Medicine

Radical new approach to schizophrenia treatment begins trial

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Exclusive: as evidence emerges that schizophrenia could be an immune system disease, two-year trial will use antibody drug currently used for MS Hannah Devlin The Guardian British scientists have begun testing a radically new approach to treating schizophrenia based on emerging evidence that it could be a disease of the immune system. The first patient, a 33-year old man who developed schizophrenia after moving to London from Cameroon a decade ago, was treated at King’s College Hospital in London on ... Read More »

The ethics of medical practice in offshore detention facilities

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As the standoff between hundreds of asylum seekers in the Manus Island detention facility and PNG authorities continues, we are witnessing a potential crisis of health and mental health among these detainees. Louise Newman The Conversation As a psychiatrist, I have had direct contact with current Manus detainees who are experiencing increasing anxiety and distress and an uncertain future. Some of these people are treated with medication, usually antidepressants, and some feel that this provides them with some symptomatic relief. ... Read More »

Doctors join forces for euthanasia

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A group of WA doctors have banded together to push for assisted dying laws in the State, arguing one of the country’s peak medical group is out of touch. Cathy O’Leary The West Australian The newly formed WA arm of Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice has made a submission to the State’s parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices, which closed for submissions this week. The doctors include GP Alida Lancee, who was at the centre of a police investigation last year ... Read More »

Assisted dying is one thing, but governments must ensure palliative care is available to all who need it

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Assisted dying moved one step closer to reality in Victoria last week with the authorising bill passing the lower house with a comfortable 47-37 majority Stephen Duckett Throughout the debate, many MPs spoke of terrible personal experiences of the deaths of family members. The Conversation Such harrowing stories were also present in submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life choices, that recommended an assisted dying regime leading to the… These terrible deaths were most often used to argue in favour ... Read More »

Vegetative-state patient responds to therapy

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A man in France has regained some degree of consciousness after being in a vegetative state for 15 years Doctors treated the 35-year-old, injured in a car accident, with an experimental therapy that involved implanting a nerve stimulator into his chest. Michelle Roberts BBC Within a month, he could respond to simple instructions, turning his head and following an object with his eyes. Experts say the results are potentially very exciting, but need repeating. Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) may not work as ... Read More »

Anti-vaccination advocate Kent Heckenlively denied entry to Australia by minister Peter Dutton

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One of the world’s most prominent anti-vaccination advocates has been denied entry to Australia due to his “dangerous” views. Henry Belot ABC Kent Heckenlively was planning to visit Australia later this year for an international tour calling on parents to stop vaccinating their children. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton made the decision to deny Mr Heckenlively entry, saying his views were not welcome in Australia. “These people who are telling kids, telling parents that their kids shouldn’t be vaccinated are dangerous ... Read More »

Harvard study strengthens link between breast cancer risk and light exposure at night

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A new study from Harvard has found greater risk of breast cancer in women who live in neighborhoods that have higher levels of outdoor light during the night. Richard G. “Bugs” Stevens The Conversation The findings are based on the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), which has for decades been advancing our understanding of risks to women’s health. For this study, epidemiologist Peter James and colleagues followed nurses in the NHS for breast cancer occurrence from 1989 to 2013. The home ... Read More »

How HIV Became a Cancer Cure

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The immunologist behind the revolutionary new treatment set to win approval from the FDA Allysia Finley WSJ  Philadelphia When Ben Franklin proposed in 1749 what eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, he called for an academy to teach “those Things that are likely to be most useful.” Today the university lays claim to having incubated the world’s biggest cancer breakthrough. In 2011, a team of researchers led by immunologist Carl June, a Penn professor, reported stunning results after genetically altering ... Read More »

WA doctors warns falling morale could impact patient care

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Western Australia’s doctors are chafing at poor management and a workplace culture that discourages speaking out, according to the state’s medical lobby. David Allan-Petale WAtoday In the wake of a damning independent review of staff morale at Perth’s Princess Margaret Hospital, AMA WA is sending out surveys to its membership in the state to create a bigger picture look of morale in the state’s health system. Since the survey’s publication in June, AMA WA state president Omar Khorshid said the ... Read More »

Screening those at risk of psychosis may help prevent violence, reduce stigma

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Study shows that violent ideation before first psychotic episode highly correlates with violent acts Columbia University Medical Center EurekAlert! A new study of young persons at clinical high-risk of developing psychosis has identified measures of violence potential that may be useful in predicting both the increased risk of future violent behavior and… The article, A Longitudinal Study of Violent Behavior in a Psychosis-Risk Cohort, by Gary Brucato, PhD, Ragy Girgis, MD and colleagues at… Screening those at… Read More »

Viewpoints: should euthanasia be available for people with existential suffering?

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Euthanasia debates often focus on people experiencing unbearable physiological or psychological… Xavier Symons Udo Schüklenk The Conversation But research suggests “loss of autonomy” is the primary reason for requesting euthanasia, even among patients with terminal… There have also been suggestions existential suffering could be one of the main motivations behind such… Existential suffering refers to an individual experiencing a… Viewpoints: should euthanasia… Read More »

A Breakthrough AI Can Now Predict Which Babies Will Develop Autism

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Identifying Autism A study published in Science Transitional Medicine has found that doctors can predict which babies will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the age of two with an astonishing 96 percent success… Tom Ward Futurism The test uses a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and machine-learning algorithms. The study took brain scans of 59 “sibs” (the younger siblings of children with ASD), who’s chances of getting the… A Breakthrough AI… Read More »

Prostate cancer trial stuns researchers: ‘It’s a once in a career feeling’

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Study with ‘powerful results’ finds that combining two existing therapies could extend the life of men with advanced, high-risk prostate cancer by 37% Jessica Glenza in Chicago, Illinois The Guardian Combining two existing prostate cancer therapies could extend the life of men with advanced, high-risk prostate cancer by 37%, according to a study presented at the world’s largest… The new findings could change how doctors first approach treatment of prostate… Prostate cancer trial… Read More »

How we can help refugee kids to thrive in Australia

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When we think about refugee children’s health, we tend to assume bad news. But refugee children are highly resilient. Karen Zwi The Conversation This means they can thrive, mature and develop despite poor circumstances, and can adapt despite severe and long-term hardship. Our newly published research is the first of its kind to track the long… How we can… Read More »

Kids’ vitamin gummies: unhealthy, poorly regulated and exploitative

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There are many brands of kids’ “gummies” on the market. They are promoted as deliciously flavoured and a great way for growing bodies (and fussy eaters) to get the nutrients they need. Ken Harvey        Eliza Li Rosemary Stanton Stuart Dashper The Conversation The “active” ingredients are usually listed as vitamins, minerals and sometimes omega-3 fats and vegetable powders. They may say “contains sugars” or they may… Kids’ vitamin gummies… Read More »

Drug Is First to Treat Cancer Based on Genetics, Not Location

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Rewriting Life A change in how cancer is treated means more people will benefit from… Emily Mullin MIT Technology Review In a first for precision medicine, a cancer drug has won regulatory approval based on the genetic characteristic of tumors, rather than their… On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it had approved Keytruda, an immunotherapy, for patients who have genetic glitches in so-called “mismatch… Drug Is First… Read More »