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Editors at large

David Payne: What would you ask a future UK health secretary?

14 Apr, 15 | by BMJ Group

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt

If you were in the same room as health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb, and UKIP’s Louise Bours, what would you ask them? Now is your chance. more…

Juliet Dobson: Understanding Ebola in Africa

25 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

juliet_dobsonWhat has the recent Ebola outbreak shown us about West Africa’s development? Did it reveal Africa’s weaknesses or its strengths? On 23 March, Hans Rosling, from the Karolinska Institute, and Margaret Lamunu, the World Health Organization’s Ebola expert, discussed how West African health systems tackled the Ebola outbreak, and what we can learn from the response as part of a live radio broadcast for the BBC’s A Richer World season. more…

Elizabeth Loder: Has the American Board of Internal Medicine lost its way?

19 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

elizabeth_loderElizabeth Loder examines the emergence of organized US physician opposition to revalidation requirements.

Something remarkable is happening right now in American medicine. A unified physician movement has emerged that cuts across the varied interests of different specialties to focus on a specific cause of dissatisfaction. It has already forced concessions from one powerful organization, and it shows no signs of fading. The targets? None other than the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and other specialty certifying boards, including their umbrella organization The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). more…

Juliet Dobson: Breast may be best, but it’s also a huge challenge

19 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

DSC00570News of a new study published yesterday in Lancet Global Health, which shows that breast feeding is linked with higher IQ, was music to my ears. I am the mother of an eight month old, whom I am still breast feeding, and it was encouraging for me to hear that the many months of hard work have been worth the effort.

The Brazilian study looked at 3493 babies and found that those who had been breast fed for a year or more scored higher on IQ tests thirty years later. They also spent more years in education and had higher monthly incomes than babies who were breast fed for less than a month.  more…

Richard Hurley: Multimedia, interaction, gamification: what does tomorrow’s medical journal article look like?

19 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

rich_hurleyThe internet has made it ridiculously easy to access information. Traditional media outlets like The BMJ are having to compete even harder with each other for attention.

The internet has also made it ridiculously easy for everyone to share words, pictures, and sounds, and traditional outlets must also vie with citizen publishers for audience interest and time. more…

Abi Rimmer and Navjoyt Ladher: Can books bridge the gap between art and medicine?

13 Mar, 15 | by BMJ Group

downloadWhat links grief, the early suffragette movement, and evolution?

All are themes in books shortlisted for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize, announced by writer Bill Bryson at Wellcome Collection’s shiny new Reading Room in London earlier this week.

The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates “books for the incurably curious” that explore issues of medicine and, as Bryson put it, give readers a greater understanding of the human condition. more…

Sally Carter: Dolls’ houses, index cards, and standing inside a mortuary fridge

27 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

sally_carterI often try and whizz round an exhibition during a lunch hour, but the Wellcome Collection’s latest exhibition on forensics is not one to rush. My visit was how I imagine it must be to work on a crime scene. You take in a lot of detailed and gripping information from different places, and then it dawns on you what it’s really all about. People dying—often in a terrible way.

The exhibition is divided into five rooms that track death and murder from the crime scene to the court room. In the first room, you come across what looks like a doll’s house. At first glance, you’re in an intricate, innocent doll’s house, but keep looking and things just aren’t right in there. more…

Elizabeth Loder on the proliferation of medical research reporting guidelines: A checklist too far?

24 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

elizabeth_loderIf reporting guidelines and checklists are the answer, what is the problem? That’s easy: their development was motivated by the realization that critical information was vague, missing, or misreported in an unacceptably high proportion of published medical research papers. Reporting guidelines take aim at this problem by specifying a minimum set of items that should be included in a published study report. These, of course, depend upon the study type, so there are different checklists for different sorts of research. The grand-daddy of them all is the CONSORT checklist, developed in 1996 to guide reporting of randomized controlled trials. more…

Zosia Kmietowicz: Why don’t hospitals share test results?

3 Dec, 14 | by BMJ Group

zosiakMy sister nearly died of pneumonia earlier this year. Exceptional NHS care saved her life. But I have been left flummoxed by the lack of communication during her illness and in the subsequent months of her recovery between the hospitals involved in her treatment and rehabilitation.

My sister has diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and doctors think that the pneumonia was brought on—or certainly made worse—by the drugs she was taking for her rheumatoid arthritis when she fell ill. These were stopped as soon as the seriousness of her condition was evident. But now, six months after the bout of pneumonia and her discharge back to her local hospital, the only drugs she is getting for her painful rheumatoid arthritis are simple painkillers, which provide little relief from her symptoms. more…

Will Stahl-Timmins: Data visualisation is beautiful

21 Nov, 14 | by BMJ Group

will_Stahl-TimminsDavid McCandless’s talk at the Royal Statistical Society

David McCandless is perhaps the best ­known information graphic designer of our time. He exploded onto the design stage a few years ago with the coffee­ table book Information is Beautiful, based on the corresponding blog website of the same name. The website now also hosts the Information is Beautiful Awards, which has just announced its third set of winners. He has recently released a second book, Knowledge is Beautiful, and has been giving a number of talks to showcase the new work contained within this colourful tome.

As The BMJ’s resident data graphics designer, I dutifully booked myself a seat at his talk at the Royal Statistical Society to see what health­ related graphics he might be presenting. more…

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