The Health News – 16 April 2015

Overview

  • The head of a review into Australia’s mental health sector has warned the system will struggle without change and a major funding overhaul.
  • Researchers in America are hoping to improve the quality of life of children with Down syndrome by treating them with a drug compound derived from leafy vegetables and citrus fruits before they are born.
  • At Queensland man named Graeme Preston, Anti-abortion campaigner was arrested again for protesting outside Hobart abortion clinic.



Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-15/head-of-mental-health-review-says-changes-up-to-a-decade-overdue/6394292

The head of a review into Australia’s mental health sector has warned the system will struggle without change and a major funding overhaul.

The National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) probe found major flaws in responses to people seeking help, and recommends shifting more than $1 billion from hospitals to community-based mental health services.

NMHC chairman Professor Allan Fels said the system was up to a decade overdue for an overhaul.
“The system would be struggling if it continues on in the present way,” he told AM.
“There is a clear need for rebalancing and that would reduce both human suffering and economic costs.
“The Commonwealth should get ready to somewhat rebalance its spending away from it all going into hospitals when it would be better spent on services that keep people out of hospitals.”
Professor Fels said there were no recommendations to immediately reduce hospital funding.
… the Commonwealth spends almost $10 billion on mental health annually, but with no consistent measures of whether it improves people’s lives.

Pressure is building on the Federal Government to release the long-awaited review.
The NMHC report was delivered in November last year but has not been publicly released.
Opposition mental health spokeswoman Jan McLucas has argued the delay is unacceptable.

Suicide Prevention Australia chief Sue Murray also called for the report’s immediate release, arguing the delay had real impacts on the mental health sector.


The minister also played down the chance of shifting $1 billion from hospitals to community-based care.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-14/down-syndrome-could-be-treated-womb-antioxidant-pill-researchers/6392768

Researchers in America are hoping to improve the quality of life of children with Down syndrome by treating them with a drug compound derived from leafy vegetables and citrus fruits before they are born.

The team at the Tufts University in Boston looked into whether highly concentrated antioxidants could improve brain development in the womb.

There were positive results from tests on mice, according to Professor Diana Bianchi.
“In a nutshell, using a mouse model of Down syndrome, when we give antioxidants to the pregnant mouse, we are seeing improvement in some of the genes that are expressed in the brain,” she said.

“We’re also seeing some improvement in behavioural tests.
“We’re seeing improvement in strength, muscle coordination and also in some sensory tests like earlier eye-opening.”
The compounds used were extracted from fruits and vegetables.

Any human trials are years away, but if the treatment is successful it would be the first of a kind and come in the form of a pill.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-14/anti-abortion-campaigner-graeme-preston-arrested/6392214

A Queensland man has been arrested again for protesting outside a Hobart abortion clinic.

John Graham Preston, 59, did not enter a plea to the charge of engaging in prohibited behaviour within 150 metres of a termination clinic during a brief appearance in the magistrates court …
He has been bailed to appear in court again in June when he is expected to enter a plea to that charge and another resulting from a protest last September.
Preston was the first to be charged under Tasmania’s Reproductive Health Act for a series of anti-abortion protests in March last year, but police prosecutors dropped the case the day it was due to go to hearing.
Outside the court this afternoon, Preston vowed to keep protesting.
“We believe that clearly that law is unconstitutional,” he said.
“We do have a implied right to freedom of speech in Australia and we want to challenge this law in the high court.”
A 61-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman from Geeveston were also charged under the Act for … [the] protest and have been bailed to appear in court at a later date.
Inspector David Plumpton from Tasmania Police said officers would continue to do their job if state law was violated.
“The Reproductive Health Act 2013 prohibits anyone from engaging in prohibited behaviour within 150 metres of premises where terminations are provided,” he said.
“Prohibited behaviour can include a protest in relation to terminations and footpath interference.”

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