The BMJ Today: China, philanthropy, statistics, Minerva, and what your patient is thinking

• In his acclaimed weekly blog, Richard Lehman highlights a cluster of articles on healthcare in China. Acute kidney injury seems to be an emerging problem in China as many traditional herbal products may contain nephrotoxic plant substances, with more than 70% of patients giving a history of possible toxic drug ingestion.

peter_sandercock• Peter Sandercock, featured in the latest BMJ Confidential, says that if he was given £1 million he would invest half in training doctors from low and middle income countries on stroke prevention and treatment, and give the other half to advocacy groups lobbying governments towards better control of the global tobacco and food industries.

• In the latest endgames statistical question, Philip Sedgwick explains why it is important to understand in a study the difference between the unit of sampling, the unit of observation, and the unit of analysis. These are relevant concepts for all types of studies. In a future article, he will explain the difference between units of randomisation and units of intervention, which are only relevant for experimental studies.

• The latest Minerva highlights how Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database, which covers 99% of the population, enables pharmacovigilance on a large scale, with many papers using data from that database being constantly published in leading journals.

whatyourpatientisthinking• If you only have time to read one article this week, read the heart wrenching account of John Townsend, a patient diagnosed with oesophageal and bowel cancer. In the latest article of the series “What your patient is thinking,” he talks about the positive interactions he’s had with his doctors.


Tiago Villanueva is assistant editor, The BMJ.