Home' Southern Health News : March 2017 Contents Getting around after a
A ground-breaking new health
program, CarFreeMe, is helping to
address the needs of people who
have sustained complex trauma
injuries and can no longer drive.
Each year more than 2,400 Australians
sustain a moderate or severe traumatic
injury, with 136 becoming quadriplegic and
another 137 left paraplegic. The impact of
these trauma injuries (TI) are often life long
and a significant number of people are left
unable to drive.
“Loss of independence from not driving
can lead to poorer physical and mental
health outcomes and reduced community
participation,” said Flinders University
Associate Professor Stacey George, who is
running CarFreeMe clinical trials in Adelaide.
CarFreeMe, which is funded by the Lifetime
Support Authority (LSA), is on the lookout
for participants to trial the new program
to assist with their transition and improve
their outlook and lifestyle. Starting early this
year, participants are invited to come along
to half-day sessions, held once a week over
six weeks at Flinders University. The group
sessions are available to people living in the
community who have sustained a trauma
injury, such as a traumatic brain injury or
spinal cord injury. Family members are also
encouraged to attend.
“Many people experience a great sense of
loss when they are unable to drive, and
the group works on ways to deal with
these feelings, like using meditation and
mindfulness,” said Professor George.
“We evaluate the group using GPS devices
and surveys, and we have received excellent
feedback from people involved in the group
so far,” she said.
Occupational therapist Amy Nussio, who
facilitates the South Australian program,
would like to hear from participants who live
in metropolitan Adelaide. Mrs Nussio said
the sessions will be addressing the emotional
and practical issues associated with not
“Group members share their stories and learn
from each other, as well as learn more about
alternative transport options.
“We go on an outing using public transport
and invite guest speakers from places like
the Red Cross Transport Service,” she said.
Mrs Nussio urges members of the
community to pass on information about
CarFreeMe to anyone who has sustained a
complex trauma injury and may be feeling
socially isolated as a result of not being
able to drive. The program is free and
transportation to and from the sessions is
If you are interested in finding out more
about CarFreeMe, please contact Amy
Nussio on 0431 500 895 or email her at
BY JACQUIE VAN SANTEN
Flinders researchers are investigating
whether raising ‘good’ cholesterol in
patients with a specific genetic sub-
type can reduce repeat heart attacks.
For people who have already suffered a heart
attack, the rate of repeated heart attack is much
higher than the general population. Therefore,
despite current therapies, researchers continue
to search for new ways to reduce cardiovascular
events in those with established disease.
The dal-GenE trial will examine whether
Dalcetrapid, a cholesterol medication that raises
HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, can reduce the risk
of repeat heart attacks in those with a specific
The study will screen 33,000 patients worldwide,
including those at Flinders Medical Centre.
“The dal-GenE trial is a multi-centre clinical trial
of the medication Dalcetrapid in patients who
have recently suffered a heart attack,” said
study lead Dr Sam Lehman, an interventional
cardiologist based in the Cardiology Department
at Flinders Medical Centre.
A previous trial investigating this medication
suggested a benefit only in one specific genetic
sub-group. This genetic type is present in around
one in five people.
Patients who have been admitted to the
coronary care with a heart attack will be
screened and, if eligible, offered participation
in the study. For willing participants, a genetic
analysis will be performed to identify individuals
with the sub-type likely to benefit from therapy.
Those with this genetic subtype will then be
randomised to either the active trial medication
or a placebo.
Dr Lehman said the study will screen 33,000
patients from around the world and hopes to
randomise 5,000 individuals to be followed for
between four and five years.
He said if the trial was successful, it could
change the way this sub-group of cardiac
patients were treated.
“New therapies to reduce the rate of repeated
heart attack are of great interest to the
community and if successful, will be used here
and around the world.”
10 / MARCH 2017 / SOUTHERN HEALTH NEWS
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