popular medicine

Doctors haven’t been good at explaining to patients some of the principles that underpin medical practice. A lot of the misunderstandings which occur relate to risk and probability, and that in turn is something that our schools have failed to teach their pupils. A good explanation of some of the issues is given at this site.

I could go on about why I think it’s important to increase the public understanding of science, and medical science in particular, but this chap does it much better than I ever could.

And I spent quite a bit of time trying to do something about it myself – see this page, or do yourself (and me) a favour by going directly to our friends at Amazon and buying it.

popular science/medicine

The following links will take you to a number of online articles I contributed to Cambridge University’s Naked Scientists site. Some are basic explanations of how medical imaging works, but others deal with the issue of risk and risk/benefit analysis:

radiation risks

The public are becoming increasingly aware of the risks of the ionising radiation used in medicine. When used responsibly, the potential benefits of x-rays and scanning will outweigh any small risk. I co-authored this leaflet which hopefully helps to put the risks into perspective.

On the publications page of this site, I refer to this national guidance on the protection from unnecessary radiation of female patients who might be pregnant, and more recently, I gave this public lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine entitled ‘Stop worrying – radiation is good for you’. I also worked with a small independent film company to produce a ‘taster’ film on the subject of radiation risks and maintaining a sense of proportion. We hoped to use it to obtain a grant to produce a longer film, but unfortunately, that didn’t come to anything. Anyway, here it is , for what it’s worth.