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In Depth Articles

Diagnosing Measles

April 17, 2019

Key Points

The Department of Health requires suspected cases of measles to be notified immediately without waiting for laboratory confirmation
Measles is an urgent, highly contagious, notifiable disease. Secondary infections occur in 75-90% of susceptible household contacts
Transmission of the measles virus is by respiratory droplets and direct contact with respiratory secretions
Serological testing …

Offer Q fever vaccine to all rural Australians

Anyone living in country Australia should consider being vaccinated against Q fever, according to researchers.
The recommendation was made on the basis of their study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia which showed that living in a rural area for more than three months was associated with an increased risk …

Mindfulness yoga best for Parkinson Disease

April 10, 2019

Patients with Parkinson Disease can now be prescribed a mind-body therapy that has a strong evidence-base of effectiveness.
According to a randomised clinical trial published in JAMA Neurology, a program of mindfulness yoga will not only improve motor dysfunction and mobility at least as well as a program of standard stretching …

Don’t kiss your kids? Questioning the recent advice about CMV in pregnancy

These days, guilt seems intrinsic to parenthood. And as many mothers will know, health professionals seem ever ready to stoke up guilt with their advice. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Have your vaccines. Take your folate tablets. Eat a nutritious diet, but avoid soft cheese, cured meat, food that’s been long …

Reducing stillbirth risk

April 03, 2019

A New Zealand-led international study published today provides the strongest evidence yet that women can more than halve their risk of stillbirth by going to sleep on either side during the last three months of pregnancy.
This mega study (known as individual participant data meta-analysis) has also confirmed the risk of …

Stop drinking and lose weight to prevent breast cancer

The spectre of breast cancer looms large for the majority of Australian women.
But now researchers say if we tackle obesity and overweight as well as cutting out regular alcohol consumption we can prevent thousands of cases of this disease which is our most common cancer in women and second leading …

Night work increases miscarriage risk

March 27, 2019

Working as little as even two night shifts a week significantly increases a woman’s risk of miscarriage, Danish researchers say.
Based on their analysis of data from a cohort of over 22,000 pregnant women primarily employed at hospitals, researchers found those women who worked two or more night shifts the previous …

Anal cancer and HPV infection

Anal cancer is a neglected disease.
Whether through shame and embarrassment, or self-diagnosis of a haemorrhoid, late presentations are not uncommon and have an overall five-year survival of only 65%. It is an important disease which is potentially preventable but, whether the measure is research time and money, media coverage or …

Are home care packages for the aged delivering?

March 20, 2019

The Royal Commission into Aged Care has unleashed a spate of claims of system failure within the residential aged care sector.
Now, as the commission shifts its focus to care in the community, we’re also seeing claims of failure within the home care packages program.
This scheme aims to support older people …

Is catheter ablation for AF worthwhile?

To ablate, or not to ablate? That is the question.
That’s what international researchers were investigating in two studies just published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
And the answer? As so often happens in medicine, the answer is: it depends.
Looking at the two studies, patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation …

Efudix wins over other AK treatments

March 13, 2019

Got a patient with multiple sun spots on their head that need treatment?
Well it looks like the old, tried and true 5FU cream is still the way to go, according to a randomised trial just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Among more than 600 randomly assigned patients, Dutch …

Update on Q fever in Australia

With several hundred cases diagnosed each year, Australia has one of the highest rates of Q fever worldwide.
Q fever is a bacterial infection which spreads from animals; mainly cattle, sheep and goats. It can present in different ways, but often causes severe flu-like symptoms.
Importantly, the bacteria that cause Q fever …