Aspirin wards off bowel cancer and strokes
A low daily dose of aspirin could ward off bowel cancer, even for those not at high risk of the disease, according to a study reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. The study found a 24% reduced risk for people taking the drug daily for 3‒5 years which rose to 31% for those taking the drug for 5‒10 years. The Sydney Morning Herald also reported that Australian research shows aspirin can reduce strokes and heart attack.

Call for senate inquiry into deregistration
Federal MP Warren Entsch is calling for a Senate inquiry into the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ power to influence whether or not doctors recruited from overseas can be registered to practise here, according to the ABC. The call follows the recent deregistration of UK-trained cardiologist Dr Roger Chatoor. Also, international medical graduates who moved to Australia before 2008 are now required to sit a uniform national test which, according to another ABC report, some are failing.

Measles outbreak alert
Health authorities are asking those born during or after 1966 to check if they received two doses of MMR (measles–mumps–rubella) vaccine amid a spate of measles outbreaks across the eastern seaboard, according to the ABC. It reported that doctors are worried that a pandemic in South Africa during the World Cup is spreading across the Indian Ocean.

Fluvax side effects worse than the flu
Public health experts want an independent body to monitor drug safety following an analysis of the flu vaccine that showed young children were more likely to end up in hospital from its side effects than they were from the disease itself, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The analysis also raises concerns about the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s assessment of the vaccine which caused more than 1000 adverse responses in children under five.


Ambulance queue reached crisis point
Western Australia’s health system reached crisis point on Wednesday when more than half of Perth’s ambulance fleet were forced to wait outside hospitals because of overcrowding, the ABC reported. At one point, 26 ambulances were ramped outside major public hospitals, according to the report. Emergency measures were taken including cancelling some non-urgent surgeries.

Means testing of private rebates revived
THE Gillard government is planning to reintroduce into Parliament a means test on the 30% private health insurance rebate, according to a report in The Australian. The paper said the means test would start at an annual income of $75 000 for singles and $150 000 for couples.

Victorian state hospitals fail seriously ill patients

A state government report shows that an increasing number of Victoria’s sickest patients are waiting too long for urgent surgery because hospitals cannot keep up with demand, according to The Age. The report said that, in the past financial year, 63 people with serious health problems, including heart, lung and brain conditions, waited longer than the government’s 30-day benchmark for urgent procedures.

Fertility tourism warning
A large increase in the availability of fertility treatments in the developing world has not been matched by clinical and safety standards, fertility experts are warning. According to the ABC, a recent report says one-third of the 103 nations surveyed with IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) services operate without legislative or voluntary guidelines.

Childbirth causes PTSD in 6% of mothers
Research from Griffith University has found that 6% of Australian women go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder after giving birth, according to the ABC. Difficult or distressing births could have a profoundly negative effect on the mother, it reported.

Australian joins hip replacement lawsuit
Last month, a high failure rate forced Johnson and Johnson to make a worldwide product recall of its artificial hip, and a Brisbane man is the first Australian to join a potential multimillion-dollar US lawsuit relating to the recall. According to an ABC report, the man says he will have the faulty device replaced next month because he has been told he is at risk of major complication.

Posted 20 September 2010

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