- Austin and Monash hospitals are trialling a new “body clock” rostering system in an attempt to improve their doctors’ performance, lessen medical errors and avoid fatalities.
- Calls to impose a controversial sugar tax in Australia have been bolstered by a new study led by researchers from the Australian National University. Sugary drink consumption is likely to reduce rates of diabetes in Australia.
- Minocycline, an antibiotic used mostly to treat acne, has been found to improve the quality of life of people with major depression.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th of July 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
Two leading Victorian hospitals are trialling a new “body clock” rostering system in an attempt to improve their doctors’ performance.
The trial, which the participating hospitals are touting as an Australian first, was also enacted to better patient safety. Expert researchers created a staff rostering schedule for doctors at the Austin and Monash hospitals that best mitigates fatigue, based on the latest sleep research.
In the new trial, intensive care doctors work no more than three consecutive night shifts, have a minimum of eleven hours’ rest between rostered shifts and work no longer than thirteen hours straight. Shift patterns that run against the twenty four-hour body clock are also removed.
The trial was undertaken in the wake of research that showed sleepiness at work was leading to poor concentration, errors and fatalities.
Associate Professor Mark Howard, a sleep and respiratory specialist at Austin Health and Institute for Breathing and Sleep, said that what is concerning is that shift workers are often employed in the most critical jobs, including the thirty thousand plus doctors who work in Australian hospitals. He anticipates staff will feel fresher and more alert.
Calls to impose a controversial sugar tax in Australia have been bolstered by a new study led by researchers from the Australian National University.
The study, performed in Thailand, suggested that thousands of cases of type two diabetes could be prevented every year by cutting out sugary drinks.
Lead author Keren Papier, from ANU’s Department of Global Health, said the findings could be applicable in Australia.
She said, “A reduction in sugary drink consumption is likely to reduce rates of diabetes in Australia. Several countries including Mexico, the United States, France and Chile have already started acting on sugary drinks by imposing or committing to a sugar tax.
“Findings from the United States and Mexico show that applying the tax has led to a seventeen and twenty one percent decrease respectively in the purchase of taxed beverages among low-income households.” The results came from the massive Thai Cohort Study, which analysed a nationwide sample of almost 40,000 adults between the years of 2005 and 2013.
“Sugary drinks are an ideal target for public health interventions to help control the type 2 diabetes epidemic since they have no nutritional value and do not protect against disease,” Ms Papier said.
The sugar tax concept has divided opinion both in Australia and overseas.
In February, Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie squashed the idea of introducing a sugar tax.
“Cut to the chase: the thing with all of the proponents of sugar taxes, fat taxes, whatever tax, is taxes will make people angry and it won’t change what they eat,” he said.
A small yet world-first clinical trial at Deakin University has found an antibiotic used mostly to treat acne can help people with major depression.
Researchers at Deakin University took a biological approach to treating major depression by adding a daily dose of minocycline – a broad-spectrum antibiotic that has been prescribed since nineteen seventy one – to the usual treatment of seventy one people with the illness.
According to the results published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, patients taking minocycline reported improved functioning and quality of life.
“Minocycline reduces brain inflammation in cell models, and thus we wanted to see if it was useful for people,” said Doctor Olivia Dean, from Deakin’s Centre for Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatment. Further trials are needed, but Dr Dean hopes the results of their small study will improve and add to current treatment options.
In Australia, up to one in four people will experience depression over their lifetime.
“Current antidepressants are useful, but many people find a gap between their experience before becoming unwell and their recovery following treatment,” Dr Dean said.