Paeds News Archive 2014


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Medical cannabis trials draw mixed reaction

North Coast medicinal-cannabis advocate Tony Bower says giving police discretionary powers over who can or cannot use medical marijuana is ‘silly’ and raises ‘a moral dilemma’. The head of the epilepsy program at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Dr Deepak Gill, and child neurology epilepsy specialist Dr John Lawson from Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, and their teams will also be involved in the trial.
Originally appeared in EchoNet Daily December 22, 2014.

Baird's dope plan for NSW

Trials of medical cannabis get underway in NSW this week but it could take years before it’s approved for mainstream use.
The head of the epilepsy program at The Childrens Hospital at Westmead, Dr Deepak Gill, and child neurology epilepsy specialist Dr John Lawson from Sydney Childrens Hospital, Randwick, and their teams will also be involved in the trial.
Originally appeared in Daily Mail December 21, 2014.

NSW Government to grow cannabis for trial into medicinal use for children

CANNABIS will be imported or grown by the NSW Government and provided to children suffering severe epilepsy, in a groundbreaking trial.
In conjunction with doctors from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, child neurology specialist, Dr John Lawson from Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick will be involved in the trial on children with epilepsy.
Originally appeared in Daily Telegraph December 21, 2014.

Cancer stem cells could be easier to target following world-first discovery by Australian researchers

Children’s Cancer Institute researchers have identified, for the first time, new properties essential to drug-resistant tumour cells that could revolutionise cancer treatment and reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy.
This study – led by Dr Jenny Wang, leader of Children’s Cancer Institute’s Cancer and Stem Cell Biology group – has uncovered a novel gene known as GPR84, which plays a key part in the β-catenin pathway and sits on the surface of the cancer cell.
Originally appeared on Children's Cancer Institute website December 12, 2014.

Australia lags behind UK and US for juvenile arthritis

AUSTRALIA has a serious shortage of paediatric rheumatologists and the standard of care is lagging behind other countries, say two specialists.
Dr Chaitow and Associate Professor Davinder Singh-Grewal juggle their time between their private practices and public clinics.
“We cope by seeing the patients and providing them with the bare minimum of care,” says Dr Singh-Grewal.
Originally appeared in Rheumatology Update December 4, 2014.

Young children living with arthritis pain are waiting six months to get an appointment with a doctor

It’s devastatingly painful, can blind and even kill — but for the 6000 Aussie kids suffering from juvenile arthritis, there is a long wait for help.
“One thing that frustrates families is delays in diagnosis,” says Dr Davinda Singh-Grewal chairman of the Australian Paediatric Rheumatology Group.
“With 25 per cent of patients it takes five or more months, and they see five or more health practitioners prior to diagnosis.”
Originally appeared in Herald Sun December 1, 2014.

Babies evolved to last days without milk

IT'S not unusual that the newborn found dumped in a Sydney stormwater drain was able to survive days without fluid or food, experts say.
Associate Professor Kei Lui, of the University of NSW, said the baby was extremely lucky that the weather was warm in recent days. "Hypothermia is probably the biggest killer of abandoned babies," he said.
Originally appeared on November 24, 2014.

Foundation announces $9 million grant winners

Projects aimed at developing personalised treatments for children, improving radiotherapy, developing molecular imaging agents and analysing genetic mutations are sharing $9 million in grants from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).
Professor Michelle Haber will receive close to $1.5 million for the Children’s Cancer Institute to develop a national Precision Medicine Platform aimed at individualising therapy for children who have relapsed from current treatments and are seeking new treatments.
Originally appeared in Oncology Update November 17, 2014.

New funding for Australian-first childhood cancer precision medicine centre

Children’s Cancer Institute has been awarded a grant of $1.5 million for the establishment of a precision medicine centre. The centre heralds a new era in childhood cancer research and treatment and has the very real potential to substantially improve patient outcomes and survival rates.
“From our many years of research, it’s become clear that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treating children with cancer does not work, said Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director of Children’s Cancer Institute. “That is why one in five children still die from their disease.
Originally appeared on CCI website November 13, 2014.

New cystic fibrosis drug gives hope

A NEW cystic fibrosis drug is being hailed as a medical breakthrough and could provide hope for the many cystic fibrosis sufferers in Macarthur and beyond.
Head of the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, respiratory department Adam Jaffe said the drug was a "major breakthrough" in the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Originally appeared in South West Advertiser November 11, 2014.

Premature babies: Resuscitation guidelines are under review

THE tiniest babies to enter this world are alone at the beginning as they are at the end.
When neonatologist Kei Lui puts his arm through the window of one bassinet, a skinny arm breaks free of its swaddle, reaching into the space like a beetle's feeler, before latching onto the doctor's finger.
Originally appeared in Sydney Morning Herald November 9, 2014.

Complex format may determine whether extremely premature babies live or die

THE way doctors advise whether premature babies should be allowed to live or die is due for a radical rethink under changes being considered to the current medical guidelines.
Medical director of neonatal care at the Royal Hospital for Women, Kei Lui, said the new model was a more nuanced approach to the fraught question of when to resuscitate premature babies.
Originally appeared in WA Today November 8, 2014.

How the Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service is saving children

Before NETS started in 1979, sick babies and children were shifted by road ambulance or sometimes by air or, more likely, not at all. "We would put ourselves in a taxi and our medical equipment in the boot and try to get to the hospital and treat the child as best we could," says NETS state medical director Andrew Berry. "It was pretty Wild West ... Before NETS, a lot of these children would not even leave to go to a bigger hospital or some would die along the way."
Originally appeared in Sydney Morning Herald November 8, 2014.

Green tea extract paving the way for less toxic cancer therapies

HAVING shown promising results as a potential therapy for aggressive cancers in children and adults, the green tea extract is fulfilling the mission of Italian scientist Dr Orazio Vittorio to find new cancer treatment therapies with less toxic side effects.
Originally appeared on Cancer Institute NSW's website November 5, 2014.

Marsden grants to advance novel medical research

Novel medical research projects for personalised cancer, treating skin inflammation, diabetes’ impact on the heart, and creating neural bridges in pharmacology were the recipients of Marsden Grants worth $2.16 million this week.
Originally appeared in Scoop Independent News November 4, 2014.

New CF drug provides hope

A NEW cystic fibrosis (CF) drug is being hailed as a medical breakthrough, which may provide hope for many cystic fibrosis sufferers in Macarthur and beyond.
Sydney Children’s Hospital respiratory department head Adam Jaffe said the drug was a ‘‘major breakthrough’’ in the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Originally appeared in Campbelltown MacArthur Advertiser November 4, 2014.

SLE kids spark treatment concern

THE first ever estimate of paediatric systemic lupus erythematosus (pSLE) incidence in Australia finds similar rates to those worldwide, but flags shortfalls in the treatment of the condition.
Mackie, FE; Kainer, G; Adib, N; Boros, C; Elliott, EJ; Fahy, R; Munro, J; Murray, K; Rosenberg, A; Wainstein, B; Ziegler, JB; & Singh-Grewal, D.  The national incidence and clinical picture of SLE in children in Australia – a report from the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit.  Pediatric Lupus, 2014, 24(1): 66-73
Originally appeared in Rheumatology Update October 23, 2014

Migrant detention "abuse" can scar children for life

AN increasing number of migrant children are being detained in countries where they are seeking asylum despite a growing body of scientific evidence that such incarceration leads to long-term psychological and developmental difficulties.
Karen Zwi, a paediatrician and head of the Community Child Health department at Australia's Sydney Children's Hospital, said the new release plan "will affect only 16 percent of those currently in locked detention", arguing it could "heighten the despair of the other 745 (84 percent) children who have been excluded from the release."
Originally appeared in IRIN Global October 22, 2014

Detention"sanctioned child abuse"

THE Australian Government is deliberately muddying the legislative waters around children held in immigration detention in order to “deflate” controversy, according to paediatricians and psychiatrists.
Dr Karen Zwi, a community paediatrician with Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ spokesperson on refugee children, told MJA InSight that the Department of Immigration’s recent announcement about the release of 150 children in detention was “confusing” and an attempt to “deflate the issue”. (1)
Originally appeared in MJA Insights October 6, 2014

Paediatricians say mandatory detention is child abuse

MORE than 80% of Australian paediatricians believe mandatory detention of asylum seeker children constitutes child abuse, according to survey results published today in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Associate professor of paediatrics Karen Zwi, who was not involved in the research and who runs the refugee clinic at Sydney Children’s Hospital, said paediatricians were confused by the range of visa types and found it difficult to keep up-to-date with the different types of entitlement and access.
Originally appeared in The Conversation October 6, 2014

Health students taste country life

CALLS to destigmatise and heighten interest in a medical career in the bush were realised at the weekend.
RAW co-convenor Lucy McMullen, a 21-year-old fourth-year UNSW medical student living in Wagga, said the weekend involved creating positive experiences of rural life.
Originally appeared in The Daily Advertiser October 6, 2014

End to HIV no closer as early treatment fails to cure baby

A second case of a baby who was ostensibly “cured” of HIV after early treatment has been discounted as a possible breakthrough in fighting the disease.
Head of the HIV Service at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Professor John Ziegler said the two babies' circumstances were completely different. “The two babies had quite different exposure histories,” Professor Ziegler said.
Originally appeared in The Conversation October 3, 2014

Sydney hospital hosts major cancer trial

AUSTRALIAN researchers will lead a major international clinical trial for childhood cancer using a drug previously prescribed to treat African Sleeping Sickness.
"The drug DFMO essentially makes the current chemotherapies more effective in killing neuroblastoma cells," said trial leader, Dr David Ziegler, Paediatric Oncologist at Sydney Children's Hospital.
Originally appeared in The Australian September 1, 2014

Targeted therapy one step closer in neuroblastoma research

AUSTRALIAN researchers have uncovered new targets for therapy in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
Histone Modification Group and Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research’s Tao Liu says the researchers have been studying neuroblastoma in the hope of developing novel treatments.
“Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumour in early childhood and it accounts for 15 per cent of all childhood cancer death,” Dr Liu says.
Originally appeared in ScienceNetwork Western Australia August 27, 2014

NSW Cancer Researcher of the Year

PROFESSOR Michelle Haber has won the 2014 Cancer Institute NSW Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year for her ground-breaking translational research, which has led to increased survival rates for children with cancer.
Originally appeared on UNSW Newsroom August 22, 2014

Paediatrician disputes Immigration Minister's evidence on child detention

INTERVIEW - Paediatrician, Professor Karen Zwi also gave evidence to the inquiry about the impact of detention on children after visiting the Christmas Island facility earlier this year.
Professor Zwi has been watching the Immigration Minister's evidence this morning and explained to Mandie Sami why she disagrees with his position.
Originally appeared on 'The World Today,' ABC and Radio National, August 22, 2014

Scott Morrison's only option is to release all children in detention

COMMENT - The practice of locking up children indefinitely, identifying them by number, exposing them to violence and depriving them of education and developmental opportunities stands in stark contrast to widely held Australian values.
Scott Morrison's decision to release those under 10 years old is a welcome first step but still inadequate, writes Karen Zwi.
Originally appeared in Sydney Morning Herald, August 22, 2014

Babies thrive after pioneering surgery

Doctors at the Sydney Children's Hospital have performed pioneering keyhole surgery on two babies suffering from a rare birth disorder.
"The thing we're doing now is much better than what we used to do, which was drawn out and traumatic," pediatric surgeon Guy Henry said. "What's different about these two is that we've done it all keyhole."
Originally appeared in Sydney Morning Herald, July 27, 2014

Kids ignoring safety messages about wearing helmets while riding bikes, scooters and skateboards

IT'S a lifesaving message but it's clearly losing its impact.
Dr Donovan Dwyer, the head of trauma at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, said parents were failing to enforce the helmet rule in the driveway or back yard because they thought those areas were relatively safe.
Originally appeared in The Sunday Telegraph, July 27, 2014

Taste and smell dysfunction in childhood cancer survivors

CHILDHOOD cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy may have long-term negative impacts on taste and smell function, new research suggests.
“Long-term dysfunction has been documented in the adult oncology population, but this is the first study to assess this in a cohort of survivors of childhood cancer,” A/Professor Richard Cohn says.
Originally appeared in ScienceNetwork Western Australia, May 2, 2014

Children neglected on Christmas Island, Human Rights inquiry finds

An inquiry into the treatment of asylum seeker children on Christmas Island detention centre has found children in a state of gross neglect, with little to no access to education.
Dr Karen Zwi a paediatrician who accompanied Dr Triggs to the island, said there was a high level of anxiety among both the children and adults in the centre.
Originally appeared in The Age, March 25, 2014

Child Asylum Seekers in distress

A HUMAN rights inquiry has heard conditions at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre are causing children to wet their beds, bite themselves and bang their heads.
Paediatrician Karen Zwi said it was clear the harsh conditions were taking a toll on the development of children.
Originally appeared in The Australian and SBS, 24 March, 2014.

Do we need to put an end to hard contact sports?

It’s a weekend tradition for countless families Australia-wide. Regardless of the sport; soccer, hockey, rugby, AFL or netball, the beaming faces, dirty knees and grazed elbows are the stuff of memories that will be retold, and increasingly exaggerated, as the years go by. But this innocence has been shattered with recent reports outlining the long term damage that can be caused by one of the most common sports injuries, concussion.
The emergency department of Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick treated 53 children for concussion during 2013. Paediatric Emergency Staff Specialist Dr Rebecca Nogajski describes it as an injury to the brain following a mild head injury. “Early on symptoms may include altered levels of consciousness, headache, confusion, dizziness and memory loss of events surrounding the injury,” she says.
Originally appeared in Essential Kids, March 14, 2014.

Vision for life: Life-saving video system will give hospitals a clearer picture

WHEN Gemma Cudmore's nine-day-old baby Beau fell ill suddenly last year she rushed him from her home in Appin to the local emergency department.
Andrew Berry, the state director of the Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service, said the cameras would give children rapid access to experts from Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital, a consultation that was previously done over the phone.
Originally appeared in Sydney Morning Herald, March 12, 2014.

Can we – and should we – make laws against cancer?

MOST adult cancers are a consequence of personal choice. It is regulations and laws to influence behaviour that will likely prove our most effective weapon.
Author: Conjoint Professor Bernard Stewart
Originally appeared in The Guardian, February 4, 2014

Swim funds help support sufferers

IT MAY not be as high-profile as cancer and diabetes but the fact there is a dedicated clinic for cystic fibrosis highlights the serious nature and frequency of the disease.
Head of the Respiratory Department at Sydney Children's Hospital, John Widger, said the clinic played a vital role in the treatment of sufferers.
"We generally see the children until they are 18 at the clinic every three months," he said.
Originally appeared in Camden-Narellan Advertiser, January 28, 2014.

High achievers make an impact

Four UNSW academics are among a group of esteemed health and medical researchers – including Nobel laureates and former Australians of the Year – recognised as having made a significant difference to the lives of people worldwide.
UNSW Professor Maria Kavallaris, the Co-Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine and Conjoint Professors Glenda Halliday, John Mattick and John Shine are among the group of Australia’s finest. The researchers were chosen by the NHMRC’s Internal Scientific Planning Group and a Scientific Steering Committee, following public consultation.
Originally appeared in UNSW Newsroom, January 9, 2014.

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