ECT: Effective, but standards vary widely

IN a crowded conference room in Hobart, the banter is reaching boiling point. Psychiatrists from across the country have convened to discuss developments in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and neuropsychology as part of last week's Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists annual congress. And the topic has turned to the tricky balancing act of maximising efficacy while minimising side effects.
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Desert Pains

The Gobi Challenge is a small, expedition-style stage race that winds its way through 225 kilometres of Mongolia's ruthless south Gobi desert. The race is organised by two brutish Scottish blokes, both former police men, one of whom served in the Special Forces. They know how to run a well-organised, efficient event, but suffice it to say you don't want to get on their bad side...just ask the two token Mongolian runners who brought along a masseuse,or the photographer who showed up in a dress....
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Warmth on the Steppes

A CROWD of spectators has gathered, waiting as Tom, one of the few foreigners to brave driving in Mongolia, prepares to make his move. It’s been 40 minutes of psyching up and watching nearly every vehicle, from logging trucks to motorbikes, stall and get stuck in a fast-flowing tributary of the Selenge River in north-west Mongolia. A superhero Landcruiser is on standby rescuing the less fortunate – or less capable – vehicles with a winch. But that’s not going to be us: Tom’s pride couldn’t bear it....
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Will regulating alternative health practitioners improve public safety?

Should alternative medicine practitioners be better regulated? Concerns over the variation between quality, skills experience and ethics has led to a government consultation to discuss the options. Support for more stringent regulation has been broad-- and it's come from the groups representing alternative medicine themselves.
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Surgery successful, but the sex needs help: prostate cancer

LIMP, shrimp, wet and dry. That's how one patient sums up his post-prostate cancer surgery state. Limp because he could no longer get an erection, shrimp because his penis had shrunk a couple of centimetres, wet because he was incontinent and dry because he couldn't ejaculate any more. Every year in Australia about 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the second most common cancer after skin cancer. Survival rates are high, about 95 per cent in cases where it's caught early and is still localised. But while treatment is often effective, it nearly always leaves scars, even in best-case scenarios.
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So this is India?

I’m cramped in the back seat of a Jeep—not to be confused with a four wheel drive— silly me for assuming. We’re heading up, up, up through one of the world’s starkest, steepest, most stunning places that is still accessible by car—if only barely. We are entering the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh on the Indian side of the Himalayas, on the border of Tibet. This is far away from the hoohaa of Nepal and even farther from the hot and crowded urban India we’ve just escaped from. The mustached and turbaned, silk sareed India of postcard recollection is several hundred kilometers south of here.
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More reasons to avoid stress

It can thin your hair, wrinkle and pimple your skin—and now stress has found another way to sabotage your looks and health. It can make you fat. It doesn’t just affect women who are inactive and don’t watch what they eat, either. If you’re a thin woman with a thick waist, stress may be the culprit...Research into the stress-fat connection is piling up, and it seems this villain has a few tactics up its sleeve.
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