The new BMJ online archiveBMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1744 (Published 29 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1744
All rapid responses
Fantastic ! Learn something new every day..
Just like the usual advanced search but going back two centuries !!!
many many thanks.
Competing interests: memory nearly full
To find the articles on influenza you request:
Click on the "advanced search" link that appears at the top right hand corner of most pages.
Insert the word influenza in the Text/Abstract/Title field and limit results from January 1919 to December 1919.
This produced 237 articles. "Spanish influenza" seems like too limiting a search term - only 2 results came up for this period. Searching for articles with influenza in the title (rather than anywhere in the text) returned 36 results.
If you want to get a comprehensive view of the BMJ's coverage of the epidemic you should include 1918 in your date range(See: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no01/05-0979.htm )
Competing interests: I wrote the editorial.
In order to learn from the past we must remain " an organisation with a memory ", so I have decades of BMJs stashed in Boxes.
A wise and intelligent patient once remarked to me ( after he recovered from my in-street defibrillation of his VF ), thet it wasn't his memory that he had lost ( " It was all still there " ) but rather the power of RAPID RECALL. Let us hope that between that facility for Rapid Recall, and this for Rapid Response, we too can hone the skills of intelligent and wise assessment.
So I will consign all my old BMJs to the Paper Recycling tank across the street, since I now have a BMJ with the potential for instant RECALL. I presume everything is now online indexed ?
But " those who cannot remember (recall ? learn from ? ) the past are condemned to repeat it " ( George Santayana). So I would like to begin my learning by recalling the BMJ PDFs on pandemic 'flu of 1919. Just how do I do that ??
Competing interests: My old BMJ's
Congratulations to the BMJ for this amazing online archive of BMJ’s going back to October 1840. But what really is the value of evidence papers published say 50 years ago? From the archive I was able to learn the background about the evidence for radiation and childhood leukaemia and the work and publications of Alice Stewart in 1961. I was training in a number of university units in Scotland and England during the seventies and xrays for pelvimetry in late pregnancy were common. There was no teaching about the work of Stewart. Even as a consultant in the early 80’s, I continued to order xray pelvimetry until it was formally decided that the investigation was of no value and the risk of radiation unjustified. This was the first time I was conscious of a direct link between antenatal radiation and childhood leukaemia. Some of this no doubt reflects my own ignorance and unquestioning of practice at the time. After all how could university obstetric practice be anything other than the highest standard?
The archive has also allowed me to look more carefully into cord clamping practice. There was considerable debate during the 50’s on the value of early or delayed cord clamping. W. N. Leake concluded in his long letter titled “When to tie the cord” in 1959 - “ Obstetrical teaching in these days should not be based on plausible assumptions but on an appreciation of physiological and anatomical data.” He pointed out the variation within the standard obstetrical textbooks. He stated that the main reason that immediate cord clamping came into vogue was the hope that by such means the fatal type of jaundice might be prevented, being then put down to the haemolysis of the extra blood instead of the then unknown blood-group factors. Later it was promoted to avoid chilling especially in asphyxiated infants. In 1962 Henry Bagshaw of Blackpool and Fylde group of hospitals reported the value of delaying cord clamping. Here is a practice that started with a misconception in the middle of the last century that persists today despite no recent evidence showing any advantage in favour of immediate cord clamping and all the evidence, including two Cochrane reviews, in favour of allowing a physiological transition from placental to pulmonary respiration. More recent articles have failed to change practice. Whether the authoritive editorial in 2007 by Andrew Weeks advising that it is better not to rush to clamp the umbilical cord at birth has had any effect in changing practice is uncertain but I am only aware of two units in the UK with a protocol for delayed clamping. If Alice Stewart’s work had been ignored would we still be xraying the fetus?
I did not have a single letter disputing my view following my article in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in 2008 titled “A view on why immediate cord clamping at birth must stop”. I have never had any responses to my numerous rapid responses nor to my published letter to the editor about the NICE guideline on caesarean section. Either the issue is so trivial that academics do not wish to engage or there are medico-political reasons.
It cannot be trivial to apply an intervention when there is evidence that it is hamful. What medic-political reasons could be operating? Cord blood banking is less successful after delayed clamping as more of the residual placental blood has moved into the baby. Cord blood gases can be helpful in protecting hospitals and practitioners from prosecution and the results change if physiological transition is allowed to take place.
Can academics please enter the debate and explain why we should be intervening routinely in a physiological transition at birth by occluding the umbilical cord circulation before it has closed naturally and provide some evidence to support their opinion.
Fabulous effort although it is unlikely that many UK taxpayers ae aware of their contribution. As somebody who will find it immensely useful I would just have liked to see at least some of the unsung back-room people given a mention by name as well as the more well known. Without the routine dreary work well behind the scenes no archives would be available to any of us.
Competing interests: None declared
British Medical Journal Archive since 1840
As I was once Editor of the Ghana Medical Journal for several years may I, on behalf of past and present Editors of the GMJ salute the British Medical Journal Editors for this remarkable achievement. Tony Delamothe’s brilliant account of how it all came about , plus the video highlighting the project , moved me intensely. History is my first love. Medicine my second. To have both brought together like this, to me, is astonishing. CONGRATULATIONS!
I decided to test the veracity of the archival claims. Of the journal’s 169 years “Each issue was scanned from cover to cover, and PDF files of the original pages were created for every article.” . Really? Would that include a brief comment I made on June 8 1963 regarding my brother and I being struck by lightning on the football field at Somanya in the Gold Coast/ Ghana? 
Lo and behold, yes the archive does include that. Just as it was originally published 46 good years ago: “suddenly a terrific flash of lightning came down across the field, grazing my face and sweeping me off my feet. I got up to find my brother lying on his back a few yards away – dead” .
Oh would that African Medical Journals were as painstaking in delving into the past as the BMJ. The benefits of this exercise are enormous, not least of which is the gradual cessation of the habit of some researchers deciding how far back they went in their search for truth, and often ending up by saying “we did a 25 year search back” for this and that, little knowing that some more diligent person had done the work by candle light a century ago. Coupled with the videos, these archives are simply priceless.
Felix I D Konotey-Ahulu MD(Lond) FRCP(Lond) FRCP(Glasg) DTMH FGA Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguised Professor of Human Genetics University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Consultant Physician Genetic Counsellor in Sickle and Other Haemoglobinopathies, London W1G 9FP [firstname.lastname@example.org ]
1 Delamothe T. The new BMJ online archive: A single search can find any article published in the BMJ since 1840. BMJ 2009; 338: b1744 [2 May, pages 1025-1026]
2 BMJ video. http://resources.bmj.com/bmj/interactive/bmj.video.clips
3 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Case of “Lightning Burns”. BMJ 1963; 1: 1547 [June 8] http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/1/5344/1547-a (doi: 10.1136/bmj.1.1136/1547-a)
Conflict of interest: None declared
Competing interests: None declared
Congratulations on this achievement of making the BMJ archive available online in the convenient PDF format.
However, looking at this article online on the day it was published, I was unable to download it as a PDF to read at my later convenience. The PDF is not made available until it is published in print.
It is a frequent frustration to receive daily emails detailing articles that have been published but not to be able to download the articles for reading when I have the time. Is it asking to much to ask for a PDF to be made available at the time of online publication, accepting that the exact layout may change when it is published in print?
Competing interests: None declared