News in brief: Insulin coins enter Canadian currency; Cognitive decline linked with bone loss and fracture risk; Mandatory vax needed for all hospital staff

Tuesday, 20 Jul 2021

Insulin coins now part of Canadian currency

The Royal Canadian Mint has recognised in new coins the discovery of insulin 100 years ago by Canadian Sir Frederick Banting and colleagues.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of a Canadian medical breakthrough that has had a global impact. Today, and everyday, we celebrate the discovery of insulin as a treatment for diabetes,” the Mint’s website said.

“As a tribute to their work, and the continued efforts to cure diabetes that it inspired, we are proud to introduce these two commemorative two-dollar coins into circulation this year. We hope they inspire you, as these four great minds have inspired so many.”

The commemorative side of the coins features a representation of the insulin molecule along with red blood cells and laboratory equipment.

The $2 coins are available in coloured and uncoloured versions, in commemorative collector keepsakes and for the endocrinologist who has everything, in a 1 oz pure gold coin (RRP $3,995.95).

Study links cognitive decline with both bone loss and fracture risk

New research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research has found that cognitive decline is linked with accelerated bone loss and an increased fracture risk in women.

In the study of 1,741 women and 620 men aged ≥65 years without dementia who were followed from 1997 through 2013, both genders experienced similar declines in cognitive function and bone mass.

After adjustments, cognitive decline was associated with bone loss in women but not men. Also, significant and clinical important cognitive decline in women was associated with a 1.7-fold higher risk of bone fractures over the subsequent 10 years.

Notably, the relationship between bone loss and cognitive decline was bidirectional with no evidence of one preceding the other. The relationship between cognitive decline, bone loss, and fracture risk in women may be driven by shared risk factors.

“These findings may help refine clinical practices guidelines regarding how bone loss and cognitive decline can be monitored in older age, to ensure appropriate and effective treatment,” said lead author Dr Dana Bliuc of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

“This is particularly important because both bone loss and cognitive decline are ‘silent conditions’ that can go undetected for long periods of time, often until the conditions have severely progressed.”

Mandatory vaccination needed for all hospital staff

The Morrison government is being urged to make vaccinations compulsory for all hospital staff across Australia and have a roll out plan to provide vaccine every hospital worker.

The peak body representing Catholic not-for-profit hospitals, Catholic Health Australia (CHA), says the Federal government already has a mandatory vaccination scheme for aged care and should put in place a similar scheme for all hospital staff across Australia, public and private.

CHA says its hospitals are already redeploying unvaccinated staff to clinical areas where there is a lower risk of contact with COVID patients and vaccinating staff as and when Commonwealth supplies become available.

“Every year health care staff are required to get vaccinated against the flu and yet there’s no such directive for COVID,” said CHA’s Health Policy Director James Kemp.

National Cabinet should bring in a uniform rule for mandatory COVID vaccination for hospital staff – regardless of whether they work in ED, ICU or any other clinical or support position, he added.

“The high transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID is putting workers and the people they care for at greater risk as well as putting extra strain on staff,” he said

Mr Kemp said: “Every worker should have a date in their diary to get vaccinated. Every dose that comes into the country should have a hospital worker’s name next to it.”

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