The Health News – 10 February 2016

Overview:
• Yes, it sounds like something out of a bad science fiction novel — or maybe an X-Men comic — but it’s true: people with paralysis might soon be able to use mind control to walk again. The size of the device is of a paper clip, and it sits inside a blood vessel next to your brain.

• Consumer watchdog the ACCC is currently reviewing dozens of IVF clinics amid mounting complaints about the lack of transparency of IVF success rates, with consumers saying they are in the dark about their chances of conceiving at different clinics.

• The head of the Australian Childhood Foundation, Dr Joe Tucci, told the Porn Harms Kids seminar that the widespread availability of pornography online was shaping children’s behaviour.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th February 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-09/device-gives-people-with-spinal-cord-injuries-hope-of-walking/7151174

Yes, it sounds like something out of a bad science fiction novel — or maybe an X-Men comic — but it’s true: people with paralysis might soon be able to use mind control to walk again.

And wait, it gets weirder: the “holy grail” device that might just herald this new wild era in biotechnology? It’s the size of a paper clip, and it sits inside a blood vessel next to your brain.

The stentrode, described as a “bionic spinal cord”, records brain activity and converts the signals into electrical commands.

In trials, the device has been shown to control bionic limbs, and doctors say it could also let a person move a wheelchair with their thoughts.

A team of researchers is intending to implant the stentrode in a small group of spinal cord patients next year at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Professor Clive May, a neurophysiologist at the Florey Institute, said the device offered users the ability to become mobile again.

He said the biggest advantage of the device was that major brain surgery was not needed.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-09/ivf-industry-criticised-over-‘misleading-claims’/7152508

Insiders in the IVF industry have criticised clinics for using misleading claims and aggressive marketing in the increasingly cut-throat, multi-million dollar sector.

Consumer watchdog the ACCC is currently reviewing dozens of IVF clinics amid mounting complaints about the lack of transparency of IVF success rates, with consumers saying they are in the dark about their chances of conceiving at different clinics.

“We certainly have found instances of information being put on the websites and being given to consumers that we think is misleading,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims told 7.30.

The ACCC is running a major compliance exercise looking at how Australia’s 34 IVF clinics present their success rates.

Mr Sims said of particular concern was comparative advertising, “When clinics say ‘we have a much higher success rate than other clinics’, and they are just so vague they could mislead consumers.”

With Medicare last year paying $242,187,102 in rebates for assisted reproductive technologies, and almost 34,000 women seeking fertility treatment, IVF has become big business.

One of Australia’s largest clinics, Genea, advertises itself as giving couples “an almost 40 per cent greater chance of taking home a baby” by comparing its live birth rate per embryo transfer with the average of other Australian clinics, based on the annual ANZARD (Australia & NZ Assisted Reproduction Database) survey of IVF clinics.

Other clinics have complained to the ACCC about Genea’s advertising.

President of the Fertility Society of Australia, Professor Michael Chapman, says a simple comparison against an average of clinics does not reflect the complexities of fertility problems treated by other clinics.

Last June the FSA issued guidelines to clinics, asking them not to use comparative advertising against the national average from their site.

Genea has flouted these guidelines and defended benchmarking its live birth rate against a national average.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-09/health-crisis-looming-over-accessibility-of-porn-for-children/7153016

The widespread availability of pornography to children and young teenagers is a public health crisis in the making, a national seminar held in Sydney has been told.

The head of the Australian Childhood Foundation, Dr Joe Tucci, told the Porn Harms Kids seminar that the widespread availability of pornography online was shaping children’s behaviour.

“Research has shown over 90 per cent of boys under the age of 16 have visited a pornography site online, with around 60 per cent of girls doing the same,” Dr Tucci said.

He said a public health crisis was emerging, with online pornography so widely available that it was “impossible for children not to see it”.

“You only have to put innocent words like ‘love’ into Google and it takes you three or four results to get to a porn site,” Dr Tucci told the seminar.

“We will see a lot more adults emerging with sexually offending behaviour and sexually harmful behaviour towards others.

“I think the community would be shocked by the kinds of consequences we are seeing in a small group of children being exposed to this kind of pornography.

“This is a public health crisis. Like smoking or other public health issues, this will have long-term consequences.”

Dr Tucci said health authorities had seen an increase in the number of children engaging in problem sexual behaviour with other children.