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In Depth Articles

Holding on to Hope podcast

October 09, 2019

A patient’s potential to suicide haunts most GPs at some stage in their working life. Many patients will endure incredibly stressful periods in their lives, and while you can offer all the support in the world there will always be the question of whether they need more.
In such situations, help …

Nursing homes need to provide multicultural care

Do nursing home staff know and respect your cultural background or language? Here’s why that’s important.
This week, the aged care royal commission looks at diversity in aged care, an issue becoming increasingly relevant to both residents and the staff who care for them.
Diversity includes gender, sexual orientation, religion and social …

Help for LGBTI patients

October 02, 2019

Here is a useful resource for those GPs who have patients who are struggling with issues related to their sexuality and need more specifically tailored support.
Even though there is much more awareness and openness about different sexual orientations, it is likely GPs will appreciate the support of this free counselling …

1 in 3 young adults is lonely – and it affects their mental health

More than one in three young adults aged 18 to 25 reported problematic levels of loneliness, according to a new report from Swinburne University and VicHealth.
We surveyed 1,520 Victorians aged 12 to 25, and examined their experience of loneliness. We also asked about their symptoms of depression and social anxiety.
Overall, …

Improving male fertility – a missed opportunity

Lack of knowledge and lack of opportunity are two key reasons why Australian GPs aren’t counselling men about how to improve their fertility.
According to a survey of over 300 practising GPs, the vast majority (90%) did not feel confident in their knowledge about modifiable risk factors that affect male fertility.
And …

Managing young people with ADHD – from personal experience

September 25, 2019

The usual medical focus in articles about ADHD is on how to support the family that is coping with a child with ADHD. Another common focus is about the misdiagnosis of ADHD, and how medication is overprescribed. This article is different. I want to emphasise, from personal experience, the importance …

Hyperkalaemia – harmless artefact or medical emergency?

September 24, 2019

Elevated potassium is one of the most vexing problems faced by a clinician because of the difficulty knowing whether an elevated level (for example, 7.5mmol/L) is a
harmless artefact or imminently lethal hyperkalaemia.
The clinical background is critical to interpretation.

Possible collection issues affecting serum potassium

Difficult collection

The two main ways a collection can cause elevated potassium are:

Prolonged tourniquet application with hand-clenching (‘making a fist’). Asking patients to clench their fist increases potassium by 2mmol/L, due …

Modern-day PSA screening

“The concept of age-related PSA levels is actually out of date” says Brisbane urologic oncologist Dr Ian Vela, at least when it comes to suspecting prostate cancer.
Whereas in the past clinicians would be reassured by levels that remained in the age-related reference range, these days it is considered more important …

Treating menopausal symptoms in 2019

September 18, 2019

Hormone replacement therapy has recently hit the headlines again and not in a good way. A research paper published in The Lancet reignited the controversy by again highlighting an association between hormone therapy and breast cancer.
While the experts have been quick in their response, pointing out the numerous limitations of …

Is vigorous exercise safe during the third trimester of pregnancy?

Expectant mothers receive an avalanche of information about potential risks to their baby. There’s a growing list of foods, toxins and environmental threats to avoid. It’s normal for this to lead to an increased level of anxiety.
As a result, some women believe it’s safer to avoid any risks in pregnancy, …

Do supplements help in mental illness?

Even primary school children know a good diet and proper nutrition is important if you want to be physically healthy.
Eat the wrong things or insufficient of the good things and chances are you’re destined to develop heart problems, diabetes or cancer.
But what about a person’s psychological health? How important is …

Correct inhaler technique

September 11, 2019

Recognise this scenario? You prescribe an inhaler for the patient. You educate the patient on why they need the inhaler. You draw diagrams. You demonstrate the technique on the placebo inhaler. You write the script. And then… you cross your fingers.
Inhalers are such a fundamental component of asthma and COPD …