This volume of the British Medical Bulletin contains a brief introduction by J. A. B. Gray, 15 articles on various aspects of computing in medicine, and a glossary of terms. There has been no attempt to cover all aspects of the problem, but rather to give authoritative accounts in a few carefully chosen areas. In particular, the committee that planned this Bulletin decided to leave out from consideration the administrative aspects of the medical services.
The first paper, by L. C. Payne, considers the basic principles of computer technology. The computer can receive, store, select, evaluate, and transmit information—features that are characteristic of the cerebral cortex. Whereas historically machines have been principally concerned with deploying muscle power more effectively, the computer augments cerebral functions. With its help an untrained person can do things that otherwise entail trained cerebral activity. This theme is again taken up in a later article by I. D. P. Wootten, where examples are given from the biochemistry laboratory.