The Health News – 6 April 2017

Overview:

• Scientists at the University of Queensland’s Brain Institute (QBI) found using ultrasound scanning along with an antibody drug reduced Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. The technique allowed more of the medication to get into the brain to clear out the proteins that cause Alzheimer’s, Professor Jurgen Gotz from the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at QBI said.

• Despite offers of a salary package of more than half a million dollars per year, the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) has been unable to find a permanent clinical director of mental health for the Goldfields. The position, which is ultimately responsible for the care of mental health patients across WA’s Goldfields and Esperance regions, has been substantively vacant since April 2014.

• Senator Xenophon says Oakden, which cares for vulnerable dementia patients, is dysfunctional because of a litany of problems. The MP met with Barb Spriggs, whose late husband Bob suffered mistreatment, including drug overdosing and bruising. Senator Xenophon said there were questions the Federal Government should answer and he wanted Mrs Spriggs to be able to meet federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  6th of April 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-05/new-dementia-treatment-hope-after-breakthrough/8415366

Australian researchers say they have made a substantial breakthrough in the possible treatment of dementia.

Scientists at the University of Queensland’s Brain Institute (QBI) found using ultrasound scanning along with an antibody drug reduced Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice.

The technique allowed more of the medication to get into the brain to clear out the proteins that cause Alzheimer’s, Professor Jurgen Gotz from the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at QBI said.

Importantly, researchers found using the ultrasound opened up what is known as “the blood-brain barrier” — a membrane that usually stops drugs from the bloodstream from getting into the brain.

The barrier is there to protect the brain, but is also a major challenge for scientists trying to treat brain diseases.

It means the same ultrasound technique could potentially be used to treat other conditions such as Parkinson’s and MS more effectively.

“We believe that an ultrasound device should be approved for the treatment of brain diseases,” Professor Gotz said.

“This research could, in principle, be applied to other diseases with toxic protein build-ups such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease or Huntington’s disease.”

The findings build on earlier research which found ultrasound was effective in treating mice with Alzheimer’s.

The new study showed adding the antibody drug was even more effective.

Experts caution the research has only been tested on mice and human trials are still needed to see if the benefits translate.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Maree McCabe said any human trials would be at least five years away.

The new research has been published in the journal Brain.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-05/senior-wa-psychiatric-position-vacant-for-three-years/8417610

As new State Treasurer Ben Wyatt applies the blowtorch to sky-rocketing public service wages, there is one $500,000-per-year job the West Australian Government is still desperate to fill.

Despite offers of a salary package of more than half a million dollars per year, the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) has been unable to find a permanent clinical director of mental health for the Goldfields.

The position, which is ultimately responsible for the care of mental health patients across WA’s Goldfields and Esperance regions, has been substantively vacant since April 2014.

The job’s base salary package of up to $414,000 per year is supplemented by a further $125,000 worth of roster allowances and penalties.

The [ove $539,000].. total would see a successful applicant earning more than Western Australia’s chief psychiatrist Nathan Gibson, and far more than the $355,681 taken home by WA Premier Mark McGowan.

A permanent candidate was identified for the position in late 2014 but was unable to proceed in the role, with a succession of acting directors filling the job since.

WACHS has advertised the position several times since, without success, with the most recent round closing on March 24.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-05/oakden-nursing-home-closure-demand-from-nick-xenophon/8419324

Oakden nursing home in Adelaide should be closed down, independent senator Nick Xenophon has said, as the Commonwealth has revealed why it recently sanctioned the health facility.

Senator Xenophon says Oakden, which cares for vulnerable dementia patients, is dysfunctional because of a litany of problems.

The MP met with Barb Spriggs, whose late husband Bob suffered mistreatment, including drug overdosing and bruising.

Mrs Spriggs said she was told last year she should consider herself lucky Oakden had a bed for her husband, but she was unimpressed.

Mrs Spriggs told Senator Xenophon the treatment at Oakden was even worse than its physical environment.

The Commonwealth sanctioned the Oakden facility last month, for the second time, and has now given the reasons including:

  • Residents not receiving correct medication, including overdoses and significant delays
  • Staff failing to follow instructions, increasing injury risks
  • Lack of clinical supervision.

The nursing home had been re-accredited by the Commonwealth in February last year, after earlier issues.

Senator Xenophon said there were questions the Federal Government should answer and he wanted Mrs Spriggs to be able to meet federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.

A review by the chief psychiatrist of Oakden and Mr Spriggs’ treatment is due for release next week.