The News – 20 March 2015

Overview

  • Arthritis South Australia is funding the state’s first dedicated paediatric rheumatology nurse, in response to the growing number of children suffering from arthritis.
  • The first comprehensive evaluation of Australia’s ground-breaking plain packaging tobacco laws shows they are working, the Victorian Cancer Council says.
  • A study that followed 3,500 newborns over 30 years has found that babies who are breastfed are more intelligent and that the boost in intelligence persists into adulthood.



News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 20th March 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-19/arthritis-sa-funds-states-first–paediatric-rheumatology-nurse/6331962

Arthritis South Australia is funding the state’s first dedicated paediatric rheumatology nurse, in response to the growing number of children suffering from arthritis.

About 600 to 700 children have been diagnosed with arthritis in South Australia creating more demand for paediatric rheumatology services.
The nurse will be based at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and will support South Australia’s only paediatric rheumatologist.
Arthritis SA chief executive officer, Julie Black, said the need for the specialist position was clear.
“In South Australia there is only one paediatric rheumatologist and it can take up to five months for parents to get in to see the specialist,” Ms Black said.
“The longer you take to see a specialist often the more impact arthritis can have on these children.
“Under the national guidelines they believe that you should be seen within about a month because children are growing, their bones are changing, so the sooner they can be seen the better.”

Ms Black said the nurse would be a direct support for parents, who sometimes had to wait weeks to speak with the paediatric rheumatologist.
“It’s about having someone who can triage what’s going on, to be able to be at the end of the phone to talk to a parent,” Ms Black said.
“At the moment with only one paediatric rheumatologist in the state she often can’t get back to families as quick as what she would like, so having someone who can talk to the families, answer their questions, reassure them and then have those that need to be seen quicker moved up the list.”
She hoped having the specialist nurse would see children with the disease spend less time in hospital.

The selection process to appoint the specialist nurse is underway.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-19/australias-plain-packaging-laws-are-a-success-studies-show/6331736

The first comprehensive evaluation of Australia’s ground-breaking plain packaging tobacco laws shows they are working, the Victorian Cancer Council says.

Fourteen separate studies on the impact of plain packaging in its first year were published today in a special supplement to the British Medical Journal.
The research found after the laws were implemented, there was a “statistically significant increase” in the number of people thinking about and making attempts to quit smoking.
Cancer Council Victoria researcher, Professor Melanie Wakefield, said before plain packaging about 20 per cent of people made attempts to quit over the course of a month.
“After plain packaging, that went up to nearly 27 per cent of people who made quit attempts,” she said.

Professor Wakefield said the enlarged warnings also had an major impact on smokers.…
Smokers surveyed a year after the new packs were introduced were more likely to conceal their packs from view, stub out their cigarettes prematurely and attempt to quit.
The large graphic warnings on cigarette packs also put young people off, with the appeal of cigarette packs and brands decreasing significantly.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-18/brazilian-study-finds-breastfed-babies-are-more-intelligent/6330234

A study that followed 3,500 newborns over 30 years has found that babies who are breastfed are more intelligent and that the boost in intelligence persists into adulthood.

The research was published today in the Lancet Global Health journal.
Study author Dr Bernardo Horta is an epidemiologist based at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil.
His study looked at data from people born in Pelotas in 1982.
They were followed from birth until reaching their 30s and measured regularly along the way.

“Those subjects who had been breastfed for 12 months or more had a higher performance in IQ as well as a higher monthly income and a higher education … a better school achievement,” Dr Horta said.

The study found that babies breastfed for less than a month were 3.7 points behind the IQ result of babies breastfed for more than 12 months.
Dr Horta found this advantage continued into adulthood.
“What I could say is, as long as you [are] breastfed, [the] higher your IQ,” he said.
Income levels were also higher for the breastfed, the equivalent of upwards of US$100 a month in the Brazilian study.
“We should really think that breast is the best, and the mothers should try to breastfed as long as possible,” Dr Horta said.

The researchers were able to find women whose decision to breastfeed was not based on social class, income or education.
But Doctor Horta acknowledged that the quality of baby formula and the water that is mixed with it varies throughout the world.
Most importantly he said for parents or indeed children who may be concerned by the outcome of his study, there are many other factors, besides breastfeeding, which contribute to a person’s intelligence.

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