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Domhnall MacAuley: Science, shoeless, and a syringe culture. Some highlights from UKSEM

30 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

Domhnall MacauleyThe major UK sport and exercise medicine conference (UKSEM) took place this week in Excel. It was huge event that attracted most of the world figures in sport and exercise medicine. We at the BMJ are also keen to address the important issues that link health, sport, and exercise. While the sports media focus on elite athletes, we take a wider view and you will already have noted recent related research and editorial content. The UKSEM conference gave us further insight into some important developments and challenges. more…

Peter Lapsley: Effecting behavioural change

17 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Peter LapsleyIt seems unlikely that many of the BMJ’s readers are able to listen to Radio 4 between 8.30 and 9.00 am on a weekday, and even less likely that they could find time to read a 96 page paper by the Institute for Government, signposted on the Today programme a week or so ago, although its accompanying “Practical Guide” is at least as useful and rather more digestible, as is its paper “Using social influence to reduce DNA rates in healthcare settings.” Being semi-retired, I am fortunate in being able to listen to the radio over breakfast, and the signposting in question was sufficiently intriguing to encourage me to read all three papers. more…

Should it be compulsory for adult cyclists to wear helmets?

27 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Last week the poll asked “Should it be compulsory for adult cyclists to wear helmets?” 68% of respondents voted no, out of a total 1,439 votes cast. The question triggered an interesting debate. Below are a selection of the comments posted in response to the poll.

Sven Felsby: The idea of forcing cyclists to wear helmets may appear relevant, but it is ridden with pitfalls:
1. Many cyclists wear their helmets inappropriately, often tilted backwards, exposing the forehead completely. Should these people be fined?
2. Even riding a bike without helmet probably confers a health benefit compared to driving. By over-regulating, we risk driving potential cyclists back in the cars.
3. Brute force is not an effective way of changing behaviour. Use a carrot instead of a stick: exempt helmets from VAT. Encourage dealers to sell more helmets.

p.s. I ride my bike 5 miles to work every day of the year, always with a helmet. more…

Tracey Koehlmoss on being policy makers in our own lives

25 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tracey Koehlmoos

I am writing to you not from Bangladesh but rather from the Institute of Medicine’s workshop on country-level decision making for control of chronic diseases being held from 19-21 July at the House of Sweden in Washington, DC. On Wednesday I presented on “data availability and gaps in Bangladesh,” which I worked very hard to make as riveting as possible despite the snooze-inducing title.  The session was based on portions of a non-communicable disease case study I am completing for the Institute of Medicine (IOM).


Domhnall MacAuley: Public health summer school

12 Jul, 11 | by BMJ Group

Domhnall MacauleyDoes your research really matter? Most VIP introductions are bland and unchallenging. Not this time. When (Professor Sir) Peter Gregson, vice chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast, introduced the joint summer school of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration’s centres of public health and Health Research Board (Ireland), he pointed out how universities often fail to show the greater community why their research is important. Universities need to be able to justify research, especially in the current economic environment. Frank Kee (CoEfPHNI) continued, saying their international advisory committee endorsed their research output but wanted them to think more about added value – how did it actually benefit the community. There is a chasm between research and its impact and he encouraged young researchers to think about the meaning of what they do. more…

Domhnall MacAuley: From the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting (Denver)

3 Jun, 11 | by BMJ Group

Domhnall MacauleyThe next big thing in physical activity research: sitting doing nothing. Steve Blair (University of South Carolina), a major player in the physical activity research world, suggests that the pattern of inactivity is important. Sedentary behaviour, irrespective of the overall level of activity is itself a risk factor- sitting doing nothing may be harmful, even if you exercise. This evidence is from epidemiological studies where residual confounding is the greatest  potential limitation, but the findings could have major potential implications. You might immediately think of adolescents watching  television or video games, but it is relevant to all of us whose work  involves endless hours sitting in front of a computer. more…

Domhnall MacAuley: Exercise is medicine

2 Nov, 09 | by julietwalker

Domhnall MacauleyFergie lost it with the referee. The Manchester United manager’s public criticism of the referee’s fitness in their recent match against Sunderland made headlines. Although subsequently making a personal apology he did raise the more general issue of referee’s fitness. Perhaps it was because he knew about the long established referee fitness programme in Scotland pioneered by Stewart Hillis, the recently retired professor of cardiology in Glasgow and doctor to the Scottish Football Association. Dr John McLean continues this cardiovascular screening initiative at the outstanding sports medicine facilities at Hampden Park, and hosted last Friday’s meeting on the benefits of exercise. It is good to be fit- not a new message, even for referees- but there are still many questions for patients and doctors. more…

Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

12 Mar, 09 | by julietwalker

Juliet WalkerThere is some good news this week for men in their fifties who have not exercised much in the past. A BMJ study published last week shows that taking up exercise between 50 to 60 years old is just as effective as exercising frequently by middle age. This means that it is never to late to take up an exercise regime. more…

Paul Vincent: Practise what you preach

27 Nov, 08 | by BMJ

“Judge not, lest you be judged,” so goes the popular Christian refrain. Less known, but equally striking is “Never trust a fat preacher.” Is it ok to judge if you’re a preacher? How can you guide your flock without making the judgement that they need guiding? If you do so judge, do you then have to be perfect to be a preacher? If you are not (and most of us aren’t) does that make you a hypocrite? more…

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