This week's journal reviews on Doctors.net.uk
Journal Watch is a service provided to summarise some of the most popular medical journals.
Doctors.net.uk has a panel of specialist advisers responsible for reviewing a range of journals of general medical interest and some more specialised publications.
General Journal Watch is written by Dr Druin Burch, Consultant in Internal Medicine
This week's journals include....
Making soldiers more humane
This is a genuinely interesting study - a look at whether an intervention in battlefield training can result in soldiers carrying out fewer atrocities during the course of a war. The only regrettable thing is that it's being published in The Lancet which, as far as I remember, is a journal aimed not at high-ranking military officers but medics.
Drinking is good for you
This is a nice contrast to the study of dietary interventions in JAMA. The American journal showed that ruthlessly nagging people to replace the foods they loved with plant sterols makes a measurable biochemical difference of dubious clinical importance. This happier study demonstrates that moderate alcohol consumption in mid-life is associated not just with immediate happiness (implied rather than measured) but with healthy survival (which the authors call "successful ageing"). Sadly this is only an observational study, so we're obliged to be suspicious, but it does chime harmoniously with the vast body of other observational evidence about the boons of moderate alcohol intake. Should your tastes run to Burgundy, allow me to mention that Gagnard's 97 and 98 Santenays are currently drinking beautifully.
It's a truth generally acknowledged that the industry of providing resuscitation training consists of the mandatory inculcation of opinions based on no good evidence and subject to regular alteration. And while it's lovely to see the gradual emergence of a sound evidence base in the methodology of resuscitation, there's a glum predictability about what it shows. Various methods have been held (and changed) with utter conviction over the years by highly-paid experts. In two good quality NEJM trials this week, contrasting interventions are shown to have precisely similar outcomes. This study looks at whether you should perform CPR for 2 minutes before analysing the rhythm, or whether it's important to look at the rhythm more immediately, after only 30 or 60 seconds of CPR. The conclusion? It doesn't matter a damn.
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