The News – 10 Oct 2014

Overview

  • The Automated External Defibrillator Deployment Agency has launched a new set of guidelines in an effort to stop flat batteries and software malfunctions in the units.
  • Some people may retain awareness after they have technically died, according to a study into hospital patients who went into deep cardiac arrest.
  • Anglo-American John O’Keefe and Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser have won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the brain’s internal positioning system, helping humans find their way and giving clues to how strokes and Alzheimer’s affect the brain.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-09/faulty-defibrillators-increase-heart-attack-risk/5800760

Up to a quarter of defibrillators installed at workplaces and in public places do not work – putting lives at risk, according to the agency in charge of registering the equipment.

The Automated External Defibrillator Deployment Agency has launched a new set of guidelines in an effort to stop flat batteries and software malfunctions in the units.

The agency’s Graeme Pell said electronic defibrillators in workplaces, sporting clubs and other public places did not always work.

In the United States, research has found that up to a quarter of equipment installed in public areas at any time did not work because of flat batteries, damage or software malfunctions.

Mr Peel estimated the figures were similar in Australia.

“Probably 20 to 25 per cent of defibrillators aren’t working,” he said.

“We also know that unless you get fibrillation on a sudden cardiac arrest patient within the first couple of minutes, then their chance of survival is very remote.

Up to 33,000 Australians die from sudden cardiac arrest every year.

The agency [yester]…day released a set of guidelines that helps businesses and organisations make sure equipment was ready for use in an emergency.

It is also setting a up voluntary register to keep track of all defibrillators around the country.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/10/09/4103445.htm

Some people may retain awareness after they have technically died, according to a study into hospital patients who went into deep cardiac arrest.

Fifteen hospitals in Britain, Austria and the United States pooled information about more than 2,000 cardiac arrest patients.

The research, published in the European journal Resuscitation , sought to assess “near-death experiences” and other phenomena recounted by people hauled back from clinical death — when heart and brain activity have stopped.

Of the 2,060 patients, 330 were resuscitated, of whom 101 completed in-depth, two-stage interviews afterwards.

Thirty-nine percent described a perception of awareness before their heart was restarted but did not have an explicit recall of events.

Forty-six per cent said they had feelings of fear, violence or persecution, deja-vu, or images of relatives, animals and plants.

Only nine per cent reported the better-known near-death experience, such as the sensation of detachment from the body.

Two per cent said they could explicitly recall “seeing” and “hearing” events while they were technically dead.

Parnia says more work was needed to see whether awareness persisted into clinical death.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-07/discoverers-of-brains-gps-system-awarded-nobel-prize/5794352

Anglo-American John O’Keefe and Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser have won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the brain’s internal positioning system, helping humans find their way and giving clues to how strokes and Alzheimer’s affect the brain.

The Nobel Assembly, which awarded the prize of 8 million Swedish crowns ($1.27 million) in an announcement at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, said the discovery solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries: “How does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?”

… the three scientists had found “an inner GPS that makes it possible to know where we are and find our way”.

Professor O’Keefe, now director at the centre in neural circuits and behaviour at University College London, discovered the first component of the positioning system in 1971 when he found that a type of nerve cell in a brain region – called the hippocampus – was always activated when a rat was in a certain place in a room.

Seeing that other nerve cells were activated when the rat was in other positions, Professor O’Keefe concluded that these “place cells” formed a map of the room.

In 1996, the Mosers, who are married and now based in scientific institutes in the Norwegian town of Trondheim, worked with Professor O’Keefe to learn how to record the activity of cells in the hippocampus.

Nearly a decade later, the Moser team discovered cells, … which function as a navigation system.

These so-called “grid cells”, they discovered, are constantly working to create a map of the outside world and are responsible for animals’ knowing where they are, where they have been, and where they are going.

The finding, a fundamental piece of research, explains how the brain works, but does not have immediate implications for new medicines, since it does not set out a mechanism of action.

But knowledge about the brain’s positioning system can also help understanding of what causes loss of spatial awareness in stroke patients or those with devastating brain diseases like dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form and affects 44 million people worldwide.

The Mosers join a small club of married couples to win a Nobel Prize that includes scientific greats Pierre and Marie Curie.

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