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Articles related to Health

Food
Cover Story: Food Facts & Furphies
New diet fads and furphies seem to appear every day. While some of these have a scientific basis, for others the science has changed in response to new discoveries or the science is just not there yet. This special issue of Australasian Science explores the latest evidence for food and nutrition.
Cover Story: Fertility in the 21st Century
Fertility is a diverse field of research that encompasses male and female infertility, pregnancy complications, and environmental and lifestyle influences that can affect the reproductive health not only of future generations but also our native wildlife.
Cover Story: Genomic Testing as a Lifetime Health Resource?
If lives could be saved by being “forewarned” by a genomic test, should we perform genomic testing of all babies at birth?
Feature: Will Genomics Motivate Healthy Behaviours?
Will communicating the genetic risks of disease necessarily motivate people to make healthier behaviour choices?
Browse: Breast Cancer Starved by Meat and Dairy Nutrient Browse: The Paradox of Healthy Obesity
Browse: Weekend Treats Undo Healthy Weekdays Browse: Persistant Inflammatory Response Leads to Dementia
Browse: Fitness bands undervalue your effort Browse: Breakthrough In Predicting Premature Birth
Credit: dcleomiu/Adobe
conSCIENCE: We Will Never Cure Cancer, So Should We Even Try?
Billions of dollars are spent on cancer research each year for minimal gains. Would that money be better invested elsewhere?
Feature: Indigenous Genomics
Mistrust is a significant but not insurmountable barrier to the acceptance of genomics by Indigenous people.
Credit: iStockphoto/ogalT
Feature: Cobalt Blues
The spring racing carnival commences this month, but behind the glitz and glamour is a bitter legal case as horse trainers appeal bans for allegedly doping their horses. Dave Sammut examines the effects of cobalt and the science underpinning allowable thresholds.
Browse: Decaf Coffee May Be Good for the Liver
Browse: Tonsil and Adenoid Removal Resolves Sleep Apnoea Issues in Children Browse: Food Allergy Linked to Hyperactive Immune System at Birth
Browse: Fatty diets lead to daytime sleepiness, poor sleep Browse: Anti-Paleo Diet Boosts Life-Extending Hormone
Altitude training
Feature: From the Mountain to the MCG
As the AFL season builds towards the Grand Final this month, Blake McLean outlines the performance enhancements Collingwood players gained by training at altitude last summer.
Feature: The Doping Age
A new study finds that doping in sport has spread to Australian athletes as young as 12 years of age.
Credit: PhenomArtlover/iStockphoto
Feature: Molecules that Mould the Mind
Molecular psychiatrists are revealing how stress during critical periods in adolescence can influence mental illness later in life.
Browse: Less Chemotherapy for Some Breast Cancers
A new combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy has had 100% success in stopping the spread of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer in mice.
Browse: Diet Influences Mental Health in Children
Separate studies have found a connection between diet and mental health in children.
Browse: Blood Test Predicts Early Labour
Browse: A One-Shot Flu Jab for Life Browse: Light Exposure Linked to Weight Gain in Children
Browse: Gene Editing of Stem Cells Hastened
Credit: Mopic/Adobe
Feature: Brave New Embryology
New technologies are being developed to improve fertility, but the effects on the embryo are uncertain.
Browse: IVF Mice Prone to Diabetes
Mice conceived through IVF are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those conceived naturally, adding to evidence that the same may be true for humans.
Browse: Microbe Is Just One Gene from Multi-drug Resistance
A University of Queensland study has tracked a potentially devastating E. coli strain that is only one gene away from being resistant to almost all anti­biotics.
Browse: No Reliable Evidence of Wind Farm Syndrome, Says NHMRC Browse: Ancient Chinese Remedy Removes Scars
alphaspirit/Adobe
Feature: What’s the Key to Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic fatigue has a range of debilitating symptoms that have defied a pathological explanation. Now researchers are zeroing in on receptors with a role in the immune system.
Feature: The Ethics of Online Genomics Tests
There is a significant difference between the expectation and reality of direct-to-consumer personal genome testing, creating a gap where interesting tensions and ethical dilemmas sit.
Credit: Monkey Business
Feature: Early and Delayed Motherhood Linked to Schizophrenia Risk
A mother’s age when she gives birth is associated with her child’s likelihood of developing schizophrenia, but is this because psychosocial factors associated with the mother's age affect her child's risk, or because women with a higher genetic risk for schizophrenia are more likely to have their first child at an early or late age?
Browse: New Life for Old Malaria Drug
Chloroquine could be given a new lease of life as an anti-malarial treatment simply by being administered differently.
Browse: Early Signs of Arthritis in the Mouth Browse: How Much Weight Do Quitters Gain?
Browse: Molecules Inhibit Cancer Metastasis and Multiple Sclerosis Browse: What Women Want in a Sperm Donor
Credit: CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith
Feature: Australia’s Ebola Risk
Improving outbreak control in West Africa resulted in reduced risk to Australia.
Browse: Inherited Alzheimer’s Damage Begins Decades before Symptoms
The progression of Alzheimer’s disease may actually slow once symptoms appear, according to a study investigating an inherited form of the disease.
Browse: Vinegar Exacerbates Jellyfish Stings
While vinegar is currently the recommended first aid treatment for box jellyfish stings in tropical Australia, new research published in the Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal has found that it can increase discharge of the creature’s venom.
Browse: Omega-3 Improves Paternity Success
Browse: Epigenetic Signatures Predict Breast Cancer Aggression Browse: Sexual Activity May Influence Endometriosis
Browse: High Cancer Rates in Indigenous People of High-Income Countries Browse: Unhappiness Has No Effect on Mortality
Feature: Could an Algal Toxin Cause Motor Neurone Disease?
It’s long been thought that blue-green algae might cause several brain diseases. Now a missing piece in the puzzle has been found.
Credit: Maridav/Adobe
Feature: Egg Supply and Demand
Understanding the relationship between the number of healthy eggs stored in the ovaries and the length of the fertile lifespan will lead to more accurate predictions about how long each woman will remain fertile.
Credit: kentoh/adobe
Feature: Like, Comment, Share: Should You Share Your Genetic Data Online?
The culture of sharing our private details online is extending to health and ancestry data generated by genome testing. What are the benefits and what are the risks?
Browse: Stomach Responds to Time of Day
Nerves in the stomach alter the amount we can eat without feeling full depending on the time of day.
Browse: Antidepressants and Breastfeeding Can Mix
Women on antidepressant medication are more successful at breastfeeding their babies if they keep taking the medication, according to research presented at the 18th annual conference of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand.
Browse: A Cheap and Rapid Malaria Test
Browse: Rugby Impacts Likened to Serious Trauma Browse: Warning over Herbal Medicine Side-Effects
Browse: A Diabetes Treatment from Snail Venom
baby
Feature: Breath of Life: How a Jetlag Treatment Could Prevent Permanent Newborn Brain Damage
A common jetlag treatment in a simple skin patch could be the key to improving the lives of babies all around the world.
Browse: Whooping Cough Booster Vaccines Wear Off
While whooping cough vaccine protects infants and young children, booster doses wear off quickly according to scientists from the Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute.
Browse: “Frankenstein” Chromosomes Amplify Cancer Genes
Browse: Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis Has Created an Artificial Epidemic
mosquito
Feature: Why Don’t Mozzies Get a Fever?
Understanding how mosquitoes protect themselves from the viruses they carry could lead to new ways of controlling the spread of viral diseases like dengue or yellow fever.
Feature: Can Hookworms Cure Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease patients infected with hookworms can tolerate gluten-containing foods, revealing the potential for these parasites and their secretions to treat a range of inflammatory diseases.
Browse: Protein Reverses Type 1 Diabetes
The protein CD52 suppresses immune responses and could stop autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes, according to a report in Nature Immunology.
Browse: Exercise Intensity Counts
For all the talk that half an hour of gentle exercise per day is all that is required for good health, a new study suggests that getting the heart rate up is important.
Browse: Malaria Mosquitoes Sterilised by Bed Nets
Browse: B-Vitamins Help Depression Meds Browse: E-Cig Health Claims Are a Smokescreen to Hook Youth
Credit: Ugreen/iStockphoto
Feature: Bioprinting of Human Organs
While bioprinting of living tissue has been possible for some time, the creation of functional organs has been limited by the ability to vascularise these tissues – until now.
Browse: Immune Alarm Call Identified
An international team of scientists has identified the biochemical key that wakes up the body’s immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi.
Browse: Shrimp Give Focus to Cancer Browse: Slow and Steady Does Not Win the Weight Loss Race
Browse: Journey to the Centre of the Cell
HIV virus attacking a cell. martynowi_cz/iStockphoto
Cover Story: Is an End to AIDS in Sight?
Gene therapy is showing promise as a way to turn HIV against itself and cure AIDS.
Child under anaesthesia
Feature: Thief of Time
General anaesthesia alters our perception of time by shifting the expression of clock genes to a new time zone, leading to chemically induced jet lag.
Feature: Out of the Darkness
Researchers find that light therapy and saffron can protect us against the leading stealers of sight.
Feature: A Fine Balance for Dementia Drugs
Since too much or too little of a key protein expressed in the brain can accelerate brain ageing, drugs developed to regulate its levels face a fine balancing act.
Credit: alex-mit/iStock
Feature: The Boys Are Not OK
Not only is male infertility a determining factor in a couple’s ability to start a family, it is also associated with a higher risk of early death.
Feature: Personal Genomics: What Do Consumers Want?
Are Australian consumers excited or cynical about the promises of personal genome tests, and are they adequately prepared for the information they’ll receive?
Browse: Herpes Remains Active Even without Symptoms
Browse: Electromagnetic Stimulation Reorganises Brain Browse: Slow and Steady Does Not Win the Weight Loss Race
Browse: MRI Predicts Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Browse: Could a beetroot a day keep the doctor at bay?
Browse: IVF Steroid Treatment May Do More Harm than Good Browse: Overweight People Don’t Live Longer
Overweight people don’t live longer than those with a lower body mass index (BMI), according to research published in PLOS ONE.
Browse: Ethnic Link to Thyroid Disease
Ethnicity affects rates of the thyroid disorder Graves’ disease, according to a study of medical data from American military personnel.
Browse: No Link between Vaccines and Autism
Browse: Growth Hormone Target for Cancer and Diabetes Browse: Healthy Fat Reverses Diabetes
Browse: Cloth Masks Put Health Workers at Risk of Infection Browse: Plant-based Chemicals Could Reverse Terminal Cancer
foetus
Cover Story: Why Are Males More at Risk in the Womb?
Subtle changes in the placenta before a child’s birth can affect its predisposition to chronic disease and premature death many years later – and unborn boys are most vulnerable.
Credit: Olivier Le Moal/Adobe
Feature: The Biggest Fertility Issue
Emerging evidence indicates that an obese mother or father predisposes their child to obesity via nutritional signals conveyed before birth.
Browse: Gold Nanoparticles Reduce Side-Effects of Arthritis Drug Browse: Fainting Is Genetic
Clues have been found to the genetic basis for fainting, with the gene that controls the tendency located in at least one family.
Browse: Sunscreen Protects DNA
For all the effort put into promoting sunscreen, evidence that it prevents skin cancer has been inconclusive according to Dr Elke Hacker of Queensland University of Technology’s AusSun Research Laboratory. However, Hacker has now demonstrated that sunscreen protects the genes responsible for repairing the skin.
Browse: Alcohol Doesn’t Dull the Minds of Older Men
Older men who consume alcohol excessively are not more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment in later life, according to research reported in Neurology.
Browse: Just 30 Minutes of Exercise Benefits the Brain Browse: How Much Gluten Is in “Gluten-Free” Food?
milk
Feature: Is Milk Causing Breast Cancer?
Is there any basis to claims that a dairy-free diet can prevent breast cancer?
Credit: Olesia Bilkei/Adobe
Feature: Which Pregnant Women Are at Risk?
A new screening test can identify the risk of pregnancy complications based on a genetic test in conjunction with lifestyle factors.
Browse: Stuttering Doesn’t Set Kids Back
Preschool stuttering is associated with better language development and non-verbal skills and has no detectable effect on children’s mental health or temperament, according to a study of 1600 children followed from infancy to the age of four. Of these 11% stuttered, double the rate previously reported.
Browse: Genetic Discovery May Explain Cancer Risk Mystery
Some common genetic cancer mutations could indicate the presence of more influential rare mutations that have yet to be found.
Browse: Anti-Cancer Drug Helps Malaria Browse: Smarter Brains Are Bloodthirsty
Online Feature: The genetics of epilepsy: bringing hope to families
Credit: herjua/iStockphoto
Feature: Born Too Soon
Each year a million babies die after premature birth, but researchers have now identified a potential treatment.
Feature: The Changing Role of IP in Genomics
Recent court decisions have overturned previous rulings about genetic patents, but other intellectual property regimes are already taking their place.
Browse: Chronic Pain Relief Gets Legs
A molecule in the venom of certain centipedes could be used as a powerful pain reliever without the side-effects associated with the drugs currently available.
Browse: Resistant Bacteria Rising Rapidly Browse: Birth Size Link to Teen Mental Health Conditions
Browse: Primordial Goo Improves Implants Browse: Acupuncture Evidence Misses the Point
Browse: Polymer Stars Trump Antibiotic Resistance Browse: Australian Skin Cancer Rates Drop
Rates of non-melanoma skin cancer are dropping among younger Australians, according to a study of Medicare data from 2000–10 published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Browse: Immunotherapy Approach Tames Aggressive Cancer Browse: Female Fertility Linked to Selenium in Diet
Browse: Paracetamol Overdose Explained
The association between paracetamol overdose and liver failure has been explained, accompanied by prospects for resolving the problem.
Browse: Link between Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer
Researchers from the University of Melbourne have found an association between pancreatic cancer and diabetes.
Browse: Broken Hill Playgrounds Contaminated Browse: Spice Improves Fatigue and Memory
Credit: kapley/iStockphoto
Feature: Our Evolutionary Origins Expose Cancer’s Weakness
The evolution of cellular regulation has inspired a new model of cancer that predicts ways to attack its weaknesses instead of its strengths.
Browse: Passive Smoking Ages Children’s Arteries
Exposure to passive smoking in childhood causes irreversible damage to the structure of children’s arteries, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.
Browse: Generation X’s Weighty Problem
Generation X (born in 1966–80) will overtake Baby Boomers (born in 1946–65) for poor health, including rates of obesity and diabetes, if current trends continue, according to research published in PLOS ONE by University of Adelaide researchers who compared the health status of the two groups at the same age range of 25–44 years.
Browse: Antioxidant Reduces Obesity and Diabetes Symptoms
Browse: Embryonic Editing Speeds Up Gene Studies Browse: Study Shows How Chinese Medicine Kills Cancer Cells
Insulin injection
Feature: Artificial Pancreas Reduces Highs & Hypos
Researchers hope that within 3 years new insulin pump software may be available to replace the functions of pancreatic beta-cells lost in Type 1 diabetes.
Browse: Carrots and Parsley Assist Chemotherapy
New Zealand researchers have identified compounds in carrots and parsley that may lead to more effective delivery of chemotherapy treatments.
Browse: Smelting Emissions Escape Regulation
pancreatic stem cells
Feature: Adult Stem Cells Offer New Hope for Diabetics
The transplantation of insulin-producing cells has been limited by a shortage of donor tissue. Could pancreatic stem cells offer a way forward for the treatment of diabetes?
Feature: Biobanks Go Global
Global networks of depositories for biological samples open a range of scientific, legal and ethical challenges.
Browse: Running Technique Change Could Increase Chance of Injury
Changing your running technique might not offer performance and injury avoidance benefits.
Browse: A Better Test for Childhood TB Browse: Cocaine Addiction Blocked
Browse: Celebrity Chef’s Bent Spoon
Credit: Yurok Aleksandrovich
Feature: Sugar Cravings
We all differ in our sensitivity to natural and artificial sweeteners, but how much of this is genetic and how much due to the influences of our sugar-fuelled culture?
Browse: Melanoma Starved
Several cancers could be starved of nutrients by drugs that block cellular protein pumps.
Browse: 3D-Printed Kidney Helps Drug Trials
Browse: Salt Unbalances the Immune System
Credit: nobeastsofierce
Cover Story: Should Australia Allow Mitochondrial Donation?
Is there any ethical reason why legislation should prevent the use of donor mitochondria in cases where children are likely to inherit mitochondrial disease from their mothers?
Browse: Genetic Overlap in Mental Illnesses
Genetic variations associated with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have substantial overlap, indicating possible relationships between the conditions.
Browse: Light-Activated Cancer Therapy Isn’t Just Skin Deep
Browse: IVF Children Grow into Healthy Adults
Young adults conceived through assisted reproductive technologies have grown up as healthy individuals.
The dwarves of a village in Ecuador never succumb to cancer or diabetes.
Feature: Why Don’t Some Dwarves Get Cancer?
Understanding the molecular mechanism that prevents dwarves from getting cancer and diabetes could lead to treatments for a range of diseases, and even hormone-free aquaculture.
Browse: The Dangers of Slow-Release Paracetamol Browse: Triple-Agent Cells Fight Tumours
Immune cells that have been co-opted by tumours to assist their growth could be returned to a health-assisting role as a result of an Italian–Australian collaboration.
Browse: Study Confirms Value of HPV Vaccine
New research has confirmed that vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV) has reduced the frequency of abnormal Pap test results and pre-cancers in women.
Browse: New Vaccine for Melanoma
A trial vaccine is being touted as the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability to stop or reverse the cancer, according to a study published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.
Browse: Painkillers Less Effective for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Browse: Cholesterol Linked to Aggressive Cancers
Browse: Cancer Survival Affects Menopause
Women who have survived cancer suffer more severe symptoms of menopause, but actually have better mental health than a control group of the same age according to a report in the journal Menopause.
Browse: Can the “Love Hormone” Protect Against Addiction?
Addictive behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse could be associated with poor development of the so-called “love hormone” system in our bodies during early childhood, according to researchers at the University of Adelaide.
Browse: Lethal Bacteria’s Virulence a “Roll of the Dice” Browse: Artificial Sweeteners Trip Appetite Control Mechanisms
Platypus in the Waterhole by Megan Porter
Feature: The Art of Pregnancy
Low birth weight affects one in eight indigenous Australian babies. To counter this and the ongoing health issues it causes, an art program is attracting pregnant indigenous women into a research project that also educates them and monitors their health.
The ingestible gas sensor
Feature: A Capsule to Look Inside an Irritable Bowel
The impact of diet and illness on the gut can finally be revealed by swallowing an ingenious capsule that directly measures intestinal gases.
Browse: Deadly Diarrhoea Caused by Wastewater on Crops
The use of wastewater to irrigate vegetable crops in developing countries may significantly contribute to deadly health risks such as rotavirus.
Browse: Placental Tissue Gives Gift of Life a Second Time
Browse: Diabetics Should Pause Paleo Diet
mitochondria
Feature: Power Failures in Our Cells
Severe defects in mitochondrial function affect at least one in every 5000 births, but mitochondrial disorders can reveal themselves at any age through a wide range of symptoms and as contributing factors to conditions as disparate as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
heart
Feature: Getting to the Heart of  Size
The discovery that cardiac muscle cells can divide until adolescence opens the way to new approaches to treating heart disease.
Browse: Herpes Vaccine Trials Begin
Phase 1 trials are underway for a vaccine against the HSV-2 virus responsible for genital herpes.
Browse: Stem Cells Boost Muscular Dystrophy Prospects
Australian company Genea Biocells has achieved a world-first by turning human embryonic stem cells into skeletal muscle cells in an efficient and scalable manner.
Browse: Disease Outbreaks Identified with Google
Infectious disease outbreaks can be detected 2 weeks earlier by tracking internet searches, a review in Lancet Infectious Diseases has confirmed.
Browse: Viagra Could Harm Vision Browse: The Origins of Pollen Allergens
Synapse
Cover Story: Losing Weight Subconsciously
Individuals vary widely in their ability to lose weight, with new evidence suggesting that up to 45% of the variability in weight loss is caused by individual differences in subconscious nerve activity.
iStockphoto
Cover Story: I Can Feel Your Pain
Empathy for someone else’s pain shares common characteristics with synaesthesia, a sensory condition where individuals can smell music or taste colours.
Credit: iStockphoto
Cover Story: The Obesity Paradox
In the past 10 years there has been no increase in the fatness of kids, either in Australia or in many developed countries. At the other end of life, fatter adults are living longer than lean adults. What can be going on?
Interleukin-2 therapy will achieve a complete response when it is administered d
Cover Story: Window of Opportunity
By targeting cancer treatments to specific phases of the immune cycle, researchers believe they can dramatically improve the chances of complete remission.
Baweg/iStockphoto
Cover Story: Does Eating Less Extend Life?
Dietary restriction extends the lives of species as diverse as yeast, flies and mice, but is this effect simply due to artificial conditions in the laboratory?
neuron
Cover Story: Brain Stimulation & Memory: How Strong Is the Evidence?
For nearly 15 years, scientists have reported that running a weak electric current through the brain can improve learning and memory. What if we got it wrong?
Credit: 1JPAU © Commonwealth of Australia
Cover Story: Saving Lives on the Battlefield
Treatments that stem blood loss after a catastrophic injury in the battlefield can damage the brain. However, a new drug strategy aims to stabilise both in the first crucial 10 minutes.
Image credit: enterlinedesign/adobe
Cover Story: A Diet that Calms the Schizophrenic Mind
The ketogenic diet favoured by bodybuilders also normalises schizophrenia-like behaviours.
Credit: Gino Santa Maria
Cover Story: Predicting Pandemics
Which factors determine whether an emerging virus is likely to burn out or spread like wildfire between people?
Cover Story: Skeletons Come out of the Closet to Fight Cancer
Cells have skeletons that hold their shape and help them move around. Recent discoveries have revealed that a protein in some cytoskeletons is making cancer cells more deadly, fundamentally challenging our understanding of the function of the cell’s skeleton and offering new hope for the development of targeted and effective cancer therapies.
iStockphoto
Feature: Spoilt by Choice
Our supermarkets provide a wide variety of foods, so why do more than a billion people worldwide eat more poorly than hunter-gatherers? A study conducted in a Swiss chalet was the starting point to test a theory.
istockphoto
Feature: The Evidence for Meditation
Meditation has traditionally been associated with Eastern mysticism, but science is beginning to show that cultivating a “heightened” state of consciousness can have a major impact on our brain, the way our bodies function and our levels of resilience.
Credit: iStockphoto
Feature: Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Classic “Communicated” Disease
Is there any evidence that wind farms cause illness in the community?
iStockphoto
Feature: Don’t Always Trust What You See
Recent behavioural tests reveal that patterns we can’t even discern can deceive us into seeing things differently from how they really are.
iStockphoto / dwphotos
Feature: A Party Worth Remembering
Euphoric and highly addictive, a popular party drug also causes long-term memory loss.
iStockphoto
Feature: Stimulating Approaches to Depression
New forms of brain stimulation are offering hope to a substantial group of depressed patients who don’t get better with standard medical and psychological treatments.
Autism
Feature: Hormone Linked to Male Bias in Autism
Anti-Müllerian hormone affects the rate of development of boys, leading to a male bias in autism spectrum disorders.
Usian Bolt
Feature: Tendon Injury Rehabilitation Under Review
A review finds poor evidence for a common rehabilitation intervention used by physiotherapists to treat tendon injuries.
Male joeys are born bigger and stronger than females after receiving milk that i
Feature: Mummy’s Boy
An analysis of wallaby milk finds that male joeys receive better nutrition than their sisters.
Neurons
Feature: Stem Cells Short-Circuit Nerve Diseases
Brain stem cells can be stimulated to produce cells that insulate neurons, offering hope for patients with multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: iStockphoto
Feature: When the Immune System Forgets
A mutation is revealing the basis behind an immunodeficiency syndrome that stifles the antibody response to vaccination.
berries
Feature: Are Green Tea and Berries the Answer to a Ripe Old Age?
Polyphenols found in plant-based foods may be all we need to live longer.
mammogram
Feature: The Breast Exposed
Why is the breast so prone to cancer?
frentusha/iStockphoto
Feature: Can Microbes Destroy Cancer?
The efficiency of anti-cancer vaccines can be improved by exposing immune cells to harmless bacteria found in the throat.
B cells
Feature: Hitting the Brakes When Cells Get out of Control
By creating a “traffic jam” in the transport pathway of B cells, researchers have found a potential drug target to slow the proliferation of cancerous cells.
premature baby
Feature: Bated Breath
Medical advances are enabling increasingly premature babies to survive, but the health risks they face can persist well beyond childhood. Now a clinical trial in Melbourne is testing the use of foetal stem cells to ward off chronic lung disease in premature babies.
headache
Feature: New Ways to Split a Headache
Chronic headache is poorly understood and notoriously difficult to manage, but immune-targeted medications and electrical stimulation could provide fresh insight into the root cause and treatment of this debilitating condition.
selfie
Feature: Positive Minds Wire Our Brains for Tough Times
Positive feelings are linked to brain development in teenagers, giving neuroscientists insights into why people differ in their resilience to stress and other mental health conditions later in life.
Thai liver worm in the bile ducts within the liver
Feature: Worm Spit May Lick Liver Cancer
A liver worm is responsible for 26,000 cancer deaths every year, but a component in its spit could form the basis of a vaccine – and could even help to heal chronic wounds in diabetics.
hip x-ray
Feature: Listen to the Hips When They Can No Longer Hop
Hip replacement implants wear out and need to be replaced, but determining when this is necessary is a significant challenge for orthopaedic surgeons. Now an ultrasound device has been developed that can detect the vibrations made by microscopic abrasions within implants.
DNA
Feature: The 21st Century Imitation Game
New sequencing technologies are enabling scientists to crack the genetic code of rare mitochondrial diseases and disorders of sex development.
Illustration: Elia Pirtle
Feature: The Physics of Hamstring Injuries
A spring-mass “hamspring” system explains why one particular muscle in the hamstring group is so prone to injury in sprinting sports.
Has performance increased since the introduction of systematic doping?
Feature: Has Doping Harmed Athletic Performance?
An investigation of sporting performance over the past 125 years throws into doubt the assumption that doping improves athletic performance. Could it even have jeopardised it?
shironosov/iStock
Feature: Running for your Life
Exercise can improve the way the brain functions, even in cases of brain trauma. Here’s why.
Credit: Rob Byron/adobe
Feature: Blood Test Stops Cancer Return
The ability to detect cancer DNA in a patient’s blood could enable doctors to predict the risk of cancer recurrence and track the success of treatments like chemotherapy in real time.
Credit: photopitu/adobe
Feature: Failure as a Route to Success
Lorraine Chantrill describes the obstacles that have impeded a clinical trial of genomically guided treatment of an aggressive form of cancer.
Credit: BrianAJackson/iStockphoto
Feature: Gut Feeling
Does indigestion lead to anxiety and other mood disorders, and could a cure be in sight for both?
Cedit: pathdoc/Adobe
Feature: Data Caps Brain Cancer Concerns
Extensive health data records in New Zealand have revealed whether brain cancer rates have changed as a result of radiation emitted by mobile phones.
Credit: psdesign1/Adobe
Feature: Keeping the Noise Down
Transgenic mice have revealed how the cochlea protects itself from loud noise and why some people may be more susceptible to hearing loss than others.
Credit: MartesiaBezuidenhout/adobe
Feature: The Stomach as a Target for Obesity
Obesity permanently changes the way our body processes gastrointestinal signals about satiety. While appetite suppressants have had limited success, the identification of an appetite-regulating nerve channel offers a new approach to keeping weight off.
Feature: New study: no increase in brain cancer across 29 years of mobile use in Australia
A new study has reported that brain cancer incidence rates have risen only slightly in males but have been stable in females.
Clusters of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus protected by a biofilm.
Feature: A Trojan Horse to Clear a Stuffy Nose
Antibiotic resistance is expected to kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined, but a new approach aims to penetrate the biofilms that protect bacteria from antibiotics.
Credit: Maksym Yemelyanov/adobe
Feature: Pharmed Meds
Some clever chemistry is turning plants into pharmaceutical factories that could enable remote communities in developing countries to grow and store stable medicines cheaply.
Credit: freshidea/adobe
Feature: Guardians of the Gut
The appendix has long been considered an evolutionary relic but new evidence indicates it has an important role in our immune system.
Credit: Svislo/istockphoto
Feature: Mortality Molecules
Cancer cells become immortal by exploiting a mechanism that protects normal cells from DNA damage. Can we use these molecules to turn off cancer’s fountain of youth?
Microscopy imaging of metastatic cancer cells. Credit: drimafilm/adobe
Feature: The Bacteria that Promote Cancer
A bacterial protein can trigger inflammation and facilitate the progression of cancer.
Feature: Robo-Doc
Researchers have unleashed swarms of nanobots that can deliver drugs directly within tumours.
Credit: iStockphoto/Андрей Юдин
Feature: Drugs and the Death Penalty: Breaking the Supply Chain
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has banned the sale of its drugs for use in executions, but this has led some US states to experiment with lethal injection protocols.
Feature: Weighty  Issues
Is a switch to artificial sweeteners a smart alternative to sugar?
Feature: The Role of Gut Microbes in Autism
Gut microbes can modify our mood and even change our behaviour. They’ve now been implicated in a neuronal mutation found in the gut and brain of autistic patients.
Browse: Vitamin D Deficiency Impedes Child Speech
Further evidence has emerged of the importance of healthy maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy, with children whose mothers had low concentrations of vitamin D in their blood during their second and third trimester more likely to struggle with speech.
Browse: Take a Break from Sitting
Overweight workers in sedentary jobs should take frequent short activity breaks to reduce the negative impacts of sitting for too long, a paper in Diabetes Care suggests.
Browse: Diabetes Drug Prevents Parkinson’s
Diabetes is a major risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease, with some diabetes drugs affecting the development of the latter.
Browse: Infrared Protects Eyes
A dose of near infrared light can protect the eyes of people exposed to bright light of shorter wavelengths.
Browse: Island’s Headache May Bring Migraine Relief
Norfolk Island provides genetic clues to migraine susceptibility.
Browse: Anaesthesia Impairs Intellect in Kids
An association has been found between anaesthesia in young children and impaired intellectual development, but it is not clear if the anaesthetics are to blame or the medical condition for which the child was treated.
Browse: Computers Back-Up Old Brains
Computer use is associated with a reduced danger of dementia and cognitive decline among men aged 65–85, a Perth study has found.
Browse: Sugar Shrinks the Brain
High blood sugar levels, even within what is considered the normal range, can contribute to dementia, a study published in Neurology suggests.
Browse: An Antidote to Fantasy?
The site where the drug GHB binds to brain proteins has been identified, raising hope that an antidote may be produced against its sometimes lethal effects.
Browse: Vitamin B Boosts Teenage Mental Health
Parents of teenagers should give their children vitamin B-containing foods if they wish to reduce the behavioural issues commonly associated with those years, a new study suggests.
Browse: New Breast Cancer Gene Associations Found
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has discovered two genes with variations associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Browse: Asthma Linked to Teen Depression
Severe childhood asthma increases the risk of depression and anxiety among teenagers, a study published in Psychological Medicine reveals. However, no link was found between mental health issues and mild asthma.
Browse: Oral TB Vaccine Better than a Needle
Of all the diseases that are developing resistance to antibiotics, pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is by far the largest killer. One-and-a-half million people die of the disease each year, about one-quarter from co-infection with HIV.
Browse: Gastro Epidemic Expected This Winter
A new strain of norovirus has all the aspects required to wreak havoc through Australian digestive systems this winter.
Browse: Sugar Really Does Make You Fat
A connection between sugar consumption and obesity may not seem like news, but a review of 68 studies on the topic has produced results that are likely to influence public health policies.
Browse: Anti-Nausea Drug Fights Tumours
A drug used to fight nausea associated with chemotherapy also reduces brain tumours, both in vitro and in mouse models.
Browse: Brain Plaques Don’t Indicate Alzheimer’s Onset
The debate about the causes of Alzheimer’s disease has turned again, with the publication in PLoS ONE of evidence that plaque only appears after memory loss has begun.
Browse: Business Class Is Not a Barrier to Measles
Measles is a threat to airline passengers beyond the immediately surrounding rows, an Australian study suggests, requiring a rethink of prevention measures when an infectious person has been on a flight.
Browse: Christchurch Earthquakes Shook Healthy Eating
A study at the University of Canterbury has found that earthquakes cause women to eat less healthy food, and provided evidence for the factors that maximise the effect.
Browse: Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Tuberculosis
Outbreaks of tuberculosis in Australia, particularly in the southern states, are a delayed response to low exposure to sunlight, the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory has proposed in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Browse: Tablets Aid Autistic Communication
Most non-verbal autistic children prefer to use tablet computers to communicate rather than sign language or picture cards, according to research in New Zealand.
Browse: Gen Y Says Bye to Genital Warts
Genital warts are becoming a thing of the past among younger Australians as a by-product of cervical cancer vaccination.
Browse: Bed-sharing Not Dangerous for All
Public health messages telling mothers not to share their bed with young babies are being targeted too broadly, according to A/Prof Catherine Fetherston of Murdoch University. Indeed in some cases the advice could be counter-productive.
Browse: Immune Cells Trigger Eczema
A newly identified type of immune cell in the skin appears to help fight off parasites, but may also be responsible for eczema when it triggers wrongly.
Browse: Resistance Turned Against Mozzie Diseases
Insecticide resistance has allowed diseases like malaria and dengue to kill millions, but its introduction could prove the key to their defeat according to Prof Ary Hoffman of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Genetics.
Browse: Malaria Vaccine Trials Funded
Funding has been received for trials of an all-Australian malaria vaccine using a different strategy to previous unsuccessful trials.
Browse: Blood Test for Alzheimer’s
A blood test providing prior warning of Alzheimer’s disease may be on its way following the identification of markers that signal the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.
Browse: Diabetes Determines Lung Transplant Success
Diabetes is the strongest risk factor for the death of lung transplant recipients, according to Dr Kathryn Hackman.
Browse: Fatter Babies Are Smarter
Parents worrying that early weight gain may be a sign of subsequent obesity might be reassured to know that fast-growing offspring are also more likely to have the brains to take on life’s challenges, poor health included.
Browse: Fathers Transmit Diabetes
Obesity in male mice is a risk factor for their offspring but affects sons and daughters differently, according to a report in The FASEB Journal.
Browse: Adults Make Heavy Traffic of Asthma
Wood smoke and heavy traffic fumes contribute to the severity of asthma symptoms in adults, researchers at the University of Melbourne have confirmed.
Browse: Red Hair Gene Is a Melanoma Risk for Us All
The association between red hair and melanoma is well-known, but the gene responsible can endanger others as well.
Browse: Poor Maternal Nutrition Primes Child Obesity
Rats whose mothers were fed an unhealthy diet during pregnancy need more junk food to get the same hit, according to research published in FASEB. The mechanism appears to be a shortage of pleasure receptors in the brain.
Browse: Exercise Helps Brain Repair
Gentle exercise improves the capacity of the brain to rewire itself, including the ability to restore functions unrelated to the exercise. However, it is important not to overdo things, as strenuous exercise can interfere with brain redevelopment.
Browse: Maori Gout Longstanding
The finding that gout was common in New Zealand prior to the arrival of Europeans has thrown into question many ideas about the painful disease.
Browse: Obesity Is Not In Our Genes
Genetic factors have less influence on obesity than previously thought, a new study has concluded. As interesting as the finding may be, the methodology used to reach the conclusion could provide insights into even more exciting questions.
Browse: Diabetic Women Have Higher Stroke Risk
A review of more than 60 studies has shown that women with type 2 diabetes have a 27% higher risk of stroke than men with diabetes.
Browse: SIDS Linked to Asphyxiation
University of Adelaide researchers have found that telltale signs in the brains of babies that have died of SIDS are remarkably similar to those of children who died of accidental asphyxiation.
Browse: Dental Stem Cells Treat Stroke Browse: Researchers Find Link To Failing Heart In Muscular Dystrophy
Browse: Omega-3 Fats May Significantly Reduce Damage from Stroke
Omega-3 Fats May Significantly Reduce Damage from Stroke
Browse: Earth vibrations can shed light on deep ocean storm activity
Browse: Asthma drugs suppress growth Browse: Broccoli Each Day Keeps Asthma Away
Browse: Safe Vaccine for a Sore Throat – and Heart Disease Browse: Sex Discrimination in the Womb
Browse: Poor Nutrition Leads to Chronic Diseases Browse: Treatment for Pregnancy Complications Ineffective
Browse: Lentils Can Boost Selenium Browse: An Atlas for Immune Cells in Skin
Browse: Bone Marrow Transplant Complications Blocked Browse: Retina Metabolism Resembles Cancer
Browse: Food Additive Prevents Weight Gain Browse: Ice Baths Are Just a Chilly Placebo that Fools Footballers
Browse: Do Electronic Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit? Yes, But… Browse: Gold Nanorods Target Cancer Cells
Browse: Lactation Protein’s Possible Cancer Role Browse: Hidden Hazards Not Labelled in “All-Natural” Products
Browse: Magnetic Material Cooks Cancer Browse: How Plants Control Vitamin C Production Revealed
Browse: Tarantula Venom May Block Chronic Pain Browse: Melatonin Warning for Children’s Sleep
Browse: Cadmium’s Toxic Trick Browse: Kunjin Virus Effective as Ebola Vaccine
Browse: A New Silver Species of Staphylococcus Browse: Whooping Cough Upsurge Is Due to Weaker Vaccine
Browse: Wine Acid Softens Teeth in Minutes Browse: What Makes a Knuckle Crack?
Browse: Stroke Drug Alleviates Alzheimer’s Browse: Working Up a Sweat Reduces Mortality
Browse: Processed Foods Linked to Harmful Chemicals Browse: Maternal Exercise Keeps Unborn Boys Trim and Terrific
Browse: Breath Test Developed for Malaria Browse: Paracetamol Doesn’t Help Back Pain
Browse: Stand Up for Your Heart Browse: Jellyfish Venom “Milked”
Browse: Sweet Revenge against Superbugs Browse: Fatty Maternal Diet Changes Newborn Heart’s “Taste Buds”
Browse: Ignorance about Animal Diseases Leaves Humans at Risk Browse: Genes Lead Teens to Binge-Eat
Browse: Toxins in Herbal Medicines “Can Harm Our Health” Browse: Junk Diet’s Role in Dementia
Browse: Resistance Training Benefits Breast Cancer Survivors Browse: 3D Protein Map Offers New Malaria Vaccine Hope
Browse: Aboriginal children experience high burden of unintentional injury Browse: Sit-standing desks won't fix a couch potato
Browse: Blocked Bacteria Protects Against Stomach Cancer Browse: Paleo Diet Increases Weight Gain
Browse: Brown Fat Keeps Blood Sugar in Check Browse: DNA Promoters of Cancer Identified
Browse: One Jab for Flu Vaccine Browse: A Pill to Treat Sugar Addiction
Browse: An Hour a Day Keeps Myopia at Bay Browse: Your Baby Isn’t Mimicking You
Browse: Nutraceuticals Can Boost Antidepressants Browse: Scans Reveal Brain Changes in ADHD
Browse: Small birth or stress during pregnancy increases disease risk in mothers Browse: Dairy Avoidance at Dangerous Levels
Browse: Morphine Doubles Duration and Severity of Pain Browse: Paternal Supplements Help Offspring Health
Browse: Cricketers Adopt Guided Missile Maths Browse: Evolution Has Spared Some Organs from Cancer
Browse: Australia Targeted by Under-regulated Stem Cell Clinics Browse: A Toxic Risk for Asian Medicine
Browse: Snake Antivenom Saves Man’s Best Friend Browse: Newborn Thyroid Activity Linked to Academic Struggles
Browse: Longer-lasting Drugs Are Persisting in Water Supplies Browse: Wearable Device Puts Insomnia to Bed
Browse: Age of Multiple Sclerosis Onset Linked to Latitude Browse: Vitamin D Deficiency Link to Childhood Asthma
Browse: Two Clocks Tell T Cells When Their Time’s Up Browse: Exercise Could Help Rehabilitate Meth Addicts
Browse: Key Cause of Parkinson’s Disease Can Be Treated Browse: Sports That Will Save Your Life
Browse: pH Probe Enables More Precise Breast Cancer Surgery Browse: Patch Mends a Broken Heart
Browse: Neurons “Meta-Adapted” to Our Rowdy World Browse: A Sprinkle of Microbes on Cereal Could Suppress Allergies
conSCIENCE: Towards a Healthier PNG
Medical researchers in Papua New Guinea face unique scientific and public health challenges.
conSCIENCE: Is “Mentally Ill” the New Normal?
Drug treatments for behaviours that were previously not considered mental health conditions raise several unintended consequences.
conSCIENCE: Stem Cell Loophole Must Be Closed
Unproven stem cell treatments are being offered in Australia without regulatory oversight.
conSCIENCE: Medical Research Must Come Clean
Up to one-third of cell lines may be contaminated, threatening the reliability of research.
conSCIENCE: Stem Cell Industry Must Tread a Fine Line
The emerging stem cell industry needs to be able to fast-track therapies into clinical trials without clearing the way for clinics to offer unproven therapies to vulnerable patients.
conSCIENCE: A Toxic Legacy from Firefighting Foams
Australian communities and environmental systems adjacent to Defence sites, airports and firefighting training centres have been contaminated by toxic chemicals.
conSCIENCE: The Miner’s Myth
Several myths have been propagated to counter compelling evidence for community health issues arising from mining and smelting operations in Mount Isa and Broken Hill.
The Bitter Pill: When ARTG and CAM Spell SFA
Recent moves to improve the regulation of alternative medicines looked promising until the Therapeutic Goods Administration caved under pressure from the industry.
The Bitter Pill: What’s the Evidence?
The terms “evidence-based” and “peer-reviewed” have become touchstones for reliability, but why should the views of peers count so much and what does “evidence-based” medicine really mean?
The Bitter Pill: When “Healing Hands” Start Grasping
Esoteric breast massage claims “to heal many issues such as painful periods, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, bloating/water retention, and pre-menstrual and menopausal symptoms”.
The Bitter Pill: Is Complementary Medicine a Valid Alternative?
How can we compare the evidence base behind conventional and complementary medicine?
The Bitter Pill: Too Open to Ideas?
Why do intelligent people believe incredible things? Psychological studies suggest that the answer may lie in personality type rather than any measure of intelligence.
The Bitter Pill: The Natural Logic of Health Care
It’s time to debunk the “natural is healthy and good and non-natural is unhealthy and bad” myth.
The Bitter Pill: How Charles Darwin Was Cured by Water
The “water cure” relieved Charles Darwin of periods of nausea, but why didn’t it work at home?
The Bitter Pill: Getting to the Bottom of Colon Cleansing
Colonic cleansing has persisted as an alternative therapy for centuries despite a lack of evidence.
The Bitter Pill: Seeking the Evidence for Chinese Medicine
By looking for active ingredients in traditional Chinese medicines, ethnopharmacologists are finding evidence for their efficacy.
The Bitter Pill: Balance Returning to Vaccination Information
The Australian Vaccination Network’s status as a charitable organisation has been stripped and its web of half-truths and outright lies damned by authorities.
The Bitter Pill: Homeopathy Fails the Test – Again
The National Health and Medical Research Council has found that homeopathy is no better than a placebo. It is one of many such findings around the world, but will it change anything?
The Bitter Pill: Needless Treatment of Pets
The emergence of complementary and alternative medicine in veterinary clinics is a serious threat to animal welfare and the reputation of veterinarians.
The Bitter Pill: A Pharmacist’s View of the “Natural” Route to Health
A growing tendency to sell and even promote alternative remedies and “natural” supplements is putting the reputation of pharmacists at risk, and adding to the burgeoning health costs of the nation.
The Bitter Pill: Vitamins: Perception versus Reality
Which vitamins are backed by scientific evidence and which don’t live up to the hype?
The Bitter Pill: Is Evidence-based Medicine in Palliative Care Doing More Harm than Good?
Stringent regulations govern what is administered to us in the prime of our lives, but different values seem to apply when it comes to the terminally ill and the dying.
The Bitter Pill: Everything You’ve Heard about Acupuncture Is Wrong
Acupuncture is often cited as an effective alternative method of treating a range of ailments, but few people are aware of the origins, philosophies and contradictions involved.
The Bitter Pill: Evidence for Acupuncture: What Do Scientific Studies Show?
Advocates of acupuncture claim that it has been proven effective by scientific studies. Critics claim that it is only a placebo. They can’t both be right.
The Bitter Pill: Why Do We Pay Parents Who Won’t Vaccinate their Kids?
The federal government wrestles with the cost of health care for Australians, so isn’t it time they stopped paying parents not to vaccinate their children?
The Bitter Pill: What’s the Evidence, Ms Kardashian?
It is disturbingly common to find celebrities paid to spruik alternative treatments, medicines and practices that science has already shown are ineffective – or worse.
The Bitter Pill: Stepping out of the Dental Dark Ages
Water fluoridation has been one of the country’s most effective public health measures, but parts of Australia don’t have that benefit and may even strongly resist it. Why?
The Bitter Pill: “Alternative” Is Not a Compliment
There is no such thing as “CAM”, only medicine, complementary therapy and scam.
The Bitter Pill: “Integrative Medicine” Has No Place in Universities
With their financial resources under threat, Australia’s universities need to resist the temptation of offering lucrative courses that rebadge complementary therapies as “integrative medicine”.
The Bitter Pill: Pseudoscience in Sport: If It’s Legal It Probably Doesn’t Work
Elite athletes are prime targets for emerging sham products that promise make-believe effects.
The Bitter Pill: Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have a Neurological Origin?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may result from damage to a small but critical brain structure.
The Bitter Pill: The Needles Are as Thin as the Evidence
Practitioners of dry-needling swear by it, yet there is no evidence it will relieve your muscular aches and pains.
The Bitter Pill: Smoke, Mirrors and Nanotechnology
Alternative health practitioners are quick to offer a variety of untested therapies. Nanotechnology is yet another in the list.
The Bitter Pill: What The Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know
The health claims of the egg industry rely on a red herring and a half-truth.
The Bitter Pill: Is Chemmart’s myDNA Test Right for You?
The promises of genetic tests and treatments may be outstripping the science.
The Bitter Pill: An EEG Only Scratches the Surface of the Brain
Chiropractors claim that “functional neurology” can treat conditions ranging from epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease to autism and stroke, but the technology they use isn’t up to the task.
The Bitter Pill: Dodgy Tests and Dodgy Diagnoses
Lax regulation of complementary treatments is allowing alternative laboratories to peddle expensive and useless diagnostic tests.
The Bitter Pill: Is Saturated Fat Good or Bad?
Populist TV, blogs and publications have portrayed saturated fats as healthy rather than dietary villains, but this is an oversimplification as it’s not valid to judge our complex dietary intake by only one component.
The Bitter Pill: The Ultimate Placebo
The placebo effect is usually invoked with pharmaceutical treatments, but why not surgery?
The Bitter Pill: Australian Chiropractors Manipulate the Evidence
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is dealing with more than 600 complaints about chiropractors. The majority of these cases involve caring practitioners who genuinely believe that their interventions are effective. The problem is their interpretation of evidence.
The Bitter Pill: Anti-Vaccination and CAM Reflect a Common Worldview
A study has explored the psychosocial factors driving anti-vaccination attitudes.
The Bitter Pill: Why Acupuncture Misses the Point
History reveals the sociopolitical factors behind the rise and fall of acupuncture.
The Bitter Pill: US Mandates “No Evidence” Labels for Homeopathic Products
Before advocates of science get too excited, though, a number of caveats may limit its effect.
Cool Careers: A Time To Dance
Joel Miller is seeking to create better bone implants, and turned his PhD into a competition-winning dance.
Eureka!: Looking at a Photo of Pizza Could Make Food Taste Better...
... and eating cake at breakfast can help you keep weight off.
Eureka!: Speed Bump Pain a Sign of Appendicitis
Appendicitis could be diagnosed by a patient’s pain when driving to hospital over speed bumps.
Eureka!: The Bee Sting Pain Index
A PhD student has subjected himself to repeated bee stings over 38 days to compare the most painful places to be stung.
Eureka!: The Unromantic Truth About Kissing
When couples kiss intimately for 10 seconds they transfer 80 million bacteria.
Eureka!: New York Subway Home to Bubonic Plague and Anthrax
Traces of DNA sampled across New York’s subway have revealed a trail of anthrax, bubonic plague and drug-resistant microbes.
Eureka!: It’s Not How Big It Is, Is It?
A review has determined the average penis length in men, while those with erectile dysfunction may benefit from a treatment using a by-product of liposuction. Meanwhile, there is a link between corruption and antibiotic resistance.
Eureka!: A Piece of String is Better to Check for Body Fat than BMI
Body Mass Index may not be the best measure of obesity and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Expert Opinion: New plain packaging research - experts respond
As New Zealand deliberates over the introduction of 'plain packaging' for cigarettes, a new study confirms that such measures reduce the appeal of tobacco products.
Expert Opinion: Dark Chocolate and Cocoa May Reduce Blood Pressure
Australian researchers have found that dark chocolate and cocoa powder have a small but statistically significant effect in lowering blood pressure in the short term. The authors say there is a need for long-term trials to determine whether or not blood pressure is reduced on a chronic basis by eating cocoa every day.
Expert Opinion: Long-Term Toxicity of GM Maize
French research published in Food and Chemical Toxicology suggests that rats fed a diet containing a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize died more frequently and earlier than control groups. The study also suggests that females developed mammary tumours more often than and before controls.
Expert Opinion: Too Much Added Sugar for Young Australians
Preliminary research presented at the annual congress of the Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society suggests that intake of “added” sugars is above recommended levels for more than half of young Australians.
Expert Opinion: Getting Stoned May Not Be Making Teens Stupid
A previously reported causal link between teenage marijuana use and a reduction in IQ may be erroneous. A Norwegian researcher re-examined data from the Dunedin longitudinal study of cannabis users in New Zealand and found that the decrease in IQ observed may instead be linked to lower socioeconomic status.
Expert Opinion: Aspirin May Lower Melanoma Risk
New research has found that women who take aspirin have a reduced risk of developing melanoma, and that the longer they take it, the lower the risk.
Expert Opinion: Red Herring for Red Meat Consumption
A nutrient used as a dietary supplement, not fat and cholesterol, is the link between red meat consumption and cardiovascular disease.
Expert Opinion: Back Pain Can Be Treated with Antibiotics
New research finds that bacterial infection is the cause of 40% of chronic lower back pain.
Expert Opinion: Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
A new coronavirus – from the same group of viruses responsible for the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – has been identified as the cause of an increasing number of illnesses and deaths in several countries.
Expert Opinion: Food Standards Authority Defends GM Safety
Earlier this year, a scientific review raised concerns that double-stranded RNA molecules produced in new genetically modified crops could pose a risk to human health. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has responded to the claims by Heinemann et al. (2013) that this gene silencing technology is entering the food supply without adequate scrutiny.
Expert Opinion: GM pig feed and stomach inflammation
Experts respond to a study finding that GM soy and corn cause stomach inflammation in pigs.
Expert Opinion: IVF Increases the Risk of Mental Retardation
A Swedish study has found that IVF was associated with a small risk of mental retardation.
Expert Opinion: Stem Cells Reset Inside Mice
Spanish researchers have successfully reset stem cells so they can become any cell type within the bodies of live mice, bypassing the need for transplantation.
Expert Opinion: Australia Tops World Cancer Charts
The cancer agency of the World Health Organization has revealed that Australian men have the highest incidence of cancer in the world. The data reveals striking patterns of cancer in women and highlights that preventing and controlling breast and cervical cancers globally should be prioritised.
Expert Opinion: Are Chemicals in Food Packaging a Health Risk?
Synthetic chemicals used in the packaging, storage and processing of foods might be harmful to human health because most of these substances are not inert and can leach into the foods we eat.
Expert Opinion: Hazelwood coal fire health impacts
The Victorian government may announce a partial evacuation of residents from the smoke-affected town of Morwell. Australian experts comment on the health impacts of coal fires.
Expert Opinion: Effectiveness of Flu Drug Questioned
A Cochrane review of the effectiveness and side-effects of the drug Tamiflu raises critical questions around the future of government stockpiling of such drugs for use in an influenza pandemic.
Expert Opinion: Organic Food High in Antioxidants and Low in Toxic Metals
A meta-analysis of 343 studies has found that organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants and 50% lower in toxic heavy metals than conventional crops. But are these results biologically meaningful?
Expert Opinion: Prostate Cancer Screening: Do Benefits Outweight Risks?
Screening for prostate cancer could reduce deaths from the disease by about one-fifth, according to long-term results of a European study involving over 162,000 men. Despite this new evidence for the efficacy of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, the authors question whether the benefits of screening outweigh the harms, and recommend against routine PSA screening programs.
Expert Opinion: Antidepressants during Pregnancy Linked to ADHD in Kids
Exposure to antidepressants in the womb may be linked to attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in the child, but the risks of depressed mothers stopping their medication may be greater.
Expert Opinion: Organic Pollutants Linked to Early Menopause
A new study has found that women who are exposed to high levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals begin menopause 2–4 years earlier.
Expert Opinion: WHO Releases Sugar Guidelines
The World Health Organization has recommended that adults and children reduce their daily intake of sugars, excluding sugar in fruits, vegetables and milk, to less than 10% of their total energy intake. Halving this to six teaspoons per day would provide additional health benefits.
Expert Opinion: Can You Outrun an Unhealthy Diet?
An editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has blamed excess sugar and carbohydrates, and not a lack of exercise, behind the surge in obesity.
Expert Opinion: Epigenetic Markers Predict Male Sexual Orientation
Epigenetic differences between male twins has been used to identify sexual orientation with up to 70% accuracy, according to unpublished results presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2015 annual meeting.
Expert Opinion: How Safe Is Australian Honey?
A study has reported that Australian honey has liver-damaging toxins at levels that exceed European standards. How concerned should we be?
Expert Opinion: Wi-Fi Fears Disputed
The ABC’s science program Catalyst drew widespread criticism after giving precedence to the views of US cancer epidemiologist Dr Devra Davis in an episode that examined “whether our wireless devices could be putting our health at risk”.
Expert Opinion: Second Genetically Modified Human Embryos Created
A second case of gene editing of human embryos has attempted to introduce resistance to HIV infection, but only four of the 26 embryos were modified successfully.
Expert Opinion: Very Hot Drinks Are a Likely Cancer Risk
The World Health Organization has found that drinking very hot drinks is a likely cancer risk but there is no evidence of a link between coffee and cancer.
Expert Opinion: Nanotech Cleared in Food Additives and Packaging
Food Standards Australia New Zealand has released two reports reviewing the evidence for the safety of nanotechnologies in food packaging and in food additives. Based on patent searches rather than on nanotech declarations to the regulator, the reports suggest there is no direct evidence that novel nanomaterials are currently being used in food packaging applications in Australia or New Zealand.
The Fit: Death on the Instalment Plan
How much does watching TV, having a beer or walking to work alter your life expectancy?
The Fit: In Search of Lost Sleep
Are we getting less sleep than we did in the past? And how much do we really need?
The Fit: I Want Your Body
One-quarter of women would give up 3 years of their lives to be their ideal weight, but what do people believe is the ideal body?
The Fit: A Typical Saturday with Mr and Mrs Average
How active is the average family on a typical weekend?
The Fit: Wanderlust
We are walking less than ever, but urbanisation isn’t always to blame.
The Fit: The Science of Sitting
Sitting for extended periods increases mortality, but is it worth working at a treadmill desk?
The Fit: When Can Weight Loss Be Dangerous?
Unless they are extremely obese to start with, people who lose weight die younger.
The Fit: Health through Housework
We do more vigorous exercise through housework than walking, but is it enough to keep you in shape?
The Fit: Being Physically Active Became Twice as Hard
How much exercise do we need to remain healthy? A group of experts has now upped the ante dramatically.
The Fit: The Truth about Screen Time and Kids’ Health
A number of health outcomes have been attributed to the amount of time children spend in front of screens, but look a little deeper and a different picture emerges.
The Fit: Belief Beyond Evidence, Evidence Beyond Belief
Will the childhood obesity epidemic condemn young people to a shorter lifespan than their parents?
The Fit: We Built It: They Didn’t Come
A global report gives a gold medal to Australia’s community sporting facilities yet finds that our kids are the second-least active in the world.
The Fit: The Truth about the Average Adult Energy Intake
Nutritional labels on food state that the average adult consumes 8700 kJ/day, but isn’t this a bit low?
The Fit: Go Hard or Go Home
Is high intensity interval training the latest exercise fad or is there a physiological basis to it?
The Fit: Quantify Thyself
Fitness devices that track our daily activity are now common, but do they live up to the hype?
The Fit: Animal vs Human
How does the fitness of humans compare with other animals?
The Fit: What Two Experiments that Could Never Be Repeated Tell Us about Weight Loss
Starvation and overfeeding studies reveal extreme differences in how we gain and lose weight.
The Fit: Stress, the Iceman and Us
The release of stress hormones may have helped our ancient ancestors to survive dangerous situations, but modern stresses are killing us slowly. How do you rate on a common stress scale?
The Fit: Descreening Kids
Kids are spending more time in front of screens, but government guidelines have become hopelessly out of date.
The Fit: The Back Roads to Obesity
Obesity isn’t just a matter of eating too much of the wrong foods. Several other factors in modern life have been playing a role.
The Fit: Superphysiques
Why did André become a giant, and the people of Manus Island the most muscular?
The Fit: Biggest Losers, Biggest Gainers
How much weight can we lose or gain, and how quickly?
The Fit: The Days of Our Lives
Spoiler alert: the next 850 words will tell you exactly how you will live out each day of the rest of your life. If you don’t want to know, stop reading now.
The Fit: Trust Me, I Have a White Hat
Can you trust obesity research funded by the interests of Big Food?
The Fit: The Rich Get Healthier
We’re getting healthier and living longer, but the rich more than the poor.
The Fit: Now Even Sitting Researchers Are Sitting on the Fence
To sit or stand has become an uncomfortable question for health researchers.
The Fit: Choose Your Friends Wisely
Friends, family and co-workers influence our health and happiness to varying extents.
The Fit: Pure, White, But Maybe Not So Deadly
Is there something uniquely unhealthy about sugar above and beyond the excess calories?
The Fit: Why Are Sporting Records Always Being Broken?
Better technology, training methods and financial rewards only partly explain why athletes continue to get faster and stronger.
The Fit: The Language of Disease
What if doctors could diagnose disease by what you wrote on Facebook and Twitter?
The Fit: The “Obesity Paradox” Paradox
Three recent studies have cast new darkness on the paradox that overweight adults are more likely to get diseases such as diabetes yet seem to live longer.
The Fit: Biggest Loser Provides Food for Thought
Contestants on The Biggest Loser have provided some startling evidence explaining why it’s difficult to keep weight off after dieting.
Naked Skeptic: Homeopathy Watered Down?
Homeopaths are worried by changes to British and Dutch legislation, with Australia also under review.
Naked Skeptic: Organic Food: What’s In It For Me?
A metastudy analyses the health benefits of eating organic foods.
Naked Skeptic: The Girl in the Iron Lung
With Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan the last remaining refuges of polio, most people today haven’t lived through a polio endemic and can’t truly appreciate the importance of vaccination.
Naked Skeptic: We Live in Fearful Times
Campaigns against fluoridation, vaccination and wind farms prove that if people think something is bad for them they will react badly.
Naked Skeptic: What You See Might Not Be What You Get
DNA barcoding has revealed considerable product substitution in herbal remedies.
Naked Skeptic: The Best Research Money Can Buy
Why is Swisse funding research into the effectiveness of its vitamins when the TGA requires it to have such evidence prior to their listing?
Naked Skeptic: A TKO for Anti-Vax Network
Australia’s anti-vaccination lobby group has been dealt a body blow – and a few jabs.
Naked Skeptic: Milks Ain’t Milk
Milk is sold as full fat, low fat, fat-free, permeate-free, organic, A2 or unpasteurised, but do the health benefits match the marketing hype?
Naked Skeptic: A Placebo Can Relieve a Skeptic’s Pain
Even when we are aware of it, a placebo can still produce a real effect.
Naked Skeptic: It Can’t Hurt You: It’s Natural
The company that marketed a raw milk product that killed a child should not be allowed to use product-labelling loopholes to escape justice.
Naked Skeptic: If It’s Too Good to Be True...
Despite the NHMRC’s findings on homeopathy and the death of a “wellness warrior”, there is little critical evaluation of health claims by the mainstream media.
Naked Skeptic: Are All Placebos Equal?
Is the placebo effect the same whether you receive it as a pill, a needle or an ointment?
Naked Skeptic: What Is a PhD Worth?
The University of Wollongong has tarnished its reputation by accepting a PhD thesis that presents anti-vaccination dogma in place of primary evidence.
Naked Skeptic: Put the Lyme in the Quackonut
There is little evidence that chiropractors are willing to reform their practices.
Naked Skeptic: The Bloated Truth About Gluten
Only 1% of people have coeliac disease, so why are so many people sensitive to gluten?
Neuropsy: This Is Not My Beautiful Wife
The Capgras delusion raises interesting questions about how the brain attaches emotional responses to familiar faces.
Neuropsy: The Head Coach
New guidelines aim to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment from concussion in sport.
Neuropsy: Scent of a Woman
Does the lack of a sense of smell affect personal and sexual relationships?
Neuropsy: Exercising the Brain
Can physical activity in later life slow the rate of cerebral atrophy?
Neuropsy: To Sleep, Perchance to Clean the Brain
The restorative function of a night’s sleep may result from elimination of the day’s neurotoxins.
Neuropsy: The Man that Hath No Music in Himself
A study of people who don’t respond to music finds differences in the brain’s reward system.
Neuropsy: Life in the Third Person
People with severely deficient autobiographical memory do not re-experience their past.
Neuropsy: No Matter Who You Vote For
A new study sheds light on how your brain decides your vote.
Neuropsy: Transcranial Brainwashing
Is it possible to significantly change a person’s beliefs by stimulating the brain?
Neuropsy: The Soul of Wit
Laughter may be the best medicine, but some jokers may be incurable.
Neuropsy: Childhood Trauma and the Developing Brain
A new study has identified the neurological basis for why some adolescents who have experienced childhood trauma are resilient while others are prone to mood disorders.
Neuropsy: The Sleep Switch
Researchers have located a brain circuit that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Publish or Perish: A Scientist in Wonderland
A review of Edzard Ernst's autobiography.
Publish or Perish: Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?
When celebrity culture and science clash.
Quandary: A Retrospective of the Stem Cell Debate
Ten years ago embryonic stem cells were set to transform medicine. Ethics took a back seat to science, but the cures never came.
Quandary: Third World Bioethics
Poverty overcomes informed consent in India, where nearly 2900 people died in India during clinical trials of drugs between 2005 and 2012.
Quandary: A Modern Vomitorium
A portable stomach pump has been developed so that morbidly obese people can continue to gorge themselves and still lose weight.
Quandary: Scan My Embryo’s Barcode
IVF “mix-ups” could be avoided by barcoding embryos, but at what point is a new life reduced to a manufactured product?
Quandary: Ethics in a Time of Ebola
The Ebola outbreak has revealed a number of ethical issues that need to be sorted urgently.
Quandary: When Do We Become Autonomous?
It’s more important for a child to live to become an autonomous adult than to die to defend her mother’s prejudices against medicine.
Quandary: A Fresh Look at the Pill
If anabolic steroids are considered dangerous, why has so little research been done on the long-term safety of another steroid – the contraceptive pill?
Quandary: This Little Piggy Went to Market
Gene editing promises to enable the safe use of pig organs to transplant into humans. Who could object to that?
Quandary: Will IVF Keep Us Young?
Talk of IVF as a solution for declining birth rates is a sign that governments are clutching at straws.
Quandary: Adventures on the Dark Side
Cases of sexual attraction are bound to grow as “genetic orphans” seek out their missing parents.
Quandary: How IVF Is Changing Human History
Since IVF bypasses infertility it must also be having an effect on human evolution.
Quandary: Patient Zero
An analysis of blood tests has revealed that HIV was widespread in the 1970s, and that the notion that Gaétan Dumas was the epicentre of the epidemic is flawed.
Simon Says: Sniffing a Failure
Petrol sniffing in remote communities could best be combatted by giving young indigenous people a positive way to get out of it.
Simon Says: Political Immunity
Vaccination sceptics are active in all vaccinated societies, but which side of politics they inhabit is a matter of national difference.
Up Close: Ageing's all the rage: The science behind growing old
In a wide ranging discussion on ageing, Professor Dame Linda Partridge delves into the research findings on longevity in humans and animals, and ponders evolutionary perspectives on the ageing process. Presented by Dr Shane Huntington.
Up Close: Not just the King's speech: Stuttering and its causes
Speech pathology researcher Prof Nan Bernstein Ratner discusses the condition of stuttering, how research into stuttering informs models of language acquisition, and possible therapies for the condition.
Up Close: Toxic titbits? The effects of nanoparticles on our health
Bio-nanoscience investigator Prof Kenneth Dawson discusses current research into nanoparticles and their potential effects on our health.
Up Close: Joint resolution: Interrogating muscle and bone for better surgical outcomes
Biomedical engineer Marcus Pandy and orthopaedic surgeon Peter Choong discuss how modern imaging technology is shedding light on human locomotion, particularly in knees and other joints. They also explain how this new found knowledge is used to improve surgical outcomes for patients.
Up Close: Pump it up: Exercise, your muscles, and type 2 diabetes
Cell biologist and sports physiologist Prof Mark Febbraio discusses research that uncovers the relationship amongst exercise, muscular activity, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Up Close: Mild to severe: What's behind the rise in food allergies in children?
Childhood allergy expert Prof Katie Allen discusses the emerging epidemic of food allergies in children and its causes.
Up Close: Susan Greenfield: Fifty shades of grey matter
Neuroscientist and synaptic pharmacologist Prof Baroness Susan Greenfield discusses how neuroscience sheds light on our understanding of consciousness.
Up Close: It's alimentary: The brain, the gut’s nervous system, and links to autism
Neuroscientist Dr Elisha Hill and Gastroenterologist Dr Kent Williams discuss the complex interactions between our brain and neurons found in the gut, and consider the over-representation of gastrointestinal disorders in children with autism.
Up Close: Peak performance: Should elite athletes train at high altitudes?
Exercise physiologist Prof Jerome Dempsey discusses how the human body responds to lower oxygen concentrations at high altitudes and whether elite athletes really benefit from training under such conditions.
Up Close: Prey to temptation: Our struggle with irrational health choices
Social epidemiologist Prof Ichiro Kawachi describes how mental short-cuts affect our health choices, often for the worse, and what can be done to help us make better choices. Presented by Dr Dyani Lewis.
Up Close: Prey to temptation: Our struggle with irrational health choices
Social epidemiologist Prof Ichiro Kawachi describes how mental short-cuts affect our health choices, often for the worse, and what can be done to help us make better choices.
Up Close: Tender connections: Fitting prosthetic limbs for comfort and cost
Mechanical engineer Peter Lee and prosthetist Jim Lavranos describe the challenges of creating low-cost prosthetic limb technologies in developing countries, and contrast this with how things are done in wealthier economies.
Up Close: Pregnancy 2.0: The lingering effects of modern reproductive technologies
Reproductive biologist Dr Mark Green discusses early embryo development and how a range of environmental factors such as IVF, nutrition and chemicals can have lasting effects on health of the organism.
Up Close: Setting forth safely: Travel health before, during, and after the journey
Infectious diseases specialist Assoc Prof Tilman Ruff explains the myriad health risks to today’s travellers, including what to consider before the journey and post-trip follow-up and care.
Up Close: Spin doctors: Identifying and treating human balance disorders
Neurologist Dr David Szmulewicz describes the human balance system, and what’s going on in our brains and ears when we experience vertigo.
Up Close: Sequencing seizures: Discovering new genetic mutations behind epilepsy
Neurologist Prof Sam Berkovic and molecular geneticist Prof David Goldstein describe their work uncovering chance mutations that cause childhood epilepsy.
Up Close: Brain traces: Neurobiology's emerging insights into schizophrenia and its treatment
Molecular biologist Prof Brian Dean talks about how both post-mortem and live imaging investigations of brain biology are helping to identify new treatment targets for the multifaceted condition of schizophrenia.
Up Close: You've got male: The wide-ranging effects of testosterone
Endocrinologist and hormone researcher Prof Jeffrey Zajac talks about the broad and transformative effects of testosterone on the male body.
Up Close: Stuff the staff: Understanding and treating celiac disease
Gastroenterologist and researcher Dr Jason Tye-Din explains celiac disease, discusses what can be done to manage the illness and discusses ongoing research towards better understanding and treatment.
Up Close: Gut harmony: Why the right mix of microbes is important to our health
Microbial ecologist Prof Rob Knight explains why we need the millions of microbes that make a home in and on our bodies.
Up Close: Inherited risk: The benefit and burden of genetic testing for heritable diseases
Clinical and research geneticist Prof Ingrid Winship discusses the use of genetic testing to improve the lives of people with inherited diseases and their families, as well as the pitfalls of direct-to-consumer genetic testing.
Up Close: Fur and against: Scrutinizing the efficacy of animal testing and its alternatives
Toxicologist and pharmacologist Prof Thomas Hartung explains why animal testing is often unnecessary or of questionable efficacy. He discusses the emerging protocols and technologies that enable development of safe products without the need to conduct animal testing. Presented by Dr Dyani Lewis.
Up Close: Brains at risk: The curious link between strokes and Alzheimer’s disease
World authority on strokes and post-stroke care Prof Vladimir Hachinski discusses how strokes can amplify the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and vice versa, and how lifestyle factors can be protective against both.
Up Close: Linking childhood diarrhoea and the onset of type I diabetes
Virologist Associate Professor Barbara Coulson explains how a common childhood infection could hasten the onset of type 1 diabetes.
Up Close: Organs on a chip: How 3D models of living tissue are changing biomedical research
Bioengineer Prof Donald Ingber discusses how three-dimensional models of living human organs can advance our understanding of human physiology in ways that animal models can’t.
Up Close: Viral diary: The global rise and near demise of polio
Virologist Prof Vincent Racaniello discusses how poliovirus causes paralysis, and how close we are to eradicating the disease.
Up Close: Beyond the tremors: Understanding the impact of Parkinson’s disease
Neuroscientist and neurologist Prof Malcolm Horne discusses Parkinson’s disease, and examines new technological developments and the prospects they offer for early diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Up Close: Screening along the spectrum: The search for a genetic test for autism
Neuropsychiatrist Prof Chris Pantelis and neural engineering researcher Prof Stan Skafidas discuss the potential for the use of genetics to improve the diagnosis of autism.
Up Close: Ribosomes: Unlocking the secrets to your cellular protein factories
Nobel laureate Prof Ada Yonath discusses her work on understanding ribosomes – the protein factories that are found in every cell of every living organism.
Up Close: Infected: How HIV works at the cellular level to overwhelm the immune system
Infectious diseases expert Prof Sharon Lewin explains how the HIV virus disarms our immune system and multiplies within it. She also discusses what these discoveries mean for research efforts into future treatment.
Up Close: Contagion calculation: Forecasting and tracking outbreaks of influenza
Epidemiologist Assoc Prof Jodie McVernon discusses research into tracking and predicting the spread of influenza and other viral diseases like Ebola.
Up Close: MRI: Window into the brain
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, has revolutionized modern medicine, allowing us to see detailed structure of the human brain. PhD students Charles Malpas and Bernd Merkel discuss their research into applying MRI as a tool to investigate diseased and healthy brains to help fine tune our understanding of how the brain works.
Up Close: Go with the gut: Our symbiotic relationship with our intestinal bacteria
Chemistry researcher Assoc Prof Spencer Williams talks about the rapidly emerging understanding of human microbiota - the diverse and numerous microorganisms that reside on and within our bodies - and particularly how the composition of our gut flora can determine the state of our own health.
Up Close: Fume with a view: Consumer products and your indoor air quality
Civil and environmental engineer Prof Anne Steinemann outlines the causes and consequences of poor indoor air quality, and in particular the potentially hazardous fumes generated by home cleaning and personal care products.
Up Close: Cannabis research: The state of the science in an age of weed liberalization
Psychiatrist and clinical researcher Prof David Castle discusses how cannabis represents both a public health risk and a wide-ranging therapeutic opportunity, as the once “evil weed” gains greater legal acceptance for recreational and medical use.
Up Close: Brain in a Dish: the therapeutic potential of stem cells and organoids
Epilepsy researcher Steve Petrou and developmental neuroscientist Miranda Dottori discuss the potential of organoids, miniature immature organs grown in dishes, particularly for future epilepsy and autism research.
Up Close: Germ warfare: Young researchers seeking answers to diverse microbe threats
Two young science researchers discuss their investigations of microbes that threaten, respectively, human health and our food supply. We chat with Claire Gorrie about aspects of the drug-resistant bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae, and how it's implicated in serious infections. And Rebecca Vandegeer tells us how the Barley Yellow Dwarf virus strips our wheat crops of their defences, posing a threat to food security.
Up Close: Can't give it up: The science behind addiction and the brain
Behavioral neuroscientist Prof Andrew Lawrence discusses addictive and compulsive behaviors around drug and alcohol use, the power of psychological dependence, and how the brains of addicts differ from those of the rest of us.
Up Close: Decision neuroscience: Emerging insights into the way we choose
Decision science researcher Prof Peter Bossaerts argues that investigating brain activity as we make decisions is generating new insights into how we deal with uncertainty and risk. Once the domain of economists and psychologists, the study of human decision-making is increasingly taking a neuron-level view, with implications well beyond economics and finance.
Up Close: Recovery from stroke: Harnessing the brain's capacity to overcome disability
Stroke rehabilitation researcher Prof. Julie Bernhardt discusses the state of the science in stroke recovery. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Prof Bernhardt and her team develop and test new exercises and rehabilitation measures that aim not only to reduce disability but promote recovery. This includes renewed attention to precise timing of therapeutic interventions, and to environmental enrichment of clinical spaces.
Up Front: Obesity Is Winning the Hunger Games
Can a sugar tax save us if obesity has already permanently suppressed the satiety signals that tell us to stop eating?
Up Front: The Age of Genomics
This edition of Australasian Science focuses on the ethical, legal and social issues associated with advances in genomic science.
Notice Board: Volunteers needed for research into effectiveness of brain-training games
Curtin University researchers are seeking participants across Australia for a study examining the effectiveness of on-line computer brain training games designed to improve cognitive function through regular use.
Notice Board: Participants wanted for asbestos related disease study
Adults suffering from asbestos-related diseases are needed to participate in a University of Queensland study on the role nutrition plays in the quality of life for patients diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Odd Spot: Text messages help HIV patients stick to antiretroviral drug therapy
Patients less likely to miss doses if they were sent weekly mobile phone text message reminders.
Odd Spot: Height Associated with Longevity
A study of Sardinians finds that shorter men live longer.
Odd Spot: Mussel goo inspires blood vessel glue
A gel based on the mussel's knack for clinging to rocks, piers and boat hulls can be painted onto the walls of blood vessels and stay put, forming a protective barrier with potentially life-saving implications.
Odd Spot: Bad dads have big balls
Men’s testes size negatively tied to parenting involvement.
Issues: Superbug Resistance to Antimicrobial Nanosilver
A group of widely-occurring bacteria has been able to overcome the antimicrobial activity of nanosilver upon prolonged exposure.
Online Feature: Swisse Vitamins highlights the failure of industry self-regulation
Encouraging GPs to “on-sell” products to patients is likely to produce unnecessary or inappropriate prescribing
Online Feature: New Study Maps Hotspots of Human-Animal Infectious Diseases and Emerging Disease Outbreaks
Maps Reveal Animal-borne Disease as Heavy Burden for One Billion of World’s Poor and Emerging Disease Hotspots in US and Western Europe.
Online Feature: Marijuana a risk in early pregnancy
High potency and synthetic marijuana pose real dangers in first weeks of pregnancy
Online Feature: Helmets won't cure football's concussion headache
There is currently no evidence to show that helmets prevent concussion or more serious head injury in sports like AFL and rugby.
Online Feature: Trading chemistry for ecology with poo transplants
As simple as the procedure sounds, we don’t yet fully understand how faecal transplants work.
Online Feature: What causes hot flushes during menopause?
Hot flushes are not 'in the head,' but new research suggests they may start there.
Online Feature: 'Tis the season to get food poisoning
Research reveals food poisoning risk for the festive season, especially from raw egg dishes.
Online Feature: Anti-vaccination network told to change its name or be shut down
The heated battle between Australia’s anti-vaccine lobby, the Australian Vaccination Network, and those fighting against its misinformation has taken a positive turn with the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading ordering the AVN to change its name or risk being shut down.
Online Feature: Why some people get zits and others don't
The bacteria that cause acne live on everyone's skin, yet one in five people is lucky enough to develop only an occasional pimple over a lifetime.
Online Feature: New evidence lifts the stakes on the meat vs fish debate
Two recent papers have shed more light on the benefits of fish oils and the reasons why red meat might be bad for you.
Online Feature: Is the end to diabetic injections in sight?
Nasal gel reduces blood glucose levels.
Online Feature: New coatings extend life and safety of hip implants
New coatings have been developed for hip replacements to protect against post-operative infection and provide a barrier to minimise metal ion release into the body.
Online Feature: The Tamiflu saga shows why all research data should be public
Attempts to evaluate whether the antiviral drug Tamiflu is effective have been stymied by lack of access to the data from clinical trials.
Online Feature: Early failure a key to turning back the clock
Fitness among the elderly is improved by a high-resistance circuit training program with fewer but more demanding repetitions at each station.
Online Feature: Sex, Food and Pseudoscience
Sexcereal is a his-and-hers line of breakfast cereals that claims to boost your love life.
Online Feature: Exercise and prosper: lessons about the brain from the bomb
New research proves that neurons are created throughout life in a critical part of the human hippocampus.
Online Feature: Scientists explore the mind with epigenomic maps
Comprehensive mapping of the human brain epigenome uncovers large-scale changes that take place during the formation of brain circuitry.
Online Feature: Stem cell research reveals clues to brain disease
The development of new drugs for improving treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease is a step closer after recent research into how stem cells migrate and form circuits in the brain.
Online Feature: Is sexual addiction the real deal?
Researchers have measured how the brain behaves in "hypersexual" people who have problems regulating their viewing of sexual images.
Online Feature: 'Dead' gene comes to life and puts chill on inflammation
Discovery may explain how anti-inflammatory steroid drugs work, leading to entirely new classes of anti-inflammatory treatments without some of the side effect of steroids.
Online Feature: No link between mercury exposure and autism-like behaviours
Pre-natal mercury exposure from fish consumption eliminated as cause of later autism-like behaviours.
Online Feature: Epilepsy in a Dish
Stem cell research reveals clues to disease's origins and possible treatment.
Online Feature: Scientists model 'extraordinary' performance of Bolt
Mathematical model accurately depicts the extraordinary feats of Usain Bolt during his 100 metre world record sprint.
Online Feature: Neuroscientists plant false memories
Researchers have implanted false memories into mice, potentially illuminating the mechanisms underlying the human phenomenon of "recalling" experiences that never occurred.
Online Feature: Happy National Orgasm Day
New research has tested two predictions concerning womens' orgasms as signals of the likelihood of fidelity and conception.
Online Feature: An End to Sunburn Pain?
The molecule that causes the pain of sunburn could be blocked in a sunscreen additive.
Online Feature: Are doctors to blame for superbugs?
Who is to blame re the mess we are in regarding antibiotic-resistant superbugs? Doctors, livestock farming, airlines, drug companies, nursing homes, or a mixture of them all?
Online Feature: How the brain keeps eyes on the prize
Dopamine signal strengthens as long-term goal draws nearer.
Online Feature: Can people really be addicted to sex?
Is there a neurological basis to hypersexuality?
Online Feature: Brain scans may help diagnose dyslexia
Differences in a key language structure can be seen even before children start learning to read.
Online Feature: Sugar is toxic to mice in 'safe' doses
Three soft drinks daily affect lifespan, reproduction
Online Feature: Exposing dopers in sport: is it really worth the cost?
If the achievements of confirmed cheaters and other athletes are similar does it mean the drugs don't work or is everyone cheating?
Online Feature: Frankenfooty: Essendon's mixed bag of supplements
Essendon's players were exposed to worthless or unproven treatments at best, and rank pseudoscience at worst.
Online Feature: Shroom to grow: Australia's missing psychedelic science
A recent Norwegian study on psychedelic drugs and psychological well-being not only highlighted fewer mental health issues among users of these drugs but also underscored the reinvigoration of scientific research in a field maligned since the moral panic of the 1960s.
Online Feature: How antibiotics enable pathogenic gut infections
Study pinpoints ways to counter the effects of the antibiotics-driven depletion of friendly, gut-dwelling bacteria.
Online Feature: First estimate of total viruses in mammals
Scientists estimate there are at least 320,000 mammalian viruses, and identifying them could help mitigate disease outbreaks for a fraction of the economic impact of a major pandemic like SARS.
Online Feature: Care and consent: the fraught ethics of international clinical trials Online Feature: Bread, beer and botox: the science behind the 2013 Nobel Prize for medicine
The 2013 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded "discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic". What does this mean and why is it important?
Online Feature: Sticks and stones: Brain releases natural painkillers during social rejection
Finding that the opioid system can act to ease social pain, not just physical pain, may aid understanding of depression and social anxiety
Online Feature: Viewing Catalyst's cholesterol programs through the sceptometer
Was the ABC wrong to air a program that might encourage people at risk of heart disease to stop taking cholesterol-reducing medications without consulting their GP?
Online Feature: To dye for? Jury still out on tattoo ink causing cancer
There is no doubt some of the chemicals in tattoo ink have been associated with cancer. But should we be worried?
Online Feature: Study links intestinal bacteria to rheumatoid arthritis
Bacterial disturbances in the gut may play a role in autoimmune attacks on the joints, pointing the way to novel treatments and diagnostics
Online Feature: Your first hug: how the early embryo changes shape
Video showing how the early embryo changes shape will help selection of embryos for IVF.
Online Feature: Health Check: are you eating the right sorts of fibre?
Getting enough fibre is important, but getting a combination of fibre is imperative for good digestive health.
Online Feature: Concussion secrets unveiled in mice and people
Scientists film early concussion damage and describe brain's response to injury
Online Feature: Surprising diversity in ageing revealed in nature
Not all species weaken and become more likely to die as they age.
Online Feature: Sweet enough? Separating fact from fiction in the sugar debate
What is the scientific evidence for reducing the WHO's recommended maximum sugar intake?
Online Feature: The exclusive on exclusion diets
What is the evidence for diets that focus on food exclusion?
Online Feature: Study finds no evidence wind turbines make you sick – again
An NHMRC review finds no evidence for wind turbine syndrome.
Online Feature: Questions over effectiveness of flu drugs
Researchers call for guidance on use of Tamiflu in light of most recent evidence about efficacy and side-effects.
Online Feature: Ancient viruses sound scary, but there's no need to panic
Can ancient human viruses uncovered by drilling in permafrost cause a modern pandemic?
Online Feature: No evidence homeopathy is effective: NHMRC review
An NHMRC review concludes that there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.
Online Feature: Powdered alcohol, seriously? A health risk we don't need
What are the potential dangers of the marketing of alcohol in powdered form?
Online Feature: And now the bad news: red wine is not great for health after all
A new study discounts the notion that a compound found in red wine has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and potential anticancer effects.
Online Feature: Federal Budget 2014: health experts react
The Abbott government has announced a A$20 billion medical research “future fund”, to help discover what Treasurer Joe Hockey calls the “cures of the future”, paid for with money generated as a result of major changes to health policy.
Online Feature: New genes involved in food preferences will revolutionise diets and improve health
New understanding of the genes involved in taste perception and food preferences could lead to personalised nutrition plans effective not just in weight loss but in avoiding diseases.
Online Feature: Fast-tracking access to experimental Ebola drugs
Several therapeutic treatments are in experimental phases of testing and show great promise in treating Ebola virus infections in animal models.
Online Feature: Chief Scientist CSG report leaves health concerns unanswered
Online Feature: Eating healthily during the week but bingeing on weekends is not OK for your gut Online Feature: Gluten- and casein-free diet makes a meal of autism science
Online Feature: Regenerating body parts: how we can transform fat cells into stem cells to repair spinal disc injuries Online Feature: Nightmares and night terrors in kids: when do they stop being normal?
Online Feature: Whole grains are better for you but they're no panacea
Eating whole grain foods is considered better for your health than refined grain foods, but whole grains may have a role in inflammation.
Feature: Australian sugary drinks tax could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes and save 1600 lives
A 20% rise in the price of soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters would save lives and reduce cardiovascular disease in Australia.
Online Feature: Food for fitness: is it better to eat before or after exercise?
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding food intake and exercise – is it better to eat beforehand or afterwards? And what type of exercise benefits most from eating?
Online Feature: Informed consent: why some foods should carry a cancer risk warning
It’s time to begin making consumers aware of the cancer risk associated with regular consumption of particular foods and drinks through front-of-pack warning labels.
Online Feature: US set to restrict trans fats, but should Australia follow?
While Australia has few specific regulations around trans fats, US food manufacturers will soon need permission to include them in their products. Should Australia be doing more to remove trans fats from its food supply?
Feature: Indigenous Genomics
Mistrust is a significant but not insurmountable barrier to the acceptance of genomics by Indigenous people.
Browse: Alcohol Sponsorship Increases Binge Drinking by Athletes Feature: How half our brain keeps watch when we sleep in unfamiliar places
Poor sleep in an unfamiliar setting may be linked to an important function of the brain to protect the sleeper from potential danger.
Browse: Healthy Mind, Healthy Lung
Depression and chronic lung disease are linked, according to a review of research in the area.
Browse: Stem cells restore bones damaged by osteoporosis