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Tiago Villanueva

The BMJ Today: Start your week by fine tuning your clinical research skills

9 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaMost doctors are dedicated clinicians who have worked extremely hard to earn the privilege of practising the art of medicine and caring for their fellow human beings. But there are, unfortunately, always some doctors who don’t live up to the oath they took when they finished medical school. Yet I always feel a mix of uneasiness and sadness when I see a news story in The BMJ about a doctor facing legal or disciplinary action.

It takes a lot of time, hard work, and commitment to build strong patient-doctor relationships, as well as a solid professional reputation as a doctor, but it is far too easy to put everything that has been hard earned on the line or even see it all go down the drain. more…

The BMJ Today: How much do you know about mind altering drugs?

29 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaMartin Mckee, a prominent public health academic and a prolific writer for The BMJ, is featured this week in the always entertaining BMJ Confidential. As professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, his work has had worldwide impact. He is constantly travelling around the world because of his work, and admits that he has always had an interest in foreign countries since he was a child. After doing the Interrail when he was 15 and visiting Greece and the Balkans, he never stopped travelling. more…

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…

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