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

”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,...


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

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...


Should doctors prescribe acupuncture for pain?

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,...


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

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...


Katherine Cowan - Reaching A Priority

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...


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

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...


Fever in the returning traveller

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...


SDGs - How many lives are at stake?

In a new analysis Gavin Yamey from Duke University, and his colleagues John McArthur and Krista Rasmussen, from the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, 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...


Ultraprocessed food and increased cancer risk

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...


How does it feel to help your patient die?

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,...


The tone of the debate around assisted dying

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...


Torture - What declassified guidelines tell us about medical complicity

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...


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

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...


Public health - time for pragmatism or knowledge production?

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...


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

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...


Virginia Murray - the science of disaster risk reduction

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...


Education round-up - January 2018

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...


They can't hear you - how deafness on the ward can affect care.

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...


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

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,...


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

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...


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