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In this blog interview Professor Kamal R Mahtani shares with us which systematic review that he’s led or been involved in he would choose to take with him to read, if he was stranded on a desert island.

Can you introduce yourself and share your role in the MSc in EBHC (Systematic Reviews) programme?

Hello, I’m Kamal. I am a GP and also a professor of evidence-based healthcare. I’ve been teaching and conducting systematic reviews for several years. I am the Director of the MSc in EBHC (Systematic Reviews) and lead the Complex Reviews module.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which systematic review that you have led on or been involved in might you take with you to read?

I would take Can the London 2012 Olympics ‘inspire a generation to do more physical or sporting activities? An overview of systematic reviews. BMJ Open. 2013 Jan 1;3(1):e002058.

What type of review was it?
An overview of systematic reviews.

Why did you choose this review?
I like this review for several reasons. I remember the feeling in the UK in 2012 when the Olympics came to London. The country felt buzzing, with a positive vibe, with much of the world focused on the multiple sporting events. However, the estimated cost of hosting the London 2012 Olympics was over £8 billion. Part of the justification for this was that it was thought that the games would to lead to more people in the UK engaging in physical activity. So, I wanted to know what the evidence was for this. I was working with a cohort of primary care research leaders then, so we decided to tackle the review together.

What did your review show?
At the time, we found very little evidence to suggest that hosting the Olympics would leave any long-lasting sporting legacy within the host country's population. Subsequent reports suggested that to be the case.

What did you particularly enjoy about the review?
I loved working with my co-authors. I also enjoyed that our research question was timely and topical.

Reflecting on your review, what one learning would you offer individuals completing a systematic review for the first time?

Pick a topic that you are interested in and passionate about.

Finally, If you were stranded on a desert island and about to read your review, what one food or drink treat would you bring with you?
A double espresso and a biscotti.

You can learn more about the MSc in EBHC (Systematic Reviews) programme through the dedicated webpage or by contacting

Please note: the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CEBM as a group.