- Each year more than 100,000 Australians suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis. Yet leading doctors say very few patients are actually properly diagnosed or treated for the condition, causing their bones to break.
- Garvan and CSIRO biodata visualisation expert Dr Sean O’Donoghue was inspired by famous French cartographer, Charles Minard, in representing what happens when insulin strikes the surface of a fat cell.
- All Australians will now have an electronic health record as part of a new e-health system, and people will have to opt out if they do not want to take part.
This is the news on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th May 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Each year more than 100,000 Australians suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis.
Yet leading doctors say very few patients are actually properly diagnosed or treated for the condition, causing their bones to break.
Many will end up back in hospital with more fractures, costing the health system more than a billion dollars.
Only a few Australian hospitals have set up special clinics to ensure patients get the right diagnosis and treatment.
Professor Markus Seibel runs the fracture liaison service at Sydney’s Concord Hospital and said 70 to 80 per cent of people who go to a GP, hospital or specialist with a bone fracture are not being properly diagnosed and treated for osteoporosis.
Many of those will have subsequent fractures.
Each year, 140,000 Australians have fractures due to osteoporosis, at a direct annual cost of $1.6 billion.
A group of leading organisations including the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, Osteoporosis Australia and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians are calling for action, to stop the cycle of repeat bone fractures.
“We want a specific action plan with funding mechanisms from state and federal governments to implement secondary fracture prevention programs,” Professor Seibel said.
Bernadette Gallagher, 72, had a number of painful fractures before she was correctly diagnosed with osteoporosis.
“I fell down a pothole and broke my ankle, then both wrists,” she said.
But it was only when she was referred to a fracture liaison service that the cause of her fractures was properly investigated.
“I feel much better having a diagnosis and a treatment plan,” she said.
“Goodness knows how many other Australians are like me walking around with osteoporosis and not knowing it.”
She keeps active, volunteering several days a week at a local hospital and takes mild pain killers to manage the pain.
What can 21st century scientists learn from a 19th century French cartographer who drew a figurative map representing the successive losses of French troops during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Russian campaign of 1812-1813? Plenty. The map by Charles Minard is regarded as one of the greatest data visualisations of
all time because it represents six layers of data in two dimensions: the number of troops, distance, temperature, latitude and longitude, direction of travel, and location relative to specific dates. Garvan and CSIRO biodatavisualisation expert Dr Sean O’Donoghue was inspired by Monsieur Minard to borrow his
concept in a representation of what happens when insulin strikes the surface of a fat cell. That intricate ‘biodata visualisation’ is now published online …as a ‘Snapshot’ in the journal Cell. Two years ago, Dr O’Donoghue, his student David Ma, and designer Christian Stolte were tasked with representing a
breakthrough study undertaken at Garvan that charted the path of insulin action in fat cells like never before. Dr Sean Humphrey1 and Professor David James2 had demonstrated the staggering complexity of intracellular events that happen once insulin makes contact with its receptor on the cell surface. …“Until this
study, we did not really appreciate the scale and complexity of insulin regulation,” said Professor David James at the time. “… The process is so precise and intricate, and at the same time so monumental in its scope, that it’s truly astounding.” And that’s where Napoleon comes in. Dr O’Donoghue loved the simple,
elegant way that Charles Minard represented the depletion of Napoleon’s army over time. “We borrowed the idea of a journey from Minard because insulin signaling is essentially a journey into the cell, …We mapped time onto cell topology, showing the cascade of signals that leads to changes in gene expression
and the movement of key proteins around the cell.” …
…Snapshots such as this, which appear in Cell, each focus on a single complex biological process conveyed in a very condensed form. “It takes a lot of work to communicate accurately such complexity in a simple way,” concluded Dr O’Donoghue. Merci Monsieur Minard.
All Australians will now have an electronic health record as part of a new e-health system, and people will have to opt out if they do not want to take part.
The previous arrangement, commissioned in 2012, was an “opt in” system where patients could choose to join, but it was plagued with problems.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said research showed the best way was to put everyone on the system by default.
If a person did not want to be on the system, they would need to opt out.
“A personally controlled electronic health record is theirs,” she said.
“It’s not going to be out of their control and we are going to give the community the confidence they need.”
A review of the personally controlled electronic health records released in 2014 found significant challenges with the opt-in system and a lack of focus on those who needed the e-health records the most.
It recommended moving to an opt-out system.
Ms Ley said it was important that all Australians sign up to e-health to ensure the system functions well.
This has been the news on Health Professional Radio. For more information on today’s items head to hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.