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Australia up there with the top 10 healthiest countries in the world, Global Burden of Disease Study Shows

Monday, September 26th, 2016

blue-medical-vector image www.newcures.info

The USA can keep its hoard of Olympic medals. Australia has thrashed the superpower in a far more significant world ranking.

Australia is among the top 10 healthiest countries in the world, according to the most comprehensive analysis of burden of disease and living standards to date.

multi-country-flags image www.newcures.info
Australia is among the top 10 healthiest countries in the world. 

A suite of perfect scores buoyed Australia’s performance, including top marks for indicators associated with war, malnutrition, water access, sanitation and malaria.

Top 30 countries by health-related Sustainable Development Goals
Rank Country
1 Iceland
2 Singapore
3 Sweden
4 Andorra
5 UK
6 FInland
7 Spain
8 Netherlands
9 Canada
10 Australia
11 Norway
12 Luxembourg
13 Ireland
14 Malta
15 Germany
16 Denmark
17 Cyprus
18 Belgium
19 Switzerland
20 Italy
21 Brunei
22 Portugal
23 Israel
24 France
25 Slovenia
26 Greece
27 Japan
28 US
29 Estonia
30 New Zealand
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But its result was dragged down by lower scores for suicide, alcohol, smoking, overweight, HIV, violence and disaster (defined as the death rate due to exposure to forces of nature per 100,000 population).

The US’s comparatively poor performance will come as a surprise to many, considering its socio-economic heft, wrote the research coalition of more than 1870 international researchers who analysed the performance of countries between 1990 and 2015.

The superpower’s lacklustre scores for maternal mortality alcohol consumption, childhood overweight, and deaths due to interpersonal violence, self-harm, and unintentional poisoning compared to other higher income countries dragged down its overall ranking.

East Timor was the biggest success story, winning the title of most improved and rocketing up the rankings to 122nd place.

Dead last was the Central African Republic, with a total SDG index score of 20. War-torn Afghanistan came in 180th place, and Syria fell to 117th, still scoring better than Russia in 119th place. China came was 92nd, and Papua New Guinea 155th.

Overall, the most pronounced progress internationally was among the universal health coverage indicators, largely thanks to anti-retroviral therapies and widespread use of insecticide-treated nets in malaria-endemic countries since the early 2000s.

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And while there were also substantial improvements in childhood stunting caused by malnutrition, childhood overweight rates had worsened considerably over the past 15 years.

“Our analysis not only highlights the importance of income, education, and fertility as drivers of health improvement but also emphasises that investments in these areas alone will not be sufficient,” the researchers said.

The SDG targets have been a source of intense debate, with critics arguing they were too vague, unrealistic, poorly measured, or missing key indicators – for instance, banning forced labour or mental health improvements.

The SDG agenda replaced the Millenium Development Goal framework, which expired in 2015.

The scores routinely inform decisions concerning which countries may be most deserving of aid funding, as well as national and international policy and strategies.

“The difficulties of measurement are also further compounded by persistent problems of data availability, quality and comparability across a host of indicators” as the researchers work to pull together a daunting tangle of national data sets, survey results and pharmaceutical records.

VNFY

Australia’s health indicator perfect scores
Health issue Score /100
Stunting 100
Wasting 100
Malaria 100
Water access 100
sanitation 100
war 100
Neglected tropical disease 100
Household air pollution 100
Skilled birth attendance 100

The latest analysis was a step towards a more cohesive approach to understanding the interaction between SDGs, targets and indicators by comparing the relationship between education, income and fertility, the authors said.

It also raised questions about the impact of other drivers on health and living standards across the globe.

The authors urged governments, donors, and global development institutions to use the results to “enhance accountability through open and transparent review and action”.

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www.ozrural.com.au

Henry Sapiecha

 

Seeds of hope for cancer victims Video & story

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

blushwood-berries -in-hand image www.newcures.info

Dr Victoria Gordon and Dr Paul Reddell have discovered a compound EBC-46 that may transform cancer treatment in the fruit of the Brushwood tree in the rainforest on the Atherton tablelands.North Queensland Australia  Source: News Limited

VICTORIA Gordon holds in her hands the chance at life that she had to deny her cancer-stricken sister: a potential breakthrough drug that “eats” tumours.

Dr Gordon and her husband, fellow scientist Paul Reddell, discovered the compound in a north Queensland rainforest and have spent nearly a decade developing the drug and dem­onstrating its effectiveness in ­animals.

Hundreds of horses, dogs, cats, even a Tasmanian devil had life-threatening tumours reduced to harmless sludge by the experimental drug, EBC-46, produced from the seed of the common blushwood tree.

Now, at last, it is to be tested on people battling advanced melanoma and notoriously difficult to treat head and neck cancers. Clinical trials are set to get under way in a number of hospitals by September.

Dr Gordon and Dr Reddell realised something special was happening when they saw hungry rat kangaroos spit out fallen berries from the blushwood tree, which grows only in the tropical rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns.

The chemical responsible for this “feeding deterrent’’ turned out to be EBC-46, propelling Dr Gordon to her moment of truth with her dying sister, Cheryl.

The 61-year-old chef begged Dr Gordon to toss away the rule book and let her have the experimental drug before she succumbed last December to liver cancer. “I couldn’t,’’ a tearful Dr Gordon says, for the first time telling her story of scientific discovery and its anguished denouement with her older sister.

“Basically, the question Cheryl asked was, ‘Do you believe EBC-46 could help me, and can I have the drug?’ Factually, I said to her we were unsure of the role EBC-46 would play in liver cancer and, even so, this is a drug that has not yet been approved for human use. And, as such, no, she could not use the drug. I just had to be … cold and clinical with that. It was heartbreaking.’’

Dr Gordon and Dr Reddell have been reluctant to speak in detail about EBC-46 until now, with the clinical phase I/II human trial in sight. If all goes to plan, the program will begin within months with about 30 cancer patients, all of them “at the end of the line’’ with conventional treatments.

Turning down her sister was the hardest thing Dr Gordon has had to do. “We are asked almost on a daily basis for access to this drug,’’ she says. “I am sincere when I say this … as much as I would dearly love to help those in need, it’s simply not an option. The regulators and the rules are there to protect patients. Yes, we have very good results in the animals. But if we have not proven this drug is a safe drug to use in people, there is no way we should be making it available.’’

>>>>More CLINICAL information please read this original research work.

Atherton vet Justine Campbell, one of the first to treat pets with the drug, said she was approached by a client who had terminal melanoma. “He was desperate,’’ she said. “He had heard about EBC-46 and asked, ‘Can you treat me?’ And I had to say to him, to his face, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t.’ It’s just awful.’’

Years of research into the drug’s effectiveness in animals have been submitted for publication in an international scientific journal by Dr Gordon, Dr Reddell and scientists from Brisbane’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

The head of the institute’s Cancer Drug Mechanism Group, Glen Boyle, said the drug broke down tumours within hours of being injected into them. Human melanoma grown on the skin of laboratory mice began to swell by the time the animals were returned to their cage, a sign the powerful response triggered by the drug was choking off the tumour’s blood supply. Minutes later, the growth was a bruised purple, a sign the cancer cells were dying.

“A couple of days after that there is a scab where the tumour used to be,’’ said Dr Boyle, the lead author of research paper.

Veteran medical scientist Peter Parsons said fieldwork with cancer-struck animals outside the laboratory increased his confidence that the drug would work on most tumour types — and in people.

QBiotics, the company established by Dr Gordon and Dr Reddell, both 54, says the drug destroyed all traces of tumour or shrank them by more than half in 78 per cent of the 344 companion animals treated by vets, including Ms Campbell.

Dr Gordon insists “it’s time, we need to get this into people’’.

For her, the clock is ticking in a personal sense. In addition to losing her sister to cancer, both her parents and grandparents died of a disease that will kill more than 44,000 Australians this year. “I have already lost loved ones. I’m sure that more of my family will present with cancer, as my sister did. I wasn’t ready for her. So I have some incentive, real incentive, to get this drug through.’’

MY EARLIER BLUSHWOOD TREE POSTINGS >> 

ONE    +   TWO   +  THREE

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Henry Sapiecha