BMJ 6 Jan 2007

When Fiona Godlee first offered to take these reviews as a BMJ blog, I was given an assurance that I could be as beastly about her journal as I liked. To my surprise I don’t find my beastliness index rising with this new-look magazine-style BMJ. I described its predecessor, when Richard Smith launched it, as wearing the loud jacket and suede shoes of a racecourse spiv, but with this relaunch, the mag at least wears decent modern dress. Personally, I think we GPs have lots of good free medical magazines offering news and updates already, and I’d prefer to see the BMJ stuffed with good clinically applicable research – more like JAMA and less like New Scientist. But at least it hasn’t gone all the way to Cosmopolitan.

Should older chaps with lower urinary tract symptoms simply learn to live with them? This trial randomised men with LUTS either to standard management or to three sessions of group discussion lasting up to two hours. Amazingly, 93% of the blokes turned up to talk about their waterworks on all 3 occasions. And by and large, they got better.

Having a tiny sick baby on a neonatal intensive care unit involves horrors of anxiety and sleep deprivation for new parents, so it’s not surprising that providing mothers with taped conversations with neonatologists improved their recall of information.

I thought a Masterclass was an occasion when trembling novices were grouped in front of a great expert and discovered how lousy they were at making filou pastry or playing the cello; but the BMJ masterclasses for GPs seem altogether friendlier, and this one on dyspepsia and Helicobacter pylori is a decided credit to its author, a London GP – a model of clarity and practicality.