eMJA: In This Issue, 17 March 2003

Med J Aust 2003; 178 (6): 250. || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05186.x
Published online: 17 March 2003

Intern cancer quiz

Knowledge can be acquired in a variety of ways. For instance, some readers learnt the health hazards of a Guinnessfest through personal experience on St Patrick’s Day (coinicidentally the day this issue appears). But not all areas of learning can (or should) be left to life experience. A comparison by Barton and colleagues of cancer knowledge and skills among interns from graduate medical program (GMP) courses with those of interns from non-GMP schools yields some interesting differences.

Heartstopping stress

You’re a non-smoking, depressed workaholic with barely controlled hypertension and dyslipidaemia (ie, a GP or medical editor). Did you know that your risk of coronary heart disease may be even higher than you think? After a review of the evidence for stressors such as depression, work-related stress and Type A behaviour being coronary risk factors, the updated National Heart Foundation position statement page 272 makes surprising reading.

Back on track

As thousands of Australians sustain traumatic brain injury each year, most doctors will have patients on the long road to recovery. What do current rehabilitation techniques have to offer, and how can the family doctor support the patient and his or her family? Khan and colleagues update us in the last of our MJA Practice Essentials — Rehabilitation articles on page 290.

You thought you were safe

Not too long ago, we were promoting clean, pet-free zones, synthetic bedding and prolonged breastfeeding to prevent allergy. However, Kemp’s editorial cites more recent epidemiological studies that challenge these recommendations.

Cough mixture

Everything you need to know about COPD appears in this issue’s accompanying Supplement The COPDX Plan: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2003. Diagnosis, referral, preventing deterioration, managing exacerbations and improving function — these evidence-based guidelines, with their useful summary acronym, leave nothing to the imagination.

Sharing and caring?

"Routine" sharing of patient information among health professionals may be problematic for some patients. Braunack-Mayer and Mulligan discuss the ethical issues involved in three cases. Are we breaching any laws in sharing such information, especially in view of the Privacy Act? Thomson’s editorial sets the record straight and says it’s about more than the legalities.

When editors' eyes are smiling

A journal’s Impact Factor reflects quality about as closely as leprechauns reflect reality, according to a searing critique of this flawed measure by Walter and colleagues. Yet the belief that publication in a journal with a high Impact Factor is a pot of gold pervades academic and publishing circles. As the editor responsible for JAMA’s rising Impact Factor from 1982 to 1999, Lundberg is well placed to challenge what constitutes the worth of a journal article.

Cradle, crêche and coda

What are the chances of having a baby from one IVF treatment? Jansen analyses the outcomes at one Australian clinic and finds that, at the age many women seek IVF treatment, their chances of success have definitely fallen below the optimum.

Landmark Australian longitudinal studies on child health have spearheaded widespread change, such as regulations on lead in petrol and recommended infant sleeping positions. The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children is a new nationwide project which, Nicholson and Sanson argue, will help us to understand how biopsychosocial factors in childhood affect a child’s development and health.

For those at the other end of the lifespan, a report by Lim et al of a multicentre randomised controlled trial shows that a special program coordinating community services for older people after hospital discharge yields many benefits.

Another time ... another place...

Our authors are not always what they should be . . . [They write out of] mere necessity, the need to make their names known through publication, or economic circumstance.

Kurt Sprengel, 1786



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