Welcome to Medshop Australia’s monthly series, News Brief, where we talk about what you may have missed. These are mostly articles we’ve posted in our social media news feeds. We consider them the most newsworthy events in Australian health and medicine from the last month. You will find links to the original articles. Let’s look back and review the top stories from June.
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As reported by The New Daily, there is a significant difference in the amount of money Australians pay for health insurance premiums, depending on the state in which they live. The biggest factors of influence are hospital costs, state-based taxes, and population age profile. For a mid-level range of health cover, the most affordable state for singles is Western Australia with an average cost of $208.00 per month. The most expensive state for the same level of cover is South Australia, with an average cost of $317.00 per month.
As reported by The News International, Australia's consumer watchdog has filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court against two e-cigarette retailers. The retailers have been promoting and selling e-cigarettes as carcinogen-free products. Testing conducted by the ACCC, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, discovered that the e-cigarette products do in fact contain toxic carcinogens. Including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein. The two retailers are facing fines of up to 1.1 million dollars each for breaching consumer laws. With e-cigarette sales soaring, regulatory bodies worldwide are facing similar struggles for transparency.
As reported by the Australian Ageing Agenda, a new research centre is being launched in Canberra to focus on cognitive health research and developments. The centre will be a development of the ANU Research School of Population Health. With experts in psychology, psychiatry, population health, biostatistics, economics and neurology contributing towards developing greater understandings of cognitive health issues and creating new policy and guidelines. A second major site will be developed at the University of Melbourne within the department of psychiatry. These developments provide a wonderful opportunity for Australia to become a world leader in the field of cognitive health research.
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As reported by Radio NZ, Facebook are taking action towards addressing mental health issues amongst their users. They want to try and tackle the issues that contribute social media use as a cause of mental health issues by providing supportive tools. These will be rolled out over the next couple of months in America and will then make their way to the rest of the world. The tools will provide general support and positive messages to all users and allow people to request mental health assistance for any of their friends by alerting Facebook. Facebook will then anonymously send additional support to that person including contact details for mental health services and other supportive information.
As reported by Australian Network News, the recent microcephaly epidemic in Brazil, may not be due to the Zika virus after all. In Brazil, more than 1500 microcephaly cases have been recorded which has seemed to coincide with the outbreak of the Zika virus timeline. This new understand has been founded on the fact that out of the 12,000 pregnant women infected with the Zika virus in Columbia, none have given birth to children with microcephaly - a birth defect that causes the child to have an unusually small head and is related to learning difficulties. Some researchers have linked the epidemic in Brazil to the use of the pesticide pyriproxyfen but the World Health Organisation and similar agencies have insisted that all studies and tests show that pyriproxyfen does not lead to birth defects.
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