The Health News – 22 November 2016

Overview:
•  In patients with either Parkinson’s or DLB, abnormal clumps of the same protein is present in the brain, though often it is found in different parts of the brain. Professor Simon Lewis, from the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney studies and treats patients with Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies  and said they displayed quite different symptoms.

• Researchers from the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University examined more than 400 drug-related deaths of Australian healthcare workers between 2003 and 2013. Lead author Jennifer Pilgrim found the highest number of deaths was amongst nurses — 62 per cent of the deaths — followed by medical practitioners, at 18 per cent.

• Four Australian manufacturers are set to remove triclosan and triclocarban — which are banned in the United States but legal in Australia — from their antibacterial soap products, following the US lead in removing some chemicals over concerns they could be doing more harm than good.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  22nd of November 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-21/calls-to-scrap-diagnosis-of-parkinson’s-disease/8038220

As many as 25 per cent of patients who are told they have Parkinson’s disease actually have other degenerative brain illnesses, prompting Australian doctors to investigate more accurate ways to diagnose the illness.

In patients with either Parkinson’s or DLB, abnormal clumps of the same protein is present in the brain, though often it is found in different parts of the brain.

That has led some doctors to want to scrap the terms Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies and call it all Lewy Body disease.

However, a move is not supported by Professor Simon Lewis, from the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney.

Professor Lewis studies and treats patients with both conditions and said they displayed quite different symptoms.

“In Parkinson’s, you see primarily physical symptoms such as tremor, which can usually be controlled for years with medication,” he said.

He said in DLB, patients have had significant memory problems and often progress to dementia within two years.

Knowing which illness patients have is crucial, as some medications commonly prescribed for Parkinson’s disease can be fatal for DLB patients.

The mainstay treatment for Parkinson’s called levodopa can often aggravate patients who have DLB.

“It can make them more confused and increase hallucinations,” Professor Lewis said.

Australian doctors are taking part in a worldwide trial that could more accurately diagnose patients with Parkinson’s disease.

More than 600 patients are being recruited at 10 centres around the world, including the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

It will test patients on their sense of smell, and investigate whether they have sleep disorders which can both be risk factors for Parkinson’s disease.

The ultimate hope to more accurately diagnosis DLB is to be able to identify biomarkers in the blood and develop PET scans which can pick up the protein found in the brains of patients.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-21/study-indicates-high-rate-of-drug-related-deaths-among-nurses/8038866

More nurses die from deliberate drug overdose than any other health care professionals, according to a landmark new study.

Researchers from the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University examined more than 400 drug-related deaths of Australian healthcare workers between 2003 and 2013.

It included medical practitioners, paramedics, nurses, dentists, psychologists, pharmacists and vets.

Lead author Jennifer Pilgrim found the highest number of deaths was amongst nurses — 62 per cent of the deaths — followed by medical practitioners, at 18 per cent.

Most of the nurses were women, and the doctors male.

Intentional self-harm was the main cause of death, and mental illness was common, with depression diagnosed in almost half of those who died.

But taking into account the number of people employed in different parts of the health sector, veterinarians were most at risk of a fatal overdose.

On average, 37 health care workers died each year from drug overdoses.

Most of the drugs were obtained illegally through the workplace by theft or self prescription.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-20/antibacterial-soaps-in-spotlight-as-companies-remove-chemicals/8040054

Australian manufacturers are following the US lead in removing some chemicals from antibacterial soaps, over concerns they could be doing more harm than good.

… four producers are set to remove triclosan and triclocarban — which are banned in the United States but legal in Australia — from their products.

A fifth company is looking at reformulating its medicated soap.

Those two chemicals were among 19 active ingredients banned by the US Food and Drug Administration in September.

The FDA said there was not enough evidence to show these products were better than ordinary soap and water, and that they could do more harm than good.

The ruling cited concerns from scientists that long-term exposure to these chemicals could promote antibiotic resistance, disrupt hormones and, potentially, cause cancer in mice.

Microbiologist Liz Harry, from University of Technology Sydney’s ithree institute, which researches infectious diseases, was pleased about the changes in America.