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Health News

Take the burn out of sunscreen testing: experts

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Take the burn out of sunscreen testing: experts

Exposing humans to ultraviolet radiation to test sunscreen effectiveness should be phased out, according to scientists and cancer experts.

The recommendation from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), Cancer Council Victoria and RMIT University is backed by research published in the journal Trends in Analytical Chemistry.

The paper reviews sunscreen ingredients, regulations and testing globally, and proposes a roadmap for the development of reproducible human-free sunscreen testing.

Testing sunscreens on humans is the current international standard to rate UV protection performance. This testing involves volunteers wearing a sunscreen and being exposed to artificial solar UV to measure the performance by the time taken for sunburn to occur.

However, ARPANSA Chief Radiation Health Scientist Dr Rick Tinker said this has ethical challenges as it exposes people to cancer-causing UV radiation.

“Sunscreens are an important part of sun protection and preventing serious sun damage to people – 2 in 3 Australians will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 – but we shouldn’t be risking people’s long-term health to test the effectiveness of sunscreens,” Tinker said.

Human-free sunscreen testing technology is in development 

A team led by Professor Vipul Bansal, Director of RMIT’s Sir Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility, has already developed a prototype sensor that changes colour when exposed to UV radiation that they say could be customised for human-free sunscreen testing by mimicking the skin.

“What excites me the most is that access to this new method will allow sunscreen manufacturers to rapidly innovate new and better sunscreens, which are currently limited due to time and cost constraints involved with human testing,” Bansal said.

Bansal’s team – including Dr Wenyue Zou, Associate Professor Sylvia Urban and Associate Professor Rajesh Ramanathan – are working with ARPANSA to develop the required human-free sunscreen testing methods and protocols within this decade.

Bansal said sunscreen testing was just one of many potential applications for nanosensor technologies, which could also be used to detect a wide range of diseases and contaminants.

SunSmart advice remains unchanged

ARPANSA and the Cancer Council Victoria work in partnership to promote sun safety and skin cancer prevention.
Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, Craig Sinclair, said data from the 2020 Victorian Cancer Registry reported 2,582 new cases of melanoma across the state.

“Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Using good sun protection when the UV level is three or above can lower your skin cancer risk,” he said.

“Research shows that when applied correctly, sunscreen is effective in preventing skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

“In Australia’s harsh UV environment, sunscreen is an essential form of sun protection.

“Cancer Council Victoria welcomes all innovation that both works to reduce the burden of skin cancer and brings efficiencies in the manufacturing of sun protection products.”

ARPANSA and the Cancer Council recommend using the five S’s of sun safety – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide – when the UV level is 3 or above:

  • slip on some sun-protective clothing – make sure you cover as much skin as possible
  • slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 or higher sunscreen – put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and reapply every two hours afterwards
  • slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears
    seek shade
  • slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.

 

 

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Health News

AI-Powered MedTech Breakthrough: CSIRO and Singular Health Unveil Revolutionary Spinal Vertebrae Segmentation Technology

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An example of spinal segmentation software. CSIRO

AI-Powered MedTech Breakthrough: CSIRO and Singular Health Unveil Revolutionary Spinal Vertebrae Segmentation Technology

 

A groundbreaking AI-powered medical technology, developed through collaboration between CSIRO‘s Data61 and Australian Medical Imaging Company Singular Health, swiftly segments spinal vertebrae with an impressive 95% accuracy rate within a mere two minutes. This innovation holds the promise of revolutionising surgical planning and facilitating the design of customised implants for medical professionals.

Traditionally, the segmentation of spinal vertebrae in computerised tomography (CT) scans has demanded extensive manual labour, involving countless hours of meticulous identification and markups. However, the advent of AI automation heralds a transformative shift in this arduous process, significantly reducing time and effort while ensuring exceptional segmentation precision and localisation accuracy, as elucidated by Dr. Dadong Wang, Research Lead at Data61.

Singular Health’s Executive Director of Innovation, Dr. Guan Tay, underscores the game-changing potential of this automated segmentation technology. By integrating AI-driven automation into the segmentation process, medical professionals will now only need to make minor adjustments and validate the software’s outputs. This semi-automated approach empowers surgeons and radiologists to fine-tune the results according to their interpretations, ensuring meticulous compliance with image analysis standards while substantially streamlining processing time.

The utilisation of artificial intelligence in medical imaging, particularly in radiology, stands poised to profoundly reshape workflow dynamics for radiologists.

Leveraging a comprehensive dataset comprising over 200 CT scans of labelled data, the Data61 team meticulously explored various AI models and pre-processing techniques to achieve precise instance segmentation, labelling, surface meshing, and spatial localisation of individual vertebrae.

Dr. Wang elaborates on the AI development process, highlighting the adaptation of deep learning-based instance segmentation methodologies such as nnUNET, SC-NET, and Dense-NET. These models were rigorously trained using the VerSe’2020 dataset, comprising 100 CT scans of spines from individuals spanning diverse age groups and genders. Subsequently, the trained models underwent rigorous testing on an additional 100 CT scans, generating segmented labels of the spine, individual vertebrae, spatial coordinates, and vertebra identification.

The integration of this cutting-edge technology into Singular Health’s MedVR software represents a significant milestone, offering a transformative solution for hospitals, clinicians, educational institutions, and universities alike. This milestone achievement was made possible through the CSIRO Kick–Start initiative, which extends funding and support to innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses, granting access to CSIRO’s unparalleled research and development (R&D) expertise and capabilities.

 

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Health News

Northern Rivers Business Community gets behind Autism Awareness Month

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Autism Awareness Month

Northern Rivers Business Community gets behind Autism Awareness Month

 

Aprils is National Autism Awareness Month where recognition raises awareness about autism acceptance and promotes inclusion and connectedness for people with autism.  Social and community support can help people with autism achieve optimal health and reach their full potential.

Business NSW Northern Rivers is co-hosting the Autism@Work Business Luncheon with the Northern Rivers Autism Association on Tuesday 9 April 2024 in Ballina as part of Autism Awareness Month and the official launch of the Northern Rivers Autism Association.

“Micheal Lynch, Chair of the Association has been working tirelessly with our team on this event and we hope to demonstrate the support we can put behind such a great initiative to embrace a neurodiverse workforce in our region.”  Said Jane Laverty, Regional Director Business NSW

The luncheon will feature guest speaker, Mat Rogers a dual code international with a prominent career in both rugby league and union.  After a stella career representing Queensland, the Kangaroo’s and the Wallabies, Mat finished his career back in the NRL with the Gold Coast Titans, retiring in 2011.

With his wife, Chloe Maxwell, Mat is devoted to the charity they established, 4ASDKIDS, after discovering their son was autistic, so they could help other families with autistic children.

“We are excited to have Mat lead the conversation along with an expert panel sharing thoughts on the amazing value we can bring to our businesses and employees with a neurodiverse workforce and inclusive workplaces.”  Mrs Laverty said.

“This is going to be an inspiring event and an opportunity for Micheal Lynch to share his vision for the Association.  The Northern Rivers business community is looking forward to being part of this month of awareness raising and promoting inclusion and acceptance.

The expert panel includes:

  • Luke Terry, CEO of Whitebox Enterprises/Beacon Laundry (located in Bangalow and newly formed social enterprise)
  • Andrew Cashin, Professor of Autism and Intellectual Disability with Southern Cross University
  • Samantha Albertini, Senior Manager People & Culture with Social Futures
  • Jodi Rogers, locally based counsellor (Birds & Bees) who has just authored a book called Unique – what Autism Can Teach Us about Difference, Connection and Belonging

“Most of us know someone on the spectrum and know that autism can be a superpower.  With more than ¾ of Australians on the spectrum being young (between 5 and 24) it is important that we look at how our workplaces can adapt for neurodiverse people and enable greater inclusivity.”

 

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North Coast residents urged to shape future health care by participating in Better Health survey

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

North Coast residents urged to shape future health care by participating in Better Health survey

 

Healthy North Coast has this week opened its ‘Better Health’ community survey in a bid to gather valuable insights that will help shape the future of primary health care across Northern NSW and the Mid North Coast.

Every three years, local communities are asked to share their experiences of primary health care and make suggestions for improvement. It’s a chance for people in Northern NSW and the Mid North Coast to have their say on what’s working, what’s not and to identify any gaps in health services.

The feedback gathered in the Better Health survey will be combined with data to form a comprehensive review of the health needs for our region. This is called the North Coast Health Needs Assessment 2025-2028.

“A strong community voice is essential for good health planning and decision making,” said Monika Wheeler, CEO of Healthy North Coast.

“Residents on the North Coast are engaging with primary health care services every day, whether for their own personal health needs, their family, or as a health carer. They have valuable insight into what’s working, what needs improvement, and what might be missing entirely.

“So if you think you’re having to wait too long for an appointment with a GP, or you think getting support for mental health is too confusing, or even if you’re satisfied with the health care in your area, please let us know. By sharing your thoughts and experiences, you really do have the power to reshape health care in your town.”

The previous iteration of the community survey in Healthy North Coast’s 2021 Health Needs Assessment was called Speak Up. From the Speak Up survey, initiatives like the telehealth service North Coast Health Connect and the social support service Healthy Me, Healthy Community in Port Macquarie were born, to address specific local health needs.

“Your feedback helps us prioritise our efforts, ensuring that available funding is directed to the right areas to achieve better health outcomes for all,” added Ms Wheeler.

The Better Health survey is open from Monday 25 March 2024 (today) and will close on Sunday 14 April 2024. It will take residents approximately 10 minutes to complete, with all answers being anonymous and completely confidential.

At the end of the survey, participants can enter a prize draw to win one of twenty $100 cash cards.

Visit Better Health North Coast to find out more and take the survey today.

 

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