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Book Review

The wonders of the human body

Title The Body: A Guide for Occupants Author Bill Bryson Publisher Doubleday (2019) Reviewer Prof Brendan Kelly Every so often, a new book about the human body appears and, if well written, it can open up the wonders of human biology to a new generation of readers. This is a good thing: An appreciation of…

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A marvellous visual exploration of our corporeal selves

One of the under-recognised supports of our medical journey is wit, enlivening our encounters and reminding us not only of the wonder of practising as a doctor, but also of the ambiguities and limitations of our practice. Graphic medicine by physician artists has been one of the most notable channels for displaying this aspect of…

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A Christmas treat

Adam Kay is a phenomenon. A former junior doctor, Kay is now an award-winning comedian and wildly successful author. His first book, This is Going to Hurt, was an instant hit when it appeared in September 2017. That book was a diary of Kay’s years as a junior doctor and was by turns shocking, hilarious,…

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Entering the age of Deep Medicine

Title Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again Author Eric Topol Publisher Basic Books, New York Reviewer George Winter Someone who can apply common sense in the face of complexity deserves to be taken seriously and when it comes to the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine, common sense is rare,…

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Drawing upon the illustrious human body

Resident Mindo cartoonist Dr Eoin Kelleher provides an inside account of how his new illustrated book, Journey Through The Body: A Visual Exploration, was conceived and developed In school, I loved art. Despite not being a gifted artist, I wanted to be a cartoonist when I grew up. In pursuit of that dream I even…

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Vicky Phelan’s fight for justice

I thought I knew Vicky Phelan. When she burst into our lives last year, I could see she was articulate and smart. When Vicky spoke at a public meeting in Nenagh, I knew she was warm and funny. She had us in stitches, then we all queued up for a healing hug and selfies. But…

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Murder, mystery and madness

Irish psychiatric hospitals do not feature in Irish fiction nearly as much as one might expect. In the mid-1900s, Ireland had more people in psychiatric hospitals than any other country in the world (per head of population). While that has changed dramatically over the past half century, and our involuntary admission rate is now less…

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Protecting physicians

The British Medical Association’s Medicine Betrayed: The Participation of Doctors in Human Rights Abuses (1992) is a reminder that no individual, or group, is immune to being cruel to others. So, on receipt of Dr Pamela Wible’s Human Rights Violations in Medicine (2019), I expected another catalogue of medical misdemeanours. I was mistaken. This describes…

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A life in neurology

The practice of medicine is built on stories: The stories our patients tell us, the stories we tell them in return, and the stories our teachers told us when we were medical students. These stories do not always align with each other. Narratives change over time. Sometimes there is agreement, sometimes conflict. Certainly, none of…

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Caring for the causalities of war

In wars around 1900, 10 soldiers died compared to one civilian. By 2000, the stats had been reversed, with one soldier dying compared to 10 civilians. ‘Collateral damage’ became the explanatory term for this eventuality. Additionally, in the average war (if there is one), 10 soldiers are injured for every one soldier who dies. This…

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