Graeme Turner

Summer is approaching and that means dehydration and gastroenteritis may affect some elderly patients or patients with multiple comorbidities. To help them self-manage their care and to prevent possible hospitalisation a Sick Day Action Plan (SDAP) can (and should) be implemented. 

A SDAP supports the patient to temporarily suspend medications, such as metformin, diuretics, SGLT2 inhibitors, ACEis and ARBs when there is a risk of hypovolemia. The patient should stop taking these medications for 24 to 48 hours andshould also contact their GP for further advice and treatment.

young woman with mobile phone

A study1 aimed at gauging the impact of sexting2 on the mental health of Australians aged 18-30 years has found that 53.1 per cent had sent a sexually explicit message in the past 12 months and 43.1 percent had sent a sexually explicit image. When asked about receiving such messages 61.2 percent of respondents said they had received a sexually explicit message and 55.1 per cent had received a sexually explicit image.

Sexting seems to be common,” the researchers reported, adding that rates even higher were found in a study of a university population in the USA - 67.4 percent. Presumably where America goes Australia will eventually follow.

Moreover, a high ratio of respondents (73.1 per cent) thought that sexting can have a “positive impact”, with the majority saying that sexting had either nil or a positive effect on their mood.

Dr Jedda Schutz, Psychogeriatrician

The second recommendation of Neglect, the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety emphasised the importance of reducing sedative medication in the elderly. It is a difficult area for GPs and staff attending patients in Aged Care facilities and the final report will suggest more concrete solutions to the problem.

Managing these patients at home can be an equally difficult issue for GPs. However, local clinicians are now able to get advice via a new service provided by Dr Jedda Schutz.

Dr Schutz consults at the Northern Rivers Psychiatry rooms in Bangalow approximately once per month and now offers one-off psychiatric assessments for patients over 65 year of age.

burnt landscape

Describing the recent MJA-Lancet report on health and climate change as a “wakeup call [for]… all levels of Australian government” the group Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) has warned of major challenges to the healthcare system, including children being particularly susceptible to extreme weather and higher temperatures increasing the likelihood of illness and death in people over 65 years of age.

Calling heat “a serious health threat in Australia,” the DEA spokesperson Dr Arnagretta Hunter said the 2019 report of the MJA–Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: a turbulent year with mixed progress is “an extraordinary collaboration of 35 global institutions… The health community will not be silent on the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.

Mike Fitzgerald with someone’s best friend.

Ageing in dogs bears many similarities to ageing in humans. They start to lose hearing, vision, mobility, can get cancer, arthritis, heart disease, renal failure and brain ageing (doggy dementia). The differences in the way dogs age may be illuminating for our human species as well.

For example: why do smaller breeds of dogs tend to have longer lifespans (up to 16 years or more) compared to larger and giant breed dogs who may only live 8 to 10 years?

The Dog Ageing Project is a longitudinal observational study being conducted by University of Washington and Texas A&M, funded jointly by a grant from the US National Institute on Ageing as part of the National Institutes of Health and private donations.