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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

1 in 10 people will have a seizure. Epilepsy Queensland urges all Australians to Get Seizure Smart!

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Epilepsy Queensland

1 in 10 people will have a seizure. Epilepsy Queensland urges all Australians to Get Seizure Smart!

The Get Seizure Smart campaign asks the questions – would you recognise if someone was having a seizure? Would you know what to do to help?

Chris Dougherty, Epilepsy Queensland Chief Executive says, “seizures are more common than many realise and don’t always look like what you might expect. 1 in 10 people will have a seizure and 50% of people that have one seizure will go on to have more. Being seizure smart is an important skill for everyone.”

Epilepsy Queensland has been supporting Queenslanders to live well with epilepsy for over 50 years and this September their Get Seizure Smart campaign educates the public to recognise seizures and respond with appropriate seizure first aid. Doing so can provide comfort, prevent injury, and even save a life!

“The signs of a seizure are not always easy to spot and can be overlooked or mistaken for something else,” explains Epilepsy Educator, Jenny Ritchie. “Not all seizures are convulsive (shaking- falling). Seizures may include subtle eye movements, changes in cognitive ability, lapses in attention or other unusual behaviours.”

After you recognise a seizure, the next step is to be Seizure Smart and know how to respond with seizure first aid.
TIME the seizure. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, call an ambulance.

If it is the first time the person has experienced a seizure, you should seek medical assistance.
STAY with the person until they are alert or help arrives.
Stay calm and PROTECT the person from injury.
“This could mean moving things like hot drinks or furniture and protecting their head with something small and soft,” instructs Jenny Ritchie, who has been teaching seizure first aid to Queenslanders for almost 15 years.
Visit the Epilepsy Queensland website to Get Seizure Smart, download the free Seizure First Aid and Signs of a Seizure flyers at www.epilepsyqueensland.com.au or https://bit.ly/GetSeizureSmart
Not all seizures require emergency medical attention, but they can be life threatening; almost every day an Australian life is lost due to epilepsy.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Second charge laid for breach of public health orders

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Second charge laid for breach of public health orders

A second man has been charged with breaching public health orders when he left Sydney to come to the Northern Rivers.
As a result, four local government areas, including the Ballina Shire, the Byron Shire, Lismore and Richmond Valley were all thrown into lockdown.
It is understand the second man is the 19-year-old son of the 52-year-old man who has also been charged for breaching public health orders.
The older man is currently in Lismore Base Hospital with Covid.

Officers from Richmond and Tweed/Byron Police Districts commenced an investigation after receiving reports a man and family members had travelled to Northern NSW in late July.

Following further extensive inquiries last week, Tweed/Byron PD officers issued the 19-year-old man with a Court Attendance Notice for four offences, including:
• fail to comply with noticed direction re section 7/8/9 – COVID-19 – individual
• fail to comply with electronic registration directive – individual (two counts), and
• not wear fitted face covering in public transport/taxi

Police will allege the 19-year-old Rose Bay man travelled from Sydney to the Byron Bay area in company of the 52-year-old Rose Bay man.
He is due to appear at Byron Bay Local Court on Monday 27 September 2021.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Surge in testing but no COVID-19 cases so far on North Coast

By Tim Howard

A surge in COVID-19 tests on the NSW North Coast has not uncovered any new cases of the disease so far say a health authorities.
News a Sydney man had been at large on the North Coast for nearly two weeks sent a surge of Grafton residents into the fever clinic testing clinic set up at the Grafton Base Hospital.
Some people waited for more than an two hours for their test and were told they would have at least another 24 hours to wait before they received a result.
Northern NSW Local Health District acting CEO Lynne Weir said authorities were aware of new venues of concern and would release updated information for close-contact venues in the region.
She said anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed was a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result.

Covid Test Grafton

People lined up for hours to get a COVID-19 test at the fever clinic at Grafton Base Hospital, following the revelation a 52-year-old Sydney man had been infectious on the North Coast for more than a week.

Ms Weir said NSW Health sent a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information.
“We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements,” she said.
“If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.
“If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
Ms Weir said NSW Health did not disclose details about venues of concern unless there was a public health reason.
When a confirmed COVID-19 case attended a venue while possibly infectious, NSW Health carried out a risk assessment on that venue to determine whether other people might have been exposed, and whether there is a public health risk.
Ms Weir said all people diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate to ensure there was no ongoing risk of infection to others in the community.
Close contacts are asked to get tested, and complete 14 days’ self-isolation, even if their initial test result is negative.
“It remains vital that anyone who has any symptoms or is a close or casual contact of a person with COVID-19, isolates and is tested immediately,” she said.
“When testing clinics are busy, please ensure you stay in line, identify yourself to staff and tell them that you have symptoms or are a contact of a case.”
Ms Weir thanked the many people in the community who came forward for testing in the past few days.
On Tuesday, August 10, more than 3000 tests were conducted at NSW Health and drive through clinics across the district, with many more conducted at other GP and respiratory clinics in the region.
She said there had been high sustained high testing rates in recent weeks, with 9,177 tests conducted among NNSWLHD residents in the first week of August.
All the local testing clinics and their opening hours are listed on the NSW government website at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and- others/clinics or, you can also contact your GP.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed is a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, regardless of the result. NSW Health sends a text message to people who have checked in at close contact venues with further information. We also make a follow-up call to close contacts to discuss the isolation and testing requirements. If you have not received a text message, please call 1800 943 553.

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