.

He said while his family was able to afford the parking fee, it was prohibitive for people on low incomes.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner’s office said the Government was committed to providing affordable car parking for patients, loved ones and staff at public hospitals.

A NSW Health spokeswoman … [stated] it received $38.7 million in revenue from parking fees in the past financial year.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-17/sa-health-checks-hundreds-of-virus-tests/7854994

SA Health has been forced to check the results of 2,076 tests used to screen for a virus which can cause birth defects after a worldwide recall of the testing kits.

Manufacturer Siemens issued a recall of the kits used to screen for cytomegalovirus (CMV) after it was revealed there was a risk they could have been producing false-negative results.

CMV is similar to glandular fever and rarely causes any noticeable symptoms or serious health problems.

But if a woman catches the virus while pregnant and it is passed onto the unborn baby, there is arisk of the child being born with a disability.

The recall affects testing kits used by SA Pathology between July 17, 2015 and August 24, 2016.

SA Health chief medical officer Professor Paddy Phillips said people considered most at risk from false negative results had been prioritised.

“So far of the total of 2,076, we have tested 1,255 and all of those have been confirmed as negative,” he said.

Professor Philips said it was “extremely unlikely” that anyone would be adversely affected by the re-testing and those tested during the 12 months to August should not be concerned.

“I’m optimistic that the remaining approximately 800 samples will also be confirmed as negative,” he said.

Professor Philips said this particular test screened for early infection of CMV and was not used on immunocompromised people, such as those who had undergone chemotherapy or an organ transplant.

SA Health expects the remaining CMV tests to be re-checked by the close of business on Wednesday and is urging anyone with concerns to call SA Pathology on 8222 3000 or contact their doctor.