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In The News

The problem with mindfulness

June 12, 2019

Mindfulness, it seems everybody’s doing it. You might have even tried it yourself – or have a regular practice. Thanks to the help of an app on your phone that speaks to you in dulcet tones, you are reminded to “let go” and to “observe your breath”. From the public …

Electronic inhaler monitoring reduces hospitalisations in patients with COPD

For patients with COPD, inhaled medications are a critically important part of their care. For medical professionals however it’s nearly impossible to assess how a patient is using these medications based on self-reporting. This is the dilemma that Cleveland Clinic researchers attempted to address in a study of the effects …

New vulnerability found in major human viruses

Picornaviruses, including rhinoviruses such as the common cold and enteroviruses such as meningitis, have thus far been untreatable with antiviral agents. That may soon be about to change.
Researchers at the University of Leuven, Belgium and the University of Helsinki have found a compound that stabilised a model picornavirus, preventing it …

Creative writing benefits healthcare professionals

June 05, 2019

It’s no secret that doctors suffer some of the highest rates of burnout of any profession, and most are aware of the practical advice for avoiding burnout even if they’re unable to implement it. Some Australian doctors, however, have found a ‘novel’ way to avoid burnout which can also bring …

Had pre-eclampsia in pregnancy? These 5 things will lower your risk of heart disease

Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition triggered by pregnancy that starts with an increase in blood pressure and the detection of protein in the woman’s urine.
While most cases are mild, if left untreated, women with pre-eclampsia can develop dangerously high blood pressure which damages vital organs – including the brain, liver …

Stem cell patch may help repair damage caused by heart attacks

Lab tests of new ‘heart patches’ have recently shown their ability to quickly mimic the heart tissue of animals following a heart attack. Once fully tested, the patches may give millions suffering from heart failure worldwide hope for recovery.
Heart failure due to damage caused by a heart attack can be …

Fainting during pregnancy can be a sign of problems for both mother and baby

May 29, 2019

Fainting during pregnancy has generally been thought of as benign, but a new population-based study has cast this supposition into doubt. The findings, which surprised the researchers themselves, have prompted calls to add fainting to the list of pregnancy-induced conditions that can be considered warning signs for women’s health.
The research …

Flash glucose monitoring: the little patches that can make managing diabetes a whole lot easier

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia. At least 1.2 million Australians live with diabetes, and about 10% of them have type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes sees the body become resistant to the effects of insulin, or lose its ability to produce insulin from the pancreas. Insulin keeps the body’s …

Population DNA testing for disease risk is coming. Here are five things to know

DNA testing to predict disease risk has the potential to prevent disease and save lives. Yet few Australians can currently access predictive DNA testing via the health-care system.
That may soon change.
As technology improves, the cost of DNA testing declines, and the Australian government invests in genomics, universal DNA screening is …

How much coffee is too much?

May 22, 2019

It’s sad news for coffee-lovers everywhere: although our metaphorical hearts can’t get enough, there’s a limit to how much our physical ones can safely handle.
Fortunately, the limit is one that most of us can probably live with. A recently-published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has identified the …

New combination vaccine being developed as 10 more people die from influenza in SA

Early research into the development of a single vaccine for both influenza and pneumococcal has shown its potential to better protect against both illnesses.
Pneumococcal infections frequently follow a primary viral infection such as influenza. Notably, roughly half of the estimated 100 million deaths during the Spanish Flu of 1918 are …

Artificial intelligence diagnoses lung cancer

In a recent study, an AI has been more effective at diagnosing lung cancer from CT scans than a team of radiologists. Even the researchers themselves aren’t sure how.
The software was ‘trained’ with a large database of lung scans and data on which patients went on to develop lung cancer. …