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The BMJ Today: Cannabis, childhood depression, and winter pressures

5 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

cannabis_leavesEditorial: High potency cannabis

In this editorial, Wayne Hall and Louise Degenhardt’s editorial discuss the recent research article published in Lancet Psychiatry that found daily use of “skunk” (a highly potent form of cannabis) is a contributory cause of schizophrenia. After exploring the key limitations of the research, they conclude that “the remarkable consistency of multiple types of individually fallible evidence makes it much more likely than not that regular cannabis use is a contributory cause of psychosis.” more…

BMJ Today: Overdetecting AAA and breast cancer, and how much do people care?

4 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

abdominal_aortic_aneurysmOverdiagnosis in screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm 
Johansson and colleagues discuss the assumptions and evidence behind such screening programmes, and call for a revisit of these programmes “because of reduced benefits in modern populations and because data suggest considerable harm.” more…

The BMJ Today: Mortality rates, umbilical clamping, and penis length

3 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

Clinical review

• Assessment and management of dementia
sota_dementia2Professor Helen C Kales and colleagues present a State of the Art Review on the assessment and management of dementia and introduce the DICE approach.

• Quality and Outcomes Framework scores

Kontopantelis et al. publish a longitudinal spatial study on the relationship between the UK national primary care pay-for-performance programme, Quality and Outcomes Framework, (QOF), and all cause and cause specific premature mortality. Although mortality rates declined in the study period, there was no relationship between practice QOF scores and standardised all cause and specific cause mortality rates. more…

The BMJ Today: The NHS, freedom to smoke, statistical refreshment, and the etymology of coughing

2 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

New today on

NHS signageWhat should the NHS look like after the election?
The views of an eminent group of clinicians, policymakers, managers, and others can be heard in a recording of The BMJ breakfast roundtable, held at the Nuffield Trust’s annual health policy summit.

Leading their wish list for policies after the election are calls for a focus on quality improvement, less waste, better data, and—perhaps inevitably—more money. Thorny issues include how to improve morale and leadership within the NHS, and how or whether politics can be left at the hospital door. more…

The BMJ Today: Cloned GPs, MDR TB, and more after Savile

27 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

Here is a taste of what’s new on today.

If I ruled the NHS
robot_doc• We need drones, robots, and autonomous ambulances
In our new series, Mary Church, a Glasgow GP, would turn to technology to solve the NHS’s problems. “The current technology used in out of hours services—a human with a certificate gained after a two week course on how to triage potential risk, including the risk of avoiding risk—will be replaced by medically qualified clinicians. GPs will be cloned to meet the 24/7 demand, making it much easier for patients to seek a second opinion,” she writes. more…

The BMJ Today: Smoking outdoors, substandard drugs in trials, and managing lower gastrointestinal symptoms

26 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

Here is my personal selection of what is new on The BMJ today:

Head to Head
smoking_park• Is a smoking ban in UK parks and outdoor spaces a good idea? 

In this topical debate, Ara Darzi and Oliver P Keown call for a ban to help smokers quit and to protect children from seeing people lighting up.

However, Simon Chapman says that there is no scientific justification for such a draconian attack on basic freedoms. more…

The BMJ Today: The perils of whistleblowing and the Russian roulette of NHS management

25 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

Here’s a flavour of what’s new on today.

feature_managementWhy would a hospital consultant go into management? Taking the job of NHS trust chief executive requires a doctor to ditch job security, probably earn less money, and be saddled with problems they don’t have the power to solve, finds Richard Vize. Dr Mark Newbold, a former NHS trust boss who has been through the mill himself, calls for strong and explicit support for new chiefs. more…

The BMJ Today: Women’s satisfaction with pain relief during labour

24 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

Good morning. Here’s what is new in The BMJ.

Analgesics in labour. Are women more satisfied with pain relief obtained through a patient controlled device delivering remifentanil or epidural analgesia? Dutch researchers report on a head to head randomised trial comparing the two treatments.

Avoidable deaths. Improper monitoring and other errors led to the deaths of hundreds of people with mental health conditions in psychiatric wards and prisons, concludes an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. more…

The BMJ Today: Expanding, limiting, and personalising healthcare

23 Feb, 15 | by BMJ



• Does early discharge increase the risk of complications and death? A cohort study from Sweden in patients over 50 with hip fracture found an increased risk of death in patients who stayed in hospital for 10 days or fewer.

Expanding coverage of health insurance in Massachusetts increased access to knee and hip replacement and reduced disparities related to race and ethnicity but not income. more…

The BMJ Today: Tuberculosis, technology, and the art of good communication

20 Feb, 15 | by BMJ


• Andrew Dowson, director of headache services at King’s College Hospital, London, has been suspended from the UK medical register for four months for a “serious breach of professional standards” during the conduct of a clinical trial to test whether a new device for closing patent foramen ovale could cure migraine.

• A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science has found that lifestyles, rather than genes, are largely responsible for childhood obesity, concluding that policies to influence a healthier parental lifestyle could combat overweight children.

• The shortlist for the seventh annual The BMJ Awards has been announced, including sixty different entries over 12 categories. The awards, which celebrate the best of UK medicine, take place on Wednesday 6 May at the Park Plaza, Westminster. more…

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