Australia: Health & Medicine
16 views | +0 today
Follow
Australia: Health & Medicine
A Snap Shot View of The Australian Advancements in Health, Medicine, and Research
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Australian Intervention for Hep C

Australian Intervention for Hep C | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
MORE than 130,000 people will benefit from new and extended medicine subsidies through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

With approximately three hundred thousand Australians suffering from the virus, Hepatitis C has eclipsed HIV and AIDs as the number one viral cause of morbidity, as well as the leading reason for liver transplants. Currently, the Australian government has employed many mechanisms of prevention and treatment for the virus, with the main one differing from the American health care approach: needle and syringe programs. The Australian assumption is that since contaminated needles is the number one reason for infection, if people who were using were at least given clean and proper tools, it would prevent the disease from spreading since it’s not like people who aren’t using the needles from recreational purposes would suddenly decide to just because they were government provided. While in America, this method is not employed due to the assumption that offering clean needles would encourage people to start or continue use instead of finding counseling or quitting substance abuse. It is a system used for those already using and not stopping just to have a safer method.  

 

Another push the government is trying to make is by adding two of the main preventative and curative drugs, Boceprevir and Telaprevir, to the PBS list so that they are more economical and attainable consumer products. Approved for listing in February of this year, the drugs are believed to double the cure rate and shorten the treatment by six months, hoping to prevent chronic life-threatening diseases such as hepatocelluar carcinoma and liver failure. Costing up to seventy-eight thousand dollars per year without subsidies from the government, most of these medications would be entirely unattainable to most of the patients. Since there is no preventative vaccination like the other strands of hepatitis, it is important that Australians are given proper education on prevention, and proper access to treatment if the virus is contracted.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Australian Pregnancies Impacted by Obesity

Australian Pregnancies Impacted by Obesity | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
OBESE mothers tend to have kids who become obese. Now provocative research suggests weight-loss surgery may help break that unhealthy cycle in an unexpected way - by affecting how their children's genes behave.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

Obesity is a major health epidemic in most urbanized modern countries, and Australia is no exception. Resulting in complications of anything from diabetes to liver failure, Australia is taking a proactive approach to the health care crisis by targeting one group in particular: expectant mothers. One of the studies done looked at how the genes of the children responded to mothers who underwent gastric bypass surgery prior to a planned pregnancy. Studies found that those woman who are obese or overweight at the time of their pregnancy have higher levels of sugar and fat in the bloodstream, which negatively impacts the metabolism of the baby in the womb. When comparing children’s genetics to parents within the womb, they found that younger siblings typically have a more difficult time over coming these fetal-environmental settings, and consequently are more likely to develop gene tags that result in diabetes or heart disease. What researchers have done is a comprehensive study that evaluates how the children whose mother underwent the bypass surgery prior to pregnancy, and how the additive of genetic ‘tags’ to eliminate the child from over absorbing their mother’s high sugar and fat diet.

 

A huge epidemic, doctors and researchers alike are aware that pregnant obese women are just as negatively impacting on the baby as smoking during pregnancy. Of the nearly 6000 pregnant woman in Victoria alone, nearly two thirds are overweight, which is causing health care physicians to call for attention to the obesity issue. With obese pregnancies causing a more likely chance of still births or infant death within the first month, issues also arise that not just the babies, but mothers are at risk as well, with the likelihood of maternal mortality also correlating greatly with the obesity trend.

more...
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Australian Advancements in Cardiology

Australian Advancements in Cardiology | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
MEDICAL researchers have dramatically expanded the number of genes implicated in heart disease, in a landmark international study likely to point the way to future treatments.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

Currently much research is being done in the advancements of cardiology and heart improvement medicine. One study done by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research have been able to identify sixty two genes that control the level of cholesterol and fatty acids in the body. This research has lead doctors to evaluate the triglycerides impact on patients with heart disease: where it is a by-product of heart disease or a cause of in itself. This conclusively allowed researchers to demonstrate that there is no real reason to have heart patients on medication to lower triglycerides for the means of lowering the risk of heart disease.

 

Further cardiology research is being done to development a patch that can be used in adolescent heart patients in order to prevent holes in the pericardium lining and repair heart valves and blood vessels. Potentially lasting up to nine months, the patch, made from the cow heart membranes, is intended to allow pediatric patients to not require surgery for longer periods of time. Because of the non-degenerative nature of the patch, the material also allows less likely rates of cellular rejection in patients by allowing the patient’s own cells to populate and assimilate in the graft.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Abortion Medications in Australia

Abortion Medications in Australia | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
THE inclusion of controversial abortion drug RU486 on Australia's subsidised medication program has been labelled an "abuse of power" by pro-life supporters.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

In Australia, abortions are currently equated with the American abortion system, where is technically legal but there are many controversies over the issue. As of right now Mifepristone Linepharma (RU486) and GyMiso are the only two medications approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a non-surgical approach to abortion. However, currently the medications are only available at approximately 180 different medical clinics, but both drugs are necessary in order to complete the abortion and costs can go up to three hundred dollars. Intended to help prevent woman from pregnancies up to seven weeks in, the medicine is highly being pushed by activist Marie Stropes who, in hopes of making these medications a more attainable option for the average Australian woman, is trying to get the medications listed by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to reduce costs.

 

 Currently, there is an annual rate of 70,000 abortions in Australia, and only one in twenty employ the use of the abortion medication, which Stropes believes is due to the costs. In June of this year, Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek made a public demonstration of her advocacy towards the use of the pill. Plibersek furthered her support by insisting that it should in fact be on the PBS listing in order to make the pill a more economically feasible option, at a cost as low as 12.00 per unit. However, many pro-life supports believe that this is an abuse of power by the government, and is making it too easy for people to take the abortion option instead of taking responsibility for the actions and assuming their roles as parents. “The PBS should be for life saving drugs” is one of the main arguments against the PBS listing, suggesting that adding the drug goes against the entire purpose of the PBS assistance by adding a life-denying medication.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Australia on Euthanasia

Australia on Euthanasia | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
VOLUNTARY euthanasia advocates hope Tasmania will become the first state to legalise the practice after the introduction of new legislation jointly sponsored by the state's Labor Premier and its Greens leader.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

A highly debated topic in many cultures, Australia currently has divided public versus political views on euthanasia and the use of drugs with the explicit intent of assisted suicide. In February of 2013, brought to the forefront of the debate was physician Dr. Phillip Nitschke, when the nitrogenous Nembutal drug was found to be advertised as an option for assisted suicide for patients suffering from terminal illness or unmanageable pain. As a major supporter of physician assisted suicide, Dr. Nitschke fully believes that these drugs, through the elicit use of physician care in patient necessity and desire, allow an option for people that the Australia government is denying them of; even going so far as to make arrangements for his patients to be able to make trips to Switzerland to be able to acclaim their rights there, where euthanasia is legal.

 

In November of 2013, the proposed Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill will take the ballot in Tasmania in the advocate's hopes of becoming a revolutionary option for the people of Australia. Based on a current model of the assisted suicide bill in Oregon in America, euthanasia activists wish to see that there is a freedom given for choice in the ideas of life with an intolerable pain or fatal illness, so that this last resort option becomes one that can be accepted and planned for those patients. Premier Laura Giddings insists "Who are we to say to an independent, competent adult they must continue to live with pain and suffering, rather than allowing them to end their life at the time of their choosing?"

 

Currently, propositions in favor of euthanasia extend beyond the Tasmanian ballot, and are currently being debated in South Australia and Western Australia. However, a reform for this 'freedom' has yet to be enacted. While thorough plans have been made to try and create a proposal that is as "transparent" as possible, with confirmation from at least two doctors and humanly administered IV or tablet medication, even Dr. Nitschke is unoptimistic about the likelihood of this becoming a legalized option.

more...
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Stem cell research in Australia | ALRC

Stem cell research in Australia | ALRC | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

Currently, research in Australia as regulated by the Theraputic Goods Association and the Australian goverment does not inhibit the use of stem cell research and other potentially valuable contributions that can be derived from embryonic stem cell research. Set standards and protocols have been laid into play by the Australian Goverment and Medical Associations board regarding derivation and extraction of stem cells, but insofar as the cells are extracted according to Ethical Guidelines on Assisted Reproductive Technology and National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans guildlines, both publically and privately funded research may be done.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Australia Research and Awareness of Diabetes

Australia Research and Awareness of Diabetes | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
YOUNG people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to die from the disease as those with type 1 diabetes, a new study shows.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

Coinciding with the issue of obesity comes the co-morbidity of Diabetes, with type two Diabetes, (caused by life style choices, and not inherently acquired) being a main epidemic issue of modern society. Doctors have found that in a comprehensive study of diabetic patients at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, nearly three hundred and fifty patients who were diagnosed with early on-set type two diabetes had a twice as likely chance of dying comparing to their type one counterparts, despite identical treatment and care. Due to the extensive nature of diabetes, doctors are trying to make sure it is known that is in fact a very serious health problem, and that type two should be given just as much attention as type one diabetes, particularly due to its cardiovascular implications.

 

Hoping to make it a more comprehensive and easily treated medical condition, researches in Australia have been working on making the use of insulin injections and insulin products more consumer friendly. One study done in Melbourne unveiled the chemical process in which insulin binding takes place within the blood stream hormone receptors. By understanding the protein and hormone binding patterns, insulin can more readily be developed into products that are less painful for injection and provide longer lasting, more effective results for patients. Due to the differences in the two different types of diabetes, the understanding of insulin folding will allow both types to be looked at individually. The Type one diabetes comes as a result of a failure to produce insulin all together, while type two diabetes results from a cellular miscommunication in ligand binding, making the insulin reshape when coming into contact with the protein receptor.

more...
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Cancer Research and Funding in Australia

Cancer Research and Funding in Australia | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
TARGETING specific cells in the body can reverse the effects of cancer on the immune system, West Australian researchers say.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

In regards to cancer research, Australia, like many other nations, is taking a head on approach to research and government funding towards it through many different avenues. Currently, Australia has set up relations for cancer drug research in China’s Sun Yat-sen University's Laboratory of Cancer and Stem Cell Biology in Guangzhou. Taking a very interdisciplinary approach, the nations plan to work together to find a common goal of fostering stem cell research to develop drugs intended for chemotherapeutic purposes. On the domestic side of cancer research, in western Australia, researchers have found a cell that allows them to target the immunosuppressant state of elderly cancer patients and re stimulate it’s activity. Through the use of macrophage cellular communication, the researchers were able to restorer age-related and tumor-induced immuno-dysfunction. While this research holds its stance in regards to just immune system revitalizing, the research actually offers the ability to essentially make cells young again and rebuild immune systems of those with any type of auto-immune disorder.

 

The Australian government is doing their part as well to help promote continued research and education in the field of oncology. Prime Minister Julia Gillard fully supports the idea of intranational data sharing and collection, as to create a baseline and evaluative system of understanding the new researches implications and the effectiveness of their studies. The government plans to spend 2.4 million dollars over the next four years to help with the improvement of data collection alone. Further, research funding has gone into the millions to help out with the cause, with even eighteen and a half million being allocated to prostate cancer research at locations such as the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney, and Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

more...
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

Australian Government's take on the Right to Religion or Medicine

Australian Government's take on                  the Right to Religion or Medicine | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
A “HIGHLY intelligent” Sydney boy just four months shy of his 18th birthday has lost his bid to refuse life-saving blood transfusion treatment.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

Suffering from Hodgkin’s disease there is currently a teenage Jehovah witness cancer victim in Australia who is trying to fight the New South Wales Court into entitlement over his own right to refuse treatment. Only four months from turning 18, the boy is in need of blood transfusions that without, Doctors believe would leave him with such severe anemia that he would only have a twenty percent chance of living. Due to his religious affiliations the boy however refuses to accept the treatments, even going as far as legal action to reclaim his entitlement to his own treatments, going so far as to claim that receiving the blood transfusions would be “akin to rape”.

 

For this case, the Judge Justice Ian Gzell denied the appeal of the boy, insisting that despite his close age to being legally declared an adult, the doctors had the authority to continue treatment. Though the judge understood the claims of the teen and realizes that in a short time he would be able to legally make his own decision to deny treatment, for the time being the ruling would stand. “The sanctity of life in the end is a more powerful reason for me to make the orders than is respect for the dignity of the individual,” Justice Gzell  had defended as his reasoning for the boy’s denial of appeal. Further, prior cases in 2009 regarding a Jehovah witness woman who had internal bleeding had set a precedent that had she had accepted treatment, doctors believe would have survived. The judge of that case insisted, like Gzell, that “rigid adherence to that doctrine [of refusal of treatment] and brings me to recommend, perhaps forlornly, that the Jehovah Witness Governing Body and its elders give consideration to a relaxation of its doctrine."

more...
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

How Australia Meets the Need for Organ Donation

How Australia Meets the Need for Organ Donation | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it
A WHOLE functioning kidney has been grown in a laboratory for the first time, offering hope to thousands of dialysis patients - and it could pave the way for livers, lungs, kidneys and hearts to be made to order.
Tabitha Michaud's insight:

Currently there is a major deficit in the Australia for the number of people waiting for kidney transplants in relation to the number of people waiting to receive a donation. However, ethical concerns arise from the potential that the deficit may stem from something beyond just a sheer lack of people willing to donate. Further the number of patients receiving dialysis versus the number of patients who are listed also has major discrepancies, with many people suggesting that a comprehensive review of the evaluation criteria needs to be defined, and not just strictly based on the discrepancies of the transplant physician. 

 

In efforts to minimize the discrepancies of organ donors versus recipients, research has been conducted for applicable purposes of engineering kidney cells into comprehensive fully functioning kidneys. This was done by ejecting blood-vessel and rat kidney cells into a blank organ scaffold and incubated to grow renal grafts that within two weeks were able to filter blood and pass through urine. Ideally this research will be applicable to the development of human graft through the use of recipient stem cells and also through application of deceased donor cells. The ideal use of the cells would come from the recipients themselves, as to ensure that the patients would be less likely to experience rejection episodes and be placed back on dialysis or the donor list.

 

The government has also taken the concern of the desperate need for organs into their own hands by offering living donors six week minimum paid wages, with over a 1.3 million dollar budget being enacted to try and promote the gift of donation from potential living donors. With close to 1100 people waiting currently on the list, and thousands more on dialysis, the approximate 250 donations that will be done this year do not meet the needs of the Australian populations.

more...
Scooped by Tabitha Michaud
Scoop.it!

'Mini brain' grown from human stem cells

'Mini brain' grown from human stem cells | Australia: Health & Medicine | Scoop.it

Neuroectodermal cells offer the ability to grow organoids of brains with the capability to perform primitive functional properties, offering oppurtunity for revolutionizing implications of neurological implimentations.

Tabitha Michaud's insight:

With the Australian government and medical ethic team in favor of research through stem cells, Australian neurologists have found the use of neuroectodermal stem cells provides the ability to construct a prototype-like demonstration of the human brain at nine weeks embryonic development. With the capability of firing neurons, primitive cranial regions and retina development, the team of researches were able to create functional regions, including the cerebral cortex, in 4 millimeter 'organoid' units. Use of these micro-organs will be supplemental in the ability to use the brains for testing in neurological medications and surgical impacts, as well as for the use of understanding the developmental disorder processes of illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism. Further, this research provides crucial beginning stepping stones as to the development of cranial regions that could be used in replacement surgical procedures. However, limitations do arise such that replacement portions are a projection for far in the future due to intricate nature of the interwoven complexity of brain regions.

 

While this research is makes a remarkable impact in the extensive nature of being able to grow an organ with such complex functional units, there are limitations to this very early portion of the growth ability. Medical ethics teams are concerned as to the real implications of the ability in the predictive nature due to the under-expose that the organ will have in regards to externally induced stimulation; these organs will be limited to only internally organized structures that lack the growth that would come about from visual stimuli (such as in retina development). While anatomically the development of the micro-organ will give much insight into growth and development in the embryonic to fetal stages, understanding the cognitive capacities and other non-morphological principles will not be a likely product of the research.

more...
No comment yet.