21st Century Medicine 2014 - Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Healthcare

21st Century Medicine is a series of public lectures hosted by Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney. The 2015 program will be announced soon.

2014 Program

17 September - Is a New Pandemic Inevitable? Can science prevent a global infectious disease disaster?

Professor Edward C. Holmes, NHMRC Australia Fellow, Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, Sydney Medical School, School of Biological Sciences and Charles Perkins Centre.

How do viruses evolve to spread from birds, bats, pigs or other species to humans? And how can we use this knowledge to understand the threats from new viruses? The potential for new viruses to cause large-scale human death and disease has inspired often frightening and sometimes fantastic tales, with a blurry distinction between fact and fiction. It is therefore no surprise that determining the origins of viral pandemics, as well as how best to prevent and control them, is one of the major challenges facing modern medical science.

In this presentation, biosecurity and infectious diseases expert Professor Edward Holmes will address the risks of a new pandemic, its most likely origin and what scientists are doing to prevent and minimise these deadly threats.

8 October - Teenagers, Technology and Mental Health: Using 21st century technologies to manage anxiety, depression and substance abuse in young people

Professor Ian Hickie, AM MD FRANZCP FASSA. Professor Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, Charles Perkins Centre, and Executive Director, Brain and Mind research Institute.

As the burden of mental health disorders increases among young people in the 21st century, a major question is whether we can use new technologies to support high quality mental health care for more people at low cost. For many teenagers this might mean that such active technologies, such as smart phone apps, will replace counselling and other low-intensity interventions. The use of these technologies may assist to bring care to those who do not want to engage with traditional forms of clinical care or those who are excluded by geography, disability or socio-economic status. As the sophistication of such technologies increases, and as data linkage between systems becomes more extensive, there are real opportunities to provide sophisticated care even for those with high levels of clinical need. At a national and international level, we may then be able to track more closely the proportion of people who actually receive 21st century standard mental health care.

October - School Lunches (Mis)shaping a Nation: Lessons from Australian school canteens and the United States on what not to do – and how to change it

Joel Berg, Executive Director, New York City Coalition Against Hunger

Associate Professor Tim Gill, Sydney Medical School, Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders.

Dr Kieron Rooney, Sydney Medical School, Faculty of Health Sciences and the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders and Charles Perkins Centre.

Have you ever sneaked a peek into someone else’s trolley at the supermarket – or into a child’s school lunch – and wondered why people buy and eat that stuff? Poor eating habits are frequently attributed to a supposed lack of virtuous behavior, but there are numerous policies and economic factors that entrap people in nutrient-poor diets that lead to adverse educational and health outcomes. This talk draws on examples from the United States nutrition safety program for low-income Americans, as well as on Australian policies governing what foods are available to children in school canteens, and highlights key areas where you can make the most impact to help improve our food environment for everyone.

22 October - Getting to the Heart of a sudden Cardiac Death: Preventing our young and fit from dying on the sports field

Professor Chris Semsarian, MBBS PhD FRACP FCSANZ FHRS FAHA. Professor of Medicine, Sydney Medical School, Cardiologist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine & Cell Biology.

When an elite athlete drops dead on the sporting field, the community wonders why a young, seemingly healthy person can die suddenly. Sudden cardiac death is a tragic and devastating complication of a number of cardiovascular diseases. The death is most often unexpected and has major implications for the surviving family and the community. In children and young adults, genetic disorders, such as inherited heart muscle and electrical rhythm diseases are a major cause.

We can now use amazing new genetic technologies that can test all 22,000 genes that we have, to look for the genetic causes of sudden death in the young. The combination of clinical and genetic evaluation of families provides a life-saving platform for early initiation of therapeutic and prevention strategies, with the ultimate goal to reduce sudden death among the young in our communities.

29 October - Are Teenagers (actually) Crazy? Raging Teenage Hormones – Fact or Fiction?

Professor Kate Steinbeck, Sydney Medical School, Paediatrics & Child Health, Children's Hospital, Westmead, Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, NHMRC Australia Fellow.

Adolescence can be a tempestuous time for young people, sometimes marked by antisocial or risky behaviour, experiences of anxiety and depression, and dramatic deterioration in family relationships. Adolescent health expert Professor Kate Steinbeck has been studying the connection between the hormones of puberty – testosterone for boys and oestradiol in girls – and adolescent behaviour, health and wellbeing. She shares her findings that have implications for families, for schools and teachers, health professionals, and the many others whose task it is to steer young people on the path which will best prepare them for adulthood.