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University of NSW develops "dialysis for cancer" system

University of NSW develops "dialysis for cancer" system | Medical Services | Scoop.it

A NEW system that dramatically lowers the cost of cancer treatment has been developed by a team at the University of New South Wales.


The biochip filters the blood to identify and then remove cancer cells, in a system the team calls "dialysis for cancer".


Initially the NSW University team was looking for a cheaper and less painful way to diagnose cancer.


At the moment, the way a tumour is identified in a body is with a scan and then a biopsy.


But solid cancers, which make up about 99 per cent of human cancers, also shed what are called circulating tumour cells into the bloodstream, which is how the cancer metastasizes, or spreads through the body.


Dr Majid Warkiani and his team at NSW University created a biochip that is able to separate the cancerous cells, which are larger and more flexible than healthy cells, and identify them.

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Australia's First Hangover Clinic Opens In Sydney

Australia's First Hangover Clinic Opens In Sydney | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The nation’s first IV hydration Hangover Clinic has just opened in Sydney, offering wealthy boozers a way to dodge the post-christmas party headache and nausea.


Offering a range of treatments from $140 – $200, with packages that include having saline, sodium, minerals, vitamins, oxygen and anti-nausea medication pumped through your blood, the clinic is targeting time poor drink loving professionals with money to spare to get rid of the DTs before the 9 o’clock meeting.


Already popular in New York, Las Vegas, London and San Francisco, Sydney with its culture of binge drinking and surplus of affluent residents was a logical choice as the next market, despite the recent lockout laws.


Health experts aren’t quite as excited about this as drinkers are though, as Fairfax reports, with chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia Michael Moore (not the guy who made Bowling For Columbine) saying the practice “encourages people to use alcohol in an entirely inappropriate way and it’s something the government should look at very, very carefully.”

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Plankton Farms harvests test algae crop for health supplement

Plankton Farms harvests test algae crop for health supplement | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The team behind a new aquaculture venture in Western Australia's Pilbara region is harvesting its first test crop of algae for the natural medicine market.


Plankton Farms, on the outskirts of Karratha, plans to grow 30 tonnes of algae annually in salt water ponds.


Once harvested, the algae will be dried and processed into a health supplement, as a powder or tablet.


Director Ian Tracton said the farm was growing an Australian species of micro-algae known as Dunaliella salina.


Mr Tracton, who founded the Sydney-based company InterClinical Laboratories, said the market for alternative medicines was growing, globally.

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App maker MedAdvisor shares jump on IPO

App maker MedAdvisor shares jump on IPO | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Shares in MedAdvisor, which has developed a software platform to help people manage medications, jumped on the first day of trading.


The company raised $5 million at 3 cents a share to further develop its MedAdvisor app and to bring ehealth services and GPs into the platform. The shares hit 5 cents each at the ASX opening today.


MedAdvisor, whose app reminds people when and which medicine to take and when they need to renew scripts, did a backdoor listing via a reverse takeover of Exalt Resources.  CEO Robert Read told Business Insider the company was well supported by its investors.


“We’ve had a very good start in terms of market penetration and now we’re going to scale that up,” he says. “What we’ve been amazed with is that 50% of Australians have a chronic disease. That’s a lot of people who are most likely on some sort of medication via prescription.”

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C​hance for new Alzheimer's disease treatment after uni research breakthrough

C​hance for new Alzheimer's disease treatment after uni research breakthrough | Medical Services | Scoop.it

A MAJOR breakthrough in Alzheimer's research could lead to new treatments.


University scientists have discovered how the illness destroys the ability for brain cells talk to each other.  Scientists have uncovered how synapses, the links between brain cells, are destroyed in the early stages of the degenerative brain condition.


Changes in the brain can occur up to 10 years before a person starts to show symptoms which begin mildly and gradually worsen over time.

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Alcohol sends hundreds of thousands into hospital each year

Alcohol sends hundreds of thousands into hospital each year | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Alcohol is sending hundreds of thousands of people to emergency departments each year, far outranking the scourge of ice, research on Australian and New Zealand hospitals has found.  The study – the largest of its kind – has prompted the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine to call for more lockout laws for licensed venues, to reduce the harm alcohol is causing across the country.


Chair of the college's public health committee, Diana Egerton-Warburton, said 9,600 patients were screened at a mix of eight large and small emergency departments over a week in December 2014 to see whether alcohol was involved in their attendance.


All of the patients were asked if alcohol had contributed to their illness or injury; whether they had been drinking in the previous six hours; and if someone else's alcohol intake had caused their problem. The staff caring for them were also asked if alcohol was involved.  The researchers found that one in 12 or eight per cent of all the presentations involved booze. In peak times (6pm Friday night to 6am Sunday morning) this increased to one in eight patients.


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Asthma costs Australia almost $28b every year, report finds

Asthma costs Australia almost $28b every year, report finds | Medical Services | Scoop.it

A report into the hidden costs of asthma in Australia has found the disease is costing the community almost $28 billion per annum.


Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects approximately one in 10 Australians, or 2.4 million people commissioned by Asthma Australia and the National Asthma Council Australia, the report by Deloitte highlights the growing economic impact of the condition on the government, families and carers.


The report estimated the total cost of asthma in Australia in 2015 was $27.9 billion, comprised of $3.3 billion in economic costs and $24.7 billion in "burden of disease" costs.

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Perth professor's ground-breaking vaccine aims to shrink cancer tumours

Perth professor's ground-breaking vaccine aims to shrink cancer tumours | Medical Services | Scoop.it

A Perth-based professor has developed a new vaccine that could be used to shrink cancerous tumours.


Professor Bruce Robinson, from the University of Western Australia, has discovered a way to use new immunotherapy and DNA sequencing techniques to fight tumours, and his research could have human trials within a year.


Professor Robinson's vaccine is based on the idea that the body's immune defense system fails to recognise cancer cells as a threat.  

By using a vaccine to "wake up" the immune system the body can fight back against the cancer naturally.

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Sleeping in on weekends linked to health problems

Sleeping in on weekends linked to health problems | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Before you brush aside your alarm clock for the weekend, you may want to rethink any extended morning snoozes (however glorious they may be).  Sleeping late on days-off—and other sleep-time adjustments—are linked to metabolic problems, including insulin resistance and a higher body mass index, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The finding suggests that regular sleep shifts could rouse long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the authors conclude.


Though other research has connected sleep disruptions to poor health, the new study is the first to specifically link shifts in dozing times to metabolic problems. Those problems were independent of other factors such as sleep disorders, smoking, and socioeconomic status.


Such weekly sleep changes may alone cause trouble by throwing off the body’s internal clocks, putting metabolic cycles out of sync with other circadian rhythms, the authors speculate. For instance, fat accumulation in tissues, food absorption in the gut, and insulin secretion in the pancreas and liver all show tissue-specific circadian rhythms, the authors note.

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Mothers space of entering dark depression

Mothers space of entering dark depression | Medical Services | Scoop.it

AFTER giving birth, some mothers stay at home with their children for years while others go back to work straight away.  Some try to make the best of both worlds by splitting their time between looking after the kids and working part-time.


Ultimately, the decision of whether to stay at home or go back to work is based on the needs and circumstances of each individual family.But whichever path is chosen, the mental health of new mums can suffer.


November 15-21 is Peri-natal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week, previously known as Post-natal Depression Awareness Week.

The name change reflects the importance of mental health support for parents during both pregnancy and after birth (the peri-natal period), rather than just postnatally, as the previous name suggested.


According to Peri-natal Depression and Anxiety Australia (PANDA), more than 14% of new mums are diagnosed with post-natal depression or anxiety every year.

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Scientists using primordial goo used to disguise medical implants

Scientists using primordial goo used to disguise medical implants | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Australian scientists are confident a goo-like substance that was instrumental in the creation of life on Earth also holds significant medical benefits. The molecules of the primordial goo, known as prebiotic compounds, date back billions of years.


The brown material was famously discovered when scientist Stanley Miller added an electric spark to gases in an experiment aimed at recreating the primordial conditions which gave rise to life on Earth. But no-one realised its possible medical applications until more than 50 years later, when scientists had a 'what if' chat in a nondescript corridor at the CSIRO.


"All the people working over the last 50 or 60 years in this field of prebiotic chemistry had not thought about this before. This discovery really is something that is exciting for us because it takes this entire field of prebiotic chemistry and all the developments in that field to an application, and in our particular case, to a biomedical application," said Helmut Thissen, a senior researcher with the CSIRO.

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Funding boost into research as 1 in 5 Australian children are obese

Funding boost into research as 1 in 5 Australian children are obese | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Research into childhood obesity has received a significant funding boost with the announcement of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Grants.


“At only five years old, 1 in 5 Australian children are overweight or obese, which is quite a startling figure. This may have implications for the rest of their life because early childhood is a period when physical inactivity and poor eating habits become established,” Professor Louise Baur A.M, Department Head of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s Clinical School said. 

The Australian Government awarded $2.4 million to fund a Centre for Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood that will aim to reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related behaviours in children aged 0-5 years. 

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UK doctors move to Australia for health aim

UK doctors move to Australia for health aim | Medical Services | Scoop.it

There is an exodus of doctors happening from NHS, UK, with medicos opting to go to Australia. Several doctors move each year to find better working conditions and higher pay in Australia, say those who have actually moved out. Besides, the present scenario in UK is giving more reasons to the docs to make the shift.

 

Though Australia has always been a preferred destination for doctors coming from UK as they can earn almost up to 50 percent more salary and that too by working for fewer hours, but the recent upheaval due to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s new contract proposals for the medics, is sure to escalate the trend further.

 

However, this trend seems alarming if we go by the statistics published only last week in UK which says that the country needs at least 26,500 doctors and 47, 700 nurses to match the OECD standards.


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Australia to host world-first trial of stem cell therapy treatment for Parkinson’s disease

Australia to host world-first trial of stem cell therapy treatment for Parkinson’s disease | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Australians with Parkinson’s disease will participate in a world-first trial of a possible stem cell therapy treatment, after a California-based company received permission to hold the study in Melbourne.


The Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia cleared the International Stem Cell Corporation’s (ISCC) submission to trial the treatment in twelve patients with moderate to severe Parkinson’s disease, the company announced today.


“Currently, there is no cure for PD, which is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and affects over seven million people worldwide,” the company’s statement read.


The trial will happen at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and will involve between 30 and 70 million neural cells being implanted into the participants’ brains.

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Pharmacists warn against cheap meds

Pharmacists warn against cheap meds | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The powerful pharmacists lobby warns pensioners they won't see any benefit if they buy discounted medicines.


The Pharmacy Guild fired the warning shot on Monday, after Chemist Warehouse announced it would discount prescription medicines by $1 from January 1.


Pharmacists have been required to charge set fees for prescription drugs - $6.10 for concession patients and $37.70 for general patients, although this will rise to $6.20 and $38.30 next year.


But in 2016 they'll have the option of providing a $1 discount, under the federal government's new $19 billion five-year agreement with pharmacists to dispense medicines listed on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.

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World AIDS Day: Majority of doctors believe pre-exposure prophylaxis will reduce HIV infection

World AIDS Day: Majority of doctors believe pre-exposure prophylaxis will reduce HIV infection | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Seventy-four per cent of doctors from around the world believe that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will be effective in reducing the number of HIV infections worldwide.


Prophylaxis refers to preventing or controlling the spread of an infection or disease. PrEP is a new HIV prevention method wherein people who don't have the infection take a pill every day to reduce their risk of becoming infected.


The poll was conducted among over 2,600 doctors by SERMO, a global social media network exclusively for doctors. It comes on the heels of a CDC report that shows approximately 1.2 million people should be taking PrEP. This includes 25 per cent of sexually active gay and bisexual adult men, nearly 20 percent of adults who inject drugs, and less than 1 per cent of heterosexually active adults.


In a poll of more than 1,200 doctors, SERMO found that 86 per cent would share information about PrEP with their patients and 91 per cent would recommend PrEP to an at-risk individual.

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Menopausal hormone therapy doubles breast cancer risk

Menopausal hormone therapy doubles breast cancer risk | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Women using hormone replacement therapy to deal with the difficult symptoms of menopause are twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those who have never used it, new research has shown.


The study by Cancer Council NSW was conducted with more 2,000 menopausal women.  But it has been questioned by one women's health expert, who has said the sample size was too small and biased.


Professor Karen Canfell, director of cancer research at Cancer Council NSW, said a significant proportion of women choose to use menopausal hormone therapy medications, which are effective at relieving specific symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats.

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RPH centrepiece of new East Metropolitan Health Service

RPH centrepiece of new East Metropolitan Health Service | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Royal Perth Hospital will be the centrepiece of a new East Metropolitan Health Service being created by the State Government.

Perth's health services are currently divided into north and south metro regions, with separate services for child and adolescent health, and country health services.


The Government said the new East Metropolitan Health Service will also include the new St John of God Midland Public Hospital, and hospitals in Bentley, Kalamunda and Armadale.


In a statement, Health Minister Kim Hames said the new service would help meet the increasing demand for services from expanding suburbs like Ellenbrook, Forrestfield and Canning Vale.

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Key findings made in fight against prostate cancer

Key findings made in fight against prostate cancer | Medical Services | Scoop.it

QUEENSLAND-LED genetic analysis of 40,000 prostate cancer cases has made key findings that could improve the accuracy of the biomarker test for prostate cancer worldwide.


The QUT study, funded by Cancer Council Queensland, found that adjustments must be made for single genetic variations in the PSA gene when interpreting PSA test results for a prostate cancer diagnosis.


"The genetic variations we have found definitely affect the PSA levels and so if we want to develop a robust test that's applicable to all ethnicities we need to identify the genetic variations with functional effect - it is time-consuming but we are making great progress," said Dr Jyotsna Batra of the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre Queensland.

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How smart people are being fooled by wellness gurus

How smart people are being fooled by wellness gurus | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Sarah Mathieson* just wanted the best chance to fall pregnant. So, she did what so many of us do. She researched her options, then visited a naturopath, who prescribed five bottles of supplements. And then, having developed joint pain, she went back ... and the naturopath prescribed another 16 bottles.


Dr Kerryn Phelps, a supporter of evidence-based complementary therapies and a former president of both the Australian Medical Association and the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association, treated Mathieson. "She came to see me saying she was feeling worse, terrible, achy, unwell." It turned out that Mathieson had ingested "toxic levels" of certain micronutrients.


Mathieson was one of the luckier ones. After stopping all of the supplements and taking a standard pre-pregnancy multivitamin, she went on to have a healthy pregnancy. But she is an example of a disturbing trend that Phelps sees in her practice: educated people – mostly women – falling victim to unqualified alternative health practitioners, many of whom they find online.

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Males more likely to avoid seeing a doctor

Males more likely to avoid seeing a doctor | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The inconvenience of going to the doctor is enough for 22 per cent of men to avoid it completely.


But men’s health and medical centres around the Border region have said that attitude has started to change for the better.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics’s 2014-15 Patient Experience Survey found 83 per cent of people saw a GP in the previous 12 months.  This included 88 per cent of females, compared to just 78 per cent of men.


Wodonga Men’s Shed chairman Alton Butt said being on the front foot with health was part of his organisation’s philosophy.


“The guys that I associate with, I think they’re very diligent with going,” he said.  “Especially in this day and age it’s so easy to go to a doctor.”


The number of people in the ABS survey who felt they waited longer than acceptable for an appointment fell to 21 per cent from 23 per cent in 2013-14.

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Myopia epidemic: Kids urged to drop devices and go outside – or risk blindness

Myopia epidemic: Kids urged to drop devices and go outside – or risk blindness | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Maxime Jalbert Locke has been told to spend more time outdoors. The 11-year-old has also been told to limit time on devices. The reason? He has been diagnosed with myopia.


When asked what caused his myopia, he said it was caused 'a bit' by looking at screens.  About 30 per cent of myopia is genetic.


"My mum is shortsighted, I blame her," Maxime said.

More than half of Australians will need glasses by 2050 to help them see distances.


The predicted increase would see Australian rates slightly exceed the world average, with many risking blindness from severe myopia if the rise isn't stopped.

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Skin cancer clinic or GP: Who is best to check a suspect skin spot?

Skin cancer clinic or GP: Who is best to check a suspect skin spot? | Medical Services | Scoop.it

So you've noticed a suspicious mole on your skin. You think it's changed in size, shape or colour, but you're not sure. Or you might have a worrying spot that is itchy or bleeds a bit.


You know you need to get it checked. But who's going to be your best bet? Your GP? Or a nearby skin cancer clinic (assuming there's one near you)?


Many people think a specialty skin cancer clinic, dedicated to checking and treating suspect spots, would be the better choice when compared to a GP who may see everything from sore throats to schizophrenia in the course of their day.

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Non-invasive surgery tenders hope to stroke patients

Non-invasive surgery tenders hope to stroke patients | Medical Services | Scoop.it

A surgical blood clot removal technique is offering major stroke patients a less invasive treatment option, a conference has heard.

Experts from across the globe have gathered at the 13th biannual World Federation of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology (WFITN) Congress on the Gold Coast to share ideas and new treatments.


The trial treatment of acute strokes allows doctors to remove blood clots in the brain through the blood vessels in the leg and groin. Congress organiser Dr Hal Rice said the technique was fast grabbing attention. "I believe this technology is the greatest development we've witnessed in our field. The success of these recent trials has reinforced the impact it is having on saving people's lives, he said.”



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NSW to perform first medical cannabis trials in the country

NSW to perform first medical cannabis trials in the country | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Premier Mike Baird is officially allowing researchers at the University of New South Wales (USNW) to conduct medical marijuana trials.


New South Wales will be Australia’s first territory to conduct this type of clinical research on the plant. The local government will contribute $9 million to support the trials, which will include terminally ill cancer patients. At this time, the clinical research will be limited to adults. However, Premier Baird reportedly promised to explore trials focusing on severely epileptic children last year.


Meera Agar, an UNSW associate professor and the study’s chief investigator, has experience in conducting clinical trials with a special focus on terminally ill patients. Professor Agar will focus on using cannabis to improve appetite-related symptoms. The study will commence in early 2016 at Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital. Initially, 30 patients will be treated with cannabis vapor. The dosage and side effects will be carefully monitored, and the end of 2016 should see the trial’s first results.

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