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Health + Medicine — Analysis and Comment

For certain members of the community, catching flu can lead to severe illness or death. Piotr Marcinski

The 2015 flu vaccine – what’s new, who should get it and why

It’s that time of year again when scientists and doctors make predictions about the impending flu season and we must decide whether to go out and get the flu vaccine.
Promises to build or upgrade public hospitals are made at every state election, while other issues are ignored. Sapol Chairatkaewcharoen/Shutterstock

The real health issues facing NSW, without the spin

What happens when you bring a state health minister face-to-face with her two main challengers, fronting a roomful of health experts, without any TV cameras to leap on any "gaffes" or stumbles?
Some people may be turned on knowing their sexual activities are being monitored by experts. Yves Hanoulle/Flickr

Health Check: why some people have sex for science

The who, how, and what of sex-based laboratory studies may all be a little problematic, so can we generalise from their findings?
New modelling shows the Medicare rebate freeze will leave GPs A$8.43 worse off per consultation. DIBP images/Flickr

High cost of GP rebate freeze may see co-payments rise from the dead

With GPs facing greater economic pressure and the health minister considering legislative change to make it easier for GP to charge them, GP co-payments, like Lazarus, may rise again from the dead.
The World Health Organisation considers people with a BMI below 18.5 to be underweight and at risk of being malnourished. Jeanette Goodrich/Flickr

Weighing the evidence for banning skinny catwalk models

The French government is backing parliamentary plans to ban unhealthily thin models from catwalks, but do the bodies of these models really affect women's self-image?
Light from electronic devices can alter the quality of sleep our quality. Alexander Rentsch/Flickr

Booting up or powering down: how e-readers affect your sleep

While many of these devices, especially e-readers, seem harmless enough, the light they emit may affect our sleep patterns and leave us feeling tired the next day.
It may be that the seemingly inhumane aim of causing your opponent to lose consciousness by punching them separates boxing from other sports. Kate Gardiner/Flickr

Should boxing be banned?

The death of a 23-year-old boxer has prompted a call by the Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association for the sport to be banned in Australia.
Vital but routine public health measures are often compromised in the weeks following natural disasters. UNICEF

Cyclone Pam aid efforts should keep future disasters in mind

Any public health assessment of Vanuatu should include the identification of immediate needs and associated risks, as well as put in plans for mitigating future natural disasters.
Family violence is core business in our courts and an ongoing drain on our economic and social well-being. altanaka/Shutterstock

Remove the burden of family violence from the victims, to the courts

We need to support those who are subjected to family violence – mostly women and children – and this must remain our priority. But we must also intervene at the source of the problem.
Studies suggest friends, family members and even colleagues of smokers or obese people are more likely to smoke or be obese themselves. Barry/Flickr

Beware, a ‘non-communicable’ disease may be socially infectious

The leading cause of death in the world are a group of illnesses known as non-commmunicable diseases. But a growing body of evidence shows they're actually social contagions.
Australian supermarket chains don’t go beyond compliance with industry and regulatory standards, and a patchy collection of additional animal welfare requirements. Cyril Caton/Flickr

German supermarket chain ups the ante on animal welfare

Animal welfare and environmental sustainability are important ethical issues but Australian supermarkets don't do much about them. Germany's Aldi Süd chain could teach them a thing or two.
Some doctors will struggle to adapt to a less deferential society in which they are expected to be humble and human team-players. Truthout.org/Flickr

Medicine needs to swallow a bitter pill for a healthier future

Medical culture's hierarchical and autocratic nature harms not just patients and students but doctors too. The good news is that change is in the air – but it won't be easy.