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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:58 pm 
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Cane toads on the menu for Perth diners

The owner of a top Perth restaurant believes cane toads could have a future on menus across the city.

As the poisonous pests continue their migration across Australia, encroaching further into Western Australia, authorities continue to search for new ways to tackle the environmental threat.

But some say the toad problem could be addressed by eating them.

Clyde Bevan, co-owner of Friends Restaurant in Perth, said cooking and eating the toads might be a good idea.

"It doesn't sound appetising, especially when you look at them," he said.

"But we eat lots of interesting things like kangaroos and sea urchin."

But before Mr Bevan introduces cane toad to his restaurant, which has served celebrities and dignitaries like Bono, Ringo Star and Gough Whitlam, he would need to experiment with recipes.

"You could do all sorts of things. It depends on the quality of the meat with regard to flavour, length of flavour and texture," he said.

"You could mix it up with other meat and put it in a terrine. You could do all sorts of things.

"We may end up doing toads. I think there are a lot of great restaurants in Perth that would have a go. You would be silly not to try it.

"We're all looking for new challenges and we're all looking for a new edge."

Alex Jordan, from Noonamah in the Northern Territory, is an advocate for local produce who has eaten cane toads.

"We only eat the leg," she said.

"It's like eating frog's leg. We just fry them up. They taste similar to frog's legs. It's a slightly muddy and fishy taste.

"It's very tasty. The texture's like chicken."

Professor Philip Hayward of Southern Cross University said that cooking and eating cane toads is a sustainable solution to the environmental crisis.

"A lot of money is put into farm animals, like cattle and sheep, which are not suited to Australia's ecological systems, yet we have other introduced species causing environmental havoc," he said.

"The thing about invasive animals is that they don't need sustenance, unlike cattle and sheep, which need a lot of feed."

Cane toad cooks recommend removing the amphibian's poisonous skin and avoiding its poisonous back when attempting to cook and eat them.

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/cane- ... 1jyhu.html


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:06 pm 
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Mosaic virus hits NT pumpkins

THE Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries has confirmed cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) has been detected in a pumpkin crop in the Northern Territory.

The department made the announcement as Katherine watermelon producers impacted by the highly contagious virus continued to destroy their crops.

An additional quarantine area has been declared in Marrakai following the detection of the infected pumpkin crop.

Properties in declared quarantine areas will not be able to move, sell or plant any of the virus’ declared host plants, which include watermelons, cucumbers and squash.

To date CGMMV has not been detected in Queensland.

Queensland, along with other states, is currently preparing to undertake a specific, nationally consistent, surveillance program for CGMMV.

Biosecurity Queensland has asked growers to check their melon crops and report any signs of the virus.

A Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson said they had been looking for the virus and responding to reports of suspect symptoms through its normal surveillance, market access and diagnostic programs.

“Trace-back investigations between Queensland businesses and the detections of CGMMV in the Northern Territory are ongoing,” the spokesperson said.

Growers are strongly encouraged to implement good farm biosecurity practices, such as those described in the Melon Industry and Nursery and Garden Industry Biosecurity Plans or the Nursery and Garden Industry Farm Biosecurity Manual.

CGMMV can produce mottling or mosaic symptoms on leaves, similar to those caused by other endemic potyviruses such as Watermelon mosaic virus, Papaya ringspot virus (strain P) and Zucchini yellow mosaic virus.

CGMMV can result in the malformation, internal rotting, or discoloration of fruit, resulting in unsaleable produce.

CGMMV is easily transmitted through plant material; by infected sap on equipment, vehicles or people; in seed or pollen; and possibly water.

ABC Radio recently reported a Queensland nursery had been linked to the virus, however Biosecurity Queensland would not confirm specific details.

http://www.theland.com.au/news/agricult ... 17072.aspx


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:59 pm 
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Proximity to fast food linked to obesity

Diabetes and obesity rates in inner cities can be linked to the number of fast-food outlets near people's homes, a study suggests.

Scientists based their conclusion on a study of 10,000 people in the UK. They said there were twice as many fast-food outlets within 500 metres of non-white and socially deprived neighbourhoods.

Lead researcher Professor Kamlesh Khunti, from the University of Leicester, said: "The results are quite alarming and have major implications for public health interventions to limit the number of fast-food outlets in more deprived areas."

Writing in the journal Public Health Nutrition, the researchers said that every additional two outlets per neighbourhood led to the expectation of one additional case of diabetes. This was assuming a causal relationship between the two.

Khunti said: "In a multi-ethnic region of the UK, individuals had on average two fast-food outlets within 500 metres of their home.

"This number differed substantially by key demographics, including ethnicity; people of non-white ethnicity had more than twice the number of fast-food outlets in their neighbourhood compared with white Europeans. We found that the number of fast-food outlets in a person's neighbourhood was associated with an increased risk of screen-detected type 2 diabetes and obesity.

"We found a much higher number of fast-food outlets in more deprived areas where a higher number of black and minority ethnic populations resided. This in turn was associated with higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes."

Co-author Dr Patrice Carter, also from the Leicester team, said: "The observed association between the number of fast-food outlets with obesity and type 2 diabetes does not come as a surprise; fast-food is high in total fat, trans-fatty acids and sodium, portion sizes have increased two to fivefold over the last 50 years and a single fast-food meal provides approximately 1,400 calories. Furthermore, fast-food outlets often provide sugar-rich drinks."

The research was published ahead of World Diabetes Day on Friday.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014 ... ed-obesity


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:01 pm 
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How teenagers can avoid risk with selfies

POSTING a selfie need not reveal the full details of your private life, a German advice site for teens says.

DUMB selfies are like distributing free police mug-shots of yourself.

They can also reveal a lot of information about you, such as where you live and who lives with you. That can turn into a problem for teenagers, who risk becoming a target of cyber-bullying from other teens.

The German website, handysektor.de, provides information to young adults on how to avoid common traps in mobile phone use.

"Safe" selfies, it says, can be taken by holding your phone at an odd angle such as at the side or above your face. That way, the image is no use to facial scanning software, but the image will still look great.

There are also several free apps that allow you to re-touch selfies so that predators and other strangers can't read too much into them.

One makes you look like a cartoon character.

http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-n ... 7124698259


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:05 pm 
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Queensland: Australia's sunny fat state

QUEENSLAND has claimed the title of the heaviest state in Australia, with one quarter of all deaths directly or indirectly linked to diet, the 2014 The Health of Queenslanders Report has revealed.

Cancer Council Queensland has backed calls from the Chief Health Officer for Queenslanders to get moving, bin the junk food and make better diet decisions for their overall health.

The new report reveals Queensland has the highest rates of both adult and child obesity nationally, with 65% of adults and 28% of children weighing in as overweight or obese.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn said the report was a wake-up call.

"The overweight and obesity epidemic is more than just a personal problem for those affected - it's a community challenge that we must address by working together to find ways of getting people moving more and eating less unhealthy food," Prof Dunn said.

"The Chief Health Officer's report is a wake-up call for workplaces, schools, community groups, non-government organisations and all levels of government.

"We must find ways of arresting this crisis to preserve future quality of life for Queenslanders.

"Beyond the debilitating personal toll of overweight and obesity, and the increased risks of cancer and other chronic diseases, this epidemic threatens to stifle our productivity and severely hamper the health system."

The report found obesity had increased by 22% in four years, with 40,000 people becoming obese each year.

Prof Dunn said it was particularly concerning that the average weight of Queensland adults had increased three kilos in just a decade.

"If this trend continues, our next generation will tip the scales at an average adult weight never before seen in history," Prof Dunn said.

"More than a million Queensland adults are now impacted by obesity, although one-third of overweight and obese Queenslanders do not recognise they have a health problem.

"We must find ways of encouraging one another to work towards a healthy weight, limiting sedentary behaviour and boosting health and happiness through physical activity and a healthy diet."

According to the report, junk food comprises one-third of the average Queenslander's daily energy intake.

"Too many cakes, pastries, biscuits and sugary drinks are threatening to cut our lives short," Prof Dunn said.

"Soft drink has supersized us, with as many as 12% of Queensland adults and eight per cent of children drinking it every day.

"Food and drink that were once considered occasional treats have made their way into our daily diets, with damaging consequences for our health.

"Diet choices are the leading risk of disease burden in Australia, accounting for one in four deaths in Queensland."

The Health of Queenslanders Report 2014 also revealed a decline in smoking rates, with 14% of Queensland adults smoking daily in 2014, a 26% reduction in the past decade.

"The smoking trends in the report are encouraging, but there are still 500,000 adult smokers in Queensland," Prof Dunn said.

"With one in four Queensland cancer deaths caused by smoking, we urgently need smoke free spaces at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls."

Earlier this week, a Queensland Parliamentary Committee recommended statewide smoking bans at public transport waiting points and pedestrian malls, in response to Cancer Council recommendations.

"Smoke free spaces will protect people from the harmful effects of smoking, encourage more smokers to quit, and prevent more young people from taking up this lethal habit," Prof Dunn said.

"We commend the Queensland Parliamentary Committee for its action to protect the public from harm.

"We also welcome the Committee's recommendation that the Department of Health consider extending existing and proposed smoking bans to outdoor areas frequented by the public, including, for example, TAFE colleges," he said.

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/ne ... e/2457918/


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:37 pm 
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Palliative care to get $66m: Vic govt

Victorian palliative care services will be expanded and easier to access under a Napthine government, the coalition has promised.

Premier Denis Napthine and Health Minister David Davis on Wednesday committed $66 million towards the delivery of palliative care services across the state.

The package will boost community palliative care, improve out-of-home respite, expand specialist services and better cater for Aboriginal Victorians and the multicultural community, they said.

Research and training in the sector will also be bolstered.

Mr Davis said the funding would build on the coalition's work so far, particularly in rural and regional areas.

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2014/1 ... m-vic-govt


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:13 am 
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Non-elective surgery delays slammed as unacceptable after four-day fast

Waiting times for non-urgent emergency surgeries in Canberra have been slammed after an injured mountain biker was forced to fast for four days due to repeated postponements.

Chris Burton, 46, said he sat in a pre-operation waiting room at the Canberra Hospital for 31 hours across the four days before his November 3 surgery to repair a broken collarbone.

He said other patients – including those with a broken wrist and broken leg – also waited multiple days.

"There were some people there, elderly people, [who] didn't have a car, could get there on that day and that was it, and when they came out and told them 'sorry, it's not going to happen today', they were devastated -- there were tears, anger," Mr Burton said.

"Most people in Canberra – particularly as we're supposedly the best city to live in the world – would expect something a little bit better than this."

ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said the delays were unacceptable and highlighted the need for statistics to be kept on non-elective surgery wait times.

"We are working in the dark [without figures], but if a patient is advised they're having surgery on a day that should happen – it should be a very rare occasion that they are sent home," he said.

Mr Burton, from Wamboin, fasted from midnight on each of his expected surgery days and sat in a surgical gown for the first two days.

He said he was told by nursing staff on each day there was no guarantee he would be seen, and that a 2-4-day stint in the pre-op waiting room was likely.

"They said it had been like this for years," Mr Burton said.

An ACT Health spokesman said it was not "standard" for patients to wait for 2-4 days for non-urgent emergency surgeries, and the hospital's emergency theatre was experiencing an increased demand for urgent surgeries during the period.

"During the time this patient was waiting for surgery, there were 11 surgeries required to be completed in more urgent categories, and 12 in the same urgency category," he said.

A Health spokeswoman said decisions to postpone surgery were made in consultation with treating specialists and were based on the clinical needs and clinical urgency of the patient.

"It is regrettable that this does, at times, cause delays for some patients, however, it does ensure that procedures are conducted safely and appropriately."

The spokeswoman said Canberra Hospital and Health Services were developing protocols aimed at streamlining access for patients and reducing the length of waits for non-elective theatre procedures.

"This will reduce the number of patients who undergo repeat fasting times and re-presentations to theatres for admission," she said.

ACT Health was also "investigating possible options" for a new data set, with statistics on median wait times for non-elective, emergency theatre procedures conducted at Canberra Hospital not available, she said.

The spokeswoman said the emergency theatre was dedicated to emergency cases only.

"Elective surgery does not impact on the emergency surgery list," she said.

The median wait for elective surgery in the ACT has been cut from 76 days in 2011 to 48 days in 2013-14, still above the 36 day national median.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/nonelect ... 1pw1j.html


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:25 pm 
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Get on well with your doctor? Start worrying

Young doctors struggle to remain objective and truthful when they feel a strong personal affinity to their patients, a new study has found.

A paper titled Blurring of boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship has shown that 59 per cent of oncologists (those treating cancer patients) found it difficult to be truthful about a prognosis if they particularly liked a patient.

The study also showed that 60 per cent of doctors felt that empathy for patients made it much harder to make objective decisions, while most allowed patients to use their first name and 60 per cent allowed patients to hug or kiss them when greeting or saying goodbye.

Cancer patients need their doctors to be warm, compassionate and caring but the relationship should not be confused with a social one.

Burnout in young oncologists is high, at more than 30 per cent, and often leads to them leaving the profession.

It is so important patients have strong and trusting relationships with their doctors during what will most likely be a very emotional and difficult period.

But to ensure that cancer patients receive the best and most objective treatment, oncologists must look after their own emotional well-being also and recognise that there is a professional line over which one shouldn’t cross.

Malcolm Reed, incoming Dean of BSMS said: “Although these results need replicating, they show a worrying trend.

“The General Medical Council has produced guidance in which these newer risks to the maintenance of professional boundaries are made clear; they need to be promoted to students and young doctors.”

The rise of social media was cited as one particular area that blurs the professional and personal boundaries, with 14 per cent of doctors admitting to adding their patients on Facebook and 55 per cent saying they had given them their personal mobile telephone number.

http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/g ... l1r-Lj7Vux


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:01 am 
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Problem gamblers share similar characteristics to people with personality disorders

Washington: A new research has revealed that problem gambling and personality disorders often go hand in hand.

The study at Monash University in Australia showed that problem gambling creates a multitude of intrapersonal, interpersonal and social difficulties for the roughly 2.3 percent of the population internationally that suffers from this behavior.

Previous research has shown that people with gambling problems suffer from a range of psychiatric disorders affecting their mood, levels of anxiety and their use of substances.

Meredith Brown and her colleagues reviewed existing research to establish patterns and factor that link problem gambling and various personality disorders and found that people with gambling problems share similar characteristics to people with antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders.

The review shows that the same biological and social factors are at play in causing problem gambling and personality disorders, which include poor parental relationships during childhood, possible abuse, difficulty in controlling emotions, substance abuse, depression and anxiety disorders.

Members of both groups, who are also emotionally more vulnerable and struggle with anger issues and feelings of shame, tend to be socially isolated, have problematic relationships with their peers, lower self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness and dissociation.

Brown added that the fact that problem gambling and high levels of psychopathology often go together indicates a need to undertake routine and systematic screening and assessment of problem gamblers who sign up for treatment because the clinical picture of people with gambling problems who also suffer from personality disorders is more complicated, their successful treatment is also more difficult.

The study is published in Springer's Journal of Gambling Studies.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/space/pro ... 05290.html


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Team nursing to boost care

"Team nursing" and the recruitment of Assistants in Nursing is set to begin at Canberra Hospital to support nurses and patients better.

Chief Minister and Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher announced a suite of initiatives to improve patient experience at Canberra Hospital and make it easier for nurses to continue to offer excellent care.

The new measures include introducing "team nursing", where nurses share care across a team rather than a set number of allocated patients; recruiting Assistants in Nursing to free up nurses to use their specialist skills for patient care; changing visiting hours to increase the amount of family support available to patients; and, bringing in new ways to collect patient feedback.

Assistants to provide back-up

"The number of registered and enrolled nurses will remain unchanged, but nurses will have more time for patients to benefit from their professional skills," Ms Gallagher said.

"Team nursing means moving away from the current model where individual nurses care for allocated patients and instead a team of nurses will share care for patients," she said.

"This means patients won't have to wait for their dedicated nurse to be available to look after them."

She said Assistants in Nursing would be added to the teams to supplement patient care, and would carry out some basic tasks that didn't require the same high level of training that nurses had.

Where it is deemed clinically appropriate, revised visiting hours of 6am to 9pm will be rolled out to align with the opening hours of the hospital.

"This aims to establish consistent visiting hours across general inpatient wards of the hospital as family and visitors can be an important component of the healing experience for patients, whilst at the same time reduce the anxiety and social isolation associated with illness," Ms Gallagher said.

http://www.psnews.com.au/act/Page_ACTpsn06916.html


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:25 am 
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Ten reasons why life doesn't suck

It has been an unequivocally crappy year.

Ebola. Islamic State. Manus Island. Terrorism. Flights MH 17 and MH 370. A miserly Budget. The Batchelor. We can't take any more.

Such a bombardment of bad news can, if you don't check yourself, set you on a downward spiral towards doom and gloom. Nothing's ever easy, and pretty much everything that makes you feel great also makes you fat, takes too long, is ridiculously expensive or ultimately is bad for you.

Here, then, are 10 counter-balancing life hacks to remind you that life ain't so bad after all.

1. Looking at cat videos isn't a waste of time. It's good for you
Research by Stanford University found one minute of laughter is the equivalent of 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Add other recognised benefits – reducing stress and depression, aiding sleep, boosting the immune system and helping fight diabetes and heart disease – and suddenly those goofy cat memes don't seem so silly. Tell this to your boss the next time you're caught on http://www.lolcats.com when you should be working.

2. Your full-cream milkshake brings them all to the yard
That rich, creamy, full-fat flavoursome milk? It's better for you than the bland skimmed stuff - especially if you're weight training.

Sugar, as opposed to fat, is our poison. Look at the back of your milk carton; there's less sugar in your tastier full fat milk.

If you're gym bulking, full-fat could actually help. Scientists at Texas University found that drinking whole milk after lifting weights boosted muscle protein synthesis — promoting muscle growth — 2.8 times more than drinking skim milk did.

Australian nutritionist Lindy Cook says full-fat can also be better if you're cutting instead of bulking: "Whole milk might be more effective for long-term weight loss. Research shows it leaves people feeling satiated longer, so they experience reduced cravings and their insulin is more sensitive to support fat burning."

3. Taking five minutes to do your hair looks better than 25
For men, the messed-up, just-got-out-of-bed look has never – and probably will never – go out of style. Even more tailored cuts style better if you do them in five minutes after the shower, rather than labouring over it with a hairdryer and three types of product for an overly fussy look. The days of the metrosexual using GHD mini straighteners are, happily, over.

4. Finally, a burger with allegedly fewer carbs than a sushi roll
Who doesn't love a burger? (vegos – look away now). Burger chain Grill'd has teamed up with nutritionist Steph Lowe to develop the Low Carb SuperBun. Any burger from their menu now comes in low-carb form, meaning that 'healthy burger' is no longer an oxymoron. The bun itself has only 8.5g of carbs, so the whole burger is said to have fewer carbs than one sushi roll.

5. Two glasses of red wine are better than two of fruit juice
"Sugar is more addictive than heroin," asserts Victoria-based nutritionist Lindy Cook, "and fruit juice is loaded with it."

This, she says, is why you should instead indulge in the good red stuff: "Red wine is packed full of anti-oxidants. It protects against heart disease and the effects of saturated fat. Just remember to stick to the two-glass-a-day limit."

6. Being a wanker isn't necessarily a bad thing
Masturbation is "healthier than brushing your teeth every day", according to clinical sexologist Gloria Bame Ph.D. Benefits include a flush of pain-relieving, stress-decreasing and happiness-causing chemicals, including oxytocin and endorphins. It's proven to both help you sleep at night, and give you energy in the morning. It strengthens muscle tone, improves immunity and, for men, reduces your chances of prostate cancer. So go ahead.

7. Cycling – cheaper, faster, healthier, greener
No tax, no insurance, no parking fees, no petrol. Never wait for a parking spot. Excellent for physical and mental health (not to mention less of a drain on the health system, and greener). And – for shorter or even medium urban journeys – usually faster. There's never been a bigger win/win. Saddle up and smile.

8. You probably live in one of the world's most liveable cities
Canberra came out top – to some raised eyebrows – in 2014's OECD report measuring regional wellbeing. Whichever list you read, Australian cities top it. The 2014 Economist Intelligence Unit global liveability report, which examines how 'tolerable' each city is, ranked Melbourne first. Sydney, Adelaide and Perth also make the global top 10.

9. It's the journey, not the destination
Old-school self-help advised visualising the end result to increase happiness: that five-star holiday you've been planning all year; that toned new body you'll get, etc. Many psychologists, such as Professor Richard Wiseman, have since rewritten that rule book to suggest that being present on the journey makes you happier than fixating on the end goal. So you ate the full-fat burger. So you drank white wine instead of red. So what. Get back on the journey and enjoy the ride.

10) You get to enjoy all the above for longer
For the first time in history, Australian men can now expect to live past 80, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in November. This means they can scoff healthy burgers washed down with red wine or full-cream milk for more years than any Australian man ever before.

We'll drink to that.

http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/s ... 1x8qx.html


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:08 pm 
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Families fear they will be left worse off after NDIS roll-out

Parents of children with special needs fear their children will be forced into mainstream preschools and schools before they are ready when the ACT government ceases its early intervention programs at the end of the December, as private providers move in under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Weston Creek mother Jennifer Merriman saw the benefits of the ACT's early-intervention groups for the development delays of her eight-year-old daughter Leira and wanted her three-year-old son Rhye to have the same opportunity.

But none of the six private providers who won National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) tenders to offer the services are providing the same frequency or level of support and Mrs Merriman believes it's a deliberate attempt to end the services entirely in the ACT.

"It's a complete shambles - I'm absolutely disgusted," she said.

"We've received the NDIS package, our children have been approved, but we've got nowhere to spend our money."

She collected 2000 signatures on a petition earlier this year, calling for the ACT government to continue offering the preschool-style groups for children with development delays, aged from two to school-age.

But Disability Minister Joy Burch has shown no signs of backing down. And just weeks out from the end of the year Mrs Merriman fears her son will be left in the lurch.

"None [of the providers] are offering small group sessions where we can drop\ off our children for three-hours," she said.

"We went through the playgroup stage, where you stay with the child for two hours. And now we're at the next step where you leave the children."

Mrs Merriman said the groups were a vital part of early intervention encouraging the children to use the skills they learnt in individual occupational therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy sessions, to socialise with others and improve their social anxiety.

She said staff from one of the providers told her they were phasing out all early intervention groups by the end of 2015 as part of the tender requirements.

She believes the groups were being wound back in the ACT in favour of individual therapy alone, to match the lesser services offered by other states and territories.

"Because [Rhye] will be four in December, Minister Burch says he should go to [mainstream] preschool," she said.

"He's not ready. How is he going to get the support he needs in a class of 25?

"We want that beautiful environment with no more than 10 children."

NDIA operations general manager Liz Cairns said it was up to the service provider and parents to determine what was required for each child, but the NDIA wanted children to "integrate into usual childhood activities" such as children's services or school.

"Some providers may prefer parents to be present as the parents learn how best to assist their child," she said.

"It was not a requirement of the [early intervention] tender, but it does fit with the good practice information published by the ACT Government."

But Ms Burch put the onus back on the NDIA and parents saying families were free to choose the service that suited them best.

In a "unique" move to help develop the market, the NDIA chose to "bulk-fund" six organisations to provide early intervention services in the ACT from the start of the 2015 school year, Ms Burch said. Usually NDIS funds go to the individuals rather than providers.

But Ms Burch said at least seven other organisations were also offering early intervention services.

Ms Burch said the ACT government was withdrawing from specialist disability services, beginning with early intervention of preschool-aged children, to encourage the market to grow.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... 1shqm.html


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:53 am 
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Poultry Sector Faces up to Tough Challenges

GLOBAL - In the UK, recent results from a survey of Campylobacter prevalence in chickens for sale has caused a leading poultry company to take action. The global animal health agency has called for better surveillance for disease as avian flu hits poultry in India and Canada.

Following the formation of a Joint Working Group to tackle Campylobacter in a focused way in the United Kingdom, one of the country's leading poultry companies has announced a significant programme aimed to cut the link between this foodborne pathogen and poultry meat.

2 Sisters Food Group is leading the largest and most comprehensive programme to tackle Campylobacter ever undertaken by the UK poultry industry.

The business has launched a £10-million initiative, with contributions from its retail partners, into reducing Campylobacter levels in poultry; far exceeding anything the sector had previously invested.

The multi-intervention plan, touching all stages of the supply chain from farm to consumer, aims to reduce Campylobacter levels at each stage, and provide industry insight into the best ways to tackle the naturally occurring bacteria.

The announcement from 2 Sisters followed the publication by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of the results of its survey of Campylobacter on fresh chickens.

It includes results that have been described as "alarming" with respect to the high proportion of retail chickens testing positive for Campylobacter and those testing positive for the bacteria above the highest level of contamination.

Responding to the survey results, one animal welfare campaign group said the link between bird welfare and public health cannot be ignored.

Compassion in World Farming’s Director of Food Business, Dr Tracey Jones, said: "What’s clear is that our desire for cheap chicken, which is relentlessly driving down prices, is a fundamental barrier to solving this issue."

Another issue concerning the global poultry industry is bird flu.

Within the last week, India has reported three outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu in village ducks in the state of Kerala with more than 200,000 birds reportedly culled. There have also been two outbreaks in British Columbia in Canada; the cause is also an H5 variant but the full identification has not yet been announced.

In The Netherlands, the approach to controlling the disease caused by the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus has been somewhat relaxed in the absence of any new outbreaks. Germany and the United Kingdom too have reported no further virus-positive results in the last week.

Egypt has reported four new confirmed human cases of H5N1 influenza, three of whom have died and in China, a further two people are in a critical condition having contracted flu of the H7N9 type associated with live poultry markets.

Among the lessons to be learned from the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in Asia and Europe, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is recommending a strengthening of animal disease surveillance worldwide.

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultryne ... challenges


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:24 pm 
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More adults and children are getting braces as trend to fix teeth increases in Australia

IT WAS once the news every teenager dreaded, to be told they needed braces.

But today it seems parents are struggling to hold their children back from the orthodontist’s chair — and adults are joining in as well, flocking to fix their crooked smiles.

Years ago, insults like brace-face and metal-mouth used to fly around the schoolyard, directed at the unfortunate two or three kids in every class bearing the conspicuous metal form work.

Now experts report having to frequently turn away kids eager to have braces before they’re ready.

Costing on average of between $6000 and $10,000, it seems most people see braces as a worthy investment in their health and wellbeing.

For Sienna Ford, 14, the idea of being teased about her braces is absurd.

The Year 8 student said it would never occur to her peers, with more than half the 90 girls in her year bearing some kind of dental work.

“No one teases me because everyone has them. It would be weird if they did,” Sienna said.

“We all know how each other feels.”

Her mother, Britta Ford, joined the growing number of adults choosing to correct their teeth later in life, getting braces of her own 10 years ago.

“I had braces when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I wanted them done so I could have a beautiful smile for their wedding ­photos,” she said.

When she was a high school student in the ’80s Ms Ford said the few children with braces were teased mercilessly.

“I’d say one in 10 had braces and unfortunately they were called names,” she said.

“Now I’d say about seven out of 10 kids have them. I don’t think it’s such a nerdy thing today.”

Specialist orthodontist Dr Andrew Pitsis said better technology had made orthodontic work a more subtle and faster process.

“There are more options now that are much more discreet, like ceramic braces or aligners, these things make orthodontics easy, comfortable and quicker,” he said.

“The sophistication and quality of the products are much better now than 20 years ago.

“Braces were originally quite bulky but they’ve come a long way.”

Former president of the Australian Dental Association Dr Shane Fryer said increased awareness and changing social values removed much of the stigma.

“There’s been a huge increase across the board, compared to 10 years ago,” Dr Fryer said.

“In the adult population, from my experience, they would have been 5 per cent of those getting orthodontics ten years ago. Today they would be at least 20 per cent of patients.

“I (recently) put braces on a retired schoolteacher in her 60s. We are living longer and know the quality of life is better if we have our own teeth.”

Medibank Private members made 10.2 million claims for dental work last financial year, totalling $540 million in benefits.

The $9 billion industry is predicted to continue growing over the next decade as more adults and kids opt for some form of corrective work.

Technological advancements in materials and treatment methods mean dentists and orthodontists are able to shave months to years off treatment times.

Discrete ceramic braces and vibration equipment, which moves teeth without the need for permanent ‘form’ work, provides patients with more options than the conspicuous metal and elastic.

However, they come at a premium and have contributed to a price rise of thousands of dollars over the past 10 years.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/n ... f0618612f2


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Mental health organisations cut services and staff amid funding uncertainty

Mental health organisations are cutting services and shedding staff because of uncertainty about their funding, according to the sector's peak body.

Forty per cent of mental health agencies say they have already lost staff as a result of the uncertainty, while more than half report a reduction in services to their clients, according to a survey of 75 organisations which receive Commonwealth funding, conducted by Mental Health Australia.

Almost half of those surveyed reported difficulty in attracting new staff, and 81 per cent reported a decline in staff morale.

Fifty six per cent of organisations said they had not had communications with the government regarding the future of their Commonwealth funding after June next year, and 85 per cent reported a loss of trust in government among management and staff.

Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan said the typically short-term funding cycles for mental health programs, a lack of clarity about how the National Disability Insurance Scheme would affect funding arrangements, and a national review of existing mental health programs had combined to create a "perfect storm of indecision."

"Nobody argues about the need for these programs but at the moment we just can't seem to find anybody to own the future of that problem," Mr Quinlan said.

Health Minister Peter Dutton is considering the review of existing services, conducted by the National Mental Health Commission, after receiving the report late last month.

Mr Quinlan urged the government to provide interim funding assurances to organisations to allow them to continue to provide services while it develops its response to the review.

"We really can't wait any longer – by the time we get to the May budget, things are going to be a lot worse than they are already," he said.

A spokesman for Mr Dutton said the government was "committed to building a world class mental health system" and had commissioned the National Mental Health Commission to review existing services to assess how well and efficiently they were helping their clients.

"The Commission's Report has only just been concluded and provided to the Government. The Government will now consider the report and its recommendations and will respond after appropriate deliberations. Mental health services have had their funding continued through to June 2015 while this process has taken place," the spokesman said.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal ... 22oqm.html


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