The Health News – 18 November 2015

Overview:
• Terry Slevin, director of education and research at the Cancer Council of Western Australia, told 720 ABC Perth there were at least 26 smartphone apps on the market.  He said they might be a useful prompt to remind people to check their skin and go to the doctor or to keep photographic records of moles they were worried about — but that is all.

• Recent figures from Alzheimer’s Australia suggest around 25,100 Australians aged between 30 and 64 live with the degenerative illness.Graham Gilmore was 58 when he started showing signs of Younger Onset Dementia (YOD). He was having regular memory lapses and was having trouble with some aspects of his work.

• The World Health Organisation has warned the overuse of antibiotics is fuelling dangerously high resistance levels and called on individual countries to tackle misconceptions about the drugs.

News on Health Professional Radio.  Today is the 18th November 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.  Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/skin-check-apps-no-silver-bullet-cancer-council-says/6948112

There are a number of smartphone apps that promise to track and help detect skin cancers, but experts warn they should not replace a visit to the doctor for a check-up.

Terry Slevin, director of education and research at the Cancer Council of Western Australia, told 720 ABC Perth there were at least 26 smartphone apps on the market.

He said they might be a useful prompt to remind people to check their skin and go to the doctor or to keep photographic records of moles they were worried about — but that is all.

“There really isn’t sufficient and reliable evidence to say that these things are a proven and reliable way of improving early detection of skin cancer,” he said.

Mr Slevin said he hoped more research would be done on smartphone skin cancer apps, as they could be a valuable tool for people in remote locations.

Two-thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer lesion before the age of 70.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/dementia-researcher-identifies-factors-that-may-influence-risk/6944934

We tend to think of dementia as a disease that strikes the elderly.

But recent figures from Alzheimer’s Australia suggest around 25,100 Australians aged between 30 and 64 live with the degenerative illness.

Graham Gilmore was 58 when he started showing signs of Younger Onset Dementia (YOD). He was having regular memory lapses and was having trouble with some aspects of his work.

Initially, his wife Imelda put it down to stress. But as time went on, Mr Gilmore became disorientated when driving and had trouble finding his way home.

“I knew my assumption that it was all due to stress was unlikely,” she says.

The family finally agreed “it sounded like something”, so despite medical assurances that it wasn’t anything sinister, Ms Gilmore started taking notes about changes in her husband’s behaviour.

It was five years before Mr Gilmore was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, despite seeing a number of health professionals. By the time he was diagnosed at age 63, he was already past the mild stage and the disease was progressing much faster throughout his body.

“YOD is also incredibly relentless as it moves through a young person,” says Ms Gilmore, “someone who was working in the community five minutes ago is now, because of the disease, unable to contribute anything.”

Now 67, Mr Gilmore is living in a care facility. “He can walk but he can’t really feed himself,” his wife explains. “He can’t swallow medication anymore. His language is gone and he can interact with people if they are right in his face, but it takes a while to attract his attention.”

Ms Gilmore hopes that her husband will receive comfort and peace as his dementia progresses. She also wants research to “destroy the disease” and discover a preventative prescription to help eradicate YOD altogether.

Younger onset dementia is a diagnosis of dementia in someone under the age of 65. As is the case with dementia that affects older people, YOD is not a single disorder. Instead it’s a term used to describe a range of conditions that cause progressive decline in mental functioning – memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform tasks.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/antibiotics3a-27disturbing27-lack-of-knowledge-fuelling-dang/6947900

The World Health Organisation has warned the overuse of antibiotics is fuelling dangerously high resistance levels and called on individual countries to tackle misconceptions about the drugs.

Its latest survey of 12 countries shows many people misunderstand antibiotics and as a result are misusing them.

“The rise of antibiotic resistance is a global crisis,” said Margaret Chan, the global director of the WHO.

The WHO said misuse is pushing the world towards a “post-antibiotic era” in which common infections could once again claim lives.

“The threat is easy to describe: Antimicrobiol resistance is on the rise in every region of the worlds,” Ms Chan said.

Bacterial diseases are increasingly becoming immune to commonly used antibiotics, fuelling ‘super bugs’ that are resistant to treatment.

This latest WHO research was carried out in mostly developing countries, including Nigeria, Vietnam, and India.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents wrongly thought antibiotics would treat cold and flu viruses, while almost a third thought they could stop taking antibiotics once they felt better and it was not necessary to complete the course.

Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s special representative for antimicrobial resistance, said the survey showed a disturbing lack of knowledge.

 

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