Tag Archives: medical research

Iona Heath was a general practitioner in inner-city London for 35 years and is a Past President of the UK Royal College of General Practitioners.  She is a co-chair of the Scientific Committee for the 2017 Preventing Overdiagnosis conference

 

Over the past several decades, the economic interests of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries have both pressured and tempted medicine to overextend itself.  The traditional moral commitment of the medical profession to relieve suffering and to care for the dying has been gradually displaced by a futile and misguided attempt to solve humanity’s most profound existential problems through biotechnical means.  Doctors now apply more and more powerful treatments towards the end of life and try to prevent diseases by seeking out and correcting more and more risk factors.  All this has led to an epidemic of overdiagnosis ...continue reading

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Domhnall_MacDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

One of the best pieces of research with which I was involved was rejected by The BMJ when I was one of its medical editors. A qualitative study. it was exciting and innovative and it gave some remarkable insights into genetic medicine - or so I thought. I don’t know quite why it was rejected. Research submitted by members of the editorial team was assessed outside the normal process so I didn’t have access to the notes and it was never discussed with me. I published other studies in The BMJ both before and afterwards, but that paper was special and (many years afterwards) I still feel they made a mistake…but, every author thinks that, don’t they?! ...continue reading

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SEConnollyPicSusan E Connolly is a first year PhD candidate at the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge, UK. She holds degrees in Veterinary Medicine and Statistics from University College Dublin. She is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a coach of public speaking and competitive debate.

 

It was with great interest that I listened to Domhnall MacAuley’s recent Bradford Hill Seminar on The Future of Medical Publishing, particularly the area of his talk that discussed opportunities and efforts made by journals to widen the reach and spread of published articles. The ventures ranged from tweeting, Facebooking, and other social media avenues to companion blog posts and short video introductions. My first thought was that this sounded like substantial work for no doubt busy academics and researchers. My second was that while these avenues might be useful at making people aware of a particular paper, if the goal was to have a paper actually be read, they were likely insufficient. No matter the publicity given to a piece of work, if the actual content is not engaging, then the browser window is closed or the physical page turned over. ...continue reading

Patrick_Kirsten_headshotCrop4Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ, recently returned from the Society for Academic Primary Care's annual conference in Oxford, UK

 

What sort of research would we be doing if medical research were crowdfunded? Sarah Knowles from Manchster believes that too much research money is wasted on studies that don’t deliver. Some don’t even manage to recruit the desired number of participants. Many funded research studies aren’t studying a question that is of importance to patient stakeholders. Sarah, a researcher in primary care mental health (“We compete with disability research for who gets the least funding!”) strongly advocates for crowdfunding of research. Think Kickstarter. She says it’s the way to ensure public engagement and patient voice in medical research; she points out that whenever she mentions it to other researchers they usually balk. She thinks this probably has to do with fear that we don’t possess adequate ability to communicate why our research is important and to make a compelling case for funding.

Sarah was the last of a panel of speakers at a session on day 2 of #sapcasm entitled “Dangerous Ideas”. The session was modeled on the reality show Dragons’ Den. Speakers pitched their ideas at the audience for five minutes and then the audience had five minutes to throw questions and comments at the speakers (to which they could respond).

I first heard about Kickstarter through a crowdfunding campaign started by the developers of the game ‘Exploding Kittens’, ...continue reading

Domhnall MacAuleyDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

Simon Griffin (Cambridge) was the headliner at the Association of University Departments of General Practice in Ireland (AUDGPI) Conference. Through his keynote address and workshop, he gave a scholarly and comprehensive insight into his team’s work both on promoting physical activity and exploring the evidence on routine health checks. It was clear that to examine a major research question means a long-term commitment, building multiple layers into a study, and testing different hypotheses as the work progresses. Success is incremental rather than through any single dramatic breakthrough. He described the different components of each programme of work and their sequential publication in peer reviewed journals. His views on the difficulty of promoting physical activity and the limitations of routine health checks carry considerable weight, formed on such a robust body of quality evidence. ...continue reading

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Domhnall MacAuleyDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

Speaking to your colleagues at your own national conference, there is no hiding place. No longer the “expert” from abroad with dodgy ideas and a foreign accent, they know who you are! Invited to give some perspective as a medical journal editor, what did I say? First, I don’t have all the answers; some are certain to be wrong — perhaps all of them. But it’s the conversation that matters. See what you think: ...continue reading