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The BMJ Today: In with the new

29 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

Birte
Online publishing is evolving all the time, providing opportunities to display information in new and different ways. Our two latest State of the Art clinical reviews—still a relatively new type of article in The BMJ—(entitled “Lower urinary tract symptoms in men” and “Bariatric surgery for obesity and metabolic conditions in adults” both include interactive graphics (showing the evolution of bariatric procedures and the international prostate symptoms score, which was also reviewed in a recent blog).  Both these “infographics” illustrate the subjects in a user-friendly, easy-to-understand, dynamic manner that static illustrations cannot provide. more…

Ohad Oren: Why soldiers are like patients

29 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

 

Credit: Herbert Bishko

Credit: Herbert Bishko

Each war revives the clash between the safety of a country’s own citizens and that of its soldiers. The recent Operation Protective Edge, taken by Israel with the objective of restoring calm to its citizens, should be examined by the same standard. Was the presumed political gain worth the soldiers’ loss of lives? Was the blow to Hamas’s infrastructure a reasonable compensation for the death of sixty four young combatants? And, more broadly, are we willing to sacrifice the innocent lives of soldiers in order to temporarily decrease the number of rockets targeting our neighborhoods? more…

James Raftery: NICE: “inconsistent,” “in large part arbitrary and opaque,” according to friends

29 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

A strong critique just published points to logical inconsistencies in NICE’s consideration of social values, specifically in how it handles quality adjusted life years (QALYs). Since these are key to many of the most controversial decisions made by NICE’s appraisal committees, this matters. It matters all the more that the authors include Tony Culyer, who was “the founding vice chair of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and is a member of the NICE Citizens Council Committee and the NICE International Advisory Committee.” Besides being a leading health economist, he pioneered NICE’s approach to economic evaluation. Chris McCabe, another prominent health economist, has long advised NICE, notably through its decision support unit, which specialises in difficult cases. more…

Jo Bibby: The healthcare decisions we make should be personal

28 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

jo_bibbyAs the summer holidays draw to a close, thousands of people up and down the country will have found out whether the hours and months spent meticulously researching the best places to visit and to stay ultimately came to fruition.

There are lots of decisions to make in life. Holidays are a perfect example of how much time people are willing to commit to an activity that they hope will improve their happiness and wellbeing. We notice similar patterns with the time we invest in buying new furniture or a new car too. But it’s often been asked why people don’t tend to put the same effort into making decisions about their healthcare. more…

The BMJ Today: When money and medicine mix

28 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

Anne_GullandEarlier this year, The BMJ published an editorial urging doctors in India to fight back against corruption in medicine. Kickbacks and bribes are a global problem but India, “with rampant corruption at all levels, is prominent in this international field,” the authors wrote.

Since the publication of the editorial in June, the article has been accessed more than 5000 times, but a new feature on thebmj.com by Vidya Krishnan shows how the anticorruption movement is gaining momentum. more…

Lavanya Malhotra: The ice bucket challenge—trivialising trend or canny awareness campaign?

28 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

Lavanya MalhotraLately, social media sites have been invaded by videos of people upending buckets of icy water over their heads. The goal behind this watery exercise is to raise funds, as well as awareness, for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. The ALS ice bucket challenge is simple: douse yourself in icy water, record it, post it online—on Facebook or Twitter, for instance—including a message about doing it for ALS research, and donate money to the ALS Association (ALSA) through its donation webpage. In the UK, people can donate to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The final step is to nominate several friends to do the same. This chain reaction strategy has generated publicity and money for ALSA. So far, 1.7 million people have donated, raising $79.7m (€60.4m; £48m). more…

Paul Teed: Is medical opinion shifting towards support for an assisted dying law?

27 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

Paul TeedOver the weekend, the Times published findings from a new survey conducted by Medix, which asked 600 doctors various questions on assisted dying, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. The coverage contrasted the findings with those from a similar Medix survey a decade ago, reported then in The BMJ. But reading the complete data in the new survey highlights what some would consider surprising, if not shocking, views from doctors, especially when we consider how the medical establishment is often cited as unanimously opposed to any proposals on this issue.

While the majority of doctors were against a UK change in law to allow physician assisted suicide and/or euthanasia when asked the question in broad terms, a majority of respondents also believed that there would be grounds for physician assisted euthanasia if a patient had a terminal illness. more…

The BMJ Today: If wishes were sustainable development goals

27 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

kellyFourteen years ago, leaders from across the world came together at the United Nations headquarters in New York to pledge their efforts towards achieving eight targets for global development. Together, these targets became known as the millennium development goals or MDGs (with three of them directly devoted to a health objective).

Since then, The BMJ, along with other publications and organisations, has scrutinised these goals. We’ve analysed the likelihood of achieving these goals—ruminating on the great challenges they present, and the actions that could advance their attainment. Equally, we’ve flagged up the MDGs’ success stories, such as when the goal for access to safe water was achieved five years early.

More recently, we’ve begun thinking about life after 2015, when the time allotted for the MDGs to do their thing runs out. Last year, Charles Kenny from the Center for Global Development examined the lessons we’ve learnt from the MDGs, and suggestions for the post 2015 development agenda. more…

Jasmin Islam: Ebola readiness—lessons from a district general hospital

26 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

Since the Ebola outbreak was confirmed back in March 2014, I, like many doctors, have been following its progress with a great deal of interest and sadness over the increasing number of deaths, which have included several healthcare workers. In relation to the current outbreak, there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in the UK and, given increased surveillance and awareness, the risk of importing a case remain low. However, all hospitals should be prepared. more…

The BMJ Today: Ebola, Edinburgh, edifices

26 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

deputy chair of MJA on stage (1)Ebola and the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence have, among other things, spared UK national newspaper editors the anxiety of how to fill column inches in the “silly season” month of August. The BMJ can at least drop a print and iPad issue, as it is doing this week, but we and other general medical journals are devoting online space to showcase resources about the Ebola outbreak. Visit bmj.com/ebola to find out more. more…

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