Archives September 2017

Black Lung On The Rise Again In Australia’s Coal Mining Workers

The number of reported cases of black lung, a lung disease found in coal miners, has been on the rise in Australia. According to Bloomberg, up to 25 cases of the illness pneumoconiosis have been confirmed in the state of Queensland.

Black lung disease is caused by the inhalation of coal dust over extended periods of time. Bloomberg reports that the illness’ sudden onset is most likely due to the limited control of dust in Australia’s coal mines and the poor use of modern mining technology.

“It is a ticking time bomb for the industry in Australia,” said David Lennox, a resource analyst in Sydney. “It’s a crisis that’s been a long time in the making and, over a long period of time, it will ultimately take lives.”

Since Queensland announced the resurrection of the illness, thousands of coal miners both retired and active have been seeking medical examinations for the disease.

As of 2014, there were a total of 66,211 lawyers actively working in Australia compared to the 1,268,011 practicing lawyers in the U.S. in 2012. According to Stephen Smyth, president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union, these active lawyers are preparing for the vast number of workers compensation claims certain to be filed.

“No one gave it much of a thought, to tell you the truth,” said Keith Stoddart, a 68-year-old retired coal miner. “When I started in 1970, they said there was no more black lung in the mines.”

Many seniors and younger workers know what to look for work-related illnesses such as musculoskeletal disorders or dermatitis. Even symptoms of common deadly ailments that aren’t work-related are often known such as heart disease, which kills up to 84% of seniors over the age of 65.

Symptoms of rare diseases such as black lung are typically unknown. For this reason, Stoddart reportedly shrugged off the pain he felt in his back until 2015 when he coughed up a black substance as well as blood.

Jason Bing, a 46-year-old coal miner who’s been working in Queensland for nearly 13 years, has also been diagnosed with the disease. Bing is currently in the process of suing previous employers including Anglo American, the third largest coal exporter in the world.

Bing’s lawsuit calls for $2 million AUS in compensation for failing to provide adequate protective equipment and ventilation that would make it safe to work in the mines. However, what makes the case so difficult to argue is that it can take up to “”>10 years for symptoms of black lung to appear. Yet, the failure to detect the illness may be the fault of Australia’s medical professionals rather than the illness itself.

“The connection between exposure and disease has been known for many decades,” said Tim Driscoll, a professor at the University of Sydney. “So, there seems to me to have been a failure of exposure control.”

According to Driscoll, the disease was most likely left undetected by medical professionals due to poor quality x-rays, poor communication, and x-rays never being reported. It’s for mistakes such as these that home health care businesses, as well as other medical professionals, are recommended to know about five types of insurance including Professional Liability Insurance.

The Queensland state government has since dedicated up to $25 million toward the improvement of coal mining conditions. “The Palaszcuk government’s focus has always been to eradicate this insidious disease that does not belong in the 21st century,” said Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.

New Study By Mayo Clinic Finds Sleeping With Dogs Improves Sleep Quality

A new study by Mayo Clinic disproves a previous assumption that sleeping with your furry friends at night is bad for your health. According to the study, those who sleep with their dogs in their bed were determined to have an average satisfactory sleeping quality of 80%.

The study followed 40 adults and their dogs over a series of seven nights during which both the adults and canines wore motion-tracking devices. Evidence suggests that those who sleep with their pets in bed don’t suffer from poor sleep quality.

However, those who slept with their pets in their room rather than in bed still slept more efficiently with a score of 83%. Why the 3% difference?

The study determined the reasoning behind the lower sleep score was due to the dogs’ movements in their human companion’s bed. The dogs’ movements resulted in more disturbances throughout the night causing interruptions to the owner’s sleep cycle.

This may be due to the fact that dogs’ sleep cycles tend to be shorter than humans. According to Time Magazine, human sleep companions weren’t as disturbing of each other’s sleep cycles.

“Presumably, humans accommodate the needs of their bed partner in an effort to promote sleep in a manner that even the most well-trained dog does not,” said lead author Dr. Lois Krahn in the study.

A single dog or cat in a bed may have the best sleep results, Krahn said, but it’s when multiple animals sleep on the bed that the owner’s sleep may become unhealthily disrupted. Even just one extra hour of sleep is valuable up to 82% of Americans.

It should be noted, however, that the study only analyzed the households of middle-aged, healthy women. And, because there was no control group, the researchers were unable to officially determine whether there was a difference in sleep quality and the size or breed of the dogs.

Despite these drawbacks, Krahn’s message remains the same. “My main recommendation is for people to take a look at their setup and carefully consider whether it is truly working or not,” Krahn said. “And not allow loyalty to their pet to blind them to consequences that aren’t desirable to their sleep.”