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Wikipedia - help or hindrance?

It’s quick, it’s easy and we’ve all done it. Don’t blush, whether it’s at our leisure or behind the consultant’s back we can confess to having used the world’s sixth most popular website. You might have seen it, sitting pride of place on the podium of practically any Google result page. Of course, it’s the tell tale sign of one of Web 2.0’s speediest and most successful offspring, Wikipedia. Now for fear of patronizing a generation who have sucked on the teat of this resource since its fledgling years, the formalities will remain delightfully short. Wikipedia is the free, multilingual, online encyclopedia, which harnesses the collective intelligence of the world’s internet users to produce a collaboratively written and openly modifiable body of knowledge. The technology it runs on is a highly flexible web application called wiki. It is open-source software; hence the explosion of wiki sites all united under the banner of combined authorship. Anyone with internet access can edit the content and do so with relative anonymity. It would be unthinkable that a source, which does not prioritize the fidelity of its content, could possibly play a role in medical education. How ironic it seems that medical students can waste hours pondering which textbook to swear their allegiance for the forthcoming rotation, yet not spare a second thought typing their next medical query into Wikipedia. Evidently it has carved itself a niche and not just among medical students, but healthcare professionals as well. According to a small qualitative study published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics, 70% of their sample, which comprised of graduates from London medical schools currently at FY2 and ST1 level, used Wikipedia in a given week for ‘clinical purposes’. These ranged from general background reading to double checking a differential and looking up medications. We are so ensnared by the allure of instantaneous enlightenment; it’s somewhat comparable to relieving an itch. "Just Google it..." is common parlance. We need that quick fix. When the consultant asks about his or her favourite eponymous syndrome or you’re a little short on ammunition before a tutorial, the breadth and ease-of-use offered by a service accessible from our phones is a clandestine escape. The concept of Wikipedia, the idea that its articles are in a way living bodies because of the continual editing process, is its strength. Conversely textbooks are to a degree outmoded by the time they reach their publication date. While I commend the contributors of Wikipedia for at least trying to bolster their pages with references to high impact journals, it does not soften the fact that the authorship is unverifiable. Visitors, lay people, registered members under some less than flattering pseudonyms such as Epicgenius and Mean as custard, don’t impart the sense of credibility students (or for that matter patients)expect from an encyclopedia. Since the prestige of direct authorship if off the cards, it does beg the question of what is their motivation and I’m afraid ‘the pursuit of knowledge and improving humanity’s lot' is the quaint response. There is a distinct lack of transparency. It has become a playground where a contributor can impress his/her particular theory regarding a controversial subject unchallenged. Considering there is no direct ownership of the article, who then has the authority to curate the multiple theories on offer and portray a balanced view? Does an edit war ensue? It is not unheard of for drug representatives to tailor articles detailing their product and erase the less pleasant side-effects. Obviously Wikipedia is not unguarded, defences are in place and there is such a thing as quality control. Recent changes will come under the scrutiny of more established editors, pages that are particularly prone to vandalism are vetted and there are a special breed of editors called administrators, who uphold a custodial post, blocking and banishing rebellious editors. A study featured in the First Monday journal put Wikipedia to the test by deliberately slipping minor errors into the entries of past philosophers. Within 48 hours half of these errors had been addressed. Evidently, the service has the potential to improve over time; provided there is a pool of committed and qualified editors. Wikiproject Medicine is such a group of trusted editors composed primarily of doctors, medical students, nurses, clinical scientists and patients. Since 2004, its two hundred or so participants have graded an excess of 25,000 health-related articles according to quality parameters not dissimilar to peer review. However, the vast majority of articles are in a state of intermediate quality, somewhere between a stub and featured article. Having some degree of professional input towards a service as far reaching as Wikipedia will no doubt have an impact on global health, particularly in developing countries where internet access is considered a luxury. March this year saw the medical pages of the English Wikipedia reach a lofty 249,386,264 hits. Its ubiquity is enviable; it maintains a commanding lead over competing medical websites. The accessibility of this information has catapulted Wikipedia far beyond its scope as a humble encyclopedia and into a medical resource. Patients arrive to clinics armed with the printouts. As future doctors we will have to be just that one step ahead, to recognise the limitations of a source that does not put a premium on provenance but is nevertheless the current public health tool of choice. Illustrator Edward Wong This blog post is a reproduction of an article published in the Medical Student Newspaper, November 2013 issue.  
James Wong
over 6 years ago
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Life and Death Battle | Curiosity: Battlefield Cell

Gym this is the final stage in an epic battle in one of the longest wars in human history it's a battle that rages inside each one of us every single day a trillion times over on this battlefield was once a healthy human cell now it's disintegrating into tiny pieces it a virus has overrun its defenses and unleashed an army of clones in army whose sole focus is to reproduce and destroy as many cells in our body as possible resulting in disease or even death now using the latest scientific research curiosity exposes this one's invisible world revealing as never before the life-and-death battle for a human cell  
youtube.com
almost 5 years ago
Www.bmj
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Climate change is a health emergency

It’s nearly 30 years since Eric Chivian and three other Harvard faculty members won the Nobel peace prize for their work as founders of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. At its height IPPNW had a membership of 250 000 doctors from 80 countries. Its leaders spoke directly to the world’s leaders and to the public, helping them to understand the terrible things that happen to people’s bodies and lives when nuclear bombs explode. As Chivian says in a BMJ essay this week, the aim was to help people grasp what a nuclear war would really be like, so that politicians and the public would do everything in their power to prevent such a war from happening (doi:10.1136/bmj.g2407).  
bmj.com
over 6 years ago
Www.bmj
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Tug of war for antiviral drugs data

Julia Belluz hears from both sides in the lengthy battle between the drug giants and researchers that led to the release of full clinical trial data on neuraminidase inhibitors. Does the release of these files herald a more transparent era?  
bmj.com
over 6 years ago
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‘For every problem there is a solution: neat, plausible and wrong’. H. L. Mencken

The medical achievements of the post-war years rank as one of the supreme epochs of human endeavour, yet despite this, the future of medicine is uncertain.  
jameslefanu.com
over 6 years ago
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Donald Trump has repeated throughout his presidential campaign that he opposed the Iraq war before the March 19, 2003 invasion. But there’s no evidence of that. Here’s a timeline of statements Trump made in 2002 and 2003 about the war.  
FactCheck.org
over 6 years ago
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Troops face 'growing mental health cost' of Afghan war - BBC News

There has been a "significant increase" in the number of Afghanistan veterans seeking mental health treatment, charity Combat Stress says.  
BBC News
over 6 years ago
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Former Afghan war soldier: 'Flashbacks of bullets overhead' - BBC News

Jake Wood, a former Lance Sergeant in the Territorial Army who served in Afghanistan and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, explained the flashbacks that he has experienced apart of his condition.  
BBC News
over 6 years ago
Watermelon 011
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While waging the 'war' against cancer, we have lost sight of the broader view of health | Ranjana Srivastava

Ranjana Srivastava: The emphasis on a disease rather than the whole patient is misplaced – and hapless patients discover that their concerns are relegated to the bottom of the healthcare hierarchy  
the Guardian
about 6 years ago
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Amputation pain 'still a challenge' for medics - BBC News

In the century since World War One, doctors still haven't worked out how to treat the pain commonly felt after a limb is removed.  
BBC News
about 6 years ago
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Nepal on 'war footing' as quarter of population hit by quake - BBC News

Nepal is "on a war footing" as it tries to help survivors following Saturday's earthquake, its prime minister says.  
bbc.co.uk
over 5 years ago
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Palliative Medicine Teaching

Palliative Medicine Teaching. 4,695 likes · 528 talking about this. Palliative Care can teach us a lot. Let's stop these futile tugs of war and remember...  
m.facebook.com
over 5 years ago
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Doctors Without Borders airstrike: US alters story for fourth time in four days

Commander of war in Afghanistan tells Senate panel that US forces had called in airstrike at Afghan request – ‘an admission of a war crime’ says MSF chief  
theguardian.com
about 5 years ago
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Raymond Bernard Cattell - R. B. Cattell - Raymond Cattell

   Raymond Bernard Cattell was born in Hilltop, West Bromwich, England, a town near Birmingham on March 20, 1905. His father was a mechanical engineer and craftsman-designer who worked on such projects as developing World War I military equipment, the steam engine, and a new internal combustion engine. His mother was the daughter of a successful manufacturer in Birmingham. The family’s economic circumstances allowed them to choose to move to the south coast of Devon when Cattell was six years old. His boyhood on the beautiful coastal country of Devon imbued in him a lifelong love of the sea and sailing ships. Cattell describes a happy childhood and youth both at home and at school, which upon comparison with other behavior and personality theorists, is an unusual situation. His parents were exacting about the standards of performance that they expected from their children but permissive regarding how the children spent their leisure time. Cattell, his brothers, and friends, spent a great deal of time outdoors sailing, swimming, exploring caves, and fighting mock battles over terrain in which they “occasionally drowned or fell over cliffs”. England had entered World War I when Cattell was nine, an event that profoundly influenced him. During the war a mansion near his home had been converted into a hospital where Cattell observed trainloads of wounded men transported directly from the battlefields of France. He wrote that as a result of his experience, he became unusually serious for a young boy and aware of the “brevity of life and the need to accomplish while one might”. The great dedication to his work and the long hours that he devoted to it during his life may well have had their origins at this time. (Cattell, Lindzey, ed., Pg. 52-63.) These work characteristics of Cattell may also have been reinforced by the competition with his older brother. He describes the difficulties in trying to establish his own freedom of development in the presence of a domineering brother three years his senior who could “be outwitted, but not overcome”.  
stthomasu.ca
almost 5 years ago
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Paris Commune - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Paris Commune[7] was a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. Following the defeat of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the French Second Empire swiftly collapsed. In its stead rose a Third Republic at war with Prussia, who subjected Paris to a brutal four-month siege. A hotbed of working-class radicalism, during this time France's capital was primarily defended not by the regular French Army, but by the often politicized and radical troops of National Guard. In February 1871 Adolphe Thiers, the new chief executive of the French national government, signed an armistice with Prussia that disarmed the Army but not the National Guard.  
en.wikipedia.org
over 4 years ago
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Alexei Fjodorowitsch Lwow – Wikipedia

Alexei Fjodorowitsch Lwow (russisch Алексей Фёдорович Львов, * 25. Maijul./ 5. Juni 1798greg. in Reval, Gouvernement Estland; † 16.jul./ 28. Dezember 1870greg. in Kowno, Litauen) war ein russischer Violinist und Komponist aus dem russischen rurikidischen Fürstengeschlecht der Lwow. In Westeuropa trat er unter dem Namen Alexis Lvoff auf.  
de.wikipedia.org
over 4 years ago
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Why Hitler Wished He Was Muslim

Dominic Green reviews “Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination,” by Stefan Ihrig, and “Islam and Nazi Germany’s War,” by David Motadel.  
wsj.com
over 4 years ago
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Bertolt Brecht - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eugen Bertolt Friedrich Brecht (/brɛkt/;[1][2][3] German: [bʀɛçt]; 10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956[4]) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director of the 20th century. He made contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter through the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble – the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht and his wife, long-time collaborator and actress Helene Weigel.[5]  
en.wikipedia.org
over 4 years ago
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Attachment theory and John Bowlby | Noel Bell – Psychotherapist in London

John Bowlby (26 February 1907 – 2 September 1990) was a notable British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He became a psychoanalyst in 1937 and  during the War he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. With his wife (Ursula Longstaff) he had 4 children. Following the War Bowlby became Director of the Tavistock Clinic in London and in 1950 he became a mental health consultant to the World Health Organization.  
noelbell.net
over 4 years ago
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White Families Call for a Gentler War on Drugs

In what is now being called as the worst drug overdose epidemic in United States history, the dark shroud of drug addiction ills over a new terrain.  
recoveryrehabs.com
over 4 years ago