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In Depth Articles

Introduce eggs and peanuts early in infants’ diets to reduce the risk of allergies

September 21, 2016

In the 1970s, when we were in school, food allergies were rare. But Australian children now have the highest rate of food allergy in the world. Up to one in ten infants and two in ten school-aged children have a proven food allergy.
In the 14 years to 2012, there was …

Australia’s Health 2016 report card

September 14, 2016

Australians are living longer than ever but with higher rates of chronic disease, the latest national report card shows.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Australia’s Health 2016 report, released today, Australian boys can now expect to live into their 80s (80.3), while the life expectancy for girls …

What are Teratomas?

Teratomas are germ cell tumours made up from multiple cell types from one or more of the three germ layers.1 They occur in approximately one in 27,000 live births.1 The well-differentiated teratomas are usually called “dermoids” and they are generally cystic and benign. Dermoids contain ectodermal and mesodermal tissue that surrounds …

When parents disagree with doctors on a child’s treatment, who should have the final say?

September 07, 2016

Doctors and parents sometimes disagree about a child’s medical treatment. As the recent case of six-year-old boy Oshin Kiszko highlights, some disagreements between doctors and parents can’t be resolved by further information and discussion.
Oshin has brain cancer. His doctors believe he should receive treatment aimed at curing his disease, while …

Can Anti-inflammatory Drugs Treat Depression?

September 02, 2016

There is growing evidence that inflammation—already known to be a cause of many whole-body diseases—is also involved in diseases of the brain, including psychiatric conditions like depression.
Depression is a common and crippling disease affecting over 350 million people worldwide. Around 20 percent of the U.K. population will suffer from depression at …

Kids are More Susceptible to Brain Injury, and Concussion has Implications Beyond What we Thought

August 31, 2016

Head knocks in childhood are by no means uncommon, yet they may have lasting negative effects. New research has found a link between concussion in childhood and adverse medical and social outcomes as an adult.
Researchers from the United Kingdom, United States and Sweden looked at data from the entire Swedish …

HPV and Anal Cancer Risk

August 24, 2016

Anal cancer is considered rare, is most common in older people and affects women slightly more than men.1 Approximately four hundred cases are identified in Australia each year.1 Anal cancer most commonly develops from precancerous lesions affecting the inner lining of the anus and this causes squamous cell carcinoma (75% …

Doctors Need to be Taught How to Discuss their Patients’ Excess Weight

With 80% of adults and close to one-third of children expected to be overweight or obese by 2025, doctors are increasingly likely to be working with people who are overweight or obese.
An individual’s weight is a complex and sensitive issue, which may be related to many factors that are not …

Type 2 Diabetes Increasingly Affects the Young and Slim; Here’s What We Should Do About It

August 17, 2016

It is well recognised that increasing rates of type 2 diabetes are mainly driven by obesity and lifestyle factors. But that’s not the whole story. Genetics and epigenetics – changes in gene expression – also play an important role.
We are starting to see an increase in type 2 diabetes in …

Not What You Were Expecting: Paraneoplastic Phenomena

Paraneoplastic phenomenon are rare but interesting complications of certain cancers that produce hormones, peptides or cytokines (e.g. causing endocrine symptoms) or whose proteins cross react immunologically with normal tissue (e.g. causing neurological symptoms). The most common tumours associated with this are small cell tumours of the lung, breast cancers, ovarian …

Medicines to Treat Side Effects of Other Medicines? Sometimes Less is More Beneficial

August 10, 2016

About two-thirds of people who are 75 years and older take five medicines or more. This is known as “polypharmacy”. Many of these people are on more than ten medicines a day (hyperpolypharmacy).
It can be appropriate to prescribe multiple medicines for someone with complex or multiple illnesses if there is …

Are Antidepressant Medications Really Ineffective?

On the 6 June this year, a large meta-analysis was published by Oxford University, studying fourteen of the most common antidepressants used in children and adolescents.1 Thirty-four trials were deemed eligible, including 5260 participants. The quality of evidence was rated as very low in most comparisons.1  The study authors concluded that …