Lower back pain is the greatest source of global disability, ahead of nearly 300 other conditions, leading to huge levels of healthcare costs and suffering. And the effects go far beyond pain, weakness and stiffness – they also have a huge impact the social and family lives of sufferers.
Just over 50 years ago, a highly contagious but seemingly harmless virus swept through the United States, infecting as many as 12.5 million people. In both adults and children, the virus presented as a mild illness, but caused birth defects in some babies born to women who were infected while pregnant.
For people in northern countries enjoying summer sun, I hate to put a dampener on things but winter’s coming. The cold months can seem to go on forever, yet scientists are uncovering a new reason to be grateful for them.
Researchers are testing a non-invasive way to determine if treatments for Parkinson’s slow or stop the progression of the disease.
We used to think of “addiction”, or what we now call dependence, as a moral failing. This had the result of blaming the person who was addicted – it was a matter of willpower and they just weren’t trying hard enough. So the obvious solution was shaming and scolding until they did.
People who have both hepatitis B and HIV may have a greater chance of developing liver cancer at a young age, according to our new study.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. While we usually think of hepatitis A to E viruses, anything that causes inflammation or damage to the liver can be considered as a form of hepatitis.
It is well recognised that increasing rates of type 2 diabetes are mainly driven by obesity and lifestyle factors. But that’s not the whole story. Genetics and epigenetics – changes in gene expression – also play an important role.
It’s well-known that those with autism spectrum disorders including Asperger’s syndrome develop difficulties with social communication and show stereotyped patterns of behaviour.
Essential organs tasked with keeping us alive and reproducing – such as the heart, brain or uterus – may have evolved better protection against cancer than larger and paired organs, we have proposed.
The most common question I get asked is “Will my child get Alzheimer’s disease?” In my experience, this concern is one of the biggest worries for sufferers, and given the devastating effects of the disease, it is not hard to see why it is a difficult thought to contemplate.
Specific aspects of the Amish environment are associated with changes to immune cells that appear to protect children from developing asthma, report researchers.
Most Eastern styles of medicine pay just as much attention to the patient’s state of mind as to the state of his or her tissues and organs. This insight and acknowledgment of the whole person rather than reducing us to our individual body parts is based on healing methods centuries old that survive because they work.
In late July, an international team of researchers announced that they had identified evidence of cancer in the fossilized remains of a biological relative of human beings who lived about 1.7 million years ago.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 and revolutionised the treatment of bacterial infections. Ever since then we have been searching for new antibiotics to address the myriad of infections humans encounter and the growing risk of resistance to them.
A new breast cancer study shows that tumors can mutate in response to treatments that reduce estrogen levels in the body.
Recent calls for the introduction of a vaccine against chickenpox (varicella-zoster virus infection) following a severe case of the disease in Cambridge, England may surprise many parents who consider the disease to be a mild illness that “everyone gets”.
Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, with an estimated 29 million people in the U.S. having the disease and another 86 million considered prediabetic. With an estimated cost of US$245 billion, prevention becomes critically important to stem the tide of increasing diabetes prevalence.
A recent report by the Mental Health Network, found that 19% of adults had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, while as many as one in four people experience a mental health problem in any given year.
Anger can be very quick, powerful, reactive, and can make us do things we typically wouldn’t do. There is nothing inherently wrong with anger as an emotion, but nowhere is anger less helpful, more common, and potentially more dangerous than when we are behind the wheel of a car.
Antiretroviral therapy has revolutionised the lives of people living with HIV. In many countries, the life expectancy for someone living with the virus is now almost the same as someone who isn’t infected.
A new analysis of the medical records of more than 5.5 million older adults admitted to nursing homes between 2011 and 2014 shows that those with delirium face an increased risk of death. They’re also more likely to be readmitted to the hospital.
Raising a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be difficult. Some days feel long and the respite of a peaceful night, so rejuvenating for many, may not come at all
The prevalence of gout is increasing worldwide. It has become the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis in men, and its prevalence in postmenopausal women continues to rise. This increase is due to changes in diet and lifestyle, increased use of certain diuretics and increasing obesity.
Admitting a loved one to a nursing home is a difficult decision and is usually only arrived at once the person’s care needs cannot be met by the family and community-based services. Dementia has profound consequences for the quality of life for those with the condition, their family and friends.
Researchers are testing a non-drug pain treatment for people who are trying to overcome addiction.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition with no known cure. It impacts people of all ages through episodic constrictions of the airways, which may be even worse than it sounds.
Scientists have identified an inner ear deficiency in children with autism that may affect their ability to recognize speech. The finding suggests that a hearing test could one day be used identify children at risk for the disorder at an early age.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force has released a report saying there isn’t enough evidence to recommend that clinicians perform visual screening for melanomas for patients with no known risk for the skin cancer.
Manipulating the brain has been a tool used in the treatment of mental illness for centuries, and treatments have often been controversial.
When a child is diagnosed with asthma, parents usually have a number of questions. How serious is asthma? Will the child grow out of it?
The number of new cases of metastatic prostate cancer climbed 72 percent from 2004 to 2013, but it’s unclear whether the rise is due to a recent trend of fewer screenings, the disease becoming more aggressive, or both.
If you take prescription opioids, you may have experienced withdrawal symptoms at some point—perhaps when you forgot to take a scheduled dose of medication. Opioid withdrawal is highly unpleasant. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, this does not meant that you cannot get off opioids...
Over the last century, myopia (short-sightedness) has risen to epidemic proportions. In South-East Asia nearly 90% of school leavers are now affected. In the West the figures are not as dramatic, but it appears to be similarly increasing.
The most exciting recent development in human genetics research has been the ability to perform large-scale systematic studies of genetic variation in thousands of people.
My mother-in-law called me yesterday. She doesn’t quite know what I do for a job but has a vague idea I work with a group seeking to understand and ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
What you say when a doctor asks how you feel is as good—or perhaps even better—than any test to predict long-term illness or death.
Being overweight and not getting enough exercise are considered major contributors to insulin resistance and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes. But new research suggests specific imbalances in gut bacteria play a role, too
Organ transplantation saves lives. People with end-stage kidney disease who receive a transplant tend to live much longer than those who undergo dialysis. A kidney from a living donor will last from 12 to 20 years, on average, compared to eight to 12 years for a kidney from a deceased donor.
Head trauma is a major public health concern in the United States, with indirect and direct health-care costs approaching nearly US$1 billion annually. Worse, head trauma also can cause short- and long-term health problems and, in children, problems with academics, headaches and behavioral health issues.
You have forgotten where you put your car keys, or you can’t seem to remember the name of your colleague you saw in the grocery store the other day. You fear the worst, that maybe these are signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Something as simple as picking up a cup of tea requires an awful lot of action from your body. Your arm muscles fire to move your arm towards the cup. Your finger muscles fire to open your hand then bend your fingers around the handle.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition where normal exertion leads to debilitating fatigue that isn’t alleviated by rest, has long mystified scientists. There are no known triggers, and diagnosis requires lengthy tests.
The estimated annual health care costs related to obesity are over $210 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States.
On any ranked list of nasty diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas in the Western world, Borrelia burgdorferi, would have to lie near the top. These bacteria cause Lyme disease, which was first recognised in the US in the early 1970s among patients in Lyme, Connecticut.
For thousands of years humans have defended themselves from harm by others. But many have proceeded to regularly harm themselves. They have actively searched for substances to ingest, inhale, inject and apply which may give them some immediate relief but damage or destroy their lives over time.
The World Health Organisation’s cancer arm made two announcements this week: one welcome and one not so welcome.
The “common cold” is common. Most of us will have at least one or two per year. Children get sick more often and very young children often get more than five colds per year.
Scientists have uncovered a link between emotional stress and diabetes, with roots in the brain’s ability to control anxiety.
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health found that more than one in three people in the United States have experienced pain of some sort in the previous three months. Of these, approximately 50 million suffer from chronic or severe pain.
Everyone knows that Britain’s conclusive victory over Napoleon was at Waterloo. The story of that day – the squares of infantry repulsing cavalry charges, the Imperial Guard retreating under murderous musket fire delivered by a red line of soliders, the just-in-time arrival of Field Marshal Blücher’s Prussian army – is one of excitement, horror and heroism.
The near panic caused by the rapid spread of the Zika virus has brought new urgency to the question of how best to control mosquitoes that transmit human diseases. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bite people across the globe, spreading three viral diseases: dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
Marisa Fisher's research suggests people with Williams syndrome can learn to say no to strangers, refuting past studies that indicated sociability may be hard-wired in individuals with Williams syndrome.
Alcohol: why do we drink it? People have been consuming alcohol for at least 10,000 years. And when drinking water was rather risky, alcohol seemed a much safer bet. Amaldus of Villanova, a 14th-century monk, even wrote that alcohol “prolongs life, clears away ill humors, revives the heart and maintains youth”.
"As doctors, we throw things like antihistamines, ointments, and lotions at patients who suffer chronic itching, but if there is something profoundly abnormal about the immune system—as it appears there is—then we can't solve the itching until we address those underlying causes," says Brian S. Kim.
“I have something to say. I want to share it with you.” By tapping a few keys in a specific sequence, I have made a code emerge on the screen. When you see these words, the language area of your brain (usually the left side) converts the sequence into meaning. If I have selected well, this meaning will match the message I wanted to convey.
Traditionally, someone who suffered from hypertension – or high blood pressure – would only receive treatment when his or her blood pressure was measured and the reading was found be higher than normal. But this meant that the condition was often picked up only when the person had a stroke or a heart attack – and in many instances this was too late.
Osteoarthritis affects about eight million people in the UK, and rheumatoid arthritis a further half a million. Unfortunately, there is no cure. The most advanced treatments available today offer only limited relief from joint pain and swelling.
"A shift of attention is needed from disease-focused management, such as medications for hypertension or high cholesterol, to overall well-being across many areas," says William Dale.
The opioid abuse epidemic is a full-fledged item in the 2016 campaign, and with it questions about how to combat the problem and treat people who are addicted.
"If older adults are more likely to have these pain messages sent through the spinal cord to the brain, and the nervous system is being adapted to go through these changes, they may become more pain prone," says Joseph Riley.
Children in Canada, their parents, health professionals and government ministers will welcome the news that there has been a decline in overweight and obese children over the past ten years. The reduction in the proportion of children in Canada who are overweight or obese is a rare achievement.
From believing that clouds are alien spaceships to thinking that MI6 agents are following you in unmarked cars, delusions are the hallmark of severe mental illness.
Conversation about how often you have to get up at night for a piddle is probably not the most scintillating discourse. But there’s a much bigger reason men don’t like to talk about prostate conditions.
Although breast cancer is usually seen as a woman’s disease, around 145 Australian men were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, and around 25 died from it. A little under 1% of all breast cancers occur in men, so it is more common than most people think.
How long you live depends in part on the genes you inherit. For example, those suffering from Werner’s syndrome have inherited two defective copies of a gene coding for an enzyme that is involved in DNA replication and repair.
Beginning in infancy, people who have autism spectrum disorder observe and interpret images and social cues differently than others do. Researchers now have new insight into just how this occurs, which eventually may help doctors diagnose, and more effectively treat, the various forms of the disorder.
For some people, waking up every day means the start of persistent pain that affects their mood, thinking and relationships. This experience is more difficult when the pain doesn’t seem to have a cause; at least not a visible one.
Scientists have warned for decades that the overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, making it harder to fight infectious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drug resistant bacteria cause 23,000 deaths and two million illnesses each year.
"The idea that increased glucose uptake is a metabolic hallmark of cancer cells is deeply embedded in our thinking. It's the basis for how we diagnose cancer and manage its treatment in the clinic," says Gary Patti. Above: HeLa cells in culture.
The researchers believe depression, metabolic symptoms, and the risk of developing diabetes interact in a number of ways. In some cases, a vicious cycle may emerge with depression and metabolic risk factors aggravating one another.
Lynch syndrome is a common, inherited condition that affects thousands of Australians and greatly increases the risk of developing cancer. Yet 95% of those who have it don’t know about it.
Restless leg syndrome is a common affliction characterised by uncomfortable feelings in the legs accompanied by an irresistible urge to move the legs to relieve the sensations. People with restless leg syndrome often keep their legs moving by pacing or constantly moving their legs while sitting. The sensations commonly occur at
If you ask someone to name famous people (fictional or non-fictional) who are known for having autism or being “on the spectrum”, Rain Man is often the top favourite, possibly followed by Sherlock Holmes (especially in his recent incarnation by Benedict Cumberbatch). Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory is another.
More cities than previously assumed could soon be grappling with Zika virus if two species of mosquitos are found to be equally effective carriers of the disease. A new interactive map shows the relative risk for 100 cities worldwide, including many US locations.
"PET scanning is a great technology and very effective, but using it in this way doesn't seem to make any difference for these cancers that have a relatively poor prognosis," says Mark Healey
If you’ve eaten a fabulous meal recently, the experience was pleasant, comfortable and pain-free because your stomach and intestinal system worked seamlessly to move the food along and eventually absorb it.
Billy Connolly picked up a special recognition award at the recent National Television Awards for 50 years in the entertainment industry – but it was the effects of the comedian’s illness that shaped the headlines.
Researchers at CSIRO and University of Queensland have developed an app called Harlie that is designed to chat with humans. Unlike Siri and Google Now – which are designed to answer specific questions – Harlie is designed for small talk.
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with one in three adults using it at some point in their life. It’s legal in some places around the world, and offered medicinally in others. But what does smoking pot do to your mental health?
One of the great and enduring mysteries of autism is what causes the brain to develop so differently. The behavioural differences of many individuals with autism are so apparent that it seems intuitive that the causes would also be obvious.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has become a byword for unbiased, evidence-based healthcare advice. Its recommendations strongly influence which treatments are made available on the NHS. We wouldn’t expect NICE to make recommendations that are unsupported by evidence or, worse, contain contradictory evidence.
In 2100, I will be 117 years old, and my younger sisters will be 112 and 107. According to the Cambridge academic, Peter Laslett, we can now live to such ages, but those of us who do will be experiencing the fourth age, “an era of final dependence, decrepitude and death”. Not quite the dream
Last night’s Four Corners focused on party drugs and the policies Australia is implementing to combat their use. Not only is what we’re doing not working, we’re falling behind the rest of the world and what evidence says is best to ensure we have fewer deaths from illicit drugs.
A common surgery to treat vaginal prolapse using an artificially grafted mesh has more problems than benefits, our Cohrane review has found. Women who underwent the operation had high rates of needing repeat surgery due to mesh exposure, bladder injury and urinary incontinence.
Multiple sclerosis affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a neurological disease characterised by inflammatory lesions in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) that cause damage to the myelin sheath – the protective layer around the nerve cells. This causes neurological dysfunction, such as muscle paralysis or loss of sensation.
A new study has uncovered a strong link between schizophrenia and the likelihood of attempting suicide. The risk is particularly high for women, people with substance abuse issues, and those who were abused when they were children.
Urinary incontinence is often seen as a degrading condition and women can feel too ashamed to seek help. Urinary incontinence is urine leakage from a loss of bladder control that mainly affects women
What’s the worst thing you could be burdened with this Valentine’s Day? Unrequited love? Unwanted affection? Unpaid invoice from the local florist? How about an itchy dose of pubic lice? Pubic lice, Phthirus pubis, or “crabs” as more commonly...
It’s that time of year when we raise a glass to celebrate Christmas, the beginning of holidays, the new year, or simply to join with our friends. Many of us will pay a price, even if it’s “just” in the form of a hangover.
Over the last few decades, medicine has witnessed a sea change in attitudes toward chronic pain, and particularly toward opioids. While these changes were intended to bring relief to many, they have also fed an epidemic of prescription opioid and heroin abuse.
From October 2015 to January 2016, there were almost 4,000 cases of babies born with microcephaly in Brazil. Before then, there were just 150 cases per year.
"The simple step of incorporating weight history clarifies the risks of obesity and shows that they are much higher than appreciated," says Andrew Stokes.
One in every ten babies in Melbourne develops a food allergy during their first year of life. New research has found children who are born with overly active immune cells are more likely to develop allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat and other common foods. This finding could lead to future treatments for babies to prevent childhood food allergies.
Everything happens for a reason, including health challenges of the mind and body. Although this may be difficult to accept, my view is that we make ourselves sick and miserable looking for love and attention outside ourselves.
Before i was informed that I was “profoundly dyslexic,” I just thought I was stupid and too weird to cultivate friends. In school, I would get an A for creativity over a D for atrocious grammar. I was having considerable difficulty reading anything, much less a map. I had trouble telling my right from my left, I could not comprehend most directions, I was lost much of the time.
As a knee surgeon who has helped thousands of patients with knee pain, I know there are treatments and options that can not only reduce the pain, but also postpone knee surgery — or avoid it entirely.
When older parents become frail or disabled, it can place a heavy burden on adult children. But the parent-child relationship appears to be a two-way street—with adult children having a profound effect on their parents’ psychological well-being.
At the time of Xmas parties many of us may be waking up with regrets, sore heads, fragile stomachs and some heartburn (acid reflux) which in a year can affect over 40% of us and one in five weekly.