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

Portrait of a happy mature couple outdoors

Bowel cancer screening program extended



Australians turning 50, 55 and 65 years of age between January 2008 and December 2010 will be offered a free ‘one-off’ bowel cancer screening test, in phase 2 of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program which began in July. Bowel cancer is the most common internal cancer in Australia. The screening test is the Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) which

Plant-based and animal sources of Omega-3 acids

New recommendations for omega-3 intake


The Heart Foundation has recently recommended all Australian adults without existing heart disease should consume 500 milligrams of marine-source omega-3 oils daily. People with heart disease should double that dose to 1000 milligrams daily. Omega-3 oils are a type of polyunsaturated fat which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. To get

Man and woman pretending to fly after drinking an energy drink

Do energy drinks really give you wings?


A heart attack and cardiac arrest in a healthy 28 year old man recently has highlighted concerns about the consumption of ‘energy’ drinks. The 7–8 cans the young man consumed were thought to be a possible cause of his life-threatening event. (see reference 1 below) Aggressive marketing has led to a recent increase in the

Man with whooping cough feeling sick with a scarf on

Many adults vulnerable to whooping cough



Whooping cough cases occurred in record numbers across Australia last year and the epidemic is continuing into 2009. Many adults no longer have immunity and need to be vaccinated. Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can cause severe coughing spasms with difficulty breathing and can

Rheumatology consultation with senior lady explaining new treatment options

New treatment for osteoporosis


  Zoledronic acid is new treatment for osteoporosis that is used only once a year, and is given through a drip into a vein. It is now available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Osteoporosis is a common condition which causes brittle bones which are prone to breaking easily, for example after a minor bump

Dementia. Does ginkgo biloba help?


The herbal remedy ginkgo biloba is widely used to prevent and treat dementia, but does it work? In a recent study of over 3,000 people 75 years and older with normal mental function, ginkgo was not found to prevent dementia from developing. No benefit from taking it was found after 6 years. (Ref. 1) A

Selection of 4 asthma puffers lined up in a row

Asthma and COPD. Problems with puffers widespread


Up to 90% of people with asthma and COPD are not using their puffers correctly, according to the National Asthma Council. A new video is now available online to demonstrate correct step-by-step use for all types of puffers. Incorrect use is especially common in the older age groups and can greatly reduce the effect of your

Young infant drinking baby formula from bottle whilst lying back on monthers chest

Reflux in infants. Thickeners not effective


A recent review of all the available research on the use of thickeners in infant formula has found that they only have a small effect on gastric reflux. This effect may be of ‘questionable clinical significance’.  Up to 40% of infants regurgitate after feeding and thickeners such as rice cereal are sometimes added to the milk