The Health News – 19 Nov 2014

Overview

  • The study, presented today at the International Early Psychosis Conference in Japan, lends weight to the theory that concentrated fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, may help prevent the development of psychosis.
  • Analysts say the inclusion of a range of professional services in Australia’s Fair Trade Agreement (FTA) deal with China marks a shift in the focus of Australia’s bilateral trade negotiations.
  • Premature deaths among the elderly from a common heart problem could be averted if hospital care was replaced with out-of-home care, a landmark study has found.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th November 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/11/17/4129003.htm

Seven years after the end of a trial in which young people at severe risk of developing psychotic disorders were given fish oil tablets, most remain mentally healthy, a new study has found.

The study, presented … at the International Early Psychosis Conference in Japan, lends weight to the theory that concentrated fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, may help prevent the development of psychosis.

But more evidence is needed to confirm the results, say the international team of researchers including Professors Patrick McGorry and Paul Amminger of the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne.

Previous research has found that people with schizophrenia, a severe form of psychosis, have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their cells.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fats that are present in a wide variety of foods, including ‘oily’ fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna and sardines.

In the original trial, the researchers assessed the impact of a 12-week course of fish oil tablets on 81 young people aged between 13 and 25 who were assessed as being at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder.

Half took capsules containing concentrated marine fish oil (1.2 grams/day), while the other half took a placebo. They were periodically assessed for mental health changes over the following 40 weeks.

At the end of 12 months, 2 out of the 41 people who took fish oil developed psychosis while 11 in the placebo group developed a psychotic disorder.

The recent follow up research shows that seven years after the original trial, four of those who took fish oil capsules have developed a psychotic disorder, compared to 16 from the placebo group.

Those who took the fish oil capsules were also much better at dealing with challenges in their lives, while those who took the placebo tended to move into a psychotic stage more rapidly.

But, while the new study shows promise, the researchers can’t confirm the results until two replica trials are analysed. They hope to release the results of these trials next April.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-17/australian-business-reacts-to-australias-fta-with-china/5898118

Analysts say the inclusion of a range of professional services in Australia’s Fair Trade Agreement (FTA) deal with China marks a shift in the focus of Australia’s bilateral trade negotiations.

Australian healthcare providers, insurers, and educational institutions will gain increased access to Chinese consumers under the FTA deal.

This is expected to drive growth for many Australian businesses, and help China’s economy to evolve beyond its dependence on manufacturing and construction.

In the almost decade of negotiations leading up to the deal, much of the focus has been on easing restrictions on the trade of goods between China and Australia.

But former Australian trade negotiator Alan Oxley said the game had changed.

The Australian Federal Government said no other countries had convinced China to include services in their bilateral trade agreements.

Australian healthcare providers will be able to set up private hospitals and nursing homes in China, and train staff to operate them.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-18/heart-problem-deaths-averted-out-of-home-care/5897834

Premature deaths among the elderly from a common heart problem could be averted if hospital care was replaced with out-of-home care, a landmark study has found.

Professor Simon Stewart, lead author of the study, said the lives of tens of thousands of Australians being discharged with a condition known as atrial fibrillation, could be improved.

Atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that affects 800,000 Australians, is responsible for regular hospital admissions and thousands of fatal strokes each year.

The condition causes a disturbance in the heart’s electrical system which causes the chambers of the heart to quiver (or “fibrillate”) rather than beat normally.

Doctors from the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research found a significant improvement in patients who were given an intervention called SAFETY.

It included a home visit and fitting patients with a Holter monitor, a machine that continuously records the heart’s rhythms, and is worn for 24 to 48 hours.

Patients in the study were closely monitored and received help from a team of health professionals.

The study compared routine hospital management and outpatient care with the SAFETY management program.

For every 100 patients with atrial fibrillation exposed to the SAFETY management program there were:

Seven fewer deaths,

1000 fewer days of costly hospital stay,

1000 more days alive and out-of-hospital,

Reduced health care costs amounting to more than $500,000.

Australian doctors have presented the findings of the study at an international heart conference in the United States.

The results have also been published in the prestigious journal Lancet.

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