You don't need to be signed in to read BMJ Blogs, but you can register here to receive updates about other BMJ products and services via our Group site.

Housekeeping

Research Ethics: You’re Doing it Wrong!

1 Jun, 15 | by Iain Brassington

With any luck, the marking tsunami will have receded by the end of the week, and so I should be able to get back to blogging a bit more frequently soon.

In the meantime, I’ll fill some space by ripping off something from the “Feedback” page of the latest New Scientist:

The TV industry has […] yet another new mantra: “Not just more pixels, but better pixels”.  The marketeers’ problem is that few people can actually see the extra details in their newest, flashiest sets unless they sit very close or the screen is very, very bright.

A colleague found a demonstration unpleasant, especially when the image flashed, and wondered about the possible risk of this triggering photo-epilepsy or migraines.  One company said, yes, this was being looked into- but no, they could not identify the university doing the work.

Then in the tea break at a tech conference a senior engineer from a UK TV station confided the reason: “We are very aware of the risks and would love to do some real research.  But nobody dares to do it because it would involve tests that deliberately push subjects into epileptic fits, and might very possibly kill them.”

In other words: here’s an intuitively plausible risk associated with product p; we could test whether p is safe; but doing that test itself would be unsafe.  Were this a pharmaceutical trial, one would expect that things would stop there – or, at the very least, that things would move very slowly and carefully indeed.  (Maybe if the drug is highly beneficial, and can be used in highly controlled circumstances, it might be worth it.)

But with TVs… well, it looks like journalists have been invited to the product launch already.  My guess is that if the TV is found to be risky, it’d be quietly withdrawn ex post facto – which seems rather late in the day.

It is a bit strange that trials on a product aren’t being done not so much because of what they might reveal, as because even doing the test might be iffy.  Stranger yet that this is unlikely to make much of a dent in the marketing strategy.  Or, given the requirements of consumer capitalism, not all that strange after all: take your pick.

Sometimes, Big Pharma can seem like a model of probity.

Guest Posts and Tumbleweed

12 May, 15 | by Iain Brassington

A quick editorial note: it’s been remarkably quiet here for a while.giphy

There’s no staggering reason for this: only that real life has got in the way of posting and also of getting guest posts published.  (I can’t speak for David, but I assume that the same goes for him.)

I think there’s about 4 or 5 guest spots waiting to come up; I’ll post them over the next few days.

Testing, testing…

24 Mar, 14 | by Iain Brassington

So, yeah.

It’s been a bit quiet here, hasn’t it?

There’s been a range of reasons.  Mainly, it’s had to do with David and I both having to do (whisper it) real w*rk, and that’s got in the way.

And then WordPress went a bit odd, which made it impossible to post anything.  (Part of the reason for this post is to confirm that I can publish something.)

And something else, too, from my personal perspective: I’ve been blogging here since 2008, and it’s hard to stay grumpy for that long.  Even for me.  So think of recent quietness as a sabbatical.  I think my grumpiness is recharged now, though.  So there’ll be a guest post going up soon, and then – I hope – back to something like normal from me.

Hello, hello; it’s good to be back.  I’d post a link to a vid for that, too, except for the unfortunate associations with Gary Gli…  Wait: what?  The Glitter Band is still touring?  Good grief.  Well, if they can keep going, I have no excuse, do I?

Still can’t embed videos, though…

We’re Back!

14 Mar, 12 | by Iain Brassington

Just a quick housekeeping post: the servers fell over a couple of days ago, so noone has been able to moderate – or, as far as I can tell, submit – comments.  But hopefully things’re back on track now.

There has been a couple of changes, though: I have a feeling that the comments whitelist may have been wiped, so people may have to fill in all their details again to comment.  And there’s a couple of other alterations, too, so I’ve fiddled with some of the settings in the hope that the transition’ll be smooth – and hopefully the servers will stay standing.  I can’t see how to get the button that tweets posts back, nor the one that likes them on Facebook: I’ll keep looking for them.  Fingers crossed, eh?  Ah-ha!  Got ’em!

Update: One other change: there’s a hell of a lot of spam coming in, so I’m going to close comments on a post after a month to save having to mod and delete each post individually.

 

As you were.

JME blog homepage

Journal of Medical Ethics

Analysis and discussion of developments in the medical ethics field. Visit site



Creative Comms logo

Latest from JME

Latest from JME

Blogs linking here

Blogs linking here