The Health News – 26 January 2017

Overview:
• Professor Alan Mackay-Sim has been named this year’s Australian of the Year as his research helped the world’s first successful restoration of mobility in a quadriplegic man. Professor Mackay-Sim said the award was an “unbelievable honour”.

• There is lead in the water being supplied to Perth Children’s Hospital. Water regulators reassure the public the drinking water in the area is safe. The persistent lead issue in the water has affected the opening date of the said hospital.

• A total of nine persons died of thunderstorm asthma after a freak weather event late last year. About 8,500 people sought hospital treatment when the weather changed abruptly on November 21, as a cool change and thunderstorms swept across Melbourne.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  26th of January 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/australian-of-the-year-2017-winners-alan-mackay-sim/8212694

Biomolecular scientist Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, whose research helped restore mobility in a quadriplegic man, has been named this year’s Australian of the Year.

Professor Mackay-Sim used his acceptance speech to push for greater investment in young scientists and highlight the importance for researchers to have a longer view beyond “the political horizon”.

He also discussed the importance of research on spinal cord injuries and rare brain diseases.

Biomolecular scientist Professor Mackay-Sim has dedicated his life to researching stem cells which has led to ground-breaking treatment of spinal cord injuries.

In 2014, his research helped the world’s first successful restoration of mobility in a quadriplegic man, a breakthrough described as the scientific equivalent of the moon landing.

He is the director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research and is considered a global authority on the human sense of smell and the biology of nasal cells.

Professor Mackay-Sim said the award was an “unbelievable honour”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/john-holland-speaks-on-lead-contamination-in-perth-children/8211192

There is lead in the water being supplied to the yet-to-be-opened $1.2 billion Perth Children’s Hospital, the project’s builder says, as water regulators move to reassure the public the drinking water in the area is safe.

The John Holland-built facility has been plagued by problems, including asbestos contamination of parts supplied by a Chinese firm and, most recently, the issue of persistent lead levels in the water.

The lead issue has seen the project’s timeline blow out substantially, with no opening date in sight.

The State Government has repeatedly said the contamination was confined to the new hospital building and was not an issue at the adjacent Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

But …[testing has]… found physical evidence of lead in water being delivered to the hospital, and had delivered those results to the state representative for the project.

WaterCorp has moved to reassure residents in the area that the water supply is safe.

In a statement, the corporation said that when it became aware of the lead issue in September it conducted additional sampling within the water supply zone, which detected no lead.

The office for the Executive Director of Public Health also sought to reassure the public.

WaterCorp said there had been no lead detected in Perth drinking water in the past 15 years, and tests were conducted annually.

The State Government has been contacted for comment.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/thunderstorm-asthma-ninth-death-in-victoria/8212096

A ninth person has died of thunderstorm asthma after a freak weather event late last year.

About 8,500 people sought hospital treatment when the weather changed abruptly on November 21, as a cool change and thunderstorms swept across Melbourne.

Eight people died in just over a week following the event, with the department saying at the time one person remained in critical condition in intensive care.

… a release from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services confirmed another person had died.

It added that no more patients remained in hospital and, with the pollen season in Victoria now over, it is not expecting thunderstorm activity to trigger any more instances.