Review Articles

Book Review: "Spoz and Friends: Tales of a London Medical Student" by Grahame C. W. Howard

Credit: http://www.grahamehoward.co.uk/

doi:10.7244/cmj.2016.02.001
Review by J Hartley

Grahame Howard's accounts of his days in St Thomas' Hospital now close to half a century ago seem to hold a sort of circus mirror to current times - parts of a modern medical student's life seem somehow amplified, some made strange and some strikingly familiar.

Antimicrobial resistance: A major threat to public health

Credit: Wellcome Images

doi:10.7244/cmj.2016.01.001
WL Hamilton and R Wenlock

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is an increasing problem in the treatment of many pathogenic microorganisms, and can be intrinsic to the pathogen or acquired. Here, we provide an overview of the causes and consequences of AMR using illustrations from bacterial species that have a major impact on UK healthcare, such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Extended-Spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing organisms, and Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE). Bacteria can quickly evolve AMR due to short generation times allowing rapid evolutionary change, and horizontal transfer of genetic material between strains. The resulting arms race between bacterial evolution and human pharmaceuticals is one that modern medicine is currently losing, with potentially disastrous consequences for patient outcomes, public health, and healthcare macroeconomics.

Optogenetics: A vision of the future of Neurology?

doi:10.7244/cmj.2015.03.001
F Brown

In 1979, Nobel laureate Francis Crick published a paper discussing progress in neuroscience. Describing the subject as “profoundly mysterious”, he speculated on new methods of investigating the brain, including the ability to inactivate one type of neuron whilst leaving the others “more or less unaltered” [1]. Crick is not alone; for years the mammalian brain has dumbfounded researchers [1,2]. In the human, a hundred billion neuronal parts and myriad connections lead to an interconnected system of a level of unparalleled complexity [3]. This system is responsible for poetry, music and art and gives rise to consciousness, memory and countless other phenomena. It is also the victim of a vast array of devastating pathologies [4].

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