Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of 2010

Plagiarism hurts

First of all, for blindingly obvious reasons, I should acknowledge that the title of this blog post is not original. "Plagiarism hurts" was the title of an article in EMWA's journal The Write Stuff by Elise Langdon-Neuner, its editor-in-chief (page 13 of this issue, 1.6 MB pdf). I'm sure that Elise won't mind me re-using her title, with proper attribution.

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UK Biobank part 4

For anyone who hasn't yet read the first 3 parts of this story, they are here, here, and here. Just to recap, my main concern is that the NHS disclosed my confidential data (and the data of about 5 million other people) to the UK Biobank team without my consent.

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Internships available

Are you trying to get a job in medical writing but finding it difficult without experience?

We currently have internships available for bright and motivated individuals wanting to start a career in medical writing. You will be helping with a research project in medical writing, and seeing the day-to-day work in a medical writing company at first hand. All our recent interns have found full-time jobs in medical writing since doing internships at Dianthus Medical.

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New Lancet policy on systematic reviews

The Lancet have recently introduced an interesting new policy. They now require anyone submitting the results of research (not just randomised trials, apparently, but all research) to The Lancet to include a systematic review with their research. This can be a reference to a recently published systematic review, but if no such review exists, then the authors are required to do their own systematic review and report it within the paper.

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History of medicine walking tour

In the 12 years or so that I have been a member of EMWA, I have travelled all over Europe attending their conferences. At most conferences, the social programme includes a walking tour of the city. It's always a popular event, and is a great way to see something of the conference's host city (sometimes the only time you get to see any of the city at all).

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UK Biobank part 3

Readers with a long memory will recall that I blogged about the UK Biobank project back in January (with an update in May), and that at the time I made a Freedom of Information request to try to receive the ethics application form for the study.

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Weight watchers and churnalism

Today, a story appears in the news citing the latest research which shows that sending obese patients to Weight Watchers helps them lose twice as much weight as normal NHS weight loss treatments. The story appears, in remarkably similar form, on the BBC, and in The Guardian, The Telegraph, and even The Sun.

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Homoeopathy: is it all bad?

There has been much discussion in the blogosphere and the Twittersphere lately about homoeopathy, partly because of some Early Day Motions being put before the British parliament on the subject, and partly because of the BMA's vote against homoeopathy at their recent conference.

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A rose by any other name...

I sit on a research ethics committee, which for the most part is a fascinating experience. It is always interesting to see what research people want to do, and satisfying when we can help it become more ethical.

However, sometimes I really despair about the way ethics committees are managed. Today, I have received a letter from NRES, asking me to take part in a consultation. Is this consultation about important ethical issues in clinical research?

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Publication ethics: not just an industry problem

Much is written about ghostwriting in the medical literature. To be clear, ghostwriting is unethical, and pretty much everyone agrees about that. However, it seems to be a worrying trend that many of those who are most vocal in condemning it are guilty themselves of the practices they condemn.

My last blog post mentioned Senator Grassley's report on ghostwriting. It appears that he didn't actually write the report himself, despite putting his name on the front. I have asked him to clarify, but have  had no reply. Draw your own conclusions. It looks like Senator Grassley thinks ghostwriting is evil if other people do it, but it's OK if he does it himself.

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