The News – 24 Feb 2015

Overview

  • West Australian researchers have discovered a way to use peptides to protect stroke victims from brain damage, and say the breakthrough may reduce the risk of sustaining a serious disability from a stroke, especially for people living in remote Australia.
  • The Victorian Government says an independent inquiry into toxic chemical use in the state’s central goldfields will look at possible health impacts.
  • The AMA has released the 2014 AMA Specialist Trainee Survey – a national snapshot of medical training that provides valuable feedback to medical colleges on how Australia’s future doctors value their medical training experience.



News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-23/peptides-used-to-protect-stroke-victims-from-brain-damage/6213968

West Australian researchers have discovered a way to use peptides to protect stroke victims from brain damage, and say the breakthrough may reduce the risk of sustaining a serious disability from a stroke, especially for people living in remote Australia.

Professor David Blacker, the medical director of the West Australian Neuroscience Research Institute, said it was an important development in stroke research.
“In the rats that were given experimental peptides the volume of stroke damage was substantially smaller,” he said.
“If we can apply that to human models, the hope would be that critical bits of the brain will be less affected.”
The discovery is a big deal, especially for the 50,000 people who will have a stroke this year.
“It’s devastating and there have been surveys that reveal older people will fear surviving a stroke with a substantial disability; they will fear that more than actually dying,” Professor Blacker said.
Professor Blacker, who is also a neurologist at Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, said most researchers had given up trying to find such a treatment.
“At these stroke conferences just recently, people have been standing and applauding the speakers … because we’re so used to trials that have had no result or been negative,” he said.

It is hoped that giving victims peptides within an hour of a stroke will buy them more time before brain damage starts.
“It’s all well and good if you’re in a major metro centre and you collapse in the middle of the day and get brought to a hospital where you’ve got the team that can do the techniques to remove the clot,” Professor Blacker said.
“But it’s no good if you’re rural and remote [in] Western Australia or Queensland or the Northern Territory where you’re hours and hours away.
“If we could actually; the patient has a stroke and gets some of these drugs that slow down the clotting cascade, it’ll buy you some extra time.
“Then the patient could be transported for more definitive treatment.”

Professor Bruno Meloni led the research team and said the discovery was a potential game-changer.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-23/ballarat-to-host-public-hearings-as-part-of-toxic/6215796

The Victorian Government says an independent inquiry into toxic chemical use in the state’s central goldfields will look at possible health impacts.

Former Lands Department staff said they were exposed to chemicals like cyanide and Agent Orange when they sprayed weeds and rabbit warrens from the 1970s to 1990s.
Past employees said they believed exposure to dangerous chemicals caused fatal cancers and concerns were ignored.
Environment Minister Lisa Neville said the response of other government departments would also be examined.
“We’re particularly also concerned about what might have happened or did not happen in relation to the Department of Health when these matters were reported,” she said.
“So we want to have a look at that whole picture and look at whether there has been an impact on employees and their health and we certainly want to give these employees a voice through this review.
She would not say whether one of the recommendations would include compensation for former staff.
“We’re obviously leaving this to the independent reviewer,” she said.
“We’ve set a set of terms of reference but we’re certainly allowing freedom about the sort of recommendations that the independent reviewer will make.
“It’s really important that we have a hands-off approach and not pre-empt any of those recommendations.”
The Government said it would hold public hearings in Ballarat as part of the inquiry.
Ms Neville said it was hoping to have a report back by September.

https://ama.com.au/media/specialist-trainees-‘highly-satisfied’-work-and-training-experience

The AMA has released the 2014 AMA Specialist Trainee Survey – a national snapshot of medical training that provides valuable feedback to medical colleges on how Australia’s future doctors value their medical training experience.

AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, said today that the survey has recorded a high level of satisfaction among Australia’s 16,800 specialist trainees with both their work and training experiences.
A/Prof Owler said that, overall, the survey respondents reported a more positive view of their training experience than respondents to the first AMA survey four years ago.
“The survey shows that medical colleges are performing well in most areas of vocational training,” A/Prof Owler said.
“Career choice, level of supervision, standard of training, clinical experience, and access to safe working hours are areas where trainees continue to have a high level of confidence.
“There are however, significant areas where colleges have fallen short of their trainees’ expectations, many of which have remained unchanged since 2010.
“There has been underperformance in responsiveness to cases of bullying and harassment, training feedback, and appeals and remediation processes.
“The cost of training remains an issue for trainees.

The 2014 AMA Specialist Trainee Survey is available at https://ama.com.au/article/2014-ama-specialist-trainee-survey-report-findings-february-2015

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