Australian Medical News Brief May 2016

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Welcome to Medshop Australia’s monthly series, News Brief, where we talk about what you may have missed. These are mostly articles we’ve posted in our social media news feeds. We consider them the most newsworthy events in Australian health and medicine from the last month. You will find links to the original articles. Let’s look back and review the top stories from May.
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Australian life expectancy near world's best

As reported by the SBS Australian life expectancy is near the world's best according to a new report from the World Health Organisation. Australian males' life expectancy is ranked at an average of 80.9 years of age. The third highest in the world following Switzerland in the first place and Iceland in second place. For Australian women, average life expectancy is 84.8 years and while this number exceeds average life expectancy for a male, Australian women's' life expectancy ranks and number seven in the world. The countries that ranked highest for longevity for women being Japan, Singapore, and Spain.
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Is Kale Really Healthier Than Spinach?

As reported by Pop Sugar, The jury is finally in on Kale vs Spinach - both of these leafy greens are considered to be superfoods, containing a powerful dose of vitamins and minerals per serve. Until recently spinach was considered the champion of the leafy greens, with more nutritional benefits than similar foods like lettuce. That was until kale took the stage and thanks to the age of the internet #kale has soared in popularity. But which is better? Turns out spinach still packs a really good punch but kale can take a hit because of its own unique health benefits. What one lacks, the other makes up for so next time you whip up a green smoothie, try adding both for maximum benefit.
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Labor promises to keep medication cheaper at cost of $3.6bn over 10 years

As reported by The Guardian, in light of the upcoming election the Labor party has vowed to support the pharmaceuticals benefit scheme and re-instate funding following the 2014 cuts. A move that is set to keep medication costs to a reasonable and affordable level for all Australians. At a cost of approximately 3.6-billion over the next decade. Labor’s health spokeswoman Catherine King said the funding for this initiative will come from rejecting the coalition's plan to provide 50bn of corporate tax cuts.
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Antidepressants not as effective as previously thought, say doctors

As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, recent studies have shown that antidepressant drugs are not as effective in treating depression as previously thought. With one in ten Australian adults currently taking anti-depressant medication, independent studies are showing that the effectiveness is not much better overall than the placebo. The article cites a need for more integrative treatment incorporating therapy, diet, lifestyle and exercise into the treatment plan for depression. While anti-depressants still play a role in treatment, they shouldn’t be looked at as a stand alone course of treatment.
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Giz Gadgets: Can Gadgets Improve Your Health (Or Lifestyle)?

As reported by Gizmodo, can gadgets really improve your health or lifestyle? From fit bits and GPS heart rate trackers to the latest gadget, a mood tracker. Gizmodo explores the ins and outs of the latest in technology. It comes into question, though, with all this reliance on technology to tell us how we are feeling or how healthy are or are not, does it make us more in touch with our health or less? We would love to know what you think. Leave us a comment on our social media pages.
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