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Clinical Articles

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

October 02, 2019

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 …

Migraine sufferers needlessly enduring agonising pain

September 25, 2019

CC0 Public Domain
 
Roughly 15 per cent of the population suffer from migraines, but as well as being one of the most common neurological conditions it’s also one of the most underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed.
These are the results of a new study published in SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine, conducted by researchers at …

An increasing number of countries are banning e-cigarettes – here’s why

 
The White House recently announced plans to ban flavoured e-cigarettes – except for tobacco-flavoured products – because of a rise in the number of middle and high school students using these products.
A few days later, India’s cabinet approved an emergency order banning the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes.
To date, …

Managing young people with ADHD – from personal experience

 
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 …

Antidepressants work, just not how scientists thought they worked

 
Most clinical trials of antidepressants were done decades ago in people with severe depression recruited from specialist mental health services. Yet most people who take these drugs have mild to moderate depression. We wanted to know whether a common antidepressant called sertraline works for this group. We found that, indeed, …

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 …

Researchers to develop handheld device to diagnose skin cancer

September 18, 2019

Positively identifying skin cancer generally involves taking tissue samples, followed by lab-based testing using slow, bulky and expensive laser-based imaging tools.
A new technique developed by researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology could achieve more accurate results in instants with a device similar to a mobile phone.
Using millimeter-wave radiation, the …

Sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency, but doctors can miss the signs

‘Sudden sensorineural hearing loss’ (SSNHL), or sudden deafness requires near-immediate treatment to ensure a patient doesn’t lose their hearing permanently.
Unfortunately, many cases are still being missed, dismissed or otherwise not addressed by GPs, according to a recent ABC News report.
The uncommon condition causes the loss of hearing in one (or …

Taking paracetamol during pregnancy may affect the child’s behaviour in early years

In the early 1960s, thousands of babies were born with malformed limbs as a result of their mother taking thalidomide – a drug used to treat morning sickness. The tragedy rocked the medical establishment and made doctors wonder what other drugs might have foetus-harming effects.
Several studies were launched to try …

Treating menopausal symptoms in 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 …