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.
Depression affects over 80,000 young people in the UK every year. It can have a devastating impact on their daily lives, social and academic functioning, and family. As one young person in our research project put it: “I felt like I was missing out on being a teenager”.
A series of coordinated attacks in Paris left 130 people dead. A week later, armed gunmen stormed a hotel in Mali, seizing hostages while also firing indiscriminately at guests, killing 27 people.
Until fairly lately, it was unusual to see the words “cancer” and “cured” used in the same sentence. Now, it’s much more common. Reports that toddler Layla Richards had been cured of what was thought to be an incurable form of leukaemia were followed with news that former US president Jimmy Carter was cured of brain cancer – a melanoma that had spread from his liver.
Most researchers agree that the key difference between human brains and those of other animals is the size and complexity of our cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer of neural tissue. We therefore tend to focus our attention on this area, believing that our unique mental life is due to this masterpiece of evolution.
As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, sometimes it can seem like we barely get a chance to see the sun. For most people, this can be frustrating; and for others, the slide into winter can actually lead to a subset of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
European societies are living longer but as the older population increases, are these extra years healthy ones? Research we recently published in The Lancet suggests that the answer to this question crucially depends on what you mean by “healthy”.
Most of us will have experienced diarrhoea or Delhi Belly and spent an unpleasant 48 hours in bed or on the toilet, often while travelling. Studies show that if severe, these infections can sometimes change your gut microbes permanently.
About one third of people with depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood. New research indicates that persistent inflammation affects the brain in ways that are connected with stubborn symptoms of depression, such as anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.
Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion.
Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly one in four Americans dying from heart-related chronic illnesses each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is clearly a Mind-Body Connection and when you start to feel something coming on always visualize yourself as being healthy, strong, and confident. Imagine yourself feeling good when you suddenly realize that you are being challenged. I always carry an “Emergency Kit” when I travel and...
XLR-11, PB-22, AB-FUBINACA, MAB-CHMINACA, 5F-AMB. These are the cryptic and sometimes unpronounceable names of the most dangerous drugs you’ve never heard of. They are responsible for kidney injury, psychosis, seizures, coma and death.
Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.
Cancers have many strategies for avoiding attacks from the immune system. And now scientists have identified a new one.
"Yoga may be especially well-suited to people with arthritis," says Susan J. Bartlett. "It combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day."
In this excerpt, Ewald Kliegel provides reflexology techniques for one of the most common human ailments – the headache. The head is prone to different problems – from throbbing temples with the sensation of being trapped in a vice, while a jackhammer is busy at work in the background, to having a brain that feels as though it is made of cotton wool.
One in six Australians will have a stroke in their lifetime. That’s about 51,000 strokes per year, or one every ten minutes. Worldwide, stroke is the second most common cause of premature death, after heart disease, and is the leading cause of disability among adults.
A major new initiative called Choosing Wisely has been launched by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. This initiative aims to address a culture of over-medicalisation in health, where treatments are prescribed – not always with much clinical value – when other, better solutions may exist.
Autism is commonly, if mistakenly, associated more with logical thinking than creative expression. But new research suggests we might need to rethink our views on creativity and autism.
Conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract are common in modern humans and many are on the rise. The gastrointestinal tract extends from the mouth to the anus, via the stomach and the bowels, which include the small intestine and the large intestine (colon).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that causes overwhelming recollections of traumatic events. These can be triggered by sights, sounds or smells that serve as reminders of the incident. Sufferers also report severe nightmares, emotional numbness and withdrawal from social interactions.
Looking around at a 20th high school reunion, you might notice something puzzling about your classmates. Although they were all born within months of each other, these 38-year-olds appear to be aging at different rates.
Anyone who battles addiction knows that it's so much more than a bad habit or a moral shortcoming. Addiction is a compulsion so beyond our control, that we may as well be a feather fighting against a gale-force wind. Until...one day the wind subsides.
Most people feel down, tired and inactive when they’re injured or ill. This “sickness behaviour” is caused by the activation of the body’s immune response. It’s the brain’s way of conserving energy so the body can heal.
We have known for some time the people suffering from schizophrenia and other psychoses smoke more than the general population. The explanation that is usually offered is the so-called “self-medication hypothesis”
This is more than the number of hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke combined. Most Americans have never heard of it, but according to new federal data, sepsis is the most expensive cause of hospitalization in the US