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In Depth Articles

Are We Missing Chronic Pancreatitis? Does it Matter?

October 17, 2018

The answer to both these questions is yes according to Dr Darren Pavey, gastroenterologist and senior lecturer at the University of NSW.
Speaking at the Healthed General Practice Education seminar in Sydney recently, Dr Pavey said there was good international research suggesting that many cases of chronic pancreatitis were going undiagnosed …

Infection Risk in Asplenia and Hyposplenism

October 10, 2018

It is estimated that up to 25,000 Australians are affected by asplenia or hyposplenism.1  Many are unaware of the fact, and its potential consequences.
The spleen plays an important role in immune function, in particular the prevention of infection due to some specific organisms (Table 1).
Infection Risk
Infection is a relatively common …

The Vit D Story Now a Fairytale

It wasn’t that long ago that vitamin D appeared to be the panacea for everything from preventing MS to reducing the risk of diabetes.
But the one area where we thought the benefit of this vitamin was not up for debate was bone health.
It has been proven – lack of vitamin …

The Gut Microbiome – Fad or The Future?

October 03, 2018

Which bacteria are colonising your gut is becoming increasingly important, Australian researchers say.
More and more evidence is suggesting the gut microbiota has a significant role in both the cause and the cure of a wide range of gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases and conditions.
According to a review in The Medical Journal …

Vaccinating the Immunosuppressed – Who, What and When

Vaccination in immunosuppressed adult patients has many facets and can be challenging for GPs who don’t deal with these cases regularly.
But there are a few key considerations that can help guide clinicians, says Associate Professor Michael Woodward, Melbourne-based geriatrician, writer, researcher and passionate advocate for health promotion.
Firstly, not all immunosuppression …

Prenatal Screening for Chromosome Disorders

September 26, 2018

Prenatal screening for chromosome disorders by maternal serum screening, ultrasound and non-invasive prenatal tests, such as Harmony®, is an established part of reproductive care in Australia.
The overall risk of chromosome disorders rises markedly with maternal age, as shown in Figure 1. (There are two exceptions: Monosomy X, also known as …

Detecting Liver Cancer Early

GPs can make a significant difference in curbing the rising rates of liver cancer deaths in Australia, experts say.
According to an analysis of over 270 cases of newly diagnosed cases of hepatocellular cancer presenting at seven Melbourne tertiary hospitals over one year, researchers say survival rates could be improved with …

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

September 19, 2018

Fibromyalgia is something of a mystery. It can’t be detected with scans or blood tests, yet it causes lifelong pain for millions of people.
The disease mainly affects women (about 75-90% of cases), causing pain all over the body. Because not all healthcare professionals are adept at identifying and diagnosing fibromyalgia, …

Fatty Acids of Value in Anxiety

The value of omega-3 fatty acids has come under fire lately. But now a new systematic review suggests they might have benefits beyond the previous therapeutic targets of depression, cardiac health, eye health and arthritis.
Researchers have found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) might reduce the symptoms of clinical anxiety, …

Five Types of Food to Increase Your Psychological Well-Being

September 12, 2018

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression …

Predicting and Preventing Dementia

Adolescent boys who struggle to understand how basic machines work and young girls who have difficulty remembering words are at increased risk of developing dementia when they’re older, new research has found.
According to the longitudinal study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, lower mechanical reasoning in adolescence …

Fetal Fraction – The Essential Factor in Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing

September 05, 2018

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), the cell-free DNA-based blood test that screens for fetal chromosomal abnormalities, is fast becoming a routine part of obstetric care.
NIPT at a glance
During pregnancy, maternal plasma contains fragments of DNA from the mother and from the placenta (fetal DNA).
The proportion of DNA fragments from particular chromosomes …