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In Depth Articles

There is no perfect contraception…

March 21, 2018

Let us imagine that there has been a significant side-effect from a contraceptive choice occurs and a patient suffers harm. It is a known but very rare side-effect.
How much legal and ethical responsibility lies with the doctor who prescribes the contraceptive, how much lies with the medical experts advocating this …

Don’t pickle old brains

Want to preserve your brain function into old age? Cut down on the booze.
That’s the conclusion of a large, longitudinal study just published in JAMA Psychiatry.
After comparing more than 200 alcohol dependent adults with a similar number of healthy adults, over a 14 year period, the US researchers concluded alcohol-dependence …

Know your fungi

March 14, 2018

In Australia the commonest encounter with fungi in a medical sense is with superficial and cutaneous fungal infections such as those infecting the skin, scalp or nails.
Tinea or ringworm of the scalp, skin and nails
Fungal infection of the scalp (tinea capitus), skin (tinea) and nails (tinea unguium, onychomycosis) is usually …

New privacy laws affect all GPs

From February this year, changes to privacy laws have been put in place that are likely to significantly affect doctors and their practice.
Many doctors will not be aware of their new obligations leaving them vulnerable to inadvertently breaching the Privacy Amendment Act, 2017.
“Ignorance is no excuse as a legal argument,” …

Advice for shift workers

March 07, 2018

We know night shift work is not good for your health.
Evidence shows night shift work is associated with an increased risk of sleep loss, occupational accidents, obesity and weight gain, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and breast, prostate and colorectal cancers, according to a review in the BMJ by …

Opioids offer little over NSAIDs for chronic severe pain

Opioids have really fallen out of favour as a chronic pain relief option.
Even for patients with severe chronic back pain, or severe pain from their osteoarthritis in their hip or knee, opioids will not offer any better relief in terms of pain-restricted function that non-opioid medication, a recent study published …

Phenibut – the Russian anti-anxiety drug linked to Gold Coast teens’ overdoses

February 28, 2018

Phenibut was initially developed in the 1960s in Russia as an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drug with cognitive enhancing properties. It has since attracted a strong following of users in the “smart drug” market, with claims of boosting memory recall and exam performance.
Originally given to Soviet cosmonauts to combat anxiety and insomnia, …

Investigation of Paraproteinaemia

Paraproteins are abnormal monoclonal immunoglobulins produced in plasma cell disorders (eg multiple myeloma), lymphoproliferative disorders (eg CLL, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia) and in some infections (hepatitis C).
The introduction of the assay, serum free light chains (FLC) has meant the initial investigation of paraproteinaemia has become much simpler.
Previously, serum tests had great difficulty …

Change in advice for abscess drainage

February 21, 2018

Skin abscesses are best treated with incision and drainage plus antibiotics, rather than just incision and drainage alone, recommends an international guideline panel in the BMJ.
After critically appraising all the current evidence, the panel found adjuvant antibiotic therapy in addition to incision and drainage of uncomplicated skin abscesses reduced the …

Here’s what you need to know about the new flu vaccines for over-65s

In an attempt to avoid a repeat of last year’s horror flu season, Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced the government would fund two new flu vaccines in 2018 to try to better protect the elderly.
While influenza affects people of all ages, infections among the elderly are more likely to …

Focus on dermatophytes

February 13, 2018

Diagnosing and treating fungal nail, scalp and skin infections
The Process:
Once specimens are received in the laboratory, microscopy is performed.
An interim report is then released. Specimens are then set up on specialised agar containing antibiotics and cycloheximide to inhibit the growth of bacteria and saprophytic fungi. Cultures are incubated at 28°C …

Fatter mothers behind rise in perinatal complications

The increasing BMI of first-time pregnant women is behind a rise in adverse perinatal outcomes over a 25 year time period, a new retrospective Australian study suggests.
Analysing data from one major Sydney teaching hospital, researchers found that the prevalence of overweight among women having their first baby increased from 12.7% …

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