• A special technique developed to keep breast cancer cells alive to assist in the advancement of research has been pioneered by Adelaide scientists.
• Public health experts Doctor Thomas Astell-Burt from the University of Western Sydney and Professor Glen Maberly at Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals have begun mapping Australia’s so-called ‘food deserts’ and are finding the consequences for the people who live in them are extremely serious.
• The Heart of Australia program’s founder Dr Rolf Gomes, a Queensland cardiologist is asking the Federal Government to support a health service that has saved at least 50 lives in rural areas.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th July 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A special technique developed to keep breast cancer cells alive to assist in the advancement of research has been pioneered by Adelaide scientists.
Until now cancer cells were usually submerged in plastic or tested in animals, but University of Adelaide researchers have discovered wound dressings and sponges used in dentistry could keep cells alive to assist with further research.
The technique has lead to Cambridge University discovering why patients with a particular type of hormone-driven breast cancer tend to have a better chance of recovery.
The research published in the journal, Nature, details the international breast cancer research team’s discovery of how receptors that mediate activity of the female sex hormones interact with DNA to control the growth of a large majority of breast cancers.
University of Cambridge’s Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute Dr Jason Carroll said the team used DNA reading technology to create maps showing where the oestrogen receptor attaches to DNA to switch on genes.
Public health experts have begun mapping Australia’s so-called ‘food deserts’ and are finding the consequences for the people who live in them are extremely serious.
The term is used to describe places where there is limited access to shops that sell healthy food, and an abundance of unhealthy takeaway options.
A food desert exists where it is more than 1,600 metres to the nearest grocer, and less than that distance to the nearest takeaway shop.
Doctor Thomas Astell-Burt from the University of Western Sydney has spent the last year mapping Australia’s food deserts.
“A person gets home from a hard day’s slog at work or picking up the kids or looking after dependents, then it’s easier, and more convenient to go to the fast food retailer or the take away”, he said.
The first part of Australia he has mapped is Sydney, and while food deserts are found all over the city, there is a concentration of them in the western suburbs.
Professor Glen Maberly, a diabetes specialist at Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals, said the region’s health problems were no coincidence.
“What I think we need to do is work together — meaning the health sector, the planning sector, councillors, anybody who’s working in communities — to think about what are the strategies that we can use to provide people with healthier choices,” he said.
Professor Maberly said in western Sydney, the focus had begun to shift to prevention.
A Queensland cardiologist is asking the Federal Government to support a health service that has saved at least 50 lives in rural areas.
The Australian-first cardiology “clinic on wheels” program was launched late last year and has treated more than 1,200 people so far.
The Heart of Australia program’s founder Dr Rolf Gomes said the service had also saved dozens of lives.
“Close to 50 patients with potentially life-threatening conditions have been identified and successfully treated,” he said.
“So it’s providing a very definite health benefit out in areas where these services are non-existent.”
The truck has travelled more than 60,000 kilometres in the past eight months and visited eleven towns, including Emerald, Moranbah, Dalby, Charters Towers, Charleville and Roma.
Dr Gomes has met with Federal Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash to discuss further funding for the service.
He said the clinic had shown it could work and he now wants to expand the service to other states, including Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and to include different specialist types.
Dr Gomes said the truck had also provided a morale boost to country towns affected by drought.
“To see local services injected into communities as opposed to stripped away from communities, it certainly boosts the sentiment in those areas,” he said.
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