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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Understanding disease: the ninjas are with you

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 11 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1388
  1. Joe Knight, year 10, Fortismere School, north London
  1. jknight8395{at}

    A set of comic books aimed at children seek to demystify various illnesses and conditions. Schoolboy Joe Knight finds them empowering

    Being a massive hypochondriac, I was apprehensive about reading what are basically detailed outlines of diseases I might get. Having convinced myself already this month that I have bowel cancer, diabetes, stomach cancer, tuberculosis, and malaria, I was wary of adding another four potential illnesses to my already abundant roster of life threatening conditions.

    I practically lived in Great Ormond Street Hospital from the ages of 4 to 6 after I was given a diagnosis of the bowel condition Hirschsprung’s disease. It’s fair to say that dealing with illness has not been my forte: the false calmness of the hospital waiting room and any word ending in “osis” still send a fearful shiver down my spine. The hysterical media coverage of the recent swine flu pandemic has not helped, and after many sleepless nights filled with routine forehead temperature checks I was glad …

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