The Health News – 7 February 2017

• Breakthroughs in cancer treatments mean more people are surviving. Adelaide-based researchers are conducting a research of cancer survivors to find out what they need and want.

• Patients with multiple sclerosis will soon have access to a new test which can tell them exactly what type of MS they have and how well their medications are working.

• The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) supports its members who refuse to move to the Perth Children’s Hospital until an independent group confirms lead contamination has been removed.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  7th of February 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

Australia’s medical research sector is mourning one of its giants following the death of Basil Hetzel.

Dr Hetzel, who has died aged 94, won global recognition as a tireless public health researcher and campaigner.

In the 1960s he confirmed a link between iodine deficiency and brain damage in unborn children …

It resulted in an international campaign to have iodine added to food, particularly salt, to prevent the condition.

Through the creation of the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, Dr Hetzel campaigned in developing countries to increase [its use]…

Bridging the gap brought him high honours including the Companion of the Order of Australia and Thailand’s most prestigious medical award from the country’s late king.

Iodine deficiency is no longer a serious problem in Australia because it is added to salt, bread and other foods.

Dr Hetzel started his career at the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth hospitals …

The spirit and approach of Dr Hetzel continues at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where the research institute is named in his honour.

Medical experts have called for vitamins and supplements sold in Australia to be independently tested, saying many people could be unwittingly causing themselves harm.

A review of complementary medicines by the University of Adelaide, Murdoch University and Curtin University concluded that most Australians see herbal products as harmless.

However, experts writing in the Medical Journal of Australia said some herbal remedies sold on the Australian market could contain chemicals, natural toxins, heavy metals or pesticides.

The researchers found the regulation of herbal products in Australia remained relatively lax, and that the content and quality of drugs were not as tightly controlled as standard pharmaceuticals.

The researchers found one man suffering from epilepsy took a Chinese herb that was purported to treat seizures naturally.

However, the product was laced with the anticonvulsant phenytoin, and the patient nearly died from having toxic levels of the medication in his blood.

In a separate incident, a young boy was given Tibetan herbal vitamins by his parents.

The pills were later found to contain dangerous levels of lead, and the boy had consumed 63 grams of the toxic metal over four years.

The study’s lead author and University of Adelaide professor Roger Byard said even herbal medications that did not contain toxic chemicals or secret ingredients could cause complications such as kidney failure or liver damage.

Three scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have been awarded one-year grants from Diabetes Australia to fund research projects in 2017. Garvan congratulates Professor Trevor Biden, Dr Yanchuan Shi and Associate Professor Ross Laybutt, each of whom received one of 50 competitive research grants awarded across the nation.

With over 60% of Australian adults overweight or obese [1], and more than 1.7 million Australians currently living with diabetes [2], this funding provides important support for research into the prevention and treatment of these conditions.

The Diabetes Australia Research Program was established in 1987 to support and develop diabetes related research across Australia. The program provides funding towards the prevention, management and cure of all types of diabetes, and the grants awarded to Garvan researchers will support the three studies for one year.

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