Archive for the ‘Epilepsy’ Category


Climate change ‘will increase health risk’ to rural Australians

Mounting evidence of global warming has led experts to warn of greater health risks for Australians who live in rural and remote areas.

A paper from the Department of Public Health at the University of Adelaide warns altered weather patterns will bring changes in the distribution of diseases.

The paper predicts climate change will mean variations in the rates of hospital admissions and the use of ambulance services.

National Rural Health Alliance executive director Gordon Gregory says global warming could make people in remote regions more vulnerable.

“What we’ve got here is a paper which is very timely in terms of reminding us that we must have health work force on the ground to enable us to prepare for a new pattern of disease,” he said.

‘We must also have public awareness that change is afoot, so that we can be ready and willing on every front.”

“Disease patterns vary according to climate conditions because some vectors for diseases can’t survive in the hot, or in the cold, or in the wet, or in the dry.

“It’s clear that if there is any change in the pattern of weather, of climate, of the incidence of climatic events, there will be a change in the distribution of illnesses and disease.”


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Government says no need for mental inquiry

The Tasmanian Government has dismissed claims that the State’s mental health system is falling apart.

The Opposition today called for a Parliamentary inquiry into the mental health sector, saying the Government is creating a culture of mis-management and intimidation.

The Liberals’ health spokesman, Brett Whiteley says 60 staff have resigned or left the department in the past two years, and that deteriorating services are failing patients.

But the Government says a decade of reform has made mental health services more accessible than ever before.

The Health Minister, Lara Giddings says there are no grounds for an inquiry because Mr Whiteley’s claims have no credibility.

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Children dying for lack of child-sized drugs: WHO

WHO has launched a global campaign to promote greater research into child medicine (File photo)

WHO has launched a global campaign to promote greater research into child medicine (File photo) (ABC News: Giulio Saggin)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) claims children are dying for lack of drugs tailored to their needs and has launched a global campaign to promote greater research into child medicine.

More than half the drugs currently used to treat children in the industrialised world have not been specifically tested on the younger age groups, even though they metabolise medicines differently to adults.

As a result, clinicians lack clear guidelines on the best drug to use and often have to guess at the correct dose.

The problem is even worse in developing countries where price remains a major barrier and six million children die each year from treatable conditions.

In the case of HIV/AIDS, the few existing paediatric therapies developed for children generally cost three times more than adult ones.

In a bid to address the problem, the WHO has drawn up the first international List of Essential Medicines for Children, containing 206 products deemed safe for children that tackle priority conditions.

“But a lot remains to be done. There are priority medicines that have not been adapted for children’s use or are not available when needed,” WHO’s director of medicines policy and standards, Hans Hogerzeil, said.

Medicines that need to be adapted to children’s needs include many antibiotics, as well as asthma and pain drugs.

WHO also wants more research and development of combination pills for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The agency is building an internet portal linking to clinical trials carried out in children and will launch a website with the information early next year.

Testing medicines on children has always been a vexed issue, since good ethical practice requires informed consent from people participating in clinical trials, which is difficult to obtain in the case of children.

As a result, research-based drug companies have been wary of developing child-friendly medicines and generics companies have been slow to produce them at lower cost.

In an attempt to tackle the issue, both Europe and the United States now have special rules offering extended patent protection for drugs that have been tested on children.

Between 1990 and 1997 only 11 products were studied in children in the United States but in the last 10 years the total has jumped to 125. Research is also picking up in Europe.

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Wikipedia Article


Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have recurring seizures. The seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain send out the wrong signals. People may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely. They may have violent muscle spasms or lose consciousness.

Epilepsy has many possible causes, including illness, brain injury and abnormal brain development. In many cases, the cause is unknown.

Doctors use brain scans and other tests to diagnose epilepsy. It is important to start treatment right away. There is no cure for epilepsy, but medicines can control seizures for most people. When medicines are not working well, surgery or implanted devices such as vagus nerve stimulators may help. Special diets can help some children with epilepsy.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally. In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Epilepsy is a disorder with many possible causes. Anything that disturbs the normal pattern of neuron activity – from illness to brain damage to abnormal brain development – can lead to seizures. Epilepsy may develop because of an abnormality in brain wiring, an imbalance of nerve signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters, or some combination of these factors. Having a seizure does not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. Only when a person has had two or more seizures is he or she considered to have epilepsy. EEGs and brain scans are common diagnostic test for epilepsy.

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Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain. In people with epilepsy, brain cells create abnormal electricity that causes seizures. A seizure may cause “jerking” movements. In some cases, seizures cause only a loss of consciousness, a period of confusion, a staring spell or muscle spasms.

A single seizure is not considered epilepsy. People with epilepsy have repeated episodes of seizures.

Epilepsy is not a mental illness, and it is not a sign of low intelligence. It is also not contagious. Between seizures, a person with epilepsy is no different from anyone else.

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