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In Depth Articles

Rectal Exams Still Important – Sorry

August 23, 2017

Most GPs of a certain vintage would have heard the old adage “if you don’t put your finger in, you put your foot in.”
It refers of course to the digital rectal examination and its importance as part of a thorough physical examination especially when symptoms indicate some potential pathology in …

Assessment Of Excision Margins

August 16, 2017

When assessing skin cancer specimens, the pathologist must address three main questions: what is the lesion; what prognostic information can be inferred; and is the lesion completely excised? In many instances, the assessment of the margins is the most important part of the pathological examination, since most skin cancers can …

Poo Transplants Beat Antibiotics

Faecal transplantation has been gaining momentum as a mainstream treatment over recent years, but now a systematic review published in the MJA puts it ahead of antibiotics in effectiveness against Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea.
The literature search examined all the randomised controlled trials on the topic up until February this year, including …

Man flu is real, but women get more autoimmune diseases and allergies

August 08, 2017

Men and women respond differently to diseases and treatments for biological, social and psychological reasons. In this series on Gender Medicine, experts explore these differences and the importance of approaching treatment and diagnosis through a gender lens.

We know that sex hormones drive characteristic male and female traits such as breast …

Do Not Order These Tests On Pregnant Women

Hot on the heels of the Choosing Wisely campaign of “do nots” for GPs, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has released a new list of tests doctors should avoid ordering on pregnant women.
The recommendations come from the Society of Obstetric Medicine in Australia and New Zealand (SOMANZ), and include …

Increasing The Accuracy Of Melanoma Diagnosis

August 02, 2017

The diagnosis of pigmented skin lesions is amongst the most challenging and potentially dangerous areas of skin cancer medicine and dermatopathology. In this article, we discuss the limitations of histopathological diagnosis, and point to ways that the clinician may be able to assist the pathologist to minimise adverse outcomes.
Reliability of …

Teenagers Not Doomed To Deafness

Reassuring news for doctors and parents of teenagers who seem to permanently be attached, via headphones to music or videos.
US research, published in JAMA Otolaryngology, shows that there has been no significant change in the prevalence of hearing loss among 12 to 19 year olds in the last 30 years …

Long-Term Risks For Women With Pre-Eclampsia

July 26, 2017

Up to one third of women who experience high blood pressure in their first pregnancy will need treatment for hypertension within a decade of delivery, Scandinavian research published in the BMJ shows. And the risk increases the older the mother is when she has this first pregnancy.
Danish researchers analysed data …

Push For Plant-Based Diets

Plant-based diets are often shown to be good for health. Yet Australians eat a lot of meat and are sometimes reluctant to completely cut meat from their diet. So it’s important to know that eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to mean becoming a vegetarian.
Plant-based diets are high in vegetables, …

Type 1 Diabetes Being Missed

July 19, 2017

Failure to recognise the symptoms and signs of type 1 diabetes is resulting in hundreds of people, mostly children being hospitalised with ketoacidosis, Australian experts say.
“Every year around 640 people including many children only learn they’ve got type 1 diabetes after presenting to hospital, often with diabetes ketoacidosis,” said Diabetes …

Better Biopsies

Clinical history
For many reasons, clinical history colours the pathologist’s interpretation of skin biopsies. Clinicopathological correlation is particularly important in the interpretation of melanocytic lesions, and of many dermatoses. The histological features in many lesions and entities may be very similar, and in some cases, diagnostic changes may not be apparent …

Penicillin Allergy Or Not

July 12, 2017

Less than 10% of the millions of people who are labelled allergic to penicillin actually are, according to US and Australian immunologists in a recent issue of JAMA.
“True penicillin allergy is somewhat rare since only 1% of the general population is actually allergic to penicillin,” the article authors said.
Commonly a …