Health + Medicine – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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The funding proposal is no fix for Australia’s health system but it could take some political pressure off the Coalition in the lead up to the 2019 federal election. OnE studio/Shutterstock

Morrison’s health handout is bad policy (but might be good politics)

The A$1.25 billion health funding boost isn't based on any coherent policy direction. It's designed to shore up support in marginal electorates.
Around 8% of the population experience swallowing difficulties. from shutterstock.com

Many people have a hard time swallowing. Help them to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ this Christmas

We don't often give our eating habits much thought but the 8% of the population with swallowing disability need to plan carefully to ensure their food is the right texture and eaten at the right pace.
Genetic information is relevant not only for an individual, but also their blood relatives, because it’s often hereditary. Joshua Reddekopp/Unsplash

Can (and should) a doctor tell my biological relative my genetic results without my consent?

Because genetic changes that cause cause health complications can be hereditary, the information affects not only the person with the mutation but also their biological relatives.
Up to half of stillbirths happen unexpectedly and a clear cause is never identified. from shutterstock.com

Five ways to reduce the risk of stillbirth

A Senate Report has put forward 16 recommendations to reduce rates of stillbirth in Australia targeting a 20% reduction in the rate within three years. We can do this by focusing on five practices.
Infant formula manufacturers have been funding the development of guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of cows’ milk allergy in infants. from shutterstock.com

Infant formula companies are behind the guidelines on milk allergy, and their sales are soaring

New research shows a six-fold increase in sales of infant formula prescribed for babies with cows' milk protein allergy in the UK, despite no evidence of an increase in the incidence of the allergy.
All cancers have a similar DNA pattern that differs from that of non-cancer cells. from shutterstock.com

One test to diagnose them all: researchers exploit cancers’ unique DNA signature

Our research has found that cancer DNA forms a unique structure when placed in water. We used this finding to develop a test that can detect cancerous DNA in less than ten minutes.
You know you’re not supposed to do this – but you do. Shutterstock

Trust Me, I’m An Expert: the science of sleep and the economics of sleeplessness

The science of sleep and the economics of sleeplessness. The Conversation, CC BY52.8 MB (download)
Only about one quarter Australians report getting eight or more hours of sleep. And in pre-industrial times, it was seen as normal to wake for a few hours in the middle of the night and chat or work.
In most states where temperatures are increasing, Australians are at a higher risk of suicide. Ellen Smith

Heatwaves threaten Australians’ health, and our politicians aren’t doing enough about it

Pollutants from fossil fuel combustion cause thousands of premature deaths nationwide every year. This is just one way our climate change policies impact on the nation's health.
A lot of people have spent a very long time wondering what causes cancer – and scientists still can’t say for certain why an individual person might have it. Marina del Castell/Flickr

Curious Kids: Why do people get cancer?

I have worked on this problem for many years, and to be honest it still blows my mind to really think about just how complex it is.
It’s still unclear whether a shorter or longer gap between pregnancies increases the risk of complications in the next pregnancy. Richard Jaimes/Unsplash

Health Check: how long should I wait between pregnancies?

A recent study suggests 12-18 months between pregnancies is ideal for most women. But is there actually such a thing as an ideal length of time?