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Stephen Ginn

Stephen Ginn: “Moral obligation” or “a disaster for humanity and the planet?”

24 May, 12 | by BMJ

Stephen GinnIs medical control of human aging a worthy goal?

Despite the moisturisers you can buy it is impossible to reverse the damage of aging and very few of us will live to anywhere near the theoretical maximum of human age, estimated to be 125. Yet some people think the first person who will live substantially longer than this is alive today.

Aubrey de Grey is one of them.  He was recently speaking at a debate at the Oxford University Scientific Society, for the motion “This house wants to defeat aging entirely.”  De Grey is the chief scientific officer of the SENS foundation and a cheer leader for bringing aging under medical control.  “This is no longer a radical heretical idea” he says; for de Grey defeating aging is at the heart what medicine is about. And when we treat aging, longevity is a welcome side effect. more…

Stephen Ginn: The Greatest Silence: Rape in Congo

27 Apr, 12 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnThe author Philip Gourevitch once wrote: “Oh Congo, what a wreck. It hurts to look and listen. It hurts to turn away.” Exploited and misruled for much of its modern history, this country has spent more than a decade in a state of semi-permanent civil war. 5.4m people have died, mostly from disease and starvation, and Congo’s abundant mineral resources bring nothing but the worst kind of exploitation.  more…

Stephen Ginn: smartphone health apps for the future

5 Jan, 12 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnI learnt some interesting facts about mobile phones the other day. For instance, there are 59 countries where mobile phones outnumber people. This refers to mobile phones actually in use, rather than forgotten ones in drawers, under sofas, or in the glove compartment of your car.  Worldwide there are six trillion texts sent a day, about which unexceptional Western teens are exceptionally keen as they send/receive an impressive 3,400 per month.  The average user of a mobile phone looks at it 150 times a day.  That’s every 6 minutes 30 seconds.  more…

Stephen Ginn: Military medicine

28 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnWar may not be good for much, but it has proved to be an effective incubator for innovation. I’m not just talking about the Slinky: the development of nylon, polythene, and aerosol sprays also benefitted from conflict.

The urgency of war has also lead to many of the most important innovations in medicine. It was the battlefield surgeon Ambroise Paré who in the 16th century introduced the ligature of arteries (instead of cauterization) during amputation. An effective treatment for leukaemia emerged from nitrogen mustard’s use as a poisonous gas and Dwight Harken operated on wounded D-Day soldiers and demonstrated that shrapnel could successfully be removed via open surgery to the heart.  more…

Stephen Ginn: Occupy London

21 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnEstablished on 15 October outside St Paul’s and watched over by a statue of Queen Victoria, the Occupy London Stock Exchange (LSX) camp continues its controversial settlement in central London. 

Paul, a doctor whose day job is as a sexual health specialist in South London, shows me around.  For a movement with no apparent leadership, lurking somewhere must nevertheless be an effective organising team. The camp is clean and alongside the accommodation are larger tents with information, welfare, first-aid, and “university” roles.  more…

Stephen Ginn: The future of academic publishing

22 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnThe first salvo in the Guardian’s recently published series of articles on academic publishing was delivered by veteran agitator George Monbiot. Journals publish government funded research, written and often edited for free by academics says Monbiot. “But to see it, we must pay again, and through the nose,” he says.

The monopolist practices of academic publishers make Walmart “look like a corner shop” and Rupert Murdoch “look like a socialist” he continues. more…

Stephen Ginn: Living in emergency

13 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnThe RSM’s Global health and human rights film club launched on 8 September 2011 with a screening of director Mark Hopkins’ Living in Emergency.

Filmed in the war zones of Liberia and Congo it follows four volunteer doctors providing emergency care under the aegis of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The film’s urgent title is borne out by its content. The doctors work in chaotic overcrowded clinics, there is limited diagnostic equipment, and often they have sole responsibility for the lives of all the patients they treat.  more…

Stephen Ginn: Metaphors in medicine

23 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnMetaphors are widely used by both healthcare professionals and lay people when talking about matters of health. Despite this their role is largely unrecognised. This is a shame, I feel, as they can have a powerful effect on the practice of medicine and the experience of illness.

A metaphor is a way of understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another. Many complex concepts are understood in this way and they are integral to the way we understand things.  more…

Stephen Ginn: Whither the riots? A theory digest

18 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnLast week’s riots took place across different nights in multiple cities and involved no one ethnic group.  The reasons behind them are complex and a unifying theory is likely to be evasive. 

Many of the explanations for the riots have been made to fit around already established political agendas.  The left has focused on deprivation and an excessively greedy society, while the right has blamed police numbers and a lack of discipline and boundaries. more…

Stephen Ginn: First impressions on being the BMJ’s editorial registrar

11 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Stephen GinnLast Wednesday I joined the BMJ as the Roger Robinson editorial registrar. This is my first despatch from the frontline of medical publishing.

The registrar role has been running for 22 years and is named after the late Professor Robinson who was an associate editor at the BMJ for ten years. It’s for one year and allows the post holder to take a break from clinical practice and develop skills in medical journalism and editing. This sounded like an excellent opportunity to me as I’ve been interested in writing and publishing since medical school.  more…

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