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Juliet Dobson

Juliet Dobson: Cutting support services for new mothers is a false economy

1 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

juliet_dobsonI was sad to hear that support services for new mothers are going to be cut across England. The Guardian reports that breastfeeding classes, home visits from midwives, and “babyfeeding cafes”—where mothers can drop in and talk to feeding advisers as well as other parents—are increasingly being scaled back or cut owing to pressures on local authority and NHS budgets.  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…

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…

The BMJ Today: Working all hours and alcohol use

14 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

juliet_dobsonYou would have thought that working long hours would leave people with little time left for an after work drink, but according to this meta-analysis by Virtanen and colleagues, people who have long working hours are at higher risk of alcohol use. Editorialist Cassandra A Okechukwu says that the findings of this study add impetus to further regulation of working hours as a public health intervention. She writes that the risks of working long hours cannot be ignored, especially in light of mounting pressure to exclude an increasing proportion of workers from current standards that limit working hours in Europe and other developed countries. more…

Juliet Dobson: Probably Nothing

3 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

juliet_dobsonProbably Nothing is a comic by Matilda Tristram about discovering that she had colon cancer when she was 17 weeks pregnant. The comic, initially published online and now as a book, charts her diagnosis and subsequent treatment while pregnant and then looking after a newborn baby. It is a very honest and moving account of what it is like to be a patient. more…

Juliet Dobson: MSF scientific day 2013—how can we measure the impact of research?

17 May, 13 | by BMJ

Juliet DobsonHow can we measure the impact of research? What is impact, and how can we show that research leads to measurable outcomes for patients? On 10 May, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) held their annual scientific day, and the focus of the day was to try and answer some of these questions. There was also a focus on the role that technology and social media can play in measuring the impact of research. more…

Juliet Dobson: Open journalism and social media

24 Sep, 12 | by BMJ Group

Juliet DobsonThe Guardian is well known for being at the forefront of journalism and for pushing forward ever more innovative ways of covering the news. A talk at King’s Place on Friday 14 September looked at how journalism is changing and how social media, particularly Twitter, are changing the way news is reported and read.

The talk was by Dan Roberts, national editor, Guardian. He opened the discussion by looking back to his first job at a local paper. I loved his description of working in an office that was above the printing presses. He said you could feel the hum and vibrations of the presses in the office as the papers were printed. It was a very industrial process and this was reflected in the way journalists worked. Journalists wrote and readers consumed. The papers were printed and then delivered in lorries all around the country. But now, in the 21st century, this producer-consumer balance has shifted as smartphones have given everyone the ability to gather information and publish it. more…

Juliet Dobson: Freedom of the press v privacy rights. Is it time for parliament to draw the line?

10 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

Juliet DobsonThe seventh UCL/Bindmans Debate on 8 February tackled the question of press privacy. Should parliament regulate the press? One side of the argument is that freedom of expression is too important to be regulated. But on the other hand, is the press now too immoral to regulate itself?

Tessa Jowell, Labour MP and shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, began the panel discussion. She said that as an MP handling the media was part of her everyday work and that the status quo is unsustainable even if you believe in a free press. She thinks that the press should be free but with clearer boundaries about what is acceptable. “Just because something is possible, doesn’t mean it is acceptable,” she said.  more…

Juliet Dobson: How to pay for quality journalism in a digital world?

25 May, 11 | by BMJ Group

Juliet DobsonIt is almost a year since News International decided to put Times Online and the Sunday Times websites behind a paywall. It was a watershed moment for journalism, and on Monday 9 May City University organised a talk about how to pay for quality journalism in a digital age.

The debate started with Geordie Grieg, editor of the Evening Standard, talking about how the paper’s finances were rescued by changing their publishing model and giving the paper away for free. The Evening Standard was losing 10-20% of its revenue per year, and had huge financial losses. The company decided to go free and concentrated on giving out the paper in fewer places. At Oxford Circus tube station it used to sell on average 700 copies a day. It now distributes 32,000 copies a day in the same place. Their advertising yield has gone up by 120% and they are expecting to start making a profit in 2012. The key to the success is, he said, that they are still a quality paper, producing good journalism. They recently won two awards to prove that. The success of this plan was evident as a large number of the audience was carrying copies of that evening’s paper, picked up from the free stall by the university entrance. more…

Juliet Dobson: Should information be free?

25 Feb, 11 | by BMJ Group

Juliet DobsonShould information be free? Does any good come from restricting access to it? These questions were the topic of conversation at a talk hosted by IQ2 at the Dana Centre, on Tuesday 22 February.

The discussion opened with Daniel Glaser from the Wellcome Trust asking whether scientists should make their research data free. The Lancet published a letter on 11 January 2011, which is signed by many of the world’s leading research funders. It commits them to improving data sharing in the public health community. Glaser argued that scientists should share their data to help progress research. But as a scientist himself he admitted that he would find it upsetting to see someone else publish research based on his data, which took him years of effort and hard work to obtain. more…

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