At-home dialysis for the cost of a bag of chips

A new low-carbon-footprint dialysis treatment might soon be available for the cost of a bag of chips. Sydney-based start-up Ellen Medical Devices has received $427,000 in government funding to develop the award-winning Ellen Medical Dialysis System. Dialysis replaces normal kidney function by purifying and cleaning the blood when kidneys alone can’t do it. It has … Continue reading At-home dialysis for the cost of a bag of chips

What’s the deal with placebo pills? | Cosmos Weekly Taster

This article on the placebo effect first appeared in Cosmos Weekly on 1 October 2021. For more stories like this, subscribe to Cosmos Weekly. The website for Zeebo Relief tablets reads like any other suspiciously vague alternative health treatment. “Help you tap into the power of your mind and body,” the site enthuses. The pills have … Continue reading What’s the deal with placebo pills? | Cosmos Weekly Taster

Undiagnosed endometriosis compromises fertility treatment

Undiagnosed endometriosis can drastically affect a woman’s ability to fall pregnant as well as the success of any fertility treatment undertaken, according to a new study from the University of Queensland, published today in the journal Human Reproduction. This is particularly alarming because around one in nine Australian women is affected by the condition, and … Continue reading Undiagnosed endometriosis compromises fertility treatment

How can we treat COVID-19?

The effect of high vaccination rates, particularly in New South Wales, is slowly becoming apparent. Daily cases are no longer growing exponentially, and hospitalisations also seem to have stabilised. Yet, the Delta variant is here to stay, and as restrictions begin to ease, the state may experience a spike in cases. Fortunately, vaccines are not … Continue reading How can we treat COVID-19?

Frederick Banting’s search for insulin

Frederick Grant Banting’s career in medicine did not get off to an auspicious start. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Banting, born on 14 November 1891 and raised on a farm near Alliston, Ontario, about 100 kilometres north of Toronto, entered the University of Toronto in 1910 with thoughts of becoming a Christian minister. Failing in … Continue reading Frederick Banting’s search for insulin

Placebo effect

The website for Zeebo Relief tablets reads like any other suspiciously vague alternative health treatment. “Help you tap into the power of your mind and body,” the site enthuses. The pills have been “used in published clinical trials”(it’s always “used” with these things, not “shown to be effective”) for “chronic pain, stress, and performance”. They … Continue reading Placebo effect

Life-saving portable X-ray machines

Can a CT scanner fit onto an ambulance? Why would you even want to do it? Portable X-Ray machines are not only more comfortable for patients, they can save crucial minutes to get to treatment. This is particularly the case with stroke victims, for whom the first few hours of treatment will make a difference … Continue reading Life-saving portable X-ray machines

Paul Ehrlich’s magic bullet

Once in a while, the entertainment industry tires of making movies about comic-book characters and looks to science history to provide gripping tales of adventure – usually with fewer gun battles and explosions. In 1940, for example, filmmakers gave us Dr Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet, a biographical film starring renowned American actor Edward G Robinson in … Continue reading Paul Ehrlich’s magic bullet

Message in a bottle

In 1989, when Katalin Karikó submitted her first grant application to develop messenger RNA-based gene therapy, she knew she had a game-changing technology in her hands. But the Hungarian biochemist, then a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, could only dream of using mRNA in humans. In theory an almost perfect platform to make drugs … Continue reading Message in a bottle

Chronic pain can hurt your feelings

For too long, people living with chronic pain have been stigmatised for not coping with the negative emotions associated with their condition. But researchers at the University of New South Wales and the NeuRA Institute have found a reason to explain why people with chronic pain might struggle to keep their feelings in check. “There’s … Continue reading Chronic pain can hurt your feelings

What does science say about fracking?

The federal government recently awarded $50 million in grants to private energy companies to fund the exploratory drilling of the Beetaloo Basin, as part of its heavily criticised “gas-led recovery”. The 28,000 square kilometre Beetaloo region begins about 500 kilometres southeast of Darwin in the NT. The region, which includes Aboriginal lands and pastoral leases, … Continue reading What does science say about fracking?

Fertility clinics reap rich payments from pharmaceutical companies

How much sponsorship is given to fertility clinics by pharmaceutical companies in Australia? Millions, according to a new analysis, suggesting transparency of sponsorship is essential to protect vulnerable patients. In a new paper, published in BMJ Open, researchers accessed publicly available databases that detailed the payments from pharmaceutical companies Merck Serano and Merck, Sharp and … Continue reading Fertility clinics reap rich payments from pharmaceutical companies