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Christmas Appeal: Hitting the ground running—surgical transfer in South Sudan

20 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Lanice JonesI arrived in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on 2 January for two whirlwind days of being briefed on my new role as medical specialist in Yida refugee camp, which is at the northern edge of South Sudan. On Sunday, my rest day before flying north, I was asked to help arrange care for a young boy who was arriving by MSF plane from a project not far from my own.

Lanice Jones, MSF medical specialist © Lanice Jones/MSF more…

Desmond O’Neill: Older drivers and medical fitness to drive

19 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

desmond_oneillDoes life really imitate art, or is it the other way round? Listening to an exhilarating live performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra of Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, the droll tone poem about a famous trickster by Richard Strauss, I was struck by the notion that this might be the first description of ADHD through music. more…

The BMJ Today: Management consultants are like Marmite

19 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

rich_hurley“It must be comforting to live in a Manichaean world where management consultants are devils and doctors are angels,” posted Stephen Black, a confessed management consultant for a “major management consulting firm that often works for the NHS,” on thebmj.com yesterday. “It makes solving the many problems of the NHS so easy.”

He was responding to a recent Personal View by David Oliver, a visiting professor, at London’s City University, which was his call to “Stop wasting taxpayers’ money on management consultancy for the NHS.” more…

Richard Lehman’s journal review—19 January 2015

19 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

richard_lehmanNEJM 15 Jan 2015 Vol 372
201 “The main challenge is to ensure better systems [of sharing data] for the future. Because ‘the optimal systematic review would have complete information about every trial—the full protocol, final study report, raw dataset, and any journal publications and regulatory submissions, ‘a prospective system of research governance should insist on nothing less… These changes have been long called for, and delay has already caused harm. The evidence we publish shows that the current situation is a disservice to research participants, patients, health systems, and the whole endeavour of clinical medicine.” more…

Jocalyn Clark: How to avoid predatory journals—a five point plan

19 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Jocalyn_Clark1Increasingly, I’m asked to advise and assist with the problem of predatory journals. While it’s probably only an annoying nuisance to many in the developed world, the increasing number of spam emails inviting articles and conference participation is beginning to feel like a potentially serious problem for developing world scientists and institutions. This demands action, as Richard Smith and I argue in a recent editorial in The BMJ. more…

Guddi Vijaya Rani Singh: What matters—medicine, culture, and the space in between

16 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

guddiMy grandfather passed away last year. Surrounded by travel weary loved ones (from an extended family that also extends across continents), this man from rural India was promised a peaceful death in dignity.

Except that he died in 2013 in one of Delhi’s largest private hospitals, with every medical test and procedure made available by his anxious progeny. In the last 42 days of his life, he sustained two chest drains, urinary catheterisation, daily blood tests, and repeated intubation and ventilation; he became a pin cushion for Delhi’s doctors. more…

Saurabh Jha: The overdiagnosed party/ the false positives rave

16 Jan, 15 | by BMJ Group

Saurabh_JhaConsider this equation.

Early Diagnosis = Early Diagnosis + Overdiagnosis (1.1)

This sort of unequal algebra will fail GCSE mathematics. A new NHS initiative is arithmetic defying as well. Patients who think they have symptoms of cancer will be allowed to book medical imaging directly, without seeing their GP. This is to catch cancer early. The logic is impenetrable: early diagnosis of cancer saves lives. more…

Richard Smith: Would you like to die at 75 or 150?

16 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014“Sex and death are the only things that can interest a serious mind,” said W B Yeats, so, although more of a flippant than a serious mind, I return to death after my last pondering on the subject that spread literally across the globe. I’m asking whether it would be better to live to 75 or to 150, and if you know me at all you will know my answer.

I’m asking the question because a friend sent from America two interesting articles that address the question. more…

The BMJ Today: Rabies, stroke, and screening

16 Jan, 15 | by BMJ Group

rabies_virus_particlesRabies is a neglected tropical disease that predominantly affects the most vulnerable humans—children living in the most disadvantaged areas of the poorest countries.

Many countries have successfully reduced the impact of the disease by tackling the gap between public and animal health through a concerted “one health” approach. more…

John Middleton and Jim Parle: Food crime—why should doctors care?

15 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

john_middletonJim-ParleFood crime is big business. It is everywhere. It is international. The same organised crime networks that profit from drugs, cigarettes, booze, people, or any other kind of international traffic also profit from food crime. You can call it food fraud if you wish. But we should not be tempted to think that the “horsegate” scandal was a novelty, a one off, a “fraud” with no health risks. It was a lucky accident if horsegate did not damage public health; in practice our surveillance systems and knowledge of the provenance of the meat are inadequate to tell us whether it did or not. These were the conclusions of Professor Chris Elliott of Queens University Belfast, presented last month at a meeting of the newly formed Birmingham Food Council, on which we sit. more…

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