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Health + Medicine — Analysis and Comment

Keytruda® targets a protein on the surface of immune cells that stopped them from attacking the melanoma cells. Australis Photography/Shutterstock

Explainer: how does Keytruda treat melanoma and why is it so costly?

Keytruda® is the latest drug to be registered in Australia for the treatment of widespread melanoma. But we must wait to see if it meets the cost-effectiveness targets for PBS subsidisation.
The three states will collaborate on the development of medicinal cannabis, its regulatory framework and clinical research. Prensa 420/Flickr

Trials a step forward for medicinal cannabis but what comes next?

Queenslanders and Victorians with particular chronic illnesses will be eligible to join New South Wales medicinal cannabis trials, due to start mid next year.
Almost 60% of Australian women are predisposed to female pattern hair loss. faungg's photo/Flickr

Health Check: why does women’s hair thin out?

Balding in men is so common it doesn’t raise an eyebrow. But when a woman starts to lose hair, it can be extremely distressing. Will she end up bald, too?
Adoption should only be considered when other, less intrusive options, have been eliminated. Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock

Adoption has a role in child protection but it’s no panacea

In response to the tragic death of four-year-old Chloe Valentine in South Australia, adoption has been raised as a solution to a "child protection crisis".
Recommended antibiotic courses are often arbitrary. Katy/Flickr

No, you don’t have to finish all your antibiotics

Advice that you have to finish the whole course of antibiotics reflects long-standing convention or the drug manufacturer’s decision during an initial trial, rather than scientific evidence.
The current level of mental health services funding mean we are already failing people who need help. Davi Ozolin/Flickr

Mental health services need more money, not a reshuffle

A proposal to re-direct a billion dollars of funding from acute hospital mental health services to the community risks causing a major destabilisation of the public mental health system.
Restraining the growth in costs and providing better treatments and cures needs a healthy national medical research effort. Dave Hunt/AAP

Six challenges facing Australia’s medical research sector

It’s been a great privilege to have been the head of NHMRC for going on a decade. That’s four governments, six health ministers, a funding increase from A$437 million in 2006 to A$859 million today.
The emotional appeals of the opposing views on vaccination are both driven by concern for children. World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

‘No jab, no pay’ policy has a serious ethical sting

The plan to withhold payments of child-care and family tax benefits for unvaccinated children could cost non-compliant parents up to A$15,000 a year. But is it ethical to punish parents?
The process of therapy is challenging and takes courage. Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Explainer: what is cognitive behaviour therapy?

If you or someone you care about experience an emotional problem it won't be long before you hear that cognitive behaviour therapy, or CBT, is probably the treatment of choice.
Sometimes you need more than a romantic sunset. Renate Flynn/Flickr

Happy endings: the ins and outs of clinical sexology

Sexology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of human sexuality, including sexual behaviours, interests and function. A sexologist is a trained professional who specialises in human sexuality.
Despite assurances from Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, the TPP could negatively affect Australian health policy. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Leaked TPP investment chapter shows risks to Australia’s health

The latest part of the TPP to be leaked is its investment chapter. And like almost everything we know about the secretive negotiations for the agreement, it provides plenty of cause for concern.
Staph aureus bloodstream infection has a 12-month death rate of between 20 and 35%. Joe Techapanupreeda/Shutterstock

Golden staph: the deadly bug that wreaks havoc in hospitals

Which of the following conditions would you prefer to have during your next stay in hospital? A. Staphylococcus aureus (Golden Staph) bloodstream infection; or B. a heart attack?