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In Depth Articles

One in Four Australians are Lonely, Which Affects Their Physical and Mental Health

November 14, 2018

One in four Australians are lonely, our new report has found, and it’s not just a problem among older Australians – it affects both genders and almost all age groups.
The Australian Loneliness Report, released today by my colleagues and I at the Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University, found one …

Not Missing Ovarian Cancer

No one wants to miss ovarian cancer especially in its early stages when you have a chance of successful treatment.
But should we be regularly monitoring women who have had a simple ovarian cyst detected on ultrasound, as most guidelines recommend to avoid missing this particularly deadly cancer?
That is what US …

Not Everyone Recovers from Broken Heart Syndrome

November 07, 2018

A stressful event, such as the death of a loved one, really can break your heart. In medicine, the condition is known as broken heart syndrome or takotsubo syndrome. It is characterised by a temporary disruption of the heart’s normal pumping function, which puts the sufferer at increased risk of …

Stillbirth a Higher Risk for New Australians

It appears we might still be failing some of our poorer migrant women, with new study finding that they have higher rates of stillbirth compared to Australian-born mothers.
Analysing data from stillbirths that occurred in Western Australia over the period 2005 to 2013, researchers found that while stillbirth rates overall were …

Vitamin B12 Testing in General Practice

October 31, 2018

Introduction
Vitamin B12 testing remains the most common vitamin investigation in clinical practice and is often included in the investigation of common problems such as anaemia and dementia.
The assessment of Vitamin B12 status using blood tests is imperfect and although a variety of other tests can be used to improve assessment, …

Bowel Cancer Screening: Who, When, How?

New NHMRC guidelines put age and family history up front and centre in determining who should be screened for bowel cancer with colonoscopy and who needs iFOBT.
It has been known for some time that family history can influence the risk of developing bowel cancer, Australia’s second most common cause of …

Changes to Medicare for Home Sleep Study Testing

October 24, 2018

There are new changes to Medicare from November 1, 2018, which will affect how GPs can order sleep studies and how they follow up the results. These changes have been introduced by the MBS Review Taskforce and Government to improve doctor assessment and management of a patient having a sleep …

Health Risks of Light Drinking in Pregnancy Confirms that Abstention is the Safest Approach

October 17, 2018

While heavy drinking is clearly harmful to the unborn baby, often leading to miscarriage, premature birth and foetal alcohol syndrome, the possible effects of light drinking have been less clear.
High quality data on this issue is lacking due to ethical and methodological issues. On the one hand, experiments (clinical trials) …

The Risks Associated with Gestational Diabetes Don’t End After Pregnancy

In Australia 12-14% of pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes. Despite its prevalence, most people aren’t aware the risks don’t end when the pregnancy does.
Diabetes occurs when the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood is higher than normal. Cells in the pancreas control blood glucose levels by producing insulin. …

New Autism Guidelines Aim to Improve Diagnostics and Access to Services

New Australian autism guidelines, released today, aim to provide a nationally consistent and rigorous standard for how children and adults are assessed and diagnosed with autism, bringing to an end the different processes that currently exist across the country.
There is no established biological marker for all people on the autism …

Are We Missing Chronic Pancreatitis? Does it Matter?

The answer to both these questions is yes according to Dr Darren Pavey, gastroenterologist and senior lecturer at the University of NSW.
Speaking at the Healthed General Practice Education seminar in Sydney recently, Dr Pavey said there was good international research suggesting that many cases of chronic pancreatitis were going undiagnosed …

Infection Risk in Asplenia and Hyposplenism

October 10, 2018

It is estimated that up to 25,000 Australians are affected by asplenia or hyposplenism.1  Many are unaware of the fact, and its potential consequences.
The spleen plays an important role in immune function, in particular the prevention of infection due to some specific organisms (Table 1).
Infection Risk
Infection is a relatively common …

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