Category Archives: Medicine

On Rescuing Fallen Women

I spent my first two terms at university up to my naked wrists in a woman’s corpse. This was A Good Thing For Humankind. This week, one of the top BBC News stories has been the outrage at a woman demonstrating a sex toy in front of a university psychology class. This was An Act […]

A Face-Saving Exercise

The BBC reports: A former soldier who was jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan has handed back a medal in protest at Britain’s involvement in the war. “There’s a real up-swell of awareness now among military families and among the military, and among the people in this country, that this conflict is, has kind […]

“You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts.”

[via Anthony] Like this:Like Loading…

Statistics Is Fun

Have a look at this elegant illustration of the relative safety of one cervical cancer vaccine. Read this intriguing blogpost about how the appointment of bean-counters at Premiership clubs might well have made league games even more exciting to watch (as well as costing bookies money). [Thanks to Jim P.] Like this:Like Loading…

“That they may see your good works”

I like that one of the authors of this US paper describing gene therapy to restore sight in sufferers from a rare form of blindness, itself a refinement of a treatment first given in the UK, is called “Elizabeth Windsor”: “One of the patients said that the dim red light from his alarm clock had […]

Clinical Research Paper Of The Year

Via The Motley Fool, comes this essential abstract from the scholarly journal Digestive Surgery: Red Hot Chilli Consumption Is Harmful in Patients Operated for Anal Fissure – A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study Pravin J. Gupta Fine Morning Hospital and Research Center, Laxminagar, Nagpur, India Like this:Like Loading…

“Let Them Eat Smoke!”

Norm asks two questions: People on the wrong end of social and economic inequalities don’t just experience health disadvantages from smoking, but disadvantages across the board – in every area of health, in life expectancy, in the pattern of life chances in general. Shall we impose compulsory legal norms about diet, about exercise, about whatever […]

Trouble At T’ Degree Mill

Another “shocking state of our universities today” story has appeared on the BBC news Website. A report from the Quality Assurance Agency says the degree classification system is broken. I smiled when I read this bit: The reports from the QAA raise some worries about the effectiveness of the external examiner system, in which examiners […]


The top of the BBC News page about a possible new cure for baldness carries an image of an anonymous baldie: The bottom of the same page has images of Nick Robinson and Terry Wogan: Yesterday, as I was running to the gym past a bunch of army cadets waiting outside a local youth centre, […]

Jib Jab

I left The Observer on the shelf at the supermarket yesterday because it had another load of bollocks about MMR and autism on the front cover. Around the blogosphere, people who A) know some science and/or B) can be arsed to use Google show the newspaper’s science editor how to do his job: lizardoid Eustonian […]

Latest News From The Department Of The Bleedin’ Obvious

Legal drugs, like illegal drugs, have drug-like effects on the brain. Apparently, by performing post-mortems on them it’s possible to reveal biochemical changes in their bodies that suggest that regular smokers develop a physical addiction. Like this:Like Loading…

Bald Men To Fight Over Comb

Seriously. Like this:Like Loading…


When I used to work for the Medical Research Council, I did my best not to bore people with it on this site. I took up the name “PooterGeek”—ironically, the suggestion of a summer student—so that when people searched for my name on the Web they would find biomedical publications to download rather than movie […]

Mantel Piece

Hilary Mantel is a novelist. I haven’t read any of her books. I have read her review of magician Derren Brown’s Tricks Of The Mind in yesterday’s Guardian. Near the end of her mostly negative assessment she tries to set up a weak joke: she “hopes” that “no intellectual snobbery” will prevent Richard Dawkins from […]

Blood On The Poolfloor

For regulars here not also regulars at Norm’s place: the Prof is currently in Upsidedownland watching the cricket between Australia and England. Yesterday he linked to an article from The Australian about England bowler Monty Panesar. Reading it, this passage, er, struck me: [T]he safest way to dive into the water is to keep your […]

In Clones Send The

With their characteristically English lack of ambition, scientists from Newcastle University and KCL have applied for a three-year licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to make chimaeric human-cow embryos. The similarly small-minded Korean authorities have been doing their damnedest to bring low the genius of visionary Hwang Woo-suk: Seoul, South Korea (AHN) – […]

Yes, It’s Bloody Safe

It’s the sound of ball bearings grinding against fragments of broken glass on a wet pavement. It’s being wired straight into my jaw in full-frequency Dolby surround. Yes it hurts, but if I didn’t have a face full of lidocaine I’d be squealing like a pig in a combine harvester. There’s a man with his […]

The Satisfying Sound Of Leather Hitting Trouser

As you’d expect from an embittered wannabe academic like me, I enjoy immensely reading reviews in which genuine scholars demolish the latest fashionable nonsense published by trend-chasing academic presses. Here Ben Goldacre casually and rightly puts the boot into an absurd attack on evidence-based medicine—it’s “fascist” apparently. Here Shalom Lappin does a grand and rigorous […]

Lighten Up!

Over at Drink-Soaked Trots, frustrated holidaymaker Eric objects to the pre-emptive arrest of the alleged terrorists: “This all seems a counter-productive effort really. I mean actually arresting them before they actually carry out the attack may alienate these oppressed young men and further radicalise them. Not to mention that their civil rights have probably been […]

Because It’s There

At medical school, I shared a corpse (whom we christened “Fatima”) with someone who is now a successful cardiologist. Like many of my other peers there, he is the offspring of a doctor. As you’d expect, he was pretty unsqueamish and unflappable, but dissecting hands freaked him out. The rest of a body might puff […]

“Dr” Death Begins His New Career

If you search the medical literature for “D Counsell”—type “Counsell-D [AU]” into the search box here—half the papers returned have my name on them; the other half carry the name of an anaesthesiologist who didn’t drop out of medical school. Today someone emailed the wrong D J Counsell to offer him a temporary consultant anaesthetics post. […]

Kink Of The Month

I can only imagine that a sexually frustrated militant Deaf separatist would go searching the Web for pictures of “naked deaf girls”, but you lot might know better. UPDATE: For anyone brought here by such a search in the future, might get you closer to your goal. Like this:Like Loading…

‘Blogger Chokes To Death On Self-Pity

“Rebound congestion”: it’s another of those bland bits of medical jargon, like “cerebral contusion”, that give no hint of the actual discomfort accompanying their referents. “Rebound congestion”—roll it around your mouth and then imagine waking up from a nightmare of smothering only to find that you really are suffocating and that your last sight on […]

Killer Bug Ate My Leg

The Five Stages of Athlete’s Foot: Day One: “Ooh dear, that’s a bit itchy.” Day Two: [takes off sock] “Ewww! It looks like some alien life form is gnawing its way through the flesh between my phalanges. Must pop along to the chemist tomorrow and get something for that.” Day Three: “Hello, NHSDirect? Yes, unfortunately […]

Oh Poo

I found out just before Christmas that I’ve been turned down for that SciArt grant I was applying for. This is not exactly a surprise, but I’m still not happy about it. Thankfully, my family took my hint when I told them and I didn’t have to endure a Christmas of them looking at me […]

Strange Day

I forgot to mention that my Thursday last week started with my being trapped in my car when its cheap-and-nasty central locking system went bonkers and shut me in (I had to pass the keys out through the window to a mechanic at local garage who got a passenger-side door open) and ended with my […]


Face transplant technology arrives too late for Aston Villa. Like this:Like Loading…

Family Stuff

Congratulations to my sister who, in the early hours of this morning, had a boy, Samuel, to go with her almost exactly three-year-old girl, Maisie. (This is typical of Clare’s bombproof organisational skills.) Congrats to my brother-in-law too who is a top dad. Get well soon to my mum, who, annoyingly, went into hospital this […]

Public Service Announcement

Jackie would like people to check out this appeal over at Science Blog. Like this:Like Loading…

Doesn’t Exactly Help With The Cashflow Problem

“Kate Moss to spend month in £2,250-a-night US clinic” Just think of all the coke you could buy with that kind of money. Like this:Like Loading…

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