The risk to the Australian community from doctors and nurses returning from Ebola-affected countries is minimal. Credit: EPA/ARIE KIEVIT

By Grant Hill-Cawthorne, University of Sydney and Adam Kamradt-Scott, University of Sydney

Governments have a duty to protect their citizens but the plan to impose mandatory detention on health-care workers being suggested by some Australian states is excessive and unwarranted.

As the death toll of Ebola continues to rise, especially in the hard-hit West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the need for a viable cure is growing more and more urgent. Even more concerning is the possibility that once approved, vaccines may not be widely available for several months.

As often happens in times of medical crises, fringe groups come out from hiding–in this instance, organic activists in the form of the most high profile organic lobby group in the United States.

We never miss pharmaceutical companies until they are gone.

Lawsuits, terrifically expensive drug development cycles and trials coupled with a short window for sales before a drug is declared out of patent and therefore generic has meant companies are abandoning markets that are not lucrative, like antibiotics. Critics who believed drug companies were evil and greedy have found that government is incapable of doing applied research - and that is leaving a huge void.

Up to 64% of people worldwide use medicinal plants to treat illnesses and relieve pain, and the herbal medicine market is worth $60 billion annually. Despite the increasing popularity of herbal medicine, the sale of medicinal plants is mostly unregulated, because they do not claim to be medicine in countries where regulation happens. 

It's obvious why people in developing nations embrace herbal alternatives to medicine - medicine is expensive. In wealthier countries, it is instead embraced by people who have plenty of money but don't trust science.

Structure of Bisphenol A. Credit: Ian Musgrave

By Ian Musgrave

Bisphenol A is in the news again. A paper just published in the Public Library of Science with the alarming title of “Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA)” is bound to ratchet up anxiety levels about this chemical yet again.

Human volunteers for Ebola vaccine. Image:niaid

By Connor Bamford, University of Glasgow

The world has been warned that the current Ebola epidemic may not end without the use of a vaccine – and no licensed vaccines exist yet. That may soon change, because scientists are making swift progress.

Unusual and severe impulse control disorders, including pathological gambling, hypersexuality and compulsive shopping, have been reported in patients taking dopamine receptor agonist drugs. Dopamine receptor agonist drugs, which activate the dopamine receptors, are commonly prescribed and there were 2.1 million dispensed outpatient prescriptions in the fourth quarter of 2012.

To find answers, the authors analyzed adverse drug event reports for six dopamine receptor agonist drugs marketed in the U.S. Their analysis was based on 2.7 million domestic and foreign adverse drug event reports from 2003 to 2012 pulled from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Adverse Event Reporting System database.

Morphine was the first active drug molecule extracted from a plant as well as the first to have analogues prepared from it.  The following is a discussion of the history of heroin from Dr. Walter Sneader’s book Drug Discovery: A History. 

Anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, estrogen, and Fluimucil can improve the efficacy of existing schizophrenia treatments, according to results announced at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Berlin.

Doctors have long believed that helping the immune system may benefit the treatment of schizophrenia, but until now there has been no conclusive evidence that this would be effective. Now a group of researchers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands has carried out a comprehensive meta-analysis of all robust studies on the effects of adding anti-inflammatories to antipsychotic medication. They conclude that anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin, can add to the effective treatment of schizophrenia. 

Long-term daily use of Viagra can provide protection for the heart at different stages of heart disease, with few side effects, according to a new meta-analysis published in BMC Medicine

Scientists from the Sapienza University of Rome carried out a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by searching for articles published between January 2004 and May 2014 to deduce the effectiveness of  Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor
(PDE5i) in providing cardiac protection, and to find out whether it was well-tolerated and safe. They identified 24 suitable trials for analysis from four research databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and SCOPUS. The trials involved 1622 patients from mixed populations who were treated with PDE5i or a placebo.