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Tiago Villanueva

The BMJ Today: Getting to grips with research and research papers

8 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaThe BMJ Today blogs this week are all written by research editors, who handle original research manuscripts from submission up to eventual acceptance (even though that only applies to a very small percentage of submitted papers). Many of our authors are practising doctors, as well as highly experienced researchers in top medical research centres who are often world leaders in their specialties. more…

The BMJ Today: Looking for general practitioner (GP) authors

4 Dec, 14 | by BMJ Group

tiago_villanuevaIn a recent BMJ Today, I explained that The BMJ maintains an educational section called Endgames aimed at junior doctors preparing for their postgraduate examinations.

What I didn’t say was that most case reports and picture quizzes published so far are aimed particularly at hospital doctors rather than primary care doctors (GP’s/family physicians). more…

The BMJ Today: How can doctors learn about research?

17 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaIn my previous role at The BMJ, I had the chance to work on Endgames, whose educational content is aimed at helping junior doctors in the UK and around the world prepare for their postgraduate examinations. Apart from case reports and picture quizzes, Endgames also include a series of weekly quizzes called “Statistical question,” which cover concepts of statistics, clinical epidemiology, and research, and are written by London based statistician and professor of statistics Philip Sedgwick.

Primary care research has always lagged behind research carried out in hospitals for many reasons, but many countries—such as the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, or Australia, just to mention a few—now have world class research units and teams, and some of the resulting work ends up published in The BMJ. more…

The BMJ Today: The joys and snags of being a GP

27 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaAs a GP who didn’t train in the UK and who has never worked in the country as a GP, I follow the situation of general practice in the UK with great interest, but from a certain distance that characterises an outsider such as myself. I am well aware that general practice in the UK is going through difficult times, with a recruitment crisis, many GPs facing increasing workloads and on the verge of burnout, and some even leaving the country behind to work further afield.

The recruitment of GPs has always been a problem all around the world, for many different reasons. Despite everything, GPs in the UK remain among the best paid GPs in the world, which means we must look way beyond pay as an argument to attract more GPs to the trade. more…

The BMJ Today: The complexity of medical jargon

22 Sep, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaUp to this day, I’m still often asked by friends when I am going to become a specialist, considering I am “just” a GP. It remains difficult for lay people to understand and acknowledge that GPs master a trade of their own, just like hospital specialists, and are not just doctors who didn’t pursue any specialist training beyond their primary medical qualification. In fact, general practice is considered a specialty in most (but not all) European countries.

But I worry when I read testimonials such as a recent blog written by Samir Dawlatly, a UK based GP, who argues that the term “general practitioner” is vague in itself. He calls for GPs to be renamed “general medical practitioners”—to reflect the fact that GPs usually provide general medical services. more…

The BMJ Today: The perils of not keeping your mouth shut

11 Sep, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanueva A few weeks ago, I had to take parenteral antibiotics for a condition that was not improving with oral antibiotics. Moreover, in my native Portugal it is still common, for example, to prescribe parenteral penicillin for bacterial tonsillitis since for some reason oral penicillin is not available there. more…

The BMJ Today: Helping GPs make better decisions

17 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaAfter being one year out of clinical practice, and working full time in medical editing at The BMJ, I decided to take some time off from work and return this week to the trenches of the healthcare system as a locum GP in my native Portugal, where I remain licensed to practice. I personally feel that it is very important for clinicians who are also professional editors to stay in active clinical practice, even if it’s only to a small extent. I think one job ends up enhancing the other. As editors, we get to easily stay up to date and at the cutting edge of knowledge, but as clinicians, contact with the often complex problems of real patients helps us to more easily identify the learning needs of doctors. more…

Tiago Villanueva: The global burden of physical inactivity on health

12 Jun, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaThe World Cup is now here, but for many of us that just means we will be watching the matches from our couch at home, or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, from the stands in Brazil’s stadiums. Ironically, such a high profile sporting event will foster sedentary behaviour in a lot of us, by making us sit in front of the television for countless hours, especially if our team goes far in the competition.

I recently had the chance to listen to Dr Pedro Hallal—a Brazilian academic and researcher from the Federal University of Pelotas—give a talk in Central London, which was organised by C3 Collaborating for Health. Hallal discussed his research into the effects of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases; of which a great deal has been published in several Lancet series, most recently this one on physical activity in 2012. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Should we “own” our health?

19 May, 14 | by BMJ


I don’t often have the chance to meet people like Ron Dembo, who have a vision and ideas that could change the world, or at least the world of healthcare. Dembo is the CEO and Founder of Zerofootprint, a software and services company that makes environmental impact measurable, visible, and manageable to businesses, governments, institutions, and individuals. His company reduces environmental risk and cost through behavioural change and has recently entered the healthcare arena too. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Have you started planning your death?

13 May, 14 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaI have to admit I always try to steer away from any uncomfortable thoughts about death concerning myself or my loved ones, and I have realized that I have never given a thought, let alone done any of the five things recommended by the coalition Dying Matters to both live and die well. They recommend writing your will, telling loved ones your wishes, recording your funeral wishes, planning your future care and support, and registering as an organ donor. I am perhaps the product of what is in many ways a “death denying society.” more…

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