When it comes to mental health, like attracts like

Is it true that like attracts like? When it comes to mental health, it seems the answer is yes. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry this week sheds light on the influence of psychiatric disorders on relationships and mating. The study from the famous Karolinska Insitute in Sweden examined over 700,000 men and women with…

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Injecting regulations into cosmetic medicine

Cosmetic procedures quite often receive bad press; they’re seen as unbridled vanity and something to be frowned upon (if you can still frown, that is). But the industry drivers are far more complex than simple vanity. Society rewards attractiveness in both obvious and subtle ways. Little in our social existence is truly immune from the…

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Facebook – friend or foe?

It’s hard to remember life without social media. I saw my first computer in high school – it was the size of a fridge and didn’t have a keyboard. We had to use cards to enter data. We excitedly programmed it to write “happy birthday” and “school is boring” over and over. We weren’t quite…

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Enlisting psychology in the fight against terrorism

We are in the midst of a wave of soul searching trying to understand the Lindt Café siege in Sydney. In a sense we’ve been collectively holding our breaths for years wondering if Australia would ever fall victim to a terrorist act. Terrorism has many definitions but by and large usually refers to the use…

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When AIDS came to town

Next week the 20th International AIDS Conference comes to Melbourne (starting July 20). This will be the biggest medical conference ever held in Australia. President Bill Clinton and Sir Bob Geldof are attending. So are about 12,000 advocates, consumers, carers, scientists and health care workers. The ramifications of big events usually take decades to become…

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Political lies, white lies and damned lies

Lying has been in the news this week. Apparently some politicians, somewhere, made all sorts of claims prior to an election, and then did the opposite after the election. Go figure. Lying is ubiquitous. According to this study humans tell about two lies per day. Women are more likely to lie to protect someone’s feelings…

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Aiding and abetting suicide in terminal illness

It is illegal in Australia to aid or abet suicide. Despite this Dr Rodney Syme publicly announced this week that in 2005 he provided a lethal drug, Nembutal, and advice to a patient who two weeks later used the drug to end his life. The police have re-opened the case, and will now decide whether…

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Digital love

I recently saw the movie Her. Without giving too much away – it’s the story of a recently heart-broken guy who gets a new operating system (or OS) for his computer. The OS uses voice, not a keyboard and screen. The OS is clever and has the ability to learn, and the voice of the…

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Suicide – the disclosure dilemma

In my time as a public hospital psychiatrist, I’ve seen many suicides. It is the most common cause of death for those aged under 45. Despite this statistic and suicide’s undeniable presence in our society, it remains for the most part, the elephant in the room. beyondblue – http://www.beyondblue.org.au flickr/David Wallace The founding chairman of…

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Airbrush my life

Vanity fascinates me – partly because I’m a victim myself. It’s mostly frowned upon but permeates so many aspects of our everyday life. Recently I brushed up against my own vanity, and it wasn’t completely comfortable. I won a gift certificate for a professional family portrait. I headed along with my son, had the photo…

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