Sunday, July 10, 2011

More health Fascism in Australia

Have they learnt nothing from America's experience of prohibition?

THE most powerful clinical body within the WA Health Department has called for an increase in the legal drinking age to 20 or 21.

The Clinical Senate of WA has presented a position statement to Health Minister Kim Hames urging the move as one way to combat rampant alcohol abuse and its impact on the health system and young lives. New figures show alcohol-related hospital admissions cost WA taxpayers $95 million a year.

The senate's call puts the influential group at direct odds with Dr Hames, who told The Sunday Times that he did not support lifting the age.

The senate comprises 75 elite health professionals, including Public Health executive director Tarun Weeramanthri, chief medical officer Simon Towler, Princess Margaret Hospital boss Robyn Lawrence and King Edward Memorial Hospital boss Amanda Frazer.

It has called also for an end to the practice of handing out alcoholic gifts at medical conferences and dinners.

The senate's chair Kim Gibson said evidence from the World Health Organisation and other eminent bodies had shown that raising the drinking age helped to reduce alcohol-related injuries. "The driving age and the drinking age are very close in WA," she said. "If you're able to separate them, you can have some impact on the road trauma figures."

She said also that 18-year-olds were too immature to drink. "One issue is the maturity of the brain and behaviours around risk," she said. "The younger population is into risk-taking and so if you wait for more maturity you're not matching the risk-taking with the alcohol consumption." [But they are old enough to risk their lives in the armed forces??]


Scarring womb lining could double IVF success rate

This is based on a very small sample so should be treated with caution until a large double-blind trial is carried out

Women undergoing IVF could almost double their chances of pregnancy by undergoing a 10 minute procedure that involves scarring the lining of the womb, according to a study presented this week.

The Brazilian research found that performing a small biopsy of the endometrial wall before embryo implantation - resulting in a tiny scar - increased the chance of an ongoing pregnancy from 38 to 63 per cent.

The operation lasts around ten minutes and can be carried out without anaesthetic, although many women take painkillers around 30 minutes beforehand.

Dr Fernando Prado Ferreira, who led the study at Santa Joana Maternity Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, believes the biopsies help embryos implant better in the womb, although why this might be so is currently unclear.

In the trial of 144 women whose average age was 33, 46 IVF patients were given biopsies and 98 were not. Dr Ferreira, based at the Federal University of São Paulo, said: “Having a biopsy prior to IVF treatment almost doubled the chances of pregnancy over those who did not.” He has presented the findings at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Stockholm.

Earlier studies have shown similar findings, and Dr Ferreira said his team's research added to evidence that the technique worked. “The results are very consistent and could mean that the endometrial biopsy is routinely used in all future treatments,” he said

Explaining what might be happening, he went on: “The endometrial biopsy appears to lead to scarring in the uterus that provides better adhesion of the embryo, either through the scarring itself or through substances called cytokines released when the wound is caused in the womb.”

However, studies to date have been relatively small, and experts have cautioned that there are “many unanswered questions” such as selection of patients and the number of biopsies needed. Dr Ferreira conceded that more studies were needed to confirm the effect and understand the mechanism.

Eduardo Pandolfi Passos, scientific director of the Latin American Association of Reproductive Medicine, said the results should be treated with caution so as not to “create a false expectation” in patients.


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