Australian researcher leading global campaign on Big Food

This feature story was first published in print and online by Australian Doctor on the 20th May 2016. *** “We revile this notion of a nanny state, but we accept this ‘big business’ state that actually does incredible harm,” says Professor Bruce Neal “Everyone thinks they’re free-moving individuals making these highly informed […]

College urges GPs to stop referring to chiropractors

This news story was first published in print and online by Australian Doctor on the 27th April 2016. *** The Royal Australian College of GPs is telling its members to “seriously reconsider any support for chiropractic involvement in patient care”. In a hardline stance, the college is also urging the Federal Government to scrap […]

Epigenetics: Beyond the hardwiring

The Human Genome Project was supposed to unravel all the mysteries of human development and disease. But researchers but only found around 23,000 genes rather than the 100,000 they expected. Only in the last ten years has it become apparent how influential epigenetic modifications are on the specialisation of the human body and particularly the brain. And diseases such as cancer might be turned on and off with an epigenetic switch.

The Hunger Games: How do we fight food insecurity?

“Yeast vats, fungal mats and algae ponds” was Isaac Asimov’s prediction for addressing food insecurity in the future. Is this what we have to look forward to, or can improve our efficiency of food production and consumption in our fields and supermarkets?

The army within: taming the gut microbiome

Gut microbes may well know us better than we know ourselves, but it’s best to keep them onside. Some experts liken them an unknown organ of the human body , that can influence our metabolic, immune and mental health.

Why we bother to get along

Sometimes it’s tempting to take a little bit extra from the buffet, or cheat your taxes, especially if the victim is a faceless and victimless society. But Professor Simon Gaechter has been studying what makes people cooperate with and how these motivations differ around the world.

Guilt-free biofuel

Biofuel can now be generated from industrial greenhouse gas emissions. This is great news not just for the atmosphere but also for global food security. While bioethanol is currently the most common renewable liquid fuel alternative to oil, its production uses up vast quantities of cereal crops because the starch […]

New drug approved for heart failure

The first of a new class of heart failure drugs has been approved by the TGA, that is being heralded by some experts as a new first-line alternative to ACE inhibitors.

On-again off-again for Tamiflu/Relenza

Flu antivirals now have the blessing of a report supporting prophylaxis and treatment of serious influenza. But this hasn’t changed view of one of the author of a damning Cochrane review in 2014, Professor Chris Del Mar.

Pill-testers could save lives without breaking law

Despite threats from the NSW Premier’s office, staff employed to test drugs at music festivals could not be prosecuted for possession or supply of illicit drugs. And they would be in a unique position to save lives for a fraction of the cost of the controversial drug-sniffer dog program, says a Canberra emergency doctor.

Suicide prevention: GPs at the front line

Better GP training and resources for could save 160 of the 2500 lives lost to suicide per year in Australia, according to a study in the ANZJP. But suicide rates are on the rise despite targets.

Melbourne doctors put detainees first

Doctors at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital recently refused to discharge an asylum seeker in her 30s and her child because they would have been returned to detention on Nauru. Leading lawyers and and academics of ethics say that clinical staff would be immune from prosecution by the government since their professional obligations are to their patients.

New antidote for oral anticoagulants

Direct-action oral anticoagulants are easier to manage than the standard Warfarin in many patients at risk of thromboembolism. But until now, their use has been complicated but lack of an antidote- leaving users vulnerable to uncontrolled bleeding in emergency scenarios.

Rescheduling of codeine gets a mixed reception

Should codeine-paracetemol formulations be available over the counter or only by prescription? Some experts worry about the associated addiction rates and accidental deaths, while others think its a safe alternative the public can be trusted with.