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Abilify: The drug that could gamble your life away

On this episode of America’s Lawyer, Mike Papantonio talks about the numerous lawsuits pending involving antipsychotic medication Abilify (aripiprazole). Then he reviews a pathetic $4.5 million settlement from an Arizona drug company that has caused overprescription of an addictive narcotic, and this has been compounded by medical insurance policy. Ordinary people are queuing up for this drug, and it may take years for their endorphins to resurrect. Then Farron Cousins investigates why corporate air polluters are being waived from paying pollution fines. Neutrino: With regard to Abilify, it became a popular new antipsychotic because it was less likely to cause obesity than most of the antipsychotics and it lacked the 'negative' 'parkinsonian' side-effects of most. I could immediately see how it might combat obesity, because patients seemed not to be able to stop moving. It was a kind of akathisia, but it didn't seem to bother them. They were impelled forwards as it were, but that was a relief to those who had suffered the negative side effects of inertia, stiffness, and ambivalence, which are also symptoms of schizophrenia. I am not surprised, however, to hear that Abilify has been linked to new compulsive drives, like gambling. The anti-parkinsonian drugs have also been linked to such bizarre changes in character. It takes imagination to realise that the mind is connected to the body and the biochemistry of the brain is fundamental to the personality.

VicRoads mulch wildlife on Mornington Peninsula -AWPC intervention

VicRoads doesn't really respect wildlife corridors and rarely includes wildlife crossings in its vast expensive highways, despite its Fauna Sensitive Road Design Guidelines (on what page here to find link to pdf document is unclear). The excuse seems to be that they are too expensive. However VicRoads is costing us all more than money. And last week it sent a giant mulcher to mow down forests of trees which had been planted along the Mornington Peninsula median strips as a climate change mitigation measure by previous regimes.

Ebola risk - some questions from an old RN

I recently received a message from one of those petition organisations, which advocated sending Australian volunteers to Ebola stricken countries. I used to be an infection control nurse union rep in a detox at the time when HIV and various more infective new hepatitis bugs were becoming too obvious to ignore. Although I have not worked in the field for a year, the messages I am getting from the media and other contacts lead me to think that the problems of infection control I discuss below continue in our health-care and lay community. Chief among them are a confusion between virocides (which kill viruses) and a motley series of bacteriocides (which kill selected bacteria). I welcome comment and discussion and apologise to health professionals out there who I may have underestimated. I have written this article because I am a bit worried.

End of Nursing in Oz? Federal Government: Review 457 visa for nurses in Australia

Illustration photo is used by a real agency.

Illustrations and commentary from candobetter.net. Although this article comes from a petition, (which already has 27,222 supporters) the article explaining it, by Esther Inglis of Brisbane, Australia is fantastic. I would only add to it that it is not just graduates who are suffering. This rort and scandal needs to be blown out of the water in Australia. The absolute shamelessness of careerists currently running hospitals all over the country, who dump on their colleagues and on students merits that you cut dead most people in hospital management on suspicion that they are part of this outrageous behaviour towards ordinary RNs and trainee nurses. Hospitals and managers are getting bonuses for bringing in foreign nurses and getting them to sign up with universities to do Masters and Phd's in nursing at great expense to the immigrants and enormous cost to wider Australian society. And while this is going on many excellent nurses with years of experience are now unable to find work. They cannot afford to compete with cashed up professional immigrants for post graduate university courses that have become quasi-mandatory to get some short term job in nursing. And, as imported nurses sit at their desks and do full time higher degree courses just in order to keep their positions and fulfill their contracts, the wards are filled with new rapidly trained kinds of 'care-workers', and a few overworked Division 2s, doing jobs that real RNs once did. Can this be good for anyone? Tony Abbott complains about the cost of health care, but he has nothing to say about this - naturally. I really don't think it is necessary to add that I have nothing against foreign nurses, however I will. What I am against is destroying the reasonable expectations of employment of nurses born here. It is so cruel, unnecessary and shameful. The unions are doing nothing, nor are the schools of nursing; they are just shamefully taking the money for membership and courses, like the cowards they are. So try signing this petition and send it around everywhere.

Auditor General: VHIMS Hospital Incident Reporting System puts nurses off reporting danger

Who in earth designed this VHIMS system and why haven't they been sent to prison? How many people have suffered by this? The Victorian Health Department relies on this evil joke of a system: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/clinrisk/vhims/ The policy of promotions by 'merit' somehow finishes up keeping anyone intelligent or principled out of executive jobs in this field. I have actually used the VHIMS system and the absolute failure of management to care that it made things worse contributed to my growing sense of danger and injustice. The attitude to safety and the law in public hospitals is absurd - no better than in Florence Nightingale's time. Hospital managers are reckless; they are laws unto themselves. Inside excerpt from Auditor General's shocking report on Victoria's hospitals.

Auditor General: Victorian hospitals badly managed dangerous places for staff and patients

Public hospitals present hazardous challenges that demand OHS management of the highest standard. The audit found that while there are instances of better practice among the audited public hospitals, there are also significant shortcomings which put staff at unnecessary risk. In addition, weaknesses identified with the role of the department as the health system manager, and with WorkSafe as the OHS regulator, have contributed to the failure to achieve better management of OHS risk by public hospitals. Neither the department nor WorkSafe has a comprehensive understanding of sector-wide OHS risks or emerging trends in public hospitals.

Queensland's decision to lock all adult mental health units a draconian step backwards

The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) joins the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ (RANZCP) in condemning the recent announcement by Queensland Health to introduce ‘lock-up’ security measures to all adult mental health hospital inpatient facilities in Queensland, and the expansion of the use of ankle bracelets.

Australian Unis rankings fall as fees mount and students overwhelm resources in a scholar-hostile environment


Melbourne University fell in ranking from 28 to 34, Australian National University from 37 to 48, Sydney University from 62 to 72, NSW University from 85 to 114 and Adelaide University has gone from the top 200 world rankings, according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings Hardly surprising in the commercial environment that swamps the notion of knowledge and research and the vocational ideology that substitutes for higher education these days.

Mental health and the Elections: no mention of the Mental Health Nurses Incentive Program (MHNIP)

The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) funds mental health nurses to work collaboratively with GPs and psychiatrists to support people with severe and persistent mental illness. This is a very economical and efficient collaboration, funded by Medicare and bulk-billable. It usually costs patients nothing, in contrast to the unaffordability of consultations with psychiatrists and the limited availablility of funding for psychologists. The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) welcomes the release of Government and Coalition election policies on mental health, but College President Prof Wendy Cross has expressed concern that the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) was not mentioned by either party. The ACMHN calls on whoever forms the next Australian Government to match the funding committment of the Greens, who put the figure of $210 million over three years.

Movie Review of "The Call" and Choice in Australian Cinemas

This article is a review of a blockbuster movie. The article makes political comments about a dominant genre in United States productions and about how little choice there is in Australian cinemas these days. Candobetter welcomes debate on the paucity of cinema available in Australia.

Government must make Australian hospitals employ Australian grads - Nursing

The Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) called on Health Minister David Davis to urgently direct public hospitals to increase their intake of recently graduated nurses from Australian universities after it was revealed 805 nursing and midwifery graduates have missed out on a graduate year place next year. Up to 40% of local graduate nurses and midwives are excluded from employment in our hospitals. Shamefully, hospitals are importing foreign nurses and denying locally born and trained nurses an entry year as graduates (often referred to as an intern year).

Politics for the over-fifties - calling all silverbacks to action

So, what has become of all that grey power in Australia? The 'aging population' promoted as such a threat by various grey-haired politicians, seems to be awfully quiet. Why aren't they raging in the streets over here? Opinions and theories welcome. Has abolishment of promotion by seniority disorganised society and impoverished the grey heads that used to be the wisdom-bearers of old? We need to solve the mystery and galvanise and organise the greys.

Land and Rent Costs to Business make Australia uncompetitive

Why doesn't the government cut land costs? High costs of land, and the resources it carries - energy and water - are responsible for our failing economy. The greatest costs to small and medium-sized businesses are the rents they pay for their shops, warehouses, and factories. The greatest costs to workers are the rents they pay for personal accommodation. Small and medium-sized businesses pay both for their business premises and for their personal accommodation. Manufacturing in Australia is losing out to high rents and housing costs. Wages must go up to satisfy the malignant effect of land-speculation, which government continues to encourage against our common welfare. But, why don't they just cut the land-costs? Stop pushing up property prices by reducing immigration and you won't have to put wages up. Business will become competitive on the world market again, because most of its profits won't go on rent of premises. Let's get rid of the property developers. Let's outlaw land speculation. [Title changed from "Cut land-costs, not wages. Down with property developers, Up with workers!" on 9 Oct 2011.]

Book Review: One Man's Struggle over Chiari Syndrome

Author and Chiari Syndrome sufferer, Raphael D'Alonzo, has written a fascinating personal account and investigation of this obscure, chameleon and pervasive syndrome, which often requires neurosurgery and may be life-threatening. His style is direct, his observations detailed and scientific, his accounts of human mismanagement of his diagnosis and treatment revealing but fair. His perspective is both useful and unusual because of his own background as a pharmaceutical research scientist and his strong personality and physical stamina. He has a sophisticated understanding of the United States health insurance industry.

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