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 October.
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As reported by Yahoo news Australia, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has warned all registered or enrolled nurses and midwives that they will face prosecution if they are found the be preaching false and misleading anti-vaccination messages.
The anti-vaccination movement has gained increasing popularity and traction in Australia within recent years. As health professionals, nurses and midwives have a duty to provide accurate and scientifically based information to their patients.
Patients are more likely to trust the advice of a registered health professional even when the advice is misleading and harmful as are seeing in these cases. The 'anti-vaxers' claims go against the best and most up to date scientific evidence available.
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As reported by Adelaide Now, South Australia is currently experiencing a hospital bed shortage crisis. The general state hospitals have been inundated and on the 10th of October this year, they exceeded inpatient capacity by 55 beds. Hospital staff have been forced to create makeshift patient accommodation in corridors and hallways, a situation which is pushing staff and patients to their limits.
There has been great concern within the community with regards to the governments SA Transforming Health project, which is reported to involve further cuts. Given the current shortage of beds, further cuts would surely lead to dire consequences. A concern the government will have to answer to, in the mean time dedicated hospital staff are doing their best to provide quality service with the limited resources and space that they have.
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As reported by Business Insider Australia, two years ago the United Nations released ambitious public health goals and intentions to reduce the global maternity mortality rate to 0.0007% and to end all preventable deaths of children from newborn to 5 years of age by 2030.
Experts believe that these goals can be met if the necessary drugs, services, and tools can be developed and delivered. Measures that can improve the affordability and accessibility of tools and services play a big role in driving these outcomes.
One of the relatively simple and cost effective measures that has been mentioned is the use of chlorhexidine antiseptic on babies umbilical cords once cut. This simple and affordable solution will save many babies from infection and this alone is a significant step towards achieving the UN objectives.
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As reported by the Age, you only need to set foot in a pharmacy or health food shop to witness the overwhelming number or vitamins and supplements available on the market today. While they all have their claims to health and virtue, there a few vitamins and supplements that have stood up to rigorous evidence-based testing to determine their efficacy.
We know that the best way to achieve health and vitality is to consume the nutrients we require from the food we eat and our lifestyle choices. This said there are a few vitamins and supplements on the market that do have the seal of approval from scientific testing.
These include vitamin D - because our sun protection practices and modern lifestyles often don't provide us the natural vitamin D we need. Zinc - which unlike vitamin C is proven to reduce the severity and duration of colds, and folic acid - strongly recommended to women who are pregnant or intending to become pregnant.
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As reported by News.com, a team of scientists from 5 UK universities have been developing a new treatment for HIV that has recently cured one of their test patients of HIV. The patient, a social care worker from London who had been living with HIV underwent this new treatment and his latest blood test results have shown that HIV is no longer present in his blood.
While it is still early days, this revolutionary treatment could be the cure for HIV, however, more extensive testing will be required before this can be determined. HIV targets the immune system and attaches itself to T-cell DNA. Current treatments seek to target that process but are unable to tackle dormant infected T-cells. This new therapy works by first identifying and removing the HIV-infected cells. The next stage uses a drug, Vorinostat to convert dormant infected T-cells into active ones which can then be spotted and targeted by the immune system.
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