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How to make Nothing sound like Something

Encapsulation of what goes wrong A regular columnist in a certain medical journal who had run out of ideas, again seems to have been afflicted by the dreaded writer’s block. So, once more he’s turned to his favourite subject: himself. The first thing that strikes one about his latest column is the repeated use of the words ‘I’, [...]

2024-05-07T01:04:40+00:0010 April 2024|Categories: Controversies|Tags: |

The Highly Esteemed British Muddical Journal

An open letter of 17 December 2021 by the editors of The British Medical Journal, or 'The BMJ' as they call this august organ, has just come to my attention. It’s addressed to the man who runs the social medium formerly called BookFace but which is now styled merely as ‘Meta’. The new title, a Greek prefix meaning [...]

2024-03-13T11:20:41+00:0029 August 2023|Categories: Controversies|Tags: |

The Anxiety Makers

The title of this post is borrowed from a book published in 1967 by a doctor with the splendidly appropriate name of Alex Comfort. It deals with how doctors in the past and in the then present, inadvertently and ignorantly made people anxious, particularly over masturbation and constipation, among other matters in which they had set themselves up [...]

2023-10-06T02:52:40+00:0023 August 2023|Categories: Controversies|Tags: , , , |

Narcissistic Medical Writing

If one undertakes to write a regular column in a medical journal there may be occasions when the deadline is looming and one can’t think of anything to say, though with so much going on in the world these instances must be rare. However, if afflicted by writer’s block it is always possible to turn to a subject [...]

2024-06-04T09:20:13+00:0028 June 2023|Categories: Controversies|Tags: |

Anti-Social Medias

A little while ago I joined a certain online medical discussion group. It’s lively, informal, and iconoclastic – just up my street. But in one aspect I found it disappointing. Doctors, being highly educated and having at least some degree of sophistication, you would expect to take a little thought before committing themselves in writing on a semi-public [...]

2023-09-13T02:48:49+00:0027 June 2023|Categories: Controversies|

The Fashion for Fake Treatments

The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals. Sir William Osler (1925). It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. From ‘Three Men [...]

Can One Control Alcohol?

Allen Carr—he of Easy Way to Stop Smoking fame—published a book in 2004 called The Easy Way to Control Alcohol. There have been later editions but since he died in 2006 if the text has been rewritten it would have been by someone else. Easy Way to Stop Smoking, in spite of its shortcomings—I describe these in a [...]

2024-01-18T05:07:04+00:004 April 2021|Categories: Controversies|Tags: , |

The Great Vitamin Drip Scam – Part II

There’s something faintly ridiculous about sitting like a lemon for forty-five minutes while expensive vitamin-laced salt water is dripped into a vein in your arm. Yet this is what will happen if you fall for the blandishments of clinics offering to boost your immune system, detoxify your body, and abolish all your unhappiness. These claims, as I pointed [...]

2023-08-23T01:56:49+00:004 April 2021|Categories: Controversies|Tags: |

The Great Vitamin Drip Scam

Wouldn’t you like to strengthen your immune system, detoxify your body from the inside out (!), reduce your stress levels, and be helped to recover and rehydrate quickly after exercise? All these so-called benefits, and a lot more besides, are available – for a nice fat fee – at private clinics springing up in cities in the UK, [...]

2023-08-23T03:26:37+00:0029 March 2021|Categories: Controversies|Tags: |

Bad Language

How difficult it is to write well! Even something as simple as a parking notice requires thought and care. As for a letter to the editor of a medical journal, one should make sure one has something worth saying before sending it. In today’s post I offer examples of the pitfalls in both kinds of communication. Trespassers will [...]

2023-07-05T05:33:53+00:0027 March 2021|Categories: Controversies|Tags: |
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