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Health News

STUDIES SHOW IGNORING ORAL HEALTH CAN HAVE SERIOUS IMPACTS ON THE REST OF THE BODY

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ORAL HEALTH NSW Northern Rivers

STUDIES SHOW IGNORING ORAL HEALTH CAN HAVE SERIOUS IMPACTS ON THE REST OF THE BODY

Previously unknown health risks for Australians – that gum disease suffered by one in three Australian adults1 could increase the risk of serious cardiovascular events, Type 2 diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes – are now coming to light following decades of dental and medical studies.

For Dental Health Week (2-8 August) this week, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) wants to alert Australians to the very close links between what goes on in their mouths and the far-reaching effects on the rest of the body.

The latest research across a range of studies2 has shown that people with advanced gum disease (periodontitis) have a much higher risk of a heart attack than people without it.(See Background at end of release for more.)

In another study3 conducted recently by Prof Joerg Eberhard, an oral health scientist and Chair of Lifespan Oral Health at the University of Sydney’s School of Dentistry, it was found that not brushing your teeth caused systemic inflammation which could prompt serious cardiac events.

“We asked a cohort of healthy young people with no cardiovascular risk factors, to not brush the same quadrant of their mouths, that’s seven teeth, for three weeks, to see what effect it would have on their health,” explained Prof. Eberhard.

“After three weeks we measured the inflammation in that quadrant of the mouth and we found the inflammation caused by not brushing there, had reached other parts of their body.

“But as soon as they started brushing that quadrant again, C-reactive protein, a risk marker for heart attacks, went down to normal levels. It’s another clear and concerning link between mouth health and whole of body health.”

Extensive research over decades has found that the main conditions that link the mouth with the rest of the body are cardiovascular, Type 2 diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes4.

Studies are also being conducted into the effects of periodontitis on pregnant women. Some early data suggests that if the gum disease is treated, the risk of having a premature baby declines.

The ADA’s Oral Health Promoter and dentist Dr Mikaela Chinotti said:“These serious health conditions and events can be significantly reduced if people regularly look after their mouths.

“That means brushing twice a day with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a diet low in sugar and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups. These typically include a scale and clean which is vital for removing the bacteria that build up and start the process of periodontitis and inflammation.”

Another recent international study5 by a group of cardiologists and dentists showed that treatment for gum disease reduced blood pressure (BP) normally only achieved through medications, because high BP can come about due to a loss of elasticity in blood vessels and this loss can be caused by inflammation from gum disease.

Lifestyle also plays a big role in oral health: in a three year study6 of people from Queensland with poor oral health including gum disease, Prof. Eberhard and colleagues found that by adopting better teeth brushing techniques, going regularly to the dentist and adopting a healthier diet all led to reduced systemic markers which are predicters for a heart attack.

The ADA’s Dr Chinotti explained that periodontitis signs can be difficult to spot and may include bleeding from the gums and very little or no pain, and without treatment, the condition can worsen over time until affected teeth may finally become loose.

Risk factors include older age, smoking, drinking alcohol above recommended levels, the presence of diabetes and poor oral health practices.

“While periodontitis damage can’t be reversed, you can stop its progression by seeing a dental practitioner for treatment, including professional cleaning of the teeth above and below the gums which the patient cannot access, which halts the disease and reduces inflammation.”

More advanced cases may need surgical treatment performed by a specialist periodontist under a local anaesthetic to access difficult to reach areas under the gums.

“Regular dental visits are the best way to keep on top of your oral health and detect and manage conditions such as periodontitis, in their earliest stages of development.

“This is in addition to those other oral health basics that add up to only about six minutes a day but which protect the health of your whole body and not just your mouth.

“For too long mouth health has been separated from body health. It’s time to put the mouth back in the body.

“The ADA hopes that by making this mouth and whole-of-body relationship more widely known to Australians, they’ll understand oral health is an integral part of general health.”

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Health News

New Study Predicts Nearly 100% Increase in Cases by 2054

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Increase in dementia Cases

New Study Predicts Nearly 100% Increase in Cases by 2054

 

New data from Dementia Australia indicates that the prevalence of dementia is set to nearly double by 2054. According to research conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on behalf of Dementia Australia, dementia rates are projected to increase by 93% by 2054.

In 2024, Australia has over 421,000 individuals living with various forms of dementia. Without medical advancements, this number is anticipated to escalate to 812,500 by 2054, as cautioned by Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM.

McCabe emphasised the significance of these findings in informing strategies for service provision and funding to address the evolving needs associated with dementia. She stressed Dementia Australia’s commitment to supporting those affected, encouraging individuals and their families to seek assistance via the National Dementia Helpline, available 24/7.

New data from Dementia Australia indicates that the prevalence of dementia is set to nearly double by 2054

New data from Dementia Australia indicates that the prevalence of dementia is set to nearly double by 2054

The study highlights a nationwide trend of rising dementia diagnoses over the next three decades, with varying degrees of growth across states and territories. Western Australia is projected to experience the highest increase at 109%, followed by the Northern Territory (106%), the Australian Capital Territory (104%), Queensland (100%), Victoria (96%), and South Australia (59%), with Tasmania exhibiting the lowest growth at 52%.

Catherine Daskalakis, a Dementia Advocate at Dementia Australia diagnosed with younger onset dementia, underscored the importance of accessing Dementia Australia’s support services. Reflecting on her own experience, Daskalakis encouraged individuals to reach out to the National Dementia Helpline, emphasising the invaluable emotional support and counselling it provides during challenging times.

For more details about dementia prevalence data, see here.

 

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Health News

Government Grants $50 Million for Australian Scientists Pioneering World’s First Long-Term Artificial Heart

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BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart

Government Grants $50 Million for Australian Scientists Pioneering World’s First Long-Term Artificial Heart

 

In a landmark initiative poised to revolutionise cardiovascular medicine, Australian scientists are spearheading the development of the world’s first long-term artificial heart. With a significant boost from the federal government, which has pledged a grant of $50 million towards the project, researchers are advancing towards a transformative breakthrough in cardiac care.

The artificial heart, conceptualised as an off-the-shelf alternative to organ donation, holds immense promise for patients suffering from end-stage heart failure. For individuals like Jayden Cummins, whose life was irrevocably altered by a viral infection that led to severe heart deterioration, the prospect of a long-term solution represents a beacon of hope.

Cummins, a Sydney-based filmmaker, vividly recounts his battle with heart failure, attributing it to a viral assault that left him operating at a mere 7 percent heart function. While he underwent a temporary solution with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) followed by a heart transplant, his journey underscores the critical need for innovative interventions to address the scarcity of donor organs.

Enter Dr. Daniel Timms and his team of bio scientists, who’s pioneering BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart promises to be a game-changer in the field of cardiac medicine. Unlike conventional devices that mimic the pumping action of the natural heart using balloons prone to wear and tear, the BiVACOR heart utilises magnetic levitation technology to propel blood circulation efficiently.

Dr. Timms elucidates on the innovative design, likening it to the magnetically levitated trains in Japan and China, which ensure smooth and frictionless motion. Supported by a multidisciplinary team, including Associate Professor Shaun Gregory of Monash University’s Artificial Heart Frontiers Program, the project unfolds with regular visits to the local hardware store, where components for heart replication are sourced.

The journey from laboratory bench tops to animal testing has yielded promising results, with the titanium hearts demonstrating remarkable durability and efficacy. Human trials are slated to commence in the United States later this year, marking a significant milestone in the quest for a viable long-term solution to heart failure.

BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart

BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart

Professor Garry Jennings from the Heart Foundation of Australia underscores the urgency of such innovations, citing the stark reality of organ shortages and the pressing need for alternatives. With heart failure claiming one in 50 Australian lives annually and a limited number of heart transplant procedures performed each year, the advent of artificial hearts offers a lifeline to countless patients awaiting salvation.

The federal government’s generous funding injection signals a resounding vote of confidence in Australia’s scientific prowess and commitment to advancing medical innovation. With hopes pinned on accelerated progress, scientists aim to make these groundbreaking devices available to patients within the next few years, heralding a new era of cardiac care.

For transplant recipient Jayden Cummins, the potential impact of these advancements is profound. Reflecting on his journey post-transplant, Cummins marvels at the newfound lease on life, cherishing precious moments with loved ones made possible by the gift of a donor heart. His story serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of medical innovation and the enduring spirit of resilience in the face of adversity.

As Australia embarks on this bold frontier of medical innovation, the promise of artificial hearts offers solace to those grappling with the debilitating effects of heart failure, embodying the triumph of human ingenuity and compassion. With each beat of progress, the collective hope is for a future where life-saving technology transcends boundaries, enriching and extending lives with boundless possibility.

KEY FACTS:

  1. Revolutionary Technology: The BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart represents a groundbreaking advancement in cardiovascular medicine. Unlike conventional devices that mimic the pumping action of the natural heart using balloons prone to wear and tear, the BiVACOR heart utilises magnetic levitation technology for efficient blood circulation. This innovative design, inspired by magnetically levitated trains in Japan and China, promises enhanced durability and efficacy, offering hope to countless patients grappling with end-stage heart failure.
  2. Government Funding: The federal government’s pledge of $50 million towards the project underscores its commitment to advancing medical innovation and improving healthcare outcomes. This substantial investment not only signifies confidence in Australia’s scientific prowess but also accelerates progress towards making artificial hearts available to patients within the next few years. Such funding injections play a pivotal role in driving research initiatives and fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government entities.
  3. Human Impact: Jayden Cummins’ personal journey serves as a poignant testament to the transformative potential of medical innovation. Having navigated the harrowing challenges of end-stage heart failure and subsequent transplantation, Cummins embodies resilience and hope. His story highlights the profound impact of artificial hearts on patients’ lives, offering a lifeline to individuals awaiting organ transplantation. Through advancements in medical technology, Cummins and countless others find solace and renewed optimism for the future, underscoring the profound human dimension of scientific progress.

 

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Health News

Northern NSW Health District Welcomes Record New Graduates

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Nurses and Midwives Northern NSW

Northern NSW Health District Welcomes Record New Graduates

 

In a significant boon to local health services, over 190 graduate nurses and midwives are set to commence work within the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) this year, contributing to the enhancement of healthcare provision in the region.

The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) is poised to experience a substantial influx of fresh talent as more than 190 graduate nurses and midwives prepare to embark on their professional journeys within its healthcare facilities. Across the state, this cohort represents a portion of the over 3,400 graduate nurses and midwives set to join the NSW public health system, underscoring the government’s commitment to bolstering the state’s healthcare workforce.

Expressing gratitude to the incoming graduates for their dedication to the noble profession, Katharine Duffy, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at NNSWLHD, emphasised the pivotal role these new recruits will play in delivering high-quality and compassionate care to patients across a diverse range of clinical settings. The graduates will have the opportunity to gain invaluable experience not only within hospital settings but also in community healthcare, thus contributing to the holistic healthcare landscape of the region.

Ms. Duffy further highlighted the district’s commitment to nurturing and supporting these new graduates, emphasising the presence of dedicated mentors and teachers who will guide them in their professional development and specialisation. Moreover, the district is proud to offer these new staff permanent roles, reflecting its dedication to cultivating a sustainable local health workforce.

Nurses and Midwives Northern NSW

the first cohorts who commenced orientation this week in the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed-Byron regions

The NSW Government’s comprehensive strategy to fortify the state’s health workforce includes various initiatives such as implementing safe staffing levels in emergency departments, making permanent over 1,100 nursing roles, abolishing wage caps, and providing record pay increases for healthcare workers. Additionally, the government is expanding recruitment efforts in regional, rural, and remote communities and enhancing incentives for healthcare professionals, including increased subsidies for tertiary health study and attractive salary packaging options.

Aspiring nurses and midwives interested in pursuing careers within the NSW public health system are encouraged to explore opportunities and resources available through the NSW Health website, further underscoring the government’s commitment to fostering a dynamic and robust healthcare workforce.

SIDEBAR:

  1. Record Number of New Nurses: Northern NSW Health District has welcomed over 190 new graduate nurses and midwives, marking a significant addition to the local healthcare workforce.
  2. Boost to Healthcare Services: The influx of new graduates will provide crucial support to Northern NSW’s health services, enhancing patient care across various clinical settings and community healthcare.
  3. Government Initiatives: The NSW government’s initiatives to strengthen the healthcare workforce include implementing safe staffing levels, creating permanent nursing roles, and offering financial incentives to attract and retain healthcare professionals.

 

For more health news, click here.

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