The News – 25 Feb 2015

Overview

  • A new “silver” strain of the increasingly virulent and antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus bacteria superbug has been discovered by Northern Territory medical researchers.
  • The report – titled The Hidden Harm: Alcohol’s Impact on Children and Families and launched by Rosie Batty today – found that 10,000 children were in the childcare protection system because their parents or carers abused alcohol.
  • “We found that oxytocin blocks alcohol’s intoxicating effects and it prevents alcohol from acting at the sites in the brain that are involved in alcohol’s intoxicating effects,” says team member Dr Michael Bowen, from the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology.



News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 25th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-24/discovery-silver-staph-to-help-fight-golden-staph-superbug/6246602

A new “silver” strain of the increasingly virulent and antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus bacteria superbug has been discovered by Northern Territory medical researchers.

They hope the discovery of Staphylococcus argenteus will help them understand how the well-known golden staph infection has been able to develop resistance to standard penicillin antibiotics such as methicillin.
It has been estimated the golden staph bacterium lives on the skin and in the nasal cavities of about 20 per cent of the world’s population.
It can cause a range of mild illnesses, from skin infections like pimples and boils, to carbuncles and abscesses.
It has also been associated with life-threatening diseases, including pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.

In the Northern Territory’s Indigenous communities, the resistance rate had increased from 6 per cent to 25 per cent over the past 15 to 25 years, Professor Steven Tong from the Menzies School of Health said.

Professor Tong described this genetic swapping as bacteria having sex.

For scientists, this shows how resistance can spread across different bacterial species.
Professor Tong said it also suggested there were lots of antibiotics being used in hospitals and remote communities “which is creating an atmosphere or environment where this kind of resistance can arise.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-24/children-impacted-by-alcohol-abuse/6242804

More than one million Australian children are adversely affected by their parents’ or carers’ alcohol abuse, a new report has revealed.

The report – titled The Hidden Harm: Alcohol’s Impact on Children and Families and launched by Rosie Batty today – found that 10,000 children were in the childcare protection system because their parents or carers abused alcohol.
It also found that 140,000 children were badly affected by their parents’ or carers’ alcohol consumption.
The chief executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Michael Thorn, said 47 per cent of child protection cases involved alcohol.
He said state and federal governments needed to develop new policies to tackle the problem.


He said the report found children were verbally abused, left unsupervised, physically hurt or exposed to domestic violence as a result of other people abusing alcohol.
“[The incidents include] kids being severely injured as a consequence of violence against them by particular drinkers in the family or friends of the family,” Mr Thorn said.
“Children also witnessed verbal or physical conflict or inappropriate behaviour among carers and other members of their family.”
He said children suffered long-term problems including a lack of success at school and social problems.

“We need national public education campaigns that acknowledge and address the role of alcohol in family violence.
“We need targeted screening of young people at greater risk of harm, and measures that reduce the availability, target the price, and regulate the promotion of alcohol.”

Domestic Violence NSW chief executive Moo Baulch said domestic and family violence was a national shame and a national emergency.

The report was funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education and undertaken by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/02/24/4185345.htm

The mammalian bonding hormone oxytocin prevents rats from becoming intoxicated by alcohol, a new study has found.

The findings could pave the way for the development of drugs that help treat alcoholism in humans.
“We found that oxytocin blocks alcohol’s intoxicating effects and it prevents alcohol from acting at the sites in the brain that are involved in alcohol’s intoxicating effects,” says team member Dr Michael Bowen, from the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology.
The findings, reported … in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were quite “serendipitous” says Bowen.
He and colleagues first twigged to the discovery while observing the movement of drunk and sober rats in a different study.
The study looked at the role of oxytocin in blocking the alcohol-induced release of dopamine.
Sober rats wandered around their enclosure, while those that had been given alcohol just sat heavily sedated with their nose in the corner of the enclosure.
Interestingly, however, a third group of rats that had been given oxytocin prior to consuming alcohol also wandered around like normal curious rats.

Bowen says oxytocin shows potential to treat alcoholism.
“Each year in Australia there are 65,000 hospitalisations and 1,500 deaths due to alcohol-related injuries and a significant proportion of those injuries and deaths are sustained by alcoholics,” says Bowen.
“Here’s a drug that potentially could make you less likely to consume alcohol and then, if you do consume the alcohol, less intoxicated and much less likely to be injured.

Bowen and colleagues have patents on oxytocin as a treatment for reducing alcohol consumption. Their current research was funded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council and the German Research Council.

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