Students call for new national body to manage internship shortage

Australian medical students want a national authority to be created to manage the shortfall in hospital internships, the ABC reported. Full-fee paying overseas students are now missing out, and hundreds more local graduates are expected to miss out on intern placements in the next two years.  The AMA is hosting an emergency summit to tackle the problem  next month.

Heart rate drug cuts mortality

The heart rate lowering drug, ivabradine, can reduce the risk of death in people with heart failure by a quarter, according to Swedish-led research that is expected to change standard treatment. According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, the drug, more commonly used to treat angina, lowered heart rate from 80 beats per minute to an average of 65, compared with 75 in those taking placebo. Ivabradine was given in addition to standard anti-hypertensive treatment (mainly beta-blockers).

Flu spike on the way say virologists

It’s not too late to vaccinate say virologists watching New Zealand trends. In an ABC news report they say Australia usually follows New Zealand by a couple of weeks, and potent strains of influenza are on the way. Swine flu remains predominant, but several other flu viruses are also circulating.

US judge blocks stem cell research

Researchers were shocked last week after a federal district judge last week blocked the Obama administration’s order that expanded embryonic stem cell research, according to The New York Times. They say it may render all scientific work regarding embryonic stem cells illegal. An appeal is to be lodged.

Virus linked to chronic fatigue

A study has found further links between a virus and chronic fatigue syndrome. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, researchers found 32 out of 37 chronic fatigue sufferers tested positive for the murine leukaemia virus-related virus, while the virus was detectable in only 3 of 44 controls.


Sonic reports profit growth

Pathology and radiology firm Sonic Healthcare posted a net profit of $293.2 million in the year to 30 June 2010, a rise of 71% on the previous year. The company expects growth will continue this current year, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It said its Australian pathology margins had, however, shrunk following the cuts to Medicare fees in November 2009.

Ebola treatment to be tested on humans

US authorities have given the go ahead for human volunteers to be tested with a new treatment for the African Ebola virus after research published in Nature Medicine showed success in the treatment of infected rhesus monkeys. According to the report by the ABC, a companion drug also shielded monkeys against the Marburg virus. These viruses cause fatal haemorrhagic fever and are feared as potential weapons of bioterrorism.

Country people missing out

Country people are more likely to die from cancer, may wait 4 weeks to see a doctor and get a lower share of Medicare spending, according to a report last week in the Sydney Morning Herald. Rural health spokesman Gordon Gregory expects this to change thanks to the elevation of three country independent MPs who are now pivotal to the election outcome.

Swine flu

An antigenic similarity has been found between the 2009 H1N1 virus, which caused the first human flu pandemic in four decades, and the lethal 1918 Spanish flu, according to WHO swine flu expert Professor Anne Kelso, The Age has reported. The Spanish flu swept the globe in waves and now a second wave of swine flu is underway.

Hung parliament bad for health

A critic of Labor’s plans said last week that a hung parliament would prove “paralytic” for health reform. John Dwyer, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of NSW, also said that a Coalition minority government would offer the least hope for easing pressures on the health system, according to a report in The Australian.

Vitamin D’s big role in genes
Vitamin D influences more than 200 genes, including some that play a role in serious autoimmune conditions and cancer, Oxford University researchers have found. According to The West Australian, scientists mapped 2776 points where the vitamin interacts with elements of DNA, and showed the extent to which vitamin D protected against a wide range of diseases.

Posted 30 August 2010

2 thoughts on “Health headlines

  1. Shashidhar Venkatesh Murthy says:

    Yes, this is genuine and urgent to be tackled at national level. Also being a full time academic at medical school I foresee bigger problem in teaching students due to lack of specialists. As next decade sees massive increase in graduating medical students, lack of specialists and training places will be disastrous. My suggestion is urgent formation of national body for assesment of specialist training.

    Dr. Shashidhar
    Assoc. Prof

  2. ARC says:

    Having personally experience the public health system, twice in one month, firstly as a trauma victim at the Alfred Hosp. Melb. and for treatment for my grandson at Dandenong Hosp. I have come to the conclusion, that not only is the health system in total crisis, but it is delivering poor quality, third world standard treatment as well. Over a 44 year period I have seen a gradually and continuous decline in the ability of the system to cope with the numbers of patients who present for treatment.
    Waiting times have now blown out of proportion with patients in pain and often serious conditions having to wait many hours before treatment arrives.
    The problem is due to lack of sufficient well trained doctors and to a lack of equipment.
    The Alfred has only one MRI machine which is so busy that patients may have to wait up to 72 hours or more to have their examination. For a major trauma hospital this is totally unexceptable.
    It is time that both factions of government stop pussyfooting about with the health system and get their act together. If this means throwing large sums of money into providing a first class treatment system, so be it. The public deserves nothing less.

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