The Rounds - Updates in Healthcare

By ahhb
Tuesday, 22 March, 2016

Farting signals good health
Farting indicates that our bodies are hosting the right kinds of bugs, according to Dr Trevor Lockett, Head of the Gut Health and Nutrition Group at CSIRO Food and Nutrition. A component of high fibre foods known as resistant starch makes it through to the large intestine where it feeds healthy bacteria, producing gas and molecules such as butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that can reduce inflammation. Dr Lockett recently presented an update on his group’s latest research at ‘Bugs, Bowels and Beyond’, at the Australian Society for Medical Research conference held in Adelaide, South Australia.

Cancer drug licensed in $730m deal
A promising new cancer drug, developed in Australia with partners at the Cancer Therapeutics CRC, has been licensed to US pharmaceutical company Merck in a deal worth $730 million.
The drug, which was developed with support from the UK-based Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research Technology, has potential clinical applications in both cancer and blood disorders where there are no effective treatment options available.

40% Risk Reduction for Ovarian Cancer
A University of Queensland gynaecological researcher and cancer surgeon is urging women facing hysterectomy to consider removal of their fallopian tubes to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer. The Queensland Centre for Gynaecological Cancer(QCGC) Research Director, Professor Andreas Obermair, said women should be aware of the new option for preventing ovarian cancer. “Research emerging from the United States and Canada has shown that up to half of all ovarian cancers arise in the fallopian tubes rather than in the ovaries,” he said. “This means that women who opt to remove their fallopian tubes can reduce their risk by up to forty per cent.”
(UQ School of Medicine)

3D Bioprinting - the shape of things to come
The severe shortage of donor organs and tissues is worsening yearly due to the ageing population. At the Medical Manufacturers Innovations conference in Florida, May 17-19, Dr Anthony Atala will present his team’s latest work with stem cells and 3D bioprinting that is offering novel therapy potential for patients with tissue injury and organ failure. “The ultimate promise of regenerative medicine is not just to help manage disease but to really improve the lives or even provide a cure,” Dr. Atala said.
- Wipo Magazine.

New Australian Healthcare Atlas
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has released the first Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation, identifying variation in health care provision in antibiotic prescribing, surgical, mental health and diagnostic services across Australia. It is the first time that data from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set (APC NMDS) have all been used to explore variation across different healthcare settings.

Valerie-Gay-and-Peter-Leijdekkers-photo-for-Amazing-Speakers-page-DHS16Reconnecting Communities
How do we bring older people together and build community resilience? And how can we empower people who have been disconnected? Researchers from the UTS mHealth Lab, Associate Professor Valerie Gay and Dr Peter Leijdekers are developing Le Bon Samaritain, or SAM for short - a community-based care model supported by technology that integrates health, wellbeing, community and emergency services. It is designed to create an online community for people who live geographically close to each other either in their own homes or in a residential aged care or retirement village. Professor Gay and Dr Leijdekers will present their platform at The Digital Health Show, April 1-3, Horden Pavilion, Sydney.

Condoms and gloves as fine as hair
Fibres from the Australian native spinifex grass are being used to improve latex that could be used to make condoms and surgical gloves as thin as a human hair without any loss in strength. Researchers from The University of Queensland have developed a method of extracting flexible nanocellulose, from the grass. This means a supple, stronger and thinner membrane which is the holy grail for natural rubber.

Is your Smartphone Sick? Smart phones have changed how hospitals operate but they have a downside. A Tasmanian study reveals that doctors and nurses that share mobile phones in wards to get lab results and coordinate care are actually putting their patients at risk by spreading disease and infection. 5 percent of phones tested grew pathogenic bacteria. Tim Greenaway, president of the AMA said medical personnel should disinfect not only their hands, equipment and clothing but also their smart phones.
- Safety Culture, OHS News.

Fresh Science nominations open
Fresh Science is a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery. The program takes up-and-coming researchers with no media experience and turns them into spokespeople for science, giving them a taste of life in the limelight, with a day of media training and a public event in their home state. Nominations for Fresh Science 2016 are now open with the competition getting underway in May & June in May & June in every state where funding can be secured.

High IQ kids improve with sleep
Parents are being encouraged to take notice if their child is snoring loudly at night. A study in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology suggests doctors and parents should pay attention to symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea in bright, high-performing children as well as those who struggle in school. Children with sleep apnoea can stop breathing for a few seconds or tens of seconds. This can happen hundreds of times during the night leading to sleepiness during the day. This study found that the behaviour of 147 children whose sleep apnoea was corrected by adenotonsillectomy, improved regardless of IQ and school performance.
(University of Michigan)

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