The Health News – 3 February 2016

Overview:
• The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has defended spending almost $500,000 on developing and trialling a new uniform. QAS executive manager for fleet and equipment Ian Tarr said Melbourne-based innovation consultancy Symplicit were contracted to design the uniform and run the trial.

• The deep folds that give the adult human brain its wrinkled walnut appearance were nature’s solution to fitting a large, powerful processor into a small skull. While scientists have long understood why there are folds in the brain’s outer layer, called the cerebral cortex or grey matter, the how has remained a mystery.

• When Rockhampton’s only gluten-free bakery closed its doors last year, Keely Roberts and Simone Lawrie saw it as an opportunity, rather than a sign that central Queensland did not have a market for the product.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 3rd February 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/qld-ambulance-service-defends-funds-spent-on-uniform-trial/7129082

The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has defended spending almost $500,000 on developing and trialling a new uniform.

Documents obtained under right to information laws show the QAS spent $380,000 on designing a new uniform and $100,000 on a trial.

QAS executive manager for fleet and equipment Ian Tarr said Melbourne-based innovation consultancy Symplicit were contracted to design the uniform and run the trial.

“[We wanted] to engage our staff at a time when the Queensland Ambulance Service was reviewing its uniform, which it hadn’t done for a period of over 10 years,” he said.

“With a view that if we engage our staff now, we have a 10-year time span in the future that we want to make sure that the uniform is correct and any changes that needed to be made would be made.”

Mr Tarr said the QAS had been using the same uniform for more than a decade, and an upgrade was needed.

“[There was] a lot of development in fabric technologies and we just wanted to make sure that the uniform we moved to, if it needed changes, fitted our current operations,” he said.

“This is not just a pair of pants and a shirt. This is a specifically tailored uniform that is specific to what paramedics do.

“It takes into consideration what equipment do they need to carry.”

But senior paramedics have told the ABC that the amount of money spent on the design and trial would have been better spent on employing new paramedics.

The ABC has also been told there was nothing wrong with the old uniform.

Some paramedics are also concerned that shorts will no longer be available when the new uniform is rolled out.

Mr Tarr said the new uniform would be suitable for use in all regions of Queensland.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/3d-model-teases-out-physics-of-the-wrinkly-brain/7133074

The deep folds that give the adult human brain its wrinkled walnut appearance were nature’s solution to fitting a large, powerful processor into a small skull.

Like a piece of flat, square paper crumpled together to fit into a small, round hole, folding allows more neurons to be packed closer together, with shorter, faster connections between them.

While scientists have long understood why there are folds in the brain’s outer layer, called the cerebral cortex or grey matter, the how has remained a mystery.

Do the creases develop as a result of genetic, biological or chemical signals? Or are they caused by physical forces?

Now, an international team of scientists has used a 3D printed brain to explore the folds, which can explained by physics.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Physics, may have important implications for understanding certain brain disorders.

Folds in the cortex develop through buckling in weak spots which develop as the foetal brain grows, the scientists reported.

The brains of human foetuses are smooth for about the first 20 weeks, when folding begins and continues until the child is about 18 months old.

The physical explanation for brain folds was first proposed by Harvard scientists 40 years ago.

Now proven by Professor Mahadevan’s team, it was considered a controversial challenge at the time to the conventional wisdom that brain folds were created by purely biological, not physical, processes.

Commenting on the study, Associate Professor Ellen Kuhl of Stanford University said the findings could be an important breakthrough in diagnosing, treating and preventing a range of neurological disorders.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/gluten-free-bakery-opens-rockhampton/7133690

When Rockhampton’s only gluten-free bakery closed its doors last year, Keely Roberts and Simone Lawrie saw it as an opportunity, rather than a sign that central Queensland did not have a market for the product.

The friends recently opened their own gluten-free business in the central Queensland town, and said the response had been overwhelming from local coeliacs.

“We had a lady come into the shop the other day. She stood at the counter and she said, ‘Is all this gluten free?'” Ms Lawrie said.

“She started to cry and I said to her, ‘What’s the matter?’ and she said, ‘This is bringing back so many memories from when I was a child’.

“So she had her first apple turnover … in forever, she’d never eaten an apple turnover.

“I was crying, she was crying, Keely was crying, and we just shared in that with her and it was beautiful.”

The women said their business was the only exclusively gluten-free bakery for hundreds of kilometres.

Ms Lawrie, who is also a grazier, said she was compelled to open the bakery as a way to help regional people who had not been able to purchase gluten-free products.

A number of businesses have recently closed along Rockhampton’s East Street, where the new bakery is situated, but the women said they did not find that discouraging for their niche business.

Ms Roberts said the biggest difficulty in making the business a success would be the extra cost of gluten-free ingredients.