News in brief: Trial guidelines for FFA; Dermatitis risk from toxic famine weed; Specialists in top 10 for Australian incomes

16 Jun 2021

Trial guidelines in frontal fibrosing alopecia

Guidelines for standardising clinical trials in frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) have been developed to help improve understanding of “common but vexing” hair disorder.

Representing consensus from the International FFA Cooperative Group of experts from 21 countries, the guidelines cover diagnostic criteria, severity rating, staging, investigator and patient assessment methods and response criteria.

The recommendations include:

  • diagnostic criteria for classic FFA, which includes frontal hairline recession, and probable FFA which does not.
  • an FFA Global Staging Score
  • an FFA adjusted version of the Alopecia Density and Extent (ALODEX) Score as endpoint/response criteria
  • Use of two quality of life measures – the SF-12 and an FFA disease specific tool, the Woman’s Androgenetic Alopecia Quality of Life Questionnaire (WAA-QOL)
  • Minimum duration of 6 months for trials

“We acknowledge that most of what we propose is arbitrary and not yet validated in FFA but we believe that these guidelines provide a place to begin collection internationally of consistent data on well-defined populations of FFA subjects, something otherwise lacking,” they said.

Dermatitis risk from more toxic weed

Climate change is giving some plants the opportunity to strike back and impact human health.

Researchers grew Parthenium hysterophorus – an invasive and restricted weed in Australia – in atmospheric CO2 conditions matching those recorded in 1950 and 2020.

It found the weeds grown in the current higher C02 atmosphere produced higher mean concentration of its toxin parthenin.

Parthenin is a potent allergen which causes dermatitis, hay fever and asthma in people.

The results suggest that modern levels of carbon dioxide have contributed to the noxious weed’s toxicity.

Parthenium hysterophorus, also known in the US as famine weed, also causes significant agricultural losses worldwide.

Nature Plants

Specialists in top 10 for Australian incomes

Doctors led by surgeons and anaesthetists hold five of the 10 top places for high-income earners in Australia, according to ATO statistics for the 2018-19 financial year.

Internal medicine specialists were in third spot, with average taxable income of $304,752, although earnings varied by jurisdiction, from $343,353 in Western Australia to $287,437 in NSW and $269,158 in the Northern Territory.

Surgeons were Australia’s most highly remunerated occupation, with an average taxable income of $394,303, followed by anaesthetists on $386,065. Psychiatrists were in 5th place on $235,558, while ‘other medical practitioners’, in 6th place, recorded average earnings of $222,933.

By way of comparison, the average taxable income for Australians was $62,549 overall, ($73,218 for males, $51,382 for females). Besides doctors other high income occupations included financial dealers in 4th place with $275,984, judges and lawyers (7th) with $188,798 and mining engineers (8th) with $184,507.

Australian CEOs and managing directors recorded average incomes of $164,896, (9th) and engineering managers rounded out the list with $159,940.

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