The Health News – 20 September 2016

Overview:
•  This was the first time Australian researchers have conducted a nationwide review of suicides in the medical profession, and they say what they found was alarming. The research revealed that female doctors take their own lives at nearly three times the rate of the general population.

• Researchers have successfully injected stem cells into the brain of a 64-year-old Victorian man as part of a trial treatment for Parkinson’s disease, that they say is the first of its kind in the world. Garish Nair, a neurosurgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said their hope was that the stem cells would boost levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

• The Cairns Hospital board has resigned in response to revelations the far north Queensland health district was facing an $80 million deficit this financial year. The board has released a statement saying its members could not continue to work without the confidence of Health Minister Cameron Dick, who on Friday asked them to give reasons why they should not be sacked.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  20th of September 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-19/female-health-professionals-at-higher-risk-of-suicide/7856968

Women working in health professions have a rate of suicide which is three times higher than those in other occupations, says a new Australian study.

Researchers said they also found male nurses and midwives had close to double the rate of suicide compared with men in other professions.

This was the first time Australian researchers have conducted a nationwide review of suicides in the medical profession, and they say what they found was alarming.

The research revealed that female doctors take their own lives at nearly three times the rate of the general population.

Female nurses had a suicide risk almost four times greater than women in other jobs.

Deakin University’s Dr Allison Milner, the lead author of the research, said one factor for nurses was the fact that it was a “particularly stressful occupation.”

“The demands of the job include long working hours, high demand, low control over what they’re doing,” she said.

“As well as working in an environment that’s hard to work around your family time and flexibility with rostering.”

Dr Milner said that when looking at female doctors, many of the same explanations applied.

“There was a Lancet paper published in 2009 that also highlighted some of the professional factors that may be involved here,” she said.

Dr Milner worked with two other authors from the University of Melbourne to analyse almost 10,000 suicide cases from 2001 to 2012.

The research has been published … in the Medical Journal of Australia.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-14/parkinson’s-disease-trial-injects-stem-cells-into-brain/7844674

Researchers have successfully injected stem cells into the brain of a 64-year-old Victorian man as part of a trial treatment for Parkinson’s disease, that they say is the first of its kind in the world.

So far there has been no drug developed to stop the progression of Parkinson’s, which affects 80,000 Australians.

And the researchers at the Royal Melbourne Hospital said because the stem cells were created in a lab, the ethical dilemma of using them was avoided.

Usually the surgical treatment for Parkinson’s is deep brain stimulation, with neurosurgeons drilling holes into a patient’s skull and putting wires into two parts of the brain.

But in the most recent trial, millions of stem cells were injected at 14 sites in the patient’s brain, Garish Nair, a neurosurgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said.

He said before the human trial he and his colleagues spent weeks practising on a 3D model.

He said their hope was that the stem cells would boost levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dr Nair said the trial would also sidestep the ethical dilemma involved in using stem cells because it was using neural cells manufactured in a lab by a Californian biotech company.

“Stem cells have always had an ethical problem behind it, because you traditionally have been getting it from what is called embryonic stem cells, so you need to get it from embryos that have died,” he said.

“So the beauty of this technique is that this is an unfertilised egg activated in a lab, so there are no ethical issues surrounding this to be used as mainstream treatment down the line.”

But others in the field have taken a more cautionary approach, and have questioned whether stem-cell-based therapies are really ready for clinical trials.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-19/cairns-hospital-board-resigns-after-minister-questions/7858196

The Cairns Hospital board has resigned in response to revelations the far north Queensland health district was facing an $80 million deficit this financial year.

The board has released a statement saying its members could not continue to work without the confidence of Health Minister Cameron Dick, who on Friday asked them to give reasons why they should not be sacked.

An independent financial report commissioned by the department projected a deficit of $80 million for the 2016/17 financial year, more than 10 per cent of its operating budget.

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service board chair Carolyn Eagle said it became clear last week they had lost the Minister’s confidence.

Last week, Mr Dick said since coming to office the State Government had increased funding to the Cairns health district by more than $110 million, or more than 16 per cent.

“The Government expects all hospital and health services to live within their operating budget and deliver on their service agreements,” he said.

In announcing the board’s decision to quit, Ms Eagle said they had faced “a number of challenges” and three of the seven members were only appointed three months ago.

Following the announcement, Mr Dick released a statement saying he had accepted the board’s resignation and he would appoint an administrator to manage the Cairns health service.

“I anticipate that the administrator will be in place before the end of the week,” he said.

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