Archive for April, 2012

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Apr 30, 2012

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research

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From Three-toed sloth. Worth reading in its entirety. Few will listen. (And as for the written word, my favourite aphorism is from David Hubel : “Reading most papers today is like eating sawdust.”) It being the season for job-interview talks, student exam presentations, etc., the problems novices have with giving them are much on my […]

Apr 29, 2012

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learning

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This (from the NYT) is about schooling in the US but note now that the UK  Royal Colleges use Pearson to deliver some of their testing. Medical exams, driving tests, its all the same…. The state education commissioner, John King, announced that the questions would not count in the official test scores. There was no […]

Apr 28, 2012

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learning

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Very insightful interview with Stephen Downes here. Contains the gems below You can study and pass all the tests you want in order to be a brain surgeon, but you will never be one until you have been recognized as such by someone who is already a brain surgeon, and this through a long (and […]

Apr 25, 2012

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medicine, research

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A post from John Naughton on Peter Checkland set me thinking and searching for an old quote from Herb Simon. I wrote an article in PLoS many years ago around this theme, and the quote from Simon still seems so perceptive about what has happened to the professional schools such as Medicine. More and more, […]

I am talking (briefly) at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival in a session entitled Out of Africa. As usual the other speakers look as though they know much more about the topic than me.  For booking details follow the link. Saturday, June 16, 2012 – 17:00 Throughout history, as humans migrated further away from the […]

Apr 22, 2012

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learning, medicine

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Worth a read in full from Dr Phil. The topic is the lengthening of GP training. If the problem is crap medical education because lunatics have taken over the asylum, should we not fix medical education, not have a second course of crap?

Apr 18, 2012

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research

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100 years ago in JAMA— reprinted this week. “The very difficulty of carrying into execution the simplest principles of their science teaches them a demeanor of conservatism and humility. But to the dilettante or amateur in hygiene nothing is impossible in sanitary science.” No human plague exists which cannot be scientifically eradicated if only the […]

Apr 18, 2012

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research

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Science recently published answers to the question, ‘What is your definition of a successful scientist?”. I couldn’t read anymore after seeing this one …Today’s successful scientist is an effective manager, a shrewd technocrat, and a learned businessman who knows not only how to generate but also how to sell his science.… A successful scientist has […]

Apr 17, 2012

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medicine

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I think this is interesting. Not certain I agree, but the issue of the rarity and value of above average skill is really important for medicine. The NHS model is essentially one of interchangeable widgets. There are a few bad apples, and everybody else is competent, so they pretend. Little units to be placed within […]

Apr 17, 2012

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universities

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Via @C21U Some of the most interesting work begins in the academy but grows beyond it. “Scale” is not an academic value—but it should be. Most measures of prestige in higher education are based on exclusivity; the more prestigious the college, the larger the percentage of applicants it turns away. Consider the nonprofit Khan Academy, […]

Apr 14, 2012

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learning, quote

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This quote from Alan Kay seems to be very appropriate for anybody interested in improving medical education. “You can fix a clock, but you have to negotiate with a system.” I think if I had understood this  earlier in my life, I might have slept better.

Apr 14, 2012

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research

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I really am not surprised by the contents of this article in Nature. That many— if not the majority— of findings is some areas of medical science are misleading or lacking in depth is no surprise. Cancer or any other ‘hot’ area  will be a particular problem. The factors leading this are many but surely […]

Apr 12, 2012

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learning

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A new journal, and a manifesto. I wonder about the parallels between medicine and education they see. Remarkably few details available on the site about launch. Just as 200 years ago, medicine was little more than a mixture of bits of knowledge, fads and plain quackery without a basic grounding in a scientific understanding of […]

I run a site where Edinburgh medical students can ask questions about dermatology anonymously,  which I then answer. Other can see the questions and the answers, but nobody knows who asked a particular question. I run it because I like to think it might give me insights into what sort of topics cause problems for […]

Apr 07, 2012

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medicine, quote

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Neither managers nor pharmaceutical companies like the idea of doctors having clinical discretion, and guidelines based on the (published) evidence have become a way to standardize clinical practice and manage risks. David Healy

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