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EUROPEAN NETWORK OF FIBROMYALGIA ASSOCIATIONS

From the desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) adopt written declaration 69/2008 on fibromyalgia initiated by five deputies and the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA).

Brussels (16.12.2008) – Written Declaration 69/2008 on fibromyalgia has been a success in the European Parliament by finding the necessary quorum of signatories of 393 deputies giving their support. The Written Declaration was initiated by five key MEPs active on health at the European Parliament: Mr. Adamou, Ms. Brepoels, Ms. Dičkuté, Mr. Popa and Ms. Sinnott. These MEPs decided to launch the declaration during the celebratory meeting of the 1st European Fibromyalgia Awareness Day in May 2008, organized by ENFA

The Written Declaration is calling on the European Union to recognize fibromyalgia in Europe as a disease, as WHO did in 1992. It is estimated that 14 million people in Europe suffer from fibromyalgia and the condition is more prevalent with women (87% of total prevalence).

Fibromyalgia is a complex disease with a variety of symptoms in addition to the defining symptom – chronic widespread pain. These include fatigue, non-restorative sleep, morning stiffness, irritable bowel and bladder, restless legs, depression, anxiety and cognitive dysfunction often referred to as “fibro fog.” All of these symptoms cause serious limitations in patients’ ability to perform ordinary daily chores and work and severely affect their quality of life. Some scientists believe that there is an abnormality in how the body responds to pain, and particularly a heightened sensitivity to stimuli.

Fibromyalgia imposes large economic burdens on society as well as on affected individuals. A study shows that an average patient in Europe consults up to 7 physicians and takes multiple medications over 5-7 years before receiving the correct diagnosis. The debilitating symptoms often result in lost work days, lost income and disability payments. Research in the UK has shown that diagnosis and positive management of Fibromyalgia reduce healthcare cost by avoiding unnecessary investigations and consultations

Thus, the European Parliament is calling through this declaration, for the European Commission and the Council, to help raise awareness of the condition and facilitate access to information for health professionals and patients, by supporting European and national awareness campaigns; to encourage Member States to improve access to diagnosis and treatment; to facilitate research on fibromyalgia through the work programmes of the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and future research programmes; and finally to facilitate the development of programmes for collecting data on fibromyalgia.

Educating healthcare professionals, patients and the public to promote better understanding and management of Fibromyalgia will benefit patients, healthcare providers and the society.
A Written Declaration is a text of up to 200 words on a matter falling within the European Union’s sphere of activities. MEPs can use them in order to launch or relaunch a debate on a subject that comes within the EU’s remit. At the end of the lapsing date (3 months after its launch on 1 September for the declaration 69/2008) the declaration is forwarded to the institutions named in the text, together with the names of the signatories.

Contact:
European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA)
Mr. Robert Boelhouwer
President of ENFA
contact@enfa-europe.eu
http://www.enfa-europe.eu

About ENFA
ENFA is a network of patient association and support groups working in close consultation with the national association in the relevant country. Our joint missions are to conquer the myths and misunderstandings around Fibromyalgia. The network will help collectively push forward the boundaries which currently exist in understanding, experiencing and treatment of Fibromyalgia. Our main goal is to see fibromyalgia receiving the recognition it deserves across Europe as an illness in its own right.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia News, FMS Global News, France, Global News, Health, Uncategorized, World News | Leave a comment

FMS Global News Korea, Characteristic electron microscopic findings in the skin of patients with

Kim SH, Kim DH, Oh DH, Clauw DJ.
Dongguk University College of Medicine, Gyeongju, South Korea, junjan@dongguk.ac.kr.

This blinded study was done to determine if there are any abnormal electron microscopic (EM) findings in the skin of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) patients, which might contribute to or be due to the increased pain sensitivity seen in this condition. Skin biopsy samples were obtained from 13 FMS patients and 5 control subjects. All tissues were prepared for EM examination by immediate prefixation in 2.5% glutaraldehyde for 2 h and postfixation in 1% osmium acid for 24 h. Ultrathin sections on grids were stained by uranyl acetate and lead citrate. Biopsies were read by an individual without knowledge of participant status. Five skin biopsies from healthy controls showed relatively even distribution of variegated sized unmyelinated axons sheathed well by complicatedly folded Schwann cell membranes. In tissues from 9/13 FMS patients, unmyelinated Schwann cells were noted to be ballooned, whereas this finding was not noted in any controls (p = 0.029). Axons in most patients trended towards being localized in the periphery of the unmyelinated Schwann cell sheaths (p = 0.002). Particularly, peripheral localization of axon in the unmyelinated Schwann cell sheath had a strong relationship with ballooning of Schwann cell (p = 0.042), simplified folding of Schwann cell sheath (p = 0.039) and smaller axon (p = 0.034). Myelinated nerve fibers were unremarkable. The EM findings seen in the skin of FMS patients show unusual patterns of unmyelinated nerve fibers as well as associated Schwann cells. If these findings are replicated in a larger study, these abnormalities may contribute to, or be due to, the lower pain threshold seen in FMS patients.

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October 12, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

FMS Global News October 12, 2007

Global Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) News.

DID IT HAPPEN IN OUR LONDON?

by Jeanne Hambleton © 2007

This is reported to have happened in London – I don’t think so. Not our London, not the one in the UK with Westminster, Parliament and our new Prime Minister. Not our country where 2% of the population has fibromyalgia – they wouldn’t have the energy to do this. But who knows in these days of PC – politically correctness – anything goes.
This information was sent to me (as a journalist who might be interested) by email and looked like a newspaper cutting. It had no date and very little details about which newspaper this had been published in. It was however written by a reporter named Mike Foster (who I am sure is no relation to Dr Foster who went to Gloucester) who allegedly was writing for the Weekly World News.
The headline intrigued me. It read, “Nine oldsters booted out of nursing home – for trying to have an orgy!”
No it is not our London we don’t have “oldsters”, but I felt I had to read on wondering if it had anything to do with the News of he World, a renowned paper for a bit of juicy gossip. I worked with a former chief reporter of the NoW and he was capable of writing such a story.
The story reported nine “love-hungry” codgers were booted out of an old folks’ home after attempts to organise an orgy in the recreation room. Aged between 73 and 98 the ‘oldsters’ had been planning the late night event for weeks, said the “spokesperson from for the well respected nursing home”. The partygoers were celebrating one woman’s 90th birthday with a sex party.

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October 12, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The highs and lows of drug cravings

Contact: Charlotte Webber
press@biomedcentral.com
44-020-763-19980
BioMed Central

The anticipation of a cocaine fix and the actual craving to abuse the drug are two closely related phenomena, according to new evidence published today in the online open access journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.

The study, by Rinah Yamamoto and colleagues at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts assessed the suspected link by contrasting reactions to varying perceived availability of the drug. The researchers suggest that more appropriate care could be given if the degree of dependency and abuse were assessed in a natural environment with a potential access to the drug, rather than in a clinical setting.

Yamamoto explains that craving, is an intense and often irrepressible urge to seek and consume the drug, which can result in relapses even after extended periods of abstinence. In searching for effective therapies, understanding how craving, cognition and motivation are entwined is essential.

The researchers administered intravenous cocaine (0.2 mg/kg) to individuals with cocaine dependence who were not seeking treatment. “Unblinded” participants knew for certain they would receive cocaine, while the “blinded” group knew there was a 33 percent chance of getting the drug. The researchers obtained subjective ratings of craving, high, rush and low from the volunteers along with their heart rate and blood pressure measurements. Measurements were collected prior to cocaine administration and every minute for 20 minutes thereafter.

The results showed that several hours prior to the infusion all volunteers had similar craving scores. However, those volunteers who knew they were to receive a cocaine infusion said they felt a greater craving immediately prior to the receipt of cocaine than the “blinded” volunteers who did not know whether the infusion was placebo or the genuine drug. The team also found that the unblinded subjects experienced a more rapid onset of high and rush cocaine responses along with significantly higher cocaine-induced heart rate elevations.

The findings suggest that the cocaine expectancy state modulates the user’s subjective and objective responses to the drug. These data are consistent with the previous studies demonstrating that drug-induced elevated dopamine concentrations in the brain may prime drug users to associate the cues around the source of dopamine boost (e.g., cocaine) with the pleasure experienced once the drug is taken.

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Article:
Effects of perceived cocaine availability on subjective and objective responses to the drug
Rinah T Yamamoto, Katherine H Karlsgodt, David Rott, Scott E Lukas and Igor Elman
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy (in press)

During embargo, article available at: http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/imedia/1803962981502388_article.pdf?random=67240

After the embargo, article available from the journal website at: http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

Please quote the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s Open Access policy.

Contact:
Laura Neves (Press Office, McLean Hospital)
Phone: 617/855-2110
Email: nevesl@mcleanpo.mclean.org

BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing open access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research. This commitment is based on the view that immediate free access to research and the ability to freely archive and reuse published information is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.

BioMed Central currently publishes over 180 journals across biology and medicine. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews, commentaries and other non-original-research content. Depending on the policies of the individual journal, this content may be open access or provided only to subscribers.

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October 11, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 6 Comments

Tobacco industry efforts to derail effective anti-smoking campaigns

Anti-smoking ads that reveal the tobacco industry’s deceptive practices have been aggressively quashed through various methods found Temple University Assistant Professor Jennifer K. Ibrahim, co-author of an analysis in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

In the article, Ibrahim tracks the rise and fall of state and national efforts to curb smoking for the past 40 years. She chronicles industry strategies to prevent a campaign’s creation, steer messages to smaller audiences, limit the content of the message, limit or eliminate the campaign’s funding, and pursue litigation against the campaign. Ibrahim looks at campaigns in Minnesota, California, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, and a national campaign from the American Legacy Foundation.


This billboard was part of a weak media campaign in Michigan after Gov. John Engler’s political staff took control of the campaign, excluding the state health department’s staff from any…

“It tells the story behind the smoke. People often judge these ads and now you know what the tobacco industry was doing trying to undermine them,” Ibrahim said.

Research has found ads that reveal the deceptive practices of the tobacco industry are the most effective media campaigns that reduce smoking rates, she said.


This billboard ad from California in 2001 is considered a more effective message to reduce smoking rates.

For example, one billboard in California read “Tobacco is legal, profitable, and kills people” featuring an alligator labeled big tobacco with a smirk saying “Two out of three’s not bad.”

However, these messages aren’t always getting out there because of the money spent by the tobacco industry to eliminate them, said Ibrahim, an assistant professor of public health.

State health departments face an uphill battle when dealing with the political clout of the industry with its lobbying, campaign contributions and specials events, Ibrahim said.

One tactic also involves the industry producing its own ineffective campaigns in order to portray state programs as duplicative and a waste of public dollars. Campaigns designed by the tobacco companies patronize youth in their early teen years, with messages like “Think, Don’t smoke”, Ibrahim said.

In contrast, Florida’s “truth” anti-smoking campaign empowered them by giving them information about how the tobacco industry tried to manipulate by marketing.

The tobacco industry has spent more money in advertising in light of successful media campaigns that target large audiences.

From 1975 to 2003, tobacco industry expenditures in advertising and promotion grew from $491 million to $15.5 billion. During this period, the percentage of smokers in the United States fell from about 37 percent to 22 percent, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Attitudes are changing as the public is becoming more aware about the dangers of smoking, secondhand smoke, and the deceptive practices of the industry, Ibrahim said.

While the numbers offer some promise, more initiatives are needed to keep anti-smoking efforts alive.

“It’s naïve to think the industry is still not following these practices and preparing tactics to respond,” Ibrahim said.

The Master Settlement Agreement in 1998 marked an important step when seven tobacco companies agreed to change the way tobacco products are marketed, release previously secret industry documents, dispand trade groups, and pay the states an estimated $206 billion. The tobacco companies also agreed to finance a $1.5 billion public anti-smoking campaign.

States’ attorney generals continue to enforce the provisions of the agreement, Ibrahim said.

A recent product that has created uproar is Camel’s No. 9s pink cigarettes that public health advocates say target teenage girls not women. In June, congress sent a letter to the editors of 11 major magazines, from Glamour to Cosmopolitan, requesting them to stop running the ads for the cigarettes.

Aggressive efforts to battle current marketing efforts and litigation from the tobacco industry are vital to keep the best media campaigns from disappearing, Ibrahim said.

“The efforts put forth by California and the American Legacy Foundation as they pursued legal battles with tobacco companies provide a good example of the tenacity needed to successfully defend and promote tobacco control campaigns,” said Ibrahim. “Persistence can pay off. We need to go with campaigns that work,”

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The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute. For the article, Ibrahim collected the data, conducted the analysis, and drafted the article. Co-author Stanton A. Glantz from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, supervised the data collection, edited and revised the article.

Contact: Anna Nguyen
anna.nguyen@temple.edu
215-707-1731
Temple University

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July 11, 2007 Posted by | Alberta, American Journal of Public Health, American Legacy Foundation, Baltimore, Barcelona, Bethesda, Calgary, Cancer, COPD, Global, Global Health Vision, Global News, Italy, Japan, Lung Cancer, Medical Journals, National Cancer Institute, News, News Australia, News Canada, News Israel, News Italy, News Jerusalem, News Switzerland, News UK, News US, News USA, Osaka, Ottawa, Pennsylvania, RSS, RSS Feed, Slovakia, Spain, Temple University, Toronto, Uncategorized, Virginia, WASHINGTON, Washington DC, Washington DC City Feed, World News | Leave a comment

Psychosocial support for cancer survivors needs strengthening

Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

While one in four cancer survivors participates in a support group after diagnosis, use of support groups varies considerably by cancer type, and few survivors receive referrals to such programs from their physicians, according to a new study. Published in the June 15, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study finds that cancer survivors are more likely to attend a support group compared to people with other chronic conditions, but there is little active support for such use by treating physicians. Utilization among cancer survivors differs depending on factors such as gender, age, health insurance and other co-morbid conditions.

The psychosocial burden of cancer is well recognized but seems to be poorly managed by many physicians. Support groups for a variety of cancers and other chronic conditions are widely available across the United States. They often are the only mental care and external disease information resource cancer patients have. While previous studies have shown about one in five women with early stage breast cancer use support services in the year following treatment (18 percent), little is known regarding participation in support groups and support group use among patients with different types of cancer and for cancer survivors.

Dr. Jason Owen of Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California and co-investigators sought to comprehensively characterize how patients with different types of cancers and other chronic medical conditions use support groups and who uses them. The study team analyzed survey data from 9,187 participants (1,844 with cancer and 4,951 with other chronic health problems).

Dr Owen and his team found that only one in seven (14 percent) patients with a non-cancer, chronic medical condition accessed support groups while almost one in four (23 percent) cancer patients did. Only 11 percent of cancer patients used a cancer-specific support group. Patients with blood malignancies and breast cancer were more likely to report participation in a support group compared to those with lung and skin cancers.

Interestingly, predictors of use were similar across various cancer sites and included female gender, Caucasian race, higher education level, and symptoms of depression or anxiety. Younger age and urban residence did not predict support group use. While physical functional status did not predict use among cancer patients, it did among patients with other chronic conditions.

Dr. Owen also found that while physicians passively supported patient use of support groups, only one in ten cancer patients in this study had received a physician recommendation.

Dr. Owen concludes, “This study sheds light on which individuals with cancer use these services.” This study will help clinicians recognize the importance of support groups for cancer patients. “Assistance in identifying and accessing support groups, should be a standard of care for all patients receiving curative, follow-up, or palliative care for cancer,” Dr. Owen recommends.

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Article: “Use of Health-Related and Cancer-Specific Support Groups Among Adult Cancer Survivors,” Jason E. Owen, Michael S. Goldstein, Jennifer Lee, Nancy Breen, Julia H. Rowland, CANCER; Published Online: May 14, 2007 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.22719); Print Issue Date: June 15, 2007.

Source: EurekaAlerts

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May 14, 2007 Posted by | Alberta, Calgary, Cancer, Global Health Vision, Global News, News, News Australia, News Canada, News UK, News US, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Researchers Create Model of Cancer-Preventing Enzyme, Study How It Works

May 11 2007

Contact: Katherine Kostiuk
Sr. Information Specialist
573-882-3346
KostiukK@missouri.edu

Proline dehydrogenase is important because it plays a role in apoptosis, the process of cell death, by enabling the creation of superoxide, a highly reactive electron-rich oxygen species. Superoxide is involved in the destruction of damaged cells and therefore is important in preventing the development and spread of cancer. The protein proline dehydrogenase “opens up to allow oxygen to ‘steal’ electrons” and create a superoxide, said Tommi A. White, an MU doctoral student in biochemistry.

White worked with John J. Tanner, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in MU’s College of Arts and Science, and Navasona Krishnan, a doctoral student at the Unviersity of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Donald F. Becker, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to create the first model of proline dehydrogenase. Because the human form of this enzyme is difficult to work with, the team studied proline dehydrogenase from the bacteria Thermus thermophilus. They used bioinformatics and biochemical studies to show that this enzyme is functionally similar to the human version, so their results can be generalized to the human version, as well as the bacterial version.

Using X-ray crystallography and biochemical analysis, the team created a model of proline dehydrogenase that can tell scientists more about the molecule’s structure and functions.

“The three-dimensional model tells us a lot about the structure of the molecules and helps us understand how they work,” Tanner said. “This protein is important in cancer prevention because it enables the creation of superoxide, which aid in cell death. Cells aren’t meant to live forever, and at some point, they need to die and be destroyed. Cells that are damaged or diseased are usually destroyed in this process. Our structure tells us how oxygen gets access to electrons stored in the enzyme. We think we’ve identified a gate that opens to let oxygen into the enzyme where the electrons are stored.”

In this way, proline dehydrogenase is important in preventing cancer. White said it’s unusual for proline dehydrogenase to be involved in such a process because the usual job of this type of enzyme is to transfer electrons to the mitochondrial membrane, not allow them to be attached to oxygen to create highly reactive superoxides.

Tanner and White said they hope to continue to study proline dehydrogenase and the molecules that can inactivate it. They also plan to examine another protein they suspect works in collaboration with proline dehydrogenase to understand how that protein affects the cancer-preventing abilities of proline dehydrogenase.
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On the Net:
University of Missouri
http://www.chem.missouri.edu/

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May 11, 2007 Posted by | Cancer, Clinical Trials, DNA, Enzymes, Genetics, Global, Global Health Vision, Global News, Human Genome, News, Uncategorized, University of Missouri, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Can an omega-3 fatty acid slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease?

Contact: Linda Joy
nianews3@mail.nih.gov
301-496-1752
NIH/National Institute on Aging

Nutritionists have long endorsed fish as part of a heart-healthy diet, and now some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids found in the oil of certain fish may also benefit the brain by lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In order to test whether an omega-3 fatty acid can impact the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, will evaluate one in a clinical trial, the gold standard for medical research.

The study will be conducted nationwide by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), a consortium of leading researchers supported by NIA and coordinated by the University of California, San Diego. The trial will take place at 51 sites across the United States and seeks 400 participants age 50 and older who have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Joseph Quinn, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Oregon Health and Science University, is directing the study.

Researchers will be evaluating primarily whether the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), taken over many months, slows the progression of both cognitive and functional decline in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. During the 18-month clinical trial, investigators will measure the progress of the disease using standard tests for functional and cognitive change.

“The evidence to date in observational and animal studies on omega-3 fatty acids and Alzheimer’s disease warrants further evaluation in a rigorous clinical trial,” says NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “This study is one of a number we are undertaking in the next few years through the ADCS to test compounds that might play a role in preventing or delaying the symptoms of this devastating disease.”

“By participating in this study, volunteers will make an invaluable contribution to Alzheimer’s disease research progress,” says Quinn, the study’s principal investigator. “We are indebted to those who graciously volunteer to participate in clinical studies.”

The trial will use DHA donated by Martek Biosciences Corporation of Columbia, Md. Participants will receive either two grams of DHA per day or an inactive placebo pill. About 60 percent of participants will receive DHA, and 40 percent will get the placebo. Doctors and nurses at the 51 research clinic sites will monitor the participants in regular visits throughout the trial. To ensure unbiased results, neither the researchers conducting the trial nor the participants will know who is getting DHA and who is getting the placebo.

In addition to monitoring disease progression through cognitive tests, researchers will also evaluate whether taking DHA supplements has a positive effect on physical and biological markers of Alzheimer’s, such as brain atrophy and proteins in blood and spinal fluid.

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To learn how to participate in the study, contact NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center at 1-800-438-4380 or by email to adear@nia.nih.gov. To view a list of the research sites, go to http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers.

NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people, including Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. For information on dementia and aging, please visit the NIA’s ADEAR Center at http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers, or call 1-800-438-4380. For more general information on research and aging, go to http://www.nia.nih.gov.

NIH–the nation’s medical research agency–includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

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May 10, 2007 Posted by | Alzheimers, Autism, Global, Global Health Vision, Global News, National Institute on Aging, omega-3 fatty acids, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Caring for the sick now a public health priority for developing countries

Contact: Emma Orpilla
eorpilla@george.org.au
61-299-934-592
Research Australia

Of the 57 million people dying worldwide each year, 6 million deaths are caused by cancer and 3 million from HIV/AIDS, with the majority of both occurring in developing countries. These figures indicate the large number of people experiencing incapacitation and pain through shortness of breath, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea as well as distress, depression and anxiety.

New research published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, prepared by research staff at The George Institute for International Health, the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney and the Department of Palliative Medicine at Calvary Hospital, highlights that a potential 100 million people in these poorer nations could benefit from palliative care services, including family members and close companions.

Lead author of the paper Dr Ruth Webster, a Research Fellow at The George Institute, says that “The scale of this epidemic of death and dying requires acknowledgement and priority as a public health issue, with more than just an emphasis on prevention of these diseases and their cure. Around 100 countries around the world have palliative care services, however only 6% are located in Asia and Africa, where the highest demand for the services is”.

“Palliative care is not on the health agenda of governments as a public health problem, which is extremely detrimental to the populations that most need these services. WHO has recommended that all countries have a policy to implement these types of services, but despite this, one only African country, has made this a priority, Uganda. South Africa has recently included palliative care in their new health policies.” added Dr Webster.

The review found three specific barriers to implementing palliative care in developing countries – government commitment, opioid availability and education. While pain management is only part of the picture, the availability of opioids and morphine is extremely difficult for developing countries. Webster says that policy makers and health professionals need to understand that lifting unnecessary regulations is vital for the large number of ill people needing care.

The authors recommend training and education as a key part to developing palliative care programs. “Experience shows that training programs for health professionals is an essential and rewarding step to build capacity in developing countries. Educating family members and utilising volunteer caregivers, in conjunction with publicly raising the profile of palliative care services, is essential so that people know what options are available and what is the best option for a particular illness.”

Dr Webster adds “Palliative care needs to be appropriate to each particular country’s culture, resources and existing health problems. Local healers for example can play a key role in symptom relief. We acknowledge care of this kind is difficult to establish in poorer countries, but urgent steps must be taken to deliver these services.”

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May 8, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment