The News – 4 August 2014

Overview

  • Two Toowoomba doctors killed in the MH17 Malaysia Airlines disaster have been remembered as dedicated doctors and “beautiful” people at a memorial service in their home town.
  • The highly mobile nature of WA’s population is being blamed for increased rates of HIV infection in the state over the past decade.
  • The highly mobile nature of WA’s population is being blamed for increased rates of HIV infection in the state over the past decade.


Stories Discussed
The news on Health Professional Radio. Today is 4th August 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-03/mh17-memorial-service-for-toowoomba-doctors/5644236

Two Toowoomba doctors killed in the MH17 Malaysia Airlines disaster have been remembered as dedicated doctors and “beautiful” people at a memorial service in their home town.

Doctor Roger Guard was the head of the Toowoomba Base Hospital pathology unit and had worked for Queensland Health for 44 years.

His wife, Jill, was a general practitioner in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.

The couple were returning from a European holiday and a medical conference when the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine on July 18.

Toowoomba Hospital Foundation CEO Peter Rookas said the Guards’ deaths had devastated many of the city’s residents, especially those within the medical fraternity.

Mr Rookas told those attending the service in Toowoomba he wanted the occasion to be a celebration of the couple’s lives. …

Mr Rookas said Roger Guard was a passionate person who was very dedicated to his work in the Toowoomba pathology unit.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio, who also spoke at the gathering, delivered a message of solidarity to the Guards’ family members.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-03/travel-blamed-for-increasing-rate-of-hiv-in-wa/5633166

The highly mobile nature of WA’s population is being blamed for increased rates of HIV infection in the state over the past decade.

The number of West Australians diagnosed with HIV has more than doubled in 10 years, with 119 new cases reported last year, slightly down from a high of 121 the previous year.

Speaking at the HIV and Mobile Populations conference in Perth, acting director general of the Health Department, Bryan Stokes, said the rising infection rate was partly because of the mobile nature of the WA population.

This included travel to South-East Asia for business and pleasure, the prevalence of fly-in, fly-out workers (FIFO), the high number of people coming to the state to live and work, and the scattered nature of rural and remote towns.

Dr Stokes said WA’s pattern of HIV infection was more complicated than those of other states.

Senior research fellow at the Australian research Centre for Sex, Health and Society Graham Brown said WA’s resource boom was a significant contributing factor.

“HIV and issues of mobility became more evident in WA in the lead up to and during the resource boom,” he said.

“When the community has a resource boom, there is more money and there is more travel generally.”

However, he said it was not all about FIFO workers.

Dr Brown said those contracting HIV overseas were usually older, more experienced travellers who did not consider themselves at risk.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-03/australian-scientists-make-breakthrough-in-treating-kids-cancer/5644378

Australian scientists treating the most common form of childhood cancer have made an important breakthrough in understanding what drives it to grow.

Children with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system, are often diagnosed once the cancer is already advanced.

While survival rates for most childhood cancers are quite high, neuroblastoma survival rates are around 50 per cent and have not improved for a decade.

Professor Glenn Marshall from the Children’s Cancer Institute and his team have discovered a gene linked to the cause of neuroblastoma that could provide new targets for cancer therapy.

The team’s work has shown that junk DNA is involved in causing neuroblastoma.

Dr Tao Lui from the Children’s Cancer Institute discovered that a new long non-coding RNA plays an important part in the formation of neuroblastoma tumours.

“I started researching a particular RNA that didn’t yet have a name, as it had never been studied before,” he said.

Dr Lui said a study of neuroblastoma tumours showed a direct link between poor survival rates and a higher level of this particular RNA.

Scientists already know that another gene, MYCN, contributes to the progression of neuroblastoma.

Professor Marshall says his team is already testing a potential treatment in the laboratory based on the discovery.

“Dr Lui’s study has improved our understanding of what leads to the development of neuroblastoma and uncovered another potential target for this rare but devastating illness,” he said.

The research has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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