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The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public.

The articles below have been written by RRI members and published on The Conversation.

Five ways to help parents cope with the trauma of stillbirthThere are at least 2.6 million stillbirths a year across the world. More than 2,000 families each year suffer the loss of a stillborn baby in Australia, equating to six stillborn babies every day..... Read more

Philippa Middleton

How childhood trauma changes our hormones, and thus our mental health, into adulthoodExposure to traumatic experiences in childhood can have a negative impact on the development of the brain when it’s most vulnerable.... Read more


Pregnant women shouldn't start taking vitamin B3 just yet: reports it prevents miscarriage and birth defects are overblownReports on a new study claim supplementation with vitamin B3 during pregnancy could prevent miscarriages and birth defects. So should all pregnant women start taking B3 supplements? Not so fast... Read more

Tina Bianco-Miotto

What happens in the womb affects our health as adults, but girls and boys respond differentlyWe all know girls and boys are different. These differences include behaviour, DNA, hormones and risk of disease, to name a few. Differences between boys and girls start very early in life, well before the sex-specific organs form..... Read more

Tina Bianco-Miotto

Human embryo CRISPR advances science but let's focus on ethics, not world firstsFollowing early reports last week that scientists had edited the DNA of human embryos, American researchers have now published their much anticipated paper in the journal Nature.... Read more

Hannah Brown

What is 'cognitive reserve'? How can we protect our brains from memory loss and dementia?As we get older we have a greater risk of developing impairments in areas of cognitive function – such as memory, reasoning and verbal ability. We also have a greater risk of dementia... Read more

Michael Ridding

Study confirms 'flushing' blocked fallopian tubes can improve fertility and reduce need for IVFA technique that effectively “unblocks” a woman’s fallopian tubes by flushing them with liquid to help her conceive has been used for decades, with varying levels of success.... Read more

Ben Mol

What will my child's be life be like? Newly identified genes may help diagnose autism and disabilityWe have identified 38 new genes that are strongly associated with autism and intellectual disability. Some of the genes appear to be primarily associated with autism, and others primarily associated with intellectual disability....
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Jozef Gecz

Before pregnancy even starts, healthy weight in mums and dads lowers obesity risk in childrenChildren born to obese women have double the chance of being obese themselves by age two, compared to children born to women of a recommended body mass index (BMI).... Read more

Michelle Lane

Why the media need to tread carefully when reporting research findingsAny scientist with media experience is likely to have a horror story to share, of mistruths and misconceptions of the impact of their research being aired publicly as breaking news..... Read more

Hannah Brown

What's the point of sex? It's communication at a biological levelThe act of penetrative sex has evolved over millions of years as a mechanism to deliver sperm to eggs and initiate pregnancy. But there’s more to sex than just the meeting of two sets of genes..... Read more

Sarah Robertson

Suppressing the immune system won't improve your chances of conceiving with IVFIt’s common for three or more rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) treatment to be unsuccessful, that is, to not to result in a pregnancy. The frustration leads many women to seek explanations and investigate alternative options.... Read more

Sarah Robertson

Introduce eggs and peanuts early in infants’ diets to reduce the risk of allergiesIn the 1970s food allergies were rare. But Australian children now have the highest rate of food allergy in the world. Up to one in ten infants and two in ten school-aged children have a proven food allergy.... Read more

Merryn Netting

Women should be told about their breast density when they have a mammogramWomen with higher breast density for their age are more likely to develop breast cancer. High breast density also makes it harder for doctors to detect breast cancer on a mammogram... Read more

Wendy Ingman

Explainer: What is cystic fibrosis and how is it treated?Cystic fibrosis affects around 3,000 people in Australia and 70,000 worldwide. It's an inherited disease caused by a mutation in a single gene... Read more

Martin Donnelley

Why males are more likely to die from conception to old ageSexual inequality begins in the womb, but not in the way you might think... Read more

Claire Roberts

Emerging infertility treatment could be a less invasive and cheaper alternative to IVFIn-vitro fertilisation (IVF) has helped infertile couples start families for more than 35 years. But while the technology has evolved, it remains an expensive, invasive process that can have significant side-effects..... Read more

Jeremy Thompson

How old is too old for a safe pregnancy?This week, an Australian woman delivered a baby at the age of 62 after having in vitro fertilisation (IVF) abroad....
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Hannah Brown

Vaccines to expect when you're expecting, and whyPregnancy can be a confusing time, raising a number of questions for women. Which prenatal vitamins do I take? Which foods do I need to avoid? Can I take something for a headache or have my morning coffee?... Read more

Helen Marshall

Antidepressant trial's upended results show need for sharing dataIn 2001, a “landmark” study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry purported to show the safety and effectiveness of using a common antidepressant to treat adolescents...
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Jon Jureidini

World's first genetically modified human embryo raises ethical concerns It all started with a rumour. Then just six weeks ago, a warning rang out in the scientific journal Nature, expressing “grave concerns regarding the ethical and safety implications” of creating the world’s first genetically-modified human embryo... Read more

Hannah Brown

How your parent's diet before your birth impacts your health Chromosomes and genes contain the blueprint for your physical characteristics. But your parents’ health and diet before you were conceived can also affect how your genes are expressed – and impact your long-term health...
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Melanie McDowall

Risk of birth complications doubles after assisted reproduction The risk of serious complications in childbirth, such as stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, and death within the first 28 days is twice as high for babies conceived by assisted reproductive therapies compared with naturally conceived babies, according to new Australian research... Read more

Michael Davies

We need palliative care for babies facing certain death In Australia, there are approximately 1,200 infants who die every year before their first birthday, most in the first days or weeks of life. But there are no palliative care services available to these babies or support for their families...
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Dominic Wilkinson

Explainer: why does female fertility decline? Former Olympic swimmer Lisa Curry has announced she will undergo fertility treatment to try to have a baby with her partner of three years. News reports say doctors estimate she has less than a 10% chance of success... Read more

Melanie McDowall

Navigating the grey zone in end-of-life care for children Recently on The Conversation, legal academic Neera Bhatia drew attention to two recent Australian court cases of withdrawing of life-saving medical treatment from infants with severe brain damage... Read more

Dominic Wilkinson

IVF Linked to higher blood clot risk Women who fall pregnant through in vitro fertilisation are at a higher risk of blood clots and artery blockages than women who get pregnant spontaneously, a new study has found... Read more

Rob Norman

Global study finds infertility rate stable Infertility rates worldwide have remained relatively unchanged over the last 20 years, a new global study has found... Read more

Jeremy Thompson

Men's 'biological clock' linked to schizophrenia and autism We all know about the reproductive “biological clock” in women reminding them of the finite time in which they can have children. Now researchers have found evidence that men also have a reproductive “best before” date...
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Melanie McDowall

Hormones in semen could lead to better infertility treatment Many animals, including humans, have a regular ovulation cycle, where an egg or eggs (depending on which type of animal) are released from the ovary regardless of whether mating has taken place or not... Read more

Jeremy Thompson

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