Saw Palmetto trees in the everglades

Serenoa repens no help for enlarged prostate


An extract from the plant Serenoa repens (saw palmetto) is widely used to improve symptoms in men with an enlarged prostate. However, a recent Cochrane study (an analysis of all the available published scientific evidence) has found that ‘Serenoa repens was not more effective than placebo (sugar pills) for treatment of urinary symptoms consistent with

Macro shot of white asiprin on white background

Should healthy people take daily aspirin?


Daily low-dose aspirin reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke in people who already have cardiovascular disease, but does it help those who don’t? A recent large scientific review published in the Lancet did not find any overall benefit from the use of aspirin in people who do not already have cardiovascular disease. Most experts do

Dentist drilling into patients mouth to place an amalgam filling

Amalgam dental fillings are safe


Scientists have finally put to rest the myth that the mercury in dental fillings is toxic. After 6 years of consideration, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has concluded that the amount of mercury in amalgam fillings is not high enough to cause any harm. That is good news to people wondering if they

Fish oil prevents heart disease


The value of fish and fish oil in preventing heart disease has recently been confirmed in a large US study. The findings support the advice from the Heart Foundation that all Australian adults consume about 500 mg of omega-3 (marine source) every day (1,000 mg if you have heart disease already). You can get your recommended intake

3D Rendered image of the H1N1 swine flu virus

Swine flu update #2


Last updated: 8 February 2010 How serious is influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu)? Influenza H1N1 is mild in most cases and the overwhelming majority of patients make a rapid and full recovery. However, 2-5% of people are hospitalised (most of these patients have risk factors – see below). Unlike normal seasonal flu, the majority of cases involve people less

Sick woman lying in bed with high fever due to the swine flu

Swine flu update


Swine flu, or influenza H1N1, is a new virus, first identified in April in Mexico. There has been widespread concern because the virus is much more contagious than regular, seasonal flu and has spread rapidly. Swine flu tends to affect younger people, especially those under 25 years. Fortunately, it is quite mild in most cases and has not been a

Girl with asthma using inhaler and reading book in the kitchen

New resources for kids with asthma


A new interactive, kid-friendly website, Kids with Asthma, has been launched by the National Asthma Council Australia. The site is specifically written for childhood asthma and includes basic facts, diagnosis, asthma medications, management and FAQs. Specifically designed to be fun and informative, the site uses simple facts and an interactive asthma-themed Game Zone to appeal

New resources for ovarian cancer



A recent study has confirmed that testing healthy women to detect ovarian cancer is not effective. 34,000 healthy women aged 55–74 were screened annually for 5 years with an ultrasound and a blood test (CA125). Most of the cancers were found late and the earlier detection did not improve the outcome for these patients. However, it

Selection of assorted medications used for treating irritable bowel syndrome

What works for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?


A recent analysis of all the available scientific evidence found that 3 simple remedies were effective in this difficult-to-treat condition. They were: Peppermint oil. Relieves bowel spasms. Ispaghula husk, also called psyllium. (Wheatbran – ‘bran’ – was not effective) Antispasmodic medication, such as hyoscine. All these treatments are well tolerated and are available over-the-counter. Speak to

Shot glasses being poured on a bar

New alcohol guidelines advise lower drinking levels


The new Australian drinking guidelines recommend that both women AND men drink no more than two standard drinks a day over their lifetime to reduce the risk of an alcohol-related injury or disease. The guidelines from Australia’s peak health body, the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) are the result of 3 years of


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