The News – 17 June 2014

Overview

  • The death of a woman after receiving respite care at a New South Wales nursing home has sparked calls for an overhaul of the accreditation system for aged care facilities.
  • Scientists at the University of Exeter said their work suggested that exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones negatively affected sperm quality – but further research was needed.
  • Researchers want to unleash a swarm of mosquitoes on the north Queensland city of Townsville with the goal of curbing the spread of dengue fever.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 17th June 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-16/womans-death-sparks-call-for-aged-care-accreditation-overhaul/5527206

The death of a woman after receiving respite care at a New South Wales nursing home has sparked calls for an overhaul of the accreditation system for aged care facilities.

Beryl Watson died after a three-week stay at the Bupa nursing home at Kempsey in northern NSW.

Bupa is the biggest private aged care provider in Australia, operating 62 homes around the country.

Mrs Watson’s husband, Clive, placed her in respite care at the home after being forced into hospital himself for an operation.

When he collected her, her back and buttocks were covered in weeping bed sores, her weight had plummeted and she had lost the ability to swallow.

NSW coroner Michael Barnes has found the home was understaffed at the time and that a series of mistakes contributed to Mrs Watson’s death.

She suffered from dementia and Huntington’s disease and her husband of 50 years was her full-time carer.

Mr Watson provided the home with a detailed, four-page care plan, including a note about her anti-convulsant medication “which she cannot miss”.

But because staff did not check a discrepancy in the paperwork, Mrs Watson was not given medication for 13 days, causing her to suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms.

Medical records state that Mrs Watson was agitated, writhing in bed and biting at her draw sheet, making loud noises and scratching at herself.

The coroner also found she was not given sufficient fluids and food.

Mr Watson only discovered his wife’s bed sores when he got her home.

Mrs Watson’s condition deteriorated and she was admitted to Macksville Hospital suffering from pneumonia and malnutrition.

Ten days after her discharge from the Bupa home, Mrs Watson died.

Mr Barnes concluded a series of mistakes and oversights at the nursing home led to her demise.

“The death was from natural causes, contributed to by a medication error and sub-optimal nursing care,” the coroner said in his findings.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/phones-in-pockets-may-harm-male-fertility-20140610-zs2tw.html#ixzz34QBhYv5y

London: Men who keep a mobile phone in their trouser pocket could be inadvertently damaging their chances of becoming a father, according to a new study.

Scientists at the University of Exeter said their work suggested that exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones negatively affected sperm quality – but further research was needed.

Previous studies have suggested that radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted by the devices can have a detrimental effect on male fertility.

Most of the global adult population own mobile phones, and around 14 per cent of couples in high and middle income countries have difficulty conceiving.

A team led by Dr Fiona Mathews, of the University of Exeter, conducted a systematic review of the findings from 10 studies, including 1492 samples, with the aim of clarifying the potential role of this environmental exposure.

Participants in the studies were from fertility clinics and research centres and sperm quality was measured in three different ways: motility, viability and concentration.

In control groups, 50 to 85 per cent of sperm have normal movement. The researchers found this proportion fell by an average of 8 per cent when there was exposure to mobile phones.

Similar effects were seen for sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were less clear.

Dr Mathews said: “Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified.

“This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality.

“This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population.”

The results were consistent across in vitro studies conducted under controlled conditions and observational in vivo studies conducted on men in the general population.

The findings, Effect Of Mobile Telephones On Sperm Quality: A Systematic Review And Meta-analysis, is published in the journal Environment International.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-16/mosqitoes-to-invade-north-queensland-in-bid-to-eradicate-dengue/5525226

Researchers want to unleash a swarm of mosquitoes on the north Queensland city of Townsville with the goal of curbing the spread of dengue fever.

Today, the researchers will hold a meeting with community leaders to try to get the city on board.

Scientists want to introduce mosquitoes that are infected with the bacteria Wolbachia, which makes the insects resistant to dengue fever.

The potentially fatal disease has no specific treatment and no vaccine.

Small-scale trials in Cairns have shown Wolbachia prevents mosquitoes from transmitting dengue, and they eventually overrun the existing dengue-carrying population.

Monash University Professor Scott O’Neill says he hopes the research will eventually lead to the elimination of dengue.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the incidence of dengue had grown dramatically around the world in recent decades.

Scientists estimate there are 390 million cases around the world every year.

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