A focus on student research

We hope that the wide array of articles herein caters to the interests of the staff and students alike. Emily Ratzlaff examines current evidence regarding the effectiveness of yoga for the treatment of chronic lower back pain (see here). Jack Woods provides information on the status quo of facial allograft transplantation, and identifies and discusses current challenges in the field (see here). For those of you who prefer zebras to horses, Nina Saeed presents a likely never-before documented case of a child with both Chédiak-Higashi and trisomy 21 syndromes (see here).

Online symptom seeking and the anxiety it can induce are phenomena often encountered in patients today. Mary Aiken provides insight into the rise of cyberchondria in the digital age and examines its impact on the doctor-patient relationship (see here). This year, we are pleased to publish an unprecedented six original research articles. The research aims of studies presented in this issue vary greatly. Haneen Habib al Aali compares treatment outcomes of carotid artery angioplasty to carotid endarterectomy in occlusive disease in the clinical setting (see here). On the other hand, in the laboratory, Fatema Mewa demonstrates the molecular knockdown of interleukin-8 in epithelial cells and proposes its therapeutic use in the treatment of cystic fibrosis (see here).

Two articles in this issue consider psychiatric illness in Ireland. Sarah Pilon discusses the alarmingly high prevalence of mental illness in Irish prisons and considers solutions in this regard (see here). Furthermore, Rowena Almeida explores the stigma of mental illness in Ireland (see here).

We are also delighted to publish this year’s prize-winning Ethics Challenge essay by Simon Clifford, who considers the ethics of randomised controlled drug trials and examines the concept of clinical equipoise (see here). In this issue, we also present the fourth instalment of the RCSIsmj Ethics Challenge (see here). We encourage everyone to undertake the challenge, and to think critically about the relationship between one’s cognitive faculties and treatment wishes.

Finally, I would like to thank the RCSIsmj staff and all those who submitted their work for consideration this year. We invite you to continue to contribute to the journal in the coming years. Please read and enjoy this issue; we hope that it provides a fix for your addiction to quality student work in the coming year.

Anas Sarhan
Editor-in-Chief, RCSIsmj 2012

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