One million Australians with a range of serious mental health conditions are going untreated every year, while the economic toll of mental illness has reached about 180 billion Australian dollars (124 billion U.S. dollars), according to a new report.
The report, compiled by the Productivity Commission and released on Thursday, sheds new light on the depth of the problem of mental illness in Australia, revealing as many as 3.9 million many people suffer from complaints ranging from anxiety and depression, to psychosis and personality disorders.
One in eight visits to the GP (general practitioners) are now related to mental health issues, and mental health presentations at hospital emergency departments have risen by about 70 percent over the past 15 years, the report said.
It estimated there were 3.9 million people in Australia suffering from some form of mental illness, but only 2.9 million were accessing support and services, hence the "missing" million people.
In its detailed examination of mental illness, the commission found it was costing the nation approximately 345 million U.S. dollars a day, and recommended thorough policy amendments in the health system, as well as workplaces, housing and the justice system.
The report emphasises the need for better support for young people.
Productivity Commission Chair Michael Brennan said in a media release, "75 percent of those who develop mental illness first experience symptoms before they turn 25, and mental ill-health in critical schooling and employment years has long lasting effects for not only your job prospects but many aspects of your life. Getting help early is key to prevention and better outcomes."
According to the report, over their lifetime, one in two Australians will be affected by mental ill-health including anxiety and depression and up to a million people don't get the help they need.
"Mental ill-health has huge impacts on people, communities and our economy but mental health is treated as an add-on to the physical health system. This has to change," Brennan said.
St. Louis, Oct 30 (AP/UNB) — Missouri's health department director on Tuesday said he tracked the menstrual cycles of Planned Parenthood patients as part of an effort to identify what the agency says were "failed abortions" at a St. Louis clinic.
Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams made the revelation during the second day of an administrative hearing to determine whether Missouri's only abortion clinic will lose its license to perform the procedure.
Williams said an investigator made a spreadsheet at his request that included the dates of patients' last periods, The Kansas City Star reported. He said the goal was to find women who needed multiple procedures to complete an abortion.
The head of the St. Louis clinic called the move "deeply disturbing."
"Missouri's top health official, Randall Williams, scrutinized menstrual cycles of women in this state in order to end abortion access," Yamelsie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, said in a statement.
Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Democrat from Springfield, called for an investigation to see if patient privacy was compromised or if laws were broken. She also was critical of Williams' actions.
"State law requires the health department director to be 'of recognized character and integrity,'" Quade said in a statement. "This unsettling behavior calls into question whether Dr. Williams meets that high standard."
The state had moved to revoke the clinic's license in June, citing concerns about a series of "failed abortions," and a lack of cooperation from some of the doctors involved.
While Williams said concerns about the clinic are "grave," he said the issues are "imminently fixable." He believes there are solutions that both the state and Planned Parenthood would agree to that would allow for licensure.
Planned Parenthood says there are no deals on the table.
Wrangling over the license began when an investigator involved in a March inspection of the clinic found that a woman had undergone an abortion that took five attempts to complete. William Koebel, director of the section of the health department responsible for abortion clinic licensing, said Monday that the clinic failed to provide a "complication report" for that incident.
That failure led the health department to launch an investigation of other instances where women were required to undergo multiple procedures before an abortion was completed, Koebel said.
As part of that investigation, the state obtained medical records of women who had abortions at the clinic. They found four women who required multiple procedures, including one where the physician apparently missed that a woman was pregnant with twins. The woman underwent two procedures five weeks apart.
Planned Parenthood officials contend the state "cherry-picked" a handful of difficult cases out of thousands of otherwise successful abortions. They have accused the state of using the licensing process as a tool to eliminate abortions in Missouri, saying the state is among several conservative-led states seeking to end abortion through tough new laws and tighter restrictions.
The Administrative Hearing Commission isn't expected to rule on the licensing issue until February at the earliest. In the meantime, the clinic remains open.
Missouri would become the first state since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, without a functioning abortion clinic if the license is revoked.
Missouri is among several states to pass new restrictions on abortions in the hope that the increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court will eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed legislation in May banning abortions at or beyond eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest. The law is on hold while a legal challenge plays out in court.
While the Missouri case unfolded, Planned Parenthood quietly built a new abortion clinic in Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, in part to meet demand from Missouri residents. The clinic in Fairview Heights opened Wednesday.
Missouri women have been increasingly getting abortions at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Illinois, another St. Louis suburb. Deputy Director Alison Dreith said 58% of the abortions performed at the Hope Clinic through August of this year involved Missouri women, compared with 37% involving Illinois women.
Another abortion clinic sits in Overland Park, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb. The clinic is 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the state line. Information from the state of Kansas shows about 3,300 of the 7,000 abortions performed there last year involved Missouri residents.
Chicago, Oct. 26 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests obesity may increase arthritis risk not only in obese people but in their children and grandchildren, too.
The researchers analyzed more than 120 mice whose parents had consumed a high-fat diet, and found that the offspring, despite having eaten a low-fat diet, were significantly heavier and had more body fat than the offspring of mice that hadn't consumed a high-fat diet.
When those mice had pups, the grandchildren of the original mice, that third generation of mice tended to gain nearly 20 percent more weight than the offspring of their littermates that had never been overweight. In addition, they were at higher risk for arthritis. The same was true for the next generation of mice as well, which gained up to 10 percent more weight.
And the grandchildren also had higher levels of inflammatory molecules and cells in their systems than their littermates, despite never having been fed a high-fat diet. Higher amounts of those molecules, called cytokines, are linked to a variety of problems, including arthritis.
In fact, the third-generation mice had higher levels of molecules that cause inflammation, and lower levels of molecules that protect against inflammation. The children and grandchildren of the obese mice in the study also were more likely to have bone and cartilage changes that put them at risk for osteoarthritis.
"We can't assume everything we found in these mice will turn out to be true for people," said first author Natalia S. Harasymowicz, a postdoctoral fellow at the university. "But there's more and more evidence that when parents eat a bad diet or smoke or abuse alcohol, the next generation is more likely to inherit a predisposition for diabetes, cancer or other diseases."
"We've known for years that obesity is the No. 1 preventable risk factor for osteoarthritis," said senior investigator Farshid Guilak, a professor of orthopedic surgery. "It turns out, however, that obesity also increases arthritis risk in body parts that don't bear weight, like the hand or the thumb."
"What we find is that changes in mechanical loading that occur with obesity don't seem to be the primary risk factors for arthritis," he said. "Almost all of the risk is coming from either metabolic or dietary influences, and that risk is then passed down to subsequent generations."
"Poor diet and bad habits may affect not only the individual who has such habits but also future generations," Harasymowicz said. "However, recognizing that potential risk may convince people to take steps to be healthier and to reduce their weight, potentially lowering risks for their children and grandchildren."
Arthritis affects one in five Americans. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that number jumps to one in three among people with obesity.
The study is published online in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology on Thursday.
Washington, Oct 24 (AP/UNB) — U.S. health officials want women getting breast implants to receive stronger warnings and more details about the possible risks and complications.
The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that manufacturers should add a warning highlighted by a box — the most serious type — to the information given to women considering implants.
The agency is also recommending patients complete a checklist to make sure they understand all the possible side effects of the implants, such as scarring, pain, rupture and even a rare form of cancer.
"We have heard from many women that they are not fully informed of the risks when considering breast implants," the agency said in a statement detailing the recommendations.
The agency also wants companies to explain that breast implants often require repeat surgeries and they should not be considered lifelong devices. About 1 in 5 women who get implants for cosmetic reasons need to have them removed within eight to 10 years, according to the FDA.
The agency will take public comment on the proposed guidelines before adopting them.
The new proposal is the FDA's latest attempt to manage safety issues with the devices primarily used for breast augmentation, the most frequently performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S. Roughly 400,000 patients get implants each year, 100,000 of them after cancer surgery.
As outlined Wednesday, manufacturers would not be required to adopt the boxed warning and checklist, noted Madris Tomes, a former FDA staffer.
"The FDA needs to enforce the use of this and not just hope it's used," said Tomes, who now runs a company that analyzes device injuries and malfunctions. "Women deserve to know what is being implanted and need to know not to take these risks lightly."
In recent years, the FDA and regulators elsewhere have grappled with a link between a rare cancer and a type of textured implant. In July, the FDA called on manufacturer Allergan to pull its Biocell implant after it was tied to heightened risk of a form of lymphoma. The company issued a worldwide recall for the implants, which had already been restricted or removed from numerous countries.
In a separate issue, the FDA has received thousands of reports from women who blame their implants for a host of health problems including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue and muscle pain.
Earlier this year, the FDA held a meeting at which dozens of women urged the agency to place new warnings and restrictions on implants.
The FDA has stood by its long-standing position that the implants are essentially safe so long as women understand they can have complications. But following the meeting, the agency said women should get more explicit, understandable information about implant risks.
The devices have a silicone outer shell and are filled with either saline or silicone. The FDA's draft guidelines recommend manufacturers clearly disclose and list their ingredients for patients.
Beijing, Oct 22 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Tobacco control activists and experts in China have voiced concern about e-cigarette advertisement and called for stricter industry regulation, the China Youth Daily reported Tuesday.
"Advertisement for e-cigarettes, seizing the market chances to replace real cigarettes, will only make it harder for people to abandon the unhealthy lifestyle," Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Association on Tobacco Control, told the newspaper.
Zhang suggested that the public should refuse vaping in the same way as traditional smoking.
An unproven hypothesis of vaping being safer than traditional smoking or exaggeration about its role in helping smokers quit have been commonly used in e-cigarette marketing, the newspaper reported, citing a report about the e-cigarette industry released earlier this year by Tsinghua University.
Among marketing rhetoric by online retailers, 95 percent associated vaping with a healthy and clean way of smoking, and 89 percent of online vendors marketed e-cigarettes based on its "health benefits," according to the report.
Citing a survey of 3,587 consumers from multiple countries, the report showed that 84 percent had the idea that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes and 77 percent thought it could help people quit smoking.
According to the Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO), there was no adequate evidence to quantitatively assess the health impacts of e-cigarettes or support that vaping will help people quit smoking.
Researchers and regulators may not be able to keep up with the evolution of e-cigarettes, which contain complex chemical ingredients and adopt new tastes, said Zheng Rong, professor with the School of International Trade and Economics, University of International Business and Economics.
"Once thing to be sure of is that they are addictive in a certain degree," Zheng said.
The WHO also noted that more and more evidence showed that young people who vape are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
Echoing Zhang's view, Liu Shuangzhou, a professor with the Central University of Finance and Economics, advocated stricter regulations on vape advertisements, on the grounds that marketing e-cigarettes inevitably brings back cigarettes in public spaces and compromises the effect of the cigarette advertisement ban.
The purpose of banning cigarette advertisements is that through reducing cigarettes' public presence it will prevent people, especially the youth, from becoming a smoker rather than prompt smokers to quit, Liu said.