‘Black Wednesday’: will patients really die today as new doctors take up their first NHS jobs?

We’ve all heard the rumours: on the first Wednesday of August, as junior doctors around the country begin their first day of work, there is a small spike in the number of deaths in hospitals. Many of us newly-qualified doctors are terrified that these rumours might actually be true. After all, we went into medicine … Continue reading ‘Black Wednesday’: will patients really die today as new doctors take up their first NHS jobs?

It’s not just about the Zika virus

Two other viruses which are very similar to Zika virus – the chikungunya and the dengue viruses –  are also known to cause neurological complications and may have contributed to the recent increase in neurological diseases that I'm studying here in Brazil. Although the international collaboration I’m working with is called “ZikaPLAN”, our group recognises the importance of these other two viruses and we’re actually studying chikungunya and dengue with just as much interest as Zika.

Zika congenital syndrome: are we under-estimating the full extent of the problem?

This is the second of a three-part series on Zika's effects during pregnancy.    In the first part, I introduced ‘congenital Zika syndrome’ and described how Zika is responsible for a lot more than just microcephaly.   In this post I will explain why we may be under-estimating the full extent of the problem. Zika infection … Continue reading Zika congenital syndrome: are we under-estimating the full extent of the problem?

Zika and its effects on babies: microcephaly and ‘congenital Zika syndrome’

The initial conern over Zika arose when it was suspected to cause a birth defect called 'microcephaly' (small brain). It has since been shown that Zika causes a far wider range of problems in the newborn than just microcephaly. In this article I discuss the range of defects caused by the Zika virus and put them in the context of the other causes of birth defects that we know about.

The famine in Africa that no-one hears about

As a (very new) member of the medical profession, I feel it is my duty to bring to your attention the terrible food crisis that is happening in four different countries across Africa at the moment. This is something that isn't making the headlines, but really ought to be. 20 million people, including 10 million children, … Continue reading The famine in Africa that no-one hears about

A typical workday in Recife: my Brazilian “dia a dia”

As you already know, I'm here in Brazil working on a project to do with neurological complications of the Zika virus. Here's an idea of what my day-to-day routine is like, or my "dia-a-dia" as they say in Brazil. 6:00 – Wake up to go for a run while the outside temperature is still bearable. Without doubt, this … Continue reading A typical workday in Recife: my Brazilian “dia a dia”