The Health News – 8 June 2016

Overview:
• Heather Gladman, 58, was charged with cultivating a drug of dependence for growing dozens of cannabis plants for medical purposes at her property near Sale  but argued she had only supplied cannabis for free to terminally ill people, including a nine-year- old boy with an inoperable brain tumour.

• A biochemist involved in interpreting the blood tests of a 10-year- old girl who later died from an undiagnosed herpes infection told the girl’s GP she needed to be hospitalised two days before her death, an inquest on Dr. Christopher Heinrich has heard.

• The researchers led by Annamaria Cattaneo at  King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) said doctors should in future be able to direct depressed patients with a certain level of inflammation in their blood towards earlier treatment with a more potent courseof anti-depressants — possibly including combining two medications — before they get worse.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  8th of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-07/gippsland-grandmother-avoids-conviction-for-growing-cannabis/7487518

A Gippsland grandmother has been sentenced to a community corrections order for growing dozens of cannabis plants for medical purposes at her property near Sale.

Heather Gladman, 58, was charged with cultivating a drug of dependence but argued she had only supplied cannabis for free to terminally ill people, including a nine-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumour.

She avoided a conviction at the Sale Magistrates’ Court but will have to perform 60 hours of community service.

Police raided Gladman’s Stradbroke property in February where they found 46 cannabis plants.

The case sparked an online petition in support of Gladman calling for an amnesty for users and suppliers of medicinal cannabis.

Gladman also went on a hunger strike for 18 days as a protest against her charges.

Outside court, Gladman said the State Government’s move to give the drug to children with epilepsy did not go far enough.

“I’m just going to continue to write to the Government and try and convince the Government to legalise cannabis for people who are dying now, not in 2017. It’s too late,” she said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-07/dr-told-to-hospitalise-10yo-girl-who-died-from-herpes-infection/7487058

A biochemist involved in interpreting the blood tests of a 10-year-old girl who later died from an undiagnosed herpes infection told the girl’s GP she needed to be hospitalised two days before her death, an inquest has heard.

Briony Caitlin Klingberg suffered multiple organ failure linked to a herpes infection and died in January 2015 after being unwell for nearly a week.

She had been sent home from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and a GP before booking in to see her family doctor Christopher Heinrich.

He thought she had glandular fever and asked Clinpath Biochemist Dr Michael Metz for advice.

In the coroner’s court, Dr Metz said glandular fever was not an unreasonable diagnosis based on the girl’s blood tests, but he had not been told any other medical history.

Dr Metz told the inquest Dr Heinrich was very capable, and he was not sure why he had not taken his advice to have the girl hospitalised sooner.

The former paediatrician’s notes about the incident suggested he said to Dr Heinrich that “it would be good to get her to hospital” and “it would be good to get her some IV fluids”.

Dr Metz said blood test results on the day the child visited Dr Heinrich indicated she was dehydrated, but that may not have been evident to the GP during the visit.

He said Dr Heinrich had simply asked him to interpret the blood test results without providing him with additional medical history.

The inquest will hear expert evidence before it finishes later this week.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-07/new-blood-test-points-to-personalised-depression-treatment/7484340

Scientists have developed a blood test that can predict whether people with depression will respond to common anti-depressants, a discovery that could bring in a new era of personalised treatment for people with the debilitating mental illness.

The researchers said doctors should in future be able to direct depressed patients with a certain level of inflammation in their blood towards earlier treatment with a more potent course of anti-depressants — possibly including combining two medications — before they get worse.

“This study moves us a step closer to providing personalised anti-depressant treatment at the earliest signs of depression,” said Annamaria Cattaneo, who led the work at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN).

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting more than 350 million people worldwide.

It is ranked by the World Health Organisation as the leading cause of disability globally.

Treatment usually involves either medication, some form of psychotherapy, or a combination of both. But around half of all people treated for depression fail to get better with first-line antidepressants, and around a third of patients are resistant to all available medications designed to help.

Until now, doctors have not been able to establish whether someone will respond to an anti-depressant, or whether they might need a more-aggressive treatment plan from the start.

As a result, patients are often treated with a trial-and-error approach, trying one drug after another for months on end and often seeing no improvement in their symptoms.

In this study, published on Tuesday in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Cattaneo’s team focused on two biomarkers that measure blood inflammation.

They found blood readings above a certain threshold could reliably predict the probability of a patient responding.

University of Queensland Health expert Dr Caroline Salom said this new development would allow for a more appropriate use of anti-depressants.

Dr Salom said the origins of patients’ depression and their responses to therapy were not always the same.

She highlighted the differences between each patient and the benefits the treatment would provide, with technicians given the ability to find the right treatment, tailored to each patient’s needs.