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In Depth Articles

Testing For Iron

October 18, 2017

Blood tests for iron status are among the most common requested in clinical medicine. This may be largely justified because of the prevalence of iron deficiency combined with a relatively common genetic condition of haemochromatosis.
In Australia, iron deficiency, defined by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) as a …

Would You Pick This Diagnosis?

A case history recently published in the BMJ highlights one of those uncommon but very diagnoseable conditions if you just spot the clues.
According to the French authors, the 62 year old man presented with a history of recurrent oral ulcers sometimes accompanied by laryngitis and conjunctivitis.
During one of these episodes …

The Handmaid’s Tale and counting sperm: are fertility rates actually declining?

With the release of a new TV series based on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and a recent study claiming male sperm count is decreasing globally, fertility is in the spotlight. Many want to know if the dystopian future Atwood created in which the world has largely become infertile, is …

Science or Snake Oil: do men need sperm health supplements?

October 11, 2017

Infertility, defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after at least 12 months of regular, unprotected sex, affects about 15% of couples worldwide. Several factors can lead to infertility, but specific to men, infertility has been linked to lower levels of antioxidants in their semen. This exposes them …

Can People Really Repress Memories?

The Australian newspaper recently reported the royal commission investigating institutional child sex abuse was advocating psychologists use “potentially dangerous” therapy techniques to recover repressed memories in clients with history of trauma. The reports suggest researchers and doctors are speaking out against such practices, which risk implanting false memories in the …

If In Doubt Cut It Out

New guidelines suggest excising a changing skin lesion after one month
As with facing an exam where you haven’t studied, or finding yourself naked in a public place – missing a melanoma diagnosis is the stuff of nightmares for most GPs.
In a condition where the prognosis can vary dramatically according to …

Nobel prize winner: What they discovered and why it matters

October 04, 2017

Today, the “beautiful mechanism” of the body clock, and the group of cells in our brain where it all happens, have shot to prominence. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their work on describing …

PPIs for infant reflux a risk

It seemed such a godsend, didn’t it? Omeprazole for severe infant reflux. A massive improvement on the previous advice to elevate the head of the cot and nurse upright.
But since it first appeared in guidelines, there have been studies, reports and opinions cautioning against the overuse of PPIs citing everything …

Obesity Surgery – Worth The Money

September 27, 2017

For most patients in Australia, obesity surgery is an expensive exercise. The surgery alone is likely to see you out of pocket to the tune of several thousand at least. And then there’s the time off work, specialist appointments, follow-up etc etc.
So you can understand patients being hesitant about the …

New Guidance For Assessment Of Lipids

Non-fasting specimens are now acceptable
Fasting specimens have traditionally been used for the formal assessment of lipid status (total, LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides).1,2
In 2016, the European Atherosclerosis Society and the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine released a joint consensus statement that recommends the routine use of …

How much sleep do children really need?

September 20, 2017

How much sleep, and what type of sleep, do our children need to thrive?
In parenting, there aren’t often straightforward answers, and sleep tends to be contentious. There are questions about whether we are overstating children’s sleep problems. Yet we all know from experience how much better we feel, and how …

How long do anxiety patients need medication?

It is well-known that when a patient with depression is commenced on antidepressants and they are effective, they should continue them for at least a year to lower their risk of relapse. The guidelines are pretty consistent on that point.
But what about anxiety disorders?
Along with cognitive behavioural therapy, antidepressants are …

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