This Medical Life

This Medical Life

Welcome to the This Medical Life podcast. Our mission is to share stories about the triumphs and tragedies of diseases and illnesses from ancient times up until what we know today. It is about those scientific and medical minds who came before us and how, every single day, we stand on the shoulders of giants. This is a podcast about the stories of medicine. Hosted by Dr. Travis Brown and Steve Davis, our target audience is General Practitioners, medical students, and other health professionals. We hope to educate, inspire and celebrate those who choose to care for others in their profession. From experience, we know that our audience extends beyond these fields and would like to welcome anyone to listen. The stories of those who came before us are nothing short of remarkable and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Production by Tim Whiffen Design by Tom Buzz


June 17, 2024 77 mins

Pelvic pain is a difficult and challenging medical condition for both patients and doctors. It can be debilitating for women that can begin as a teenager or a young adult and progress for years impacting every facet of their lives.

Similiarly, pelvic pain can be challenging for symptom to assess and manage for doctors as there are a multitude of causes that range from simple and straight forward to complex and chronic disease...

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Vitamin B6 is a common additive in supplements, energy drinks and breakfast cereals. In rare circumstances though, it can reach levels toxic levels and cause neurological symptoms the mimic neurodegenerative disease.

This year newsGP reported a case where a GP took magnesium supplements for muscle cramps and over the course of a few years resulted in vitamin B6 toxicity that caused peripheral neuropathy and difficulty walking.


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Scleroderma is a disease characterised by the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. The first medical description can be traced back to the 1750s.

Our understanding has evolved over the centuries but the pathogenesis remains largely unknown. The disease as several forms including diffuse and localised. Symptoms include skin discoloration and tightness to more severe complications like organ dysfunction.


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In 1901, the state of Montana organised for scientists and doctors to investigate a mysterious illness from the Bitterroot Valley called ‘Black measles’ and ‘Black typhus’. People of all ages were affected but predominantly those who worked in the brush and were exposed to tick bites. The investigators called it ‘tick fever’ and this particular strain had a mortality rate over eighty percent.

Today this disease is known as Ro...

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Our understanding of infectious disease and pathology stems from the 19th century with Robert Koch pioneering research. Dr Koch help to shaped modern microbiology and medicine when he identified the causative agents for anthrax and tuberculosis. Since that time, the number of infectious microorganisms that we know of that cause illness and diseases has increased exponentially. Thanks to modern day techniques, laboratories can test ...

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In episode 56 of This Medical Life, Dr Travis Brown and Steve Davis delve into the critical topic of iron studies, with a special focus on iron deficiency, under the expert guidance of returning guest, Professor Ken Sikaris.

Iron deficiency’s prevalence is influenced by factors such as age, sex, and ethnicity, noting that women, especially those of childbearing age and pregnant women, are at higher risk. Prof Sikaris addresses the...

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In this episode we delve into the nuanced world of the Pomegranate Health podcast with our guest, Mic Cavazzini. Pomegranate Health, a creation of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, serves as a platform to explore the multifaceted culture of medicine. It weaves through the clinical intricacies of medicine with episodes that span from the deeply technical aspects of healthcare to broader discussions on skills essential ...

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In Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Part 1, we learned that CTE is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repetitive cumulative brain injury. Patients suffer from debilitating mental health symptoms and may even have suicidal thoughts or actions. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this disease and it can only be official diagnosed at autopsy (after death). The only successful strategy to combat this illness is prevention...

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In 2005, Dr Bennet Omalu would publish a report in the United States on the autopsy brain findings of a former professional footballer from the NFL. His conclusion was the former athlete suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE); a disease caused by repeated brain injuries most likely due to sport. The response was swift and severe claiming that the findings were incorrect, the conclusions erroneous, and a retraction of ...

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We begin this year with one of the most important topics for General Practitioners in 2024: what are the Continuous Professional Development requirements for doctors and how have they changed?

Our special guest is Rachel White who is the Managing Director for the Australian Medical CPD Standards (AMcpdS) who has over twenty years supporting high quality medical education. We discuss the yearly requirements for doctors, component b...

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And that’s another year done. A huge thank you to all of our guest speakers who have been generous with their time and expertise. We would also like to thank our listeners and hope you enjoyed the episodes.

This episode is a mini reflection on this year’s episodes, a link to one of Steve’s favourite podcasts, some TML clips, and an embarrassing memory lapse on my behalf…thanks for keeping that part in Steve & Tim. 

Random act...

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November 13, 2023 87 mins

During the mid-twentieth century, menopause was touted as a severe disease that destroyed women’s femininity and was a burden to their husbands. Thankfully, today we recognise menopause as a natural part of ageing and conversations about it are happening more and more.

In this episode, we have four special guests:

  • Niki Bezzant: award-winning writer, author, journalist and media personality from New Zealand who has written t...
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In July 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, we released our first episode called ‘What is pathology?’ with This Pathological Life podcast. We hoped to create something that would entertain and education the audiencem and shed light on to some of the amazing stories and characters in medicine.

In creating these podcasts, I am always thankful and appreciative to our guests who willingly give their time and expertise. If there is...

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On the 1st of November 2023, the Australian Government will release new guidelines for screening prostate cancer with the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test. These guidelines are based upon the Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) published in 2016 with new items to be included in the Medicare schedule. These items are based upon the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Council of Australia guidelines that have been endo...

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We continue the second episode of this two part series on breast screening and mammograms focusing on the future.

In this episode, we talk about the importance of breast density as a new risk factor, personalised breast cancer risk assessment (iPrevent developed by Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and discuss a personal account with Dr Sandy Minck.

Special guests:

  • Associate Professor Michel...
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A critical tool in the fight against breast cancer is population screening. Early detection, surgical intervention +/- further treatment has dramatically reduced advanced disease and mortality rates but it still remains the most common cancer worldwide.

In this episode, we focus on the history of breast cancer, the development of mammograms and early detection with our understanding of the underlying pathology. Our special guests ...

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Our understanding of the world today is constantly changing. What was once considered truths and facts can, in hindsight, be seen as misguided or wrong. It may be challenging to accept but becomes evident over time that the things we learn today may become irrelevant or superseded in the future and this is particularly relevant to medicine.

Scientometrics is the quantitative study of science and the rate at which change occurs. To...

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Vitamin D has been a controversial topic in recent times with the debate continuing over appropriate testing, adequate levels, and the evidence for treatment. We discussed the appropriateness of testing and chemical pathology component with Professor Ken Sikaris (Episode 25), but what does the research tell us about diseases associated with Vitamin D and the utility of replacement? We discuss this with Professor Scott Byrne from Th...

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Professor Peter Doherty trained as a veterinarian before venturing into immunology research. Professor Doherty travelled extensively throughout his career and has undertaken numerous research posts around the world. The achievement that he is most noted for is he was able to demonstrate how the body distinguished between virus-infected cells from non-infected cells and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1996....

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The double helix structure of DNA was the discovery of the century. However, the story about the discovery is mired in controversy as one of the major contributors, Rosalind Franklin, was conspicuously absent from acknowledgements and died (and subsequently not named) before the Nobel Prize was awarded.

In 1968, James Watson wrote the book ‘The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA’ and reads mo...

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