The Health News Australia December 11 2017

  • The spinal fluid of patients with chronic pain will be examined by a team of Australian researchers as part of a novel pilot study in the hope it could lead to new, more effective treatments. It is estimated 1 in 5 Australians aged under 65 live with chronic pain however it remains “quite a mystery” to many experts. The project is being funded by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Research Foundation.
  • Two new studies have found that school attendance and birth weights fell in the months immediately following the introduction of income management measures as part of the Northern Territory intervention. The research by the University of Sydney and the Menzies School of Health Research found that rates of school attendance fell an average of 2.5 percentage points, or 4%, across the 73 remote Aboriginal communities and ten town camps put under mandatory income management in the 13 months from September 2007 and October 2008.
  • For departing CEO of Public Health Association Australia Michael Moore, the key to improving the country’s health is understanding that it’s political. While academics he deals with might not naturally take to the idea, Mr. Moore said the many forces at play in public health policy mean a slight machiavellian streak can get ideas into action. During his time in ACT Parliament –   starting from his time as an independent in 1989 and then serving as Australia’s first independent minister in 1998- he advocated for drug reform including needle and syringe programs in prisons, safe injecting rooms and prescription heroin.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 11th of December 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.9news.com.au/health/2017/12/08/16/51/novel-pilot-study-to-probe-chronic-pain

The spinal fluid of patients with chronic pain will be examined by a team of Australian researchers as part of a novel pilot study in the hope it could lead to new, more effective treatments. It is estimated one in five Australians aged under sixty five live with chronic pain however it remains “quite a mystery” to many experts, says Professor Paul Rolan, Director of Innovation at the University of Adelaide.  
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Researchers will examine the tiny “bubbles” called exosomes which are shed from brain cells and present in spinal fluid. Professor Rolan said:”It’s hard to see into the brain, we’ve got lots of scans and images that tell us what the structure of the brain is doing, but its quite hard to work out what are the chemical processes going on in the brain.”
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Exosomes contain markers known as microRNAs, messenger chemicals that will provide information on brain activity. Professor Rolan says these microRNAs will give them a “snapshot” into the brain processes happening in people with chronic pain. This hasn’t been done before, but it is hoped the analysis of spinal fluid will reveal specific patterns of pain and possibly provide clues as to how to treat it.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/08/drop-in-birth-weights-and-school-attendance-could-be-linked-to-nt-welfare-restrictions

Two new studies have found that school attendance and birth weights fell in the months immediately following the introduction of income management measures as part of the Northern Territory intervention. The research by the University of Sydney and the Menzies School of Health Research found that rates of school attendance fell an average of  two point five percentage points, or four percent, across the seventy three remote Aboriginal communities and ten town camps put under mandatory income management in the thirteen months from September two thousand seven and October two thousand eight.

The average birth weights of babies who were in utero in the same period fell by one hundred  grams, and the probability that babies would be born with a low birthweight – less than two point five kilograms – increased. Ten years after the intervention, it’s time to admit it has destroyed Aboriginal communities

Researchers say the results have raised concerns about the potential for similar negative consequences from income management under the cashless welfare card. Birth weights are a key indicator of child health which, along with school attendance, was one of the key areas the intervention was designed to improve.
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The program evolved into the Basics Card, but when it was first introduced it required the use of gift cards and accounts with community stores that made it difficult for people to access their money. The cashless welfare card quarantines eighty percent of the income of a person on welfare within a particular group or community. It has been in operation as a trial in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, and Ceduna in South Australia, for a year.
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The intervention is still in place in the Territory. Sparked by a series of news reports alleging child abuse in remote communities, it was approved by federal parliament in July  two thousand  seven and required the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, because the measures specifically targeted Indigenous communities.


http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/former-independent-mla-to-retire-as-public-health-association-of-australia-ceo-20171208-h018ci.html

For departing CEO of Public Health Association Australia Michael Moore, the key to improving the country’s health is understanding that it’s political. While academics he deals with might not naturally take to the idea, Mister Moore said the many forces at play in public health policy mean a slight machiavellian streak can get ideas into action.
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The former Canberra Member of the Legislative Assembly and the territory’s first independent health minister has announced his retirement as CEO from the role he has held since two thousand eight. During his time at the helm of the association, he has been involved in the move to tobacco plain packaging and food star ratings – an idea that came about from a conversation with his daughter.
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Mister Moore wanted to ensure the association could work with whichever government was in power.  He said by looking at alcohol and food legislation, it is clear how hamstrung governments become because of the influence of political donors and donations.
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One of the biggest frustrations over his time as CEO has been the reduction of health expenditure.  During his time in the Australian Capital Territory Parliament –   starting from his time as an independent in nineteen eighty nine and then serving as Australia’s first independent minister in nineteen ninety eight – he advocated for drug reform including needle and syringe programs in prisons, safe injecting rooms and prescription heroin. He thinks the Barr government’s commitment not to impose any kind of lock outs is disappointing.

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