Guidelines, autism, HRT, and more…

FSM News and Articles

Health professionals and complementary therapies: what can consumers reasonably expect? The Medical Board of Australia is developing guidelines for the use of complementary therapies by health practitioners. Under standard guidelines, recommending complementary therapies might constitute unprofessional conduct, as these therapies often fail one or all of the three tenants of recommending therapeutics: Does it work? Does it work in practice? Is it worth the cost?

FSM Friend’s News and Articles

A new study reinforces the conclusion that autism is primarily genetic None of this is to say that this and all the other studies examining the genetics of autism are without problems. Autism and ASDs represent a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorder impacted by many genes. Teasing out which genes and combinations of genes are most important in determining autism risk is incredibly difficult, as is the case for any complex multigene condition. I’ll even concede that sometimes scientists go too far in touting gene association studies. However, this study was not a gene association study, but rather the largest study to date to estimate how much of the risk of autism is genetic. As such, it produced an estimate that is in line with previous estimates and strengthens the scientific conclusion that autism is mainly heritable, with an effect on risk due to environment that is much smaller and, however large it actually is, not due to vaccines.


We don’t know menopausal hormone therapy causes breast cancer, but the evidence continues to suggest a link: This is an example of science in action. It has been known for some time that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of developing breast cancer and yet researchers continue to gather data to make the association more definite and better define the risk i.e. how long can someone take HRT relatively safely, in what proximity to menopause etc. But take note of the language used: the evidence continues to suggest a link. Science will rarely make a definite pronouncement about cause and effect. There always exists the possibility an effect is due to something we haven’t thought of yet. This is different from alternative medicine which always has an answer for everything with cure rates nearing 100%. And that’s just ridiculous.

How clean is your hospital room? To reduce the spread of infections, it could probably be cleaner: While the risk of infection for patients will never be zero, cleaning staff play an important role in patient safety. Yet they often go unrecognised. Next time you visit a hospital, why not thank a member of the cleaning team for their role in reducing your risk of infection. And patients should remember it’s more difficult to clean when tables, chairs and rooms are full of items. So reducing clutter will make it easier for cleaning staff to do their job.

Key concepts for making informed choices: “Unfortunately, people often fail to think critically about the trustworthiness of claims”.

#Flunami2019 – Australia’s biggest confirmed flu count on record: The year is not over, but 2019 was Australia’s biggest (lab) confirmed flu count on record. That said the death rate is reflecting a less severe year so this is that is a silver lining (so far).

Great Moments in Health and Science

History of the autopsy: Crucial to how many of the body’s functions were first discovered and understood, the autopsy remains important in the investigation of deaths of unknown cause.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Do acupuncture points exist? Can acupuncturists find them? Even acupuncturists can’t find them reliably, and it took them until now to consider that as a question or a problem. Wow. Not that it matters, because acupuncture points weren’t real in the first place.