Rheumatoid arthritis

News in brief: Queen’s Birthday honours for rheumatology professor; MRI first line for AS imaging; Specialists top remuneration league in Australia


Queen’s Birthday honours for Prof Flavia Cicuttini

Rheumatologist Professor Flavia Cicuttini has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours for her significant service to medicine, and to musculoskeletal disease research.

Professor Cicuttini, Head of the Musculoskeletal Unit at Monash University and Head of Rheumatology at the Alfred Hospital, has a particular clinical and research interest in osteoarthritis.

She sits on the board of Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) and is currently section editor for Epidemiology and Clinical Trials on the editorial board of Arthritis Research & Therapy.

She is ranked 5 of more than 86,000 researchers in the world in the field of osteoarthritis (Web of Science 2020).

Professor Cicuttini was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2019.


MRI first line for AS imaging

Researchers have called for a re-evaluation of imaging guidelines for axial spondyloarthritis (AS), saying that they should recommend MRI rather than X-ray of the sacroiliac joints as first-line modality when AS is suspected.

In a study of 815 image datasets from 163 patients with early to established axSpA, non-specific low back pain, and SIJ degeneration, they concluded that X-ray was inferior to cross-sectional imaging and should be replaced by MR or CT for differential diagnosis.

“CT is a highly specific alternative whenever MRI is inconclusive, unfeasible or not available,” said German researchers in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.


Specialists in top 10 for Australian incomes

Doctors led by surgeons and anaesthetists hold five of the 10 top places for high-income earners in Australia, according to ATO statistics for the 2018-19 financial year.

Internal medicine specialists were in third spot, with average taxable income of $304,752, although earnings varied by jurisdiction, from $343,353 in Western Australia to $287,437 in NSW and $269,158 in the Northern Territory.

Surgeons were Australia’s most highly remunerated occupation, with an average taxable income of $394,303, followed by anaesthetists on $386,065. Psychiatrists were in 5th place on $235,558, while ‘other medical practitioners’, in 6th place, recorded average earnings of $222,933.

By way of comparison, the average taxable income for Australians was $62,549 overall, ($73,218 for males, $51,382 for females). Besides doctors other high income occupations included financial dealers in 4th place with $275,984, judges and lawyers (7th) with $188,798 and mining engineers (8th) with $184,507.

Australian CEOs and managing directors recorded average incomes of $164,896, (9th) and engineering managers rounded out the list with $159,940.

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