Health + Medicine – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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Sugar activates the same brain system as drugs such as nicotine and cocaine, meaning consuming it is a behaviour we want to repeat. from www.shutterstock.com.au

Fact or fiction – is sugar addictive?

If you’ve ever tried to cut back on sugar, you may have realised how incredibly difficult it is. This leads to the question: can you be addicted to sugar?
The not-for-profit UK group The Loop said it tested the drug ecstasy with ‘loop lasers’ at a festival in July 2016. The Loop UK/Facebook

Yes, we can do on-the-spot drug testing quickly and safely

Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said conducting on-site drug tests at public events "safely and quickly is not really a practical option". But the technology is available.
Mosquito control in the Torres Strait can be tough but it provides protection of the mainland from invading exotic mosquitoes. medical entomology, tropical public health services cairns

How we kept disease-spreading Asian Tiger mozzies away from the Australian mainland

A new study shows how Australian authorities are battling the invasive Asian tiger mosquito in Torres Strait, reducing risks of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks.
Can a power nap increase productivity? Will it affect your sleep at night? Adam Lynch/Flickr

Health Check: are naps good for us?

Companies such as Google, Nike and Ben & Jerry’s encourage or allow napping at work, providing employees with napping facilities such as napping pods and quiet rooms where they can nap if desired.
A study has found there are differences in the brains of people with ADHD. from www.shutterstock.com.au

Imaging study confirms differences in ADHD brains

This week, the prestigious journal The Lancet published a large study identifying objective differences in the brains of people diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
If all the over-55s got walking, we could save almost $2 billion in health care costs each year. from www.shutterstock.com.au

New study shows more time walking means less time in hospital

Walking has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, bowel and breast cancers, osteoporosis and diabetes. New data shows it also reduces the need for hospital care.
Stories in the media are often the first or even the only way that people hear about science and medical news. So we need to get the reporting right. from www.shutterstock.com

Essays on health: reporting medical news is too important to mess up

Health reporting requires asking the right questions and doing quality research. But specialist skills are also handy, especially when it comes to knowing the language and processes of science.
Sitting down at work all day may not be so bad for you after all. How did we get it so wrong? from www.shutterstock.com

Why sitting is not the ‘new smoking’

New research shows not all sitting is bad for our health, so long as you're active at other times of the day.
This man needs to trust you before listening to your public health message. No wonder bombarding him with facts doesn’t always work. from www.shutterstock.com

How to cut through when talking to anti-vaxxers and anti-fluoriders

Reassuring people "not to worry" about public health issues like vaccination or fluoridated water doesn't work. Nor does telling people "don't panic". So, what does?
Basil Hetzel’s research supported the use of iodised salt as an easy way to ensure adequate dietary iodine intake. from www.shutterstock.com

Basil Hetzel: Australian medical pioneer, and my friend

Public health pioneer Basil Hetzel died on February 4 2017. Among other career highlights, he identified the most common cause of preventable brain damage: dietary iodine deficiency.
Ice Wars invokes fear and stigma - both of which are very unhelpful in battling drug dependence. Screen Shot/ABC website

‘Ice Wars’ message is overblown and unhelpful

Without doubt, crystal methamphetamine, like many drugs (including alcohol) is capable of causing immense harm. But when facts are distorted to create fear and stigma it helps no one.
By agencies working together, we can prevent female genital mutilation, which new research confirms is happening in Australia. from www.shutterstock.com

Female genital mutilation is hurting Australian girls and we must work together to stamp it out

Female genital mutilation is largely hidden in Australia and other high-income countries. But the United Nations says it is a global concern – and our research found it does affect girls here.