In the latest update of the health and medical articles at The Conversation…
Reema Rattan and Fron Jackson-Webb write:
Here are some the highlights from The Conversation’s health and medical section from the past fortnight:
By Jonathan Karnon, Professor of Health Economics at the University of Adelaide
At the heart of the Gillard Government’s health reform are an Independent Hospital Pricing Authority and a National Health Performance Authority. New details of how these bodies may work have been leaked to The Australian, which refers to how the health minister could shame under-preforming hospitals under the National Health Reform Performance and Accountability Framework.
Some hospitals provide better care and achieve better outcomes than other hospitals and it is right that the government should act to identify and improve poorly performing hospitals.
By Rob Moodie, Professor of Global Health and the University of Melbourne & Kate Taylor, Visiting Fellow at Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne
On Sunday, China banned smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars and other indoor spaces.
But a lack of public understanding about the dangers of smoking in the nation of 300 million smokers – where the state owns the tobacco syndicate – suggests it may not have the desired impact.
Lifestyle diseases are the biggest killer in the developed world and now people in developing countries are not only catching up but may in fact be leaping ahead.
By Ray Moynihan, Conjoint lecturer at the University of Newcastle
If you look closely at the ways diseases are defined and at the panels of experts who draw the line between sickness and health, you find an extraordinary phenomenon.
Many of these panels are heavily conflicted: they are populated by people who have extensive financial relationships with drug companies. This is the case in many different specialties and is a cause of great concern, as I’ve outlined in today’s British Medical Journal.
By Bruce Neal, Professor & Chair of Vascular Epidemiology and Prevention at the University of Sydney
A recent article has questioned received wisdom regarding the adverse impact of salt on health. Unfortunately, naïve researchers and journal editors looking to stir up a controversy are confusing this important public health issue.
Should we really believe a study suggesting we turn to the salt cellar to protect us from strokes and heart attacks? The answer is, most certainly, no.
By Philip Boyce, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney
As the days get shorter and we approach winter, many of us have a lowered mood, reduced energy levels and seem to need more sleep. Such seasonal changes in mood and energy are common and most of us adapt to them.
But for some, these changes are more profound and develop into a full-blown episode of wintertime depression that spontaneously remits in the spring. This form of depression is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
By Thomas Faunce, ARC Future Fellow at the Australian National University
According to a recent report in the Canberra Times, Thomas Barry Moore, a former air force serviceman, has been in a persistent vegetative in a Chinese hospital for 118 days. He suffered a stroke on December 31 in Zhengzhou in north-central China.
One of the most disturbing features of this case is what his daughter was told when she asked the treating doctors to withdraw Thomas Moore’s life support.
By David Anderson, Senior Principal Fellow at Burnet Institute
It’s a cruel catch-22. Vastly improved antiviral drugs have the potential to significantly improve the lives of people with HIV. But before this can happen, they need to take a test. Trouble is, the test is slow and costly, so many miss out on treatment.
Now that could be about to change. Within 12 months, a new test could speed up this process and improve access to HIV treatment for millions around the world.