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1.  The role of mentoring in academic career progression: a cross-sectional survey of the Academy of Medical Sciences mentoring scheme 
Summary
Objectives
To describe a successful mentoring scheme designed for mid-career clinician scientists and to examine factors associated with mentee report of positive career impact.
Design
Mixed methods study including in-depth interviews and cross-sectional data collection via an online survey.
Setting
Academy of Medical Sciences mentoring scheme set up in 2002 and evaluated in 2010.
Participants
One hundred and forty-seven of 227 mentees took part in the study (response rate of 65%). Ten mentees, three mentors and eight stakeholders/scheme staff were selected to participate in in-depth interviews.
Main outcome measures
Qualitative data: Interviews were transcribed, and free text was analysed to identify themes and subthemes in the narrative. Quantitative data: We examined the associations of reported positive career impact of mentoring by performing simple and multiple logistic regression analysis.
Results
Mentoring success was determined by a variety of factors including reasons for selection (e.g. presence of a personal recommendation), mentee characteristics (e.g. younger age), experience and skills of the mentor (e.g. ‘mentor helped me to find my own solutions’) and the quality of the relationship (e.g. ‘my mentor and I set out clear expectations early on’).
Conclusions
Our evaluation demonstrates that both mentor and mentee value mentoring and that careful planning of a scheme including preparation, training and ongoing support of both mentor and mentee addressing expectations, building rapport and logistics are likely to be helpful in ensuring success and benefit from the intervention.
doi:10.1177/0141076814530685
PMCID: PMC4128076  PMID: 24739382
mentoring; mentor; career; research; medicine; academic
2.  The role of mentoring in academic career progression: a cross-sectional survey of the Academy of Medical Sciences mentoring scheme 
Summary
Objectives
To describe a successful mentoring scheme designed for mid-career clinician scientists and to examine factors associated with mentee report of positive career impact.
Design
Mixed methods study including in-depth interviews and cross-sectional data collection via an online survey.
Setting
Academy of Medical Sciences mentoring scheme set up in 2002 and evaluated in 2010.
Participants
One hundred and forty-seven of 227 mentees took part in the study (response rate of 65%). Ten mentees, three mentors and eight stakeholders/scheme staff were selected to participate in in-depth interviews.
Main outcome measures
Qualitative data: Interviews were transcribed, and free text was analysed to identify themes and subthemes in the narrative. Quantitative data: We examined the associations of reported positive career impact of mentoring by performing simple and multiple logistic regression analysis.
Results
Mentoring success was determined by a variety of factors including reasons for selection (e.g. presence of a personal recommendation), mentee characteristics (e.g. younger age), experience and skills of the mentor (e.g. ‘mentor helped me to find my own solutions’) and the quality of the relationship (e.g. ‘my mentor and I set out clear expectations early on’).
Conclusions
Our evaluation demonstrates that both mentor and mentee value mentoring and that careful planning of a scheme including preparation, training and ongoing support of both mentor and mentee addressing expectations, building rapport and logistics are likely to be helpful in ensuring success and benefit from the intervention.
doi:10.1177/0141076814530685
PMCID: PMC4128076  PMID: 24739382
mentoring; mentor; career; research; medicine; academic
3.  Randomised controlled trial of a brief alcohol intervention in a general hospital setting 
Trials  2013;14:345.
Background
The evidence suggests that brief alcohol-focused interventions, directed at hazardous and harmful drinkers in non-specialist settings such as primary care are effective in reducing alcohol consumption. However, there is a need for further research in the hospital setting. This is a randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of a 10-minute brief intervention amongst 'at risk’ drinkers admitted to general hospital wards. Unlike some previous trials, this trial is randomised, used blinded assessors, includes an intention-to-treat analysis, included female subjects and excluded people with alcohol dependence.
Methods
A total of 250 'at risk’ drinkers admitted to King’s College Hospital were identified using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Some 154 subjects entered the study and were randomly allocated to the control and intervention groups. Subjects in the control group received no advice about their drinking whilst subjects in the intervention group received 10 minutes of simple advice on reducing alcohol consumption. Recruitment took place between 1995 and 1997. The primary outcome was the AUDIT questionnaire at 12 months. Secondary outcomes were a previous week’s Drinks Diary, questionnaires (General Health Questionnaire, Alcohol Problems Questionnaire and the Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire) and laboratory blood tests (gamma glutamyl transferase, mean cell volume and haemoglobin).
Results
At 3-month and 12-month follow-up, all participants were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. At both time points there was no evidence of an intervention effect that could be attributed to the brief intervention. Both the intervention and control groups had an improved AUDIT score and reduced levels of alcohol consumption as measured by a subjective Drinks Diary at 3 months which was maintained at 12 months.
Conclusions
This study has added further evidence on brief interventions in the hospital setting. In contrast to the recent Cochrane review by McQueen et al., the results of this study do not support the effectiveness of a brief alcohol intervention in general hospital wards. However our study was underpowered and there were flaws in the statistical analyses, and these limitations temper the strength of our conclusions.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-345
PMCID: PMC4016505  PMID: 24148799
Brief alcohol intervention; General hospital; Alcohol problems; Controlled clinical trial
4.  The function of ‘functional’: a mixed methods investigation 
Objective
The term ‘functional’ has a distinguished history, embodying a number of physiological concepts, but has increasingly come to mean ‘hysterical’. The DSM-V working group proposes to use ‘functional’ as the official diagnostic term for medically unexplained neurological symptoms (currently known as ‘conversion disorder’). This study aimed to explore the current neurological meanings of the term and to understand its resilience.
Design
Mixed methods were used, first interviewing the neurologists in a large UK region and then surveying all neurologists in the UK on their use of the term.
Results
The interviews revealed four dominant uses—‘not organic’, a physical disability, a brain disorder and a psychiatric problem—as well as considerable ambiguity. Although there was much dissatisfaction with the term, the ambiguity was also seen as useful when engaging with patients. The survey confirmed these findings, with a majority adhering to a strict interpretation of ‘functional’ to mean only ‘not organic’, but a minority employing it to mean different things in different contexts - and endorsing the view that ‘functional’ would one day be a neurological construct again.
Conclusions
‘Functional’ embodies real divisions in neurologists' conceptualisation of unexplained symptoms and, perhaps, between those of patients and neurologists: its diversity of meanings allows it to be a common term while meaning different things to different people, or at different times, and thus conceal some of the conflict in a particularly contentious area. This flexibility may help explain the term's longevity.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2011-300992
PMCID: PMC3277687  PMID: 22250186
5.  Differential effects of pre and post-payment on neurologists' response rates to a postal survey 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:100.
Background
Monetary incentives are an effective way of increasing response rates to surveys, though they are generally less effective in physicians, and are more effective when the incentive is paid up-front rather than when made conditional on completion.
Methods
In this study we examine the effectiveness of pre- and post-completion incentives on the response rates of all the neurologists in the UK to a survey about conversion disorder, using a cluster randomised controlled design. A postal survey was sent to all practicing consultant neurologists, in two rounds, including either a book token, the promise of a book token, or nothing at all.
Results
Three hundred and fifty-one of 591 eligible neurologists completed the survey, for a response rate of 59%. While the post-completion incentive exerted no discernible influence on response rates, a pre-completion incentive did, with an odds-ratio of 2.1 (95% confidence interval 1.5 - 3.0).
Conclusions
We conclude that neurologists, in the UK at least, may be influenced to respond to a postal survey by a pre-payment incentive but are unaffected by a promised reward.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-100
PMCID: PMC2984383  PMID: 20973984
6.  The Association or Otherwise of the Functional Somatic Syndromes 
Psychosomatic medicine  2007;69(9):855-859.
Objective
the Functional Somatic Syndromes (FSS) show considerable co-morbidity, leading some to suggest they may be aspects of the same disorder. This study aims to review the evidence for overlap in the phenomenology of the FSS.
Methods
a selective review of peer-reviewed articles on the co-occurrence of FSS symptoms and diagnoses.
Results
considerable evidence of overlap was found at the level of symptoms, of diagnostic criteria, and of clinical diagnoses made.
Conclusions
phenomenological commonalities support a close relationship between the FSS, though differences remain in other domains. Whether the FSS may best be considered the same or different will depend on the pragmatics of diagnosis.
doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e31815b001a
PMCID: PMC2575798  PMID: 18040094
diagnosis; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Fibromyalgia; phenomenology; co-morbidity

Results 1-6 (6)