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Does a treatment really work? A brief introduction to medical statistics

Assessing actual patient outcomes is difficult. Coming up with data is time consuming, expensive, and full of potential pit-falls. And then using medical statistics to understand those figures is even more tricky. When a new study is published, it usually compares the new treatment or medication to the previous best method, and thus the gains are often very modest. And then to complicate things even further, it often quotes the results as an ‘odds ratio’. This is a concept that is often poorly understood.

almostadoctor now (almost) just like wikipedia

Almostadoctor has opened up editing to all users – like Wikipedia! But don’t worry about content quality – it still has to pass one of our editors before it goes ‘live’ to the website and app.
Until now, only registered users could edit articles. But we understand that registering is a hassle. And we want to keep out content as up-to-date and relevant as possible. So we’re making it easier than ever for you to help us to do that...

Births, Deaths and Miscarriages

Wow. What a weekend. In fact, its just a Friday night. There’s the rest of it is still to come.
So, it started about 4pm. I was sleeping, having just done the second of my four night shifts in A+E. My phone rang. I didn’t hear it. I was asleep. It rang again. And then again. I wearily checked my answerphone. It was the surgical rota coordinator.  Oh, this isn’t going to be good. I’m an A+E doctor. And the surgical rota coordinator needs to speak to me urgently. Better give her a ring back...

Three Tips for taking a Medical History

I don’t often write an article with ‘tips’ for a ‘skill’. Almostadoctor tends to be made up of concise lists of facts. Which is useful. But skills are more difficult to acquire. And not usually easily attained through reading, but instead with practice! But, nevertheless, I will attempt to give you a brief glimpse into the art of history taking, seen through my eyes.

The Paediatric Oncology Ward - A Surprisingly Happy Place

Originally written January 25th 2014

Whenever I tell people about my interests in medicine (child medicine and cancer) or about my placement in Sydney, I’m almost always met with the same response – “oh no, that’s so sad! I don’t know how you deal with it” or “gosh that’s depressing!”

Every time, I am left with the difficult task of explaining to them that, surprisingly, those statements are pretty far from the truth.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, if there is a doctor on board, please could they notify a member of the crew…”

Originally written January 28th 2014

Last time I wrote, I had mentioned that Danielle and I were to be flying home to London (via Singapore) the next day. Never did I think I would be writing about the flight itself but it turned out to be quite an adventure. Here’s what happened…

The Redundant Bonjela

Originally written January 16th 2014

As I’ve previously mentioned in another post, chemo comes with its side effects. Most of us are probably aware of the most common adverse reactions experienced by oncology patients. Indeed, most Hollywood productions featuring characters going through treatment for cancer will be shown predominantly to be bald and vomiting. Losing my hair was hard. Before chemo I would look in the mirror to see thick, long, dark hair (don’t worry, it grew back!) and suddenly all I saw was a white, bald emaciated head and face. The nausea and vomiting was nothing short of horrific...

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