- A university in Brisbane has opened the first all-Australian skeleton library in the country allowing students to study a “typical Aussie” skeleton.
- Expressions of interest will be sought from private hospitals and aged care providers to build on the site of the Daw Park Repatriation Hospital in Adelaide.
- A discovery by Australian scientists may lead to easier and earlier malaria detection by way of a breath test, rather than a blood test.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 22nd April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A university in Brisbane has opened the first all-Australian skeleton library in the country allowing students to study a “typical Aussie” skeleton.
The University of Queensland’s (UQ) School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS) has added its first skeleton to the library with a second skeleton to be added later this year.
The unique collection aims to improve the knowledge about contemporary Australians and to allow students to study on real specimens.
Currently there are no all-Australian skeletal libraries for human biologists to use for research, with many skeletons used for teaching coming from unknown places.
SBMS physical anthropologist and anatomy senior lecturer Dr Carl Stephan … [ stated] that the library offers advanced learning for the students.
“This collection is vital for providing first-rate medical teaching and new research opportunities in forensic science and the biology of ageing,” [he said].
The University of Technology in Sydney is set to form a second skeleton library in Australia later this year.
Bodies which have been submitted as an indefinite body donation are examined by students and then retained to be processed as skeletons.
The bodies are collected under the Anatomy and Transplantation Act of Queensland, from individuals who bequeathed their bodies to the UQ Body Donor program for medical research.
Expressions of interest will be sought from private hospitals and aged care providers to build on the site of the Daw Park Repatriation Hospital in Adelaide.
The South Australian Government announced earlier in the year that the war veterans’ hospital would be closed and its services shifted to Adelaide’s major hospitals as part of a health system shake-up over the next two years.
Veterans Affairs and acting Health Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the Government wanted the Daw Park site retained as a health and aged care precinct.
“The Government is categorically ruling out this site for any sort of commercial development,” he said.
The Opposition said Mr Hamilton-Smith was ensuring the repatriation site would be carved up like a roast and said the Government was being arrogant and ignoring the community.
Since early this month, a group of war veterans has been camped on the steps of Parliament House demanding the Daw Park hospital be retained and services, including emergency admission referrals, be restored.
They gave the Government a list of conditions under which they were prepared to end their protest, which included upgrading current facilities which they said had been allowed to fall into disrepair.
A discovery by Australian scientists may lead to easier and earlier malaria detection by way of a breath test, rather than a blood test.
The CSIRO and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have discovered people with a malaria infection have higher levels of a smelly sulphur-based chemical on their breath.
CSIRO research group leader Dr Stephen Trowell said when the infection is treated, the chemical drops back to a low level.
He said the discovery could eventually lead to traditional blood tests for malaria being replaced by breath tests.
At the moment most malaria diagnosis is done by putting a blood sample under a powerful microscope and having an expert look at is.
More than 200 million of the tests are done every year, but even these are not available everywhere in the world.
The study, published today in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, was conducted in two independent studies where experimental drug treatments were being tested in volunteers who had been given a very small dose of infection.
QIMR Berghofer senior scientist in clinical tropical medicine Professor James McCarthy said the researchers, using a sophisticated analytical instrument, identified four sulphur-containing compounds whose levels varied across the time course of the malaria infection
“The sulphur-containing chemicals had not previously been associated with any disease and their concentrations changed in a consistent pattern over the course of the malaria infection,” Professor McCarthy said.
“Their levels were correlated with the severity of the infection and effectively disappeared after they were cured.”
Up to now, these chemicals have only been detected using very expensive, laboratory based instruments, and only in the breath of volunteers experiencing a controlled malaria infection in the clinic.
In 2013, according to the WHO, there were almost 200 million cases and over half a million deaths due to malaria.
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