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BMJ in the news

Readers’ editor: Influence beyond the impact factor

2 Jul, 13 | by BMJ Group

David PayneThe BMJ’s impact and influence should be measured by more than just established metrics such as impact factor.

But the new figures, released two weeks ago, are very welcome. The journal’s impact factor rose more than 20% to 17.215. My first thought on discovering this was that a strategic aim to increase the impact of the BMJ’s scholarly content is starting to pay off.

The new figure makes the BMJ the most highly cited open access general medical journal in the world, now higher than PLoS Medicine and puts it in the top four general medical journals, above the Annals of Internal Medicine. This is due in part to a conscious drive to publish research that will be highly cited as well as widely read by clinicians around the world.

But authors also value media coverage alongside measures such as impact factor, and articles in the BMJ get namechecked regularly in UK and international newspapers, magazines, blogs, and broadcast channels. This blog aims to illustrate the ripple effect caused by media coverage and the debate it can engender, both in the BMJ and beyond. more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

27 May, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerA meta-analysis suggests that everyone over a certain age should be given blood pressure lowering drugs to prevent the risk of heart disease. The research has received widespread press coverage. The Daily Telegraph quoted a Stroke Association spokesperson who said, “Whilst blood pressure medication is one of the safest and most studied medications, they do have side effects and should only be described to people who are at significant risk of stroke. “ more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

1 May, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerThe swine flu pandemic has dominated the news in the last few days. In a BMJ editorial, Richard Coker argues that, “as the virus is present in several countries, trying to contain it is probably not feasible any more. Efforts should now focus mainly on mitigation… Poorer countries are most vulnerable because they have underdeveloped health systems, few anti-viral drugs and are likely to be at the end of the queue for a vaccine”. The Independent echoes this and adds that, “the virus could already have spread into countries with less developed surveillance systems and remained undetected”. Medical News Today speculates about, “what might happen if the current swine flu virus becomes endemic in parts of the world where the bird flu virus is more common. Will the two viruses meet and exchange genetic material?” a point also made by Coker. ABS CBN News offers advice on how to prevent the spread of the virus, taken from an article from the BMJ archive. more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

23 Apr, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerThe timing of organ donation requests and who is making the request may influence a family’s decision to donate a dying relative’s organs. This is the conclusion of a BMJ study. The study found that an organ donation request should not be made at the same time as relatives are told that their relative has died or when brain stem testing takes place. The US News and World Report writes that, “whilst the results may not be surprising, implementing them might increase organ donation rates”. The U.S. Department of Health and Human services writes on its website that, “hospitals and organ procurement groups must work together to increase the number of organs available for transplant”. more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

16 Apr, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerA BMJ analysis of using financial incentives to achieve healthy behaviour has stirred a debate in the press this week. News agency AFP wrote that, “Health authorities and corporations are increasingly offering money to people who quit smoking, lose weight or take medicine, despite uncertainty that such incentives work beyond a few months”. The Financial Times was equally pessimistic saying that, “the programmes are attacked as “a form of bribery” and “rewarding people for unhealthy behaviour”, while others believe they undermine the doctor patient relationship and remove patients’ autonomy”. However The Independent is more optimistic saying: “Paying people to change their habits works because it offers immediate rewards for behaviour that will only provide a health benefit in years ahead”. more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

2 Apr, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerA BMJ research paper reports that drinking hot tea is strongly linked with an increased risk of developing oesophageal cancer. The study was conducted in the Golestan province, northern Iran, where there is a high incidence of the disease. The BBC wrote that, ‘the finding could explain the increased oesophageal cancer risk in some non-Western populations. Adding milk, as most tea drinkers in Western countries do, cools the drink enough to eliminate the risk’. The Times agreed adding that, ‘Britons may also take comfort from the fact that most of us prefer our tea at between 56 and 60C’. The Daily Telegraph suggested that we should, ‘Follow Mrs Beeton’s advice and drink tea five to ten minutes after making’. As well as reading the research paper, you can also watch a video where the authors of the paper talk about their findings. more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

25 Mar, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerUsing maggots to help heal ulcers does not sound like the most modern method but a BMJ paper has found that it can be effective. Researchers studied the effects of maggots and Hydrogel on healing ulcers. They found that there was no difference between using maggots or Hydrogel on the healing time for ulcers, but maggot therapy did reduce the time to debridement. However using maggots did also increase ulcer pain. more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

18 Mar, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerA BMJ paper has been covered in Computer Weekly this week. The paper reported that a computerised test could be used to calculate whether patients are at risk of Type 2 diabetes and therefore allow doctors to intervene before they develop the disease. The test uses information from patient’s electronic health records and can also be used by the public online (http://www.qdscore.org/). more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

12 Mar, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerThere is some good news this week for men in their fifties who have not exercised much in the past. A BMJ study published last week shows that taking up exercise between 50 to 60 years old is just as effective as exercising frequently by middle age. This means that it is never to late to take up an exercise regime. more…

David Payne: BMJ in the news

4 Mar, 09 | by BMJ Group

David Payne Spectator blogger Melanie Phillips attracts lots of comments after flagging up a “big row” between the BMJ and Israel lobbying organisation Honest Reporting. The journal published five Israeli-themed articles last week, one of which concluded that Honest Reporting had targeted a hostile email campaign towards the BMJ five years ago. more…

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