As a doctor, one of the things I love about medicine is that nothing ever is quite what it seems. Maybe it makes the science more challenging – the practice of medicine was ever an art, magic even; or perhaps I’m selfishly reassured that without certainties the role of the doctor can never be replaced by computerised smart systems that follow hidden algorithms to reach their diagnosis.
Take the menopause for example or childhood fevers. For donkey’s years, the menopause and the need for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was inexorably linked; and aspirin was spooned out to children with a fever ever since early man discovered it’s precursor in willow bark. Then out of the blue came studies that showed, much to everyone’s consternation, the use of both are actually riskier than doing nothing at all. No woman can get HRT routinely any longer and aspirin for the under-12s is banned.
But decisions have to be made; certainties have to be created, and it’s here that doctors’ desire for proof and the need for better public protection really come to the fore.
You would have thought that introducing laws to ensure cyclists wear a helmet to prevent head injuries would be a ‘no brainer’ (excuse the pun)? Like for seat belts and road traffic injuries many have lobbied long and hard to introduce laws that would require the equivalent of the cyclist ‘buckling up’ each time they sat on the saddle. But new research in the BMJ this week suggests that any potential legislation to make wearing bicycle helmets compulsory would have minimal impact on admissions to hospital for head injuries.
Whist the authors say that helmet use should be encouraged, legislation – in addition to current safety campaigns – would have no great effect.
The researchers from Canada found that between 1994 and 2008, there were 66,716 hospital admissions for cycling related injuries, 30% of which were head injuries. During this period there was a substantial fall in the rate of hospital admissions for cycling head injuries and reductions were greatest in areas that had helmet legislation in place. Whilst there was a decrease in hospital admissions, researchers point out that admissions were falling before the research was commissioned and before helmet legislation was enforced. Based on this factor, the researchers concluded that helmet legislation did not necessarily reduce head injuries.
You can read the research here.
Is this the science of the absurd or should it steer us away from legislation? You may scratch your head, but despite the solid science of this cycling study, I fervently hope it does not prove a set-back for legal protection for all cyclists’ craniums in the UK.
Dr. Martin Godfrey, Managing Director, H+W
As we all know, the hunt for a means to establish social business models – and to measure clear and direct return on social content – preoccupies many marketers who are looking to invest in the space.
At least some prayers may now have been answered in the form of YouTube’s “Shoppable” videos – which enable consumers to shop whilst watching a video by clicking on, say, a lipstick, a pair of shoes, or a jumper and being able to research the product and its availability and make a purchase if they wish.
Such functionality has been around for at least a year, but the absence of a large-scale, proprietary social solution has, until now, largely led brands to partner with third-party technology providers to allow viewer interactions.
But now, with YouTube tightly under its belt, Google is releasing a “channel gadget” that brings some of that functionality straight to the video channel.
“The new channel gadget will enable shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing videos to finding which retailers carry the products, checking availability, comparing prices and making a purchase, streamlining the user experience.”
Google states that the new gadget will first be made available as a “premium offering” to its major FMCG clients, with a broader roll-out to be confirmed.
We believe that this development will break down barriers between (say) celebrity glamour and high-street consumer fashion, by enabling users to purchase items directly within – and as a result of – the ‘influencing’ editorial content. By rolling this out to a broader audience and potentially more platforms, it may even challenge more traditional methods of advertising and reinvent the way brands promote products and consumers purchase them.
Next stop, shoppable TVs!
Elise Pearce, Digital Consultant