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conferences and talks

Zosia Kmietowicz: One policy to reduce sugar intake—what would you do?

6 Aug, 15 | by BMJ

zosiakThe anti-sugar crusader Robert Lustig blew through town this week to film a documentary with chef Jamie Oliver, but stopped off on the way to take part in a panel discussion on the white stuff, which he launched with a talk entitled “Processed Food: An experiment that failed.”

Lustig, who is professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, is an engaging orator, combining the charm of Bill Clinton with the dogged enthusiasm granted to Tigger by AA Milne. His views on the causes of the obesity epidemic—that the body’s feedback system for satiety is broken from over consumption of sugar, especially fructose—are becoming increasingly heard and argued over in the scientific and medical communities. What was interesting about his talk on Tuesday night was his favoured solution for tackling sugar consumption levels, which in the United Sates rose from 73lbs per person per year in 1970 to 113lbs in 2000 (if fruit juice is included). more…

David Phizackerley: Running with the bulletins—a view from Pamplona

4 Aug, 15 | by BMJ

David PhizackerleyPamplona 2015—The General Assembly of the International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB)

At the end of June, the city of Pamplona was getting ready to celebrate the fiestas in honour of San Fermín, the patron saint of Navarra, and the week long challenge of the encierro (running of the bulls). Much ceremony and excitement surrounds this relatively short run of 825m, which typically lasts four minutes as the bulls charge from the corral in Calle Santo Domingo to the bullring. The risks to human participants are well known and each year, of the 20 000 people who take part, 200-300 are injured (1-1.5%), and there have been 16 deaths since 1910 (0.15 deaths/year). The benefits of participating are harder to determine, but would probably be best described using a composite endpoint of relief, satisfaction, and elation. Those who want to make an informed decision on taking part can easily find statistics on the harms, and view television recordings of the event to see what happens to those who do run with the bulls. more…

Kallur Suresh: Psychiatry at the forefront of science

24 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

Generation Q 12 June 2012I recently attended the 2015 International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Birmingham. It was one of the largest gatherings of psychiatrists from the UK and many other countries. It attracted around 2500 delegates who came to learn from its scientific programme, present their work, and network with other professionals. I was genuinely impressed by the quality of its academic content and its slick organisation. The theme of the congress was “Psychiatry at the Forefront of Science.”


Lyndal Trevena: Final reflections as the #ISDMISEHC Conference in Sydney concludes

23 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

lyndal_trevenaThe final day of the ISDMISEHC conference took a closer look at some of the key issues of the future. Professor Sharon Straus started the day with a keynote address about the challenges of implementation (or why she has the best job in the world). I’m going to take some time to summarise her key messages because they are “gold.” Sharon thinks of “knowledge translation” as using evidence in decision making at any level of the health system. She encouraged us to get on with doing what we can, use what evidence is available, learn from our efforts and improve next time. Lack of knowledge is not the most significant barrier to implementing evidence, the issue is the assumption is that more is better. The amount of time taken to implement all the clinical practice guidelines recommendations for a diabetic patient is at least four times greater than the time available in clinical practice. Straus encourages us to work with patient groups to prioritise and reduce the use of ineffective, harmful, and wasteful interventions such as blood glucose monitoring.  more…

Lyndal Trevena: Reflections on Day 2 of #ISDMISEHC Sydney 2015

22 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

lyndal_trevenaThe second day of ISDMISEHC saw a lot of engagement on social media and a lot of interest from clinicians, patients, and policymakers around the world.

Professor Alex Barratt from The University of Sydney started the day with a keynote address on over diagnosis which highlighted some of the methodological challenges of getting accurate evidence, the dilemmas of communicating and responding to uncertainty with individual patients, and the ethical issues this topic raises. She highlighted that breast cancer incidence and treatment has increased but is not linked to any substantial reduction in breast cancer mortality rates at a population level. This is clearly a very complex issue, and Alex suggested that trying to prevent too many more new tests being adopted before we have clear evidence that they improve the health of people and using a more transparent approach to present the evidence to patients might be the way forward. more…

Lyndal Trevena: What’s happening on Day 1 of #ISDMISEHC Sydney 2015

20 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

lyndal_trevenaThe first day of ISDMISEHC is over and synthesising the issues from the Twitter feed and presentations today is quite a challenge. Given that 300 people are exchanging ideas and experiences from all over the world we really want to share this with a wider audience. In addition, our conference delegates are struggling with trying to jump between so many outstanding sessions throughout the day. So here are a few of my own reflections. more…

How can we improve the availability and use of health research in developing countries?

20 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

hifalogowebGlobal health is fundamentally dependent on the availability and use of health research. It is well known that much research is of poor quality, is not applicable to low-resource settings, and/or is not even published (sometimes for commercial reasons). Nevertheless there is of course a massive and growing body of research that *is* of high quality, is relevant and applicable to low-resource settings, and is published. And yet, perversely, such research is often not available to those who need it most, leading directly or indirectly to poor quality healthcare for the majority of the world’s population. more…

Lyndal Trevena: Bringing evidence based practice and shared decision making together

17 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

lyndal_trevenaAs I write this blog, research teams from the four corners of the globe are travelling to Sydney for the first joint conference of the International Shared Decision Making (ISDM) group and the International Society for Evidence Based Health Care (ISEHC). There are over 300 delegates from more than 25 countries and a large contingent from our neighbouring Asia-Pacific region. more…

David Moher and Rustam Al-Shahi Salman: How can research be improved and waste reduced?

14 Jul, 15 | by BMJ







We shudder to think about the amount of paper and computer screen pixels used to report on the very sad state of biomedical research. This journal and others have been vocal on the subject and have published many relevant articles on a variety of topics related to the theme. In 2009, The BMJ took the step of introducing a new section to the journal—Research Methods and Reporting—to help acknowledge these problems and ways of correcting them. The BMJ and JAMA are providing leadership by hosting the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication. The eighth such congress will take place in September 2017 in Chicago. more…

Desmond O’Neill: Wheelbarrows, transport, and health

13 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

desmond_oneillThere is an old joke about a man who goes through a customs post with a wheelbarrow of sand every day. The increasingly frustrated customs officers make intensive searches of the contents, but never find any contraband. After many years, all are retired and meet by chance in a pub. When prevailed upon to reveal what he had been smuggling, he volunteers that it was wheelbarrows.

This story evokes parallels in many aspects of healthcare, whereby a focus on the tangible and the traditional can distract attention from the often less well defined, but bigger issue. more…

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