Update February 2009

Mal's Musings

Malcolm A Traill

Updated 18/2/2009





Malcolm Adams TRAILL




Father: Doctor of Philosophy, Cambridge, England, in Chemistry.

After working with Imperial Chemical Industries, became Head of Chemistry Department, Melbourne Technical College, later Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He lectured in physical chemistry. He subsequently became a Vice Principal (Sciences). The household was science-aware. – older brother Robert to become Doctor of Philosophy, and publishing monographs “Physics and Philosophy of the Mind,” “Mind and Micro-Mechanism,” and others in a series “Mechanisms of the Mind.”


Personal:        Born: 21/9/1939, middle of 3 offspring

                        Married: 1969. Three children (one a medical doctor)


Education:      Schooling: Carey Grammar (to 1950)

                        Secondary Schooling: Scotch College (1950-1956)

Won intermediate prizes over three years in the Science Talent Search

Obtained limited Amateur Wireless Licence


                        Tertiary Education:

                                    Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1957)

Applied Science. Matriculated with 1st class Honour in Chemistry. Obtained Commonwealth Scholarship

Obtained full Amateur Wireless Licence


Melbourne University (1958-1963) Studied Medicine

2nd year – 3rd class Honour in Physiology

3rd year  - 3rd class Honour in Anatomy (equal 5th)

Trained at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.


Junior Residency: Footscray and District General Hospital (1964). (Now Western General Hospital)

Presented two studies on the hospital notice board – the circulation time with external cardiac massage and the accuracy of Albustix (see list of publications).


Post Graduate: Medical Officer, Pathology, Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, (1965-1969). During that time :


a)      Passed 3 topics in the General course for the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia (later Australasia)

b)      Wrote medical-scientific papers alone, and in association with Dr Roy Bean (see list). There was an oncology emphasis, including examination of the effects of neonatal thymectomy in mice upon immune tolerance and cancer (see list).

c)      Effectively ran Haematology for several years

d)      Attended the Haematology/Oncology Outpatients of Dr John (“Jake”) Bolton and Dr Roy Bean (Consultants)

e)      Attended the Gastroenterology clinical meetings run by Dr (Sir) Ian Woods

f)        Attended and participated in Haematology Slide Meetings

g)      Attended and participated in Histopathology Slide Meetings

h)       Secretary for the Clinical Meetings Subcommittee

i)         Federal Secretary for the Repatriation Department Medical Officers Association, and engaged in arbitration hearings

j)        Tutor to Pathology Department, University of Melbourne

k)      Tutor in Microbiology at Ormond College, University of Melbourne


Consultant Pathologist, Mental Health Authority at Royal Park, Willsmere and Mont Park (1969-1975) and

                                    Consultant Pathologist to the Coroner at Melbourne and

                                    Consultant Pathologist to the Shepherd Foundation


a)      Completed last topic for Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia

b)      Became Fellow of Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (1971)

c)      Published/read papers on varied topics, with some Research Grant assistance (lipids)

d)      Continued participation in Histology Slide Meetings

e)      Ran a Microbiological Discussion Group

f)        Australian Medical Association Victorian Branch Council delegate, representing Salaried Officers


Private Practice – Pathology: Aldor Pathology Service


Private Practice commenced in 1975, taking over a small outpost of the Oakleigh Pathology Service. There was one technician, one laboratory assistant, a microscope that turned out to belong to someone else, a counting chamber, an old incubator and centrifuge and an antique colorimeter. Only basic tests were performed, with the others sent to subcontractors. The billing contained a sprinkling of item numbers that were inappropriate. One of the clerical staff was alleged to have been embezzling and some of the referring doctors seemed to be hanging out for payments.


The organization was cleaned up, a comprehensive range of in-house tests brought in, and competent Medical Scientists employed. The increase in overheads was hit with the impact of Medibank Mark I – under which referring doctors and others, such a Yoland Lim, started to tool-up with Unimeters and the like, with assistants testing in back rooms.  The practice started to melt away – one doctor’s last referral was for a patient the pathology practice diagnosed (correctly) as hairy cell leukaemia. Things became so bad that even the Accountant suggested that the only way to beat them was to join them – pay kick backs.


With the Fraser Government, fortunes changed for the better, because the back room laboratories were curbed.


Extra rooms were opened and a mobile collecting suite introduced for the towns in the Dandenongs. There was steady growth, generally about 20% per year for over ten years, with annual turnover in 1987-8 about $3.5M. There were over 20 collection rooms, with servicing of the Berwick Bush Nursing Hospital, Springvale and District Community Hospital, Dandenong Valley Private Hospital with one main laboratory and two satellite laboratories and a staff list of about 100.


The practice was one of the first in the private area offering serum diphenylhydantoin and carbamazepine levels and lymphocyte surface markers. Special tests, such as serum gastrin and methotrexate were available in-house. The practice was truly general : -


FNA Breast Cancer Analysis 1987


In 1987 I analysed the results of my Fine Needle Aspiration results derived from the samplings by a particular surgeon; the results representing the combined input of the surgeon’s sampling skills, and the microscopical interpretation. The assessment comparison was against the subsequent histological diagnosis.

The analysis used the methods of Galen and Gambino (1975)[1] and made comparisons with published, comparable results up until 1987.


                                                Positive Result  Negative Result            TOTAL

True Positive                            17(a)                              6(b)                               23(c)

True Negative                           2(d)                               107(e)                           109(f)

TOTAL                                   19(g)                             113(h)                           132(i)


Prevalence of Cancer in the sample ( c/i x 100) = 17.4%


Sensitivity (a/c x 100)                                                    = 74%

Specificity (e/f x 100)                                                    = 98.2%


Predictive value of Positive result (a/g x 100)                 = 89.5%

Predictive value of Negative result (e/h x 100)               = 94.7%


Efficiency ([a+e]/i x 100)                                              = 94%



                                                                                                                                            This study      

Number                        500[2]     202[3]     263[4]     600[5]     1713[6]   2772[7]   237[8]     132       

Prevalence*                  51.6%     39.6%     62.7%      69.5%     52.9%      63%        30.4%     17.4%

Sensitivity*                   84.1%     76.3%     73.3%      92.6%      86.9%      91.3%     69.4%     74%

Specificity                     98.3%     97.5%     95.9%      99.5%      97%         95.6%     98.8%     98.2%

Positive Prediction        98.2%     95.3%     96.8%      99.7%      97.5%      97.3%     96.2%     89.5%

Efficiency                     91%        89.1%     81.7%      94.7%      91.7%      92.9%     89.9%     94%

*NOTE: A higher prevalence of True Positives in a study will favour Sensitivity in particular, as a simple statistical phenomenon.


The Conclusion was that the FNA testing outcomes, based upon the sampling by a particular surgeon, compared reasonably favourably with the published results up until that time (given the relatively small patient cohort size and low positive prevalence).

[1]Beyond Normality: The Predictive Value and Efficiency of Medical Diagnoses.”

Galen RS & Gambino SR. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, 1975

[2] Cornillot M & Verhaeghe M. Path. Biol. (Paris)1959; 7(7-8):793-802

[3] Smith et al. 1959 (Probably quoted by another group)

[4] Shiller-Volkova NN & Agamova KA. 1974 (Probably quoted by another group)

[5] Zajdela A. Arch. Anat. Pathol. 1963; 11:85-87

[6] Franzén S & Zajicek J. Acta Radiologica 1968; 7(4):241-260

[7] Zajdela A Ghossein NA et al. Cancer1974; 35:499-506

[8] Furnival CM Hughes HE et al. The Lancet 1975; ii:446-449



For Ethos, staff were instructed that they were part of a medical practice, not a factory; if there had been 2 unsuccessful attempts at venipuncture, staff were instructed to call me in.


In about 1982-3, with the election of the Hawke Government and the likely reintroduction of a revamped Medicare, there appeared a need to have a back-up, one not as exposed to Government interference. Accordingly, a subsidiary company acquired a computerized image analyser, and sent a competent staff member to England for training. This venture was to analysis the shapes and sized of items that could be imaged (as later developed for cytology screening), with the intended use industrial, such as quality control. Many organizations seemed interested, but there was a need for accreditation. The application to the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) was delayed because their gods could not agree on secondary standards. Accreditation was granted some three months before the lease on the capital equipment was to expire ! (This delay virtually killed the viability of the venture – there is great difficulty saying anything nice about NATA.)


However, work did come from the Defence Department, studying the sizes and shapes of wear particles in the sump oils of tanks – to see if servicing could be based upon the features of the particles found. This work resulted in us becoming eligible to participate in a trip to the USA to seek high technology grants as part of the Defence Department’s Offsets programme. A representative was sent and came back with a proposal to receive from Lockheed Inc. a high technology grant of software for computer aided design and manufacture. After innumerable trips to the USA, there was received a grant of Cadam software for computer aided design and manufacture, with PRANCE, a programme to design multilayered circuit boards, which had a security classification. We were the only organization outside the USA with it. A site with a mainframe was set up with the name Image Analysing Services (IAS) but we could not start because the Westpac bank did not like high technology (preferring high rise investments, which soured when a glut developed), and held up the financing. In the meantime, Cadam, the supplier of the software, which had a 10% equity in Austcad, a computer bureau in Sydney, released to Austcad the details of our marketing proposals and plans – confidential information we were required to provide under the granting process because of the security restrictions. Austcad hurriedly came to Melbourne and signed up our proposed client base at bargain discount rates. The proprietor probably believed that we would collapse and he could take us over. However, our operation was supported by the Pathology practice, so it was the overstretched Austcad which ultimately went under first ! When we opened, our mainstay business, remote connections, had been lost. We performed in-house work both with the Software and the image analyser, which now had a scanning electron microscope for metallurgical studies.


Following this act of corporate bastardry by Cadam, we complained to Canberra and an emissary was sent to talk to us. We took him out to lunch, but it did no good – the response from Canberra was essentially “stiff.” For Canberra to do anything would probably have involved taking on Lockheed in the USA courts – a daunting task, and anyway, if we collapsed, the software would go to someone else in Australia – so the thinking probably went. Sadly, for Australia, things would not work out like that.


For any future, the USA trained staff had to remain with the software. This all required the substantial subsidy from the pathology wing. We set about restructuring, eliminating the mainframe and joining a consortium in Sydney, providing the Software in return for equity. After interminable, protracted negotiations, the consortium Digital D-Sign commenced in early 1988. However, there was the Stock Exchange crash of October 1987. The bank to which we had changed, the National Australia Bank, decided to pull the pin, but not let us know. So they forced the sale of assets, with a decision for us to make whether to sell the pathology practice or the Image Analysing Service. In that the future for pathology practice as had been seen up till then seemed to be limited, the decision was to sell the pathology practice, because there would be new openings in pathology in the future: to lose IAS would be forever. The sale of the pathology practice was crucial.


With the bank cutting credit and limiting marketing of the practice, we were forced with proddings, to sell to Glendon Diagnostics (Aust) Pty Ltd. The sale of the practice and the ramifications will be dealt with later.


Digital D-Sign never performed according to projections. Effectively, the Managing Director was forced upon all the participants by a powerful partner. There was no evidence that the Managing Director had ever run a business, had any idea of management or interpersonal skills. He irritated the USA-trained staff we had kept with the software, particularly since he did not encourage remote connections, a policy we told them would be disastrous. An extra Equity partner was admitted, but the legals were defective (as usual), in that the quorum stayed the same, so the all-NSW quorum seized its opportunity and voted us off the Board. Skilled staff became disgruntled and left. One partner questioned why they needed to remain in the consortium, given that the staff were becoming less skilled and the projections were not being met. So a loophole was found in the legals (defective, as usual), the partner left, and the consortium collapsed. The liquidator found and took possession of the Software, but did not notify the next of kin (us), and sent it back to the USA ! We found about this, and chased the Software to America, providing legal advice that the assignment of the Software to Digital D-Sign was defective (legals again !). The Licensor was not prepared to argue, so we could reclaim it if we could pay the US$50,000 owed by Digital D-Sign. We were not in a position to produce that money and there were security problems with others being involved. In 1999 there was a last ditch appeal to the HIC to pay the money still owing from the Glendon Fraud, in the hope that the Software could be claimed. The HIC did not pay, and the Software is, as far as can be ascertained, lost from us and Australia for ever. It was worth off the shelf about Aust$1M in 1987, estimated to be worth about Aust$10M in 1999. Actually, it was worth much more because, coming through the Defence Department, it came with infinite remote connections and infinite up-dates. The Liquidator, probably, had no right to send a grant made to Australia via the public sector (to be developed by an applicant) back to America without clearance from the Defence (or other) Department. However, no bureaucrat can be involved now without admitting the existence of the Glendon Fraud. The HIC is, in respect of its maladministration affecting this grant, anti-Australian. 



                    LIST OF PUBLICATIONS AND PAPERS READ                  


  1. “The chemotherapy of ulcerative colitis”

Bean R and Traill MA, (1966), in Proceedings of the third Asian-Pacific Congress of Gastroenterology, Vol. III, p. 19

  1. “Microscopy of the cancer cell as a guide to cancer chemotherapy”

Bean, RHD and Traill M. The Lancet, i; 364 (1967)

  1. “The inheritance of leukaemia and cancer”

Traill MA, Acta Haematol., 39; 174 (1968)

  1. “Early histological changes in neoplasms in man following anti-lesional vaccinia in advanced cancer”

Bean R and Traill MA, Annual Meeting of the Haematological Society of Australia, (1968)

  1. “The incidence of lymphoid foci in the large intestine”

Traill MA, Med. J. Aust., ii; 809 (1967)

  1. “High speed immunoelectrophoresis”

Traill MA, Laboratory Practice, 17; 709 (1968)

  1. “Dual carcinoid tumours in a Meckel’s diverticulum”

Traill MA, Med. J. Aust., ii; 67 (1968)

  1. “Osmotic red cell expansion and fragility”

Traill MA, Laboratory Practice, 17; 1013 (1968)

  1. “The thymus, immunity and cancer – a new approach”

Traill MA, Paper read to the Australian Cancer Society Annual Scientific Meeting, November 1968

  1. “Thymus gland and cancer”

Traill MA, Winthrop, 9 [11] (1970)

  1. “When does a serum folate determination indicate folate deficiency ?”

Traill MA, Laboratory Practice, 18; 154 (1969)

  1. “Hypercoagulation states leading to secondary fibrinolysis and primary fibrinolysis”

Traill MA, Laboratory Practice, 18; 425 (1969)

  1. “Time for Medical Science”

Traill MA, The Age Correspondence (1969)

      12. “Mucoid bone marrow without carcinoma deposits”

Traill MA, Postgrad, Med. J., 45; 773 (1969)

  1. “Sterile disposable syringes”

Traill MA, Med. J. Aust., ii; 777 (1969)

  1. “Fused bilateral adeno-fibroma of the ovaries – a report of a case”

Traill MA, Aust. N. Z. J. Obstet. Gynaecol. 10;119 (1970)

  1. “Lithium distribution in the brains of two manic patients”

Francis RI and Traill MA, The Lancet, ii; 523 (1970)

  1. “Simple nervous tissue stain for axons using Sirius red F3BA and Sirius Supra blue FGL-CF”

Traill MA, Laboratory Practice, 19; 909 (1970)

  1. “Changes occurring in cancer cells after chemotherapy”

Bean RHD and Traill MA, Paper read at the Asian and Pacific conference on Haematology, 1971

  1.  “Advertisements in Commonwealth publications for chiropractic”

Traill MA, Med. J. Aust., 66;168 (1971)

  1. “Mass screening for neonatal disease”

Traill MA, Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia 1971.

  1. “Clinical laboratories – Professionalism, Leadership, Management.”

Traill MA, Hospital and Health Administration, May 1`972, p. 10.

  1. “Clinical Laboratories: dysfunctions in management.”

Traill MA, Hospital and Health Administration, June 1972, p. 5.

  1. “Clostridium welchii Enterocolitis in arteriosclerotic patients.”

Traill MA, Med. J. Aust., ii; 142 (1973)

  1. “Estimation of the concentration of low density lipoprotein cholesterol and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol by selective adsorption from serum with magnesium compounds.”

Traill MA, Laboratory Practice,  22(7); 527 (1973)

  1. “The hospital administrator versus hospital food poisoning.”

Traill MA, Hospital and Health Care Administration, Sept. 1973, p.12

  1. “Early assessment of the clinical usefulness of new techniques to estimate separately the serum beta-lipoprotein cholesterol and the pre-beta-lipoprotein cholesterol.”

Traill MA and Urban R,  Med. J. Aust., i; 987 (1974)

  1. “Hepatitis morbidity and mortality associated with necropsies.”

Traill MA, Paper read at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia Annual Meeting, August 1973.

  1. “The adsorption of lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides to relatively insoluble materials, particularly magnesium compounds.”

Traill MA, Marzorini P and Urban R, Paper read at the Royal College of Pathologists Annual Meeting, August 1973

  1. “Spectrophotometric determination of serum carbamazepine activity and diphenylhydantoin at therapeutic levels

Traill MA and McFarlane A, Paper read at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia Annual Meeting, August 1973.

  1. “The adsorption of beta-lipoprotein to magnesium compounds: estimation of another lipoprotein component.”

Gaetano A and Traill MA, International Research Communication System, (73-11) 11-21-4

  1. “Cholesterol-to-triglyceride relationship in the major serum lipoprotein fractions as estimated by adsorption to magnesium compounds.”

Gaetano A and Traill MA, International Research Communications System, 2; 1000 (1974)

  1. “The daily dose of lithium carbonate related to the total body weight and lean body weight in patients with affective disorders”

Traill MA, International Research Communications System, 2; 1055 (1974)

  1. “Normal ranges of serum folate and vitamin B12

Traill MA, Med. J. Aust., i; 114 (1974)

  1. “Clinical meetings: aspects for improvements”

Traill MA, Hospital and Health Care Administration, January (1974) p. 12

  1. “Cholesterol, triglyceride, phosphatide and immunological lipoprotein levels in the serum lipoproteins of patients with thyroid disease”

Gaetano A and Traill MA, International Research Communications System, 2; 1313 (1974)

  1. “Human thymic cortical and medullary weight ratios related to the age incidence of acute leukaemia, myasthenia gravis, lupus erythematosus and asthma”

Traill MA, International Research Communications System, 2; 1226 (1974)

  1. “Studies and quantitations of the lipids and proteins in the major lipoproteins made possible by the adsorption to magnesium compounds.”

Traill MA, Paper read at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia Annual Meeting, August 1974

  1. “Paranoia, lymphedema, macroglobulinaemia and lymphocytopenia: Whipple’s lipodystrophy in disguise”

Traill MA, Paper read at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia Annual Meeting, August 1974

  1. “Immunoelectrophoresis of human sera to demonstrate the changes in the lipoproteins after adsorption with magnesium compounds: Demonstration of a ‘mid-β-lipoprotein’”

Traill MA, International Research Communications System, 2; 1721 (1974)

  1. “Determinations of human lipoproteins: Corrections for the cholesterol removed from the alpha-lipoprotein by light magnesium carbonate, and the cholesterol carried by the mid β-lipoprotein”

Traill MA, International Research Communications System, 3; 21 (1975)

  1. “Precision and stability of serum cholesterol fractions a assessed by adsorption to magnesium compounds’

Traill MA, International Research Communications System, 3; 22 (1975)

  1. “A strange reaction to hospital deaths”

Traill MA, The Age, Sept. 18 (1975) p. 8

  1. “Food poisoning”

Traill MA, The Age, Nov. 1 (1975) p. 14

  1. “Re-examine ethics in medicine”

Traill MA, The Age, June 27 (1980) p. 12

  1. “Law, Ethics and Medicine”

Traill MA, Med. J. Aust. i; 230 (1979)

  1. “Financial control is practice control”

Edited submission to the joint Committee of Public Accounts (Federal) published in the Medical Letter No. 371, august 26, 1982, p. 2 (drawn from MA Traill’s submission)

  1. “Simple quantitation of Serum Lipid Fractions”

Traill MA, Clin. Chem. 29; 209 (1983)

  1. “Some clinical uses for Image Analysis”

Traill MA, Paper read at the Second Australia symposium or Stereology, Image Analysis and Mathematical Morphology, Monash university, May 1983

  1. “Predict for admission”

Traill MA, Practice Computing i; 124 (1985)

  1. “Two lipoprotein fractions in the human pre-beta band and the prediction of birth weight”

Traill MA, Medical Science Research, 16(15); 799 (1988)

  1. “Review of Pathology Legislation.” Displayed on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Website, (2000)
  2. "Give GPs the control." Letter in "Gut Feelings," (?) Medical Observer, 18/3/1994.
  3. “Problems plague pathology scheme.”

Traill MA, Medical Observer, 13th October 2000, p. 32

  1. “BEC, a mixture of Solasodine glycosides reveals cytotoxic activity in human tumor primary culture specimens: pre-clinical and early clinical observations”

Su Y-Z, Spall D, Traill MA, Kollin C, Chow C, Sommers B, Harper S, Horlick D, Evans S and Nagourney R, 93rd Annual Meeting, AACO, April 2002, San Francisco

  1. “Prostate choices ignored”

Traill MA, Letter in Australian Doctor, 9th May 2003, p. 29

  1. “PSA alternative”

Traill MA, Letter in Medical Observer, 16th May 2003, p. 30

  1. “Mal’s Musings” (Commentary with updates 2003 - )

This is currently being transferred to an enlarged site at http://www.malsmusings.info

  1. “Review of Microwave Cancer Therapy.”

Submission for the National Health and Medical Research Council, November 2004.







  1. “The Circulation Time in External Cardiac Massage.” 1964
  2. “The Clinical Use of Albustix.” 1964
  3. “Immunoglobulins.” (Notes for Post-Graduate Tutorials RGHH; 1965-6)
  4. “Tests for Venereal Diseases.” 1971, Revised May 1972, May 1973 and January 1978
  5. “Bacteriuria – a test for urinary tract infection (U.T.I.)” February 1972
  6. “Current Treatment of Gonorrhoea and Trichomonas.” June 1972
  7. “Hyperlipidaemias.” November 1974
  8. “Notes on the Current Treatment of Gonorrhoea.” December 1974
  9. "Medical and Non-Medical Pathology Practices."
  10.  “Those Lipoproteins and their Cholesterol.” July 1977
  11. “Swabbing for Gonorrhoea.” July 1977
  12. “The Laboratory Assessment of Semen and Fertility.” October 1977
  13. “The Creatinine Kinase of Cardiac Origin.” November 1977
  14. "Laboratory Assessment of Placental Function." December 1977
  15. “Selection, Statistics, Standards, Sampling and Sanity.” January 1978
  16. "Fresh Findings on the Gonococcus." January 1978
  17. "Serum Prolactin Levels - Hyperprolactinaemia." January 1978
  18. “Those Lipoproteins and their Cholesterol.” May 1978
  19. “Bacterial and Yeast Enteric Infections, Food Poisoning and Antibiotic-associated Colitis.” June 1978, Revised April 1979
  20. "Alpha-Foetoprotein and Pregnancy." July 1978
  21. "Non-Specific Vaginitis and Urethritis." October 1978
  22. "Our Gynaecological Cytology." November 1979; Updated February 1980 and February 1981
  23. "Glycosylated Haemoglobin (HbA1) and Long-Term Diabetes Mellitus Control." February 1980
  24. “Biliary Obstruction and Lipoprotein-X.” March 1980
  25. "Serum Gastrin." November 1980
  26. "The ELIZA Method for Measuring Antibodies." January 1981
  27. "FSH Levels in Females." March 1981
  28. "The New Venereal Disease - Herpes Simplex genitalis." July 1981
  29. "AIDS and Elective Transfusions." November 1984
  30. “The Low End of the Thyroid Function Test Range.” May 1988
  31. “Prostate-specific Antigen.” June 1988





  1. “Healthy lifestyle – hypertension (high blood pressure)”

Traill MA, (1990)

  1. “Otitis Media with Effusion”

Traill MA, (1991)


Press "BACK" to Return


Copyright © MA Traill 2006 and 2008