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In Depth Articles

Modern-day PSA screening

September 24, 2019

“The concept of age-related PSA levels is actually out of date” says Brisbane urologic oncologist Dr Ian Vela, at least when it comes to suspecting prostate cancer.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 …

Laser ablation works best for varicose veins

Endovenous laser ablation has been rated as the most successful and cost-effective treatment for varicose veins over surgery and sclerotherapy, according to recent research.
In a UK randomised controlled trial involving almost 800 patients, researchers analysed quality of life questionnaires completed by trial participants five years after having their varicose veins …

Optimising the value of PSA testing

September 04, 2019

Screening for prostate cancer with PSA testing has always been a bit controversial. Initially the high rate of false positives, especially in younger men, had most GPs questioning whether overall, we were doing more harm than good. But it would seem we’ve come a long way since those early days.
Not …

The latest on menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer

Menopause is a normal life stage for women at around 51 years. Most women don’t need treatment for their symptoms, but around 13% of Australian women aged 50-69 take menopausal hormone therapy (sometimes called “hormone replacement therapy”).
This medication contains hormones that are normally low or absent after menopause, and reduces …

Paracetamol – the hidden harm

While the ‘opioid epidemic’ might be grabbing all the headlines at the moment, Australian toxicologists are reminding us that paracetamol is the most common drug used in overdoses in this country.
What’s more the numbers of both paracetamol-related hospital admissions and liver injury have been increasing over the past decade at …

Pre-live vaccine checklist

August 28, 2019

Any doctor who has done the online yellow fever vaccination training module on the ACRRM website will be aware of this resource.
It’s a straight-forward, one-page pdf that presents a set of questions you need to ask the patient to see whether there are any contraindications to them receiving the yellow …

Live longer – eat less meat

Want your best chance for living a long, healthy life? Have a diet that is high in plant protein, say Japanese researchers.
That’s the suggestion following their prospective study of over 70,000 adults, recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
According to their findings, a higher intake of plant protein was associated with …

Understanding glomerular filtration rate

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best single measure of kidney function. A subnormal GFR is an important early indicator of possible chronic kidney disease. However, it also does not identify the cause. It is also not a ‘catch all’, for example, in early diabetes mellitus, GFR will typically be …