8 May 2020

Two pandemics clashing - COVID-19 and 'Diabesity'

Professor Paul Zimmet argues that bariatric
surgery should not be classed as elective
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen elective surgery postponed worldwide.  Experts from the multidisciplinary Diabetes Surgery Summit (DSS) are concerned for patients with the greatest need for bariatric and metabolic surgery (such as gastric bypass), as delaying treatment could put them at a greater risk of complications from their disease as well as from COVID-19.

Recommendations published today in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, led by world-leading authority, Professor Francesco Rubino from King’s College London, outline the surgical candidates at greatest risk of morbidity and mortality from type 2 diabetes or from severe obesity, where this surgery may be life-saving.

Alfred oncology clinical trial pioneers remote treatment

L-R: Dr Mark Voskoboynik and Professor Mark Shackleton
Before COVID-19 struck, Natalia Rodriguez had been travelling from Launceston to The Alfred Hospital’s Oncology Unit in Melbourne every three weeks to take part in a clinical trial that could save her life.

The mum of two has cervical cancer, and the phase 1 trial of two immunotherapy drugs, which are still undergoing early testing, had already shown promise in shrinking the tumours that had spread throughout her body.

But with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia, Tasmania shut its borders. Natalia was no longer able to travel to Melbourne to continue the treatment – the only treatment that had made any headway against her cancer.

Airway management and intubation guidelines for COVID-19

A/Prof David Brewster is lead author on MJA
publication for COVID-19 airway management
COVID-19 is shorthand for 'SARS-COV-2' - that is, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Those patients who get sick enough with COVID-19 to need care in intensive care units (ICU) have profoundly congested lungs, and need highly specialised care and often, intervention.

Associate Professor David Brewster is lead author of national guidelines for airway management and intubation for COVID-19, published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) on 1 May.

The genetics of epilepsy plays a greater role than previously thought

Review paper: Genetics plays a greater
role in epilepsy than previously thought
Associate Professor Piero Perucca is lead author on a review paper, "The genetics of epilepsy", published this week.

Quoting from the review, "Epilepsy encompasses a group of heterogeneous brain diseases that affect more than 50 million people worldwide. Epilepsy may have discernible structural, infectious, metabolic, and immune etiologies; however, in most people with epilepsy, no obvious cause is identifiable.

"Based initially on family studies and later on advances in gene sequencing technologies and computational approaches, as well as the establishment of large collaborative initiatives, we now know that genetics plays a much greater role in epilepsy than was previously appreciated.

5 May 2020

Staying connected within CCS during COVID-19

eMHprac resource list
The CCS GEDI committee members are aware that the current COVID-19 pandemic may impact CCS staff and students in a range of ways.  For some people, it may be a time of significant stress and increased work demands.

For some, onsite lab work and clinical trials continue, while others have needed to pause aspects of research, change their focus and work from home.  People may be feeling disconnected from their work colleagues, labs and departments.  Working from home is likely to disproportionately impact CCS staff who are also in carer roles. 

A sense of inclusion and connection to work colleagues is essential during this time.

COVID-19: The stages of isolation, and how to cope

featuring Professor Jayashri Kulkarni
reproduced from Monash Lens 28 April 2020

Self-isolation, says eminent Monash University psychiatrist Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, is “an unusual and alien response for human beings” – a conclusion many of us may have already drawn in these unprecedented times of tightly restricted contact with others.
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