The Health News – 19 April 2016

Overview:
• While federal regulations governing the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis are still months away, DanEden farm in North West New South Wales is ready and waiting to become the first to grow Australia’s first crop.

• As flu season begins some respiratory illness sufferers are turning to Salt therapy an alternative health practice for relief, but the chief executive of Lung Foundation Heather Allan is warning against the trend.

• Patrick Fraser a carpenter who worked on the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment says builders knew about mould on modules before they were even installed. Mould has been discovered in a number of demountables at the hospital site, although it is unclear exactly how many are affected.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  19th of April 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-18/medicinal-cannabis-production/7333762

While federal regulations governing the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis are still months away, a farm in north west New South Wales is ready and waiting to become the first to grow Australia’s first crop.

Nestled in the Peel Valley, near Tamworth, DanEden is 47 hectares of … river-front country.

The property was bought by not-for-profit charity and patient advocacy group United in Compassion – a group established by the Haslam family, whose son Dan’s battle with cancer contributed to the push to legalise medicinal cannabis in Australia.

Lucy Haslam believes it could be the start of a whole new industry for Australian agriculture.

She said she was keen to see Australia take a slice of the $250 billion global cannabis pie.

“We see this as a great opportunity for a great Australian primary industry,” Ms Haslam said.

“Why would we sit back and let foreign companies come into Australia and do what we can do with ourselves?

“We will do more for Australian patients than foreign-controlled investors.”

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce agreed.

He said Australian farmers had the skills, technology and expertise to “be at the forefront of this industry”.

“It would be a travesty if the fruits of our labour are only to be recognised in the import of a product from another country benefitting farmers from somewhere else,” Mr Joyce said.

“Let’s make sure they’re our farmers.” [he said]

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-18/salt-therapy-warnings-lung-disease-treatment/7334100

As flu season begins some respiratory illness sufferers are turning to ‘salt caves’ for relief, but the Lung Foundation is warning against the trend.

Salt therapy is an alternative health practice that has been around for hundreds of years, but has grown in popularity in Australia since the opening of the country’s first replica ‘salt caves’ about 10 years ago.

Marshal Rubinstein opened a ‘salt cave’ last month in the northern New South Wales town of Byron Bay.

He said he began researching salt therapy after he attended a session in Sydney and found significant relief from a bout of bronchitis.

“In 1743 there was a Polish doctor who worked in a town with a salt mine and he discovered all of the workers from the salt mine had excellent respiratory health,” Mr Rubinstein said.

“After a little while they discovered it was beneficial being in that environment that people from all over Europe would visit the salt mines, and doctors would prescribe time spent in salt caves.”

Mr Rubinstein’s facility is a room with a two-inch layer of salt on the floor and a machine known as a ‘halogenerator’ that disperses micro-sized salt particles into the air.

Mr Rubinstein has no medical qualifications and does not claim salt therapy as a cure for respiratory illness, but said it may relieve symptoms.

Byron Shire resident Candida Baker said she took her daughter, Anna Drewe, to the salt cave after being diagnosed with whooping cough.

“It’s known as the 100-day cough, but it went on beyond that,” Ms Baker said.

“She’d been on a lot of antibiotics and one day I thought ‘there must be something out there that we haven’t tried’ so I started Googling remedies for coughs and salt caves came up.

“It has definitely lessened the continuing cough that Anna had.”

… Lung Foundation chief executive Heather Allan said she developed evidence-based guidelines for patients and clinicians about treatments such as salt therapy and she did not recommend it.

“There isn’t the scientific evidence to support the benefits of salt therapy in the form of a salt cave or a salt room or the inhalation of salt,” she said.

“There is no current medical guideline[s] that has been developed by any credible peak body to recommend the use of salt caves or salt rooms.”

Ms Allan said there was no evidence that salt caves could cause harm, although warm rooms could provide ideal conditions for the growth of bacteria.

She also said the Lung Foundation had received an increase in inquiries about the safety of salt therapy in recent years.

Ms Allan advised anyone with a respiratory illness to seek advice from their general practitioner.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-17/builders-knew-about-mould-at-hobart-hospital,-carpenter-says/7333306

A carpenter who worked on the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment says builders knew about mould on modules before they were even installed.

The mould was found inside … a Macquarie Point worksite by Victorian carpenter Patrick Fraser, but the unit was still installed at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Mr Fraser said his concerns were dismissed by the manufacturer, Modscape.

“They knew it was wrong from the very start, when they knew the mould was there, and he just said, ‘Pretend we didn’t see it,'” Mr Fraser said.

The module is one of 64 temporary buildings which will house patients once work on the Hospital’s B Block begins.

Mould has been discovered in a number of demountables at the hospital site, although it is unclear exactly how many are affected.

Mr Fraser said the problem should have been dealt with off-site, and has accused Modscape of rushing delivery.

Project manager Fairbrother enlisted Modscape to install the modules and maintained the sub-contractor was to blame, but said it would take full responsibility for the problem.