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A prince among some and a god among others – the world’s most unlikely ‘deity’

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon You will no doubt be aware of the recent passing of the UK’s Prince Philip, the British monarch’s husband and the cause of much hilarity and offence, depending on your point of view. He had what is described as ‘a good run’,…

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Smoking or non-smoking? Unusual ‘medical’ applications for the evil weed from the annals

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon I’m sure you’ve felt on more than one occasion that somebody is not quite telling you the truth, or is at least perverting it in some way. That may be a patient in the clinic, a hospital administrator, a colleague, or most…

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A funny old profession – court jesters ‘fools’, clowns… and medical practitioners

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon It really is a tired old cliché that ‘laughter is the best medicine’, but it also contains a grain of truth. Laughter has long been used, wittingly or otherwise, to break the tension in a stressful situation. I’m sure you too have…

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Memories are made of this…

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon Do you remember what you ate for dinner two days ago? How about three weeks and two days ago, or four years, three months and 25 days ago? If the answer to the latter is ‘yes’, you may have hyperthymesia, otherwise known…

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Cervix with a smile — the weird ‘wandering womb’ theory from the days of Hippocrates

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon It’s sometimes nice to take a glance over the shoulder to get some perspective on how far medical treatment has advanced, from the days of boring holes in a patient’s skull to treat psychiatric disorders or other illnesses – trepanation – to…

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A brush with madness and a medical student: Crunch time for Munch’s state of mind

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon We’re all familiar with the accompanying image – The Scream by Edvard Munch, the spawn of a million memes and a symbol of existential angst, something which we’ve all had plenty of over the past year. There are actually four versions of…

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Artificial intelligence algorithms now have some skin in the game in dermatology

The ‘rise of the machines’ in medicine is nothing new and certainly has advantages in terms of the quantities of data artificial intelligence (AI) can process and analyse. Last year, the virtual and interdisciplinary ‘Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Imaging Conference’ discussed just that, with cardiologist and author Dr Eric Topol extolling the virtues of…

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Bite-sized cardiomyopathy – the heartbreaking case of mistaken avocado identity

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon When is avocado not avocado? When it’s wasabi, otherwise known as Japanese horseradish, a spicy green paste served as a condiment to sushi and which, it transpires, can induce ‘broken heart syndrome’ if taken in sufficient quantities. BMJ Case Reports sometimes throws…

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Reality check: When the lines between reality and satire become blurred

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon I’ve touched before on the sometimes sensationalist approach to reporting on Covid-19 by some media sources across all platforms. Now, along with every other aspect of life, there must be an element of personal responsibility that applies and people should show some…

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The curious case of the intoxicated man

A round-up of news and oddities from left field by Dr Doug Witherspoon There follows a brief curiosity for the medical detectives among you, if you have not already heard of a similar case. It’s a diagnosis which for six years eluded a multidisciplinary team that included psychiatrists, neurologists and gastroenterologists, among others. Case study:…

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