The Health News – 27 June 2016

Overview:
• Irina Aleksandrova runs a therapeutic riding school at Yeronga on Brisbane’s southside, which focuses on children with autism. Ms Aleksandrova said parents were often at their wit’s end when they turned to hippotherapy — horseriding therapy — to help improve their children’s core strength and confidence.

• The ACT chief coroner has recommended changes to the planning of complex surgeries within the ACT, particularly to better involve anaesthetists. An inquiry was held into the death of Maxine Fulton, 68, who died nine days after undergoing dental surgery at Canberra Hospital in December 2013.

• New research from a Western Australian university shows. Exercise can help cancer patients overcome depression and anxiety, leading to benefits within six weeks. The study involved 32 patients with a range of cancers – including brain, prostate and breast cancer – who were experiencing depressive symptoms, as well as two people undergoing palliative care.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  27th of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-26/animals-changing-the-lives-of-children-with-disabilities/7540158

Parents of children with significant disabilities are turning to animals as a form of therapy to give their children confidence and help them improve physically.

They said that in just a few weeks, it had changed lives.

Irina Aleksandrova runs a therapeutic riding school at Yeronga on Brisbane’s southside, which focuses on children with autism.

Ms Aleksandrova said parents were often at their wit’s end when they turned to hippotherapy — horseriding therapy — to help improve their children’s core strength and confidence.

There has been limited research into the benefits of animal therapy, especially in Australia.

However, one key study had shown a drop in the stress levels among children after working with horses.

Another found depression also reduced in children who had been severely traumatised and abused.

Psychiatrist Anja Kriegeskotten uses equine therapy at Samford Riding for the Disabled to help treat children on the spectrum and those suffering abuse.

She said horses were excellent at reading non-verbal queues such as body language.

She said the children also often had very low self-esteem, did not trust adults and suffered speech and language delays.

Equine therapy is not based on talking, but is based on building trust and a relationship with the horse and in the process buil[d] self-esteem.

Dr Kriegeskotten said she had also found horses were naturally fascinated by children with autism.

“Those children are like horse magnets,” she said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-24/coroner-recommends-changes-to-planning-of-surgeries-after-death/7542240

The ACT chief coroner has recommended changes to the planning of complex surgeries within the ACT, particularly to better involve anaesthetists.

An inquiry was held into the death of Maxine Fulton, 68, who died nine days after undergoing dental surgery at Canberra Hospital in December 2013.

Ms Fulton was undergoing surgery to have four teeth removed, in preparation for radiation treatment to a large tumour at the base of her tongue.

Her breathing became obstructed as the surgery was being completed, and Ms Fulton went into respiratory-cardiac arrest.

She was resuscitated, but died in hospital on December 20.

Her final words to her husband prior to surgery were “I’m frightened”.

The operation took place the day after the same operation had been attempted, but abandoned due to difficulty inserting breathing tubes.

Ms Fulton was placed under general anaesthetic during the first operation, but local anaesthetic and sedatives were used in the second operation.

Concerns were raised by medical experts during the coronial hearings about the decision to attempt the operation a second time just a day after the first attempt.

One expert suggested at least a week should have been left, allowing Ms Fulton’s throat to settle.

As the surgery was considered elective, delaying a second surgery could have meant waiting until after the Christmas period — during which elective surgeries are not scheduled.

Chief coroner Lorraine Walker found the communication between surgeons and anaesthetists could be improved, particularly the consideration of risks.

In handing down her findings, she recommended anaesthetists be involved earlier in the planning of complex surgeries so that specific anaesthetic risks are considered.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-25/exercise-helps-cancer-patients-beat-depression/7543596

Exercise can help cancer patients overcome depression and anxiety, leading to benefits within six weeks, new research from a Western Australian university shows.

The study involved 32 patients with a range of cancers – including brain, prostate and breast cancer – who were experiencing depressive symptoms, as well as two people undergoing palliative care.

The participants were randomly split into three groups: people exercising at home, those doing gym-based exercise and others who did no exercise at all.

Adjunct lecturer at Edith Cowan University, Dr Greg Levin, said while researchers expected to see cancer patients benefit from exercise, the results were more dramatic than anticipated.

“The level of depression in those people who had cancer and who didn’t exercise generally stayed the same, or progressively got worse,” he said.

“Participants who completed any type of exercise experienced a positive effect, particularly in terms of reducing their symptoms of depression.

The research showed two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise a week was enough to relieve anxiety and depression.

The research was presented at the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) conference in Adelaide on Saturday.

Incoming MASCC president, Professor Ian Olver, said the research showed exercising as part of a patient’s normal daily routine was enough to make a difference.