Freckles on iris indicate high risk of melanoma: QUT research

University of Queensland researchers have found that freckles and moles appearing on the iris indicate a high risk of melanoma, particularly in people under 40 years of age.

Dermatology Research Centre’s Associate Professor Rick Sturm said the presence of pigmented lesions was an effective predictor of the risk of melanoma that complemented traditional factors.

“We found the presence of three or more iris pigmented lesions was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of melanoma,” Dr Sturm said.

“This association was particularly strong in people under 40.

“The presence of iris freckling and naevi (moles), provides additional information about an individual’s melanoma risk over and above factors like blue eyes, red hair, fair skin and the number of moles on the skin.”

The study, involving Professor Peter Soyer and Dr Antonia Laino, involved 1117 participants of European background living in South-East Queensland.

Read More >

By | January 21st, 2018|Research|

AHPRA establishes National Scheme research framework to improve patient safety

National Boards governing 14 health-care-practitioner groups, including medicine and optometry, and their supervising Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency have published a research framework to help transform health-practitioner regulation to improve patient safety.

The framework sets out research priorities and principles for National Boards and AHPRA to focus their research efforts and guide the use of National Scheme data and information

Nationally significant dataset

The National Scheme holds a nationally-significant dataset, including data on more than 670,000 health practitioners across the 14 professions (soon to be 15 professions in 2018 when paramedicine joins).

“Our data and research infrastructure has been steadily maturing over the past few years and we are now better able to translate the outcomes of research and evaluation activities into developments that will have significant benefits for patients and practitioners“ Mr Martin Fletcher, chief executive officer of AHPRA, said.

“This new research framework ensures we continue to contribute to patient safety and brings us closer to becoming a global leader in regulatory research.”

Priority research areas

The framework includes the priority research areas of: defining harms and risks related to the practice of regulated health professions, regulatory taxonomy or classification scheme, risk factors for complaints and/or poor practitioner performance, evidence for standards, codes and/or guidelines, evaluating regulatory interventions, stakeholder satisfaction and engagement, work readiness and workforce

Read More >

By | January 21st, 2018|Research|

Driving more than 25,000 miles a year is third most dangerous job: UK study

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has ranked driving more than 25,000 miles per year the third most dangerous job in the United Kingdom behind deep sea diving and coal mining, Optician reports.

And a quarter of British people who drive for work are not having regular eye tests, new research conducted on behalf of Vision Express has found.

The YouGov research also showed that 6 per cent of drivers had not had an eye examination in at least ten years and 2 per cent admitted to never having their eyes examined.

Of the research respondents, 13 per cent stated they would not inform the driving licence authority if their eyesight was too poor to drive, with 39 per cent saying their job would be at risk if their eyesight did not meet minimum requirements for driving. The research highlighted the potential danger those drivers pose to other road users.

Mr Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express chief executive officer, said: “Many don’t realise that changes in sight can be gradual, and it’s possible to lose up to 40 per cent of your vision before even noticing. Tellingly, the vast majority (93 per cent) of drivers in our research believed they did meet the legal eyesight requirement for driving, yet over half (56 per

Read More >

By | December 22nd, 2017|Research|

British College of Optometrists research identifies weaknesses in eye-health data

A lack of public health data on the prevalence of eye conditions in the United Kingdom is affecting the ability to adequately plan and meet eye-health needs, according to the College of Optometrists, Optician reports.

Despite an increasing amount of clinical data being held electronically in optometry-practice systems, the Ophthalmic Public Health Research Project found that data is not organised in a way that can be easily used for research and service-planning purposes.

The project was undertaken by the college to collate existing research and improve understanding of ophthalmic public health by optometrists. It was also hoped that the study would help to engage government and policy makers on eye health issues.

Researchers have now recommended a minimum dataset containing standard clinical information that could be used to facilitate analysis of the evidence for public health purposes and identify trends and areas of need in optometry practice.

Mike Bowen, director of research at the college, said: “The project has provided an important benchmark about what information is currently available, and allows for more extensive projects, such as the National Eye Health Survey, to provide the additional data needed to understand the nation’s eye health needs.”

By | December 22nd, 2017|Research|

Critical trigger found for AMD

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in the United States have discovered a critical trigger for the damaging inflammation of macular degeneration.

Dr Jayakrishna Ambati, vice-chairman for research of UVA’s Department of Ophthalmology and the founding director of UVA’s Center for Advanced Vision Science, and Nagaraj Kerur, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, and their laboratories have determined that an enzyme called cGAS plays an important role in the body’s immune response to infections by detecting foreign DNA. But the molecule’s newly identified role in the dry form of AMD was unexpected.

Dr Ambati said: “For the first time, we know in macular degeneration what is one of the very first events that triggers the system to get alarmed and start, to use an anthropomorphic term, hyperventilating.

“This overdrive of inflammation is what ultimately damages cells, and so, potentially, we have a way of interfering very early in the process.”

The researchers noted that cGAS may be an alarm not just for pathogens, but for other harmful problems that warrant responses from the immune system. The enzyme may also play important roles in conditions such as diabetes, lupus, and obesity, and researchers already are working to create drugs that could inhibit its function.

By | December 4th, 2017|Research|

Save Sight Institute receives $100,000 anonymous donation

The University of Sydney’s Save Sight Institute has received an anonymous donation of $100,000.

The donation, which arrived just before the university’s ‘Pave the Way’ giving day, has been earmarked for the Macular Research Group.

The director of the Macular Research Group, Professor Mark Gillies, said the funding would support a PhD student working in the laboratory for three to four years, something that would not have been possible without the donation

The PhD student will engage directly with the investigation of new treatments, one of which involves testing compounds like curcumin, an active ingredient in tumeric, to see if the macula’s defences can be boosted against oxidative stress.


By | October 15th, 2017|Research|