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Have You Heard. February 2010

WA biotech emerging?

WA biotech company Resonance Health (ASX: RHT) has finally moved into the black with its image analysis technology, primarily in the form of FerriScan® quantitative MRI image analysis, developed to assess the degree of liver iron overload in haemochromatosis. Since 2005-06 (when the company underwent a share consolidation and major belt tightening), revenues from FerriScan have increased from $0.3m to $2.3m and during 2008-09 the company reported its first profit of $617k. The company is looking to apply its technology to the diagnosis of liver fibrosis (as an alternative to liver biopsy) in a broader range of liver diseases and to a much wider market, all by 2012. The inability of the test to make it onto the MBS Schedule has been a major revenue block but regulatory approval by the FDA and other European agencies has seen these markets begin to open. Lisa Dunne, Managing Director since 2003, has been a driving force along with Perth Radiological Clinic's Dr Martin Blake, UWA scientist Prof Timothy St Pierre, board chairman and biotech investor Dr Stewart Washer and major shareholder Mr Simon Panton.

Vulva awareness

Health professionals are increasingly asked to dovetail in with ‘illness/health days' or ‘health awareness weeks', dreamt up by clever marketing people who flog red noses, moustaches, pink ribbons, etc to create awareness and raise....

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November 2009

Illicit drugs decline

Two recently released national studies of drug users showed a significant decline in the use of crystal methamphetamine (a.k.a. ice). Prof Steve Allsop, director of the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin Uni, said these reports mirrored WA results from a year ago. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey of August 2008 showed a 38% decline in cannabis use in WA since 2001. Prof Allsop said broader community investigations were showing this decline in drug use, not just a stabilisation. And those worried about permanent damage to adolescent brains from alcohol abuse will be pleased to learn the 2008 Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug survey showed 15.9% of high school students had never tried alcohol (up from 12.3%) and frequency of alcohol consumption had also decreased in the past year (63.9%). Mental Health Minister Graham Jacobs was impressed that more students were getting the message about the dangers.

Doctors in fear

Research showing almost two-thirds of Australian GPs have been exposed to patient-initiated violence in the past year has prompted the Federal Government to launch a national investigation. Apparently, wait times and denial of access sent patients ‘.......

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