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Health News

New drug to halt dementia after multiple head injuries

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New drug to halt dementia after multiple head injuries

New drug to halt dementia after multiple head injuries

A world-first international study led by the University of South Australia has identified a new drug to stop athletes developing dementia after sustaining repeated head injuries in their career.

The link between concussion and neurogenerative diseases is well established, but new research findings could halt the progression of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in sportspeople who sustain repeated blows to the head.

CTE is a progressive and fatal brain disease associated with the accumulation of a protein known as hyperphosphorylated tau which affects cognition and behaviour.

In a paper published in Scientific Reports, UniSA Emeritus Professor Bob Vink and colleagues show how repeated concussions can cause CTE and a way to block it with a specially developed drug.

The findings will potentially have significant implications for athletes who play contact sports – such as boxers and footballers – as well as military veterans sustaining head injuries in conflict.

The team of researchers from Adelaide, Melbourne and the United States say the brain releases a neurotransmitter called substance P in the event of a head injury, causing abnormal amounts of the tau protein to collect inside neurons.

“Tau protein tangles are a feature of CTE, which reportedly leads to memory problems, confusion, personality changes, aggression, depression and suicidal thinking,” Prof Vink says.

“Our research shows that by blocking substance P with a specific drug, we can prevent the tau protein tangles from developing in the brain and causing neurological problems.”

The treatment was successfully tested in animal models, giving hope that CTE can be prevented in humans.

Prof Vink says the next step is human clinical trials, but that could take several years given that currently CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem.

A study of 14,000 Americans over 25 years, published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia in March, showed that people who sustained even one head injury were 25 per cent more likely to develop dementia later in life. This risk increased with multiple traumatic brain injuries.

The Guardian also reported in April that an analysis of late AFLW player Jacinta Barclay’s brain uncovered neurological damage at age 29, highlighting the risks of repeated concussions to both sexes. Previous research has focused on the impact of brain injuries in male athletes, but females are more likely to sustain concussions.

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Health News

RURAL HEALTH INQUIRY REVEALS LACK OF FUNDING FOR TAMWORTH OPERATING THEATRES

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Tamworth Hospital

RURAL HEALTH INQUIRY REVEALS LACK OF FUNDING FOR TAMWORTH OPERATING THEATRES

The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into rural health has revealed today that three operating theatres in Tamworth Hospital are used for storage instead of much needed surgery because of a shortfall in funding from the NSW Government.

The inquiry also revealed that it takes a two and a half hour round trip for Gunnedah locals to get a script due to a shortage of GP’s in the area as well as long waits for appointments, and lack of access to specialist appointments.

Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said the hearings have continued to highlight the desperate need for more support and resources.

“At each hearing we are seeing undeniable evidence that there is healthcare crisis going on across rural and regional NSW,” Mr Park said.

“It is just not good enough that three operating theatres in Tamworth Hospital are being used for storage when people are in desperate need of surgery. What is the point of having operating theatres that are empty?” Mr Park said.

“The Government’s neglect of public health services in rural and regional NSW must be addressed.”

Ms Rebecca Dridan, Chair, Gunnedah Early Childhood Network, said that for parents needing to get an appointment for their child with behaviour issues the wait is in excess of two years unless parents can afford to “pay a lot of money” to attend a private practice.

Ms Dridan went on to say “…a lot of children just get missed. They fall through the cracks.”

Cr Jamie Chaffey, Mayor of Gunnedah Shire Council said he was concerned for his community. “Unless there is change, dramatic change in a short period of time, the community of Gunnedah is at a crisis point, there is no doubt about it” he said.

Dr David Scott, Chair Tamworth Medical Staff Council said the ratios of patients to specialists was worse for those living in rural NSW compared to those living and working in the City.

“For example if I worked in the City I would be expected to look after around 20,000 people in Sydney, while for almost 10 years I was the only person for almost 200,000 people” Dr Scott said.

Labor’s representatives on the committee are Greg Donnelly and Walt Secord.

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Business News

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

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The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49_Page_01
The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49

The Northern Rivers Times Edition 49 is out today as usual it is available from all Newsagents, leading Service Stations, General Stores and Woolworths Supermarkets from Coffs Harbour to Southport and as far west as Tenterfield, every town in the northern rivers. A very full 80 pages to read on these rainy and cold days ahead with over 32 pages of local news, 4 page lift out TV Guide, 2 pages of puzzles, 7-8 pages of local sports, 7 page of Rural news, 4 pages of Local Entertainment, trades and professional services, funerals, community news and events and a special 7 Pages on Lismore’s the Star Court Theatre 100 year Anniversary. This is a brilliant edition and all of our readers will absolutely love it from page 1 to page 80. Only $2. But HURRY as last weeks edition 48 sold out all copies within 3 days.

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Health News

Northern NSW emergency departments rated highly for care and cleanliness

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Northern NSW emergency departments rated highly for care and cleanliness

Northern NSW emergency departments rated highly for care and cleanliness

Patients have rated Northern NSW Emergency Departments (EDs) among the best in NSW, according to the latest Bureau of Health Information (BHI) report which surveyed 77 of the bigger public hospitals across the state.
Results from the 2019-20 Emergency Department Patient Survey released today show that patients attending Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) EDs continue to report high levels of satisfaction with their experience, health staff and facilities.
Most patients, 78 per cent, in the District reported being triaged within 15 minutes of arriving, the highest in the state.

The overall ratings of care by patients in the District were among the highest in the state, with 91 per cent of surveyed patients rating their care as ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
Patients rated ED staff highly with 93 per cent of patients rating the treatment provided by the ED health professionals as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
NNSWLHD Emergency Departments also recorded high scores when it came to cleanliness, with 82 per cent of respondents saying the treatment area was ‘very clean’, the highest result in NSW for the second consecutive year. Byron Central Hospital recorded the highest rating of all NSW public hospitals for cleanliness with a 95 per cent result.

NNSWLHD Director of Clinical Operations, Lynne Weir, said the survey period included the emergence of COVID-19 in NSW in early 2020 which resulted in significant changes to the way health services were delivered.
“I want to commend our staff who continued to deliver outstanding results for our patients during a very challenging time for health services around the world,” Ms Weir said.
“It takes a dedicated team to deliver the quality experiences and outcomes our patients and the community expect, and these results are indicative of our commitment to patient care and to continuous improvement.
“For the second consecutive year, we achieved some of the best triage responses in the state and, importantly, we also rate among the top health districts for patient care measures.
“For example, our hospitals recorded excellent results when it came to asking patients if they felt they were able to get assistance or advice from ED staff for their personal needs, and 84 per cent said health staff ‘always’ explained things in a way patients could understand.”

A number of hospitals delivered improved results when compared with the previous year, with Ballina District Hospital in particular achieving significant improvements in 26 survey measures, including 99 per cent of surveyed patients reporting that they had confidence and trust in the ED health professionals treating them.

“These surveys are essential sources of information to help us identify gaps and develop plans to improve patient experiences at our hospitals,” Ms Weir said.
Between mid-2012 and mid-2020 the Northern NSW Local Health District increased its workforce by an additional 1008 full time equivalent staff – an increase of 26.7 per cent – including 171 more doctors, 367 more nurses and midwives, and 121 more allied health staff.

The 2020-21 budget for Northern NSW Local Health District was more than $926 million – an increase of almost $39 million, or 4.4 per cent, on the 2019-20 budget.
The record 2020-21 NSW Health statewide budget of $29.3 billion includes $30 million for additional emergency department attendances and ambulance calls and $14.5 million to recruit more temporary security staff and more patient experience officers to improve patients’ experiences in our public hospitals.

INDIVIDUAL HOSPITAL RESULTS
BALLINA DISTRICT HOSPITAL: The majority, 93 per cent, of surveyed patients rated their overall care as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Nearly all patients, 99 per cent, said they had confidence and trust in the ED health professionals treating them, the highest in the state. The vast majority of those surveyed, 94 per cent, said ED health professionals were always kind and caring and 84 per cent said they were ‘definitely’ involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment.
BYRON CENTRAL HOSPITAL: Nearly all surveyed patients, 95 per cent, said the ED was ‘very clean’, the highest rating in the state. More than 85 per cent of patients said they were triaged within 15 minutes and the majority, 80 per cent, said they would speak highly of their experience in ED to friends and family. In addition, 92 per cent rated their overall care in ED as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and 85 per cent said the staff were always kind and caring.
CASINO & DISTRICT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: The vast majority, 94 per cent, of surveyed patients said ED staff were ‘always’ polite and courteous and 87 per cent of patients said they were triaged with 15 minutes. More than 90 per cent of surveyed patients said ED health professionals ‘always’ explained things in a way they could understand and 98 per cent said their overall care was ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
GRAFTON BASE HOSPITAL: More than 85 per cent of surveyed patients said staff were ‘always’ kind and caring and the majority, 76 per cent, would ‘speak highly’ of their ED experience to family and friends.
LISMORE BASE HOSPITAL: Overall, 87 per cent rated the care they received as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Nearly all patients, 97 per cent, said they felt the purpose of medication was explained in a way they could understand by ED staff and the majority, 78 per cent, reported that staff were kind and caring.
MACLEAN DISTRICT HOSPITAL: The majority of surveyed patients, 91 per cent, rated their care in ED as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The vast majority, 92 per cent, said they felt treated with respect and dignity while in ED.
MURWILLUMBAH DISTRICT HOSPITAL: The vast majority of patients, 93 per cent, said ED staff explained things in a way they could understand and 88 per cent said they were triaged within 15 minutes. The majority, 84 per cent, said they had confidence and trust in the ED health professionals treating them and 95 per cent rated their overall care in ED as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. In addition, 93 per cent of respondents said the ED treatment area was ‘very clean’.
THE TWEED HOSPITAL: Overall, 90 per cent rated their care as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The majority, 85 per cent, said they felt treated with respect and dignity and 78 per cent said they were triaged within 15 minutes.
The survey is available on the BHI website.

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