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Health + Medicine – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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The demand for medical services is putting pressure on the budget. AAP

Doctor’s fee-for-service doesn’t mean price is right

“When people get sick or injured or want advice about their health, they want to see a doctor,” Dr Andrew Pesce, AMA President. The statement by Dr Pesce implies that citizens know what they want and will…
If helmets protect against brain injury, why not wear them?

Don’t be fooled, keeping bike helmets is best for health

Convincing more Australians to get on a bike would undoubtedly deliver health improvements that come with reduced waistlines. But ditching bike helmets isn’t the answer. The health benefits of more cycling…
The budget doesn’t address all of COAG’s key health priorities. AAP

A tale of two budgets – but only one will be heard today

The Federal Government has a strong tale to tell about the main health initiatives announced in last night’s budget. But there’s another, untold part of the story that belongs to the bigger narrative of…
Successful: the threat of cuts led researchers to hold rallies in state capitals. AAP

Medical research funding has been saved: now we need to spend wisely

The NHMRC budget escaped the threatened $400 million cut in last night’s Federal Government budget announcement. Instead, the 4% annual increase it has received in recent years will continue for another…
Extra funds for mental health and regional hospitals balanced other budget cuts.

Budget maintains a healthy weight

We were chilled by the prospect of a radical weight-loss austerity budget, but it did not occur in health. While liposuction was applied to several programs – hearing services and general practice-based…
We import more antibiotics to promote animal growth than treat people. AAP

A game plan to win the coming fight against superbugs

We depend on antibiotics to treat what previously were fatal conditions. But the more we use them, the more the bacteria they fight become resistant to all the weapons in our arsenal. Bacterial resistance…
Ecstasy harder to get, poorer in quality, users report. Photo: AAP.

Frustrated ecstasy users trying new designer drugs

Low purity and scarcity is driving down the popularity of ecstasy among regular users but more are using new synthetic party drugs such as BZP and mephedrone, according to a new report. An annual survey…
Your grandparents’ lifespan can offer some valuable clues. joeduty/Flickr

Who wants to live forever?

It’s well known that humans are living longer than ever before, thanks partially to developments such as sanitation and modern medicine. But will it ever be possible for humans to live forever? The late…
People who exercise have a smaller risk of heart attacks despite larger salt intake. lululemon athletica/flickr

Sodium study should be taken with a large pinch of salt

A recent article has questioned received wisdom regarding the adverse impact of salt on health. Unfortunately, naïve researchers and journal editors looking to stir up a controversy are confusing this…
It’s more likely to be the accompanying potatoes or your natural post-lunch dip. tuchodi/flickr

Monday’s medical myth: eating turkey makes you sleepy

It has been long-rumoured that gobbling up turkey meat has a mysterious soporific effect, rendering its consumers progressively drowsier. Sounds like a good story, and certainly one that’s worth checking…
The Nanopatch has potential to change the way vaccines are delivered. AIBN

Don’t look away, injections could be a thing of the past

A couple of facts: 1) At least 10% of the world’s population are “needle phobic”, which means they’re missing out on being vaccinated and/or have a horror of receiving jabs of any kind. Several studies…
The breast cancer research agenda is more balanced due to its public profile. AAP

Funding cancer research should not be a popularity contest

Some of the most serious forms of cancer are less likely to be the subject of a clinical trial than cancers with a less significant health impact. Research shows that even being a disease is a popularity…
Some people benefit from salt restriction while others don’t.

Four seasons in one day: getting the right dose of salt

Ah, salt. We love its taste and yearn to use it liberally in our cooking. But we’re told to limit our salt consumption for the sake of our health. Much like a low cholesterol product, the low salt option…
Competition enables twins like Brad and Chris Scott to forge separate identities. kangaroos.com.au

How twins like the Scott brothers distinguish themselves in battle

Competition between twins hit the headlines this week as, for the first time in AFL history, identical twins Brad and Chris Scott will coach different teams against each other on Saturday. Both twins played…
New research links prolonged bottle feeding to obesity. http://www.flickr.com/photos/quitepeculiar

Children bottle-fed at two years are fatter at five: study

Children who are bottle-fed until the age of two are 30% more likely to be obese at five-and-a-half years of age, a new study has found. Of the 6750 children studied by researchers from Temple University…
SAD is often undiagnosed as a specific form of depression. Jeremy Brooks

Seasonal Affective Disorder: why you feel under the weather

As the days get shorter and we approach winter, many of us have a lowered mood, reduced energy levels and seem to need more sleep. Such seasonal changes in mood and energy are common and most of us adapt…
Too many doctors who define sickness and health have vested interests. eMagineArt.com

Why it’s dangerous for doctors to be on the drug company drip

If you look closely at the ways diseases are defined and at the panels of experts who draw the line between sickness and health, you find an extraordinary phenomenon. Many of these panels are heavily conflicted…

Scientists pinpoint new dwarfism gene

Scientists have pinpointed a new link between a particular gene and a rare form of dwarfism, opening the door to prenatal testing and paving the way for new approaches to treating common diseases such…
Virus surveillance in domestic pigs and poultry must improve. Mark Pilgrin/flickr

What we learnt from the 2009 swine-flu pandemic

It’s almost exactly two years since the emergence of the swine flu virus was announced by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This was the first flu pandemic in 41 years and the start of another flu season…
Even modest weight loss can reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Anya Quinn

Preventing diabetes with the right diet

We’ve come a long way in our understanding of diabetes over the past few decades. Rather than cutting down on sugar, the prevention and management of diabetes hinges on weight control and a balanced diet…
Fabiola Licinio (right) died from what is now a curable illness at the age of four. Julio Licinio

No one could save my little sister’s life, now medical research can

My life was entirely shaped by the successes and failures of medical research so, to me, it seems incomprehensible that there should even be a debate about the importance of funding medical research. My…