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1.  Ageing in general practice (AGP) trial: a cluster randomised trial to examine the effectiveness of peer education on GP diagnostic assessment and management of dementia 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:12.
Dementia is increasing in prevalence as the population ages. An earlier rather than later diagnosis allows persons with dementia and their families to plan ahead and access appropriate management. However, most diagnoses are made by general practitioners (GPs) later in the course of the disease and are associated with management that is poorly adherent to recommended guidelines. This trial examines the effectiveness of a peer led dementia educational intervention for GPs.
The study is a cluster randomised trial, conducted across three states and five sites. All GPs will complete an audit of their consenting patients aged 75 years or more at three time points - baseline, 12 and 24 months. GPs allocated to the intervention group will receive two educational sessions from a peer GP or nurse, and will administer the GPCOG to consenting patients at baseline and 12 months. The first education session will provide information about dementia and the second will provide individualised feedback on audit results. GPs in the waitlist group will receive the RACGP Guidelines by post following the 12 month audit
Outcomes: Primary outcomes are carer and consumer quality of life and depression. Secondary outcomes include: rates of GP identification of dementia compared to a more detailed gold standard assessment conducted in the patient's home; GP identification of differential diagnoses including reversible causes of cognitive impairment; and GP referral to specialists, Alzheimers' Australia and support services. A "case finding" and a "screening" group will be compared and the psychometrics of the GPCOG will be examined.
Sample size: Approximately 2,000 subjects aged 75 years and over will be recruited through approximately 160 GPs, to yield approximately 200 subjects with dementia (reducing to 168 by 24 months).
The trial outlined in this paper has been peer reviewed and supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. At the time of submission of this paper 2,034 subjects have been recruited and the intervention delivered to 114 GPs.
Trial registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12607000117415.
PMCID: PMC3323889  PMID: 22397614
2.  The association between intimate partner violence, alcohol and depression in family practice 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:72.
Depressive symptoms, intimate partner violence and hazardous drinking are common among patients attending general practice. Despite the high prevalence of these three problems; the relationship between them remains relatively unexplored.
This paper explores the association between depressive symptoms, ever being afraid of a partner and hazardous drinking using cross-sectional screening data from 7667 randomly selected patients from a large primary care cohort study of 30 metropolitan and rural general practices in Victoria, Australia. The screening postal survey included the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Fast Alcohol Screening Test and a screening question from the Composite Abuse Scale on ever being afraid of any intimate partner.
23.9% met criteria for depressive symptoms. A higher proportion of females than males (20.8% vs. 7.6%) reported ever being afraid of a partner during their lifetime (OR 3.2, 95%CI 2.5 to 4.0) and a lower proportion of females (12%) than males (25%) were hazardous drinkers (OR 0.4; 95%CI 0.4 to 0.5); and a higher proportion of females than males (20.8% vs. 7.6%) reported ever being afraid of a partner during their lifetime (OR 3.2, 95%CI 2.5 to 4.0). Men and women who had ever been afraid of a partner or who were hazardous drinkers had on average higher depressive symptom scores than those who had never been afraid or who were not hazardous drinkers. There was a stronger association between depressive symptoms and ever been afraid of a partner compared to hazardous drinking for both males (ever afraid of partner; Diff 6.87; 95% CI 5.42, 8.33; p < 0.001 vs. hazardous drinking in last year; Diff 1.07, 95% CI 0.21, 1.94; p = 0.015) and females (ever afraid of partner; Diff 5.26; 95% CI 4.55, 5.97; p < 0.001 vs. hazardous drinking in last year; Diff 2.23, 95% CI 1.35, 3.11; p < 0.001), even after adjusting for age group, income, employment status, marital status, living alone and education level.
Strategies to assist primary care doctors to recognise and manage intimate partner violence and hazardous drinking in patients with depression may lead to better outcomes from management of depression in primary care.
PMCID: PMC2954955  PMID: 20868526
3.  Observational studies of depression in primary care: what do we know? 
BMC Family Practice  2007;8:28.
We undertook a systematic review of observational studies of depression in primary care to determine 1) the nature and scope of the published studies 2) the methodological quality of the studies; 3) the identified recovery and risk factors for persistent depression and 3) the treatment and health service use patterns among patients.
Searches were conducted in MEDLINE, CINAHL and PsycINFO using combinations of topic and keywords, and Medical Subject Headings in MEDLINE, Headings in CINAHL and descriptors in PsycINFO. Searches were limited to adult populations and articles published in English during 1985–2006.
40 articles from 17 observational cohort studies were identified, most were undertaken in the US or Europe. Studies varied widely in aims and methods making it difficult to meaningfully compare the results. Methodological limitations were common including: selection bias of patients and physicians; small sample sizes (range 35–108 patients at baseline and 20–59 patients at follow-up); and short follow-up times limiting the extent to which these studies can be used to inform our understanding of recovery and relapse among primary care patients with depression. Risk factors for the persistence of depression identified in this review were: severity and chronicity of the depressive episode, the presence of suicidal thoughts, antidepressant use, poorer self-reported quality of life, lower self-reported social support, experiencing key life events, lower education level and unemployment.
Despite the growing interest in depression being managed as a chronic illness, this review identified only 17 observational studies of depression in primary care, most of which have included small sample sizes and been relatively short-term. Future research should be large enough to investigate risk factors for chronicity and relapse, and should be conducted over a longer time frame.
PMCID: PMC1890289  PMID: 17493280
4.  GPs' use of problem solving therapy for depression: a qualitative study of barriers to and enablers of evidence based care 
BMC Family Practice  2007;8:24.
Depression is a major health concern, predominantly treated by general practitioners (GPs). Problem solving therapy (PST) is recognised as an effective treatment for depression that is not widely used by GPs. This research aims to explore barriers and enablers that may influence GPs use of this treatment.
Qualitative methodology was used including individual and focus group interviews of GPs, PST experts and consumers. Analysis was undertaken using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) as a framework.
A spectrum of potential influences, on GPs' use of PST emerged. Both barriers and enablers were identified. PST was perceived as being close to current practice approaches and potentially beneficial to both doctor and patient. In addition to a broadly positive attitude to PST, expressed by those with previous experience of its use, potential solutions to perceived barriers emerged. By contrast some GPs expressed fear that the use of PST would result in loss of doctor control of consultations and associated potential adverse patient outcomes. Patient expectations, which emerged as not always coinciding with GPs' perception of those expectations, were identified as a potential influence on GPs' decision concerning adoption of PST. In addition specific factors, including GP skill and confidence, consultation time constraints and technical issues related to PST were noted as potential concerns.
This research contributes to our knowledge of the factors that may influence GPs' decisions regarding use of PST as a treatment for depression. It recognises both barriers and enablers. It suggests that for many GPs, PST is viewed in a positive light, providing encouragement to those seeking to increase the provision of PST by GPs. In identifying a number of potential barriers, along with associated options to address many of these barriers, it provides insights which may assist in the planning of GP training in PST.
PMCID: PMC1866236  PMID: 17459150
5.  The PAV trial: Does lactobacillus prevent post-antibiotic vulvovaginal candidiasis? Protocol of a randomised controlled trial [ISRCTN24141277] 
Complementary and alternative medicines are used by many consumers, and increasingly are being incorporated into the general practitioner's armamentarium. Despite widespread usage, the evidence base for most complementary therapies is weak or non-existent. Post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis is a common problem in general practice, for which complementary therapies are often used. A recent study in Melbourne, Australia, found that 40% of women with a past history of vulvovaginitis had used probiotic Lactobacillus species to prevent or treat post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis. There is no evidence that this therapy is effective. This study aims to test whether oral or vaginal lactobacillus is effective in the prevention of post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis.
A randomised placebo-controlled blinded 2 × 2 factorial design is being used. General practitioners or pharmacists approach non-pregnant women, aged 18–50 years, who present with a non-genital infection requiring a short course of oral antibiotics, to participate in the study. Participants are randomised in a four group factorial design either to oral lactobacillus powder or placebo and either vaginal lactobacillus pessaries or placebo. These interventions are taken while on antibiotics and for four days afterwards or until symptoms of vaginitis develop. Women self collect a vaginal swab for culture of Candida species and complete a survey at baseline and again four days after completing their study medications. The sample size (a total of 496 – 124 in each factorial group) is calculated to identify a reduction of half in post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis from 23%, while allowing for a 25% drop-out. An independent Data Monitoring Committee is supervising the trial. Analysis will be intention-to-treat, with two pre-specified main comparisons: (i) oral lactobacillus versus placebo and (ii) vaginal lactobacillus versus placebo.
PMCID: PMC521199  PMID: 15046642

Results 1-5 (5)