The Health News – 15 October 2014

Overview

  • ADHD treatment trialled in bid to help ice addicts kick deadly habit. Lisdexamfetamine was recently listed on Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, A drug used to treat inattentive and impulsive children could be the key to weaning addicts off.
  • The US must “rethink” the way it addresses Ebola after the infection of a nurse in Dallas who contracted the disease while caring for a dying Liberian patient, a top US health official says.
  • Top athletes are often dogged by decaying teeth and gum disease, a performance-sapping problem in which sports drinks, high-carb diets and training regimes may play a part, say sports specialists.

Stories Discussed

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 15th October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-14/adhd-drug-trialled-in-ice-addiction-treatment/5808540

A drug used to treat inattentive and impulsive children could be the key to weaning addicts off the deadly drug ice, researchers say.

Lisdexamfetamine was recently listed on Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children between the age of six and 18 years old.

But researchers at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital are hoping higher doses of the drug could help serious ice users control cravings.

Associate Professor Nadine Ezard will explain the trial at the Australian Drugs Conference in Melbourne today.

“People can take this drug once a day, it has a slow onset across the whole day,” she said.

“The idea is that, if it works, it might help those symptoms of withdrawal that trigger a desire to use methamphetamine.”

St Vincent’s Hospital currently offers dexamphetamine as a treatment for a small number ice users as a last resort measure.

Users must attend the hospital for daily doses and must be monitored because improper use can give people ice-like highs.

But lisdexamfetamine has researchers excited because of the way it converts to dexamphetamine in red blood cells.

This conversion process means the treatment is slower acting and gives users fewer ‘positive’ drug-like effects.

“So even if you crush it up and inject it, it’s not going to work quicker, you’re not going to get higher quicker,” Dr Ezard said.

Dr Ezard hoped the drug could work in similar way to methadone for heroin users.

Currently researchers do not know how safe it is to use higher doses of up to 250 milligrams per day of the ADHD treatment.

A 14-week trial program at St Vincent’s Hospital and Newcastle Private Hospital will monitor the way users react to the drug and whether it helps reduce cravings.

Dr McKetin said more financial support was needed to help researchers find a treatment for ice addiction.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-14/us-needs-to-rethink-ebola-infection-control-says-official/5811080

The US must “rethink” the way it addresses Ebola after the infection of a nurse in Dallas who contracted the disease while caring for a dying Liberian patient, a top US health official says.

Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said health authorities were still investigating how the nurse became infected while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan in an isolation ward at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Mr Duncan died last week and the nurse was the first person to contract the virus on US soil, elevating concerns about containing its spread.

She is “clinically stable”, Mr Frieden said, and the CDC is monitoring others involved in Mr Duncan’s care in case they show symptoms of the virus.

Dr Frieden also apologised for remarks on Sunday, when the nurse’s infection was first disclosed, that suggested she was responsible for a breach in protocols that exposed her to the virus.

Some healthcare experts said the comments failed to address deep gaps in training hospital for staff to deal with Ebola.

He said the agency would take steps to increase the awareness of Ebola at the nation’s hospitals and training for staff.

The United States has no plans to eliminate travel from countries in West Africa suffering the worst Ebola outbreak on record, Dr Frieden said.

“Enhanced” airport screenings began at New York’s JKF airport over the weekend, and will expand to four others beginning this Thursday.

The screening assesses whether arriving passengers have a fever, the first symptom of an Ebola infection.

It also requires those coming directly or indirectly from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to answer questions about their contact with any Ebola patients.

The infection of the Dallas nurse is the second known to have occurred outside West Africa since the outbreak that began in March.

It follows that of a nurse’s aide in Spain who helped treat a missionary from Sierra Leone, who died of the virus.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/10/14/4106575.htm

Top athletes are often dogged by decaying teeth and gum disease, a performance-sapping problem in which sports drinks, high-carb diets and training regimes may play a part, say sports specialists.

The experts from Britain and North America reviewed 39 published studies into the oral health of elite or professional sportsmen and women.

Decaying teeth affected 15 – 75 per cent of the athletes, moderate-to-severe gum disease up to 15 per cent and enamel erosion between 36 and 85 per cent, they report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The figures add to a survey carried out at the 2012 London Olympics, where 46.5 per cent of athletes admitted they had not been to the dentist in the past year, and 18 per cent said dental problems had affected their performance in the past.

“Oral health could be an easy win for athletes, as the oral conditions that can affect performance are all easily preventable,” says study co-author Ian Needleman, a professor at University College London

Dental problems cause pain and inflammation, affect sleeping and eating, and can hit sporting confidence too, he says.

But, he adds, “simple strategies to prevent oral health problems can offer marginal performance gains that require little or no additional time or money.”

Athletes face intense dietary and training pressures, all of which take a toll on their teeth, say the researchers.

Saliva helps to protect teeth from erosion and decay, so dehydration during heavy exercise can increase the risk of oral ill-health.

Fast energy replenishment often means athletes use high-carbohydrate diets or guzzle sugary, acidic energy drinks, which without cleaning can boost the risk of tooth decay and damaged enamel.

Eating disorders are also likely to be a factor, particularly in sports such as boxing, horse riding, gymnastics, and long-distance running where body weight, composition and aesthetics are crucial, they add.

This has been the news on Health Professional Radio. For more information on today’s items head to hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!