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conferences and talks

Tom Jefferson: Are we ready for the EMA revolution?

30 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

After attending a webinar on the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) new 0070 policy, which formalises the release of regulatory data held by the EMA, some of my earlier doubts have been addressed by what seems to be a general EMA commitment to openness (see my first blog on this webinar). For example, following a remark and a line in a webinar slide, I repeatedly questioned the EMA about the existence of “two data sets.” But I was told that the data sets (the one for scientific review by the EMA and the one to be published on the EMA website) are “mirrors” differing only in the redactions. The similarity will have to be certified by each manufacturer when submitting both versions. The EMA will not be carrying out a manual check of the content. more…

Tom Jefferson: The EMA revolution gathers pace

30 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

In October 2014, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) promulgated its policy 0070 on the release of regulatory data acquired and held in the course of its regulatory function. At the time, some of us advised caution in accepting the policy at face value, although we recognised the great contribution that the policy and the EMA’s attitude were making to a culture of openness in human experiments.

One of the undoubted difficulties that such a policy would entail was the sheer complexity of publishing huge amounts of very complicated documents on regulatory websites. There are no precedents for this.

A recent webinar held by those responsible for the implementation of the policy allowed a detailed glimpse of what is in store. I attended as a researcher, or more precisely as a systematic reviewer, and what follows is my take on the policy roll-out. more…

The African Journal Partnership Project: Raising the visibility of African medical publishing and research

25 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

navjoyt_ladherFor the past 11 years, the African Journal Partnership Project (AJPP) has paired leading medical journals in the UK and the US with counterparts in Africa, aiming to foster the development of medical publishing in the African continent so that valuable African health and medical research is available to a wider international audience.

The project was started after the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Fogarty International Center (part of the National Institutes of Health) recognised that there were problems with the availability and dissemination of medical literature in Africa. As the AJPP website explains: “Despite the recognised benefits of health and medical journals to clinical practitioners, Africa’s health and medical journal production and distribution are low and therefore do not make research from endemic areas available to colleagues on the continent or in the international scientific community.” more…

Desmond O’Neill: Surprised by beauty

19 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

desmond_oneillLike most doctors, my conference schedule is usually mapped out well in advance, anticipating the complex leave requirements of trainees and colleagues in an ever busier department of geriatric and stroke medicine.

This year, while on a 12 month secondment to the rapidly evolving Irish programme in traffic medicine, the constraints on my timetabling are correspondingly freed, and taking in an impromptu conference is now not only possible but also akin to a stolen pleasure. more…

Evidence Live—Dangerous ideas for the future of evidence based healthcare

13 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

evidence_2015Evidence Live 2015 is underway.

Once again there is an international line up of speakers to stimulate thought debate and action. We would like you to consider throughout the conference dangerous ideas for the future of evidence based healthcare. Closing the gap between evidence and clinical practice remains a weighty issue to solve. To improve on the current status quo we need new, radical, and innovative ideas. These important ideas would ensure practitioners are equipped with the totality of evidence and the right tools to fully inform patients about the benefits and harms of effective, or in many cases, ineffective interventions. We are calling these ideas dangerous not because they are likely to cause problems, but because they can often be true and therefore might provide solutions and shorten the gap of translating medical research into clinical practicemore…

Birte Twisselmann: From Harry Potter to Hippocrates—the medicinal garden at the RCP

10 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

BirteLast year we published the obituary of Arthur Hollman, cardiologist, medical historian, and plantsman, who looked after the garden of the Royal College of Physicians in Regent’s Park in London. In 1978 he implemented a new garden scheme, linking its plants and trees with medicinal uses and British doctors. The college offers regular guided tours round its garden, and, with my interest piqued by Hollman’s life story, I decided to go along on 1 April 2015.

The violets and cyclamens were in bloom, although most of the vegetation was still a bit hesitant in the cold weather. The garden includes about 1000 plants with “medicinal” uses and some 200 that are named after doctors. One of the first things our guide, garden fellow Professor Michael de Swiet, told us about was the rather fantastical sounding “doctrine of signatures,” which states that herbs that resemble various parts of the body can be used by herbalists to treat ailments of those parts of the body. Examples include lungwort and eyebright; the walnut resembles a human brain, the tomato with its four chambers a human heart, and the kidney bean, a kidney, and so on. more…

Ian Franklin: Doctors, manslaughter, and avoidable harm

6 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

ian_franklinThe sudden surge in prosecutions of doctors in the criminal courts when patients die is alarming. There is a growing body of opinion that the charge of gross negligence manslaughter is being used inappropriately to prosecute doctors who, in their daily lives, work in an inherently high risk environment.

It is generally accepted that deaths and complications are best discussed in a transparent, no-blame environment, such as M&M (mortality and morbidity) meetings. This allows lessons to be learned and future care to be improved in much the same way that pilots analyse aviation incidents. more…

Alison Cameron: NIHR INVOLVE—changing landscapes

8 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

alison_cameronpicI have been attending a great many healthcare conferences of late—to the extent that they have rather merged into one.

A common thread running through all of them has been the claims of varying degrees of co-production and patient centredness. As a long term patient, who has spent many a year occupying the “patient corner” (near the door) at various events, I am always keen to see how this plays out in reality. more…

Corinna Hawkes: ICN2—a starting point for preventing malnutrition in all its forms?

28 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Corinna HawkesIt was pouring with rain when I arrived on a delayed flight to Rome for the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), which was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). But I was glad to have arrived at last. ICN2 had been a long time coming. Postponed for two years—it was originally scheduled for 2012, 20 years after the first ICN in 1992—preparations had been fraught and fractious. more…

Tackling a pandemic: Is Ebola the definitive lesson?

14 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

SAMSUNG CSCUntil recently, Ebola was rarely heard of in the developed world, but during the last few months, we are receiving such a high volume of daily information on Ebola virus disease (EVD) that this blog would have been different if written a few weeks earlier or later. It is worth noting that all The BMJ articles referring to the EVD outbreak have been made free of access.

Aser García Rada_BMJAs we have seen both in Spain and the United States—the first two countries dealing with EVD out of Africa—we share current ignorance in this field with most Western healthcare workers, politicians, journalists, and even scientific advisers. more…

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