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Marika Davies: Medical students and social media

30 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

marika_daviesAnyone who has taught medical students in recent years will be familiar with the sight of students appearing more interested in the screens of their laptops, tablets, or mobile phones. While they may, of course, be using their devices to take notes, there is always the suspicion that they are in fact sending text messages or improving their Candy Crush score.

But the educational opportunities that digital technologies also provide are developing fast. This year’s Institute of Medical Ethics conference “Ethics in a digital age” identified that teachers are often left catching up with medical students who have grown up as digital natives. more…

David Payne at WIRED Health 2015

24 Apr, 15 | by BMJ Group

David Payne29.20am: I’m in London at WIRED Health 2015, “exploring the future of healthcare.” Already I’ve bumped into a would-be investor and I’ve just had  a “power shot” of grapefruit juice spiked with chili. Now I’m browsing the exhibitor stands, which includes live demo of the elegant cream leather Tao chair which, according to its inventor and Tao Wellness CEO Viktor Kalvachev and its promotional blurb, is an “invisible gym in your living room” enabling me to work out different muscle groups while I sit at home. more…

David Kerr: Dr Uber

23 Apr, 15 | by BMJ

david_kerr_2015picThe hot topic in the technology world at the moment is the so called “sharing economy.” A great deal of money is being made by companies, such as Uber and Airbnb, where the internet is used to match buyers and sellers without the need for the huge upfront costs of purchasing, for example, cars and properties. The question is whether the concept of a sharing economy could also be of value in healthcare? more…

William Cayley: What are the (hidden) costs?

26 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

bill_cayley_2“The economics of education are changed dramatically by delivering online courses to large numbers, making expensive education much cheaper.” That line in Richard Smith’s blog post describing a proposed “global university” for healthcare workers caught my attention—especially since my own local statewide university system, of which I am an employee as a medical school faculty member, is facing a proposed $300 million budget cut over the next two years. more…

David Kerr: Doctor Google versus the NHS

12 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

david_kerrApparently one in 20 searches on Google are for health related topics. At the moment typing in a medical condition (such as diabetes) on Google produces links to reputable sites and online patient forums.

However, beyond the first page of a Google search, the quality and accuracy of the listed domains becomes more questionable, with searchers running the risk of encountering various snake oil salesmen, quacks, and purveyors of alternative therapies. Furthermore, trying to find out the potential implications of common symptoms can provoke a wave of neurosis, with Googlers believing that their runny nose, cough, or headache are invariably the first symptoms of some rare and lethal condition. more…

Samir Dawlatly: Healthcare in 2065

4 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

I looked down at my left leg. It had been aching for a day or two. Thanks to the laser eye surgery that I had had the previous month, I could see that the left calf was definitely more swollen than the right. I sat back in my chair and reminisced.

Back when I was a GP, in the early part of the 21st century, we would often be confronted with patients with swollen legs. The diagnosis that we worried about was deep vein thrombosis. I could even remember when it was called “economy class syndrome,” owing to one of the risk factors being the immobility and dehydration experienced on long haul flights. more…

Kate Adlington: Mitochondrial donation—the person at the centre of “three person IVF”

4 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

kate_adlington_picA vote was held yesterday in the House of Commons to decide whether to allow mitochondrial donation to be used in clinical practice. The vote marked the culmination of a decade of research and consultation into the science and ethics of so called “three person IVF”—a modified IVF technique proposed to prevent transmission of mitochondrial disease by combining the DNA of two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman. more…

James Buchanan: Genomics, the data revolution, and health economics—the 2015 Astellas Innovation Debate

2 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

James BuchananIt’s early days, but 2015 is already shaping up to be another exciting year for researchers in genomics. In his State of the Union address last month, Barack Obama launched a new $215m Precision Medicine Initiative, which aims to collect genomic sequencing data for one million individuals. In the UK, we’re slightly further down this road: the pilot phase of the 100 000 Genomes Project is coming to an end, and full scale recruitment of patient samples begins today (2 February). more…

Jeffrey Aronson: When I use a word . . . Blogging on

30 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

jeffrey_aronsonWhat links blogs to logs (wooden ones)?

The Sailor’s Word Book: An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms (1867), compiled by Admiral W[illiam] H[enry] Smyth and revised for publication by Vice Admiral Sir E[dward] Belcher, gives the answer:

“LOG-BOARD. Two boards shutting together like a book, and divided into several columns, in which to record, through the hours of the day and night, the direction of the wind and the course of the ship, with all the material occurrences, together with the latitude by observation. From this table the officers work the ship’s way, and compile their journals. The whole being written by the mate of the watch with chalk, is rubbed out every day at noon.” more…

David Kerr: Rise of the medical selfie

22 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

david_kerrAccording to Twitter, 2014 was the year of the selfie. The Oxford English dictionary defines a selfie as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.” Selfies began only a few years ago, but have reached epidemic and global proportions—and a new industry has developed with the creation of selfie sticks to support the phenomenon. more…

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