Skip navigation

5th anniversary reflections

Reflecting on the fifth anniversary of the first issue of Bandolier , and 60 issues, one of the big changes is how much easier it is now to answer interesting questions than it was five years ago. This month, for instance, we take a look at a range of questions readers asked of Bandolier in the last year.

acupuncture for back pain and the effect of aspirin prophylaxis on haemorrhagic stroke , were answered from published reviews. Two others, on the use of yoghurt for vaginal infections and Helicobacter eradication in dyspepsia , we were able to approach through a quick search of the literature. Two more, on folate (more properly multivitamin use) and colon cancer and the use of herbal remedies for irritable bowel syndrome , could be approached from a great prospective epidemiological study and a superb randomised trial.

Five years has seen a revolution in the quick availability of information and knowledge. The Cochrane Library leads this, because we can have access to 250,000 controlled trials on our desk-top computers. If we have Internet access, PubMed gives easy access to up-to-date searching for most top journals we care to examine. And thousands of researchers put in huge numbers of hours into doing systematic reviews and meta-analyses or exquisite randomised trials to answer questions for us.

"No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous". We may be better at producing knowledge, and better quality knowledge, but there is still the problem for the ordinary doctor, or nurse, or biochemist, or whatever, in knowing that even some of the many things they do every day is of the best. The chasm between best knowledge and best implementation remains, and will take some closing.

Bandolier , and others, are looking at better ways of making the knowledge more readily available to make closing the gap easier. Bandolier always tries to be close to the cutting edge of technology! There has been a steady demand from people wanting copies of the first Bandolier collected volume, but insufficient to justify reprinting. We have therefore created a disk version of the Annual in Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) which is readable on any computer with Acrobat Reader version 3. If you are interested, please fax Eileen Neail on +44 1865 226978, and we'll get details to you.

next story in this issue