Episodes
Research into the influence of gender on autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. Calculating how many lives were saved by Australia's Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, and how to spot a fake Dr Karl, or Dr Swan, in the wilds of social media marketing. A review into how cognitive behavioural therapy can help young people who've experienced trauma. Recently updated WHO guidelines say babies as young as six months can start drinking cow's milk rather than infant formula, but that contradicts Australia's...
Published 04/19/24
In light of the Bondi Junction attack, there's been a lot of commentary about mental illness - including schizophrenia. So what is schizophrenia? While the exact cause isn't known, it's a serious mental illness that can affect how a person behaves.  It might also surprise you to learn that someone with a diagnosis is more likely to be harmed, than to harm others. On this special episode of Health Report, Dr Norman Swan talks about the medical facts about the disorder, how common it is and...
Published 04/15/24
Is a simpler solution to recurrent UTIs on the way? Plus when should you exercise to get the most benefit? A deep dive into the UK's reviews of gender affirming treatment, and how Australia's system differs.  Researchers say there's more PFAS in our water than previously thought, but how much do we know about the health harms? And a new way to deliver immunotherapy straight to the source in bladder cancer. 
Published 04/12/24
In health news this week it's cows with bird flu, vaccines for human flu, and GLP-1s for Parkinson's and possibly bowel cancer prevention. When your private health insurer won't pay, have you read the fine print on your policy lately? A look at health literacy barriers, when it's not the apple a day keeping some people away from the doctors' office. How mRNA technology developed during COVID is now being used to target the proteins that cause Alzheimer's and dementia. And new technology...
Published 04/05/24
How changes to codeine access impacted the use of PBS-listed opiods.  Pinpointing particular strains of bacteria that could lead to bowel cancer.  The Australian research that helped change our definition of anaemia.  And why aren't there already strict guidelines on indoor air quality?
Published 03/29/24
Three recent scientific papers looking at ADHD treatment and other health outcomes. Why no one knows what your cancer treatment will do to your ovaries. In a small US study, brain cancer tumours shrank rapidly in the first few days when treated with chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, T cells injected into the fluid around the brain. And suicidal thoughts are more common than researchers expected in people who do not fit with conventional diagnoses of depression or other psychiatric disorders.
Published 03/22/24
Queensland's Chief Health Officer says the term "long-COVID" should be scrapped, but there are different definitions of what long-COVID is and different ways data is collected Evidence suggests toddler or transition milks are unnecessary at best and harmful at worst. Numbers of alcohol related deaths may have been under reported because past abuse isn't captured when a reformed-drinker dies.
Published 03/15/24
A 62-year-old man in Germany—called HIM—deliberately received the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination 217 times within a period of 29 months. Researchers were keen to know how he fared. Sleep has become a bit of an obsession and has us questioning just how much we need. A large study has compared participants' duration of sleep against their risk of Type 2 Diabetes. In pop culture and news coverage menopause and mood changes seem inextricably linked. A special series on menopause has just been published...
Published 03/08/24
Major depressive disorder is a leading cause of global disability, and exercise looks like a candidate for treatment. But which type? Skin cancer is a major health risk for Australians, but access to proper cancer screening and treatment is difficult, especially in some of our highest-risk areas, like Far North Queensland. Sarcoidoisis is an enigmatic condition that may attack different parts of the body. Diagnosis is difficult and there are few treatments. It's now being comprehensively...
Published 03/01/24
When COVID vaccines first became available in 2021, they were met with celebration. Finally we had some defence against this virus that had struck down so many and triggered such heavy lockdowns. But once they started rolling out en masse, a new concern emerged – reports of side effects that, while rare, could be severe.  Just how rare these conditions are has now been better described by a new paper drawing on data from 99 million people from across the world.  The answer – as we already...
Published 02/26/24
News this week is The Government response to the long COVID inquiry, which looked into how many Australians are living with long COVID and what could be done to support them. And, a report on fine particulates in the air, and their relationship with coronary heart disease. A study has tested whether showing people actual pictures of the plaque inside their arteries is more persuasive than a simple risk score in promoting healthy changes. Turns out, it is. A senior cardiologist calls it The...
Published 02/23/24
Health news: Insomnia: what kind of therapy and/or behaviour changes are more likely to work? And new advice on sun exposure that reflects Australia's diverse population. Low-carb diets have grabbed a lot of attention, promising weight loss and improved health, but they're not all the same. Diet is important for health, but foods high in sodium are a risk factor for high blood pressure, and stomach cancer. In early 2022, after nearly two years of the COVID pandemic, doctors started to...
Published 02/16/24
A groundbreaking study from the Queensland Brain Institute has found serious deficiencies in the amount and quality of food provided to kids by Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services. This can compromise kids' nutritional needs, and brain development. Getting a diagnosis for autism for a child or adolescent is a series of complicated and often expensive hoops to jump through—and it’s even harder for adults.
Published 02/09/24
The addictive painkiller fentanyl has swept through the USA—but its effects haven't been as big in Australia. Why? Vaccination against COVID-19 can save lives and reduce the risk of severe disease. Why are some people under vaccinated—and what's the risk for people not up to date with shots? An early form of breast cancer—ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)—is often found by women themselves, not as part of screening programs. The power and potential pitfalls of AI in medicine have been...
Published 02/02/24
The drug name on everyone’s lips is semaglutide—a seemingly magical substance that can solve all our ills. But it’s not just semaglutide, there’s a whole class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists. Opioids are commonly prescribed to patients who have cancer to help them with pain, but the drugs are not risk free and can have their downsides. Last year there was a Senate report into the state of dental care in Australia, and like a visit to the dentist—it wasn’t a fun read. Back pain affects so...
Published 01/26/24
Night terrors are distressing awakenings of intense screaming, thrashing and fear that often happen at the same time each night.  They're more common in children than in adults, but they can hang around or emerge later in life.  Norman takes us through his own childhood night terror, and Tegan weighs in on some of the reasons they happen in the first place.  Got a health question? Shoot us a line @ABCHealth on Instagram, or send a voice memo to [email protected]. We'd love to hear from...
Published 01/23/24
What's happening with COVID Australian vaccination rates are dropping A new term for chance discoveries on scans
Published 01/22/24
The shock of a cancer diagnosis is familiar for far too many people. But when Na'ama Carlin was diagnosed with breast cancer, her health wasn't the only consideration.  If you're in need of support you can contact Mummy's Wish or Hope for Two.
Published 01/15/24
First heard in July 2023 It’s called ‘young onset’ dementia if diagnosed before the age of 65—and can occur while people are still caring for kids and supporting a household. First heard in July 2023 We think breastfeeding is quite natural, but it doesn’t always come easily, and some issues—such as Breastfeeding Aversion Response (or BAR)—are still under-researched.
Published 01/08/24
Drug use has been increasing, whether it be cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, or ketamine. That includes recreational use and substance abuse. So it begs the question: Has criminalising drugs ever worked? And what needs to be done to drive down the harms associated with this increasing drug use? If you're in need of support, you can contact the National Alcohol and Other Drug hotline on 1800 250 015, or contact Counselling Online. 
Published 01/01/24
A new kind of ADHD clinic is cashing in on surging demand for diagnoses—and promising salaries of more than $900,000 to recruit psychiatrists. As the need for services has grown, so have waitlists. Given the choice between a ChatGPT bot or a real doctor, a panel of health care professionals found the bot's responses were both more empathetic and gave higher quality information.
Published 12/25/23
More and more people are tackling the bracing discomfort of ice bath sessions. Alongside several touted health benefits there are some serious risks. Norman is at Bronte Beach to chill. Researchers observed the cardiac and neural signals from a small number of ICU patients at the point when ventilatory support was withdrawn. They recorded the quite new phenomena of electrical activity in a particular area of the brain. Keeping motivated to exercise can be difficult, but for people getting...
Published 12/18/23
Feeling dissatisfied with their appearance can become an obsession for some people, and affect quality of life and relationships. Most people can benefit from reduced salt intake, and so reduce the risk of heart attack, atrial fibrillation, stroke, dementia, and kidney damage. A few months ago the program there was a story on an under-recognised cause of high blood pressure called primary aldosteronism. One listener asked to be tested. An area of Australian healthcare that might be a...
Published 12/11/23
Bringing clarity to health and medical issues from social, scientific and political points of view.
Published 12/04/23