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IWhile the murders of Sophie Collombet and others have given prominence to the issue of violence against tourists, it is still statistically rare for a international visitor to Australia to become a murder victim. AAP/Dan Peled

Murder down under: is Australia a dangerous place to visit?

The murder of French student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane in late March has sparked a debate about the safety of travellers in Australia. A man has now been arrested and charged with Collombet’s rape and…
Increasing portion size makes an offering more attractive, but when everyone does this in order to be competitive, all available offerings become large. Penn State/Flickr

Health check: do bigger portion sizes make you eat more?

Faced with a portion of food twice as big as what you normally consume will lead you to eat about a third more food than usual. This portion-size effect helps explain how growing serving sizes may be contributing…
There hasn’t been a radical increase in violent acts on public transport, despite growing public concern. AAP/Dan Peled

Tranquil travel: violence on our public transport networks

Last month, a video of an elderly man’s alleged assault on a Gold Coast bus went viral on social media after a passenger filmed the confrontation. The incident put the sometimes-ignored issue of violence…
Why isn’t it the norm for trials in Australia of immense public interest to be broadcast, as the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in South Africa has? EPA/Kevin Sutherland

Morcombe, Pistorius and the public interest in court broadcasts

The one thing missing from the saturation coverage of the Daniel Morcombe murder trial in Brisbane late last week was courtroom vision. Media coverage of Brett Cowan’s conviction and sentencing involved…
The Mr Big technique that caught Daniel Morcombe’s killer, and ultimately led to his conviction, deserves credit for solving the long-running investigation. AAP/Supplied

Mr Big: the covert technique that solved the Morcombe case

The 2003 disappearance of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in Queensland highlighted the difficulties police face when investigating a potential murder with no body and no crime scene. Ultimately, it was the…
Videogames have the capacity to be complex and engaging in ways not possible in other media. Koen Van Weel/EPA

All work, all play: the art of videogame writing

Games writers dream up characters, dialogue, motivations and plot much like film screenwriters. But rather than keeping an audience captive for two or three hours at a time as in cinema, gamers will play…
In the face of rising opposition to its anti-bikie measures, the Queensland government must find a way to cut through the rhetoric with facts and stop inflaming the debate. AAP/Dan Peled

The battle to win hearts and minds in Queensland’s bikie war

One fascinating aspect of the Newman government’s “war on bikies” in Queensland has been the battle for the hearts and minds of average citizens. In an attempt to convince the public of the threat – and…
Stalking is an increasing crime trend in the wider community, which is exacerbated by the availability and use of social media. shutterstock

Hunting the hunter: how to effectively combat stalking

What do Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Jackman, Madonna and John Lennon have in common? They have each, at one time or another, been victims of stalking. Local radio host Sophie…
The series is an excellent demonstration of real-world challenges facing families and practitioners. ABC TV Publicity

ABC TV’s ‘Kids on Speed?’ shows drugs are not the answer

The new three-part documentary starting on ABC1 at 8:30 tonight, “Kids on Speed?” is timely given attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is attracting controversy because of growing evidence it’s overdiagnosed…
A change in investigative and policing strategy is needed if the Queensland government is to win the so-called ‘bikie wars’. AAP/Paul Miller

The end justifies the means: why Queensland is losing the bikie war

Three months into the campaign by the Queensland government against outlaw motorcycle gangs, some meaningful analysis of the effectiveness and justification for the unprecedented measures is possible…
Many more Australians want to build the ‘body beautiful’ and we want to do it in a hurry, increasingly through the use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs). shutterstock

Muscling up: are steroids an emerging criminal threat?

High-profile claims of links between elite sports and organised crime in Australia – such as those outlined in last year’s Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report – have put performance and image enhancing…
It’s the quantity of sugar we consume that’s bad for us. Carol Green

Health check: five sweeteners and what they mean for you

People have been eating sweet foods for eons. Fruit (fructose), milk (lactose), cane (sucrose), and honey (fructose and glucose) provide us with energy for growth and development. But in these days, we…
People who are questioning whether to continue taking statins should talk to a doctor. Hilke Kurzke

Worried about taking statins? Here’s what you need to know

After last week’s controversial Catalyst program on the ABC, some people may be wondering whether they should stop taking statins to lower their cholesterol. But before making such a decision, read this…
In Queensland, the Finks motorcycle gang are among those in the gun of police, the state government, the media and the public. AAP/Joe Castro

A phony war: bikies aren’t the only problem on Queensland’s Glitter Strip

Bikies have become the poster boys of crime in Queensland. In the past week we’ve seen the announcement of a spartan, bikies-only jail likened to Guantanamo Bay, tough new laws rushed through a marathon…
Labelling a risk factor as a medical condition stimulates the therapeutic reflex to treat, which may have minimal or no benefit yet risk all the adverse effects. John Chamberlain

When does ‘abnormal’ actually impact your health?

Anyone, it seems, can create an epidemic. Witness a recent article in the Fairfax papers that provides “startling” news about the large number of Australians with high cholesterol who don’t even know they…
Several factors, including if the effects of the medicine are worth its cost, help decide whether a drug is subsidised by the government. Tetiana Yurchenko/Shutterstock

Why some drugs are publicly subsidised and others are not

Decisions whether to publicly fund new drugs or not are often tough. Should the government fund a drug that has promising early results or wait until its effects and safety issues are better understood…
We wanted to know about the people who decide where to draw the line between “normal” and “abnormal”, between healthy and diseased. Shutterstock

How diseases get defined, and what that means for you

Have you ever wondered how diseases get defined? How “high” does your blood pressure have to be before it’s called “high blood pressure”? How “low” does bone density have to be before it’s “osteoporosis…
A newly-defined condition called ‘chronic kidney disease’ could turn many people unnecessarily into patients. Shutterstock

Making people patients: chronic kidney disease over-diagnosis

Kidneys are probably not a subject most of us think about too much – but right now they’re at the centre of a global medical controversy. In a paper published in the British Medical Journal today, we explain…

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