Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

Something I find frustrating sometimes is the idea that, if something is “natural”, it is safe and good for you. (And don’t get me started on the “no chemicals” thing!)

It is an especially dangerous trope in the field of herbal medicine. You don’t have to go much further than “deadly nightshade is natural” to disprove “natural=safe”, but many people don’t get that far. So while a study may not have been strictly necessary, it is nonetheless useful that a review has been done.

(Also, someone has clearly been doing some publicising here. I read about the study in the SMH, and when I went searching to see if I could find the article, there were a lot of other newspaper (etc) stories about it. It’s nice to see some reporting of a paper like this!)


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DUFC logo

Welcome to the 18th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival! (And apologies for the delay.)

This Carnival has an optional caring theme, thanks to Australian Carers’ Week (which was October 18 to October 24). The theme for this year was “Anyone, Anytime, Across Australia”, which I modified to “Anyone, Anytime” for the purposes of the DUFC.

There wasn’t much sent in on theme, so I’ve expanded the DUFC rules just a little.


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Note: Thanks to Lauredhel for encouraging me to write this post; otherwise, it might have slipped through the cracks of “other priorities”.


For various reasons – mostly because I seem to have a lot of friends who are doctors – I’ve had the opportunity to chat to a number of doctors, nurses and midwives about birth. Particularly topical at the moment is the home birth debate (as I’ve been drafting this post, I see that the government has announced that it will no longer be effectively prohibiting home birth, although it still won’t be supporting it).

All of the doctors with whom I have had the home birth vs hospital birth discussion have expressed a clear preference for hospital birth. This is not because they think hospitals are perfect – most of the doctors I know work in the (public!) hospital system, and are aware of at least some of the failures of that system. Similarly, the nurses and mid-wives that I’ve spoken to who work within the hospital system generally expressed a preference for hospital birth.

The reason for this near-universal preference is, I think, for two main reasons: (1) they spend more time with the births that go wrong (especially the doctors), and those stick in their minds, and (2) they are incredibly risk-averse.*

And fair enough, I say. However, I disagree with their assessment of risk.


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Ok, so we all have our own biases. I can deal with that idea.

And the Federal Government’s consultation on the possibility of a federal charter of rights was hardly starting with a blank page, given that the Federal Government took a constitutional bill of rights off the table right from the begining.

And ok, Frank Brennan, self-described fence-sitter, has done Good Things in his life.

Um, that doesn’t mean he’s always right.


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Great. Women in the UK who have PMS are being offered anti-depressants. The linked article seems to take a pretty balanced look at the issue.

Anti-depressants are recommended by the current UK guidelines:

Guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) currently recommend antidepressants, specifically SSRIs such as Prozac, to treat severe PMS. They also seem to work on some of the other symptoms of PMS such as the abdominal cramps, not just the depression.

But the guidelines also make clear they’re not supposed to be the frontline of defence:

The RCOG guidelines say that doctors should first give advice about exercise, diet (caffeine-free, high in complex carbohydrates and low in sugar is best) and stress reduction before reaching for prescription pads. They suggest talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which aims to make people feel better about life events, and hormone treatment such as the contraceptive pill. [my emphasis]

The problem is, however, that GPs just don’t seem to know what to do:

Many doctors do not know that guidelines exist.


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