The Health News – 8 November 2016

Overview:
•  Planning to deliver a baby before 39 weeks can significantly increase the risk of the child having developmental delays, new Australian research has found. Researchers from the Kolling Institute at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital found early “planned” birth before 39 weeks — where mothers were induced or had a planned caesarean — was associated with an increased risk of poor child development at school age.

• Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation chief executive Joe Tooma said there were a “couple of million” Australian women not up to date with their screening. Mr Tooma, who was launching National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, said all sexually active women up to the age of 70 should be getting screened at least every two years.

•  Melbourne University botanist Associate Professor Ed Newbigin warned earlier this year that the city’s hayfever sufferers were set for a worse-than-usual season. He told 774 ABC Melbourne’s Rafael Epstein a wet winter had contributed to spring growth in grasslands across western Victoria, which released “huge amounts of pollen” when flowering.

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

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/early-child-births-can-lead-to-babies-with-developmental-delays/8002826

Planning to deliver a baby before 39 weeks can significantly increase the risk of the child having developmental delays, new Australian research has found.

The findings come from a study of more than 150,000 Australian babies born after 32 weeks, who were assessed at kindergarten age.

Doctors looked at the children’s physical health and wellbeing, language and cognition, social competence, emotional maturity and general knowledge and communication.

Researchers from the Kolling Institute at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital found early “planned” birth before 39 weeks — where mothers were induced or had a planned caesarean — was associated with an increased risk of poor child development at school age.

Study author, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology Jonathan Morris, said almost 10 per cent of the children in the study were found to be developmentally high risk.

Research showed prolonging pregnancy, even at term — 37 to 38 weeks — could benefit brain maturity at birth and potentially improve long-term health and cognitive outcomes.

Health experts said the decision to have a planned birth was predicated on the belief that it is safer for the baby or mother to deliver early.

Babies brain development accelerates after 32 weeks gestation with the optimal birth time …[at] 39 to 40 weeks.

Researchers found all modes of birth involving obstetric intervention were consistently associated with an increased risk of developmental delay.

Study author Jason Bentley from the University of Sydney’s Menzies Centre for Health Policy said there was an urgent need for more informed decision making about planned births.

The findings were published in the international medical journal Paediatrics.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/cervical-cancer-43-per-cent-not-up-to-date-with-screening/8000838

Nearly half of Australian women are still not getting screened regularly enough for cervical cancer, according to the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation.

Cervical cancer screening, which is carried out by doctors and women’s health services, detects low-grade abnormalities in about 100,000 women every year and high-grade abnormalities in about 30,000 women.

The disease should be almost entirely preventable, with abnormalities easily treated if they are detected before developing into pre-cancers or cancers.

Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation chief executive Joe Tooma said there were a “couple of million” Australian women not up to date with their screening.

Mr Tooma, who was launching National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, said all sexually active women up to the age of 70 should be getting screened at least every two years.

Cervical cancer awareness week runs until November 13.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/melbourne-sneeze-itches-through-worst-hayfever-season-in-years/8001910

Warnings that 2016’s hayfever season would be the worst in years have come to pass, with sufferers across Melbourne reporting severe symptoms.

Melbourne University botanist Associate Professor Ed Newbigin warned earlier this year that the city’s hayfever sufferers were set for a worse-than-usual season.

He told 774 ABC Melbourne‘s Rafael Epstein a wet winter had contributed to spring growth in grasslands across western Victoria, which released “huge amounts of pollen” when flowering.

Dr Newbigin coordinates the Melbourne Pollen Count and Forecast website, a free service provided by the University of Melbourne and the Asthma Foundation Victoria.

According to the website, Friday was the first “extreme” pollen day since November 28, 2013.

An extreme pollen day is defined as a day where the average count is more than 100 grass pollen grains per cubic metre of air.