Health + Medicine – Analysis and Comment

Those with learning or other disabilities need someone to back them up in the legal system to avoid injustices. Making a Murderer/Netflix

What Making a Murderer tells us about disability and disadvantage in criminal law

The most shocking moments of the true crime documentary Making a Murderer depict two police officers gently coaxing a softly spoken teenager to recount his role in a vicious crime. Warning: spoilers ahead.
Trying to fall asleep can be a tricky, especially when we try too hard. Shutterstock

Health Check: five ways to get a better night’s sleep

We know that not getting adequate sleep means we do a disservice to our brain and our physical and metabolic health. But what are the real secrets to a good night’s rest?
Girls are socialised early and told normal functions of the female body must be spoken of, if at all, in strictest privacy, indirectly, and not to men. from shutterstock.com

Vulvas, periods and leaks: women need the right words to seek help for conditions ‘down there’

There are endless euphemisms for women's conditions and body parts. If you can't name a body part, how can you seek medical help if something appears to be wrong with it?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have been delivering health benefits for thousands of years by helping to establish healthy gut microbiota. Belinda (miscdebris)/Flickr

Explainer: what is the gut microbiota and how does it affect mind and body?

The human gastrointestinal tract harbours trillions of microorganisms, with up to 1,000 or so different bacterial species.
The link between Zika and microcephaly is not proven, but the incidence of both have greatly increased in the same areas. Percio Campos/Flickr

Explainer: what is microcephaly and what is its relationship to Zika virus?

Despite high rates of infection, the Zika outbreak would not have been particularly alarming had it not been for the sudden and – apparently associated – increase in the numbers of infants born with microcephaly.
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is responsible for transmitting some flaviviruses, including Zika. Ian Jacobs/Flickr

Zika, dengue, yellow fever: what are flaviviruses?

You might have heard the term flavivirus recently due to the outbreak of Zika virus. Zika, along with West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis, belong to this family of virus.
Zika has reportedly been transmitted via blood transfusions and sex, so how worried should we be about it spreading? from www.shutterstock.com.au

Zika via sex and blood: how worried should we be?

For a fairly non-descript virus Zika continues to surprise us. Zika has hit the headlines yet again with the news that there’s been transmission in Brazil of two cases by blood transfusion.
These twitches tend to appear after exercise, when people are stressed, tired or are lacking nutrients in their diet. from www.shutterstock.com.au

Explainer: why do our muscles twitch sometimes?

You're sitting in a meeting and your left eyelid is twitching uncontrollably. You wonder if the person opposite can see it, and why it's happening.
Nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Spotlight has won applause for its quiet outrage and strong cast featuring Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo. Entertainment One Films Australia

Review: Spotlight’s revealing story of child abuse in my home town – and maybe yours

As its final moments make clear, Spotlight is not just a movie about past wrongs in one US city. It's a story about too many people, in too many countries, including my home town of Newcastle.
The WHO has declared a state of emergency to mobilise funds for research and greater awareness. Salvatore Di Nolfi/AAP

Zika emergency status a cause for alert, not alarm

Overnight, World Health Organisation Director-General Margaret Chan declared the outbreak of Zika virus a public health emergency. So what does this mean?
Do you struggle to keep your attention on the task at hand? from www.shutterstock.com.au

What does our attention span mean?

Trying to focus on a task involves attention control – the ability to maintain focus on something over a period of time. What exactly is an attention span? Does it relate to intelligence? Can it change?
Fumigating mosquitos in Venezuela: the Zika virus has wide-ranging implications for largely Catholic nations in Latin America and elsewhere. Miguel Guitirrez/AAP

Love in the time of Zika

Love, sex and babies are the foundation of human existence. Without them the human race ceases to exist. Zika has suddenly disrupted this normal course of events.
Symptoms that can signify autism can also mean other things. from www.shutterstock.com.au

The difficulties doctors face in diagnosing autism

A recent survey of paediatricians found they often lacked enough information to accurately diagnose an Autism Spectrum Disorder in children.