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Nasal symptoms of the common cold

The common cold is usually mild and self limiting - but they’re very annoying, especially the runny nose and bunged up feeling that form the nasal symptoms. A new practice article, published on looks at the available evidence for treatment of those nasal symptoms - both pharmacological and alternative. In this podcast we're joined by...


What's it like to live with a vaginal mesh?

What can we learn from the shameful story of vaginal mesh? That thousands of women have been irreversibly harmed; that implants were approved on the flimsiest of evidence; that surgeons weren’t adequately trained and patients weren’t properly informed; that the dash for mesh, fuelled by its manufacturers, stopped the development of alternatives;...


How to taper opioids

There is very little guidance on withdrawing or tapering opioids in chronic pain (not caused by cancer). People can fear pain, withdrawal symptoms, a lack of social and healthcare support, and they may also distrust non-opioid methods of pain management. This can mean that patients receive repeat opioid prescriptions for extended periods of...


The counter intuitive effect of open label placebo

Ted Kaptchuk, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical school - and leading placebo researcher, has just published an analysis on describing the effect of open label placebo - placebos that patient's know are placebos, but still seem to have some clinical effect. Ted joins us to speculate about what's going on in the body, what this means...


Vinay Prasad - there is overdiagnosis in clinical trials

We want clinical trials to be thorough - but Vinay Prasad, assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health Science University, argues that the problem of overdiagnosis may be as prevalent, in the way we measure disease in our research, as our practice. In this podcast he joins us to discuss the problem, and why he thinks what qualifies as...


UK children are drinking less and the importance of a publicly provided NHS

Brits have a reputation as Europe’s boozers - and for good reason, with alcohol consumption higher than much of the rest of the continent. That reputation is extended to our young people too - but is it still deserved? Joanna Inchley, senior research fellow at the University of St Andrews, explains new research on decreasing drinking -...


Don't save on transport at the cost of the NHS

Last week we heard about how evidence in policy making is imperilled - but today we’re hearing about a plan to make evidence about health central to all aspects of government. Laura Webber, director of public health modelling at the UK Health Forum, Susie Morrow, chair of the Wandsworth Living Streets Group and Brian Ferguson, chief economist at...


15 Iona Heath

This week a very different kind of conversation on the Recommended Dose – one that considers the art of medicine more than the science. Iona Heath is a long-time family doctor who has worked in a London GP clinic for over 30 years, and at one time became President of the Royal College of General Practitioners. With an international profile, gained...


Defending evidence informed policy making from ideological attack

If you’re of a scientific persuasion, watching policy debates around Brexit, or climate change, or drug prohibition are likely to cause feelings of intense frustration about the dearth of evidence in those discussions. In this podcast we're joined by Chris Bonell, professor of public health sociology - in this podcast he airs those frustrations,...


How often do hospital doctors change long term medication during an inpatient stay?

More than ½ of patients leave hospital with changes to four or more of their long-term medications - but how appropriate are those changes? New research published on looks at antihypertensive medication prescription changes to try and model that - and found that more than half of intensifications occurred in patients with previously well...


Nutritional science - Is quality more important than quantity?

We at The BMJ care about food, and if our listener stats are to be believed, so do you. In this podcast we’re looking at quality as an important driver of a good diet. At our recent food conference - Food For Thought - hosted in Zurich by Swiss Re we brought researchers in many fields of nutritional science together. We asked people with...


Preventing Overdiagnosis 2018 - part 2: What opened your eyes to overdiagnosis?

The concept of overdiagnosis is pretty hard to get - especially if you’ve been educated in a paradigm where medicine has the answers, and it’s only every a positive intervention in someone’s life - the journey to understanding the flip side - that sometimes medicine can harm often takes what Stacey Carter director of Research for Social Change at...


Preventing overdiagnosis 2018 - Part 1

This week saw the latest Preventing Overdiagnosis conference - this time in Copenhagen. The conference is a is a forum where researchers and practitioners can present examples of overdiagnosis - and we heard about the various ways which disease definitions are being subtly widened, and diagnostic thresholds lowered. In this podcast we talk to...


Have we misunderstood TB's timeline?

The number of people estimated to be latently infected with TB - that is infected with TB, which has not yet manifested symptoms - is around 2 billion. That is 1 in 3 people on the planet are infected by the bacteria. The World Health Organization’s website notes that on average 5-10% of those infected with TB will develop active TB. That number...


13 Iain Chalmers

This week, a very special conversation with a maverick British medico who set up a tiny research centre in Oxford and watched it grow into a global collaboration of over 40,000 people across 130 countries. Three decades on, the Cochrane Collaboration now produces the world's most trusted health evidence that's used by patients, health...


The diagnosis and treatment of dyspareunia

Dyspareunia is a common but poorly understood problem affecting around 7.5% of sexually active women. It is an important and neglected area of female health, associated with substantial morbidity and distress. Women may be seen by several clinicians before a diagnosis is reached, There are also specialist psychosexual clinics, where men and women...


Patient information is key to the therapeutic relationship

Sue Farrington is chair of the Patient Information Forum, a member organisation which promotes best practice in anyone who produces information for patients. In this podcast, she discusses what makes good patient information, why doctors should be pleased when patients arrive at an appointment with a long list of questions, and why patients are...


12 Alexandra Barratt

This week’s guest has led something of a double life, using both medicine and the media to explore and promote the critical role of evidence in healthcare. Now based at the University of Sydney, Alexandra Barratt's journey from clinician to journalist to global advocate for evidence based medicine and shared decision-making is a fascinating one....


15 seconds to improve your workplace

15s30m is a social movement to reduce frustration & increase joy - the idea is to spend 15 seconds of your time now, and save someone else 30 minutes down the line. To talk about their movement we're joined by the founders, Rachel Pilling, consultant ophthalmologist, and Dan Wadsworth, transformation manager - both from Bradford Teaching...


11 Norman Swan

A familiar voice to millions, Dr Norman Swan is Australia’s best known health reporter. Having presented the ABC’s Health Report for more than three decades, this week he’s on the other side of the microphone. Norman joins Ray to talk frankly about medicine and the media. He shares some of the joys and challenges of his work inside and outside of...