An international study has discovered 11 new genes associated with epilepsy, which greatly advances knowledge of the underlying biological causes of epilepsy and may inform the development of new treatments for the condition.
Researchers compared the DNA of more than 15,000 people with epilepsy to the DNA of 30,000 people without epilepsy. This has created a better understanding of genetic factors that contribute to the most common forms of this condition, and the results tripled the number of known genetic associations for epilepsy and implicated 11 new genes.
The majority of current anti-epileptic drugs directly target one or more of the associated genes and identified an additional 166 drugs that do the same. These drugs are promising new candidates for epilepsy therapy as they directly target the genetic basis of the disease.
“This work illustrates the power of scientists collaborating across countries and continents. Discovering these new genes for epil Continue reading…
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has received increased scientific, clinical and public attention over the past few decades. It’s the most common psychiatric disorder in children – affecting 2% to 16% of the school going population.
But in South Africa data on prevalence rates, access to care, and treatment for ADHD is limited. Despite the known efficacy of treatment, access to health care and treatment remains limited for many children in the country. This is a problem as untreated ADHD results in substantial costs and has a negative impact both on educational attainment and quality of life.
We have recently completed a study that looked at the mental health barriers South African school children face. Our research focused on the work of a not for profit organisation, set up in 2017 to provide mental health screening services for school children and with a particular focus on ADHD.
We could be just months away from knowing whether Depo-Provera use is linked to a higher risk of HIV infection in women. For more than a decade, obstetrician Coceka Mnyani’s conversations with her patients followed a script.
Had they used contraceptives before? Did they want more children? What contraceptive did they plan on using after delivery and why?
“Depending on what a woman said, you would advise, you know, ‘that’s not such a great idea, have you thought about this’, ‘maybe this one would be a better option’,” Mnyani says.
“You’ve got this woman who has just had a baby, who’s tired, who has a crying infant — is she going to remember to take a pill every day?”
Health department data shows that most South African women visiting a public health facility for free contraception will leave with a shot of the three-month contraception depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate, which is most commonly sold under the name Depo-Provera. T Continue reading…
The NHI was the centre of the presidential health summit. Now the pressure is mounting for Treasury to figure out how to fund it.
The health system is in crisis, government officials admit. Now, they have just weeks to produce an initial plan on how to fix it ahead of introducing a National Health Insurance (NHI), Deputy President David Mabuza revealed this weekend.
With its namesake, President Cyril Ramaphosa was absent from the presidential health summit. The gathering drew more than 100 representatives from civil society, government, unions, academia and the private sector. Prior to the event, that was held in Boksburg, each delegate received a 21-page concept note outlining challenges within the health system — this included corruption and how the NHI will incorporate the private sector.
Solutions proposed during the meeting will now form the basis for wider consultation ahead of a public plan to turn the health system. Continue reading…
DNA tests have gained in popularity over the last few years. They reveal a lot about us, but the data can be overwhelming. We tried one to find out how it all works.
You’ve probably seen it somewhere. Personalised DNA tests are a big trend in medicine. Genetic tests are still a bit lowkey in South Africa, but globally, it’s a booming business.
These DNA tests can tell us a whole bunch of things.
From which diet is best, which exercise we might respond well to and, perhaps most crucially, help us understand how we process medication. It can also help us track our heritage, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the health aspects.
Are we doomed by our genes?
Most of the outcomes are theoretical, based on correlation, not causation.
And there is some debate around whether some of this information should even be shared with consumers. The reports have loads of info on them. Some scary, some less so. Some experts fear th Continue reading…
Refiloe Nt’sekhe of the Democratic Alliance says that public hospitals have become a death-trap for the poor‚ says
The party has produced this checklist of the top eight problems that it says require urgent intervention‚ following inspection visits to hospitals and clinics over the past month by DA provincial health spokespersons Jack Bloom MPL (Gauteng)‚ Dr Imran Keeka MPL (KwaZulu-Natal)‚ Dr Tutu Faleni MPL (North West) and Langa Bodlani MPL (Limpopo).
Here is a summary of their report:
1. Chronic staff shortages and long waiting times
All the facilities lacked staff in critical positions.
At the Bongani Hospital in the Free State‚ they found that the facility only had one nephrology Sister to attend to patients suffering from kidney diseases. This was despite health norms and standards indicating that hospitals should have nine.
While inspecting the Paediatric Ward in Taung District Hospital in North West‚ the DA fo Continue reading…
Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The viruses and bacteria that cause the disease are spread through airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze. An infection can cause the lungs to fill with pus and fluid, making breathing and oxygen intake difficult.
And while anyone can get pneumonia, children with weakened immune systems or underlying illnesses are more susceptible. That’s why, pneumonia kills more than a million children every year across the world.
There have been some critical advances in preventing and treating the disease. These include vaccines, antibiotics and providing supplemental oxygen. In 2009, South Africa became the first African country to include the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in its routine infant immunisation programme. By 2012 an estimated 81% of one-year-old babies had received three doses of the vaccine.
South Africa has also reduced its pneumonia burden through the mass roll-out of antiretroviral therapy a Continue reading…
Die staking by die San Michele-tehuis in Brakpan is vir eers opgeskort nadat “een van die pasiënte dood is”, het Ellen Bodoza, woordvoerder van die National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw), gesê. Dié vakbond verteenwoordig die stakers.
Bodoza het Maandag gesê hul lede het by die tehuis vir psigiatriese en gestremde pasiënte gestaak en ’n 6%-loonverhoging geëis.
Die staking het Vrydag begin.
“Hoewel die loonverhoging deur die departement van gesondheid goedgekeur is, het die bestuur geweier om dit te aanvaar. Ons lede is vroeër ingelig oor die sterfte en die staking is intussen opgeskort,” sê Bodoza.
Sy kon nie bevestig of die werkers vandag sal terugkeer werk toe nie.
Intussen sê Marius Bosman, bestuurder van dié tehuis vir psigiatriese en gestremde pasiënt dat die stakers kan nie geblameer word vir die dood van die pasiënt nie.
“Sy was verstandelik erg gestremd en op die oomblik wil ons nie te vinnig reag Continue reading…
The management of San Michele’s home for psychiatric and disabled patients in Brakpan on the East Rand are in panic after most of the staff members of the home have started a protected strike action. More than 200 patients are left unattended during.
Marius Bosman, administrator of San Michele, explained on Saturday that about 90 staff members, including caregivers, cooks and cleaners, have down tools due to wages and bonuses dispute since Friday morning.
“Where we usually have a staff corps of about 85 people throughout the day and 15 crews of staff, we currently have only one matron and five volunteers to look after our 203 patients,” Bosman said.
“We are currently experiencing a crisis and should, with the help of the few volunteers, ensure that patients are fed, fed, bathed and taken care of.”
Hannes Noëth, executive director of Solidarity Helping Hand, sent delegates from this welfare organization to the hostel to urgen Continue reading…
Two types of bacteria were found in baby formula tested at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, but toxicology tests haven’t been done.
A possible link between baby formula and necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies could explain the deaths of nine babies recently at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg, an expert has suggested.
But Stasha Jordan, director at SA Breastmilk Reserve, warned that while studies suggest a correlation between the use of formula in new-born babies and NEC – a medical condition – several factors had to be considered when such outbreaks occur.
After several infant deaths in hospitals around the country this year, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases couldn’t find the cause of the outbreak.
According to the institute, the presence of two types of bacteria were found in the baby formula they tested at the hospital. The testing revealed the presence of Bacillus and Streptococcus Continue reading…
Originally published by Faith Osier on The Conversation. There are over 200 million clinical cases each year and approximately half a million deaths.
There are different ways in which malaria can be controlled. Preventive measures include use of insecticides in bed nets or indoor spraying programmes. Medicines can also be used to prevent or treat malaria, but resistance often develops and drugs lose their effectiveness.
The World Health Organisation reported that progress in controlling malaria has stalled.
As an immunologist, I dream that one day we will have an effective vaccine that will help eliminate malaria. I think this is possible because for over a century, we have known that humans do become immune to malaria. In places where there is lots of malaria adults don’t succumb to the disease, but their young children do.
In experiments conducted over 50 years ago, researchers showed that blood could be taken from adults who had become immune and used Continue reading…
The South African Human Rights Commission inspected the Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital on 8 November.
The investigation at the Rahima Moosa Hospital followed after a necrotising enterocolitis outbreak at the hospital took the lives of nine infants from March to July 2018.
After the visit to Rahima Moosa Hospital , Buang Jones from the South African Human Rights Commission said in a press briefing:
“From what we’ve gleaned so far, the hospital has violated the right of access to health. [..] They’ve also violated Section 28 of the Constitution which says that’s the best interest of children are of paramount importance.”
The hospital, which assists in the delivery of the approximately 13,000 babies yearly, acknowledged the death of the infants in August, but the cause of the outbreak is still unknown. The outbreak was contained in August.
According to a tweet posted by Jacaranda News, the SAHRC’s investigation also revealed that the Rahim Continue reading…
Spectramed Medical Scheme and Resolution Health Medical Scheme (Resolution Health) have merged to form Health Squared Medical Scheme, as from 1 January 2019.
Independent auditors confirmed that 93% of members voted for the merger, and the schemes have extensively engaged with the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) and, with their involvement, the merger process is now subject to final approval by the CMS and Competition Commission.
Health Squared will be administered by Agility Health, which is currently the managed care provider and administrator for both Spectramed and Resolution Health.
The launch of Health Squared forms part of an overall strategy to protect the interests of members while strengthening the service offering in the context of future developments in the South African healthcare landscape.
Would you like to advertise on this very popular website ??Just drop me an e-mail atContinue reading…