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Book Review

The value of logic

Title: The Irrational Ape: Why Flawed Logic Puts Us All at Risk and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World Author: David Robert Grimes Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2019) Reviewer: Prof Brendan Kelly Every few years, a new book appears telling us that we need to think more clearly, more logically and more critically. The…

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Why Sherlock Holmes is not a psychopath

In an extract from his new book, Dr Stephen McWilliams argues that despite his reputation for arrogance and coldness, Baker Street’s famous fictional resident often displays empathy and warmth Sherlock Holmes is a firm favourite among aficionados of detective yarns. The obsessional sleuth with a penchant for cocaine and opiates was first introduced to readers…

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Golden nuggets of truth at the end of life’s journey

Title Dear Life Author Dr Rachel Clarke Publisher Little Brown Reviewer George Winter It is Dr Rachel Clarke’s first hospice multidisciplinary team meeting. Under consideration is the challenge of how best to turn in bed a pain-wracked lady named Florence, in her late eighties and dying with an aggressive cancer. Nina, Florence’s nurse, proposes a…

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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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