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Tribute to a true legend of medicine; Museum's reflection day focuses on remarkable pioneer.

Byline: Madeleine Brindley Health Editor

SOME of the world's leading experts will today pay tribute to a Cardiff University professor who changed the face of medicine.

Archibald Cochrane, known as Archie, developed the concept of evidence based healthcare, following an extraordinary career spent questioning conventional medical wisdom.

During his 30 years working in Cardiff he also pioneered methodical research techniques as he established a link between coal dust and pneumonicosis in a groundbreaking 1950s study of miners in the Rhondda Fach.

Cochrane, who was born in Scotland and served as a medic in the Spanish Civil War and World War II - he was captured in Crete in 1941 and worked as a medical officer in a POW camp-moved to South Wales in 1948 to join the pneumonicosis research unit.

Cochrane, who died 20 years ago, published his seminal book Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services in 1972, which would introduce the concept of evidence-based medicine and the randomised control trial into mainstream medicine and health policy.

He was named the second most influential person in the past 60 years of the NHS by the Health Service Journal earlier this year. Aneurin Bevan took top spot.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "Archie was in that very small group of people who had a medical background but before that had a scientific background.

Some of the greatest scientific advances have been made by medics with a scientific background, such as Pasteur. Archie fits into that Pasteur tradition - the scientist-medic who applied scientific principles and always challenged doctors about how they knew a treatment worked.

"When I walk up and down the corridors of Llandough Hospital, the thing that I enjoy most is walking past the little sign that says Archie Cochrane Library.

We haven't forgotten him; this guy was a giant."

Dr Eddie Coyle, the local public health director of Bridgend Local Health Board, who met Cochrane a few years before his death, added: "Not only did Cochrane have an exceptional life during which he did a lot for the miners of Wales, but he also developed an international methodology and from that an international movement that carries his name.

"The name Cochrane is not just here in Wales but it is all over the world; he was a remarkable man."

The Cochrane Reflection Day at the National Museum today is being held as part of Cardiff University's 125th anniversary celebrations.

It follows the creation of the first professorial chair in honour of Cochrane's memory and achievements in public health in Wales, the UK and around the world.

Professor Peter Halligan, Cardiff University's dean of interdisciplinary studies, who organised the event said: "This will be a very personal look ataman who had a enormous impact on Wales and on healthcare worldwide.

"It should interest anyone wanting to learn more about a fascinating pioneer who helped shape modern evidencebased medicine as we know it."

madeleine.brindley@mediawales.co.uk

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WORLD EXPERT: The late Professor Archie Cochrane, whose pioneering ideas are being recognised at the National Museum today. Left, the professor at work
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 28, 2008
Words:513
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