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In Depth Articles

When Does Grief Become a Disease?

May 23, 2017

One in 10 people who experience the death of someone close will develop prolonged grief disorder according to a review recently published in the BMJ.
And the risk is higher if the death is unexpected as in the result of an accident or violence, the Dutch authors say. The risk is …

The Benefits of Sadness

May 16, 2017

Homo sapiens is a very moody species. Even though sadness and bad moods have always been part of the human experience, we now live in an age that ignores or devalues these feelings.
In our culture, normal human emotions like temporary sadness are often treated as disorders. Manipulative advertising, marketing and …

At-home medical abortions safe

Women who go online to access a medical termination at home, can be reassured by new research showing the intervention is both highly effective and safe.
Just published in the BMJ, the study of outcomes following 1000 self-sourced medical abortions in Ireland provides ‘the best evidence to date’ that the protocols …

New Prenatal Screening Options

May 09, 2017

Dr Graeme Suthers, 
Director of Genetics, Sonic Healthcare (Australia)
New non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is revolutionising antenatal care in Australia.
The new NIPT has dramatically improved the accuracy of prenatal screening for the common trisomies. It typically detects 99% of pregnancies with trisomy 21, with a false positive rate of less than 0.1%.
The …

CPR Saving Brains

Decreasing risk of brain damage after successful CPR
In Australia, much effort has gone into upskilling the general public in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is now mandatory that all GPs refresh their CPR skills at least once every three years, and the same training is recommended for practice staff, sporting bodies, teachers …

Paracetamol versus ibuprofen

May 03, 2017

It’s a question most parents will ask their doctor at some stage? Which is better to lower a child’s temperature – ibuprofen and paracetamol.
That’s the question a group of Melbourne researchers sought to answer in a recent study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. After finding over …

Motor neurone disease – any progress?

In the world of medicine, heart-sink patients are a well-recognised phenomenon. But what about heart-sink diagnoses?
A heart-sink diagnosis is one that you know is unlikely to end well for the patient. Diagnoses such as advanced pancreatic cancer, metastatic ovarian cancer …..even Alzheimer’s creates a sense of despondency not only in …

The case of the PPI and missing magnesium

April 26, 2017

Unsteadiness when walking and light-headedness are perhaps not uncommon symptoms in an 81 year old.
But in a case study, published in the latest issue of Australian Prescriber these were the first signs of a very serious medication side effect.
Doctors from the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, outlined the case of …

Obesity – what really works

Obesity needs to be thought of as a chronic disease for which we should have a structured approach to managing much like diabetes, says Dr Georgia Rigas, A Sydney GP with a special interest in obesity.
Speaking at the recent National Obesity Forum in Sydney, Dr Rigas said that developing chronic …

Seeking Herbal Help For Hot Flushes

April 19, 2017

If you see a female friend or colleague sitting in front of a desk fan in winter while everyone else is shivering in sweaters, chances are she is having a hot flush, courtesy of the menopause.
Hot flushes and night sweats are the most common symptoms of the female reproductive milestone. …

Not Lyme Disease. Then What?

There’s no doubt that tick bites can cause illness in humans. But exactly what illnesses and in what areas here in Australia has been the subject of much debate in recent years.
A recent review published in the MJA, provides a neat summary of the current state of play with regard …

Your child is obese..

April 12, 2017

Raising the issue of obesity with overweight children and their parents is a challenge for most GPs. Especially when balancing this, with concerns about creating body image issues and potentially triggering eating disorders.
The practical aspects of meeting this challenge were the most common subject of questions to obesity experts at …