The Health News – 25 March 2014

Overview

  • Researchers of Melbourne’s Monash Health have said they have clinical evidence that asthma patients with vocal problems can be effectively treated with Botox.
  • In QLD another measles case has been reported on the Sunshine Coast. This marks the third confirmed case in the Sunshine Coast this month.
  • Families of disabled people in WA who are in group housing are concerned that management and staff changes will seriously impact on the quality of care provided to them.

Health News on HPR.

Botox can help asthma patients, Monash University doctors say, hailing new study as proof – by Sophie Scott
Researchers of Melbourne’s Monash Health have said they have clinical evidence that asthma patients with vocal problems can be effectively treated with Botox. Doctors at Monash Health administered botulinum toxin to 11 patients, 60% of whom showed improvement of their voicebox symptoms. The patients participating in the study had not responded to conventional treatments. In the study doctors utilised CT scans on the upper repiratory tracts of the patients to ensure against a placebo effect. Professor Phillip Bardin from Monash Health said “Local injection of botulinum toxin may be an effective treatment for intractable asthma associated with abnormal vocal chord movement.” The trial involved 11 researchers conducting tests over 18 months. Australia has around 2 million asthma sufferers, 250,000 of whom have severe symptoms. A significant portion of severe asthma sufferers also have a condition referred to as Vocal Chord Dysfunction. The clinicians explained that Botox injections caused partial paralysis of the vocal chords generally for 2 to 3 months, and that no significant side-effects were evident from the trial.

Third measles case confirmed on Sunshine Coast – by Jo Skinner
In QLD another measles case has been reported on the Sunshine Coast. The state health dept say someone became infections whilst in Caloundra last week, and were also recently at Stradbroke Island. This marks the third confirmed case in the Sunshine Coast this month. Dr James Smith believes that due to the large number of people possible exposed to the virus, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane region residents should be on alert, and that another case in these areas is possible in the coming weeks. He said “If people are adequately vaccinated with two recorded doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, they are very unlikely to get the disease. People who are unsure or have concerns about their immunity to measles should contact their family doctor to check whether they have had both doses of vaccine. True measles is a serious viral infection that causes fever, cough, runny nose, then a red spotty rash and sore eyes a few days later. Symptoms usually start around seven to 10 days after infection but sometimes longer, so anyone who develops measles-like symptoms within the next fortnight should contact their GP for advice. It is very important to call the medical practice first to say you could have measles, so that staff can take precautions to avoid spreading the disease to others.”

National Disability Insurance Scheme in WA: Parents ‘left in dark’ over changes to disability group homes – no author listed
Families of disabled people in WA who are in group housing are concerned that management and staff changes will seriously impact on the quality of care provided to them. The state government has said the changes are being implemented to make the state compliant with the NDIS, which WA committed to in August last year. The government will move many disabled people considered to have non-extreme cases into non-for-profit care, resulting in the staff and management changes. The government have said the changes will give families a new level of choice in who provides care for their loved ones, however many families say their choices are being taken away from them.  Disabilities Services Minister Helen Morton said of the families affected “Of course everybody’s had a letter and everybody’s had some form of communication. But we made it clear that the best way to get that information was to enable our people to come and talk with you.” The government of WA deny that the changes are being rushed, but affected families disagree and are against the sudden change of staffing and other arrangements.

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