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Preview: The BMJ podcast

The BMJ Podcast

The BMJ is an international peer reviewed medical journal and a fully “online first” publication. The BMJ’s vision is to be the world’s most influential and widely read medical journal. Our mission is to lead the debate on health and to engage, in

Copyright: 643134

Dorling on decreasing life expectancy - "the DOH have lost their credibility"

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:23:17 +0000

”An additional person died every seven minutes during the first 49 days of 2018 compared with what had been usual in the previous five years. Why? In this podcast, Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder professor of geography at the university of Oxford, talks about the spike in mortality, what that means for overall life expectancy in the UK (spoiler,...(image)

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Unprofessionalism - "blaming other people, I put that at the top of the impact list"

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 12:16:34 +0000

That’s Jo Shapiro is a surgeon and manager in Brigham and Women’s hospital, she’s also director of the Center for Professionalism and Peer Support, and has written an editorial for The BMJ on tackling unprofessional behaviour. In this discussion, she and I talked about what she thinks (beyond the illegal) are the most damaging behaviours seen...(image)

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Should doctors prescribe acupuncture for pain?

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 18:00:54 +0000

Our latest debate asks, should doctors recommend acupuncture for pain? Asbjørn Hróbjartsson from the Center for Evidence-based Medicine at University of Southern Denmark argues no - evidence show's it's no worse than placebo. Mike Cummings, medical director of the British Medical Acupuncture Society argues yes - that there is evidence of efficacy,...(image)

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Nuffield Summit 2018 - HR in all policies, how the NHS can become a good employer

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 17:25:54 +0000

In this year's Nuffield Summit round table we're asking, how can the NHS become a good employer? At the moment, there is a recruitment and retention crisis across the workforce, doctors and nurses are leaving the NHS in droves, rota gaps are prevalent. A recent BMA survey showed that the majority of junior doctors are now planning to take a...(image)

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Katherine Cowan - Reaching A Priority

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 15:59:43 +0000

Its now widely agreed that one of the key ways of reducing the current high level of "waste " in biomedical research is to focus it more squarely on addressing the questions that matter to patients - and the people and medical staff that care for them. In this interview, Tessa Richards - the BMJ's patient partnership editor, talks to...(image)

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Should universal distribution of high dose vitamin A to children cease?

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 14:49:01 +0000

Up to $500m a year could be put to better use by stopping ineffective and potentially harmful supplementation programmes in poorer countries, argues John Mason, professor emeritus at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. However Keith West, professor of infant and child nutrition at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of...(image)

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Fever in the returning traveller

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:32:20 +0000

International travel is increasingly common. Between 10% and 42% of travellers to any destination, and 15%-70% of travellers to tropical settings experience ill health, either while abroad or on returning home, Malaria is the commonest specific diagnosis, accounting for 5%-29% of all individuals presenting to specialist clinic, followed by...(image)

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SDGs - How many lives are at stake?

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:58:17 +0000

In a new analysis John McArthur and Krista Rasmussen, from the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, and Gavin Yamey from Duke University, have set out to analyse the potential for lives saved by the goals set in the Sustainable Development Goals In this conversation I talked to Gavin and John about the numbers,...(image)

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"We don't really know the impact of these products on our health": Ultraprocessed food & cancer risk

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:47:09 +0000

A study published by The BMJ today reports a possible association between intake of highly processed (“ultra-processed”) food in the diet and cancer. Ultra-processed foods include packaged baked goods and snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, ready meals and reconstituted meat products - often containing high levels of sugar, fat, and salt, but...(image)

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How does it feel, to help your patient die?

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 11:55:00 +0000

Sabine Netters is an oncologist in The Netherlands - where assisted dying is legal. There doctors actually administer the drugs to help their patients die (unlike proposed legislation in the UK). In this moving interview, Sabine explains what was going through her head, the first time she helped her patient die - and how in the subsequent years,...(image)

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The tone of the debate around assisted dying

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 11:47:22 +0000

Bobbie Farsides is professor of clinical and biomedical ethics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She’s been described as one of the few people that is acceptable to “both sides” of the assisted dying debate. This week she joins us to talk about the way in which the debate on euthanasia has played out in the UK - and hear why she thinks it’s...(image)

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Torture - What declassified guidelines tell us about medical complicity

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 10:19:27 +0000

The UN Convention against Torture defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person” by someone acting in an official capacity for purposes such as obtaining a confession or punishing or intimidating that person. It is unethical for healthcare professionals to...(image)

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We must not get to the stage of thinking that [homelessness] is normal

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 13:20:57 +0000

The number of people officially recorded as sleeping on the streets of England rose from 1768 in 2010 to 4751 in autumn 2017.1 Charities estimate the true figure to be more than double this. Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder professor of geography at the University of Oxford joins us to explain what's fuelling that rise, why the true extent of the...(image)

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Public health - time for pragmatism or knowledge production?

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:58:34 +0000

We have evidence on which to act, and inaction costs lives, argues Simon Capewell, Professor of Public Health and Policy, at the University of Liverpool. But Aileen Clarke, professor of public health and health services research at Warwick Medical School, says our understanding of the human behaviour that leads to unhealthy choices is still...(image)

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Smoking one a day can't hurt, can it?

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 14:59:12 +0000

We know that smoking 20 cigarettes a day increases your risk of CHD and stroke - but what happens if you cut down to 1, do you have 1/20th of that risk? Allan Hackshaw, professor of epidemiology at UCL joins us to discuss a new systematic review and meta analysis published on, examining the risk of smoking just one or two cigarettes a...(image)

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Virginia Murray - the science of disaster risk reduction

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 10:42:11 +0000

Virginia Murray, public health consultant in global disaster risk reduction at Public Health England, was instrumental in putting together the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction - an international agreement which aims to move the world from reacting to disasters, to proactively preventing them. In this podcast, she explains what they...(image)

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Education round-up - January 2018

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:30:44 +0000

The BMJ publishes a variety of education articles, to help doctors improve their practice. Often authors join us in our podcast to give tips on putting their recommendations into practice. In this audio round-up The BMJ’s clinical editors discuss what they have learned, and how they may alter their practice. Kate Addlington, associate editor and...(image)

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They can't hear you - how hearing loss can affect care.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:31:52 +0000

Many older adults have difficulty understanding speech in acute healthcare settings owing to hearing loss, but the effect on patient care is often overlooked. Jan Blustein professor of health policy and medicine at New York University, and who has also experienced the affects of hearing loss, joins us to explain what that's like, and gives some...(image)

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MVA85A trial investigation - press conference.

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 18:34:38 +0000

Trial MVA85A - monkey trials for a booster vaccine for BCG, developed by researchers at Oxford University, is the subject of an investigation published on Experts warn that today’s investigation is just one example of “a systematic failure” afflicting preclinical research and call for urgent action “to make animal research more fit for...(image)

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neoadjuvant treatment for breast cancer - not living up to the promise

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 18:07:35 +0000

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer is a new strategy that was introduced towards the end of the 20th century with the aim of reducing tumour size - rendering an otherwise inoperable tumour operable, allowing more conservative surgery, and hopefully improving overall survival. Although data indicate that the first rationale remains valid,...(image)

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Winter pressures - "You run the risk of dropping the ball"

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 17:35:17 +0000

Winter pressures on NHS services have kicked in a little bit earlier than usual. So here to discuss that, and also the issue of how local NHS leaders can support staff in times of extreme pressure. Discussing that with Rebecca Coombes, The BMJ’s head of news and views, are Matthew Inada-Kim, a consultant in acute and general medicine at...(image)

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Suspect, investigate, and diagnose acute respiratory distress syndrome

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 14:42:46 +0000

Acute respiratory distress syndrome was first described in 1967 and has become a defining condition in critical care. Around 40% of patients with ARDS will die, and survivors experience long term sequelae. No drug treatments exist for ARDS, however good supportive management reduces harm and improves outcome. In this podcast, John Laffey,...(image)

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Hope is important - early psychosis for the non-specialist doctor

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 16:13:10 +0000

Psychosis often emerges for the first time in adolescence and young adulthood. In around four out of five patients symptoms remit, but most experience relapses and further difficulties. Psychosis can be a frightening and bewildering experience for both patients and families. Early proactive support and intervention improves clinical outcomes,...(image)

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Cats, dogs, and biomarkers of ageing.

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:40:38 +0000

The notion that animal companionship might be linked to human health can be traced to ancient writings and, with the first population based study conducted at least four decades ago. Although some empirical evidence links animal companionship with apparent protection against a series of important health outcomes in middle aged populations,...(image)

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Small, medium, or a pint of wine?

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:48:28 +0000

Wine glasses come in a range of sizes, but the average wine glass in the UK today can hold almost ½ a litre. That wasn’t always the case - and a new analysis, on takes a look at the changing size of wineglasses from 1700 until now. To discuss how the size of glass affects consumption we're joined by Theresa Marteau, director of the...(image)

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Taking the temperature of 37°C

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:00:09 +0000

Average body temperature is 37°C, right? That was the conclusion of Carl Wunderlich in his magnum opus, The Course of Temperature in Diseases - Wunderlich published that in 1868, following his extensive collection of body temperature readings - and 37°C stuck. But, it’s not as simple as that Philip Mackowiak, emeritus professor of medicine, and...(image)

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Manflu - are men immunologically inferior?

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:26:51 +0000

Manflu, the phenomenon that men experience the symptoms of viral illness more than woman, is usually used with derision - but a new review, published in the Christmas edition, is asking - is there a plausible biological basis for this sex difference? Kyle Sue is a clinical assistant professor in family medicine at Memorial University of...(image)

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I thought I wasn't thin enough to be anorexic

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 16:57:03 +0000

Assessing young people with possible eating disorders can be complex for a variety of reasons. Building a therapeutic relationship with a young person with a possible eating disorder and their family is key to enabling a thorough assessment and ongoing management, but it introduces difficult issues regarding confidentiality and risk. In this...(image)

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Early detection of eating disorders

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 16:56:04 +0000

Assessing young people with possible eating disorders can be complex for a variety of reasons. Building a therapeutic relationship with a young person with a possible eating disorder and their family is key to enabling a thorough assessment and ongoing management, but it introduces difficult issues regarding confidentiality and risk. In this...(image)

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Should all fetuses be monitored electronically during birth?

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 17:38:25 +0000

Our latest H2H debate asks: Is continuous electronic fetal monitoring useful for all women in labour? Peter Brocklehurst is professor of women’s health at the University of Birmingham. He argues that continuous electronic fetal monitoring during labour can lead to harm and increase the risk of caesarean section. Christoph Lees is reader in...(image)

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"Obesity is the last thing it's OK to discriminate on the basis of"

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:14:30 +0000

We have a problem in obesity research — clinical trials continue to prioritise weight loss as a primary outcome and rarely consider patients’ experience, quality of life, or adverse events - and now a new analysis article, "Challenging assumptions in obesity research" questions that focus on weight. Navjoyt Ladher discusses this thorny topic...(image)

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Dieting, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:57:55 +0000

We know that adults with obesity have an increased risk of premature mortality, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases. However, the effect of dieting on 3 of those outcomes (cancer, cvd, and mortality) is surprisingly little studied. However a new systematic review and meta-analysis does bring together...(image)

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Antibiotic prescription course - an update

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:37:55 +0000

In July, The BMJ published an analysis article called “The Antibiotic Course has had it’s day” - a provocative title that turned out the garner a lot of debate on our site. The article said that the convention for the length of a course of antibiotics was set by Flemming, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech - “If you use penicillin, use enough!”...(image)

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Is it time to scrap the UK's mental health act?

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:57:04 +0000

Unjust discrimination against people with mental ill health should be replaced with universal rules based on decision making ability, argues George Szmukler, emeritus professor of psychiatry and society at King’s College, London. However Scott Weich, professor of mental health at the University of Sheffield, worries about legal distractions that...(image)

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Three talks to good decision making

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:59:32 +0000

The Three Talk Model of shared decision is a framework to help clinicians to think about how to structure their consultation to ensure that shared decision making can most usefully take place. The model is based around 3 concepts - option talk, decision talk, and team talk - with active listening at the centre. Three Talk was first proposed in...(image)

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Education round up October 2017

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 15:47:37 +0000

The BMJ publishes a variety of education articles, to help doctors improve their practice. Often authors join us in our podcast to give tips on putting their recommendations into practice. In this new monthly audio round-up The BMJ’s clinical editors discuss what they have learned, and how they may alter their practice. In this edition, GP Cat...(image)

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Money for editors

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 16:45:53 +0000

As journal editors, we’re aware of the fact that we have a role to play in scientific discourse - that’s why The BMJ has been so keen to talk about the way in which scientific knowledge is constructed, through our Evidence Manifesto. We also know that money has influence in the scientific literature - which is why we have a zero tolerance policy...(image)

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The death of QOF?

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 14:29:46 +0000

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is one of the most ambitious pay-for-performance schemes introduced into any health system. It's now being scrapped by bits of the NHS, and is under reform elsewhere. Martin Marshall, GP and professor of Health Improvement at University College London, thinks it's time to rethink the experiment. He joins...(image)

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70% rise in incidence of self harm in teenagers

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 12:54:35 +0000

Half of adolescents who die by suicide have a history of self harm. And in the UK, the rates of adolescents who commit suicide jumped from 3.2, to 5.4 per 100 000 between 2010 and 2015. The national suicide prevention strategy recently expanded its scope by aiming to reduce self harm rates as a common precursor to suicide. Therefore it's...(image)

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Exercise in old age - "we need kendo classes in Huddersfield"

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:24:10 +0000

There's a crisis in old age care - not just in the UK, around the world, as population demographics shift, and the proportion of older people increase - there's a worry about who's going to look after them, and how much is it going to cost? However, a new analysis on says this picture need not be so gloomy - they say that encouraging...(image)

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01 Fiona Godlee

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 06:33:15 +0000

Who better to kick off a series on all things health and evidence than the exceptional and erudite Editor-in-Chief of The BMJ, Dr Fiona Godlee. In this episode, Fiona chats to Ray about the BMJ's ongoing and often controversial campaigns to change medicine - and broader society - for the better. She also looks to a future that addresses the...(image)

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Sex in surgery

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 16:37:23 +0000

New research published on has evaluated how well women surgeons operate, when compared to their male colleagues - and shows that there is a marginal improvement in patient outcomes. To discuss how that was studied, and what the findings mean, we're joined by Chris Wallis, a resident at the University of Toronto, and Raj Satkunasivam, a...(image)

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Vinay Prasad - Cancer drugs from an oncologist point of view

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:02:43 +0000

Last week we published some new research which showed that 2/3 of new cancer drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency - the drug regulator for Europe - didn’t have any evidence of improved life expectancy or quality of life. In this interview, Vinau Prasad, ematologist-oncologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Oregon Health and...(image)

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There's no clear evidence that most new cancer drugs extend or improve life

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 16:33:33 +0000

The majority of cancer drugs approved in Europe between 2009 and 2013 entered the market without clear evidence that they improved survival or quality of life for patients, finds a study published by The BMJ today. Even where drugs did show survival gains over existing treatments, these were often marginal. To discuss that, we're joined by...(image)

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Telephone consultations - no cost savings, but increased GP workload

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:02:02 +0000

If you're a patient in the UK, increasingly, your first interaction with the healthcare system won't be the traditional face to fact chat with your doctor - instead you'll have a telephone consultation. The prevalence of these telephone consultations is increasing, and being promoted by CCGs and private companies who administer them - usually as...(image)

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What Choosing Wisely looks like in the UK

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 10:36:30 +0000

Choosing Wisely was launched in the US, to much fanfare. Since then the movement has spread around the world, with successful chapters set up in Canada, Australia Brazil, Italy, Japan, new Zealand - and most recently the UK. The campaigns have not been without criticism – from how individual recommendations were chosen, to the way in which...(image)

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Diabetes remission - "treating blood glucose, when the disease process is to do with body fat"

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:25:47 +0000

In the UK - type 2 diabetes now affects between 5-10% of the population - and accounts for around 10% of our total NHS budget. For the individuals affected, treatments are effective at helping control glucose levels - however, the sequela associated with the disease - vascular problems, and a life expectancy that’s 6 years shorter - are still an...(image)

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The problems with peer review

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:10:31 +0000

One of the hurdles that anyone who submits research or analysis to The BMJ has to deal with is peer review. The problems of the process, and some of the potential solutions, was a big part of the Peer Review Congress which took place last week. In this interview, Sophie Cook, The BMJ's UK research editor, talks to Lisa Bero, who’s a professor...(image)

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HIV in pregnancy - "without the big picture, people aren't going to be able to take the medication"

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:11:27 +0000

A new Rapid Recommendation from The BMJ suggests that for pregnant women, they may wish to avoid certain antiviral treatments for HIV. This recommendation differs from the WHO's, and to discuss why that is, and what makes that difference important, we're joined by Reed Siemieniuk, a physician and methodologist from McMaster University, and Alice...(image)

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Googling depression

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 13:41:30 +0000

In the USA, when googling "depression" patients will be presented with a link to the PHQ-9 screening test. Google has developed this in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness - and Ken Duckworth, the alliance's medical director, debates the merits of this approach with Simon Gilbody, from the Department of Health Sciences at...(image)

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Nigel Crisp - The NHS isn't just a cost to society, it's a benefit

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 17:18:17 +0000

If you google "The NHS" you'll see screaming headlines from the Daily Mail about cost and waste - debate in parliament is about how much of our GDP we should be spending - and each year, hospital trusts go cap in hand to ask for more funding. Against this backdrop, a new analysis, and a first in a series, published on, looks at what it...(image)

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The World Bank - creating a market in pandemic risk

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:06:28 +0000

The world bank was set up in 1944. In the aftermath of the second world war, the institution was there to give loans to countries rebuilding after the conflict. Their first loan went to France - but with stipulations about repayment that set a tone for future funds. A new series, authored by Devi Sridhar, and her team from the University of...(image)

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The World Bank - the Global Financing Facility

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:05:03 +0000

The world bank was set up in 1944. In the aftermath of the second world war, the institution was there to give loans to countries rebuilding after the conflict. Their first loan went to France - but with stipulations about repayment that set a tone for future funds. A new series, authored by Devi Sridhar, and her team from the University of...(image)

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The World Bank - trust funds

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:03:51 +0000

The world bank was set up in 1944. In the aftermath of the second world war, the institution was there to give loans to countries rebuilding after the conflict. Their first loan went to France - but with stipulations about repayment that set a tone for future funds. A new series, authored by Devi Sridhar, and her team from the University of...(image)

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The World Bank - Universal Healthcare

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:01:34 +0000

The world bank was set up in 1944. In the aftermath of the second world war, the institution was there to give loans to countries rebuilding after the conflict. Their first loan went to France - but with stipulations about repayment that set a tone for future funds. A new series, authored by Devi Sridhar, and her team from the University of...(image)

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The World Bank - why it matters for global health

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 08:59:54 +0000

The world bank was set up in 1944. In the aftermath of the second world war, the institution was there to give loans to countries rebuilding after the conflict. Their first loan went to France - but with stipulations about repayment that set a tone for future funds. A new series, authored by Devi Sridhar, and her team from the University of...(image)

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Preventing Overdiagnosis 2017 - from theory to practice

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 21:49:38 +0000

In our last podcast from Preventing Overdiagnosis 2017, we convened an impromptu roundtable of clinicians who are attending the conference to see how some of the big themes that were discussed at the conference are going to impact their everyday practice. Joining us were; Jessica Otte - Family physician from Canada David Warriner - Cardiologist...(image)

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Preventing Overdiagnosis 2017 - Citizen juries

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 19:27:30 +0000

This week we’re at the over diagnosis conference in Quebec Canada, Preventing overdiangosis is a forum to discuss the harms associated with using uncertain methods to look for disease in apparently healthy people - and is part of the BMJ’s too much medicine campaign. One of the ways in which the public’s attitudes and wishes around health is...(image)

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Preventing Overdiagnosis 2017 - Vinay Prasad

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 15:56:44 +0000

The Preventing overdiagnosis conference covers how physicians, researchers and patients can implement solutions to the problems of over diagnosis and overuse in healthcare. If you’re a doctor on twitter, you’ve probably come across our guest - Vinay Prasad, assistant prof. of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, and author of the...(image)

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Preventing Overdiagnosis 2017 - Rita Redberg

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 20:29:22 +0000

This week we’re at the Preventing Overdiagnosis conference in Quebec Canada, The conference is a forum to discuss the harms associated with using uncertain methods to look for disease in apparently healthy people - and is part of the BMJ’s too much medicine campaign. The literature on overdiagnosis has mostly been published since 2013 - partly...(image)

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Preventing Overdiagnosis 2017 - Stacy Carter on the culture of overmedicalisation

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:17:17 +0000

In this interview from Preventing Overdiagnosis 2017 ( Stacy Carter, associate professor at Sydney Health Ethics - and the author of a recently written BMJ essay the ethical aspects of overdiagnosis, joins us to talk about how the cultural context of medicine seeps into our decision making processes and affects how...(image)

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What's driving overdiagnosis?

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:45:43 +0000

This week the annual Preventing over diagnosis conference is happening in Quebec, Canada. The conference is put together with a wide range of partners, including The BMJ, and aims to tackle the some of the problems of Too Much Medicine. To kick off our content for the conference, this week we’ve published an article looking at some of the drivers...(image)

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Helping Bereaved people

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:11:16 +0000

Loss of a loved one can be very painful. When seeking support, some people turn to their doctor. Because of their pivotal role in the community, physicians can provide excellent support for bereaved people and can often direct them to additional resources. Katherine Shear, a physician, and Stephanie Muldberg, a bereaved mother, join us to discuss...(image)

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Auditing the transparency policies of pharma

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:39:35 +0000

If you’ve listened to more than one of our podcasts, you’ll probably be aware of the problem of the opacity of clinical trial data - trials which are conducted by never see the light of day, or results within those trials which are never published. Pharmaceutical companies have their own policies on what they are willing to make public, when, and...(image)

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Mike Richards has "never been politically interfered with"

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 13:43:03 +0000

Mike Richards is well known in the UK - former Cancer Tzar, he now heads up the Care Quality Commission - regulator of all health and social care services, and therefore the body responsible for inspecting hospitals and GP practices. In this interview, BMJ’s head of news and views, Rebecca Coombes went to the CQC’s headquarters in London, and...(image)

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"For the first time in 15 years the quitting rate has gone up" - ecigarettes smoking cessation

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:54:03 +0000

It’s been 10 years since electronic cigarettes hit the shelves in a big way - and since there controversy has reigned about their health effects - are they less unhealthy than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, and will they increase nicotine dependence? Its to that last point that new research, published on is looking into -...(image)

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What's going on with life expectancy?

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:35:10 +0000

The increase in life expectancy in England has almost “ground to a halt” since 2010 and austerity measures are likely to be a significant contributor. In this podcast Michael Marmot, director at University College London’s Institute of Health Equity, joins us to discuss what might be causing that drop off, and why a decrease in early life chances...(image)

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Biomarkers - miracle or marketing?

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:20:32 +0000

The BMJ has been campaigning for an end to “too much medicine” - the pernicious effect of marketing on the range of tests and treatments that doctors offer patients - tests and treatments which are motivated by the financial reward to the system, than the health of the individual. A new analysis on takes a look at what’s happening in the...(image)

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James Kinross and Chris Hankin WannCry about NHS IT

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 16:13:20 +0000

Earlier this year, the WannaCry ransomeware attack took control of computers in 40 NHS trusts, blocking access to the data held on them. This wasn’t the first time that NHS computers had been infected by malware, but it brought the danger of cyber attack into the consciousness of doctors and patients. In this podcast we hear from two people who...(image)

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Is the FDA really too slow?

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 17:26:53 +0000

The FDA faces perpetual criticism that it is too slow in it’s approval process for getting drugs to market, but one former FDA employee Tom Marciniak, and one professor, Victor Serebruany from Johns Hopkins University have analysed that process and disagree. Tom Marciniak has been a commentator on the approval process, both critical of industry...(image)

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"For the public good, not for careers" - Iain Chalmers and Doug Altman on research waste

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 15:19:45 +0000

Twenty years ago the statistician Doug Altman railed against, “The Scandal of Poor Medical Research,” in an editorial in The BMJ. 10 years later, Iain Chalmers and Paul Glaziou calculated that costs $170 billion annually in wasted research grants. In this podcast, recorded at Evidence Live, we spoke to Altman and Chalmers about their campaigns...(image)

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Dementia prevalance in 2040

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 17:07:08 +0000

The Alzheimer’s society, in the UK, predicts that if the rates of dementia remain constant there’ll be 1.7 million people in the country living with the condition by 2050. We also know that things like improvements in cardiovascular health are changing those rates. New research published on attempts to model what the outcomes of those...(image)

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Transhealth - how to talk to patients about pronouns

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 13:34:01 +0000

Two articles published on the aim to help doctors treat patients who request support with their gender identity. Firstly a practice pointer on how to refer to gender clinic, and secondly a What Your Patient Is Thinking article about trans people's experiences in the healthcare system. In this podcast, two of the authors of that patient...(image)

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Childhood IQ and cause of death

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 11:23:49 +0000

Findings from a range of prospective cohort studies based around the world indicate that higher intelligence in children is related to a lower risk of all cause mortality in adulthood - and now a new study, published on, is trying to dig into that association further, with a whole population cohort and data on cause specific...(image)

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The Evidence Manifesto - it's time to fix the E in EBM

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:06:38 +0000

"Too many research studies are poorly designed or executed. Too much of the resulting research evidence is withheld or disseminated piecemeal. As the volume of clinical research activity has grown the quality of evidence has often worsened, which has compromised the ability of all health professionals to provide affordable, effective, high value...(image)

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Stress at work

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 15:59:27 +0000

Stress is one of the leading causes of work absence, recently overtaking back-pain, and an increasing part of a GPs workload. However good quality evidence about how to deal with stress is hard to come by. Alexis Descatha, an occupational/emergency practitioner, at the University hospital of Poincaré, gives some practical advice on what to do...(image)

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"The interest of diesel drivers over the interest of the public" - tackling air pollution

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:47:27 +0000

Air pollution is a truly damaging environmental insult to the human body. The numbers of premature deaths, in the UK alone, that can be attributed to it are calculated to be 40,000 a year. Yet despite this, action to tackle the problem - as with the other huge environmental issue of our time, climate change - is distinctly lacking. Robin... [...]

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How to build a resillient health system

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 11:02:37 +0000

The 2014 west African Ebola epidemic shone a harsh light on the health systems of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. While decades of domestic and international investment had contributed to substantial progress on the Millennium Development Goals, national health systems remained weak and were unable to cope with the epidemic. Margaret Kruk... [...]

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Your brain on booze

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 15:36:44 +0000

A new study on, examines the effect of moderate drinking on brain structure. We know that heavy drinking has a deleterious effect on our brains, and is linked to dementias. However, for sometime it’s been thought that moderate drinking is actually protective. Anya Topiwala, clinical lecturer in old age psychiatry at the University of... [...]

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Future Earth - linking health and environmental research

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 15:02:50 +0000

The rapid changes in the global environment have led many scientists to conclude that we are living in a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene—in which human activities have become the dominant driving force transforming the Earth’s natural systems. A recent joint publication by the World Health Organization and Convention on Biological Diversity... [...]

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Government and evidence

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 14:58:59 +0000

We're creating a manifesto for better evidence. The centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, and the BMJ, are asking what are the problem with medical evidence, and how can we fix them? In this third discussion we went to Scotland, to find out what the people who create policy think about the issues with evidence synthesis,... [...]

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50% of delirium is hypoactive - how to spot it

Fri, 26 May 2017 10:24:53 +0000

Available data suggest about 50% of delirium is hypoactive; this and the mixed motor subtype account for 80% of all cases of delirium. It can be more difficult to recognise, and is associated with worse outcomes, than hyperactive delirium. In this podcast, Christian Hosker, consultant liaison psychiatrist at the Leeds Liaison Psychiatry Service... [...]

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Helping patients with complex grief

Thu, 18 May 2017 16:44:07 +0000

Each individual’s grief process is unique, when confronted with the death of a loved one, most people experience transient rather than persistent distress - however 10% of bereaved individuals, with an increased risk following the death of a partner or child and loss to unnatural or violent circumstances, experience prolonged grief disorder. In... [...]

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NHS must “get its act together” to secure cash for new buildings

Mon, 15 May 2017 10:04:45 +0000

NHS hospitals must be willing to dispose of surplus land to help convince the Treasury to invest in new premises that are fit for purpose, the head of a major government review has urged. Robert Naylor, former chief executive of University College London Hospitals, who was asked by the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to produce a review of NHS... [...]

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Education Round - Exercising too much, microbiome, suicide and translation

Mon, 15 May 2017 09:31:09 +0000

The BMJ publishes a lot of educational articles, and in an attempt to help you with your CPD, we have put together this round-up. Our authors and editors will reflect on the key learning points in the articles we discuss, and explain how they may change their practice in light of that new understanding. In this month's round up we're... [...]

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The magic of shared decision making

Tue, 09 May 2017 09:48:25 +0000

Adoption of shared decision making into routine practice has been remarkably slow, despite 40 years of research and considerable policy support. In 2010, the Health Foundation in the UK commissioned the MAGIC (Making Good Decisions in Collaboration) programme to design, test, and identify the best ways to embed shared decision making into... [...]

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Drug promotion, prescription, and value

Thu, 04 May 2017 09:55:13 +0000

Pharma companies say that money spent on promotion is essential to educate doctors about the best drugs - but when a medical student asked Joseph Ross, associate professor of medicine and public health at Yale, if those companies are promoting the right drugs for that message to be true, the answer wasn't available. Ross and Tyler Greenaway, his... [...]

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How established biologics become less safe

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:05:01 +0000

Biologics have revolutionised healthcare for some conditions - but have been expensive because of the multistep manufacturing processes required to create these complex molecules. Changes to the manufacturing of biological agents make them more affordable, but can lead to drugs with different components from the original medicine tested in... [...]

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“I had two herniated discs in my back, and I was still running” - addicted to exercise

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:05:01 +0000

It’s been called “the universal panacea” - exercise has a positive effect on almost all health measures, and governments are actively campaigning for us to do more. But at the opposite end of the scale, the realisation that some people may be addicted to exercise is gaining traction. In this podcast we're joined by Heather Hausenblas - professor... [...]

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The evidence manifesto - better trials, better use of trial data

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:48:21 +0000

We're creating a manifesto for better evidence. The centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, and the BMJ, are asking what are the problem with medical evidence, and how can we fix them? In this second discussion we went to Nottingham​ University, to find out what the people who create the bread and butter of EBM -... [...]

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Assessing and treating an electrical injury

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 15:14:37 +0000

Thankfully, electrical injuries are relatively uncommon - but that means that lack of evidence regarding the management of patients who have been electrocuted, which can cause concern for clinicians when these patients present. In this podcast, Cath Brizzel, clinical editor for The BMJ, is joined by one of the authors of a clinical update on the... [...]

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"We're kicking the can down the road" - how to get agreement on the future of the NHS

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 14:54:57 +0000

Our latest debate asks whether there should be a Royal Commission (a high level enquiry, with statutory powers) into the future of the NHS. A high level inquiry could detoxify the radical changes needed and command wide support, say Maurice Saatchi, conservative peer, and Paul Buchanan, The BMJ's patient editor; but Nigel Crisp, independent peer,... [...]

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Fighting inequality, corruption, and conflict - how to improve South Asia's health

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 15:29:46 +0000

The BMJ has published a series of articles, taking an in-depth look at health in South Asia. In this collection, authors from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan collaborate to identify evidence-based solutions to shape health policy and interventions, and drive innovations and research in the region. In this podcast,... [...]

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STPs - who, what, why, when, where.

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 14:43:03 +0000

The NHS Delivery Plan - setting out what’s in store of the English NHS in the coming years, has been delivered by Simon Stevens the chief executive. Key to those are the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which have been made in 44 areas, and yet again reorganise care - crucially, this time, with social care included in the mix. In... [...]

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High integrity child mental healthcare

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 14:54:29 +0000

Around 1 in 10 children and young people worldwide have mental health difficulties that substantially affect their lives. Child mental health services often concentrate on risk reduction, at the expense of the wider aspects of a child's wellbeing. As part of the high integrity healthcare series, this podcast focuses on novel ways of providing... [...]

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What is high integrity healthcare?

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 17:09:39 +0000

This week, a new series starts in The BMJ - the aim is to rethink how hospitals, clinics, community services and public health work - with the aim of stopping the perverse blocks and incentives that prevent doctors, and other healthcare professionals, from providing the care that patients want and need. Talking to Navjoyt Ladher, are Albert... [...]

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"Watching the world through a clear fog" - recognising depersonalisation and derealisation

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 11:02:00 +0000

Transient symptoms of depersonalisation and derealisation - feeling detached from the world, and feeling as if you are watching events at a remove - are common. However for some, persistent symptoms can make the disorder extremely distressing. In this podcast, Kate Adlington is joined by Elaine Hunter, consultant clinical psychologist, Anthony... [...]

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American healthcare - what next?

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 09:10:02 +0000

For seven years, Republicans have vowed to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare), and that promise took a central place in President Trump's campaign. The first major vote to replace it was due to happen last week, but was cancelled at the 11th hour. In advance of the potential vote, The BMJ published a debate asking "Should US doctors... [...]

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Dying on the canal

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:51:53 +0000

Lady-Jacqueline Aster lives on a 72 foot canal boat. She's been diagnosed with adrenocortical cancer, and is receiving palliative care and is planning to die in the home she loves. In this interview The BMJ's patient editor, Rosamund Snow, talks to Lady-Jacqueline about her cancer, her care and her funeral plans - and why planning one's own death... [...]

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