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[Comment] 2017 Wakley Prize Essay competition: clinical truths

“It seemed to illustrate the theory of medicine, yet it made no improvement in the practice”.1,2 This 17th-century criticism of William Harvey’s theory of the circulation of the blood now seems somewhat premature—nevertheless, it contains an important point that has endured through the 360 years since Harvey’s death. While The Lancet publishes new advances in medical science every week, how does this affect the practice of medicine? We’re not referring here to implementation science, the tricky business of getting new methods or protocols incorporated into clinical routine.