What doesn't kill you

We all know of the medical use of botulism toxin (botox) which is quite deadly but in low doses is used for conditions like headache and muscle spasms, as well as cosmetically. Current research at ANU is looking at other venoms, for example that of the scorpion, with the idea of harnessing the powerful effects to help in a variety of diseases. A great initiative.

Cross border health services

We have a close link with the Canberra hospitals which is where most of our patients go if tertiary care is needed. There is now a move to extend the specialist base to hospitals in southern NSW. While Yass is in a better position than most, as we have regular and experienced doctors at the hospital, this new move can help further and is a good idea.

‘I'd be dead if I had been a doctor’

A Cambodian artist reflected on the elimination of many of the educated class in Cambodia in the Pol Pot times. We forget these things happened. In World War II the concentration camp at Auschwitz was established to corral the Polish intelligentsia. Education is a powerful thing and authoritarian regimes suspect it. We are so lucky in Australia where education leads to upward mobility.

Bat bites and scratches

The likelihood of a bat bite or scratch is low in Yass but the risks, if a contact occurs, are high. If it happens the wound needs to be washed with soap and water for five minutes, Betadine applied, and then seek help immediately. Rabies treatment is needed.

Olympians live longer

Olympians lived longer than non-active people in a study of 15,000 medalists. But high intensity sportspeople did no better than the less active in sports such as golf. The recommendation was for 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. (BMJ 2012, 13/12/12 online)

People power and a major health issue

The Yass Valley Council is initiating a petition to get action on widening the Barton Highway. One wonders how many are to be killed or maimed before it gets to a priority. We shall certainly be supporting it and most other businesses and organisations will too.

Mental health professionals meet

For information, there is a regular meeting of people working in Mental Health in Yass. The last meeting had Dr Jeff Cubis talking on adolescents and it is hoped to get a police perspective next time. Things do happen behind the scenes.

X-rays are great but we have moved on

X-ray investigation of injuries is still the first thing and is often all that is needed, even though the technology has been with us for a century. But sometimes, and more often now that the facilities are available, further investigations like CT and MRI views can reveal smaller but important damage. We wonder how long it will be before we have a CT scanner in Yass. Will it be before we get the heated pool? Maybe there is merit in making Yass marginal.

Clinics by appointment

Dr Ann Stephenson, psychiatrist: March 15.

Sue Leitner, foot nurse: March 8 and 22, April 5 and 19.

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