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Editors at large

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…

Wim Weber: EU seminar on access to trial data

2 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

wim_weberOn 29 September, more than 150 delegates showed up to attend the “Transparency and public health” seminar, organised by the European ombudsman and held at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

This “International Right to Know Day” is an annual event organised by the ombudsman, and newly appointed Emily O’Reilly from Ireland chose accessibility of clinical trial data as the theme for this year’s event. more…

Georg Roeggla: Nobel laureates meet young scientists

10 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

georg_roegglaThe 64th meeting of Nobel laureates in the field of medicine and physiology ended on 4 July, 2014. Thirty seven Nobel laureates and more than 600 selected young scientists from 80 countries participated in this week in Lindau, Bavaria. The objective of this meeting was to bring Nobel laureates and young researchers together to exchange ideas. Therefore, the main focus was the discussions of the Nobel laureates with the assembled young scientists, and embedded into this were a variety of speeches on hot topics in international research. more…

Jane Smith: Robot journalism

28 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

Imagine a news story written and published within three minutes of the event happening. That’s a real scenario described by Emily Bell in her T P Stead Lecture at the British Library last week. I was intrigued by her title “Robot reporters” and went to hear more about “Journalism in the Age of Automation and Big Data.” more…

Richard Hurley: Why the food industry doesn’t find a sugar tax so sweet

15 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

rich_hurleyA flurry of media attention followed England’s Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies’s recent admission that a sugar tax may have to be considered to try to reverse the overweight and obesity that now afflicts a third of UK children.

Such a tax might reduce consumption, the theory goes, by reducing demand for energy dense foods because they would be less affordable. Or it might reduce supply because competition would encourage manufacturers to make their products healthier. more…

Birte Twisselmann: European Union—live

11 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

BirteAs a three-times member of the national judging panel for the UK winner, I was invited to attend the awards ceremony for the EU Health Prize for Journalists 2013, at the European Commission in Brussels on 7-8 April 2014. And in the same way as last year, this meant an intense couple of days with some 60 journalists and jury members from all over Europe, well attended by EU officials, and hosted by the EC’s Directorate-General Health and Consumers (DG SANCO), in its stunning Berlaymont building. The prize is in its fifth year and is given for journalism covering “Europe for patients” themes ranging from cancer and rare diseases to prudent use of antibiotics, mental health, pharmaceuticals, and vaccine scares, to name a few. more…

Rebecca Coombes: Greece’s young reject the Mediterranean diet

26 Feb, 14 | by BMJ

In Athens this week, at a meeting about Europe’s obesity crisis organised by the Greek government, talk is dominated by the expanding waistlines of Europe’s children.

At the event’s smart Hellenic building surrounded by orange trees, and where lunch is veg-heavy and carb-light, it’s hard to believe that Greek’s young are ditching the Mediterranean diet. more…

David Payne: Books for the incurably curious

25 Feb, 14 | by BMJ Group

David Payne When John Keats switched from medicine to poetry he found a different way of healing people, according to Andrew Motion.

Motion, a former poet laureate, attributes his interest in medicine and literature to the Romantic poet, whose biography he wrote in 1997.

Wellcome Book Prize shortlist04Unveiling the shortlist for 2014 Wellcome book prize in London this week, Motion, chair of the judging panel (pictured foreground), described the challenge of choosing a winner from the six medically themed books, which straddle both fiction and non-fiction. more…

Trish Groves: Is Twitter any use for two handed debates?

28 Jan, 14 | by BMJ

trish_groves“Jeez, this is a bit like having a serious conversation on top of a mountain fifteen yards apart in 90mph winds,” tweeted doctor and journalist Ben Goldacre (@bengoldacre). “Yes, and I’m a lousy typist to boot!” hollered back Randy Schekman, Nobel laureate and editor of open access journal eLife (@elife). They were attempting a debate on Twitter (#benandrandy) about scientific publishing, following Professor Shekman’s provocative assertion that “science must break the tyranny of the luxury journals.” It did work, sort of, and other tweeters joined in. E-life summed it up later using Storify, an app that gives you a blank sheet and a feed of tweets, facebook posts, and other links to curate into a linear account; a story. more…

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