The ‘doctor knows best’ approach is outdated, but seeking consent is still challenging, says Muiris Houston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

The good, the bad and the Bergamot: the health effects of tea

Could we be on the cusp of a revolutionary change in medicine?

Major clinical trials have shown the new drugs are as effective or better at preventing strokes than warfarin.

Recent reports have linked 19 deaths to anticoagulants over the past two years

A Canadian study found a steep decline in survival rates in the first five minutes after a person suffered a cardiac arrest. The odds decreased by 23 per cent for each additional minute’s delay in giving defibrillation (electric-shock therapy).

Failings in ambulance system mean a high percentage of victims never stood a chance of survival

Prof Freddie Wood: “One of the key issues emerging from our research and discussions was the need for leadership in putting agreed values for good professional practice consistently into action.” Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Patient safety relies on consistent action on best practice and disclosure of issues, writes Dr Muiris Houston

Pneumonia may be the older person’s friend but only if we let it

Róisín Molloy listens to Dr James Reilly during a press conference on maternity services in Portlaoise. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Some 33 extra midwives are needed in Portlaoise hospital

For every 10 per cent increase in nurses who have attained a bachelor’s degree, there is an associated 7 per cent decline in mortality, according to study

Europe-wide study finds link between nurse-to-patient ratios and patient deaths

A girl is vaccinated against influenza at the General Hospital of the West in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, last Monday. Photograph: EPA/Ulises Ruiz Basurto

Analysis: both types of flu are covered by this year’s vaccine

The Irish Cancer Society has said that despite the rise in cancer incidence it is possible to reduce individual risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle

New cases worldwide each year will increase to 25m over next two decades

Complex human rhythms link sleep and disease

Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise: four babies died during labour or shortly after birth over a six-year period. Picture: James Flynn/AP

How much longer must we wait before predictable deaths in our maternity hospitals are significantly reduced?

General practice, for years the only stable and consistently functioning part of the Irish health system, is now on its knees, as its resources have been systematically removed since the beginning of the economic recession. Photograph: Getty Images

How safe will our care be if our GPs are unable to cope with their workload, rising patient expectations and financial concerns? (...)

Health Minister Dr James Reilly TD in 2012 announcing that  St James Hospital Dublin would be the location for the new National Children’s Hospital Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Healthcare professionals predict they could open facility by 2017 if State supported project

Aware and Tesco deserve major kudos for facilitating the spread of cognitive behaviouaral therapy in Ireland

50 years on from the first official smoking warning, do e-cigarettes offer a safe alternative?

We really need to do more to protect the health of young rugby players, writes Muiris Houston

A possibly delirious Muiris Houston describes his brush with ‘man flu’

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