Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In Early human development

Science fiction is all around us, manifesting in fiction, TV series, blockbuster movies etc. The Star Trek (ST) universe has become an integral element of popular culture and doctors play important roles. This paper introduces depictions of these individuals over the decades since the inception of the series in 1966. The doctors portrayed have reflected the shifting expectations of the general public in that medics have morphed successively from an old-style country doctor, to a single supermom, to a genetically engineered human, to a sentient, computer-generated hologram and to an alien who uses also uses natural healing methods. The doctor in the latest ST series has broken another barrier in that this is the first series to deliberately include homosexual couples within the Star Trek universe for the first time in its fifty-one odd year lifespan and the doctor is the first openly gay character. These doctors are expected to demonstrate total accessibility, the ability to utilise natural remedies when possible, compassion and unstinting commitment to their patients and their profession, infallibility and broad skills with flexibility that allows them to deal with virtually anything, in anyone/anything. These capacities appear desirable even if the traditional doctor is replaced by a machine, a warning for the medical profession. A second collection of papers will further explore the ST universe by analysing unethical medical experimentation, artificial intelligence (AI) and the institution of ethics in AI, the application of nanotechnology in biology and depictions of the nursing profession in this fictive future.

Grech Victor