Public health

New in brief: Diabetes groups merge; Clues to atypical femur fracture mechanism; Help for hormonal side effects in breast cancer

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Diabetes groups merge

Members of Diabetes Queensland and Diabetes NSW & ACT have agreed to merge with Diabetes Australia after a vote held at extraordinary general meetings on April 28 and 29.

The change will mean a switch from a federated structure into a stronger national organisation, but will not affect local programs and services, said Chair of Diabetes Australia, Dr Michael Stanford AM.

“This is a momentous occasion for diabetes organisations in Australia and the first big step in unifying. We know that some of our other member organisations are planning to put a vote to their members in coming months, and we will continue to keep the diabetes community informed,” he said

Sturt Eastwood, CEO of Diabetes Queensland and Diabetes NSW & ACT said people living with diabetes would gain from being part of a national organisation.

“We will have a more influential voice to advocate with all levels of government, more opportunities to raise funds for research, and a continued commitment to the provision of specialist services and support for people living with or at risk of diabetes,” he said.

Study suggests mechanism for atypical femur fractures with bisphosphonates

The atypical femur fractures (AFF) seen after long‐term bisphosphonate use may be due to bone remodelling changes that promote progression of microcracks, a Canadian study shows. The analysis of 26 trans‐iliac bone biopsies from patients who had AFF found they had 2.9% higher degree of mineralization of bone (DMB) compared with a control group. There was a direct correlation between duration of bisphosphonate treatment and degree of mineralization in AFF patients but mineralisation was less heterogeneous, which may result in greater crack volume and reduced resistance to fracture, the researchers said.

“Because bisphosphonates have high affinity to bone mineral and lining the walls of the osteocyte lacunae, the accumulation of matrix‐bound bisphosphonates in AFF could lead to inhibition of the osteocyte cytoskeleton blunting their response to mechanical strains,” they suggested.

More information: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Women with breast cancer need help managing side effects of hormonal therapy

Only 16% of health professionals reported feeling ‘very confident’ managing the genitourinary symptoms (GUS) in women with early breast cancer (EBC), Australian survey results show.

That’s despite 81% of the 144 participants surveyed – 42% medical oncologists; 24% nurses; 20% breast surgeons and 8% radiation oncologists – reporting frequently encountering GUS in women with EBC and seeing patients stop endocrine therapies prematurely because of the common hormonal therapy side effect.

Meanwhile 19% reported receiving no training or education in managing GUS while 46% reported having received ‘a little’.

Investigators from the University of Sydney who carried out the survey are calling for education and training for health professionals to better address the common problem for patients with EBC.

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