23 Jul 2020

12 August event: From the Frontline: Clinical Impacts of COVID-19

Monash’s Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences proudly presents From the Frontline: Clinical Impacts of COVID-19.

In this free online event, we’ll explore the impact COVID-19 has had on healthcare and what the ‘new normal’ will look like post-pandemic.

Hear from our panel of experts (Prof Jane Fisher, A/Prof Julian Elliott, Prof Merlin Thomas and A/Prof Anneke van der Walt) who are leading clinician-researchers based on the frontline of our hospitals and research facilities. They’ll discuss their COVID-19 research, focus areas, and how these will impact our community.

Event Details

New drug blocks formation of killer clots to prevent strokes and heart attacks

Four of the co-authors on the paper, L-R: Ms Natasha Setiabakti,
Associate Professor Justin Hamilton,(senior author)
Ms Nurul Aisha Zainal Abidin, Dr Mitch Moon
Monash researchers have found a potential drug that can be given as a preventive against heart attack.

The drug – which has been studied in human cells and animal models – literally blocks the minute changes in blood flow that precede a heart attack and acts on the platelets preventing the platelet-triggered clot from forming before it can kill or cause damage.

One-third of all deaths globally – 18 million a year - are caused by cardiovascular disease, largely heart attack or stroke, both of which are triggered by clots blocking the vessels in the brain or heart.

22 Jul 2020

COVID attacks the brain

The COVID-19 virus can also affect the brain for the worse,
by stimulating an over-active immune response.
Reproduced from Alfred Health

A leading Alfred neurologist has warned that the headaches, psychosis, fatigue and memory loss some COVID-19 patients develop, could be the start of major life-long neurological complications.

Neurologist Dr Robb Wesselingh said some people who were young, fit and healthy before COVID have developed neurological complications, such as strokes, seizures, psychosis, extreme fatigue and memory loss.

Potent glioma tumour inhibitor discovery

Left: Glioma and immune cell (microglia) interactions within the 
tumour site. The interaction between these cells and increased 
P2X7R expression creates an environment that fuels glioma growth. 
Right: The P2X7R protein and inhibitor AZ10606120 in action. 
Image: Liyen Kan
Gliomas are the most common cancers of the brain, accounting for 80% of all brain tumours. Among these, glioblastoma is the most aggressive form, killing an estimated 225,000 people worldwide per year with patients only surviving for a median of 14-15 months after diagnosis.

Importantly, current treatment options are limited to surgical removal, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and only prolong survival by a several months.

Despite advances in treatment, the prognosis for glioblastoma patients remains bleak. There is a desperate need for the development of more effective therapies.

21 Jul 2020

Looks like epilepsy but isn’t: The disease that is deadly, largely undiagnosed and untreated

One in four people admitted to hospital for uncontrolled seizures 
do not have epilepsy. Image: Shutterstock

One in four people who are tested for epilepsy do not have the disease, but instead have a psychological condition called psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES).

Today (21 July) in the prestigious journal, Neurology, Monash researchers explain the disease, which if it goes undetected can be deadly.

20 Jul 2020

Genetic predisposition to Multiple Sclerosis mapped throughout immune system

There is an extensive overlap of immune cell types and genes 
associated with MS. Figure 1 from the group's paper
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common immune-mediated disorder, with 2.3 million people diagnosed worldwide. A detailed gene map of the illness takes us a step closer to understanding the mystery of how MS develops.

The cause of MS is still unknown, but some studies have indicated that the complex interaction between environmental factors and variations in genes may be what leads to MS risk or susceptibility.

Microbiome key to skin's immunological landscape

Why babies develop eczema is not yet well understood. Professor Ben
Marsland is senior author on a new paper on the skin's microbiome.
Image: Shutterstock
Monash immunologists have published a study following up on their earlier research, published in The Lancet, on whether atopic dermatitis in the first year of life could be reduced by applying skin emollients during infancy. The answer to that was No, as it turned out.

The group continued on with their more fundamental research on atopic dermatitis to try and understand the rules which govern the skin and determine whether they could identify factors that might be the focus of future intervention studies.

In their recent paper, they show in a mouse model that the microbiome - the family of all the microbes that live on and inside the human body - is a key determinant of the immunological landscape of the skin.

23 June - 6 July 2020 Central Clinical School recent publications

Our school's researchers are contributing to publications on 
various aspects of COVID-19 including asthma, epidemiology,
diabetes, perioperative medicine and surgery management.
Recent publications as notified by PubMed during the fortnight 23 June - 6 July 2020 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. This is not a comprehensive list:
  • Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory medicine (AIRmed)
  • Anaesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine (APOM)
  • Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD)
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medicine - Alfred
  • Medicine - Peninsula
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC)
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry

In the media: Progressive supranuclear palsy clinical trial

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) has no known effective treatment or cure. PSP affects brain cells that control walking, balance, mobility, vision, speech, swallowing, thinking and behaviour. It is a devastating neurodegenerative condition, often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's Disease, that affects people over the age of 40 years old, for which there is currently no disease-modifying treatment.

Paul Zimmet, The Age's COVID-19 prevention poster boy!

©The Age, 13/20 Photos of the Week 19 July. Image: Luis Ascui
Professor Paul Zimmet was featured in The Age's 'Photo of the Week' selection for 19 July. He was snapped by Luis Ascui as he was doing his bit for community education. Paul has crusaded for public health and safety throughout his entire career.

This latest one-man campaign attracted a threat to attack him. He's not alone in this experience - anecdotally we've heard a number of stories from individuals who were wearing masks (prior to the Victorian government's mandate that we all wear masks in public from Thursday 23 July 2020) and were either threatened or physically attacked. Denis Muller's The Conversation article might throw some light on people's motivations and drivers for such antisocial behaviour.

Have your say – Clinical Academic Pathways survey

Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre is leading research to understand what currently exists to support and sustain nursing, allied health, scientific and medical clinicians in undertaking a clinical academic career.

We are asking those who work in a university, hospital, speciality college, research institute or primary/community health organisation to help us complete a short 10-minute survey. Responses will help us determine priorities, programs and resources for our clinical academic workforce.

The survey will close Friday 31 August at 5 pm. Complete the survey

This project has been approved by the Monash Health Ethics Committee. HREC Reference Number: QA/65445/MonH-2020-217312(v1)
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