Listening to music before, during, or after a surgical procedure is beneficial to patients and can reduce pain and anxiety signifi(...)

Breast cancer cells. Photograph: Science Photo Library

US oncology research claims a particular form of the disease is being over-treated

Researchers at Galway university hospital followed up 118 morbidly obese patients after gastric bypass surgery and found long-term health benefits.  File photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Average excess weight loss experienced in Irish research was 55% after two years

Study tested 23 symptom checkers and found one-third of cases correctly diagnosed, says Muiris Houston

Research shows efficacy in certain people may be linked to genetics, says Muiris Houston

All pets are a theoretical risk, with bites, scratches, saliva and contact with faeces among the common routes of infection

A woman walks past South Korean policemen wearing face masks in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Getty

There are scientific reasons why the ’flu-like virus is ‘super-spreading’, but cultural factors such as ‘doctor shopping’ are at p(...)

The Hiqa review into the deaths of five babies in the maternity unit at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, uncovered multiple examples of poor oversight and a failure to take action by the HSE. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Hiqa found evidence of neglect by HSE managers in how they dealt with clearly documented problems at Portlaoise

Swedish scientists have developed a system that means we can assess our risk of dying by answering a few questions online. But w(...)

More research needed into widely prescribed stomach ulcer drug

Lead was used for pipework and watertanks before the 1970s in many homes. Lead from these pipes leeches into water with contamination levels of up to 80 times the legal limit found in drinking water in parts of Dublin. File photograph: Juri Samsonov/Getty/iStockPhoto

Long-term exposure can damage reproductive and nervous systems

Inhaling nitrous oxide is popular among young adults, but what are the dangers?

The review, commissioned by the International Agency for Research in Cancer, the World Health Organisation’s specialised cancer agency, also concluded there were benefits in screening older women aged 70 to 74.  Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Study on women aged 50 to 69 years bolsters the case for national screening programmes

Patients should check what impact the trial will have on their treatment plan and follow-up care. Photograph: Thinkstock

After a diagnosis it can be daunting to decide whether or not to take part

MDMA can reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart, which is of particular concern during periods of increased physical activity

Heart failure may occur in susceptible individuals even after taking single dose

‘There are clear messages from this damning report.’ Above, Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn at the publication of the patient safety investigation report into services at Midland Regional Hospital. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Government must consider temporary closure of Midland Regional Hospital

Inequality and inequity continue to be part of Irish healthcare. Most of it is not intentional.

Patient advocacy has been the subject of attacks from vested interests

Medical jargon is something some readers will perhaps be overly familiar with. If you are a patient, or a patient’s relative, you (...)

Many on waiting lists have gallbladder problems or hernias that need surgery

Patients with major diseases may be spared the worst deficiencies of our health system. Those with lower-level illnesses, such as (...)

The ‘doctor knows best’ approach is outdated, but seeking consent is still challenging, says Muiris Houston

After an extensive review of 1,800 scientific papers, it found “there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective”

The ‘treatment’ can delay people from seeking more effective medicinces, says Muiris Houston

New study by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute

The concept of harm by overdiagnosis hasn’t really hit home, says Muiris Houston

Balanced, rice-based diet and affordable healthcare help Japan’s population to live longer

At best, the study found an association between coffee-drinking and lower coronary calcium scores. This is long way from proving causation, a more difficult challenge that would require a randomised forward-looking study

Moderation in all things, with healthy scepticism about new studies, is best approach

Gerry Feeney  in Beaumont hospital on December 19th last. The complaint focuses on a failure to offer Mr Feeney the most basic of nursing care

Muiris Houston: Failure of basic care should be taken as seriously as medical problems

One of the keys to successful treatment is to start the anti-virals within 48 hours of the first symptoms appearing

The best hope is that the vaccine will mean the severity of the infection will be somewhat ameliorated, and it may help people avo(...)

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar says he is  in favour of ending the 30-year-old ban on gay men donating blood. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Lifetime ban should be replaced with a one-year deferral

Cooling of newborn infants with moderate to severe hypoxic brain damage reduces the risk of death and of long-term neurological disability. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Head cooling is designed to prevent the further death of brain cells

 Rather than feel bad on the weeks you don’t manage 150 minutes, be positive about any 20 minutes of moderate exercise you do get. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Dr Muiris Houston writes about the recent report saying we should do 20 minutes a day

The most common oral signs of diabetes are gingivitis (gum disease) and periodontal disease

There are various oral features that can be detected during a routine dental examination that might suggest undiagnosed diabetes (...)

Four broad ways to die: sudden death; the long, slow death of dementia; the up-and-down death of organ failure; and death from cancer where you “go down, usually in weeks”.

It has been suggested we should ‘stop wasting billions to cure cancer’ because terminal cancer is the best way to die

With the perennial hospital beds crisis reaching a crescendo, what can make a difference?

How about some moderate exercise starting this week? Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Muiris Houston outlines some less punitive approaches to good health in 2015

It is routine practice for the person to be admitted to the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum for assessment

Psychiatrists' risk assessments are not an exact science

Although prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men in Ireland, it is very treatable if caught in time and v(...)

Various factors can contribute to a hospital’s misdiagnosis of miscarriage

Freddie Wood, president of the Medical Council. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The president of the Medical Council, Freddie Wood, talks to Muiris Houston about maintaining public and patient trust by acting (...)

‘Continued monitoring of recommendations made by various inquiries into the death from sepsis of Savita Halappanavar is crucial’

Study confirms maternal deaths in Ireland and the UK are still rare

About one in 60 of us will be affected by Bell’s palsy over the course of our lifetime

Often mistaken for stroke because it causes the face to fall, Bell’s palsy still calls for prompt attention to alleviate symptoms (...)

Two promising techniques can help those with difficulty swallowing medication

International flanker Chris Henry was forced to withdraw from the Ireland squad on the morning of the Test match against South Africa. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho.

IRFU statement says international flanker will have further tests to ascertain extent of medical problem

Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs do not carry or transmit any diseases. Small consolation, eh?

Cimex lectularius are pesky, parasitic little creatures, but all is not lost

 In 2013, older teenagers aged 18-19 were the most likely cohort to need inpatient psychiatric treatment for the first time.

A report shows older teenagers the most likely cohort to need inpatient psychiatric treatment for the first time

Muiris Houston looks at the symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention of the condition

Muiris Houstons looks at causes, signs, symptoms, prevention, treatment and useful resources.

From hay fever to eczema, allergies can cause severe discomfort for sufferers

Limitations of medicine leave doctors, patients and families facing quandries

Dr Muiris Houston looks at signs and symtoms of heart disease, as well as ways to prevent and treat it.

Dr Muiris Houston examines the signs symptoms and diagnosis related to a stroke as well as prevention, control and some useful res(...)

Dr Muiris Houston looks at causes, signs and symptons of arthritis, as well as its prevention and treatment.

A computer model of the common cold virus, rhinovirus 16. Photograph: Dilip Paithankar/Purdue School of Chemical Engineering/Getty Images

Comfort food can help when pills are powerless against common cold virus

A photograph made available by US Customs and Border Protection  shows a CBP officer (right) examining documents and interviewing a passenger, during screening for the Ebola virus at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The Irish government has decided not to follow course. Photograph: EPA/US  CBP

Analysis projects fewer than three people with virus will travel on an international flight every month

A significant breakthrough in the science of faecal therapy

Volunteers with Médecins Sans Frontières in Brussels receive training on how to handle personal protective equipment. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Death rate at 57% in worst-hit west African countries, says World Health Organisation

Spanish medical practitioners shout against Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his visit to the Carlos III hospital in Madrid where a nursing assistant was infected with Ebola. Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP Photo

Trained health staff, not airport checks, can protect Irish people from Ebola

Dhara Kivlehan and her husband, Michael. Deficiencies in Ms Kivlehan’s clinical care and at systemic level contributed to her death, according to expert witness Dr Peter Boylan.

Analysis: inquest raises questions about clinical care, writes Muiris Houston.

Funny turns: some represent a potential medical emergency and one of the key tasks for the doctor is to identify these by means of a thorough physical examination. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

It can be quite a challenge to unravel what a patient really means by the term

Anaesthetic awareness is a rare condition whereby patients wake up during surgery because they are underanaesthetised.

Anaesthesia is said to be about 50 times safer now than in the 1980s

Former president of the Irish Medical Organisation resigns from doctors’ trade union.

Dr Paula Gilvarry says union cannot maintain confidence of doctors

Photograph: Moodboard/Getty

Will healthcare soon be driven by patients rather than doctors?

E-cigarettes: There is no evidence to suggest that nicotine is carcinogenic, but it is addictive

Analysis: Some research done on risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, but more needed

File photograph of a high level isolation apparatus. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

What are the implications for others if virus is diagnosed? asks Dr Muiris Houston

On this occasion it appears the Act failed to offer guidance to doctors on the most appropriate response to a request for termination.

Analysis: In this case the Act failed to offer guidance on most appropriate response

In an analysis of 16 studies involving more than 830,000 participants, researchers found the average risk of death from all causes was reduced by 5 per cent for each daily serving of fruit and vegetables.

Research says going beyond recommended number of portions may have no further benefit

Herbert Park,  Dublin, in the sun yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Our adaptation to heat is dependent on the body’s ability to act as a natural cooling system

They might seem sensible, but there is little evidence that having a periodic health check does any good

Practising medicine in modern times, doctors must be wary of becoming part of the “health police”

Body snatching and other tales from TCD medical school’s history in Coakley’s book

 Dr Cilian Ó Maoldomhnaigh, of  The Children’s Hospital Temple Street Dublin, said despite the success of the meningococcal C vaccine and sepsis guidelines a reduction in disease incidence has not coincided with improved outcome for those children with invasive meningococcal disease. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Many children critically ill before they receive medical attention

We need to examine the health risks of fracking before granting licences, writes Muiris Houston

Loneliness can be a health risk on par with smoking and not getting enough exercise

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