The Health News Australia July 17 2017

Overview

  • A new device developed in Melbourne that is like a “fit bit for the brain” has the potential to predict and prevent epileptic seizures, scientists say. The Minder developed at Saint Vincent’s Hospital and the Graeme Clark Institute is fitted under the skin on the scalp and records brainwaves.The data is then recorded and stored on a mobile phone app and can be used to alert epilepsy sufferers on the likelihood of a seizure occurring.
  • A new economic report looking at Australia’s investment in preventive health has found it ranks poorly on the world stage. Governments must spend more wisely to contain the burgeoning healthcare budget, it says. One in 2 Australians suffer from chronic disease, which is responsible for 83% of all premature deaths in Australia, and accounts for 66% of the burden of disease.
  • Australia has increasingly been using international migration to compensate for demographic trend and skill shortages. Australia has one of the highest proportion of overseas-born people in the world: an estimated 26% of the total resident population was born overseas.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 17th of July 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http:www.abc.net.aunews2017-07-08new-device-to-track-epileptic-seizures-like-fit-bit-for-brain8690646

A new device developed in Melbourne that is like a “fit bit for the brain” has the potential to predict and prevent epileptic seizures, scientists say.  The Minder developed at Saint Vincent’s Hospital and the Graeme Clark Institute is fitted under the skin on the scalp and records brainwaves.  The data is then recorded and stored on a mobile phone app and can be used to alert epilepsy sufferers on the likelihood of a seizure occurring.  Neurologist and lead researcher Professor Mark Cook said the data could also help doctors diagnose epilepsy and adjust medication  and that it’s very difficult to figure out how many seizures people are having,   and when they’re having seizures it’s often difficult to figure out if the treatment’s working or how to make them safe.  

Professor Cook said the device could help “hundreds of thousands” of epilepsy sufferers and could be used to notify people if someone had blacked out  and that one per cent of the population has epilepsy chronically and many of them aren’t adequately controlled by treatments that we have now,  so it will help all of those people.  Professor Cook also said medication for people with epilepsy is mostly long-term,  so not many treatments were available to stop seizures immediately.  

Researchers say the device could be four years away if enough money is raised to manufacture it.  Bionics Institute chief executive Robert Klupacs said the device could end up costing patients between fifteen to twenty five thousand dollars and that it sounds like a lot,  but when you work out how much money people are paying now to be monitored over three, six, twelve months,  it actually costs more than that.  Mister Klupacs said he hopes the device could be tested in clinical trials within twelve months.  He said that the whole goal of Australian science has to be to get technology that’s going to improve patients’ lives  and that Australians can do this.  They’ve got the capability to do it both clinically, engineering-wise.  Our issue now is to commercialise that.

https:ajp.com.aunewsaustralia-ranks-poorly-preventive-health

A new economic report looking at Australia’s investment in preventive health has found it ranks poorly on the world stage.  Governments must spend more wisely to contain the burgeoning healthcare budget, it says.  One in two Australians suffer from chronic disease which is responsible for eighty three percent of all premature deaths in Australia,  and accounts for sixty six percent of the burden of disease.

Treating chronic disease costs the Australian community an estimated twenty seven billion dollars annually,  accounting for more than a third of our national health budget.  Yet Australia currently spends just over two billion dollars on preventive health each year,  or around eighty nine dollars per person.  At just one point thirty four percent of Australian healthcare expenditure,  the amount is considerably less than Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,  with Australia ranked sixteenth out of thirty one OECD countries by per capita expenditure.

Michael Thorn, Chief Executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education or FARE, a founding member organisation of the Prevention First campaign,  says that when looking at Australia’s spend on prevention,  it should be remembered that one-third of all chronic diseases are preventable and can be traced to four lifestyle risk factors: alcohol use, tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

http:www.swinburne.edu.aunewslatest-news201707migrants-are-healthier-than-the-average-australian-.php

Developed economies, including Australia, have increasingly been using international migration to compensate for demographic trend and skill shortages.  Australia has one of the highest proportion of overseas-born people in the world:  an estimated twenty six percent of the total resident population was born overseas.  This is expected to increase over the next decade.

So the health of immigrants and their use of health services are having increasing impacts on demands on the health system,  its responsiveness, and the national health profile.

One of the most significant demographic trends in Australia today is the ageing of the population.  This is an increase in the share of older people – defined as people aged sixty five and older – relative to the youth (zero to fourteen years) and working-age population (fifteen to sixty four years).  

Australia uses something called the “points system” to determine the eligibility of most of those who apply to immigrate.  Points are given for productivity-related factors such as language, education, age (more points are given to younger applicants) and skills.  But it is reasonable to assume the points system would not apply to English migrants  who arrived before the abandonment of the White Australian policy in nineteen seventy three and to New Zealand migrants.  Together, these two groups make up a large proportion of the migrants from English-speaking countries.  

The international movement of health professionals is a major component of migration.  Australia has been dependent on international medical graduates for a long time.  For example, according to an estimate by the Department of Health and Ageing,  international medical graduates comprise about thirty nine percent of the medical workforce in Australia and forty six percent of general practitioners in rural and remote locations.  Another estimate suggests fifty three percent of medical practitioners in Australia are foreign-trained.

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