Department Descriptions

Clinical Procedures

Articles in the Clinical Procedures department review guidelines and advancements in the management of relevant illnesses and conditions. Past topics have included: ““Ow, doc, it hurts”: management of nonmalignant chronic pain” (Drugs issue); “Modifications in anesthesia for geriatric patients” (Geriatric Medicine issue); “Tick tock: thrombolysis & acute management of ischemic stroke” (Brain & Mind issue); “Surgical hygiene: refining the WHO Safe Surgery Saves Lives guidelines” (Global Health issue);

Diagnostic Review

This department focuses on reviewing advances in diagnostic modalities relevant to the issue theme. Particular attention is attributed to describing how the modality aids in narrowing down a differential diagnosis, as well a discussion of advantages and disadvantages compared to other diagnostic modalities. Past topics have included: “Frailty” (Geriatric Medicine issue);  “A brief review of neuroimaging using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)” (Brain & Mind issue); “A comparison of the efficacy of microscopy versus rapid diagnostic testing in sub-Saharan Africa” (Global Health issue).

Ethics and Law

Departmental editors present important ethical and legal considerations of relevant emerging healthcare issues. Past topics have included: “Ethics of recommending natural health products as physicians” (Drugs issue); “Research concerning older adults with dementia” (Geriatric Medicine issue); “Cognitive liberty: protecting the right to neuroenhancement” (Brain & Mind issue); “Should a definition of public health include social welfare?” (Global Health issue).

Health Promotion

The Health Promotion editors are tasked with exploring a topic pertaining to how the general public views or is affected by public health efforts and initiatives. Past topics have included: “Addressing the diverging public and physician perceptions on the topic of antibiotic resis­tance: a review of current progress and future directions” (Drugs issue); “What kills us and what costs us: an examination of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” (Brain & Mind issue); “The role of vaccination in global health: past, present, and future” (Global Health issue).

History of Medicine

History of Medicine editors present a topic of historical interest relating to the issue theme. Of particular importance is the evolution of a subject matter through time periods, and a comparison of current and future trends. Past topics have included: “Pain, prejudice, and prohibition: the history of opioid drug policy in Canada” (Drugs issue); “End-of-life care: its founding purposes and values” (Geriatric Medicine issue); “Patients without borders: the historical changes of medical tourism” (Global Health issue).

Health Economics

This department showcases the intersection of health systems, business, and economics of healthcare. Past topics have included: “Is pharmacare the prescription Canada needs? The debate on universal pharmacare” (Drugs issue); “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: challenges for the Canadian health care system and develop­ing world” (Drugs issue); “Modifying the healthcare system to accommodate our aging population” (Geriatric Medicine issue); “Physician compensation structures and how they incentivize specific patient care behaviour” (Brain & Mind issue).

Medicine and Technology

The interface and coupling of novel medicine and technology advancements are presented and discussed in this section. Past topics have included: “The digital pill: tracking medication adherence through electronic modalities” (Drugs issue); “The implantable miniature telescope: envisioning a treatment for end-stage age-related macular degeneration” (Geriatric Medicine issue); “Optogenetics: illuminating the brain” (Brain & Mind issue); “Ready-to-use therapeutic foods” (Global Health issue).


The Profiles department showcases current physicians, scientists, or other prominent healthcare leaders affiliated with Western University whose career and work provide valuable insights relating to the issue theme. The Profiles editors are responsible for contacting appropriate faculty members, organizing the interview format and questions, and conducting the interview in person or remotely. Post-interview transcribing and editing for logical flow leads to a cohesive and captivating narrative.

Thinking on Your Feet

Case studies introduce clinical pearls and an approach to specific presentations. The focus is on thorough and logical description of the patient presentation, physical examination findings, investigations, diagnosis, management, and outcome. Cases can be original or may cite other publications, but the discussion section should feature a distinct and independent evaluation of the case. Past topics have included: “Drugs as diagnostic tools: dexamethasone and Cushing syndrome” (Drugs issue); “Anticholinergic toxicity, polypharmacy, and inappropriate prescribing” (Geriatric Medicine issue); “When the beat clots: ischemic stroke in atrial fibrillation” (Brain & Mind issue).

Zebra Files

Unusual clinical cases are presented. The article focuses on the condition, citing multiple sources, and features a case study as an example but not as the main focus. Emphasis is placed on the key investigations required to narrow down the differential diagnosis, and to raise awareness of rare manifestations of common diseases, or rare diagnoses that should be included in one’s differential diagnosis for specific presentations. Cases can be original or may cite other publications, but the discussion section should feature a distinct and independent evaluation of the case. Past topics have included: “Cisplatin-induced change in moral conscience and behaviour: a discussion of adverse neuro­logical reactions during chemotherapy” (Drugs issue); “Rare cancer, common conversation: a case of T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia with end-of-life discussions” (Geriatric Medicine issue); “Maggots on the brain (and in it): a case of cerebral myiasis” (Brain & Mind issue). “Be careful eating the local catch: An unusual case of mass scombroid poisoning in deployed forces in Indonesia” (Global Health issue); “A fungus in the haystack: an unusual pediatric case of otomycosis from a rural farming area” (Rural & Remote Medicine issue).