Views & Reviews Review of the week

Physician, heal thyself

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 22 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:427
  1. W F Bynum (

    Doctors and scientists have been experimenting on themselves for centuries. A new BBC series considers the heroic successes—and spectacular flops

    When he was about 10 years old, my son once said, in a fit of philosophical insight, “Someone has to sit next to the naughtiest boy in the class.” He was right, of course, and his generalisation also applies to medicine. Someone has to go first, whether it is a new operation, drug, procedure, or experimental finding. For all of our experimental protocols, animal testing, and ethics committees, if it concerns human beings, someone has to be the first.

    In this series of four engaging programmes for BBC television, Michael Mosley examines the role of self experimentation within medicine during the past two centuries. He divides his programmes by themes; anaesthesia, vaccines, diet and disease, and infections. Mosley, a doctor, has a wonderfully boyish enthusiasm for medicine and is a skilful communicator. He combines a nice mix of history and …

    View Full Text

    Sign in

    Log in through your institution

    Free trial

    Register for a free trial to to receive unlimited access to all content on for 14 days.
    Sign up for a free trial