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A new drug, tafenoquine, offers hope of battling the resurgence of malaria on Australia’s doorstep

Malaria rates have soared among some of Australia's closest neighbours as complacency risks undoing a decade of sustained and extraordinary progress towards eradicating the disease, experts warn. In 2016 there were an estimated 216 million malaria cases globally. Papua New Guinea recorded a staggering 400 per cent surge in malaria between 2010 and 2016, WHO figures show, with an estimated 1.4 million malaria cases and 3000 deaths in 2016. 


Nurses have their finger on the pulse - new study shows nursing notes may indicate survival rates of ICU patients

The sentiments left in nursing notes are good indicators of whether ICU patients will survive, a UK study has found. Researchers at the University of Waterloo looked at the notes from over 27,000 ICU patients and examined how sentiments related to 30-day mortality and survival.


Early trial results show promise for new Alzheimer’s drug

The long, discouraging quest for a medication that works to treat Alzheimer’s reached a potentially promising milestone this week. For the first time in a large clinical trial, a drug was able to both reduce the plaques in the brains of patients and slow the progression of dementia. More extensive trials will be needed to know if the new drug is truly effective, but if the results, presented Wednesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago, are borne out, the drug may be the first to successfully attack both the brain changes and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.


New hope for the 700,000 Australia women suffering from endometriosis

What was once a common condition suffered largely in silence and out of public view has recently been gaining more exposure, and not before time. The roughly 700,000 Australian women and girls with the “insidious" disease endometriosis will now have their condition better recognised with the federal government releasing their $4.5 million National Action Plan for Endometriosis that acknowledges its "historic failures" and charts a path to a cure.


Hospital children's wards too noisy, affecting sleep – new UK study

In paediatric wards with high levels of night noise, children slept around an hour less and had poorer quality sleep, compared with sleeping at home, according to a small study from Southampton Children's Hospital. This could affect the child's behaviour, recovery and pain tolerance, the researchers suggest.


Australian experts develop game-changing therapy for severe asthma

The latest therapy in the treatment of severe asthma has been described as a “game-changer” by one of Australian’s leading experts in the field. Conjoint Professor Peter Gibson, co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Lungs at the University of Newcastle said that targeted monoclonal antibody therapy was changing the lives of about half the people with severe asthma. 


Australian study finds no strong evidence that cannabis reduces chronic non-cancer pain

While demand for easier access to medicinal cannabis is increasing and the majority of Australian GPs support medicinal cannabis being available on prescription, a surprising new study reports cannabis may not be as helpful in treating chronic pain as believed. Researchers at UNSW Sydney who conducted one of the world’s longest community studies of its type have found no clear evidence that cannabis can reduce pain severity or pain interference in those with chronic non-cancer pain.


Feral pig hunters and farmers are at risk from a re-emerging communicable disease

In early June over 320 pig hunters gathered in Jambin, about 450km north west of Brisbane, for the King & Queen of CQ Big Boar Competition - claimed to be Australia’s largest hunting competition. Farmers say that feral pigs need eradication as they carry disease, foul waterways and destroy crops. Recreational pig hunting in rural Australia is a widespread control method for the roughly 24 million feral pigs who call Australia home. With around 600 pigs caught during the weekend-long event it brought some temporary relief to the local agriculture industry and gave farmers something to smile about. 

But are those pig hunters and farmers at risk from the very diseases the farmers want gone?


New Australian study shows nearly half of female healthcare workers have experienced domestic abuse

A landmark study investigating domestic and family violence among female healthcare workers in Australia has found that almost half of them (45%) have experienced family violence, including one in nine who had experienced abuse and violence by a partner during the previous 12 months. The study, involving 471 Victorian female healthcare workers, also found that one in eight women had been sexually assaulted by a partner since the age of 16.


Risk of hospital staff burnout can be identified with a simple saliva test

Sadly for many nurses and midwives burnout is nothing new, with the emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress being part of their every day. Burnout can emerge for a variety of reasons – excessive workloads, a traumatic event, toxic workplace cultures or outside pressures. Nurses and midwives are susceptible to burnout and should watch out for warning signs to avoid reaching breaking point. 

The results of a new research study may provide some help, with staff at risk of burnout able to be identified with a simple saliva test that measures the hormone cortisol.