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Some chemists wrongly telling women they must fill in form to access emergency contraception

Women who seek emergency contraception from their pharmacist are wrongly being told they must fill in a form asking them to declare whether they were sexually assaulted or have STI symptoms before they can access the medication. An investigation by The Medical Republic reveals that some chemists are telling customers they are “legally required” to fill out a checklist originally created by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) in 2013, even though the body has since distanced itself

Australia's anti-encryption law is hurting press and personal privacy

Many politicians are calling for anti-encryption laws. Australia has already implemented one, and it is damaging tech firms, user privacy and freedom of speech POLITICIANS around the world are calling for so-called back doors to let them read messages on encrypted chat apps. But the surprising fall-out from Australia’s sweeping new encryption regulations reveals that such breaches of privacy can have unexpected consequences.

Will Sydney's bushfire smoke pollution have long-term health effects?

Smoke from the bushfires raging near Sydney in Australia has been blanketing the city in recent weeks, reaching a crisis point on Tuesday when air pollution in parts of the city rose to over 10 times the level deemed hazardous. Health authorities are warning the public to be careful. Children have been forced to stay indoors during lunchtime at school, ferries were cancelled and office workers were evacuated from buildings as the smoke triggered fire alarms.

How disaster pushes medicine forward

In 2020, the world changed more than many of us could have imagined. The pandemic tore apart social structures, grounded travel and led to the deaths of millions. As tragic – and potentially avoidable – as that was, it also holds the seed of something amazing. In the quest to combat such a powerful foe, humans dedicated a jaw-dropping amount of funding, time and brainpower to understanding every possible facet of the virus and how it spread.

Extraordinary fossils show how mammals rose from the dinosaurs’ ashes

The discovery of thousands of exquisitely preserved plant and animal fossils in Colorado gives an unprecedented look at life after the asteroid crash that wiped out the dinosaurs. We know that an asteroid slammed into what is now Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula about 66 million years ago, killing three-quarters of living organisms, including all dinosaurs except for birds. But the first million-year period after this mass extinction has a notoriously poor fossil record

How do we know COVID isn't a bioweapon?

It’s a virus that has infected more than 12 million people and caused more than half a million deaths worldwide. If you have listened to US President Donald Trump and several of his colleagues, the leader of Iran, and official sources in China at various points, this threat came not from nature but was intentional. The conspiracy theory that SARS-CoV-2 actually came from a laboratory has gained traction in recent months, with many accounts blaming the pandemic on a leak (or malicious release).

Why we can’t depend on diet for iron

Our diets may now be too deficient in iron to practically meet our needs, leaving us reliant on supplements, one iron expert believes. While the agricultural revolution led to a food innovation and a subsequent population boom, it changed the composition of what we ate forever. And this shift in our intake, from a seasonal forager lifestyle to one in which we can eat all sorts of foods from across the globe, regardless of season, may ultimately be leaving us deficient in at least one nutrient.

Turning on to psychedelics: fear and loathing no more

Drugs such as LSD and psilocybin, that for half a century have been demonised as criminal, counterculture and dangerous, are suddenly undergoing a facelift, with scientists busily studying their effects on a range of hard-to-treat psychological problems. It’s a development which Dr Stephen Bright, a senior lecturer in Edith Cowan University, describes as “an international psychedelic science renaissance in the 21st century”.
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