John Pickering

Dr John Pickering is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, Christchurch and a Senior Research Fellow in Acute Care in the Emergency Department of Christchurch hospital. John aims to blog on science, health, and occasionally political issues. He believes publicly funded science should be made public - so publishes regular "cheesecake files" about his own research. John is on Twitter @kiwiskinz

The physics of maiming a child (repost because of another close encounter) - Kidney Punch

Feb 03, 2016

Dear Driver, When you backed out of a driveway and did not even see how I swerved around behind your car to avoid T-boning you, how dare you have the temerity to tell me you were careful!  I was 7 feet tall, dressed in bright yellow and traveling at no more than 10 km/h.  Perhaps a simple lesson in physics will help you and your fellow “driveway backers” to realise how dangerous you are and to adopt safer driving practices. In the diagram you can see a car backing out of a driveway.  Typically when you are at the edge of your property and have a fence (see photo below) blocking your view of the footpath you are able to see about 1.7 metres along the footpath.  Let us imagine that there is a child on a trike riding at … Read More

Self plagiarism – a misnomer - Kidney Punch

Jan 10, 2016

The story so far… Dr Jaimie Whyte publishes in the NZ Herald an article that portions of which are substantially similar to an article he published in Britain in 2005.  This was picked up somehow by @LI_politico who posted: Jamie Whyte 2005 v 2016. He literally copied a previous thing he wrote about Britain. Really @nzherald? pic.twitter.com/hXDbITivX6 — Lamia (@LI_politico) January 7, 2016   The NZ Herald subsequently asked Dr Whyte for his reaction to the accusation of self-plagiarism & reported that he did not see anything wrong with submitting an article which was a variant of one he had already published and [besides] Dr Whyte added “There’s clearly no such thing as self-plagiarism.” I tweeted the article in reaction to the statement about self-plagiarism saying that I agree with Dr … Read More

Toms River - Kidney Punch

Nov 10, 2015

Toms River is a mystery. Not a mystery about the missing apostrophe, though that does warrant a thorough investigation. Rather, Toms River is a forensic mystery, an intrigue of science and health, of the marvels of chemical manufacturer and of the mischievousness of chemical pollution, and finally of that old conundrum of correlation verse causation. The writing flows like that of a well written novel – good enough that one forgets at times that it is not fiction, but a story about real people and real events. At the nub of the mystery is that so human of all questions, “why?” Why does my son have cancer? The answer provided in Toms River is neither sensational nor simplistic. To try and get near an answer the author must explore the histories of dye manufacture, cancer biology and epidemiology. In that … Read More

Christchurch Hospital’s latest study: IDENTAKIT-HF - Kidney Punch

Oct 13, 2015

If it weren’t for your kidney’s, where would you be? You’d be in the hospital or infirmary (with apologies to Fred Dagg). The heart and kidneys are not just linked by a pipe, but the health of one is very much dependent on the health of the other. Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a phenomenon whereby there is a sudden loss of all or some of the kidneys’ filtration ability. This can have dire immediate consequences with a greater increased risk of mortality & longer hospital stays. It can also increase the risk of developing a chronic kidney disease or even later cardiac problems. Unfortunately, AKI is devilishly difficult to detect, and therefore there are no early treatments. It is also very common – some 4-5% of all hospital patients. Those with heart failure are particularly vulnerable. IDENTAKIT-HF is … Read More

DIY bowel screening kits - Kidney Punch

Aug 17, 2015

The Press headlines this morning claim the Ministry of Health is blocking bowel screening tests. The article itself states the MoH does “not recommend” use of do-it-yourself bowel screening kits.  I can find no MoH press release relating to these kits, so I am a little confused as to whether or not the MoH is blocking anything […]

Two minds about funding heart research - Kidney Punch

Aug 14, 2015

Recently I had a knock on the door from an enthusiastic young man talking about heart research. Given that has been the focus of my research for the last 18 months or so I was delighted that someone was out there trying to raise money for research. However, my delight was, in retrospect,was tempered somewhat […]

The transplant smile - Kidney Punch

Aug 05, 2015

“His mega-watt smile could power the Auckland grid” was how Herald columnist Wynne Gray so eloquently described this morning Joeli Vidiri after his kidney transplant.  In the meantime across the Tasman my long term colleague and head of Nephrology at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, Prof Zoltan Endre, is celebrating 50 years of the […]