Latest health news

Dental surgery breaches endanger thousands

Amy Corderoy and Kate Aubusson 6:36 PM   NSW health authorities fear 11,000 patients from two Sydney dental clinics could have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis because of poor cleaning and equipment sterilisation.

'If they don't attend their visits here I go after them'

 Kiara Bloxsome, and her six-month-old son Carter, whose family have been patients of the  Mount Druitt Aboriginal Medical Service for four generations. The service has lost funding.

Harriet Alexander   For decades it has looked after the health of much of Sydney's Indigenous community from Ermington to Lithgow. But the days are numbered now for the Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney.

The poverty capital of Australia

A Council of Social Service of NSW  report has found disposable household income for the richest residents of NSW is nearly six times that of the poorest.

Amy Corderoy   Sydney has the highest poverty rate of any capital city in Australia, according to a new report that shows the staggering gap between rich and poor in our state.

​Sugary drinks kill 184,000 people around the world each year: study

Mass murderer: Think twice before reaching for that sugar hit.

Margaret Scheikowski   Landmark study shows the death toll that comes with a love of sugary drinks.

Support vital for pregnant AOD users

Researchers say pregnant women who use drugs and alcohol face significant barriers to accessing care and support.

Megan Gorrey   Early engagement with women who take drugs and drink during pregnancy and access to support and treatment that also addresses mental health problems, domestic violence and homelessness are vital.

How depression shrinks the brain

An illustration of the human brain with the hippocampus in yellow.

Harriet Alexander   The region of the brain responsible for new memories and regulating emotions is smaller in the brains of people with recurrent depression, according to a global study that has implications for the treatment of young people.

Scanning the brain's magnetic fields offers hope for epilepsy patients

Stewart Duguid is now living seizure-free.

Bridie Smith   Stewart Duguid used to have an epileptic seizure every fortnight. He never knew when they would strike. But the seizures were debilitating and proved impossible to control with medication.

Canberra workers split the health divide as Victorians top scales

An average ACT worker had a waist circumference of 88.2 centimetres

Matthew Raggatt   Some offices are undertaking a trial of an activity based work space, designed to encourage a more flexible and mobile work day.

Breast cancer gene checks high after Jolie kick

Pink Hope ambassador Robyn Smith is one of many Canberra women to have had tests to show if they have genetic mutations that put them at higher risk of breast cancer.

Matthew Raggatt   Publicity about Hollywood star's preventive double mastectomy encourages Canberra women to take tests.

Freezing eggs a waste of time for young women, fertility expert says

Sperm and ovum

Kimberley Le Lievre   Listen up, ladies. Freezing your eggs is a waste of time.

Generation Overstimulation? Generation Y's addiction to being busy

Broden Tadros is typical of Generation Y. He works up to 50 hours a week, performs as a singer/songwriter in his spare time and is training for a half marathon.

Inga Ting   Australia's 18 to 29-year-olds are so busy their physical and mental health suffers but, apparently, they like it.

Newsmaker: the plague

Taylor Gaes died after suffering from a rare case of the plague.

Kelsey Munro   If you, like the rest of us, thought the plague had disappeared with the Middle Ages, gone the way of the Knights Templar and the feudal system; permit Newsmaker to disabuse you.

Patients in and out of hospital

Readmission rates at hospitals are higher than previously believed.

Harriet Alexander   Up to 40 per cent more people are limping back into acute care after hospitalisation than previously believed.

Skinny jeans hospitalise squatter

Stylish: But are people wearing skinny jeans walking a dangerous line?

James Bullen   Hipsters beware - skinny jeans might be bad for your health.

How Australia could save $320m a year on prescription drugs

The report finds that patients are often unaware of whether their drug attracts a premium.

Dan Harrison   Taxpayers could save $320 million a year by only paying for the best-value drug when cheaper drugs work just as well as more costly ones, according to a report by a former federal health department head.

Alcohol-related injuries in young women skyrocket, study finds

The number of young women with alcohol-related injuries is on the rise.

Nicky Phillips   The number of women presenting at emergency departments with alcohol-related injuries is increasing at an alarming rate, a new national study has found.

HIV levels due to drug injection largely 'contained'

Largely "contained": the number of injecting-drug users who contracted HIV has remained low over the past 20 years.

Andrew Brown   A 20-year study of the habits of injecting-drug users has found the rate of people who have contracted HIV as a result of drug use has been "contained."

Pot and the politics of pain

Greens leader Richard Di Natale.

Scott Hannaford   Surveys show nearly three quarters of the population wants the nation's drug laws to change, and politicians across the political spectrum from the Prime Minister down are lining up to agree with them. So what's stopping thousands of sick and dying Australians from getting legal access to cannabis medication? Scott Hannaford meets those pushing hard for change.

Transparent fish give hope for motor neuron disease

Nick Cole with transgenic fish, which are being used to study Motor Neurone disease at Macquarie University Hospital.

Rick Feneley   Dr Nicholas Cole is the keeper of thousands of transparent fish that glow with pretty blobs of fluorescent green, evidence they carry a human gene that causes "a true bastard of a disease".

Is the multi-million dollar campaign for a female viagra just pink wash?

In August the FDA will make their decision on flibanserin, a pill which purports to boost women's sex drive.

Nicky Phillips   It's taken drug companies more than a decade to come up with a female version of the "little blue pill", but by August women who've lost interest in sex may have access to their own version of viagra.

Poor hit hardest by federal health cuts

 Senior public servants anticipate that elective surgery lists will blow out as the NSW government attemtps to do more with less and those who cannot afford private health cover will bear the brunt.

Harriet Alexander   Senior public servants anticipate that the federal government's cuts to public hospital will hit the poor the hardest, resulting in longer waiting lists and cuts to services in rural areas, internal documents reveal.

Health Dept overhaul will tackle bullying but won't cut jobs

Secretary of the Health Department Martin Bowles.

Markus Mannheim   Restructure to help unclog "bureaucratic" practices and reduce overwork and 'inappropriate behaviour'.

Picking up underwear: it's a pain in the back

The triggers for lower back pain range from lifting heavy loads to replacing toilet rolls.

Harriet Alexander   The triggers for lower back pain range from lifting heavy loads to replacing toilet rolls.

Why Australia shouldn't ban trans fats

(FILES) In this June 28, 2007 file photo, french fried potatoes cooked in trans fat-free soybean oil are ready to serve at Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side of New York. Partially hydrogenated oils, known as artificial trans fats, are not safe to eat and must be removed from the food supply in the next three years, US regulators said June 16, 2015. Often found in margarine, frosting, cookies, crackers and frozen pizzas, partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are not "generally recognized as safe" for use in human food, said the US Food and Drug Administration, finalizing the agency's proposed ban on artificial trans fats in 2013.  AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

Kate Aubusson   The US is playing catch up to Australia when it comes to regulating trans fatty acid, but that doesn't mean our food is trans-fat free.

Scientists unlock genetic secrets of muscular dystrophy

Marnie Blewitt, genetic research scientist with the Walter and Eliza Institute.

Bridie Smith   Scientists have for the first time worked out how a gene linked to one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy works.

How to choose a GP

Corporate health work can keep blood pressure in check.

Julia Medew, Health Editor   Here is what you should consider when you're shopping around for a medical keeper.

Stroke can age the brain eight years

Portrait of stroke victim Tony Finneran at his home in Padstow.
12th June 2015
Photo: Wolter Peeters
The Sydney Morning Herald

Andrew Brown   Tony Finneran considers himself pretty lucky despite having a stroke in 2013. But new research from the US shows that his brain could've aged by eight years as a result.

Pharmacists urged to dump dubious products before doing doctors' work

A leading GP says homeopathic treatments should not sit alongside conventional medical treatments in retail pharmacies.

Julia Medew, Health Editor   Pharmacists should stop selling dubious products including homeopathy if they want to perform work currently done by doctors under a federal government trial, a leading GP says.

E-cigarettes may increase nicotine dependence and attractiveness of smoking: study

Call for regulation: Study finds pyrazine additives may reinforce the addictive qualities of nicotine.

Henry Belot   A new study has found a chemical additive commonly found in e-cigarettes could play a role in tobacco dependence and increase the attractiveness of smoking among youth.