Back in the late 1980s there was this very eccentric English doctor in a Southeast Asian capital I used to visit who clearly based most of his diagnoses and treatment on whatever he had read in The Lancet that week. There were piles of old copies lying around his surgery, many lying open at certain pages, or with the corners folded over, or bookmarked with old prescriptions.
The city being what it was, he was probably an expert on sexually transmitted diseases but not much else; I was fortunate enough not to have to visit him with any such complaint, but when I had a knee problem he thumbed through a Lancet on his desk and seemed keen to try out something he’d read about that week. I forget what the treatment was but I think it involved trapping my leg in a filing cabinet. Chicken that I am, I fled.
Anyway, said doctor will be delighted — if he’s still around — to know that the august Lancet is now available in a mobile edition. “You can now download selected content from the latest issue of The Lancet to read at your leisure on your mobile device – PDA, wireless PDA or smartphone,” the blurb today reads. I can just imagine expatriate doctors all over the world armed with a PDA in one hand, a scalpel in another, just dying to get started.