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Elephants in the room…
We’re all familiar with this generic metaphorical idiom, referring to a problem of which everyone is cognisant, but about which no one wants to speak. While investigating the origins of the term, I learnt that it is thought to have first been used in Krylov (1769–1844) in his book, ‘The Inquisitive Man’. In the course of the novel, the protagonist, despite picking up on many small details, fails to see (or, more correctly acknowledge) the obvious one, the elephant. The reasons for such elephants largely stem from sensitivities: the potential to cause embarrassment or encroachment on subjects that are taboo. All elephants involve a degree of repression, and all ultimately are better off unfettered. I think this issue has unmanacled a fair number.
Paul Ward’s absorbing editorial ( see page 718 ) on the equally thought provoking paper by Lefevre et al ( see page 740 ) is a great place to start. The paper examines reasons for the low uptake of HPV vaccination (a mainstay of cervical cancer prevention) in French adolescents with …
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