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Make your New Year's health resolution about prevention. That's where the big gains are

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


At a time of year when we are flooded with advertisements for detox and weight loss products, I've been doing some detoxing of my own. Specifically, a day of fasting and bowel preparation for my colonoscopy tomorrow. At the risk of over sharing, I think it's fair to say I can regard myself as pretty well cleansed right at the...

Good riddance to the GP tax, but what lies ahead for medical research funding?

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


If the news coming out of Canberra tonight is accurate, the Federal Government has finally realised that their GP co-payment (really a tax given the way they intended to implement it) is actually what Rampaging Roy Slaven would call 'a cup of hot fat with a hair in it' as far as the electorate is concerned. It's an...

‘I feel your pain’: measuring the unmeasurable

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


Humans seem to experience pain, whether acute or persistent, in a unique way. As a species, we have evolved from having very simple damage-sensing mechanisms (which we share in many details with molluscs) to develop early warning systems that react not only to the threat of physical harm but to social and emotional harm.


Acupuncture, zombie fish and Humpty Dumpty

Article by Dr Michael Vagg

"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all."


Health Check: how do you choose strong painkillers?

Article by Dr Michael Vagg

Commonly used over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen will usually be strong enough to alleviate common aches and pains. But if you're suffering from acute pain from dental work, minor surgery or migraine headaches, you may need something stronger.

So, how do you choose what's best for you? And what...

Can we make whiplash less of a pain in the neck?

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


Once upon a time, not too long ago, 'whiplash injury' was regarded as a prototypical malingerer's diagnosis. I can even remember an episode of the Brady Bunch where the dad 'proved' the plaintiff in a personal injury case (complete with massive neck collar) was a fraud by chucking his briefcase onto the floor so the faker...

Botox on the PBS shouldn’t be a headache for taxpayers.

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


Imagine if you could get Botox on the PBS!! Expressions would start disappearing off faces all around you, turning Australia into a society of strangely youthful but surprised-looking middle-aged people.

In fact, the treatment with perhaps the most wildly successful brand name in medical history has hopefully begun to...

‘Superfoods’ - another battleground between marketing and common sense

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


Over the previous weekend the morning magazine shows I have on during lazy mornings had 2 glamorous nutritionist types breathlessly discussing the latest 'superfoods' that would be big in 2014.

It's difficult to think of a job description which triggers queasiness in me faster than 'nutritionist'. The title is not a...

Health Check: how do you choose over-the-counter painkillers?

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


If you're anything like me, your medicine cupboard is chockers with various non-prescription pain remedies: liquids, pills, capsules, children's painkillers, formulations that are "gentle on the stomach" and products that claim to target specific parts of the body.

So what's the difference between these products, and...

Centipede venom could lead to new class of pain drug

Article by Dr Michael Vagg


A protein found in centipede venom could be developed into a drug to treat chronic pain that is as effective as morphine but without the side effects, researchers say.

The joint Australian-Chinese study, published today in the journal PNAS, found that a small protein in the Chinese red-headed centipede proved as...

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