what's the buzz

Online doctor  appointment via Skype
 
People from Australia will soon be able to see a doctor and receive prescriptions in the post from the comfort of their lounge room with new technology being hailed as the future of health delivery.

A new online service, which is to be launched in late January, will allow patients from anywhere around the country to book a consultation with a GP they have selected from a directory of hundreds - seven days a week. 

They then have the appointment via Skype video conferencing on their computer, tablet or smartphone and get prescriptions sent automatically to a pharmacy for collection, or to be mailed to them.

The result of a new partnership between online doctor booking service GP2U and Terry White pharmacies, the telehealth technology could ease pressure on crowded clinics and help medico mums return to work by consulting from home.

However, Australia’s peak medical body has warned nothing can replace face to face clinic consultations, saying many patients using online consultations will likely end up being referred to a real life GP anyway. According to Sydney psychiatrist Katie Dimarco, consulting patients over Skype is a convenient way to get back into medicine. Founder of GP2U.com.au Dr James Freeman describes the website as being like a “virtual clinic''”

Although some GPs already offer telehealth video conferencing with existing patients, this will be the first time people can book doctors they haven’t seen before and have their prescriptions filled online.

Mechanism that generates our fingers and toes revealed
 
In a new study, researchers have identified the mechanism responsible for generating our fingers and toes, and revealed the importance of gene regulation in the transition of fins to limbs during evolution.

By combining genetic studies with mathematical modelling, Dr. Marie Kmita and her research team at the IRCM provided experimental evidence supporting a theoretical model for pattern formation known as the Turing mechanism.

“The 1952 Turing model for pattern formation has long remained under debate, mostly due to the lack of experimental data supporting it,” Dr. Rushikesh Sheth, co-first author of the study, said.

“By studying the role of Hox genes during limb development, we were able to show, for the first time, that the patterning process that generates our fingers and toes relies on a Turing-like mechanism,” Sheth said. In humans, as in other mammals, the embryo’s development is controlled, in part, by “architect” genes known as Hox genes.

These genes are essential to the proper positioning of the body’s architecture, and define the nature and function of cells that form organs and skeletal elements.  “Our genetic study suggested that Hox genes act as modulators of a Turing-like mechanism, which was further supported by mathematical tests performed by our collaborators, Dr. James Sharpe and his team,” Dr. Marie Kmita said.

Healthy smoothies have more sugar than a can of coke

 Smoothies contain more sugar than a glass of cola, a new investigation has revealed.

The fruit drinks are seen as a healthy alternative to fizzy pop but eight out of 10 are sweeter than the same amount of Coca-Cola.

The Co-operative’s Pineapple, Mango and Passion Fruit Smoothie contains the most sugar – 36.75g per 250ml and the equivalent of seven teaspoons – while the same amount of Coke contains 26.5g.  Top-selling brand Innocent also has high sugar content, with 34.2g, consumer watchdog Which? revealed.

“Smoothies are a good source of fruit and provide valuable vitamins. But they can contain high levels of sugar and calories, so should be consumed as part of a balanced diet,” the Mirror quoted Which? boss Richard Lloyd as saying. All 52 smoothies tested for the study were higher in calories than 250ml of Coke, which has 105 calories.

A Co-op spokesman said that the sugar in its smoothies comes naturally from the fruits and that nutritional information is printed on the label.

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