The News – 6 August 2014

Overview

  • MRI scans could be a ‘game-changer’ in prostate cancer testing. Urologists at St Vincent’s Prostate Cancer Centre in Sydney have found MRI scans are 97 per cent effective at detecting when patients do not have prostate cancer.
  • The Royal Adelaide Hospital has denied the doors to its emergency department were blocked to prevent access during a busy period.
  • Careless use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic in the 1950s created a “hypervirulent” strain of bacterium that worsened risks for newborn babies, according to an international study.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 6th August 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-05/mri-could-be-game-changer-prostate-cancer-test/5650280

Men with positive prostate cancer blood tests could avoid risky biopsies in the future, thanks to new research.

Urologists at St Vincent’s Prostate Cancer Centre in Sydney have found MRI scans are 97 per cent effective at detecting when patients do not have prostate cancer.

The research published in the Journal of Urology has been labelled a “game-changer”.

Lead investigator Associate Professor Phillip Stricker said the findings were important because many men received false positive results to the prostate cancer blood test, known as the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test.

The St Vincent’s study looked at 150 men over the age of 40 with positive PSA tests. The average age was 62 years old.

• …

They all underwent MRI scans.

Dr Stricker said the results also mean healthy men could avoid the problems associated with biopsies.

Currently the only men who can have an MRI scan are those that can afford it.

The Urological Society of Australian and New Zealand is preparing a submission to get Medicare funding for MRIs for prostate checks.

Dr Stricker, who ran the study, said spending about $600 on an MRI could save the Government in the long run.

MRI scans also help doctors detect very small cancers and take accurate biopsies.

However, Professor Frydenburg said there was still more work to be done before MRI scans could be offered more routinely to men with an abnormal PSA blood test.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-05/royal-adelaide-hospital-denies-emergency-department-blocked/5648844?section=sa

The Royal Adelaide Hospital has denied the doors to its emergency department were blocked to prevent access during a busy period.

The Ambulance Employees Association said paramedics had to treat several patients in ambulances on Sunday night while waiting for space in the emergency area.

The hospital denied the doors were barricaded, saying security vision shows a linen trolley was near the doors but it was not being used as a barricade.

Director of the emergency department Professor Geoff Hughes says all emergency beds were full and medical consultants were sent out to the front doors to help patients who were waiting.

He says there was no attempt to stop patients from being brought indoors.

South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling said it was regrettable the hospital became so busy.

He said he was willing to sit down with the Ambulance Employees Association to discuss “ramping” concerns.

Opposition health spokesman Stephen Wade said he was concerned the reports about “ramping” at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on Sunday night seem inconsistent.

“The hospital claims the closure was for two hours, the ambulance officers say it was for seven,” he said.

“On one hand we’re hearing it’s because a trolley fell over, on the other hand we’re hearing it was phase four of an escalation strategy.

“The fact of the matter is the Government needs to be clear and consistent with the people.”

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/08/05/4061067.htm

Careless use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic in the 1950s created a “hyper-virulent” strain of bacterium that worsened risks for newborn babies, according to an international study.

Today’s strain of Streptococcus agalactiae results from massive overuse of tetracycline in the post-World War II antibiotics boom, they report in the journal Nature Communications.

Strains of the microbe that were sensitive to tetracycline were wiped out, leaving behind a dominant, resistant superstrain that is dangerous for newborn babies without careful preventive care.

S. agalactiae is a common bacterium that colonises the intestines or urinary-genital tract. Between 15 and 30 per cent of people carry the germ but the vast majority of them do not fall ill from it.

But the bacterium can be dangerous to newborns if they are exposed to it through infected fluids during delivery, be it vaginal or caesarean.

Called Group B Strep (GBS), infection can lead to potentially fatal pneumonia, meningitis and blood infection.

The new study unravelled the genetic code of 229 samples of S. agalactiae dating from 1950 to the present day, enabling the scientists to draw up a family tree of the bacterium and its evolution.

The probe revealed a “hypervirulent” strain called CC17 that began to emerge in the early 1960s, also coinciding with a worrying surge in GBS cases around the world including Australia.

Today, GBS is still the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in neonates, says study co-lead author Dr Mark R Davies of the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre at the University of Queensland.

The impact (of tetracycline abuse) is being felt today, even though tetracycline is no longer in general use, says Philippe Glaser of the Pasteur Institute.

The risk from GBS is fought by screening the mother-to-be for the germ through swab samples from the vagina and rectum.

Doctors usually prescribe safe oral antibiotics such as penicillin or cephalexin to kill the streptococcus before delivery. In western countries, GBS infections today roughly one in every 2000 births.

The investigation highlights the peril of mindless use of antibiotics, say researchers from the Pasteur Institute.

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!