The Health News – 4 August 2016

Overview:
• Australian children are finding it increasingly harder to hold a pencil due to overuse of keyboards and touch screens, an occupational therapist says.  Recent NAPLAN test results showed Queensland had the second lowest writing test score averages across years 3, 5, 7, and 9. Paediatric occupational therapist Katrina Davies said children’s hands today were lacking strength and fine motor skills to hold a pencil correctly.

• The scandal involving a doctor mistreating more than 100 patients at St Vincent’s hospital widened yesterday, after it was revealed a second oncologist had given incorrect doses to at least three patients at Sutherland and St George Hospitals.

• Russia has confirmed 21 cases of anthrax, including one fatality, after an unusual heatwave melted permafrost in its remote far north, releasing potentially lethal spores from the soil. The number of those hospitalised on suspicion of infection rose to 90 people, 45 of them children, regional officials said.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  4th of August 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-03/touch-screens-impacting-on-kids-writing-skills-therapist-says/7683054

Australian children are finding it increasingly harder to hold a pencil due to overuse of keyboards and touch screens, an occupational therapist says.

The comments come after teachers voiced their concerns about NAPLAN tests being handwritten and how that was adding to children’s stress levels.

Recent NAPLAN test results showed Queensland had the second lowest writing test score averages across years 3, 5, 7, and 9.

Nationwide results showed a significant decrease in writing results for years 7 and 9.

The dynamic tripod grasp, or pencil grip, is viewed by occupational therapists as the correct way for children to hold a pencil.

The action uses both the index and middle finger to hold the pencil, with the thumb supporting it.

The grasp then allows the ring finger and the little finger to be tucked away, with the pencil resting on the muscular part of the hand.

Paediatric occupational therapist Katrina Davies said children’s hands today were lacking strength and fine motor skills to hold a pencil correctly.

Ms Davies said children were holding pencils likes daggers or knives.

…[She] said principals were coming to occupational therapists asking them for assistance.

“The push for technology in schools is a big counteraction and contradiction of where the children are at; teachers are having to go back to the foundational skills first.

“Obviously technology is part of our society and it’s part of what we need to do, but when we start children out as young as one using devices, it’s changing their social and fine motor skills.”

Ms Davies said the more children played with tablets and phones and the less time they spent outside on slippery dips and climbing trees, “the further their developmental milestones are being pushed back”.

Ms Davies said swiping on touch screens had changed the dominant finger on users’ hands — for both children and adults.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-03/plan-to-probe-nsw-cancer-chemo-under-dosing-unrealistic:doctor/7684224

The under-dosing of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment at three Sydney hospitals is not systemic and more likely the actions of a few “rogue elements”, the Australian Medical Association says.

But the NSW president of the peak doctors group, Professor Brad Frankum, has conceded he cannot rule out that it is more widespread than that.

The scandal involving a doctor mistreating more than 100 patients at St Vincent’s hospital widened yesterday, after it was revealed a second oncologist had given incorrect doses to at least three patients at Sutherland and St George Hospitals.

The NSW Government says it will review the treatment given to every cancer patient in the public hospital system over the past five years.

Professor Frankum said that was unworkable and questioned the necessity.

Professor Frankum said there needed to be an overhaul so there was electronic prescribing of treatments throughout the hospital system, not just for chemotherapy patients, which the State Government yesterday promised to introduce.

A group lobbying for patients who have suffered mistreatment in the health system, said it wanted a royal commission and the police to investigate the latest hospital scandals.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-03/21-infected-in-far-north-russia-anthrax-outbreak/7684014

Russia has confirmed 21 cases of anthrax, including one fatality, after an unusual heatwave melted permafrost in its remote far north, releasing potentially lethal spores from the soil.

“Unfortunately 20 people had their [anthrax] diagnosis confirmed,” a spokeswoman for the Yamalo-Nenetsky regional authorities told the RIA …news agency.

In addition, a 12-year-old boy died in hospital on Monday.

The number of those hospitalised on suspicion of infection rose to 90 people, 45 of them children, regional officials said.

The governor’s spokeswoman … said those infected included a family that “ate reindeer meat raw and drank the blood”, saying “the nomads do have this custom”.

The Defence Ministry said it has sent in more than 200 specialist troops with helicopters and drones to decontaminate the infected zone and burn corpses of infected animals.

The regional authorities said that more than 160 nomadic herders had been evacuated from the contaminated zone, where more than 2,300 reindeer had died.