The future of St. Bart�s Hospital hangs in the balance as the

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The future of St. Bart�s Hospital hangs in the balance as  the Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                                                                                Holly Thompson

 The future of St. Bart’s Hospital hangs in the balance as the government counts the pennies
THE future of Bart's                as a worldwide centre of excel-     Health website saying that they      NHS Trust will be able to           and despite the fact that Barts     speaks of the "betrayal of 7/7
Hospital is in doubt after the      lence for Cardiac and Cancer,       had "asked the trust to re-con-      afford such to be in such a huge    and the London is well known        bomb heroes" while The Times
government said they would          with the Royal London becom-        sider its plans to ensure that the   amount of debt. PFI projects        as one of the best run Trusts in    published a letter backed by
review plans for a £1.1 bil-        ing the UK's largest hospital.      Barts and Royal London               work by private companies           the country, the possibility of     1000 doctors which stated that
                                         It was thought all sides had   scheme is both affordable and        building the hospital and run-      the Trust not being able to         "The loss of any of these serv-
lion renovation project.
                                    agreed it to be the best option     meets local needs" and that the      ning its services, with the trust   afford repayments has seen the      ices would be damaging to the
   Originally devised as a result
                                    available but concerns were         trust has also "been asked to        repaying them over a fixed          government reconsider their         health of this vulnerable popu-
of the Turnberg report revoking
                                    first raised when the govern-       consider further the inclusion of    period, normally around 25-50       support for the project.            lation and irretrievably damage
a decision to close Bart's
                                    ment failed to sign the agree-      the Bart’s element within the        years.                                  This sudden change of heart     our medical school."
Hospital, the renovation project
                                    ment on the 23rd December as        scheme as part of this process."        The advent of patient choice     has infuriated staff and support-
has been seven years in the
                                    had been planned.                      The Department of Health is       over which hospital they are        ers of the hospital. The Evening
planning and would have seen
                                            Soon after, a statement     said to have grave doubts over       referred to means that there is     Standard has run a highly visi-               Continued on page 5
Bart's Hospital cement its place
                                    appeared on the Department of       whether Bart's and the London        no longer a guaranteed income,      ble and emotive campaign that

                                                                                                                                                                                     PEANUT BUTTER JELLY
                                                                                                                                                                                     TIME: George’s students
                                                                                                                                                                                     practice the haka for the
                                                                                                                                                                                     annual       RAG fashion
                                                                                                                                                                                     show, taking place on the
                                                                                                                                                                                     9th and 10th of February.
  2                                                             February 2006                                                                           

Presidents, start your engines please
                                           Not sure what to say this       AS RUMS students returned
                                      time as I’m sure you RUMSers         revived and refreshed from the
                                      are all sick to death of receiving   Christmas break, there was
                                      my rambling emails                            much for them to come
                                      (UCLH - lockers and                           back to. Hilarity
                                      swipecards - yay!).                           ensued at the UH                                                                                     doing much more than their fair
                                      Suffice it to say that                        revue; some may argue                                                                                share; but sadly, that means
                                      the “Lonely Medics’                           with the placings, but                                                                               many are doing little or noth-
                                      Guide to DGH” is com-                       we won’t go into that. I                                                                               ing.
    Julia Sarginson                   ing on a treat - all the info           also feel compelled to men-                                                                                   The charities helped by med-
 RUMS Clinical President                                                                                               Hannah Wilson                  Ambroise Muchembled
                                      you could possibly want about        tion a cetain debaucherous boat            RUMS Preclinical                   GKT President                   ical school and university
KUNG Hei Fat Choi! And may            DGH placements, plus I have          party, held to raise money for                President                                                       RAGs in London are as numer-
                                                                                                                                                     THE season of RAG IS upon
all your clerkings be fabulous        some priceless photos to put in!     the dwindling collection of           Then watch this space. Well not                                         ous as they are diverse. This
                                                                                                                                                     us! And every year the RAG
ones. I went down to Trafalgar        So keep an eye on the website!       boats in our possession. Who          this space literally - as a new                                         year at King’s we're collecting
                                                                                                                                                     committee is faced with the
Square to witness the celebra-           Also, the UH revue was a tri-     would have thought you could          RUMS publication is soon to                                             for the Starfish Appeal at
                                                                                                                                                     same question: how to get peo-
tions. Had a slightly dodgy           umph! Go MDs - a well-earned         have more fun on a boat when          be released, quaking in the                                             King’s College Hospital (for
                                                                                                                                                     ple to go out and collect.
cake filled with sickly-sweet         second place!                        you don’t have to row?!               shadow of the far superior                                              kids'      liver       services),
                                                                                                                                                         You’d think that as medics -
roast pork - but other than that         That’s all for now folks, over        Feeling left out of the loop?     Medical Student of course                                               Medicinema (who run cinemas
                                                                                                                                                     who swore blind on the UCAS
it was joyous.                        and out. Julia                       Always find out about events          [damn straight -EJ] And I do                                            in hospitals) and the British
                                                                                                                                                     form that we were out to help
                                                                           after they’ve happened? Want          appreciate the cheekiness of                                            Retinitis Pigmentosa Society,
                                                                                                                                                     people - this would be a golden
                                                                           to know what your excuse for          using this column to plug                                               amongst others. Collecting for
                                                                                                                                                     opportunity to practice what we
                                                                           an an exec is doing for you?          another mag.                                                            RAG is a simple and easy way
                                                                                                                                                     preach. In fairness, many stu-
                                                                                                                                                                                         to make a real difference to a
                                                                                                                                                     dents will forgo their lie-ins to
                                                                                                                                                                                         lot of lives, for the small per-
                                                                                                                                                     hit the streets at some ungodly
                                                                                                                                                                                         sonal sacrifice of a few hours’
                                                                                                                                                     hour, miss more than a few lec-
                                      to introduce an expensive                                                                                                                          sleep and some time to catch up
                                                                                                                                                     tures during the week, and still
                                      admissions test. Okay, okay.                                                                                                                       on missed work. So please give
                                                                                                                                                     pass their exams at the end of
                                      We were actually talking about                                                                                                                     generously!
                                                                                                                                                     the year. Some students are
       Simon Lammy                    the rumours concerning foun-
         ULU MSO                      dation programmes, the embry-
                                                                                                                 Association, with improve-                                                  With all the hard work of
HAPPY New Year! I do hope             onic MMC, the disastrous
                                      multi-deanery       application                                            ments to security, the develop-                                         raising cash, it is essential to
that the year becomes a pros-
                                      process and the costly admis-                                              ment of a new website and                                               have a bit of time to relax - and
perous        one,        bringing                                                 Victoria Tittle
                                      sions test that wannabes will be             BL President                  refurbishments in several
unmatched examination suc-                                                                                                                                                               for that we have a week of par-
                                      forced to take.                                                            areas, including the toilets,
cess and personal triumphs for                                             HAPPY New Year! Welcome                                                                                       ties, pub crawls and festivities.
                                           As our discussion became                                              Griff-bar and E.R. Café. And
you. Seriously. The most enter-                                            to a fresh beginning in the year                                                                              RAG week is great fun, with
                                      more interesting (i.e. football                                            talking of change, the elections
taining, fascinating and mes-                                              2006. Isn’t it scary, to think that
                                                                                                                 for Student President of 06/07                                          fantastic events that are only
merising sporting occasion to         entered the conversation), a         time is passing by so quickly?
                                      rustle occurred near the tube                                              will be taking place on the 14th                                        rivalled by Freshers’ fortnight.
have ever been created from the                                            As a child I always thought that
                                      door, causing my hearing to                                                - 17th of February inclusive.              Richard Bamford              Whether it is being pushed in
innermost recesses of the                                                  we would have super-chic
                                                                                                                     But before then, RAG will              SGUL President
human psyche returns this year        sharpen and my sight to focus.       technology by 2006, like an                                                                                   (or pushing) a pram around
                                      I gripped my Oxford Handbook                                               be hosting RAG Wars on the
for a four-week super-galactic                                             amazing body scanner which                                                THIS time of year is all about      Wimbledon, being gunged at
                                      of Clinical Medicine tightly                                               4th of Feb, where students will
bonanza! Have you guessed it?                                              could cure any illness with a                                             dressing up in the shortest         “man-o-man”, being sold at
                                      and braced to use it as a defen-                                           battle to see if the Freshers can
No, it is not RAG, as it can only                                          push of a button; the type of                                             nurse’s uniform ever made,
                                                                                                                 collect more money than the                                             auction or getting tarted up for
be the FIFA Football World            sive weapon. A wave of relief        thing you see on Star Trek
                                                                                                                 older years. Our RAG week           pulling on fishnet stockings,            the Ball, RAG week is not
Cup!                                  surged through me as I realised      [medical tricorders! -EJ]. But
                                                                                                                 will be taking place in May,        applying                                    to be missed.
        Recently I was on the         that the rustling sound was in       instead, I have a cantankerous
                                      fact two George’s medics:                                                  and once again BL will have to      make-up,
Northern Line engaged in vig-                                              computer that crashes in
                                      RAG has begun. Which med-                                                  show the other medical schools      putting on a long
orous dialogue with a girlfriend                                           protest at the merest hint of
                                      ical school will raise the most                                            how it’s really done, and retain
(i.e. a girl who is a friend, not a                                        work, I can rarely get the print-                                         blonde wig                                        Although I enjoy
                                      money? My money is on                                                      our title as top collectors!
girlfriend) about the majestic                                             er to, well, print, and my                                                and     raising                        being at the medical school
                                      RUMS! Ha Ha! Are any                                                       Other important events to
and grand world that is medical                                            mobile can't always cope with                                             money for charity. This
                                                                                                                 remember include the BDSA                                               that raises more money per
student politics: the fantastic       RUMS medics offended? Well,          making calls, let alone any-
                                                                                                                 conference on the 16th - 18th       time of year is all about           head than any other (BARTS -
foundation programme; the             when March comes get out             thing else.
                                      there and prove me wrong -                                                 Feb, and The Smoker on the          RAG.                                you know it’s true) we should-
magnificent MMC; the splen-                                                     But enough of my grumpy
                                      show that RUMS can raise                                                   22nd - 24th Feb.                          The fundraising frenzy that   n't forget that the money raised
did multi-deanery application                                              moans, because 2005 was a
process and the superb vision         more money than anyone else.         fantastic     year      for     the                                       happens throughout London in        is for really good causes in the
                                                                                                                                                     just a few weeks is great to be     UK and throughout the world.
                                      READERS may be shocked               find the cause of Mr McGuin-                                              part of and makes me proud to       This is a great chance for
                                      and saddened to learn that           ness’ bizarre translocation, with                                         be a medical student. I hope        London medical students to
                                      ICSM President and columnist         the best theory as yet being a
                                                                                                                                                     that our friends on the under-      make a big difference. Good
                                      extraordinaire Danny McGuin-         spontaneous wormhole open-
                                                                                                                                                     ground agree and don’t com-         luck with RAG, and I really
                                      ness is currently trapped in an      ing.
                                      alternate reality, where he is          Whether he will escape from                                            plain too soon about us being       hope that all five medical
                                      forced to sit through a never-       the dimension and manage to                                               there, so we can raise loads of     schools make lots of pots of
    Danny McGuinness
     ICSM President                   ending Medgroup meeting.             complete next month’s column                                              money!                              gold!
                                           Scientists are struggling to    remains to be seen.
                                                                                         February 2006                                                           3

                                                                              We heart cheese
               Ferras Alwan                         Emma-Jane Smith
               Editor-in-chief                      Deputy Editor
               BL                                   RUMS

               Rohin Francis                        Gemma Gough                                                                                                                             Rohin Francis
               Consultant Editor                    Sports Editor                                                                                                                        Consultant Editor
               SGUL                                 RUMS
                                                                                                                                                                          THE most famous medical
                                                                                                                                                                          textbook since Gray's Anatomy
                                                                                                                                                                          turned legal last month. That's
              Doug Fink                              Joanne Ooi                                                                                                           right, the green and yellow
              Sub-Editor                             Sub-Editor                                                                                                           bundle of fun that every med-
              RUMS                                   GKT                                                                                                                  ical student treasures like a
                                                                                                                                                                          child is all grown up. The
                                                                                                                                                                          Oxford Handbook of Clinical
                                                                                                                                                                          Medicine is twenty one years
                                                                                                                                                                          old and it even had a birthday
               Rajeev Advani                        Sajini Wijetilleka                                                                                                    party.
               Sub-Editor                           Sub-Editor                                                                                                                 Foyles Bookshop was host
               GKT                                  ICSM                                                                                                                  to the first book birthday party
                                                                                                                               PRAWN COCKTAIL: Always on                  MS has been invited to, com-
                                                                                                                               the forefront of technology, the           plete with free plonk and birth-
                                                                                                                               OHCM was one of the first med-             day cake. The great the good
                                                                                                                               ical books available for PDA.              (and MS) braved the red carpet
               Larisa Corda                         Zoe Spyvee                                                                 Note the 3rd edition: ‘Updates             Without doubt, the highlight of
               Sub-Editor                           Staff Writer
                                                                                                                               by fax’. So cool.                          the medical showbiz calendar.
               ICSM                                 SGUL
                                                                                                                                                                              We do not tend to run book
                                                                                                                                                                          reviews, but it's hard to be
                                                                                                                                                                          impartial when talking about
                                                                                                                                                                          the OHCM. The sheer number
              Luke Das                              Ryan Maginn                                                                                                           of spin-offs is a testament to its
              Staff Writer                          Staff Writer                                                                                                          success. Its individuality in a
              BL                                    BL                                                                                                                    marketplace of boring carbon
                                                                                                                                                                          copies sets it apart, with quotes
                                                                                                                                                                          from Milton, Colin Dexter,
                                                                                                                                                                          Gabriel Garcia Marquez and
                                                                                                                                                                          Oscar Wilde, it is instantly dif-
              Holly Thompson                        Ravi Poorun                                                                                                           ferent to other medical books.
              Photographer                          Graphic Designer                                                                                                          It is eccentric, opinionated,
              RUMS                                  GKT                                                                                                                   unrivalled and for people who
                                                                                                                                                                          go through life buying as few
                                                                                                                                                                          textbooks as possible, the three
                                                                                                                                                                          editors of this paper own ten
Welcome      to    Medical     Student                                                                                                                                    copies between them. With
(Newspaper), a ‘new’ ULU-free publica-                                                                                                                                    over a million copies sold, MS
                                                                                                                                                                          hopes it continues for at least
tion for London’s medical students...........                               SALT AND VINEGAR: The original authors, Tony Hope (left) and Murray Longmore.
                                                                                                                                                                          another 21 years.

SO what do you think of our          and we would have to start
new logo? Or our new name            again with an empty balance
(didn't you spot the little adden-   sheet in 2006-07. That's espe-
dum in the bottom right hand         cially annoying as the adverts
corner?) Or our new fonts?           in the paper are generated by
Welcome to the new look              us, not ULU. There were also a
Medical Student Newspaper - a        few little things that annoyed us
                                                                            READY SALTED: Imperial College School of
brighter, slightly wordier, and      so we thought long and hard
                                                                            Medicine ISC Chair Sana Usman feels maternal.
most importantly, ULU-free           and came to the conclusion that
newspaper for London's med-          we couldn't work with ULU
ical students.                       anymore. We're completely
    The fact is, this paper would    self funded and ULU have no
never have started without the       input into the paper at all so in
                                                                                                             The tiny new
help of ULU and it's something       reality there is very little to lose
                                                                                                             Mini OHCM,
we will be forever grateful for.     by doing this. There are how-
                                                                                                             will all the
But while the paper has moved        ever a number of advantages -
                                                                                                             content of
quickly from being an eight          we believe we can make the
                                                                                                             its big broth-
page newsletter wrapped              paper better and more relevant
around London Student to             to London medics as we can do
being a 24 page national award       stuff we couldn't get away with
winning newspaper, our status        before - check out the competi-                                                                      Smoke George’s                     rity concerns have been
                                                                                                                                                                             voiced. As a result, the
within ULU hasn't changed -          tions for free books on pages 5,
                                                                                                                                                                             Student Union put up
we were still seen as a supple-      17 and 21 for example!                                                                               ST. GEORGE’S went                  posters advising caution:
ment of LS. This made things            Email me if you'd like to get                                                                     smoke-free on the first of
really difficult for us - not hav-   involved in this "new" publica-                                                                      January, to the concern of         “If you’re going outside to
ing our own bank account             tion - no experience required!                                                                       many students who feel the         smoke, take someone with
meant we had very little control     Or feel free to email voicing                                                                        Bar atmosphere will not be         you.”
over the size of the paper or the    your opinions - we've got free                                                                       the same. They are, of
number of colour pages we            books for the best letters we                                                                        course, right. It will be          The message is clear. If you
could include, more important-       receive!                                                                                             clearer. However, as the           are going to smoke, make
ly, we could not guarantee the                                                                                                            entire site is no smoking,         sure others do too.
paper would be around come                                                                                                                staff and students have to               Pictured: St. George’s
the next academic year - any         Ferras                                                                                               brave the mean streets of          new bright red wavy wall.
money left over would have                                                                                                                Tooting to light up and secu-
been swallowed up by ULU   
  4                                                          February 2006                                                                       

Do poor area GPs deserve better pay than others?
SHOULD GPs be paid more             came a day before the govern-       could “found new practices and     are often used inappropriately
for working in deprived areas?      ment published a white paper        develop new ways of working”.      because a patient’s problems
The Institute for Public Policy     including proposals for more            But Dr Nadeem Nayer, a GP      have not been dealt with earlier.
(IPPR) thinks so, and has rec-      healthcare in the community.        in Castleford, West Yorkshire,          Recently Health Secretary
ommended that doctors be paid       Jessica Allen, IPPR senior          said that paying doctors more      Patricia Hewitt said that differ-
more according to the needs of      research fellow, said, “GPs         to work in such areas was only     ences in financial debt for
their patients. The incentive to    should be paid according to the     part of the solution. Speaking     health     services     between
work in poorer areas would          needs of the patients they serve    on Radio Five Live, he said, “It   deprived and affluent areas
then help to tackle health          so they are encouraged to           is important to target people in   revealed inequalities in access
inequalities, says the think        locate in deprived areas.           deprived areas to get their edu-   to healthcare. She suggested
tank.                                    “At present most GPs are       cation about health up to          that deprived regions had
     The IPPR made its recom-
mendations after it found that
                                    paid a salary or are funded
                                    according to historical patterns,
                                                                             “If we don't impart that to
                                                                                                           smaller debts than better-off
                                                                                                           ones, because more affluent
                                                                                                                                               RUMS                                   Thirst for revenge
many of the most deprived           rather than on the basis of the     them and give them the chance      areas had more GPs, who made        A LUST for vengeance may be          watched as their fellow players
areas of the UK, with the poor-     health needs of their popula-       to take the responsibility, then   more hospital referrals, thereby    hardwired into the male brain,       were given electric shocks.
est health records, also had the    tion.”                              there is something going           pushing up costs. Costs in poor-    suggests Tania Singer and col-            Whilst revenge was being
lowest number of GPs.                      Dr Laurence Buckman,         wrong.”                            er areas, however, were largely     leagues at UCL. Functional           exacted on cheating players,
    Some doctors welcomed the       deputy chairman of the British          The IPPR also recommend-       driven by emergency care, as a      MRI scans performed after            both male and female brains
idea, but emphasised that it was    Medical Association, was sup-       ed that there be more health       result of health problems which     playing a game, called the           showed decreased firing of
also important to improve pub-      portive of the call, saying that    services available in public       ought to have been dealt with       Prisoner’s Dilemma, suggest          pain-related mirror neurones in
lic education about health          newly qualified doctors should      places such as supermarkets, in    earlier.                            that men experience greater          ‘empathy’ with the cheater. But
issues.                             be encouraged to work in            order to provide an alternative                                        satisfaction than women in see-      in men, areas of the brain asso-
      The call by the Institute     deprived areas, where they          to emergency services, which                                           ing cheaters get their comeup-       ciated with reward showed
                                                                                                                                               pance.                               increased activity, suggesting
Lack of supervision leads to trust prosecution                                                                                                     The game gave participants
                                                                                                                                               the opportunity to either coop-
                                                                                                                                                                                    that men may enjoy seeing
                                                                                                                                                                                    double-crossers punished more
IN a case though to be the first    coccal toxic shock syndrome.        pended for a year and Dr           presiding, said that the case had   erate with or double-cross each      than the fairer sex.
of its kind, Southampton                A spokesman for the Crown       Srivastava for six months.         implications for the entire         other. The participants then
University Hospitals NHS            Prosecution Service said that it        But last week at Winchester    NHS.
Trust faces a potentially large     was believed this was the first     Crown Court, the hospital Trust           Ian Martin, lead clinical    SGUL                                HIV pregnancy hope
fine after admitting to provid-     instance where an NHS Trust         pleaded guilty to insufficient     coordinator for the National
                                                                                                                                               DOCTORS at St George’s have          by attaching large molecules to
ing inadequate supervision to       had been prosecuted under the       supervision of the doctors in an   Confidential Enquiry into
                                                                                                                                               found that a new drug for treat-     the cell membranes of CD4
two junior doctors whose negli-     Health and Safety Act for the       amended charge after a plea        Patient Outcome and Death
                                                                                                                                               ing HIV-related infections can       cells to prevent them being
gence led to a patient’s death.     inappropriate management of         bargain in which the prosecu-      (NCEPOD), said, “Not all
                                                                                                                                               prevent mother-to-child trans-       invaded by the virus.
    The two SHOs in question,       junior doctors.                     tion agreed to drop other alle-    patients need to be seen by a
                                                                                                                                               mission of the virus.                    The drug was given to two
Amit Misra and Rajeev                   The doctors were convicted      gations, including failing to      consultant, but it is the respon-
                                                                                                                                                     The drug, Enfurvitide, is      multi drug-resistant women,
Srivastava, failed to diagnose      of gross negligence leading to      take up a reference for one of     sibility of the consultant to
                                                                                                                                               amongst a cocktails of medica-       aged 33 and 36, and both have
and treat a bacterial infection     manslaughter at Winchester          the doctors and failing to         ensure that trainees only work
                                                                                                                                               tions given to pregnant women        given birth without transmit-
contracted by a patient, Sean       Crown Court in 2003, and            implement either a system of       within their own level of com-
Philips, who was admitted for a     given 18 month prison sen-          ward rounds or of staff han-       petence and know when to seek       with resistance to first-line        ting the virus to their babies.
routine knee operation. The         tences suspended for two years.     dover meetings.                    the advice of a senior col-         antiretroviral therapy, and acts
patient later died of staphylo-     Last year, Dr Misra was sus-              Judge Michael Brodrick,      league.”
                                                                                                                                               ICSM                          Parasitic schizophrenia
Lie detector that may just sneak up on you                                                                                                     STRONG evidence has been
                                                                                                                                               unearthed for a link between a
                                                                                                                                                                                    and that they were as, or even
                                                                                                                                                                                    more, effective at preventing
BEEN telling porkies recently?      ters such as pulse, respiratory     sive sensors and is doubtful as the subject of a damning report        parasite found in cat faeces and     behavioural alterations as anti
Then you’d better watch out,        rate and changes in electrical      to whether the development of by the US National Academy of            raw meat, and an increased risk      T. gondii drugs. This led them
because plans are underway in       conductance, known as the           such a device is possible. “They Sciences.                             of schizophrenia, according to a     to believe that T. gondii may
                                                                                                                                               study at Imperial.                   have a role in the aetiology of
the States for the development      “galvanic skin response” - all      might capture breathing rate           Indeed, the advantages of
                                                                                                                                                    Dr Joanne Webster and her       some cases of schizophrenia.
of a stealth lie detector.          without the need for wires or       with an infrared laser that sens- having a remote device are in
                                                                                                                                               team showed how the invasion            Dr Webster said: “Our study
        The US Department of        skin contacts.                      es chest vibration, but how they question. “There is no way a          or replication of the parasite       shows that a link may exist in
Defense (DoD) has revealed              As these measurements are       will meas-                                               poly-         Toxoplasma gondii in rats can        some individuals. This provides
that it intends to develop a        the same as those assessed by a     ure a pulse                                              graph         be inhibited by anti-psychotic       new clues for the treatment of
device that will pick up on sub-    polygraph lie detector, the DoD     through                                                  test can      or mood-stabilising drugs used       toxoplasmosis and schizophre-
tle hints that a subject may be     claims that the RPA will also       clothes,                                                 be car-       in the treatment of the disorder,    nia.”
lying - without the person          indicate the subject’s psycho-      f     o     r                                            ried out
knowing that their honesty is       logical state - for example, if     instance,                                                usefully      GKT                                                   Bio-bling
being scrutinised.                  they are agitated or stressed       is a very                                                without
                                                                                                                                               YOU can’t give your loved one        publicly displayed the bespoke
        The Remote Personnel        because they are lying. Thus        big ques-                                                the sub-
                                                                                                                                               your heart, but you may soon         biojewellery. The concept
Assistant (RPA) may also be         the device can double up as a       tion.”                                                   j e c t
                                                                                                                                               be able to give them a ring          began with an advert in the
used to locate enemy troops         “remote or concealed lie detec-           If the Conspicuous: traditional polygraph k n o w -              made of your own bone tissue,        New Scientist, inviting couples
hiding in a combat zone, or         tor during prisoner interroga-      RPS        is                                           i n g ,        according to a recent exhibition     to donate cells during the
even to detect signs of stress      tion”, according to details on a    ever produced, it is likely to because you actually want the           at the Science Museum’s Dana         removal of wisdom teeth and
that might be exhibited by a ter-   DoD website.                        spark more than a little contro- person to worry about certain         Centre. Ian Thompson from            design rings using lab-grown
rorist or suicide bomber.                But electrical engineers in    versy. A remote lie detector questions,” points out Bruce              KCL described the clinical           bone tissue and precious met-
The device will use microwave       the UK are skeptical. Robert        would face even greater diffi- Burgess, an examiner with               opportunities for bioactive          als. The jewellery produced
or laser beams reflected off a      Prance, of the University of        culties than standard polygraph polygraph       firm     Distress      materials, whilst researchers        will be on display at Guy’s
person’s skin to assess parame-     Sussex, specialises in non-inva-    tests, which were themselves Services, Surrey.                         from the Royal College of Art        Hospital later in the year.

End of the line                                           MS brings you the month’s bizarre news roundup                                       BL                     Mortality rate rock bottom
     INCE fingerprint scanners                                                                                                                 BARTS and the London NHS             The London Chest in Bethnal
S    can be fooled by fake fin-     P LANSa are underway to A COMPANYtohasdeter spy H AVING stress reduces the
                                      create bank of 2 million a system
                                                                                      level of
                                                                                                   experienced                                 Trust has one of the lowest          Green - are 23 per cent better
gers made of silicone, gelatine     seeds inside a mountain in          divers, involving the emisssion    during    public     speaking,      mortality rates in the NHS, says     than the national average, earn-
or even Play-Doh, scientists        Norway, the aim being to safe-      of powerful pulses of low fre-     researchers     have    found.      an independent report.               ing the ranking of second low-
are working on an e-nose that       guard the world’s food supply       quency waves which make            However, the effect only                  According to the patient       est in the UK.
can identify the unique aroma       against disasters. The vault        human organs resonate - caus-      applies to penetrative sex.         resource The Dr Foster Good              The guide gave Barts a hos-
of human skin, using metal          will not be permanently             ing swimmers to vomit into         Total abstainers demonstrated       Hospital Guide 2005, mortality       pital standardised mortality
oxides that respond to different    manned, but the mountains are       their masks or suffer internal     the highest blood pressure          rates at the Trust’s hospitals -     ratio (HSMR) of 77 for 2002-
gases.                              patrolled by polar bears.           ruptures.                          response to stress.                 The Royal London, Barts and          05.
                                                                                                  February 2006                                                               5

Bye bye Barts?
......continued from front page     on their part. However, if we        growing population" and that
                                    lose cancer and cardiac we           "there is no appropriate capaci-
Speaking to Medical Student,        would be seriously harmed            ty elsewhere in London and
Barts and the London Warden         because most of our recruit-         that, even if there were, moving
Professor Sir Nick Wright con-      ments in the past five years         vital services out of the area
firmed that the medical school      have been in cancer and if we        would be detrimental to our
would indeed be adversely           lost cancer services elsewhere       patients and other services."
affected should Bart's close:       then we'd probably lose all
"The medical school just can't      those staff we've recruited          But even if the government sees
afford to lose public services      because they depend on cancer        the light and agrees with the
from our trust because that's       patients for their research. So      review findings that it is indeed
where all our research is so it     it's a very important decision       the best option to include Bart's
would be catastrophic for us but    for us."                             Hospital in the renovation plan,
I think we've made a very solid            There has been positive       it will not have come without a
case for us being here. I think     progress of late though. An          cost. Each day the project is
we know that our PFI is a very      urgent review commissioned by        delayed costs £600,000 and,
financially sound case, we're a     Health Secretary Patricia            according to Hospital Doctor,
well run hospital, we've been in    Hewitt reported back on the          since the scheme has not been
balance for the past five years     31st January and stated "the         approved by the end of January,
and the cancer and cardiac          cancer and cardiac element of        Skanska are now entitled to
work being done at Bart's can-      the new hospitals programme is       leave the project or continue
not be done anywhere else           appropriately sized and meets        but at a higher rate of pay.
without significant rebuilding      the needs of east London's               Great work Ms Hewitt!

                                                                                                              UKCAT’s no cool cat
                                                                                                              Applicants to BL, GKT & SGUL will need to pay £50 for admissions test
                                                                                                                                                  The course-specific test is          the cost of the test may actually
                                                                                                                                 Douglas Fink     intended to directly discrimi-       frustrate its admirable aims.
                                                                                                                                   Sub Editor     nate according to the intrinsic      There have even been calls that
                                                                                                                                                  ability of the candidate, 'creat-    bursaries for disadvantaged
                                                                                                              FROM summer 2006, all               ing a level playing field for        applicants be made available.
                                                                                                              prospective medical students        applicants from diverse educa-       But this only creates a mine-
                                                                                                              applying to 24 UK dental and        tional and cultural back-            field of bureaucracy and com-
                                                                                                              medical schools, including          grounds'. It will replace the        plicated delegation. It has also
                                                                                                              Bart's, St George's and GKT,        emphasis on exam certificates        been suggested that advantaged
                                                                                                              will be required to take the UK     and curriculum vitae surface         applicants may be able to 'buy'
                                                                    Photography by Holly Thompson             Clinical      Aptitude      Test    area of previous admission           success in the exam, through
                                                                                                              (UKCAT).                            processes, achievements which        instruction at school or pur-

MDAP f*ck up. Again
                                                                                                                   The test has been designed     may be confounded by the stan-       chasing advice. And doesn't
                                                                                                              by a commercial interest, the       dard of education a candidate        preparation for an aptitude test
                                                                                                              UKCAT         Consortium       of   receives or a candidate's social     defeat the test's purpose?
                                                                                                              Universities, working with          environment.                               The Consortium accepted
                                    Process again failed to live up      meant students would have to
                   Ferras Alwan
                                                                                                              Pearson VUE, the computer-               Second, the test represents     that preparation will be
                                    to expectations.                     wait another week to find out
                  Editor-in-chief                                                                             based testing subsidiary of the     an extra objective filter to the     inevitable, despite the best
                                        As eager students crowded        where they would be placed.
                                                                                                              publishing company Pearson          admissions process: the test         efforts of the test to examine
                                    computers to receive an email            Despite missing the original
                                                                                                              plc. The test will be delivered     will 'provide additional infor-      aptitude over knowledge or
FINALISTS across London             announcing their jobs, they          deadline by a week, MDAP are
                                                                                                              on computer through Pearson         mation for selectors and             skills. To avoid commercial
must wait an additional week to     were greeted with a message          confident enough to state appli-
                                                                                                              VUE test centres worldwide.         improve transparency when            distribution of advice, in tutor-
find out their Foundation           saying that "delays in receiving     cants will eventually receive
                                                                                                              The UK has 150 such centres,        feeding back to candidates'.         ing, book- or web-form, of
Programme allocations as the        information about applicant          the information at exactly 5pm.
                                                                                                              and       accordingly         the         However, the adoption of       dubious and genuine prove-
Multi-Deanery      Application      scores" and "the need for close         It's nice of them to make sure
                                                                                                              Consortium insists that 'no UK      UKAT by 24 UK universities           nance, the Consortium intends
                                    quality control and audit"           you won't miss Neighbours!
                                                                                                              applicant should be more than       signifies only a partial victory     to make specimen papers and

George’s had a little lamb
                                                                                                              40 miles from a test centre'.       for the Consortium. UCL and          study guides 'freely available'
                                                                                                                  The specific contents of the    ICSM, like Oxford and                on the internet. BMAT papers
                                                                                                              test have not been released, but    Cambridge, already request the       are already available in this
                                                                                                              the Consortium assures that it      BioMedical Admissions Test           way.
                                    named it George and tried to         local farm refused to take it in -   'will assess a wide range of        (BMAT) as part of their admis-          An impartial and even-hand-
              Emma-Jane Smith       pinpoint its origins, to no avail.   as it was uncastrated and might      general skills and attributes       sions process. Not only does         ed admissions process that
                 Deputy Editor
                                    Rumours that George was the          prove dangerous - and the            rather than strictly academic       this undermine any attempts to       attracts applicants from all
                                    hospital's answer to Dolly the       RSPCA decline to get involved        achievement'. The test will be      standardise medical school           social and cultural strata is
A DARING sheep recently             sheep - or indeed that he was a      with farm animals. After a           90 minutes long and the results     applications, but, with the          obviously      desirable.    But
broke into the grounds of St        Russian undercover spy - were        week at the hospital though, a       will be available to candidates,    option to select 4 medical           achieving this aim may be more
George's Hospital, hoping to        quickly quashed, however. A          farmer from Heathrow took            as well as their universities of    schools on the application           difficult than providing an
break free from a life of grass -   hospital spokesman denied all        George under his wing. He is         choice.                             form, it may lead to situations      objective application exam, a
and to avoid eventual conver-       knowledge of the source of the       now in the company of 2,000                     According to the         where, for example, candidates       challenging test in itself.
sion into kebabs into the baa-      errant sheep, but said that it was   other sheep. George was unfor-       Consortium's          chairman,     for St George's and UCL will         Medicine must first broaden its
gain. The misguided woolly          "being looked after in an area       tunately unavailable for com-        Professor Ian Johnson, the test     be forced to sit both sets of        appeal, before it can claim to
animal was accosted by securi-      well away from patients." The        ment at the time of going to         has two principle aims. First, it   examinations.                        have broadened its access.
ty staff at the hospital, who       ram's future looked bleak as the     press.                               is designed to widen access.           Other critics also predict that
  6                                                            February 2006                                                                         

                  UCH: the saga continues
Recent issues of Medical Student have seen a deluge of articles concerning problems at
London's greenest hospital. Has the time finally come for UCH to turn over a new leaf?
                                    regarded as a breakthrough            ent that these were needed, the     what would the Trust say to
              Emma-Jane Smith       after months of relentless lob-       Trust moved quickly to secure       allegations that the new UCH
                 Deputy Editor      bying of UCLH Trust by stu-           their provision,” said a            has so far earned itself the rep-
                                    dents and staff at RUMS.              spokesperson. But for many,         utation of a “student-unfriend-
DISGRUNTLED students at             Fourth year student and               this is not likely to be a satis-   ly” hospital?
UCH have been fed a juicy car-      Clinical      President       Julia   factory answer to the question,           “We do not consider our-
rot since Medical Student last      Sarginson is delighted that           a feeling which the Trust appear    selves student unfriendly, and
reported on the dismal state of     progress is finally being made,       to pre-empt. “The Trust has         have striven to deliver high
teaching affairs at the £420m       but all too aware that much           gone through a period of            quality undergraduate educa-
“super-hospital”. From the stu-     remains to be done.                   immense change, in terms of         tion and a decent experience
dent changeover in March this           “The problems lie mostly not      location and in the way that        despite the obvious pressures.
year, lockers and access cards      at school level, but at Trust         services are delivered. This        The new UCH provides an out-
are expected to materialise, as     level; the medical school has                                             standing learning environment,
well as theatre footwear for stu-   been as dissatisfied as the stu-                                          being one the most advanced
dents and passwords to access       dents with the situation, and has                                         hospitals in the NHS. We have
patient information on the com-
puter system.
                                    lobbied tirelessly on our
                                    behalf,” she said. “It has
                                                                          “ We do not consider
                                                                          ourselves    student
                                                                                                              good relationships with staff
                                                                                                              who have made the transition a
                                    become abundantly clear that          unfriendly, and have                success and we now look for-
                                    the Trust has made inadequate         striven to deliver high             ward to making further
                                    provision for the teaching of         quality undergraduate               improvements.”
“ Thenot at school
       problems lie                 students in the new hospital.
                                    This is surprising, considering
                                                                          education.                              But tangible results of these
                                                                                                              good intentions may be a long
level, but at Trust level.
                                    how much money is invested in
                                    it in order for it to function as a
                                                                                                      ”       time coming, as the Trust strug-
                                                                                                              gles to catch up with the needs
                            ”       world-class educational estab-
                                                                          UCLH Trust                          of students and staff alike.
                                                                                                                  More educational space has
                                         But when asked by Medical                                            been promised, but is currently
Julia Sarginson, RUMS               Student why basic facilities          change has undoubtedly led to a     allocated in a wing of the hospi-
Clinical President                  such as lockers and swipe cards       number of pressures on all parts    tal which has yet to be built.
                                    were not provided when the            of the system. We look forward      Meanwhile, the medical school
                                    first students arrived at the hos-    to working on those areas           has taken matters into its own
                                    pital - considering the large         which need to be improved as a      hands, creating more space
    The news, announced fol-        sums of money set aside for           result.”                            itself by refurbishing the
lowing a Student Staff              students - UCLH Trust was                An apology of sorts, then, to    Rockefeller       Building      in                                  Photography by Holly Thompson
Consultative Committee meet-        quick to defend its position.         the students let down by their      University Street.
                                                                                                                                                   has said.                           ments have been brewing over
ing in December, has been               “As soon as it became appar-      experience at the hospital. But           Students also continue to
                                                                                                                                                       “We need helpful, dedicated     recent use of the finances.
                                                                                                              suffer from the lack of catering
                                                                                                                                                   consultants, seminar rooms,         “There will be a review of SIFT
                                                                                                              facilities and social areas in the
                                                                                                                                                   and some sort of mess room,”        money at UCH in July,” says
                                                                                                              hospital. The ground floor
                                                                                                                                                   he said. He also suggested that     Professor Stewart. “Student
                                                                                                              ‘café’ consists of a row of vend-
                                                                                                                                                   the university wields the most      feedback will be an important
                                                                                                              ing machines and scanty furni-
                                                                                                                                                   powerful weapon in the strug-       document in this review. So too
                                                                                                              ture, and in true UCH style, a
                                                                                                                                                   gle: the threat to discontinue      will be newspaper articles.”
                                                                                                              swipe card is required to access
                                                                                                                                                   first year clinical teaching at         UCLH Trust is also creating
                                                                                                              the room - leaving the current
                                                                                                                                                   UCH if the problems are not         an additional academic position
                                                                                                              wave of students infuriated and
                                                                                                                                                   addressed.                          to ensure that its students are
                                                                                                              locked out once again.
                                                                                                                                                                                       getting the full benefit of the
                                                                                                                  But the improvements nego-
                                                                                                                                                                                       SIFT money. The post of
                                                                                                              tiated for March have gone
                                                                                                                                                                                       ‘Director of Teaching/Site Sub-
                                                                                                              some way to diminishing stu-
                                                                                                              dents’ perception that they are
                                                                                                              an unwanted necessity at the
                                                                                                                                                   “   We need helpful,
                                                                                                                                                   dedicated consultants,
                                                                                                                                                                                       Dean at UCLH’ will be filled
                                                                                                                                                                                       from April this year, with the
                                                                                                                                                                                       brave individual aiming to “co-
                                                                                                              hospital; a feeling that has been    seminar rooms, and
                                                                                                                                                                                       ordinate and lead the delivery
                                                                                                              perpetuated not only by the lack     some sort of mess                   of undergraduate teaching with-
                                                                                                              of facilities and problems with      room.                               in the Trust.”
                                                                                                              teaching, but also by the ill-
                                                                                                              defined role of medical students
                                                                                                              at UCH. For example, phle-
                                                                                                                                                                               ”           More specifically, they will
                                                                                                                                                                                       need to identify the teaching
                                                                                                                                                                                       and facilities required, ascertain
                                                                                                              botomists have told students         Professor Stewart,                  ways of monitoring teaching,
                                                                                                              they are not qualified to take       Honorary Consultant                 ensure that appropriate facili-
                                                                                                              blood, whereas the medical           Physician, UCH                      ties are in place, and liase with
                                                                                                              school has given the go-ahead.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Module Management Groups
                                                                                                              Recommendations to “avoid
                                                                                                                                                                                       for clinical years 3 and 4 with
                                                                                                              confrontation       with     phle-
                                                                                                                                                       If the hospital wants to do     regard to local issues.
                                                                                                              botomists over the matter”, are,
                                                                                                                                                   something about its £7.6m debt            The medical school hopes
                                                                                                              however, only a temporary
                                                                                                                                                   and keep itself in giant pebbles,   that the post will “make the link
                                                                                                              solution, and students long for
                                                                                                                                                   it would do well to address the     to SIFT transparent”, thereby
                                                                                                              the medical school and Trust to
                                                                                                                                                   problems; money paid to it          securing a better deal for med-
                                                                                                              produce together a clear guide
                                                                                                                                                   from the medical school for         ical students. A demanding post
                                                                                                              as to what students officially
                                                                                                                                                   teaching, known as ‘SIFT’           perhaps, but a minimum start-
                                                                                                              can and cannot do.
                                                                                                                                                   funds, runs to the tune of a cool   ing salary of £70k - not to men-
                                                                                                                  But the medical school may
                                                                                                                                                   £20m per annum. The money is        tion an unlimited supply of
                                                                                                              well bite back if UCH doesn't
                                                                                                                                                   intended to help secure an          green tiles - should sweeten the
                                                                                                              buck up its ideas soon, as
                                                                                                                                                   excellent reputation for teach-     deal.
                                                                                                              Professor Stewart, Honorary
                                                                                                                                                   ing at the hospital, but argu-
                                                                                                              Consultant Physician at UCH,
                                                                                                      February 2006                                                               7

Trust us to get out of debt          Trusts in trouble: Those to recieve turnaround support
                     Zoe Spyvee
                      Staff Writer   Barnet & Chase Farm                   North Sheffield PCT
                                     Hospitals NHS Trust                   Selby and York PCT
                                     Brighton    and    Sussex             Sheffield South West PCT
A BBC SURVEY has found               University Hospitals NHS              Sheffield West PCT
that the current NHS deficit for     Trust                                 Shrewsbury and Telford
2005-06 is likely to be over £1      Cheshire West PCT                     Hospital NHS Trust
billion. Eighteen NHS trusts         George Eliot Hospital NHS             South East Sheffield PCT
across the country have been         Trust                                 Surrey     and      Sussex
named and shamed by the              Hammersmith Hospitals                 Healthcare NHS Trust
Department of Health and 'turn-      NHS Trust                             The Royal West Sussex
around support', including           Hillingdon PCT                        NHS Trust
accountants and management           Kennet       and     North            University Hospital of
consultants, have been sent in       Wiltshire PCT                         North Staffordshire NHS
to reduce predicted shortfalls.      Mid Yorkshire Hospitals               Trust
With NHS debt mounting the           NHS Trust                             West Wiltshire PCT
Health Secretary, Patricia
Hewitt, has warned "we have          medical students into their F1        be key to balancing the books.
written a very big cheque for        posts, to be announced this           Of the 35 acute Trusts surveyed
the NHS but it is not a blank        month. This obviously has             52% reported they have tem-
cheque."                             implications for the services         porarily closed wards, 38%
     London trusts have been at      offered to patients and the envi-     have cancelled or restricted eli-
the centre of the debate with        ronment in which you may find         gibility for services and 82%         Hammering down prices: ICSM teaching trust is amongst those in trouble.
Hammersmith Hospitals NHS            yourself working, yet Patricia        have imposed a vacancy freeze.
Trust's £35.3m deficit one of        Hewitt has assured us that                It seems cuts are inevitable      on Tony Blair, unless their con-    love to get rid of all waits in the   £400m." Patricia Hewitt has
the highest in the UK. Bosses at     addressing the financial prob-        and that the government is to         dition was life-threatening.        next six months, but the fund-        admitted in the press that "some
the Trust said that 300 jobs had     lems will not affect patient care.    weather the storm and not pro-        Around 100 patients were            ing is not there to do it."           of these contracts have cost
been cut to reduce the deficit       "Improving financial manage-          vide extra funding. In fact the       removed from the waiting list             The Conservatives blame         more than expected."
but Hammersmith is not the           ment does not mean compro-            treasury is likely to squeeze         in attempt to alleviate the         recent new pay deals for GPs              Rationing will always be an
only trust crucial to London         mising services for patients.         NHS funding further with only         Trust's £15m deficit. Other         and consultants for the over-         integral part of a healthcare sys-
medics that faces financial trou-    Any action that the NHS takes         a 4% increase expected for            Trusts have established mini-       spend. Their spokesman,               tem which is free at the point of
ble: Surrey and Sussex               to reduce deficits should not         2007-8 instead of the 7% rise in      mum waiting times for elective      Shadow Health Secretary               delivery. The next few years
Healthcare       Trust,     which    lower the quality of care pro-        place since 1999. Trusts are          procedures to limit the number      Andrew Lansley, said "there is        will be tough for NHS bosses as
encompasses the East Surrey          vided to patients." In contrast, a    already implementing cuts             carried out before the end of the   a systematic problem going on         deficits are clawed back and
Hospital - a teaching hospital       recent survey in the HSJ,             under pressure from the               financial year in March. Ms         here. It is not just poor financial   therefore a tough few years for
for St George's - has a deficit of   Health Service Journal, sug-          Government. In December the           Hewitt commented on the             management by individual              us as doctors as we try and
£41m, an incredible 33% of its       gests NHS bosses do not share         John Radcliffe in Oxford              Staffordshire PCTs decision to      trusts." He went on to say "the       explain delays and reduced
turnover. All in all, 5 of the top   her optimism. Three quarters          announced that patients would         introduce a minimum 6 month         government had underestimat-          services to patients.
10 Trusts receiving 'turnaround      saying that long term reform,         not be able to receive cardiac        wait for elective procedures;       ed the cost of the GP contract
support' will welcome London         including closing services, will      ablation therapy, as performed        "some hospitals would dearly        by £1.5bn [and] consultants by

Debt - more than a four-letter word
Those NHS Trusts could do with listening to our good friends at Medical Sickness - providing specialist financial advice for you!

Debt/det/ n. something owed.                                               ments now (and preferably             a loan of £20,000 over 10 years     redemption penalties.                 a business investing in its
                                     What does debt look like?             without having to make any            in this case would be £7,866.40                                           future. Consider your objec-
If only it were that simple.              Debt can be anything from        sacrifice - flat screen TV vs.        which is nearly 40% on top of       What can you do?                      tives (such as buying a house
                                     an overdraft to owing your            food for a month!)                    what you borrowed initially.             In the unusual event of you      within three years of qualifica-
Why borrow?                          friend a tenner. However there                                                 Hopefully, this will highlight   getting into trouble, talk to a       tion) and what might knock
      There are essentially two      are four main types of personal       Loans                                 the realities of borrowing          student counsellor, the Citizen's     your progress off course (huge
reasons to borrow. The reason        borrowing and they each                   If this is on top of your stu-    money and the importance of         Advice Bureau or even the             loan repayments). Think about
why most individuals borrow is       require a different approach.         dent loan, these are best             managing debt.                      bank before the situation             what is necessary spend and
to finance a large purchase,                                               arranged through a bank and                                               becomes unmanageable. It is in        what isn't - new Oakley's for the
such as a car or to cover a 'blip'   Credit cards/overdrafts               may be used to consolidate            Mortgages                           the interests of the banks to         Ski-Trip? Make sure that you
in spending (such as the elec-              Be aware that these can        credit card and overdraft debts.          This is the ultimate in long-   look after their new customers,       have enough spare cash to
tive trip).                          develop a life of their own.          Generally rates of interest are       term borrowing. Most gradu-         particularly those like you who       enjoy yourself and make the
    As a student, borrowing is a     They charge high rates of inter-      lower, but you will be expected       ates will not be buying a house     will be going in to a profession.     most of being a Medical
fact of life. There's no point in    est and they are there essential-     to follow a repayment schedule        immediately. However you do         Don't try to keep the problem to      Student but be disciplined and
becoming neurotic about it. It's     ly to support cash flow, but only     comprising the amount that you        need to consider that debts         yourself: you will not be the         get help when you need it.
better to accept it as a necessary   temporarily. If you are smart         borrowed (capital) and interest       clocked up as a student will        first or the last, but do take
evil and try to manage it sensi-     you won't run up large balances       on top.                               affect what mortgage loan you       responsibility for your financial     Medical Sickness, part of
bly. What you borrow now             and you'll try to clear your bal-         Interest rates are historically   can afford later. A mortgage is     health. Also, cover your back         Wesleyan Assurance Society,
affects your future when you         ance each month. If this isn't        low right now, but here's an          often overlooked as the massive     and get yourself good income          provides specialist financial
are a newly qualified doctor         possible for you then try to          example of what the repay-            loan that it is.                    protection cover as quickly as        advice for medical students
and beyond. The borrowed             clear the interest or, even better,   ments look like for a fixed term          Whatever the type of loan,      you can, so that if your person-      and doctors. Telephone: 0808
money that you are living off        set yourself a plan that you can      loan or £20,000 at a rate of 7%:      remember that it is a fiercely      al health is affected, your finan-    100 1884.
now is, in a way, an investment      afford to make repayments             - Over 5 years, monthly pay-          competitive market, made even       cial health doesn't need to get       Website www.medical-sick-
in your future. Either you can                                             ments are £396.02                     more so by the Internet. Loans      any worse.                  
control it by monitoring your        Hire purchase                         - Over 10 years, monthly repay-       are a mouse click away.                 Try and think of yourself as
spending or the financial insti-           These are a trap for the        ments are £232.22                     Shopping around and reviewing
tutions you are borrowing from       unwary. Never go into these           - Over 20 years, monthly repay-       what you have is tedious, but
will control it and your finan-      agreements unless you are able        ments are £179.77                     will save real money so it is
cial welfare in the future.          to afford the monthly repay-              The total interest payable on     important that there are no early
  8                                                          February 2006                                                                         

Doing things the Wright way
Knighted in the New Year’s honours, we speak to Barts & the London Warden Professor Sir Nick Wright
                                                                                                                                                                                      And will your family address
                    Ferras Alwan                                                                                                                                                      you so?
                   Editor-in-chief                                                                                                                                                    No! They'll call me by the usual
                                                                                                                                                                                      derogatory terms I should
PROFESSOR Sir Nick Wright,                                                                                                                                                            think!
Warden of Barts and the
London studied medicine at                                                                                                                                                            So you're now the senior fig-
Durham University before                                                                                                                                                              ure in the London medical
completing a PhD at Oxford. A                                                                                                                                                         world?
histopathologist by training, he                                                                                                                                                      Umm, I wouldn't say senior fig-
had been Professor of                                                                                                                                                                 ure, I mean the senior figure is
Pathology at Hammersmith                                                                                                                                                              called the pro-vice chancellor
Hospital and Deputy Principal                                                                                                                                                         and he's elected by the heads of
of Imperial College School of                                                                                                                                                         medical schools and that's cur-
Medicine before moving to BL.                                                                                                                                                         rently Mike Farthing, he's the
Popular amongst medical stu-                                                                                                                                                          dean at Georges. But I mean the
dents, Prof Sir Wright has con-                                                                                                                                                       pro-vice chancellor does all the
tinually supported the medical                                                                                                                                                        administrative stuff for the fac-
school retaining its autonomy                                                                                                                                                         ulty of medicine and quite hon-
and identity.                                                                                                                                                                         estly I've got enough to do.

When did you find out?                                                                                                                                                                So you're not going to stamp
25th November but I had to                                                                                                                                                            your authority then?
keep it absolutely deadly quiet.                                                                                                                                                      I'll certainly stick up for our
If you tell people and it gets out                                                                                                                                                    medical school and make sure
they can take it away from you.                                                                                                                                                       our medical school gets a fair
I told the wife and kids about it                                                                                                                                                     crack of the whip but I certain-
but otherwise deadly quiet.                                                                                                                                                           ly won't be behaving any differ-
                                                                                                                                                                                      ently now.
It must have come as a bit of
a shock?                                                                                                                                                                              Will the medical school still
Total shock I mean, I thought it                                                                                                                                                      be called Barts and the
was only pop stars or people                                                                                                                                                          London in ten years time?
who gave large donations to                                                                                                                                                           We will always be Barts and the
political parties who got knight-                                                                                                                                                     London. I'm very emphatic that
ed and I've done neither and                                                                                                                                                          we're Barts and the London and
I've never been president of a                                                                                                                                                        Queen Mary so we're BL at QM
medical college or done any-                                                                                                                                                          and that's all decided and we
thing for the government really                                                                                                                                                       will be BL at QM for the fore-
so it was quite a surprise really.   Dean of Barts and the London       By all accounts things have         ly an educationalist by back-        Barts and the London, make           seeable future, well for as long
                                     and I suppose the organisation     changed a huge amount since         ground, I wouldn't make any          sure the students continue to be     as I'm in charge anyway. I
So what do you think is your         I've made the most difference to   you've taken over.                  pretence to be although I am         the great guys that they already     think that's generally agreed
biggest achievement?                 is Barts and the London. When      Well I should say so, I think       told by Dr Colvin and the stu-       are and I think we have proba-       that that is our name - I have a
I've been thinking a lot about       I came five years ago staff had    they probably have. I feel a lot    dents I am very student friend-      bly the best medical students I      very good relationship with the
this, all I've really done is my     pretty low morale but now          happier about the school than       ly, but I wouldn't make any pre-     have ever worked with, and I         principal, I was terrified he was
job, whatever's come my way          we've turned the corner and I      compared to when I came here.       tence to being an educational-       mean that. And generally look        going to go off and become the
I've done. I was Professor of        think we're becoming a top                                             ist. So I was probably brought       after the school in terms of         principal of King's as the last
Pathology at the Hammersmith         medical school again. So I         Well there's been an explo-         in to turn the research around       medical school welfare which I       thing I want is a new principal
for a long time and then at the      would certainly count in my        sion in the amount of               and it's what I'm in the process     am interested in - I see Vicky       to come in and disturb the way
Imperial Cancer Research Fund        book what I've done at Barts       research during your tenure.        of doing.                            Tittle every month so that's         we work because we work very
I was Director of Clinical           and the London as being the        I think that was largely what I                                          kicked in and that's very impor-     well. I think he's very happy
Research then latterly I've been     most satisfactory achievement.     was brought in for. I'm not real-   And is that the long term            tant. I'd like to see research in    with BL at QM so we call our-
                                                                                                            aim?                                 the medical school increase by       selves Barts and the London.
                                                                                                            It's only five years since I came    another order of magnitude
                                                                        What’s in a name?
                                                                                                            and I think this is a ten year job   over the next five years so that's   So have you set a date to go to
                                                                        Nicholas Alcwyn Wright
                                                                                                            and I think I plan to carry on for   my aims for the school and I         the Palace?
                                                                        will      collect    his
                                                                                                            another five years if I can, and     suppose my own personal aim          Yeah next week - it's a week on
                                                                        Knighthood after Thomas
                                                                                                            at the end of ten years we'll see    is my research and I'd like to       Thursday (9th February) - very
                                                                        Woodward, better know as
                                                                                                            where we are. Our current tra-       get my Cancer Research UK            quick as I'm W.
                                                                          legendary Welsh croon-
                                                                                                            jectory is certainly up to plan      grant renewed in November! It
                                                                             er Tom Jones.
                                                                                                            and we'll keep trying to do like     comes up for renewal then.           Did you have a choice of the
                                                                                                            that if we can.                                                           date?
                                                                                                                                                 So how would you like people         No, I was commanded to
                                                                                                            What are your personal               to address you?                      appear - I had to cancel a trip to
                                                                                                            aims?                                Sir Nick or Sir Nicholas - Sir       Japan! I was supposed to be
                                                                                                            My aims are to ensure the stan-      Nick Wright is probably best.        giving a talk but I can't go!
                                                                                                            dards of medical education in
                                                                                                                                                                                      Well you can't say no to Her
                                                                                                                                                                                      Majesty can you?
                                                                                                                                                                                      Absolutely not, no!

                                                                                                                                                                                      MS would also like to congrat-
                                                                                                                                                                                      ulate Dr Fiona Moss, Post-
                                                                                                                                                                                      graduate Dean at the London
                                                                                                                                                                                      Deanery for her CBE.
                                                                                                   February 2006                                                             9

We always said cheating suks
He was seen by many as the best scientist in the world - until it was revealed his findings were faked. We document the rise and fall of Hwang Woo-Suk.

                  Wisam Alwan

HWANG Woo-Suk has come a
long way from his humble
beginnings in a small South
Korean mountain town. The
veterinarian first came to the
public eye in 1999 when he
claimed to have cloned a cow
but he never really achieved
worldwide fame until 2004
when the prestigious journal,
Science published his paper
"Evidence of a Pluripotent
Human Embryonic Stem Cell
Line Derived from a Cloned
Blastocyst". In this paper he
claimed to have successfully
created an embryonic stem cell
by transferring the nuclei from
somatic cells. This was fol-
lowed by a 2005 paper where
his team claimed they produced
11 immune matched patient-
specific stem cell lines that
could possibly be used to cure
diseases due to a single cell
type defect e.g. Parkinson's dis-
ease. This paper propelled          Top: Thousands of supporters flocked to candlelit vigils
human stem cell therapy to the      in honour of their hero.
front pages of newspapers and       Bottom: Hwang Woo-Stamp: a quadraplegic leaps into
TV news worldwide and thrust        the arms of a woman as South Korea refused to get
HWS into the limelight. To top      over-excited at Dr Hwang’s work.
of a great year he managed to
                                    human oocytes. Another col-          gation. On December 23rd, the
become the world's first to
                                    league Roh Sung-il claimed           panel announced that 9 of the
clone a dog - an Afghan hound
                                    that he had paid female workers      11 stem cell lines were indeed
named Snuppy (Seoul National                                                                                  Dr Hwang with Snuppy
                                    in his lab up to $1400 for eggs      faked, while the other two were
University puppy).
                                    used in the Hwang's research,        still not confirmed as valid. Dr
     His work received interna-                                                                               extraction procedure.        The    the forthcoming criminal inves-     ing based on the proviso that
                                    but claimed Dr. Hwang was            Hwang immediately resigned
tional acclaim and his name                                                                                   panel also suspected that the       tigation. Misuse of state funds     stem cells can be cloned and so
                                    unaware of this fact. Despite        and apologized for "creating a
featuring alongside Nelson                                                                                    2004 Science paper was faked        (totalling nearly $43m) carries     financially, the loss is expected
                                    his protested innocence, the         shock and a disappointment".
Mandela, Kofi Annan and                                                                                       with the stem cell arising due to   a jail term of up to ten years.     to be much greater than the $43
                                    claim cost him his position of       He also went out announcing
Arnold Schwarzenegger in                                                                                      a parthenogenetic process.          Should he avoid a jail term,        million spent on Hwang's work.
                                    head of the Word Stem Cell           that the stem cell belonged to
Time magazines 100 most                                                                                       Science formally retracted both     HWS is unlikely to find             Science journal has been dealt a
                                    Hub - an international stem cell     South Korea and that their
influential people of 2004. In                                                                                papers in January of this year.     employment with prestigious         massive blow to its prestigious
                                    research centre.                     cloning would happen in the
his native Korea he was hon-                                                                                  However the cloning of              institutions to continue his        reputation. For a journal that
                                        Hwang also began to feel the     near future.
oured with the title of "Supreme                                                                              Snuppy, published in Nature         work although US biotech firm       carries the words "the advance-
                                    heat at home. In late November              Although much of South
scientist", worth an estimated                                                                                journal, was verified.              Clonaid have offered Dr.            ment of science" on its cover,
                                    a Korean TV network aired an         Korea was in denial of the alle-
$15 million while in 2005, his                                                                                       One of the reasons that      Hwang a place in their research     one man's actions have made a
                                    investigative program question-      gations against their beloved
research funding was a whop-                                                                                  Hwang was such a hero in            partnership. Clonaid, founded       mockery of this sentence.
                                    ing his egg acquiring process.       hero, cocktail enthusiasts in the
ping $27 million. A national                                                                                  Korea was his unwavering            by members of the Raelian                Sadly, the real disappoint-
                                    The uproar caused by the show        country were taking the claims
hero, the Korean government                                                                                   patriotism. He was a vehement       movement - a cult that believes     ment will be to the millions of
                                    was such that the producer had       with a rather large pinch of salt.
commissioned a postage stamp                                                                                  critic of George Bush's policy      humans were created by aliens,      patients around with incurable
                                    to put his wife and children into    The "Hwang Woo-Suk cock-
commemorating his work. The                                                                                   on stem cells, while he once        attracted worldwide attention       diseases such as Parkinson's
                                    hiding, whilst rival broadcast-      tail" was born - 11 glasses of
stamp doesn't do much to                                                                                      said that his work that he had      when they claimed to have cre-      and paraplegic patients, who
                                    ers revelled in the advertisers'     liquor numbered 2 to 12, each
downplay the hype that stem                                                                                   "gone to the heart of America       ated a child named Eve from         for a brief period were offered
                                    decision to boycott the station.     with a small shot glass within.
cells can cure the incurable dis-                                                                             and planted a Korean flag on        donor somatic cells.         The    the faintest glimmer of hope for
                                    It is rumoured that the rival net-   The cocktail mix is poured in
eases. In fact, the image                                                                                     the hill of bioscience." It is no   Raelians refused to give proof      a recovery. Hwang's followers
                                    works even circulated images         shot glasses 2 and 3, while 4 to
depicts stem cell technology                                                                                  wonder then that Koreans react-     to substantiate their claims, for   may argue that it was for this
                                    of the producer's family on the      12 contain only beer - repre-
alongside a man emerging from                                                                                 ed with disbelief and anger to      the understandable reason of        very reason that he was spurred
                                    internet.                            senting the faked stem cell
his wheelchair and within one                                                                                 the allegations against him.        protecting the 'child'. HWS is      to try and perform the impossi-
                                         In December 2005, Sung-Il,      lines.
giant leap into the arms of a                                                                                 Over 1000 women pledged to          unlikely to accept the offer - a    ble by any means necessary,
                                    who worked on HWS's 2005                 Sadly, the cocktail was soon
loving woman. Hmmm, sub-                                                                                      donate their eggs for the pur-      follower of the Buddhist faith,     and only his disbelief that he
                                    paper in Science, claimed that 9     out of date - a week later the
tle….                                                                                                         poses of Hwang's research and       he regularly prays in his local     could not achieve this prompted
                                    of the 11 stem cell lines were       SNU investigation revealed that
    But his sudden rise to fame                                                                               even an "I love Hwang Woo-          temple.     In fact he once         his fabrication of results. An
                                    faked - all containing identical     there were no patient matched
was to be accompanied by an                                                                                   Suk" fan club has been set up       declared that he would have         interview with the BBC in
                                    DNA from a single source.            embryonic stem cells at all and
equally rapid descent to dis-                                                                                 online. Candlelit vigils have       become a monk if he had not         August 2005 revealed his moti-
                                    After a press conference by          all 11 lines were fake. Another
grace.                                                                                                        taken place, with followers         become a scientist. However,        vation for working. When
                                    Hwang on the 16th, where he          humiliating revelation was that
    In November 2005, his long                                                                                dressed in clothes adorned with     even those at the monastery         asked who his idol was, Dr.
                                    claimed that "the technology to      Dr. Hwang was directly
term colleague and research                                                                                   the image of the disgraced          must have second thoughts           Hwang replied:
                                    make stem cells exists" and          involved in the unethical egg
collaborator Gerald Schatten                                                                                  cloning scientist.                  before accepting this man into          "I do not have an idol. But I
                                    blamed falsifications in the         donation, even distributing
announced he would no longer                                                                                        However the future looks      their fold.                         have one picture on my desk of
                                    paper on artificial mistakes,        donation consent forms and
work with Dr. Hwang. He                                                                                       inherently bleak for Dr. Hwang.         The setback to the scientific   a spinal injury patient. It
                                    Seoul National University            personally escorting employees
speculated that HWS used                                                                                      Prosecutors have raided his         community may be much               reminds me of the real-life peo-
                                    launched an immediate investi-       to the hospital for the egg
unethical practices to collect                                                                                home to search for evidence for     greater - work has been ongo-       ple I want to help."
 10                                                           February 2006                                                                       

  Sri Lanka:Reconstructed?
International relief efforts raised millions towards the rebuilding of one of the nations hardest hit by the December 2004 tsunami. One year
on, a GKT student who witnessed firsthand the immediate aftermath of the tragedy revisits Sri Lanka to find it still plagued with problems.

                                    violated the Sri Lankan consti-      enough to include building per-
               Bala Karunakaran     tution. The supreme court            manent shelters. The temporary
                                    issued an injunction against the     shelters have already started to
                                    agreement, effectively denying       give way after the seasonal
IN December 2004, I was in          the people affected from the         December floods. To build per-
Kilinochchi in rebel-controlled     rebel-controlled areas access to     manent shelter, people will
northern Sri Lanka when the         international aid. No doubt this     need international aid.
Boxing Day tsunami struck. I        only worsened the relationship          Sri Lanka already has a prob-
was part of the team in the         between the two parties, and I       lem with internally displaced
Kilinochchi district hospital       arrived just as Sri Lanka was on     people. The Sri Lankan Army
that had to deal with the after-    the verge of resumption of these     maintains multiple high securi-
math of this tragedy. I returned    hostilities.                         ty zones in the borders between
to northern Sri Lanka in                This tension was palpable in     areas under their control and
December 2005 and saw how           the northern city of Jaffna. On      Tamil Tiger-controlled areas.
things have progressed one year     each of the main roads there         There are also high security
on. Or regressed, to be more        was an army soldier stationed at     zones maintained around major
accurate.                           every 50 metres. There were          military bases. The refugee
      A bit of background infor-    frequent roundups in which an        council's 2003 report titled "Sri
mation: Sri Lanka has been torn     area was cordoned off for every      Lanka: Internally displaced per-
by a civil war between the          house within to be searched.         sons and safe return" estimates
minority Tamils and the majori-     Many young people were               the number of internally dis-
ty Sinhalese for more than two      arrested as well in these            placed people in northern Sri
decades. During the colonial        roundups. I witnessed an army        Lanka to be over 600 000,
times, under the British policy     patrol stop a taxi, instruct the     though most locals claim the
of divide and rule, minority        driver to sit on the curb, and cut   figure to be far greater. The
Tamils were perceived to have       through all the seats with a         added displacement of tsunami
been given preferential treat-      knife, destroying the car. The       victims places increased strain
ment. When Sri Lanka attained       driver sat there as if paralysed,    on local charities trying to
independence in 1948, there         his face devoid of emotion.          assist them and has a big impact
remained considerable amount        Human rights is an alien con-        on the local economy.
of resentment about this among      cept in this region.                      The possibility of return of
the Sinhalese, and subsequent             I crossed over the line of     war is the major issue. Prior to
governments passed discrimi-        control and the no man's land to     the ceasefire agreement the Sri
natory laws against the Tamils.     enter the Tamil Tiger-controlled     Lankan government forces
In the beginning, the Tamils        area, happy to be back at the        maintained       an    unofficial
engaged in pacifist Gandhi          hospital where I had worked          embargo on rebel-controlled
style protests; seeing as these     before. Kilinochchi hospital         areas, restricting the materials    Sri Lanka cannot embark on the road to recovery until it resolves its internal conflict.
failed, they took up armed          had to manage all the casualties     allowed to be taken in. A hospi-    Photography by Bala Karunakaran
struggle to establish an inde-      from the southern Jaffna district    tal doctor from Jaffna, who
pendent Tamil state, to be          as well as the costal Mullaitivu     asked to remain anonymous,
called Tamil Eelam, in the          district that was also hard-hit by   told me of the days when even
northeast of Sri Lanka.             the tsunami.                         antibiotics were not allowed in
    In February 2002, a ceasefire        Kilinochchi district hospital   these areas. If war recom-
accord was signed between           had changed much since my            mences, reconstruction may
Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri      last visit. The corridors, once      come to a standstill due to lack
Lankan government. By 2004,         filled with patients lying on the    of materials.
however, the fragility of this      floor in agony crying for help,              Also, if full scale war
deal was evident. Following the     were now empty and clean. The        returns, most aid agencies will
tsunami tragedy there was high      operating theatre now had only       pull their volunteers out of the
hope that the two sides would       a few patients, in stark contrast    North      and     East.    Care
be able to work together            to the queues of stretchers bear-    International already suspended
towards reconstruction. Carmel      ing patients waiting to be oper-     its work for a few days in the
Budiardjo of the Indonesian         ated on in the days following        eastern city of Trincomalee fol-
Human Rights movement drew          the tsunami. I shivered a bit as I   lowing the increase of violence
parallels between Sri Lanka and     walked past the mortuary and         in that region. Lack of NGO
Aceh, where the rebels and the      the building adjacent, remem-        aid in the North will be devas-
state agreed to end armed con-      bering the days when all the         tating      to    the     region.
flict, and expressed her regret     floors were covered with bodies      Considerable amounts of recon-
that Sri Lanka didn't follow        which I spent my time photo-         struction in the northern regions
suit. Initially the Sri Lankan      graphing for identification. The     are sponsored and carried out
government and the Tamil            building looked eerily empty         by the expatriate community
Tigers signed an agreement          and quiet as I tried to block out    living abroad. War will also
called P-TOM (Post-Tsunami          the horrific memories flooding       sever the links between them
Operational        Mechanism),      my mind.                             and the local agencies in north-
which was to pave the way for           However, not everything has      ern Sri Lanka.
international aid to be distrib-    returned to normal. While the             Most people I spoke to in
uted in an equitable way for        immediate relief effort was car-     northern Sri Lanka agreed on
those affected between the          ried out effectively, the long       two things. On one hand they
areas controlled by the Sri         term relief effort was severely      are bitter that they are not see-   to war and to days of constant     zone, I saw a little boy playing        And I wonder whether he
Lankan government and the           lacking. Most of those dis-          ing much of the cash promised       fear.                              with a punctured football out-     will ever know a place that he
areas controlled by the rebels.     placed by the tsunami have           by the international community,        One day, as I crossed back to   side a set of tents. Looking       can truly call home.
However, the far right              been given temporary shelters        due to the suspension of the P-     the army-controlled Jaffna,        back, I wonder how he became
Sinhalese nationalists took the     by      the     aid     agencies.    TOM by the supreme court. On        passing barbed wire fences,        part of the group of people
government to the supreme           Unfortunately, the aid agencies'     the other hand, they are dread-     minefields and unoccupied          labelled 'internally displaced':
court, claiming that the P-TOM      budgets do not stretch far           ing the possibility of returning    houses in the high security        was it by the tsunami, or war?
                                                                                                     February 2006                                                             11

  Ten million missing girls
Recent information has shed light on a shameful practice in parts of India, one which, it seems, many British Asians have not abandoned
                                    Conversely, states such as                                                                                                                            boys by offering free schooling
                  Rohin Francis     Kerala, West Bengal and Assam                                                                                                                         to girls, but it has not stopped
               Consultant Editor    have ratios similar to European                                                                                                                       the abduction of girls to be sold
                                    countries.                                                                                                                                            as brides. In India abduction
                                            The study estimates that                                                                                                                      has not been widely reported,
A LANCET report published in        500,000 female babies are                                                                                                                             but paying poor families for
January has revealed some           aborted every year. It also dis-                                                                                                                      their daughters as brides has
shocking statistics about female    covered that gender screening                                                                                                                         become more common in
foeticide in India. The Indian-     was most likely to be utilised                                                                                                                        Haryana. A perverse reverse-
Canadian study claims that an       when the family already had a                                                                                                                         dowry.
estimated 10 million girls are      daughter.
'missing', aborted solely due to        It is apparent that as long as                                                                                                                         OUTSOURCING
their gender. The practice of       a family has at least one son,                                                                                                                              ABORTION
aborting female babies is a well    they seem happy. This is some-
known problem in parts of           what surprising as one of the
                                                                                                                                                                                          Bringing the whole issue much
South Asia and even more so in      main proposed reasons for
                                                                                                                                                                                          closer to home is the equally
China; this study was the           female foeticide is to avoid
                                                                                                                                                                                          staggering discovery that preg-
largest so far.                     paying dowry. Dowry pay-
                                                                                                                                                                                          nant British Asian women are
   The study, led by Dr Prabhat     ments, made by a girl's family
                                                                                                                                                                                          flying to India for gender-deter-
Jha and Dr Rajesh Kumar             to the family of her husband
                                                                                                                                                                                          mining ultrasound scans and, if
(Toronto and Chandigarh             upon marriage, are illegal in
                                                                                                                                                                                          female,     abortions. These
respectively), sought to ascer-     India but remain common prac-
                                                                                                                                                                                          women have been effectively
tain the reasons for the unequal    tice.
                                                                                                                                                                                          barred by the NHS from having
balance of females to males               A poor family is unable to     MINI HEROINE: Meena is a UNICEF and Hanna Barbera co-creation designed to high-                                  any more abortions as they
with specific reference to pre-     raise a sufficient dowry and a       light a disparity between the sexes in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka                                 have normally had several
natal sex determination and         girl remains unmarried - and as
                                                                         society where boys were con-          a few of these doctors are Asian      tion to families who have only       before.
abortion.                           far as society is concerned,
                                                                         sidered an extra pair of hands in     themselves.                           female children. A soap opera             The women claim that the
    Across India the ratio stands   worthless. It is undoubtedly a
                                                                         the fields but a girl was a liabil-        "In a country bedeviled in       highlighting the evil of the         policy of denying sex-defining
at 933(F):1000(M), but is           cause of female abortion, but
                                                                         ity, a burden.                        many parts by cultural taboos, a      practice has been made the gov-      ultrasounds in parts of the UK
markedly more pronounced in         the reason it has not been iden-
                                                                                 Sex selection and female      boy is preferred because he will      ernment. There are also many         has caused them to go abroad.
certain areas such as Punjab,       tified as a major influence is
                                                                         feticide remains "rampant" in         continue the family name and          religious and charitable organi-     Dr Sabu George, a gender
Haryana and Tamil Nadu.             because the abortion of female
                                                                         India, says Dr Shirish Sheth, of      bloodline, earn money, look           sations working to eradicate a       rights expert based in New
                                    babies is not most prevalent
                                                                         Breach Candy Hospital in              after the family and take care of     practice of which social activist    Delhi, said aborting healthy
        THE STATS                   amongst the poorest members
                                                                         Mumbai. The use of ultrasound         parents in their old age. A           Swami Agnivesh says:                 baby girls was well document-
                                    of society.
                                                                         to determine sex has been out-        woman might be considered a                 "There's no other form of      ed among British Asians and
                                         On the contrary, those with
If the first child is a boy, the                                         lawed in India. However, illegal      'culprit' for not giving birth to a   violence that's more painful,        multiple abortions for married
                                    no money are sometimes
ratio for the second and                                                 'back-alley ultrasound clinics'       boy," Dr Sheth says. “What's          more abhorrent, more shame-          Indians in Britain had become
                                    unable to access the ultrasound
third child normalises, to                                               operate widely, even in rural         more, the cost of a dowry for a       ful."                                increasingly common.
                                    screening tests. The study
about 1:1.                                                               areas.                                daughter can be phenomenal,              China is also notorious for its        "The desire for boys tran-
                                    showed that the practice is most
                                                                               Aborting a foetus based on      forcing many families to bor-         skewed female:male ratio,            scends caste, social, education-
                                    common amongst more educat-
If the first child was a girl,                                           its gender has been illegal since     row to pay for them."                 although with quite different        al and economic status. One in
                                    ed Indians. The study specifi-
the ratio of girls to boys rose                                          1994 and is a crime punishable             Thankfully, a great deal is      causality. China's one child pol-    seven girls in Delhi is killed in
                                    cally identified the mothers as
sharply to 759:1000.                                                     by a fine, imprisonment and           being done to combat this trend.      icy has created a similar            the womb and the situation
                                    the variable factor. In a cruel
                                                                         suspension of the doctor's            Charities like UNICEF and             absence of girls across the          goes on in Britain, where the
                                    twist of irony, the more educat-
If the first two children were                                           licence. However many operat-         UDISHA have huge campaigns            country. The Chinese govern-         belief systems are identical,"
                                    ed (i.e. literate) a mother, the
girls, the ratio fell further to                                         ing the machines are not med-         to eradicate female foeticide.        ment estimates that within 15        said Dr George. He believes
                                    more likely she is to abort her
719:1000.                                                                ically-trained doctors but peo-       But India is a big country and it     years, 40 million Chinese men        that more and more British
                                    female child; if she already has
                                                                         ple out to make a quick buck.         is an uphill struggle to change       will be lifelong bachelors.          Asians are working ultrasound
                                    a daughter.
In households with a more                                                The accuracy of scans per-            views held by millions. Some             The Chinese government has        appointments into holidays to
                                         However, one can only pre-
educated     mother,      the                                            formed by those untrained in          states have offered free educa-       also tried to stem the flow of       Amritsar and Ahmedabad.
                                    sume that the poorest of the
chances of a girl following a                                            using an ultrasound is highly
                                    poor still kill off female chil-
female first-born were                                                   unlikely to be reliable.
                                    dren - but instead of aborting
halved.                                                                       It is worth noting that many
                                    them in utero, they kill new-
                                    borns when they discover they        hospitals in the UK, America
A correlation to religion was                                            and Canada (amongst others)
                                    are girls, although this is mere
not found - it seems uniform                                             have opted to deny prospective
                                    speculation at present. Reliable
across the main religious                                                parents information about the
                                    figures for female infanticide in
groups.                                                                  sex of their baby. Of course, liv-
                                    India are not available and it is
                                    thought that babies are often        ing in the West it isn't hard to
The data was taken from a                                                find someone who will carry
                                    recorded as 'stillborn' when
1998 survey of fertility and                                             out a test. Several of the UK
                                    killed soon after birth.
mortality which used almost                                              and Canadian centres have
                                         Jha estimates half a million
7000 units selected to repre-                                            specifically mentioned Asian
                                    female children are lost every
sent the vast country as a                                               communities as the reason for
                                    year and wanted to put pay to
whole. The units, in total,                                              their decisions to stop screening
                                    excuses that the ratio is due to
comprised 1.1 million house-                                             for sex.
                                    natural disaster or disease:
holds and followed 133,738                                                     In the 1990s a controversy
                                           "If this practice has been
births. Based on the natural                                             erupted in Canada when two
                                    common for most of the past
sex ratio from other coun-                                               Indian Canadian-run newspa-
                                    two decades since access to
tries, the team estimated that                                           pers refused to pull ads for 'sex-
                                    ultrasound became widespread,
around 13.6 to 13.8 million                                              determination clinics' operating
                                    then a figure of 10 million
girls should have been born                                              in British Columbia. During
                                    missing female births would
in 1997 in India. However,                                               off-the-record discussions with
                                    not be unreasonable."
the actual number was 13.1                                               obstetricians in London, no
                                          Jha himself attributed the
million - a deficit of 0.59 -                                            bones are made about saying
                                    main motivation as a legacy of
0.74 million female births.                                              "it's because of the Asians" and
                                    when India was an agrarian
If an episode about illegal pharmaceutical smuggling has the title “Midnight Rx” then you know whatever it says is gospel. Here the lesson to be learnt is drug companies and drug
reps are good people and if they give you some good loot you should unwaveringly trust their advice.

                             Orthopaedics - Bonus Eruptus.

                         Dr. Nick: The symptoms you described to me point to "Bonus
                         Eruptus", a terrible disorder where the skeleton tries to leap out
                         the mouth and escape the body.
                         Abe: Now, you're talking!
                         Dr. Nick: Our only hope is transdental electromicide. I'll need a
                         golf cart motor with a 1000 volt capacimator, stat!
                         Nurse: Doctor, I can't in good conscience...
                         Dr. Nick: Bah! Now there's no time, man! We'll need to impro-
                         vise. [he rips cords from an operating lamp and starts to shock
                         Abe] Keep doing that every five seconds
                                                                                                  Immunology - Three Stooges Syndrome:

                                                                                            Doctor: Mr. Burns, I'm afraid you are the sickest man
                                                                                            in the United States. You have everything.
                                                                                            Burns: You mean I have pneumonia?
                                                                                            Doctor: Yes.
          Communication Skills:                                                             Burns: Juvenile diabetes?
                                                                                            Doctor: Yes.
      Hibbert: Homer, I'm afraid you'll have to undergo a coronary bypass opera-            Burns: Hysterical pregnancy?
      tion.                                                                                 Doctor: Uh, a little bit, yes. You also have several dis-
      Homer: Say it in English, Doc.                                                        eases that have just been discovered -- in you.
      Hibbert: You're going to need open heart surgery.                                     Burns: I see. You sure you haven't just made thou-
      Homer: Spare me your medical mumbo jumbo.                                             sands of mistakes?
      Hibbert: We're going to cut you open, and tinker with your ticker.                    Doctor: Uh, no, no, I'm afraid not.
        Homer: Could you dumb it down a shade?                                              Burns: This sounds like bad news.
                                                                                            Doctor: Well, you'd think so, but all of your diseases
                                                                                            are in perfect balance. Uh, if you have a moment, I
                                                                                            can explain.
                                                                                            Burns: Well ... [looks at his watch]
                                                                                            Doctor: Here's the door to your body, see? And these
                                                                                            are oversized novelty germs. That's influenza, that's
                                                                                            bronchitis, and this cute little cuddle-bug is pancreatic
                                                                                            cancer. Here's what happens when they all try to get
                                                                                            through the door at once.
                                                                                            [tries to cram a bunch through the model door. The
                                                                                            germs get stuck][Stooge-like] Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-
                                                                                            woo-woo! Move it, chowderhead!
                                                                                             We call it, "Three Stooges Syndrome."

      Medical Student’s guide
     to things we learnt from tv

Gunther Von Hagens' Autopsy: Life or death
shows showed the public the fascinating
world of pathology and opened up the med-
 ical world for all.      It also confirmed
  something we at Medical Student have
   long suspected - that lectures, PBLs
    and firms are useless as medicne can
      be learnt off the idiot box.. TV,
        is there anything it can't do?

                                        Anaesthetics - Medicinal marijuana

                                      "They weren't tryin' to hurt you Homer, they
                                      were just after your sweet sweet eye juices"

                                     The NHS provides two prescription bongs, the
                                        wizard and the skull. Toke as required.

                                                                                                       A&E - Resuscitation
                                                                                     Congressman: Why, this news make my blood boil,
                                                                                     my left arm feel numb, my mouth taste of copper!
                                                                                     [congressman collapses]
                                                                                     Marge: He's had a heart-attack! Quick someone do
                                                                                     Homer Simpson: [singing] I see a bad moon rising.
                                                                                     Marge: No that's CCR!
                                                                                     Homer Simpson: Errr...
                                                                                     Homer Simpson: Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
 14                                                            February 2006                                                                         

 Legalize it, don’t criticise it?
Cannabis: A topic of debate in many a coffee
shop is once again under the blunt of things.
Medical Student brings you the highs and lows.
                                     one of the most significant          particularly concerned by stud-
                  Rajeev Advani      developments in British drug         ies published since the
                      Sub Editor     policy for thirty years. Whilst      Council's 2002 Report which
                                     conserving its status as an ille-    seemed to indicate strong links
                                     gal substance, there was in most     between cannabis and mental
RECENTLY, the classification         circumstances a presumption          illness.”
of cannabis has stirred a lot of     against arrest of individuals             At present, the most recent
controversy in both the political    found to be in possession of         data for analysis in the subject
and medical arenas. The con-         small quantities of the drug.        area arise from three popula-
clusion: Class C. The Home                     The downgrading of         tion-based studies conducted by
Secretary, Mr. Charles Clarke,       cannabis to a class C drug           research teams in Sweden, the       use and user vulnerability leads
has decided not to reverse the       occurred against a backdrop of       Netherlands, and New Zealand.       many to think that a cannabis
decision made two years ago to       massive media coverage and           As always, MS will equip you        psychosis is not an unreason-
downgrade the drug to a class C      growing concern about an asso-       with the medical jargon you         able mental health scenario
drug. So layback, relax, pop in      ciation between cannabis and         need to criticise your local        after all.
your favourite Bob Marley            psychosis. Four major national       politicians or similarly baffle         Meanwhile, research explor-
album and continue reading           surveys - conducted in the           your way free from police offi-     ing a possible schizophrenia-
Medical Student.                     USA, UK, Australia and               cers!                               cannabis relation has found that
     Cannabis has been used by       Netherlands - provided evi-              The studies established that    cannabis is a risk factor for the
humans for centuries for both        dence that rates of cannabis use     cannabis users are more likely      mental disease. This conclu-
its medicinal and psychomimet-       are higher among people with         to present with attenuated psy-     sion, however, comes with the
ic effects. Currently, it is the     schizophrenia than the general       chotic symptoms than non            added finding that cannabis use
most widely used illicit sub-        population. However, elevated        users. This suggests that a         is only a component cause for
stance in the world, with            rates of cannabis use among          blurred relationship may exist      schizophrenia. This means that
approximately 4 million regular      people with schizophrenia raise      between cannabis use and clini-     cannabis alone is not sufficient
cannabis users in the UK.            an important question: Is the        cal psychosis. Such studies         to cause schizophrenia but that
      The largest gap in under-      cannabis use a consequence or        have also indicated that            it acts along with other risk fac-
standing exists in the effects of    a cause of the condition?            cannabis is an independent risk     tors to form a complex interac-
cannabis usage on the mind. As            In March 2005, barely one       factor for those with familial      tion that may at some point lead
the prevalence of the drug           year after its reclassification,     predisposition to mental illness.   to schizophrenia - though not
grows on every street, society is    the Home Secretary called upon            The existence of a specific    necessarily.
forced to ask difficult questions    the Advisory Council on the          “cannabis psychosis” is still             These studies clearly indi-
about what usage does to peo-        Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to            under debate. While studies         cate an association between the
ple. Does cannabis use cause         review the classification of         have      examined      possible    use of cannabis and mental ill-      would be a different place - free   accept the Advisory Council's
psychosis? Does cannabis             cannabis as a class C drug. The      “cannabis psychosis” in users       ness. However, further research      of lawyers, a doctor-run NHS,       recommendation, which is sup-
abuse relate to schizophrenia?       decision was made in light of        alongside non-users who have        is necessary to fill in all the      highly paid researchers and         ported by the police and most
Is there a link between cannabis     'new' evidence that linked           shown psychotic symptoms, no        unanswered gaps. Therefore, a        world             peace!…right?     drug and mental health charities
use and depression?                  cannabis use to serious mental       convincing evidence is avail-       conclusion to such an article        Regardless,        the     Home     to keep the current classifica-
       On 29th January 2004,         illness, specifically schizophre-    able supporting the existence of    should be considered as null.        Secretary's statement to parlia-    tion of cannabis.” So put that in
cannabis was reclassified from       nia. In a statement to parliament    a “cannabis psychosis”. The              If we medics were to make       ment is final: “I have decided to   your pipe and smoke it!!
a class B to a class C drug in       the Home Secretary said, “I was      possibility of heavy sustained      political decisions the world

Tristan Lane is the name and fencing is the game
                                     step to being good is looking        time not doing too badly! Not       their time, it was a matter of       pretty amazing for someone so       probably have to wear a kilt,
                     Tristan Lane    the part…psychological war-          to mention the tremendous cost      survival, status, acquiring a        far down in the provinces. I        but that's not a problem... I
                                     fare.                                associated with the worldwide       nickname and scaring everyone        mean look at Plymouth Argyle        hope. I would just like to send a
                                           I have been fencing for a      travel involved.                    shitless…Just           Kidding.     and Plymouth Albion, top foot-      quick message to all those plan-
                                     long, long time now, about 16            Thus far, the pinnacle of my    Actually, I got into fencing fol-    ball and rugby teams that find it   ning to strike below the belt,
TRISTAN Lane is the name,            years and still counting; this       fencing career came in 2002         lowing a multi-activity course       impossible to entice people to      “You may take my wife, but
and when I'm not being called        should mean that I'm invinci-        when I placed 6th in the World      at primary school. I was the         the ends of the earth.              you will never take my free-
upon to open supermarkets, I'm       ble, and I am (just try me) - pro-   at the Under 20 level. This was     only one who turned round to            Without a doubt, my inspira-     dom!”
a medic at Imperial. Now that        vided I don't fence other people     really motivational as I finally    go backwards - it's certainly not    tion has to be Pavel Kolobkov           Onwards to the future... my
isn't as bad as it might sound,      who are better than me!              followed through on the prom-       the smartest move in a martial       of Russia - possibly the best       goal fencing-wise is to compete
especially when you compare it       Maintaining this mightiness is       ise I had shown, and all the        art to turn your back on your        fencer of any generation. He        at the Olympics, and hopefully
to some other places (mention-       no easy job - I have to train to     hours and years of training I       enemy. On following an inten-        won his first medal 17 years        acquit myself well. This dream
ing no names George's…).             keep up, and hopefully over-         had put in. Needless to say, it     sive course of learning to walk      ago, and has basically got all      may well have to be postponed,
    But seriously, who am I? I'm     come my opponents. I achieve         was a bit of a bugger not to get    forwards and backwards, I            colours of medal at the             as I eagerly stride to become
a 23 year old who happens to be      this by killing my social life,      a medal, but still very, very       started to prosper and utilise my    Olympics,        Worlds      and    the World's Best Surgeon.
reasonable at fencing. Yes,          training three times a week, and     cool. I even shaved my head in      inherent mal-coordination to         Europeans. He never, looks like     Would be nice to be a rock star
that's right…"Sword Fighting"        competing on the weekends (ok        honour of the result - which        confuse opponents. A favoured        he's going to lose, even when he    for a bit too, but only on
- though fortunately we no           I am not Rocky). The training        meant 45 minutes under the          tactic was to walk backwards,        actually has lost! Supreme.         Wednesdays (when the press
longer have to wear those damn       isn't too bad, considering that      clippers, to shave my 10            drawing in the opponent, before          At present, I'm looking         have their day off, so I've
silly outfits. Indeed, we still      most countries have full time        months of white-boy Afro. The       running forward and hitting          towards a good international        heard).
wear all white, with trousers        athletes - something that I'm far    fact that people from many          them. Alas, subtlety has never       season, and hopefully a result I         So that's the long and short
that only come down to the           too lazy for. But it does tend to    countries came to watch was         really been my strong point.         can be proud of at the World        of me... not as funny as some,
knee; but that's just for fashion.   annoy you when you spend 10          surely a measure of the Afro's          I was very fortunate to have     Championships. Next autumn, I       fatter than others, and most def-
Well it's fashion back in my         hours a week trying to compete       fame!                               a fantastic coach where I start-     hope to guide the good old          initely smellier than most.
hometown of Plymouth, any-           with people who spend 40                 So how did I begin fencing?     ed. He has produced tens of          Scotts to victory at the
way! Just remember, the first        hours doing it, and most of the      Well, like all great warriors of    national champions, which is         Commonwealth Games. I'll
                                                                                                    February 2006                                                             15

           Forget Starbucks, it’s Chakra-bucks!
Our intrepid reporter braves the wilds of Worcester Park in search of the mystical and spiritual world of complementary medicine.

                                      test by inviting her to analyse
                         Luke Das     me. The foundation of her
                       Staff Writer
                                      knowledge is aura soma, a form
                                      of colour therapy, as well as
                                      body language analysis. First
ON the surface, Worcester Park        devised in 1984 by Vicky Wall,
is the epitome of middle class        a clinically blind chiropodist,
suburbia: mothers ease push           pharmacist and herbalist, it
chairs around Marks and               focuses on a person's natural
Spencer, pausing for caffeine         attraction to certain colours.
infusions at the unexceptional        Using a range of coloured bot-
coffee houses that occupy every       tles, clients are encouraged to
other corner. But little do the       pick their choice of bottle
unsuspecting          housewives      revealing aspects of their per-
know, the proprietors of one          sonality and bodily state. The
particular hot beverage-reposi-       therapy aspect comes into play
tory may be more interested in        when certain colours are chosen
the customers themselves than         for exposure to the client in
the drinks they are buying.           order to alter their current life
Their coffee shop is also the         dynamic.
centre of operations for aura                    'Ok. You are in dark
soma practitioner Annie Kan,          colours so you probably have
clinical hypnotherapist Shirley       come here as the 'interviewer'
Purkiss, and homeopath Helen          and you don't want to give too
Morrell.                              much away because you want
           'Most of the time I am     to find out information from us.
in coffee making mode. Just get       But because I can see that green
the coffee out before the cus-        top lurking underneath, and
tomers start getting obnoxious!       green is very much linked to
But when I get into the right         your heart chakra, you are a
frame of mind I can analyse           man that is in touch with your
anyone,' explains Annie.              emotions. You sometimes make
           It is not the first time   decisions by following your
I have met Annie and Shirley.         instincts not just your head.
During the third year at Bart's,      And you are in touch with your
the pair lectured on their spe-       feminine side, which in this day
cialities and raised awareness        and age is a good thing!'
of      Complementary           and   Pronounced Annie.
Alternative Medicine (CAM).                      What followed was
Belonging to an Asian culture, I      her progressing to comment on       Complementary coffee? Shirley, Helen and Annie can help you.
am often exposed to my father's       my conformist blue jeans and
views on his latest herbal con-       open yet slightly defensive pos-    to identify which team is suit-     can go to the local library and       enough evidence to reliably          cure once reduced to an infi-
coction or homeopathic reme-          ture. Annie clearly demonstrat-     able for you and how to get the     read up on it. What is happen-        assess its possible role.'           nitely dilute state. Each medi-
dy. However, it remained a sur-       ed was that such skills are not     best out of your team. You can      ing because lots of patients                     There are many CAM        cine undergoes a sequence
prise to see CAM incorporated         just impressive but also an         monitor how people behave and       want to know about it medics          cynics in the mainstream med-        know as succession to enhance
into Bart's allopathic medical        invaluable quality in a medic.      respond appropriately to be         feel they should at least know        ical community. Last year            their healing potential and
curriculum. Both of these prac-       Much of their workshop was          treated as an equal and not as a    something about the therapies         Edzard Ernst of Exeter               reduce the likelihood of
titioners are keen to contribute      interactive and through role        dog's body. And with your           people are using. But there are       University, Britain's first pro-     unwanted effects. A process
to our training, which they feel      plays and simple exercises they     patients you will be able to        no strict guidelines that say         fessor of complementary medi-        called 'proving' is their equiva-
will benefit us and our patients.     began to teach these skills and     improve rapport in a short          complementary            medicine     cine      publically       stated:   lent of a clinical trial, whereby
This is something I have asked        how they could be used to our       space of time and develop a         teaching must be a part of the        'Homeopathic remedies don't          volunteers take a new substance
them to prove to me today.            advantage.                          better doctor-patient relation-     curriculum.'                          work. Study after study has          to allow their effects to be
           Remembering just                      Shirley adds, 'All       ship.'                                          Many patients, des-       shown it is simply the purest        recorded in detail.
how astute and observant Annie        doctors and medical students                   Currently, a quarter     perate and open-minded, are           form of placebo. You might as                   There is definitely
was from their workshop, I            need skills of neuro-linguistic     of the UK population uses           easily convinced by the promis-       well take a glass of water!'         something beguiling about
decide to put her skills to the       programming. You will be able       CAM at a cost of £1.6 billion       es of non-invasive, subtle heal-      Ernst's department received a        these mystic and unorthodox
                                                                          annually. There are now 5           ing processes handed down             total of £1.5 million in 1993 to     practices. Annie, Shirley and
                                                                          homeopathic hospitals within        over the centuries. However,          assess the credibility of the full   Helen each argue convincing
                                                                          the NHS and 40% of primary          medical research into whether         range on CAM therapies.              cases and are keen for me to put
                                                                          care centres encourage their        CAM 'works' is largely incon-         Earlier on in the year, Richard      them to the test. 'If you are
                                                                          patients to seek alternative        clusive.                              Horton, editor of the Lancet,        going to write about it you need
                                                                          practitioners. Although it is yet               Less than 1% of the       called for official guidelines to    to experience it for yourself,'
                                                                          to become fully integrated into     UK's research budget goes into        be drawn up for doctors on the       says Helen. 'It's like reviewing
                                                                          medical practice, patients con-     complementary            medicine     use of homeopathy to stop what       a restaurant without eating the
                                                                          tinue to take an interest in its    research. The studies that are        he deemed 'inappropriate prac-       food!'
                                                                          full range of treatment             conducted are often insuffi-          tice'.                                          So next month myself
                                                                          approaches. For this reason,        ciently rigorous and scientific                  Any homeopath will        and willing victims of the
                                                                          medical students should at least    in design, and have limited           argue that their practices are       Medical Student team will
                                                                          be aware of the health choices      power. A Cochrane review of           based on documented reactions        undergo a session of hypnother-
                                                                          patients are making.                acupuncture in the treatment of       spanning 200 years worth of          apy and colour therapy and wit-
                                                                                     Shirley    explains:     asthma encompassing seven             experience.      Its     founder,    ness the approach of a homeo-
                                                                          'There is no point bringing         clinical trials with a total of 174   German doctor and chemist            pathic history and examination
                                                                          complementary medicine into         patients reached the conclusion:      Samuel Hahnemann developed           and judge its efficacy for our-
                                                                          your arena if it is of no rele-     'It is not possible to make any       the system. His guiding princi-      selves.
                                                                          vance to you other than just        recommendations'. Similarly a         pal was that if a particular drug
                                                                          information gathering. If you       Cochrane review of homeopa-           or chemical causes a medical
A biscotti with your acupuncture?                                         just need to know about it you      thy for asthma showed: 'not           problem, it should also act as a
 16                                                         February 2006                                                                         

                                                                       MMC advice for free
                                                                       Send your questions on Modernising Medical Careers to and
                                                                       we’ll get the nice people at the London Deanery to answer them!

THE birds' operatic aria heralds   ing. The most notorious offend-
the emergence of the sun. Rays     er, brutal and caustic to our
disperse the shroud of night &     psychology, is sudden death.
beams of light scatter the birds   No warning, goodbye, or
as they craft harmonic sounds,     chance to mount a defence!
that effortlessly pleasing             Death has a strange way of
melody named birdsong.             organising one's thoughts and
    This peaceful rousing of the   priorities more effectively than
natural world so eagerly antici-   any form of human experience.
pated by the birds and the myr-    People renounce drugs, ciga-
iad of animals whom they           rettes, alcohol and the like, and
awaken is greeted by the most      forge more productive charac-
cerebral creature by a groan.      ters. Most resume normal            Why was there so little infor-      improve the software and             by the scorers.                      but surely our F1/F2 jobs will
That thought of wealth was         behaviour patterns. But for a       mation about jobs? Just nam-        hardware on MDAP - the                                                    be taken into account when
another dream! I’m not smart!      select few, death persists as a     ing the speciality is hardly        problems that happened this          Will the questions on the            we go for specialty training?
Who’s that human next to me?!      potent aide memoire to forge        enough information to make          year were awful and they             application form be changing         From 2007 entry into specialist
The alarm assumes a dynamic        flourishing existences.             a career choice! Surely             could so easily be fixed! Can        next year or will they basical-      training may commence imme-
state, generating a nauseating           At Church someone once        employment laws say we              we be sure that the same             ly be the same?                      diately      after      Foundation
sound synonymous with the          commented that bad circum-          should know more informa-           thing won't happen next              No decisions have yet been           Training. In some specialties
phrase, your dream is over now     stances possess budding sparks      tion such as the names of con-      year?                                made about the questions on          there will be a general basic
- so wake up you loser!            of joyfulness soon to erupt. I      sultants, the banding etc……         There is a national project team     next year's application forms.       specialist training first, but
     You expel your body from      disagreed, stating that death       The information available on        working hard on a new and                                                 even so, you may have to select
bed and rush for the bathroom,     produces no good psychologi-        the website this year lacked the    improved system for next year,       I've heard all about the prob-       your destination specialty to get
stubbing your toe on the door      cal outcomes that could coun-       detail we would have liked to       so hopefully it will work better     lems that affected MDAP this         in. It is important that you plan
in the process and causing you     teract the sorrow that death        provide, and we intend to           next time.                           year and I don't think I could       your career during Foundation.
to curse. Your swearing dis-       yields. My opponent cited           improve on this in future, hope-                                         handle all this myself. When         One of the features of
tracts you from a shoe on the      notable historical characters,      fully including brief descrip-      How rigorously do you check          I apply next year will I have        Foundation Training is access
hallway floor, which causes        such as Benjamin Franklin and       tions by previous post-holders.     achievements mention on our          the option of applying to the        to career advice and coun-
you to trip over and crash into    General Booth, as having expe-      Sometimes the specialty and the     forms? And what will count           KSS and London Deaneries             selling. If it isn't offered, ask for
the bathroom door. It’s shut &     rienced troubles that served to     hospital were the only definitive   as proof that we did some-           but using a paper application        it. Try to organise a taster week
locked. Fatboy is singing in the   discontinue them from a             items of information available,     thing?                               form?                                in a specialty you are consider-
shower. Now you scream!            destructive path; and in addi-      as consultants may work in          Probity is a central to Good         No, the applications will con-       ing, if you aren't sure. People
     You’ve now morphed from       tion, that bolstered them on in     teams and rotate their duties.      Medical Practice. Severe sanc-       tinue to be electronic.              who did the F2 pilots said they
primitive and slumbering to        journeys of life that benefited     As to banding, all Trusts are       tions will be applied to anyone      Electronic recruitment is likely     really enjoyed these and it
assured and active. You wait       the world unimaginably.             working toward the 2009             found to have provided inaccu-       to be the norm for all jobs in the   helped them make up their
for the bus. You’re in England,         Although this was a sound      EWTD hours limits, so band-         rate or false statements. There      NHS very soon.                       mind. Don't worry about
it’s cold. You get drenched. You   statement, I replied that no pos-   ings are being steadily reduced     may be an audit of applica-                                               whether the jobs you did in
experience a hypothermia-          itive gems that emanate from        as the hours go down. It would      tions,      in which medical         Putting all the hyperbole to         Foundation will influence
induced daydream that you are      bad circumstances can ever be       not be wise to make your choice     schools will be asked to verify      one side, at what stage should       whether you are selected,
swimming with dolphins.            a justifiable substitute for        of job on the basis of current      stated           achievements.       we have a decent idea of what        because everyone has agreed
      The bus passes you. You      human life. Would Lance             banding.                            Plagiarism and application           specialty we'd like to go into?      they won't.
now have a new dream: to           Armstrong thank cancer for                                              forms done by agencies are           I know you're going to say we
catch the bus! You guess you       unparalleled cycling prowess?       Are there any plans to              detectable by the software, and      don't have to decide for ages
can do it. You dream you can       Would Dr Martin Luther King

                                                                       Where have all my organs gone?
do it. You know you can do it.     Jr thank God for racial hatred,
You are an active sportsman.       as the means that moulded such
You chase! You negotiate the       a powerful public icon? Should
crowds. You jump drains. You       we rejoice in sorrow as the
dart across roads. You are per-    most powerful catalyst for pro-             Joannis Vamvakopoulos       of normal aging as much as the       livered; contemplating and           ical students aims to tackle this
spiring. Your pulse rockets.       ducing good in the world?                                       &       result of a diverse range of dis-    making provisions for what           very question. In doing so, we
Your heart blasts away. Your            The one straw that allows                       Mel Kountouri      ease processes - think, for          happens to your body after you       also hope to increase awareness
bronchioles blow open. You         me to brave death is that,                                              example, coronary heart dis-         give up the ghost just doesn't       of the importance of organ
neck bends forwards. Your          despite the camcorder crashing      IF this question sounds famil-      ease; cardiomyopathy; dia-           figure highly on most people's       donation among current and
mind becomes bent on success.      on someone's existence, their       iar, like something you have        betes; alcoholism; viral hepati-     to do lists.                         future medical professionals; as
The bus slows. You smell suc-      dreams are just on pause; and       recently heard on a ward round      tis; COPD; cystic fibrosis.                But then medical profes-       well as to identify issues that
cess. You dart across another      someday, someone, some-             or - God forbid - something you     Supportive therapy (e.g. oxy-        sionals aren't exactly your aver-    may hold them back from dis-
road. You hear a screeching        where, somehow - will press         yourself have been obsessing        gen, renal dialysis, left ventric-   age Joe. Being privy to esoteric     cussing organ donation with
sound. You feel excruciating       play and be the conduit for         over for the past few months        ular assist device implantation)     knowledge about the workings         patients and their families.
pain. You cartwheel perpendi-      those dreams to come true.          then, like me, you're either        prolongs life but the patient        of the human body and psyche,            Please help us make sense of
cular to your direction of trav-   To DK                               stumbling through your Psych        remains machine-dependent,           faced with the daily toll of ill     what makes medics tick when it
el. You somersault towards the     Medical Student, 1984-2005          rotation or at the very end of      losing out on quality of life.       health and charged with "the         comes to organ donation by fill-
road. You hit the ground hard.     Someone shall press play on         your tether (or both). For,         Transplantation remains the          altruistic task of asking" for a     ing in our brief online question-
Your head smashes against the      your dreams: one day, someone       unless you have been delving        definitive treatment for end-        deceased patient's organs in         naire. This can be accessed
tarmac. You haemorrhage and        shall build the hospital you        into mental illness or experi-      stage organ failure but hinges       order to offer several others a      directly through the following
your blood enshrouds you.          dreamed of in Nigeria.              encing nihilistic delusions, you    on donor organ availability -        new lease on life, you might         link:
     The last four sentences you   Rest in Peace.                      are unlikely to ever wonder         and organs are in short supply!      expect them to be biased in
are not aware of, as you were      "And God shall wipe away all        why you have suddenly lost all         Convincing your average Joe       favour of anything that would        eus/surveys/1734848031/280ea
already dead when your head        tears from their eyes; and there    confidence in your innards -        to become an organ donor is not      ease human suffering.                693.htm - or via the Medical
smashed the car windscreen.        shall be no more death, neither     right? Wrong!                       as straightforward as the purely        To what extent does this pop-     Student website:
Dead with no warning. Gone.        sorrow, nor crying, neither               End-stage organ failure is    altruistic motives underpinning      ular view of medical profes-         h t t p : / / w w w. m e d i c a l -
     Death is an occurrence that   shall there be any more pain:       what happens when one of our        such decisions might have you        sionals correspond with their
everyone must experience. It is    for the former things are           viscera finally packs up, failing   believe. For various reasons,        attitudes on organ donation? A
not selective, other than in       passed away"                        to fulfil its normal physiologi-    simply thinking about it is not      recently launched nationwide
terms of the means and the tim-    Rev. Chapt. 21. Vs 4                cal function. It is a consequence   for the faint-hearted or the lily-   survey of UK doctors and med-
                                                                                                   February 2006                                                          17

Global Health Matters
The 2006 Medsin Global Health Conference at Guy’s Hospital promises to bring together the great and
the good from international health and development in attempt to make a real difference.

                                    includes free conference regis-    sis will be placed on the rela-       appraise norms and trends in
                     Sneh Shah      tration, food, accommodation       tionship between poverty and          international health and devel-
                                    and transportation for the week-   infectious disease, the role of       opment..
                                    end.                               pharmaceutical companies, and                     The final session will
THIS year's national Medsin                   The 2006 Medsin          the magnitude of the global           focus on broader issues in the
conference, "Poverty and            Global Health Conference will      effort that would be required to      global campaign to improve the
Health       in     the     New     use the MDGs as a platform to      halt the spread of major infec-       health and wellbeing of people
Millennium", is based on the        examine the relationship           tious diseases.                       living in poverty. This session
United Nations Millennium           between poverty and health. It                Women and children         will draw on the firsthand expe-
Development Goals (MDGs).           brings together over 300 stu-      in developing countries will be       riences of individuals responsi-
The MDGs strive "to free our        dents and experts from all over    the subject of later sessions.        ble for healthcare and health
fellow men, women and chil-         the country to discuss progress,   They often bear disproportion-        legislation in developing coun-
dren from the abject and dehu-      challenge norms, propose solu-     ate burdens of ill-health and         tries to highlight challenges and
manizing conditions of extreme      tions and forge partnerships for   poverty. A wide range of issues       successes in the effort to
poverty" by 2015.                   global change. Toyin Ajayi,        including gender discrimina-          improve global health.
          The conference will       head of the 2006 conference        tion and its implications for                     A boat party along
be held on Saturday 25th and        committee, describes the week-     women's health, the barriers          the River Thames on Saturday
Sunday 26th March 2006 at           end as "an incredible opportu-     that women face in accessing          night will punctuate the week-
Guy's Hospital, London and          nity to learn from well-known      appropriate care during preg-         end conference, providing an
will consist of four plenary ses-   authorities on global health and   nancy and labour and the rela-        opportunity to unwind from the
sions, alongside interactive        to interact with other students    tionship between maternal and         first day and meet like-minded
workshops and poster presenta-      who are passionate about inter-    neonatal health and nutrition         individuals.
tions. These will all focus on      national health and social jus-    will be examined.                                 With tickets just £15,
different issues raised by the      tice".                                        The MDGs have been         the 2006 Medsin Global Health
MDGs. There will also be an                   The opening plenary      criticised for failing to highlight   Conference promises to be not
opportunity to present abstracts    session will focus on communi-     other important challenges to         just a thought-provoking and
relevant to any of the confer-      cable diseases in developing       global health, including non-         exciting weekend but also great
ence agenda. Abstracts of up to     countries, including malaria,      communicable diseases such as         value for money. For further
250 words should be submitted       TB and HIV remain endemic          cancer, cardiovascular disease,       details,        please        visit
before 25th February 2006. The      throughout most of the devel-      diabetes and mental health. The
best 15 abstracts will win a        oping world, devastating whole     penultimate plenary session is        ence.
King's College Bursary, which       populations. Particular empha-     an opportunity to critically

                                                                                                             Soup kitchens - do-gooders doing bad?
                                                                                                             THIS      month       HOMED,          round the bus, with more hands     only provide a temporary
                                                                                                             Medsin's initiative for action        reaching for sustenance than       means to resolve the issue and
                                                                                                             and education on homelessness         should belong to the visible       do not empower people to find
                                                                                                             are joining with ICL's                faces. Some are 'regulars', who    their way out of homelessness.
                                                                                                             Community Action Group                often linger after the initial               Ultimately it may
                                                                                                             (CAG) to debate whether they          wave of food distribution for      come down to a debate about
                                                                                                             should really be bothering at         conversation. We discuss cur-      numbers, and what you define
                                                                                                             all. CAG has been running for         rent affairs, the problems they    as support or help for the home-
                                                                                                             countless years, but only             face, as well as abstract ideas    less. Rough sleepers have dif-
                                                                                                             recently has the group begun to       such as the behavioural pattern    ferent needs and wants, and the
                                                                                                             question: is giving food to the       of wood pigeons compared to        reasons they are homeless are
                                                                                                             homeless actually helping             the average street pigeon.         varied. Some may want to
                                                                                                             them?                                            Unfortunately charit    remain on the streets, not hav-
                                                                                                                       When you hand out           is never straightforward. While    ing to rely on anyone or be a
                                                                                                             money to the homeless, you            sandwich provisions may help       part of our world. There may be
                                                                                                             may never know where the              homeless people, some argue        others who desire to break free
                                                                                                             money ends up. Perhaps it             that it may also perpetuate        from handouts and hostels. It
                                                                                                             funds        an      addiction.       homelessness.       Westminster    is a debate that you can get
                                                                                                             Alternatively, it may go              City Council believes that the     involved in on the 18th of
                                                                                                             towards building a stable             free supply of food on the         February. If you want to
                                                                                                             lifestyle. Clearly, financial         streets dissuades individuals      explore more of these ideas and
                                                                                                             donation to individual home-          from finding a way out of street   suggest some of your own,
                                                                                                             less persons is an ethically-         homelessness. The council also     please join us at the first CAG
                                                                                                             fraught endeavour. Distributing       approximates that 65 soup runs     homeless conference where we
                                                                                                             food is easier on the con-            exist for 130 rough sleepers.      hope to answer the question:
                                                                                                             science, and is an opportunity        Some of the individuals who        'Do soup kitchens propagate
                                                                                                             to break the ice and find out         come to soup kitchens live in      street     homelessness       in
                                                                                                             more about people's situations.       hostels, therefore not providing   London?'
                                                                                                                       CAG takes ten loaves        food to those who need it most.
                                                                                                             of cheese and ham sandwiches,                    The Big Issue Editor    Homeless Conference 18th
                                                                                                             along with fruit (everyone            John Bird, talking to the BBC,     February, 10am - 4pm, Mech
                                                                                                             needs their vitamins) and urns        said that soup runs reduce         Eng 220, Imperial College
                                                                                                             full of coffee, tea and hot           rough sleepers to a state of the   London. Email: homelesscon-
                                                                                                             chocolate. On most Sunday             'domestic pet'. Perhaps this may
                                                                                                             mornings people quickly sur-          be the case, as soup kitchens
 18                                                          February 2006                                                                           

                                                                                                                      the weirdness rating. It causes          rational basis for ethics, as
                                                                                                                      individuals to insert objects into       opposed to a religious one.
                                                                                                                      their mouth and engage in inappro-          The existence of mirror neurons
                                                                                                                      priate sexual behaviour, such as         had been speculated for some time
                                                                                                                      attempting intercourse with a chair      and Ramachandran predicted that
                                                                                                                      or a pavement. In this case, the         mirror neurons would “do for psy-
                                                                                                                      anterior region of the temporal          chology what DNA did for biolo-
                                                                                                                      lobe is damaged, causing a loss of       gy.”
                                                                                                                      the ability to determine what food            He further suggested “that the
                                                                                                                      or a sexual conquest is.                 emergence of a sophisticated mir-
                                                                                                                                                               ror neuron system set the stage for
                                                                                                                      Fregoli syndrome causes sufferers        the emergence, in early hominids,
                                                                                                                      to either mistake a person for           of a number of uniquely human
                                                                                                                      someone else, or occasionally it         abilities such as proto-language
                                                                                                                      makes them see the same person           (facilitated by mapping phonemes
                                                                                                                      everywhere. Like Agent Smith in          on to lip and tongue movements),
                                                                                                                      the Matrix.                              empathy, 'theory of other minds',
                                                                                                                                                               and the ability to 'adopt another's
                                                                                                                      Damage to the right temporal lobe        point of view.’”
                                                                                                                      rarely causes Cotard syndrome.                Mirror neurons were first dis-
                                                                                                                      This is characterised by the patient     covered in monkeys. The function
                                                                                                                      thinking he/she is dead. They            of the mirror system is still poorly
                                                                                                                      believe so strongly that they are        understood and hotly debated.
                                      Strangelove syndrome) literally          own, such as suddenly switching
                    Rohin Francis                                                                                     dead that they occasionally smell        They may be important for under-
                                      causes arguments between parts of        between English, Scottish and
                 Consultant Editor    the body. Neurological insults that      Dutch. Again, it is normally pre-
                                                                                                                      their own flesh rotting. A celebrat-     standing the actions of other peo-
                                                                                                                      ed case was a woman who was so           ple, and for learning new skills by
                                      cause involuntary movements are          ceded by a neurological insult,
                                                                                                                      convinced that she was dead, that        imitation. Some researchers also
                                      legion; chorea-inducing conditions       such as a stroke.
                                                                                                                      she dressed in a death shroud and        speculate that mirror systems may
EVERYONE'S heard that line            have been documented long into
                                                                                                                      insisted on being placed in a cof-       simulate observed actions, and
about us only using 10% of our        the past.                                Somewhat similarly, the tongue
                                                                                                                      fin.                                     thus contribute to our theory of
brains. Nobody's impressed when            However, the fascinating thing      tied syndrome is a bizarre occur-
you say the brain is the most         about anarchic hand is that the          rence when a people forget their
advanced machine in the universe      affected hand or limb seems to           mother tongue. A famous case was
anymore. You need some new            take on a personality of its own,        that of a Jewish holocaust survivor
brain facts to look brainy. You       much like Peter Sellers' hand used       who moved to Israel from
need to know some zany shit.          to, awfully embarrassingly, salute       Germany after the war. He swore
                                      Hitler at rather awkward moments.        never to speak the language he had
You came to the right place.          It's a very rare affliction with a few   learnt whilst working in Germany
                                      dozen recorded cases, but the jour-      and only spoke in Hebrew. Thirty
All the consultants in tweed and      nal Surgical Neurology has recent-       years later, a stroke erased the
sweaters can give neurology a         ly documented a new case of anar-        Hebrew from his brain and the
somewhat less than glamorous          chic hand from Japan.                    only language he could recall was
image. However it does have the            Central to the idea of anarchic     the German he had not spoken for
potential to be the coolest area of   hand is that the human body is           three decades.
medicine, where else do you           thought to operate by a system of
encounter telepathy?                  free won't, not free will. Thus con-     The area of the brain thought to be
      fMRI is now being used to       scious and subconscious signals          affected controls the length of syl-
detect the earliest signs of          are required to move - and NOT           lables and pitch. Bilingual patients
Alzheimer’s, evaluate drug treat-     move - our limbs as we wish.             with a recollection of both lan-            Dalai Lama neurons                  mind skills.
ments and map the brain accurate-     Anarchic hand is not a psychiatric       guages can exhibit a setting sun
                                                                                                                                                                   Mirror neurons have been the
ly. Now it is being used as a         diagnosis; but purely a result of an     sign after brain injury, where they
                                                                                                                      An article by someone of whom I          basis of major research at UCL,
sophisticated lie-detector. Current   injury to a specific part of the         switch from one language into
                                                                                                                      am a big fan, Prof VS                    which has found that the brain of a
polygraphs are dismissed by most      frontal lobe.                            another at sunset.
                                                                                                                      Ramachandran (pictured above),           dancer reacts differently when
as bunk, a poor piece of science in        Cases include one hand 'fight-
                                                                                                                      led the way to new findings from         watching dancing to that of a non-
serious need of an overhaul. fMRI     ing' with the other for control of a     Agnosias can cause people to peo-
                                                                                                                      UCLA, facilitated by fMRI and            dancer. Interestingly, the style of
has been able to locate the areas     TV remote control, a patient who         ple to be unable to recognise famil-
                                                                                                                      transcranial magnetic stimulation.                dancing seems to be
associated with emotion, conflict,    frequently has to stop one hand          iar faces or buildings. However I
                                                                                                                      Researchers have recently identi-                   irrelevant.
and cognitive control; the amyg-      strangling him and a woman               promised you crazy shit, so to dis-
                                                                                                                      fied that cells in the anterior cingu-
dala, rostral cingulate, caudate,     whose hand shoves fishbones into         cover the rarest of this category,
                                                                                                                      late, Broca’s and the inferior pari-
and thalamus. When someone is         its owners mouth at a posh restau-       we must turn our attention to
                                                                                                                      etal cortex, which normally fire
lying, these areas spark up. What’s   rant. In contrast to the far more        Capgras syndrome, a favourite of
                                                                                                                      when the patient is poked with a
amazing about the tests done so far   common limb-neglect which can            medical students.
                                                                                                                      needle also fire when the patient
is that none of the volunteers have   occur after a stroke, the patient is          Sufferers believe that a loved
                                                                                                                      watches another person being
spoken.                               always fully aware their hand is         one, frequently a spouse, has been
                                                                                                                      poked. These mirror neurons, or
    A slight head movement would      their own, but they feel as though       replaced by an impostor. They look
                                                                                                                      ‘Dalai Lama neurons’ actually
interfere with the scan, so they      they have no control over it. They       and sound like their loved one, but
                                                                                                                      seem to prove that humans
simply think lies, forming words in   can hit the affected hand, sit on it,    due to the pathway between visual
                                                                                                                      are predisposed to feel sym-
their head, which is all fMRI needs   shout at it or shake it - but, as one    recognition centres and the centre
                                                                                                                      pathy, perhaps even dis-
to spot a tall tale.                  can imagine, it's an extremely dis-      for emotional response being dis-
                                                                                                                      solving the barrier between
                                      tressing condition.                      rupted, the sufferer reacts to them
                                                                                                                      the self and others.
     Madness I tell you,                                                       differently. Occasionally, the
                                                                                                                          Some argue that as this
                                      Foreign Accent Syndrome is               patient will not even recognise
       MADNESS!                       another immensely rare condition,        their own reflection.
                                                                                                                      forms the basis of many
                                                                                                                      belief systems, in particu-
                                      which causes the sufferer to adopt
Alien hand syndrome (aka alien                                                                                        lar Eastern philosophical
                                      a different dialect or accent to their   Kluver-Bucy syndrome cranks up
limb, anarchic hand or Dr                                                                                             traditions, it demonstrates a   February 2006   19
 20                                                            February 2006                                                                        

Reviewing the Revue: 2006
                                     Almost sold-out on the first         know it’s wrong. But the ward        pants marching around on
                  Laura Jefferys &
                    Amar Mashru      night and most certainly over-       round sketch with the ‘impene-       stage, reminiscent of cheerlead-
                                     sold on the second, the event        trable sound-proof curtains’         ers. Perhaps we imagined the
                                     was truly a success with audi-       topped the repertoire, being so      pompoms.
WE all know that medicine has        ence representatives from all        very true to life.
one of the highest suicide rates     five     participating    medical                                             Last up were Imperial, and
of any university degree. It has     schools on top form to cheer on                                           with a relation of Adam Kay
also recently been revealed that     and jeer off as they felt fit.                                            amongst    their   ranks   they
                                                                          “Bum sex, bum sex,
the entertainment industry has                                                                                 weren’t as comically lost as
                                         Barts hit the stage first, and
                                                                          bum sex, we could go                 expected. Great sketches, great
one of the highest rates of
depression, and its members          we were in stitches. ‘My             on… but it becomes                   voices, and great acting - but
frequent rehabilitation clinics      Lovely Lady Lumps’ (breast           meaningless after a                  the bravest moment of the show
more than almost every other         malignancy) was truly inspired.      while.”                              the goes to the streaker, whose
profession. So on the 18th and       The Marks and Spencer ‘your                                               decision to cover her muff and
19th of January, the most men-       NHS’ gag peaked with a naked,                                             display her lovely lady lumps                                             Photography by Jay Blitzer
tally disturbed individuals from     hairy man rubbing himself all            Last year’s winners SGUL         for our pleasure went down
                                                                                                                                                     Whilst not wishing to ignore       tickets and then shout and
the country’s finest universities    over with chocolate sauce            took a stroll down the topical       extremely well with the crowd.
                                                                                                                                                  the place and reliability of some     scream about it, I think?!), the
were put on stage, and an audi-      (poo), terrifyingly, with a bit of   comedy avenue, embracing
                                                                                                                                                  of the more obvious (i.e. toi-        mutual desire for having a
ence invited along to point and      audience           participation.    every final year’s concern: the           The so-called comedians
                                                                                                                                                  let/anal-based)    humour       on    damn good time and making
laugh at them. And you know          Although aiming to depict a          F1 Race. The Murray Walker-          from across the capital had
                                                                                                                                                  offer, a note please for the orig-    over 900 people laugh them-
what? It turned out to be pretty     deranged patient, the overall        style commentary for the F1 job      clearly worked extremely hard
                                                                                                                                                  inality and ingenious displays        selves silly dominated the pro-
damn hilarious.                      effect resembled Gollum on           online application process was       to ensure an apt blend of musi-
                                                                                                                                                  of comedy writing and acting          ceedings.
                                                                                                                                                  that this year has seen. There is
                                                                                                                                                  no doubt that all those involved
                                                                                                                                                  have a lot to be proud of in their
                                                                                                                                                  demonstration of just how high        “Impeccable timing,
                                                                                                                                                  the standard of comedy that the       flawless     musicality
                                                                                                                                                  under-appreciated and over-           and all the hilarity one
                                                                                                                                                  worked of tomorrow can pro-           could ask for.”
                                                                                                                                                  duce. The musical numbers
     We are of course talking        speed after finding all seven        well thought-out, if a little flat   cal, slapstick and sometimes
                                                                                                                                                  alone were something to be
about    this   year’s     United    rings.                               (maybe a PR really is all we         genius comedy, naturally inter-
                                                                                                                                                  admired; impeccable timing,
Hospitals Comedy Revue, held                                              need for a good laugh). Ben’s        spersed with some scenes that
                                                                                                                                                  flawless musicality and all the         As it turned out, RUMS were
                                                                          friendly bacteria sketch went
                                                                                                                                                  hilarity one could ask for. The       runners up this year, with GKT
                                                                          down well, however - reassur-        “The    Marks    and               £5 tickets gave the audience          scooping the win. And boy, did
                                                                          ance that even the most lonely
                                                                                                               Spencer ‘your NHS’                 two and half hours of fantastic       they milk their acceptance
                                                                          of us have some friends!
                                                                                                               gag peaked with a                  entertainment which, for the          speech.

                                                                                                               naked, hairy man rub-              first time, was consistent from
                                                                                  RUMS seemed to be
                                                                                                                                                  beginning to end; and as a                So until next year, friends;
                                                                          younger and thinner than the         bing himself all over
                                                                                                                                                  bonus, free entry to a crazy dis-     when the innate sense of inter-
                                                                          other contestants, but the good      with chocolate sauce
                                                                                                                                                  cotheque that followed.               medical school competition
                                                                          points stop there. Disney’s          (poo).”                                                                  mixed with the powerful desire
                                                                          Aladdin inspired their main
                                                                                                                                                     It is also fair to say that this   to ignore social etiquette threat-
                                                                          song, ‘A Hole New World’.
                                                                                                                                                  year was unique in its back-          ens to bring us once again to the
                                                                          Bum sex, bum sex, bum sex, we        didn’t go down quite as well.
                                                                                                                                                  stage atmosphere. Whilst there        UH Comedy Revue.
                                                                          could go on…but it becomes           Fortunately the audience were
                                                                                                                                                  was apparently some sort of
                                                                          meaningless after a while. The       on hand to let everyone know
                                                                                                                                                  competition going on through-
                                                                          costumes were good though;           which was which, in as vocal
                                                                                                                                                  out the night (something to do
for the first time at the                   Slipping on the aforemen-     lots of girls and boys in little     and crude a manner as possible.
                                                                                                                                                  with who could sell the most
Greenwood Theatre, Guy’s             tioned poo, GKT glided onto
Hospital - and hosted by two         the stage. With the unhealthy
                                     obsession with disabled people
                                     and arseholes that we have
“Maybe a PR really is                come to expect, they wasted no
all we need for a good               time in performing a rectal
laugh.”                              examination to music. A big
                                     laugh for the ‘Violent Labour,
                                     Still Birth’ scene to a medley of
dashing comperes from RUMS,          tunes ended with ‘I just died in
whose style and panache unfor-       your arms tonight’. Still birth;
tunately ended at their tuxes.       you laugh, but really inside you
                                                                                                     February 2006                                                             21

    Valentine, Schmalentine!        side. This I can tell you: No.        allow me to make a few sweep-        Here is a by no means non-            the South Pacific, hippo snouts      your sexual potential in an
                     Joanne Ooi
                                    For me, even spending quality         ing generalisations)                 exhaustive list to set you on         and hyena eyeballs in ancient        adventure of self-discovery
                      Sub Editor
                                    time with my significant other –      To single people: a day to feel      your way:                             Rome...the list is endless.          through untamed passion and
                                    the computer - there is just no       shitty about themselves                    But first, a disclaimer: if        But let the poor critters keep    incredible pleasure”. Pretty
IN case you haven’t noticed,        escape. I open up my inbox            To attached people: a day to         you’re looking within the pages       their appendages. Frisky med-        lofty promises, considering that
the culmination of the grandest     and, as usual, duly drown in the      feel pressured into buying the       of a student newspaper for            ical students don’t need help,       99% of existing ringtones tend
marketing conspiracy in the         requisite sea of offers to            reproductive organs of dead          lifestyle advice, it would be rea-    do they? If all else fails there’s   to unlock in most normal peo-
world is fast closing in upon us.   enhance the size of my male           plants at 600 times the normal       sonable to suspect that a lack-       always Viagra. Or Cialis.            ple an urge to punch the owner
Walk down the high street and       package. (Whether or not my           price to prove their love            lustre love life is not your great-                                        of the offensive mobile.
be prepared to drown in a Red       email addresses, which all con-       To me (not strictly because I        est problem. Never mind that          GET       THOSE        JUICES             But Dr Vanderhood knows
(and Pink) sea of hearts and        tain my very female first name,       belong in a category all my          this same paper won the               FLOWING                              her science is nothing without
flowers and teddies and choco-      indicate my not having said           own; more because it helps           National Student Journalism           Girls, here’s a cooking tip to       proof, and this proof she deliv-
lates. If you do succeed in sur-    package to begin with is appar-       stretch the word count): a day       Award       for     Best     Small    make that candlelit dinner extra     ers in the form of videoclip of a
facing for air, an army of card-    ently irrelevant.) Except come        to sleep in, OD on Onken             Publication of the Year. The          romantic: serve your man nasi        couple exchanging their vows
board cherubins with pointy         this time of year the subject         Biopot and devise harebrained        point remains: your love life is      kangkang (literal translation:       at their wedding. The Pherotone
weapons is in position to shoot     lines acquire a certain seasonal      schemes       to    stalk     Jake   not your greatest problem.            squatting rice). This potent         goes off in the audience. The
you down and ensure everyone        flavour and now go, “Make Her         Gyllenhaal                                                                 Malay spell involves hovering        groom pole vaults from the
– EVERYONE - succumbs to            Scream….this         Valentine’s          Hardly the stuff of romance,     ME SO HORNY!                          naked over a pot of rice on the      altar across the pews right into
the sheer commercialism of it       Day!”                                 is it? The way I see it – through    According to Futurama, an             boil, which acts as a sauna, if      the arms of a middle-aged dude
all. Must... Keep… Greeting…            I want to scream all right.       eyes propped open with match-        earthling’s horn (nose) is an         you like, to elicit sweat from       in a stuffy suit – what business
Card…Industry…Alive! Gah!               I’m sure I can’t be alone.        sticks, spouting nonsense on         aphrodisiac. If you’re not keen       the vaginal area and have it         a 50-year-old has downloading
     Oh yes. V-Day is here.         Valentine’s Day was created a         autopilot at 5.35AM on the           on slicing off your own ‘horn’        trickle down into the steaming       arousing ringtones is left frus-
     You’d think one would be       long time ago to honour a saint.      morning the paper goes to print      and eating it to boost your viril-    pot. The man who consumes            tratingly unexplained - and
safe hiding at home with 2          But these days it means the fol-      - a change could do us all good.     ity there are LOADS of other          the rice seasoned this way is        starts kissing him with unre-
weeks’ worth of rations and         lowing things to the following             So here’s what I propose: a     options to consider.                  guaranteed to turn into the          strained passion. Enthralling.
cans of Air Wick to neutralize      groups of people. (if                 little    cultural    revolution.          There is literally a whole      woman’s slave and make every         Until you can download a
the revolting stench of artifice             you will                        Nothing major, I’m not sug-       world of culinary exotica out         wish of hers his command.            Pherotone to your mobile,
wafting in from the                                                            gesting       we       scrap    there with alleged aphrodisiacal                                           though, (which will probably be
supersatu-                                                                      Valentine’s Day altogether.    attributes, waiting to be             RING IN THE SEXUAL                   never, since the site has since
rated                                                                                      I’m saying we       explored. Anything can be an          ATTRACTION                           been exposed as a hoax), feel
out-                                                                                       should think        aphrodisiac if you want to            If you thought the Crazy Frog        free to listen to ‘Testosteroni’
                                                                                           slightly out of     believe it will work as one.          was enough to drive anyone           and ‘El Cuddlero’ on streaming
                                                                                           the box, get our    Believe me when I say every           mad, wait until you hear a           audio and imagine hordes of
                                                                                  collective posteriors on     sort of animal genitalia has          Pherotone. (Pheromones +             attractive people throwing
                                                                                  Google and unearth           been consumed in some part of         ringtone = Pherotone.) On her        themselves at your infinitely
                                                                                             inspiration to    the world for this purpose.           website,          sexy self.
                                                                                             make         14   Tiger penis is purportedly espe-      its creator Dr Myra Vanderhood           Now if you will excuse me,
                                                                                            February 2006      cially potent for perpetual pri-      touts her invention to be “the       I have a Best Supporting Actor
                                                                                               just that bit   apism. Deep-fried tarantulas in       ringtone secret that can make        Oscar nominee’s house to
                                                                                                 more spe-     Cambodia, duck embryos in the         you irresistible to the opposite     locate on Google Earth. Have a
                                                                                                  cial.        Philippines, bat blood wine in        sex” and claims it will “unlock      good Valentine’s Day!

Staying healthy
                                                                          Advice on how to
                                                                          keep fit (to practise)

                                       ‘I was standing at the end of      good diet, regular exercise and
                     Chris Floyd    the bed when Mr Walters acci-         a daily vitamin C tablet, but
                                    dentally urinated on me. Poor         mostly due to a sensible precau-
                                    dear, he was awfully embar-           tion that I take whilst on the
REMAINING healthy in an             rassed,’ recounted Sarah in the       wards. Namely, to avoid any-
environment where almost            bar. Mr Walters is 83 and has a       one who looks ill or that they’re
everyone one comes in contact       prostate the size of a tennis ball.   likely to become ill anytime
with is infectious poses a great    For him to achieve that distance      soon. This effectively rules out
challenge.                          must have taken a level of pres-      every patient, nurse, doctor and
    Just yesterday I discovered a   sure on his bladder that is rarely    conscientious student.
friend of mine has developed        experienced above 200 fath-               The wards are a no-go area
perioral thrush after a GP          oms. I really don’t think that it     as are most outpatient clinics. I
offered her what she thought        was an accident.                      do however occasionally take a
was a tube of lip glos. It turned      To date I have been fortunate      deep breath and risk venturing
out to be for use somewhere         in my ability to avoid infection      into the student bar, even
rather different.                   from the hospital. I’ve had a         though I’m sure that that’s
     I have colleagues who have     few extra coughs and colds that       where I caught glandular fever.
been bled on, peed on, pooed        I would have expected in previ-             I feel fit as a fiddle and
on, dribbled on, vomited on and     ous years, and apart from an          thanks to daytime TV my
oozed over. The irony is that the   episode of blood dysentery            knowledge is better than ever. I
more violent the projection of      from the canteen, I’ve remained       can’t wait to get qualified.
bodily fluids, the less irate the   relatively healthy. I put this
victim seems to be.                 achievement partly due to a
                                                                                            Win again!
                                                                                            We have more free books!

                                                                                            100 or so ways to make your house job easier by junior-
                                                                                   productions is a handbook packed full of hints
                                                                                            and tips to help you adjust to the wards. The book is ring
                                                                                            bound and printed on sheet paper to make it as cheap as
                                                                                                To win, simply email your name and medical school
                                                                                            to: - the first five names
                                                                                            drawn out of a hat win!
                                                                                               Competition closes on the 27th February, editor's deci-
                                                                                            sion is final.

                                                                                             Cheesy Bites:
                                                                                             Words of wisdom from the cheese and onion.

                                                                                             Page 21, Medicine, art, and the humanities

                                                                                             "The reason for the ascendancy of art over science is sim-
                                                                                             ple. We scientists, in our humble way, are only interested
                                                                                             in explaining reality. Artists are good at explaining reali-
                                                                                             ty too: but they also create it. What has this to do with the

Verbal Decussation                                                                           day-to-day practice of medicine? It is at the point where
                                                                                             art and medicine collide; that doctors can re-attach them-
                                                                                             selves to the human race and re-feel those emotions
                                                                                             which motivate or terrify our patients... every contact
Across:                                tion, it can be used to treat only                    with patients has an ethical and artistic dimensions, as
1. Phase of a grand-mal seizure in     grand-mal seizures. Side effects                      well as a technical one."
which there is violent general shak-   include hirstuitism, foetal malfor-
ing, eyes roll, the tongue may be      mations and vertigo.
bitten and there is tachycardia.       18. Some anti-convulsant drugs

4. A type of generalised seizure,      such as carbamazepine and val-
                                                                                                                     So how do you play it?
also called grand-mal. (5,6).          proate work by as inhibitors of this
                                                                                                                     The Medoku grid is 3 squares by 3
5. A type of generalised seizure;      channel. They block the excitation
                                                                                                                     squares, and each of these squares is
also called petit-mal.                 of repeatedly firing cells.
                                                                                                                     subdivided into another 3 x 3 grid.
7. Seizure type that involves focal
symptoms, most commonly motor          Down:
                                                                               Endolymph                             That means there is a total of 9 boxes
                                                                                                                     each with 9 spaces. The aim of the
or sensory arising in the frontal      2. A seizure type that usually origi-
                                                                               What is Medoku?                       game is to fill every space on the grid
motor or parietal sensory cortex and   nates in the temporal lobe and
                                                                               Medoku is like     Sudoku     but     with a letter from the word
affecting      CONTRALATERAL           involves complex auras and partial
                                                                               Medicalised!                          Endolymph, the only clause being
face, trunk or limbs. (6,7)            clouding of conciousness. The
                                                                                                                     that a letter cannot be repeated in the
8. An example of an anti-convulsant    actual attack varies between indi-
                                                                                                                     same row, column or square.
given to prevent generalised epile-    viduals but may include deja vu,
spy (works by inhibiting sodium        epigastric     fullness,      strange
channel function). Has less side-      tastes/smells and lip-smacking.
effects than other anti-convulsants    (7,7)
but can lead to hair loss or foetal    3. The spread of a seizure (9,14)
malformations.                         4. An anti-convulsant that works by
11. The inhbitory neurotransmitter     enhancing the action of GABA.
whose activity falls during an         Side effects include drowsiness and
epileptic seizure.                     confusion. Other examples of
12. The phase of a grand-mal           GABA-agonists are Gabapentin
seizure in which the body is stiff,    and Vigabatrin.
elbows are flexed and less extend-     6. Most focal epilepsy is due to a
ed.     Breathing       stops    and   focal abnormality here (8,6).
bladder/bowel function may be lost.    9. The group of drugs given as pro-
13. An epileptic seizure due to a      phylactics in epileptic seizures.
local cause, affecting a clearly       10. An example of an anti-conulsant
defined area of the brain.             given to prevent FOCAL epilepsy
15. The excitatory neurotransmitter    (works by inhibiting sodium chan-
whose activity increases during an     nel function). Side-effects include
epileptic seizure.                     sedation, blurred vision & water
16. There are two main types of        retention.
seizures in epilepsy; focal & ?        14. Given IV to control status
17. An anti-convulsant that works      epileptus.
by inhibiting sodium channel func-

    Check all the answers online:
#32 How do I pour a bottle of beer?
                                    about 40 degrees, empty half
                 Rohin Francis      into the upright glass. About
              Consultant Editor     half should be head and half                                                                              Bart’s Hospital:
                                    beer. Allow it to settle. Then                                                                            The UK's oldest hospital, the
                                    fill the glass to the brim, this                                                                          work carried out by Bart's can-
MASTER brewers can tell if          time about a third of the glass                                                                           not be replicated anywhere else
beer in a bottle came from          will be head. After allowing                                                                              in the UK and closing it would
near the hand hole in the case,     some time for settling, finally                                                                           be a travesty. Plus it looks cool!
as light can skunk a beer ever      empty the rest of the bottle.
so slightly. Master brewers         You will be left with a perfect
also differ from popular opin-      glass of beer with exactly the
ion when it comes to the cor-       right amount of head and no
rect beer bottle pouring tech-      more.      Remember,       soap
nique. The first piece of advice    residue in a glass will affect
- do not tilt the glass!            the size of the head adversely,
                                                                                                                                              Cheese and Onion:
     Pour in three instalments.     so make sure you use a thor-
                                                                                                                                              The greatest medical book ever,
First, by tipping the bottle to     oughly rinsed glass.
                                                                                                                                              no question, it’s responsible for
                                                                                                                                              thousands of students and doc-
                                                                                                                                              tors blagging their way through

#33 What’s the fashion for February?                                                                                                          firms with dangerously little
                                                                                                                                              medical knowledge once their
                                                                                                                                              yellow bible is hidden. Top
                                    ;)                                   blouses and Mary Jane's is        son's pencil skirt; an ideal       stuff!
               Sajini Wijetilleka        The prettiest + healthiest      very, very now. The transition    backdrop to printed ruffle tops
                      Sub Editor    season of the year also begins       from daywear to evening           similar to what Givenchy,
                                    soon after; what better way to       should be seamless, without       Chloe and Missoni have
28 DAYS, a regal purple birth-      step into springtime than in         blemish - patent leather shoes,   made. Individuality can be a
                                                                                                                                              Long ties:
stone and special treatment on      sartorial style?                     multi-stranded pearl necklaces    blessing as Karen Millen and
                                                                                                                                              The coolest way to keep your
a leap year, February has got it        As we've seen in the news        and crocheted capes are           Jigsaw have found out with
                                                                                                                                              collar tight is with a tie hanging
going on. The winter's most         of late, the triumph of style        resourceful things to keep in     their button and piping-
                                                                                                                                              down to your crotch, Boris
productive days, gift-wise,         over substance is a feat to          your locker (or uber-hot          trimmed skirts and shorts.
                                                                                                                                              Johnson style. Looks hot and
aka B day and Pancake day           behold. David Cameron did it,        super-sized handbag) for those       The rock chicks amongst us
                                                                                                                                              more importantly, will piss of
also fall within this auspicious    the Prime Rib did it and it is       all-important       after-work    needn't despair. We've got six-
                                                                                                                                              those jumped up “matrons.”
month.                              up to King Mingis of                 socials.                          ties      eyeliner,       either
                                                                                                                                              who walk around all day doing
     V day, on the other hand,      Campbell to show us the way,              I'm pleased to report that   Hollywood or Bollywood
                                                                                                                                              fuck all.
isn't a favourite of mine.          with mannish tailoring, pin-         monochrome has made the           style, skinny mod ties and
Commercialism and cow-              stripes and slim trousers. A         transition over from winter,      statement jewellery to keep us
ardice aside - the only cards I     rakish hat, much favoured by         with white over-riding black      busy. Hair this season is rather
get are 'remedial' efforts from     Alexander McQueen, would-            as the tone of choice. The        good fun too - hairspray,
psychiatric patients. Said          n't     go     amiss       either.   colour aficionados out there      quiffs and volume are back
cards consist of Shredded           Sophistication is always the         have got ladylike luxe to fawn    with a vengeance, with
Wheat Fruitful packets decon-       way to a sugar daddy's heart.        over - the neutral hues of        chunky tendrils rather than
structed during occupational            Fitting really, that flexibil-   beige-gold, bronze and biscuit    bohemian wisps falling out of      Short ties:
craft sessions. They also con-      ity and formality are key to         replete with slight hints of      updos. So much fun, that I         If you’re not a 15 year old
tain badly-written poems            this season's female fashion         shimmer, sit prettily on pleat-   may well be heading upstairs       school boy from a gritty inner
about wolves. Alas, I remain        trends - the French schoolgirl       ed taffeta, organza and satin     to resurrect my childhood          city borough, then don’t bother
open to offers of celebrating       look, replete with tunic, pencil     skirts. If ironing isn't your     (spent playing makeup). Good       with the Samosa look. - patients
St Tequila-time's day instead       skirt, white 40's-style chiffon      strong point, dig out last sea-   times. Good times.                 won’t let you clerk them if
                                                                                                                                              they’re worried you’ll happy
                                                                                                                                              slap them.

#34 Education Corner - Acute painful crisis.
                                    some bloods, feeling rather          the sickles are particularly      selling gene. And what the
                      Dr Gupta      pleased with yourself that you       sharp.                            hell, prescribe long term
                                    remembered          haemoglo-            Once treated, you should      steroids. Loads of them. I love    Science Journal:
                                    binopathies can cause painful        advise DP to seek genetic         steroids. Steroids steroids        What sort of publication prints
DP presents to you on a hot         crises.                              counselling if he is consider-    steroids. Steroids ruuuuuule!      stuff without checking if it’s
summer's day in A&E. He is                 Finally you decide you        ing children, as some of them     w00t!                              legit? studentBMJ can get away
writhing around in agony and        really ought to diagnose this        may be born with the sickle-                                         with printing stuff without
complaining of pain "every-         gypsy. I mean patient. But,                                                                               checking if it’s mind-numbingly
where". You learn that he           just like every fucking month,                                                                            dull because they’re a student
tripped over his work bag and       you are stumped. Just then a                                                                              publication but Science should
has since been in intense pain.     caravan pulls up and carnie                                                                               know better!
     He is dehydrated and you       folk tell you to examine his
start fluids and analgesia.         abdomen. You look at his
Taking a look at him, you pon-      tummy and find several large                                                                              Patricia Hewitt:
der his origin. He is dressed in    curved metal blades sticking                                                                              Has there been a shitter Health
traditional clothing from an        into him at various angles.                                                                               Secretary ever? Every idea she
unfamiliar part of the world                                                                                                                  comes up with is rubbish - from
and does not speak much             What is the diagnosis?                                                                                    surgical practitioners to nurse
English, but seems very curi-       DP is a sickle-selling                                                                                    prescribing. Now she threatens
ous as to how much farming          Armenian.                                                                                                 Bart’s! In way over her head.
you do, specifically what your           A sickle-selling Armenian
harvesting requirements are.        is a rare encounter for most
You inform him that your            physicians. A finding of sick-
farming days are behind you,        les and an Armenian should be
ever since the pig incident in      your first clue. Acute painful
'98.                                crises can be precipitated by
    The A&E nurse has written       infection and falling onto a
"fucking gippo" at the top of       bag of sharp sickles.
his form and you nod sagely in      Occasionally auto-sequestra-
    agreement. You order            tion of limbs can occur, when
Imperial squash RUMS hope
                                       teams having won 6 out of their    Mason however, who faced
                    Gemma Gough        7 matches so far. High hopes       Tim McDowall, the most expe-
                      Sports Editor    were soon shattered though,        rienced player on the RUMS
                                       when the number 1 for              team, nicknamed "Duracell"
                                       Imperial, Paul Parham beat         because he just doesn't stop
                                       RUMS number 1 and Captain          running! Tim had an awesome
             RUMS                1     James Goodliffe to love in the     game to beat Chris 9-4, 9-1 and
                                       first game. James did manage       9-6. Chris did fight hard to stay
                                       to pick up a few points in the     in the match though, and took
             College             4     next two games however, after
                                       his team mate Tim challenged
                                                                          the lead at the start of the third
                                                                          game, which could have gone
                                       him to get 4 points in total.      either way. At 2 matches to 1,
                                       James took up the challenge        there was all to play for as the
    HOPES were high for RUMS           and battled hard to gain a         RUMS freshers, William Tilden
    squash 1st team after winning      respectable 7 points in the next   and Harminder Gill took the
    their second round cup match       two games! Next up was num-        stage to face Imperial's Jay
    against St. Georges 2nd team       ber 3 and captain for Imperial,    Kadan and Patrick Thompson
    last week, to put them into the    Charlie Brantly, pictured left,    (seen in action against Harmi,
    quarter-finals. Imperial College   below. He beat Ben Quansar 9-      right). Imperial had experience
    were always going to be a          2, 9-2, 9-1, who put up a brave    on their side though and came
    tough match though, as they are    fight to give Charlie a decent     through on top to win the match
    currently second behind LSE in     workout. Things were not quite     4-1 overall.
    the ULU premier league, both       as easy for Imperial's Chris

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