The Health News – 28 February 2014

Overview

  • Older adults who toss and turn at night may be at an increased risk for various aches and pains during the day, according to a new study from researchers at the U.K.’s Keele University.
  • In Canberra Hospital: The nurse-led walk-in centre at the Canberra Hospital is set to close once new centres have opened in Belconnen and Tuggeranong.
  • A new blood test may help predict the presence of multiple sclerosis before any symptoms of the condition begin to show, according to researchers at the Technical University of Munich.
  • More than 530 inland Pilbara residents have petitioned against a lack of ultrasound services in their communities.Mining and Pastoral MLC Stephen Dawson says many women have complained of being unable to secure emergency ultrasound appointments and are instead having to travel to Port Hedland or Perth.
  • Those with an irregular heartbeat should consider taking a blood thinner to reduce the risk of stroke, according to a new guideline recommended by researchers from the SUNY Upstate Medical University, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

Health News on HPR.

Poor Sleep Could Increase Risk Of Chronic Pain

Older adults who toss and turn at night may be at an increased risk for various aches and pains during the day, according to a new study from researchers at the U.K.’s Keele University. For the study the researchers reviewed health records from 4,300 British adults.

They found that about 2,700 reported some form of chronic pain. Over the course of the three-year study the researchers discovered that those who reported consistently poor sleep quality were also more likely to also report new or continuing chronic pain.

“While osteoarthritis is linked to new onset of widespread pain, our findings also found that poor sleep, [memory], and physical and psychological health may increase pain risk. Combined interventions that treat both site-specific and widespread pain are needed for older adults,” the researchers explained.

Canberra Hospital walk-in clinic set to close mid-year
The nurse-led walk-in centre at the Canberra Hospital is set to close once new centres have opened in Belconnen and Tuggeranong.

Some doctors have been critical of the centre being run from the hospital campus, saying it creates more work for the emergency department.

Chief Minister of the ACT has told the ACT Legislative Assembly the Woden centre will close once two new facilities open in the middle of the year. She says the new centres will offer the same services as the original clinic and she is confident they will be well received.

Opposition Leader of the ACT says it has never made sense to have a walk-in centre on the hospital site.

Blood Test Could Predict MS Before Symptoms Occur
A new blood test may help predict the presence of multiple sclerosis before any symptoms of the condition begin to show, according to researchers at the Technical University of Munich. For the study the researchers examined the blood of 16 blood donors who later developed MS.

This blood was compared with 16 blood samples from a control group who did not develop the condition. They found that many of the MS patients held a specific protein called KIR4.1, which was not present in those without the condition.

“If our results can be replicated in larger populations, our findings may help to detect MS earlier in a subgroup of patients,” said the study author. “Finding the disease before symptoms appear means we can better prepare to treat and possibly even prevent those symptoms.”

“This finding also demonstrates that the antibody development to the KIR4.1 protein, a protein found in some people with MS, precedes the clinical onset of disease suggesting a role of the autoantibody in how the disease develops,” she added.

Pilbara residents fight for better ultrasound services
More than 530 inland Pilbara residents have petitioned against a lack of ultrasound services in their communities.

Mining and Pastoral MLC Stephen Dawson says many women have complained of being unable to secure emergency ultrasound appointments and are instead having to travel to Port Hedland or Perth.

A petition has been lodged in State Parliament calling for an extension to the current one-day per week operation of ultrasound facilities in Tom Price and Newman.

Mr Dawson says he hopes Royalties for Regions funding will be allocated to upgrade general obstetrics services in the region.

“I hope the Parliament’s public affairs committee will do an inquiry into this issue and look at the services that are provided and look at the need in those communities to provide extra services,” he said.

Guideline Suggests Those With An Irregular Heartbeat Should Take Blood Thinners
Those with an irregular heartbeat should consider taking a blood thinner to reduce the risk of stroke, according to a new guideline recommended by researchers from the SUNY Upstate Medical University, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

The new guideline has already been endorsed by the World Stroke Organization and the researchers say this could be especially important for those with atrial fibrillation and those who have already had a stroke:

“The World Health Organization has determined that atrial fibrillation is nearing epidemic proportions, affecting 0.5 percent of the population worldwide,” the researchers explained.

They add: “Of course, doctors will need to consider the individual patient’s situation in making a decision whether or not to use anticoagulants, and which one to use, as the risks and benefits can vary for each person.

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