Intended for healthcare professionals


Spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome . . . and other stories

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 22 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k716

Trial, error, and medicine

Percutaneous cholecystolithotomy was an innovative technique by which gallstones were extracted through a small subcostal incision in the anterior abdominal wall. Although successful in a small number of patients, it was soon eclipsed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy and few people now remember it. An essay in Medical Humanities uses the story to make the point that, if we forget about blind alleys and dead ends, the history of medicine reads like a triumphal path to enlightenment rather than the reality of slow improvements by trial and error (Med Hum doi:10.1136/medhum-2016-011176).

Long term effects of traumatic brain injury

Epidemiologists linked Swedish national databases to investigate the association between traumatic brain injury and later dementia (Plos Medicine doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002496). They approached …

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