Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death & Brain Surgery


The first principle of medicine is explored in great detail throughout Henry Marsh’s aptly titled ‘Do No Harm’. The book is a total exploration of the strange relationship between doctor and patient, as Marsh puts it brilliantly, ‘One is facing life’s most difficult times, for the other, the patient is one of ten in today’s outpatient clinic’.

The book is a brilliant account of Marsh’s career as one of Britain’s leading neurosurgeons, each chapter is named after an tumor or a disorder of the brain, from Choroid Plexus Papilloma to Aneurysm. Following a brief synopsis of the medical term that titles each chapter, Henry goes on to recount his experiences as a surgeon through his many years of surgery while also recounting the stories of individual patients themselves (whose identities are changed). We follow his success stories with awe while struggling to comprehend his ability to go on following troubling cases. As patients it seems we often don’t ask about the true extent of the risks, never daring to ask the surgeon “What would you do if it were you, or your family?”.

Do No Harm deals with the balance between technical surgery and decision making. Through Marsh’s moral dilemmas throughout and his experience operating on tens of thousands of patients, we are forced to consider the balance between compassion and detachment, something a neurosurgeon must consider on a daily basis. What we perhaps forget the individual behind our unique operation and each situation’s unique set of circumstances. Do No Harm forces us to accept that things don’t always go to plan, human errors are made and sometimes patients don’t recover quite how we think they will.

Although tears will likely be shed on the pages, this book is an incredible celebration of the magic that neurosurgeons are able to perform, a celebration of life itself and the intense skills of the hand and the mind.

For a brilliant interview with Henry Marsh on BBC’s Hardtalk program, watch this clip here.

And to see the full documentary The English Surgeon, follow this link.150518_r26515-800

Wearables conference 2.0!


We’re just under 2 weeks away from the ‘Trust, Risk, Information and the Law’ conference at Winchester University where I have been invited to present research on trends in Wearable technology with two classmates – Clara Scandella and Amelie Jochums

Our research has lead us to present our findings based around two themes: businesses who are adopting Wearable technology into their business strategy in an active way – by active we mean those who are researching, designing, testing, collecting big data and feeding back into their core business. Active use is long term and and tends to ensure the brand is more consistently integrated into day-to-day life of the end customer.

Second, is the passive adoption of Wearables, businesses who are using devices to allow immersion into the brand and exploration of a subject, to aid marketing campaigns or in-store experiences. Passive use tends to be more short term.


Fitness & Data: The tracking revolution


In September last year I watched a documentary on BBC called Monitor Me – it’s fair to say life has been a little different since.

I’ve watched Monitor Me about 3 times now and am really excited to see more and more people getting inspired by personal data and wanting to track their day-to-day activity.

Pre Monitor Me, I didn’t know the extent of precision and detail we’re able to go into regarding our day-to-day movements. I was motivated to buy a Fitbit Flex and now I feel fairly lost without it.

The crucial thing about personal data is it’s ability to motivate. Knowing your exact step count, miles covered, active minutes and calories burnt makes you incredibly aware of your activity and the decisions you make throughout the day. Since joining Fitbit my daily step count has seen a dramatic increase from an average of 12,000 steps per day to a whopping 18,000! (My PB is 48,000 steps in a day, running from one Glasto stage to another!!).

The Fuelband and Fitbit are pretty similar devices, except Nike tracks your activity in it’s own ‘Fuelpoints’ – a system aligned with the consistent currency of Nike’s digital services. My Fitbit can also track my sleeping pattern, I can see when I wake throughout the night and when I’m restless. It’s pretty interesting to see the effect that certain foods or drink have on my sleeping pattern, but it’s not a feature I use every night.