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Don't squirrel knowledge

Bandolier was shocked recently to hear of readers who kept the information in our pages to themselves. Squirreling away information isn't the point of all this. Knowledge is to be shared, discussed, argued over, and, sometimes, acted upon.

Treating information as a surrogate for power is all to do with organisational attitude and size. Most small organisations share information because there is a mutual imperative to grow and excel - knowledge empowers everyone. Large organisations become more bureaucratic - more secretive - and the bad squirrels take over.

So organisations that want to tackle change effectively need an anti-squirrel campaigner to turn over these bad habits. Ask yourself whether your organisation has a "Chief Knowledge Officer" squirrel warden. Make a start yourself - share your Bandolier with a colleague!

Don Cantona

Our Indoor Games Editor is perplexed by the apparent relationship between scores achieved by the various clinical schools on the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and the achievement of the football team in the respective conurbation. It is an inverse relationship.

High scores on the RAE are associated with relatively lowly status football, and low RAE scores with premier league football. Matching football team and clinical school in London will cause great uproar.

Of course, this may just be another example of 'all that correlates isn't meaningful'. How often we see that in papers we read.

But if this particular correlation is meaningful, the cure in a free market economy must lie in the transfer market. Prizes for sightings of medical school deans in motorway service station negotiations.

Snoring Sunset

Clinical industries can rise rapidly from the primordial slime of ignorance. Two reviews [1, 2] and an editorial [3] should make us think twice about whether obstructive sleep apnoea is a real problem, even if cures exist. In the review from the NHS Centre for Reviews at York [1], there is an amazing quote from the New England Journal of Medicine "sleep apnoea may be as big a public health hazard as smoking".

The York team debunk this hyperbole. They conclude "the relevance of sleep apnoea to public health has been exaggerated", and they believe that the continuous positive airways pressure cure has been poorly evaluated. Tough, and important reading.


  1. J Wright, R Johns, I Watt, A Melville, T Sheldon. Health effects of obstructive sleep apnoea and the effectiveness of continuous positive airways pressure. British Medical Journal 1997 314: 851-60.
  2. MM Ohayon, C Guilleminault, RG Priest, M Caulet. Snoring and breathing pauses during sleep: telephone interview survey of a United Kingdom population sample British Medical Journal 1997 314: 860-3.
  3. JA Fleetham. A wake-up call for sleep disordered breathing (editorial). British Medical Journal 1997 314: 839-40.

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