The News – 1 July 2014

Overview

  • A state of the art training centre for Victoria’s emergency services opened at Craigieburn, in Melbourne’s north ON THE WEEKEND today.
  • A new “supercooling” technique keeps rat livers alive three times longer than before, boosting hopes for easing shortages of human transplant organs, report scientists.
  • The Federal Opposition is accusing the Government of demonising people with disabilities as it responds to a review into Australia’s welfare system.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 1st July 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-29/new-joint-emergency-services-training-facility-opens-in-melbour/5557916?section=vic

A state of the art training centre for Victoria’s emergency services opened at Craigieburn, in Melbourne’s north ON THE WEEKEND today.

Looking more like the back lot of a movie set, the $109 million facility will provide training in realistic scenarios for career and volunteer firefighters in Victoria.

There are 12 training props on the site including simulated suburban neighbourhoods, laneways and rail and road tunnels.

Crews conducted demonstrations on a petrochemical facility and a multi-agency response to a fire in a Burnley Tunnel simulator.

It will be used by all emergency services, including the SES, Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police and the CFA.

MFB chief officer Peter Rau says the facility will be the training ground for CFA and MFB officers recruited later this year.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/06/30/4036007.htm

A new “supercooling” technique keeps rat livers alive three times longer than before, boosting hopes for easing shortages of human transplant organs, report scientists.

The method involves cooling the livers while flushing them with oxygen and nutrients and preserving them in a solution containing a form of antifreeze.

The livers can be conserved at temperatures below zero°C yet not freeze and thus suffer cell damage.

All rats given livers “supercooled” for three days were healthy after three months, a benchmark for survival.

Of those who received livers stored for 96 hours, 58 per cent survived to the three-month mark, report the scientists in the journal Nature Medicine.

Rats that received transplant livers preserved with current methods survived only for hours or days.

“To our knowledge, this is the longest preservation time with subsequent successful transplantation achieved to date,” says study co-author Korkut Uygun of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Engineering in Medicine.

“If we can do this with human organs, we could share organs globally, helping to alleviate the worldwide organ shortage.”

Existing technology can preserve human livers for a maximum of 24 hours outside the body.

Since the 1980s, donor organs have been preserved at temperatures at or just above freezing in a solution that reduces metabolism and organ deterioration.

The new method saw the addition of protective, anti-freeze ingredients to the preservation solution.

In a three-step technique, a perfusion machine was used to flood the livers with oxygen, nutrients and protective compounds before they were cooled and submerged in the preservation solution, whose temperature was then lowered to -6°C at which the tissue was stored for either three or four days.

After supercooling, the temperature was gradually increased back to 4°C and the livers reflushed with oxygen and nutrients before being transplanted.

The method will have to be thoroughly tested and refined before it can be considered for use in humans. However, if successful, the technique has broad implications for the future, …

There are currently 1589 people in Australia and New Zealand waiting on donor organs, of which 177 are waiting for donor livers.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-30/labor-accuse-government-of-demonising-disabled/5560066

The Federal Opposition is accusing the Government of demonising people with disabilities as it responds to a review into Australia’s welfare system.

The interim review of the welfare system released yesterday calls for a “working age” payment to replace many of the existing pensions or other payments including the dole.

Only people with a permanent disability who are completely unable to work would get the disability support pension.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he is in favour of a simpler system, but he has attacked the way the Government is handling the review.

But Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews says it is time to review the Disability Support Pension (DSP), which he says has previously been a “set and forget” payment.

Mr Shorten says “most people with disabilities” would love to have a job but face transport issues, an education system which “does not always give them the best start in life” as well as discrimination.

Mr Andrews acknowledges that some employers may be reluctant to take on disabled staff, in what he describes as a “challenge” for the Government.

The Minister says the ageing population and a contraction in the growth of the workforce over the next 10 years means “employers have really got to look at where they’re going to find their workforce in the future”.

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