The Health News Australia April 12 2018

  • The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson allegedly failed to warn women that its vaginal mesh devices posed a particular risk for patients with compromised immune systems, despite it being “well known” before they were first sold in Australia. The federal court is currently deliberating on a landmark class action involving hundreds of women who have sued the multinational giant over the impact of its vaginal mesh devices.
  • University of Queensland researchers have found a way to identify infants who will go on to develop type 1 diabetes. UQ Diamantina Institute researcher Professor Ranjeny Thomas said the discovery would lead to the development of better screening tests to identify children at highest risk. The team examined data collected over 10 years from two cohorts of children at risk of type 1 diabetes. They identified a 7-gene expression signature in infants in the first year of life, which when combined with a genetic risk score, identified children with a high-risk of developing diabetes antibodies.
  • New wearable “smart sock” technology could help physiotherapists treat regional and remote patients and get them back on their feet. The unique socks are embedded with movement and pressure sensors, which provide real-time feedback on how the patient is moving during exercises like squats and jumps. The creator, University of Melbourne PhD candidate Deepti Aggarwal, said she developed the smart socks as way of helping patients who struggle to travel to appointments. She said the technology could help physios assess and treat patients and could provide an alternative to face-to-face care for rural patients or those with mobility issues.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th of April 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/10/johnson-johnson-accused-of-failing-to-warn-patients-at-higher-risk-from-vaginal-mesh

The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson allegedly failed to warn women that its vaginal mesh devices posed a particular risk for patients with compromised immune systems, despite it being “well known” before they were first sold in Australia. The federal court is currently deliberating on a landmark class action involving hundreds of women who have sued the multinational giant over the impact of its vaginal mesh devices.

The mesh was surgically implanted to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, common complications of childbirth. It was marketed to surgeons as a simple, safe and affordable implant, which would boost their profits and speed up operations considerably. But the devices left many women in debilitating pain and unable to have sex, ruining lives and causing long-term impairment. Over a six-month hearing, the federal court heard allegations that Johnson & Johnson either knew of the risks or failed to properly test the devices before launching them on the Australian market.
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The court was also told that US regulators wrote to the manager of regulatory affairs at Ethicon, Johnson & Johnson’s product development arm, in October nineteen ninety, well before the products were first sold in Australia. According to the federal court, the letter “adverted to potentially delayed wound healing in patients with compromised health due to a number of factors”.
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Mesh was not sold in Australia until after nineteen ninety seven.
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The allegations about the immune system response were not initially included in the class action against Johnson & Johnson. But lawyers for the women launched a late bid to have them included in their formal pleadings, which was opposed by the company.

http://health.uq.edu.au/article/2018/04/genetic-signature-predicts-diabetes-diagnosis

University of Queensland researchers have found a way to identify infants who will go on to develop type one diabetes. UQ Diamantina Institute researcher Professor Ranjeny Thomas said the discovery would lead to the development of better screening tests to identify children at highest risk. Professor Thomas said: “Most children diagnosed with type one diabetes do not have a family history, hence population screening could reduce life threatening complications before diagnosis. By looking at a child’s gene activation pattern early in life, we are able to identify those who will progress to develop antibodies.”
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The team examined data collected over ten years from two cohorts of children at risk of type one diabetes. They identified a seven-gene expression signature in infants in the first year of life, which when combined with a genetic risk score, identified children with a high-risk of developing diabetes antibodies.
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Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital paediatric endocrinologist Doctor Mark Harris said monitoring an at-risk child reduced the likelihood they would present with diabetic ketoacidosis, a medical emergency.
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Type one diabetes occurs when a person’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, and is most commonly diagnosed in children.  There is no cure, and patients require daily insulin to control blood sugar levels.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-09/smart-socks-offer-hope-for-chronic-pain-suffers-researcher-says/9632762

New wearable “smart sock” technology could help physiotherapists treat regional and remote patients and get them back on their feet. The unique socks are embedded with movement and pressure sensors, which provide real-time feedback on how the patient is moving during exercises like squats and jumps. The creator, University of Melbourne PhD candidate Deepti Aggarwal, said she developed the smart socks as way of helping patients who struggle to travel to appointments. She said the technology could help physios assess and treat patients and could provide an alternative to face-to-face care for rural patients or those with mobility issues.
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Miss Aggarwal and her colleagues from Melbourne University have now trialled the technology on three patients suffering from chronic pain at the Royal Children Hospital.
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Physiotherapist Mark Bradford said the smart socks provided both physios and patients with information they would not otherwise get during video consultations.
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Mister Bradford said the technology’s visual depiction of movement and weight distribution allows patients to monitor their own progress and encourages them to continue with their rehabilitation.
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Costing about three hundred dollars to make, the smart socks are not yet being sold commercially, but Miss Aggarwal said she hoped the technology would become part of common clinical practice.

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