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Understanding Medical Research: The Studies That Shaped Medicine

ISBN: 978-1-119-96373-8
352 pages
January 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Understanding Medical Research: The Studies That Shaped Medicine (1119963737) cover image


Medical students and junior and senior doctors are frequently called upon to give research presentations, write reports, and answer exam questions on specific areas of medical research.

Understanding Medical Research: The Studies That Shaped Medicine is an exciting new title that offers a unique and valuable approach to understanding historically influential studies in important areas of medicine.

Featuring chapters from Sir Liam Donaldson and Sir David Weatherall, amongst others, world leading researchers identify ten primary research papers that have shaped the direction of research in their given topic, examining why they were carried out, key findings, and how they changed the field.

Each chapter also contains short sections on ‘Key Questions Remaining’ which outline outstanding areas where further research is needed, and a link to ‘Key Laboratories/Clinics’ which point the reader to major research groups of international standing.

Covering the seminal research in core areas of medicine, Understanding Medical Research provides an authoritative framework on each topic for medical students and healthcare professionals.

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Table of Contents

Contributors, ix

Preface, xiv

Foreword, xv
Sir Liam Donaldson

Acknowledgements, xvi

Chapter 1 Population Health, 1
Douglas Noble, Felix Greaves and Sir Liam Donaldson

Chapter 2 Patient Safety, 14
Felix Greaves, Douglas Noble and Sir Liam Donaldson

Chapter 3 Heart Failure, 24
Martin R. Cowie and Kaushik Guha

Chapter 4 Acute Coronary Syndrome (NSTEMI), 34
Wei Yao Lim and Colin Berry

Chapter 5 Lipids, Dyslipidaemia and Cardiovascular Disease, 46
Gilbert R. Thompson

Chapter 6 Atrial Fibrillation, 58
Kunihiro Nishida and Stanley Nattel

Chapter 7 Asthma, 69
Tak H. Lee and Leonard Siew

Chapter 8 Cystic Fibrosis, 81
Andrew Bush

Chapter 9 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 92
Paul A. Ford and Peter J. Barnes

Chapter 10 Pneumonia, 103
John M. Wrightson, Eleanor K. Mishra and Robert J.O. Davies

Chapter 11 Stroke, 115
Philip M.W. Bath and Nikola Sprigg

Chapter 12 Parkinson’s Disease, 127
Edward J. Newman and Donald G. Grosset

Chapter 13 Epilepsy, 138
Fergus J. Rugg-Gunn

Chapter 14 Motor Neuron Disease, 151
Martin R. Turner and Kevin Talbot

Chapter 15 Migraine, 162
Mark W. Weatherall

Chapter 16 Multiple Sclerosis, 171
Alasdair Coles and Alastair Compston

Chapter 17 The Autoimmune Basis for Guillain-Barr_e Syndrome, 183
John A. Goodfellow and Hugh J. Willison

Chapter 18 Helicobacter pylori, Peptic Ulcers and Gastric Cancer, 193
Anahita Dua and Emad M. El-Omar

Chapter 19 Acute Liver Failure, 204
James O’Beirne and Andrew K. Burroughs

Chapter 20 Haemostasis and Thrombosis, 216
Charles Percy and Raza Alikhan

Chapter 21 The Inherited Disorders of Haemoglobin, 224
Sir David Weatherall

Chapter 22 Diabetes Therapy and the Prevention of Vascular Damage, 235
Philip Home

Chapter 23 Rheumatoid Arthritis, 246
Jonathan C.W. Edwards and Maria J. Leandro

Chapter 24 Osteoarthritis, 254
Kirsten White, Alexander S. Nicholls, Anushka Soni and Nigel Arden

Chapter 25 Systemic Vasculitis, 263
Joanna Robson, Ravi Suppiah and Raashid Luqmani

Chapter 26 Polycystic Kidney Disease, 275
Qi Qian

Chapter 27 Glomerular Disease and the Nephrotic Syndrome, 285
Jenny Papakrivopoulou and Robert Unwin

Chapter 28 Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, 296
Tica Pichulik and Alison Simmons

Chapter 29 Transplantation, 309
Elizabeth Simpson

Chapter 30 Autoimmunity, 320
Jonathan C.W. Edwards and Geraldine Cambridge

Chapter 31 The Biochemistry of Depression, 329
Philip J. Cowen

Chapter 32 Schizophrenia and the Dopamine Hypothesis, 338
Mandy Johnstone and Eve C. Johnstone

Chapter 33 Alzheimer’s Disease, 349
Gordon Wilcock and Alistair Burns

Index, 361

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Author Information

John A. Goodfellow, BM BCh, PhD, is Honorary Clinical Academic Fellow at the University of Glasgow
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Featured in The Times Higher Education Supplement - 23 February 2012

Times Higher Education review:
Medical knowledge is advancing unbelievably quickly, and medical practice has been revolutionised by scientific research that is not only groundbreaking, but well considered and based on sound scientific principles. Not surprisingly, many medical schools now expect students to participate in research projects, and evidence of such work is de rigueur for job applications post-qualification. By examining key developments in medicine we can see the complexities of the theoretical approaches and methodologies used. I find it essential to cultivate this understanding in the medical students I supervise; moreover, it allows them to experience the sheer excitement of medical research.

Understanding Medical Research, aimed at the young medical researcher of the future, should therefore be timely, especially given the focus made explicit in its subtitle, The Studies that Shaped Medicine. It is ambitious and covers a wide range of clinical disorders, and the authors of each chapter have chosen publications that contribute most to progress in their medical specialty. Each chapter ends with key questions, which are useful in pointing to further exploration, perhaps through involvement in research projects. This text avoids being a classic review of the literature, but seeks instead to provide a glimpse into the "unique blend of science and pragmatism", to quote the chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson's admirable foreword, which can have a profound impact on medical practice.

I found the opening chapter on the epidemiological aspect of medicine particularly effective in accomplishing that aim, with its historical context and deft glimpses of the complex interactions between medicine, sociology and political change, and broad-brushstroke sketches of those involved. Likewise, "Patient safety" begins with Florence Nightingale, who was not renowned for "medical research" but who is shown here to have used a meticulous, evidence-based approach in collecting and analysing data; a fine example for anyone starting out in population-based research. I appreciated the inclusion of James Reason's work on accident causation, originally conceived for non-medical problems but which is now an approach that profoundly influences modern medical practice.

Other chapters juxtapose different research methods, for example computer modelling and in vivo studies, or describe the revolutionising impact of modern genetics. Research papers often tell a good story, and I was particularly engaged by the chapter "Helicobacter pylori, peptic ulcers and gastric cancer". Understanding normal biology is essential in comprehending disease pathology, as is clearly shown in the chapter "Inherited diseases of haemoglobin", and also in "Transplantation", which focuses on monoclonal antibodies, now routinely used in basic research and chemical pathology.

Although there are many other equally fine examples, not all the chapters reach this high level. Overall, I am unsure whether this volume completely addresses the challenge of understanding medical research, which requires appreciation of the researcher's thought process, hypotheses and methodologies employed. Certainly I had a glimpse of the studies that shaped modern medicine. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate if the subtitle were the main title. - Isobel Braidman, Senior Lecturer in Medicine, University of Manchester Medical School, and a Higher Education Academy national teaching fellow

Pre-publication reviews:
“Round the edge of one two pound coin design is engraved the words: 'standing on the shoulders of giants', the famous quote from Isaac Newton; this great book provides the foothold that young and old require.” -  Sir Muir Gray, Kt, CBE, DSc, MD, FRCPSGlas, FCLIP, Director of the National Knowledge Service and Chief Knowledge Officer to the NHS

“Medical research is at the core of all we do in healthcare. Understanding where we’ve come from is critical to planning future research, promoting innovation and developing leadership. ‘Understanding Medical Research’ provides a firm foundation of knowledge in medical research that will be essential reading for academics and health service professionals alike.” - Prof the Lord Darzi of Denham, PC, KBE, Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery, Imperial College London, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Lords) at the Department of Health

“It covers the topic in depth from its definition, pathology and each paragraph that has come from a different source is referenced at the top. It gives a great and in depth view of a topic and cites the sources used. Excellent.” - Foundation Year Doctor, Ulster Hospital

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