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This week's top health stories

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Child dies from whooping cough in Victoria

AM - 17/02/2011
The death of a newborn baby from whooping cough in Melbourne this week has triggered fresh calls for Australians to vaccinate against the highly contagious disease. Health authorities in Victoria say it's the first death to be linked to the disease since 2004 and coincides with an unprecedented whooping cough epidemic for the state.

Mourners return to Christmas Island

AM - 17/02/2011
A key mental health adviser to the Government says the decision to send the survivors of the Christmas Island boating tragedy back into detention is bizarre and unacceptable. Twenty-two survivors of the December accident including a nine year old orphan attended funerals of some of the victims in Sydney this week.

Escapee found working at Qld hospital

The World Today - 16/02/2011
It's been revealed a convicted murderer who escaped from prison 15 years ago has been working at a Far North Queensland hospital. Luke Andrew Hunter was employed as a groundskeeper when he was arrested by police on Monday. It's raised serious questions about the adequacy of background checks.

Counting kicks in at 18 months

Science Online - 16/02/2011
Children begin to learn to count earlier than previously thought, according to new research.

Zinc cuts short the common cold

Science Online - 16/02/2011
Zinc supplements can reduce the severity of the common cold and help people recover faster, say the authors of a new Cochrane review.

Mentally ill mothers not getting enough help

AM - 16/02/2011
New research by the mental health charity SANE Australia has found that the majority of mothers with a mental illness surveyed feel they didn't get enough support either during their pregnancy or after giving birth. The survey found they are often given conflicting information on how to deal with their illness and parenthood.

St Vincents to open early psychosis ward

AM - 16/02/2011
Sydney's St Vincents hospital will become only the second hospital in Australia to open an early onset pscyhosis unit for 16 to 30 year olds. Currently, young people with a serious mental illness are treated in adult psychiatric wards. Professor Patrick McGorry wants more federal government funding to help roll out these units across Australia.

Inspirational recovery

7.30 Report - 15/02/2011
Cancer survivor Ross Taylor tells his amazing story of recovery to inspire others tackling the disease.

Robotics speed up cancer drug development

Science Online - 15/02/2011
A robot that can complete the equivalent of a year's drug-screening in a day, could lead to safer and more effective treatments for children with cancer.

Cancer Council defends toxic dump study

The World Today - 15/02/2011
The Cancer Council of Victoria is defending a controversial study it conducted which found no evidence of increased cancer rates among people living near a toxic waste dump outside Melbourne Airport. The study was commissioned by the Environment Protection Authority, which has been criticised by residents who've accused it of failing to properly monitor the dump over its 36-year history.

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