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In Depth Articles

Kids’ Quick-Wee success

April 11, 2017

Australian paediatricians have now validated their quick and easy method of collecting urine samples from babies and infants in a study involving more 350 children.
The randomised study published in the BMJ, the Victorian doctors proved that simply applying gauze soaked in cold fluid to the suprapubic area of a baby …

Cytomegalovirus – the biggest infectious threat to pregnant women

April 04, 2017

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus transmitted from person to person via body fluids like urine or saliva. For people with a healthy immune system, CMV is likely to cause no more than a temporary fever or headache. But when a pregnant woman is infected, the results can be far more …

ABC of SLE

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a tricky disease. Yes we know it is an autoimmune condition that can affect a range of different systems in the body from the skin and joints to the kidneys and the nervous system.
And yes we know that, if left untreated the disease can lead to potentially …

Knee replacement: last resort only

March 28, 2017

Contemplating joint replacement surgery for that dodgy knee? You might want to think twice, according to US researchers after their study showed the procedure didn’t necessarily do much to improve quality of life.
The study, published in the BMJ (1) analysed data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative which involved almost 4500 people …

Measles – would you recognise it?

It has been in the news everywhere. Two children and an adult in NSW have recently been diagnosed with measles.
Having presented at a number of health facilities prior to receiving their diagnosis, it would seem hundreds of fellow patients may now be at risk. The alarmist headlines follow similar cases …

Bottled Sunshine Protects Against Colds

March 21, 2017

Vitamin D supplements protect against acute respiratory infections, according to a UK study published in the BMJ. (1)
The meta-analysis of 25 randomised controlled trials involving almost 11000 participants, aged 0 to 95 years, found a significant overall protective effect of vitamin D supplementation against acute respiratory infections, with the number …

A Quick Reminder: Review Drugs Before Pregnancy.

March 15, 2017

General practitioners will be well aware of the need to review the use of drugs in pregnant women. Some drugs can potentially harm the developing baby and cause abnormalities of structure (congenital malformations) or function (disturbances of growth and development). Common drugs which can potentially cause serious fetal problems include …

Girls with Early First Periods Become Women with Greater Risk of Gestational Diabetes

As a young girl, getting your period for the first time is a big deal. It comes with mental and social expectations around “becoming a woman” and a host of cultural practices that act to celebrate or stigmatise menstruation.
But evidence now suggests the timing of this event could also have …

A Dash Of Hope

The old adage states ‘you are what you eat’ but these days perhaps it would be more appropriate to say ‘you were what you ate.’
A recent analysis of data from the ongoing NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys) study suggests almost half (45.4%) of the cardiometabolic deaths that occurred …

Having A Baby? Have A Shot

March 08, 2017

Reassurance for Pauline Hanson followers, with a new Australian study showing flu vaccine given to women at any stage of pregnancy is safe in terms of preterm birth and infant birthweight.
The FluMum study, published recently in the journal Vaccine looked at over 7100 pregnant women, a third of whom received …

Look Before You Prick

Government health authorities have recently gone in to overdrive warning GPs of the contraindications for giving the new shingles vaccine, Zostavax.
The flurry of alerts follow the death of a patient here in Australia who was given the vaccine despite being immunocompromised.
This contraindication is not new however the authorities are obviously …

How fake drugs end up in our public health system (and how to spot them)

February 28, 2017

Prescribing and using pharmaceuticals is a matter of trust. Health service providers and patients need to know medicines are genuine. “Counterfeit” medicines that do not contain enough, or any, of the pharmacologically active ingredients are potentially harmful.
For example, you would not want to use medicines adulterated with brick dust, …