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In Depth Articles

Improving vaccination rates in pregnancy

June 05, 2019

Increasingly, pregnant women are heeding the warnings about the dangers of pertussis and getting vaccinated but the same does not appear to be happening with influenza protection.
According to an Australian retrospective analysis, pertussis vaccination of pregnant women in Victoria increased from 38% in 2015 to 82% two years later. However, …


May 29, 2019

It’s only been around a few years, but this little bit of technology has already received world wide acclaim for its ability to improve the safety of vaccines in the real-world setting.
In simple terms, Smartvax is a program practices install into their software system that sends an SMS directly to …

Gene-directed prescribing coming to general practice

It’s been around for some time now. The idea of checking a person’s genes to guide appropriate prescribing is not new. It is pretty much standard practice when treating many if not most cancers.
But pharmacogenomics in general practice? Looking at an individual’s genetic variants to work out the best treatment …

Lactose intolerance and genetic testing

A genetic test is now available to assist in the diagnosis of lactose intolerance in both children and adults.
Key points

Lactose intolerance affects approximately 75% of the population.
Genetic testing can confirm lactose tolerance (also referred to as lactase persistence).
The test differentiates between primary lactose intolerance, due to lactase deficiency, and secondary …

One in 10 patients have ongoing concussion symptoms

May 22, 2019

Concussion is a temporary disturbance in brain function following an impact to the head. It can also occur after a blow to the body, if the force is transmitted to the head.
Most people associate concussion with sports but they can occur anywhere, even at work or school.
There are many signs …

All benzos risky in pregnancy

Benzos increase the risk of having a miscarriage in early pregnancy, regardless of whether you’re taking a short-acting one for insomnia or a longer-acting one for anxiety, Canadian researchers say.
According to their large case-controlled study involving almost 450,000 pregnancies, benzodiazepine exposure in early pregnancy was associated with an 85% higher …

How anti-fat bias in health care endangers lives

May 15, 2019

When Ellen Maud Bennett died a year ago, her obituary published in the local newspaper gained national media attention in Canada, though she wasn’t a celebrity.
Bennett’s obituary revealed she died from cancer days after finally being diagnosed — after years of seeking help.
Her diagnosis came so late, beyond the point …

Surprise benefit of glucosamine

Glucosamine’s effectiveness in treating arthritis remains controversial, however a study suggesting that the supplement, when taken regularly, will help prevent heart attacks certainly adds to its appeal.
According to findings from a large prospective study just published in The BMJ, habitual glucosamine use is associated with a 15% lower risk of …

Pancreatic cancer support

May 08, 2019

It’s still probably one of medicine’s most devastating diagnoses – pancreatic cancer.
Despite all the scientific advances that have been made in treating so many malignancies, the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is most often pretty bleak. Consequently, patients presented with this diagnosis are most likely to be in need of significant …

Peanut allergies: Research shows ‘oral immunotherapy’ is safe for preschoolers

“We don’t have to live in fear anymore.”
That’s the common refrain from hundreds of parents of preschoolers with peanut allergy that my colleagues and I have successfully treated with peanut “oral immunotherapy” over the past two years.
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a treatment in which a patient consumes small amounts of …

Dysplastic naevi: the controversy continues

Key Points

The entity ‘mildly dysplastic naevus’ has been removed from the World Health Organisation’s classification of dysplastic naevi.
Dysplastic naevi are now to be graded as ‘low grade dysplastic naevus’ (previous moderately dysplastic naevus) or ‘high grade dysplastic naevus’ (previous severely dysplastic naevus).
Current data suggest no further treatment is necessary for …

Have you gone vegan? Keep an eye on these 4 nutrients

May 01, 2019

There are many reasons people go vegan, from wanting to be healthier, to reducing their environmental footprint, to concerns about animal welfare.
No matter what the reason, many people find it difficult to meet the nutrient intake targets for specific vitamins and minerals while on a vegan diet. These include vitamin …