Laika's Medliblog

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42 posts · 74,404 views

The Focus of the blog is on Medical Librarianship, Library Science, Medicine, EBM, Epidemiology and Science. I've a PhD in Medical Biology and work as an information specialist in a Medical Library. I have also worked for The Cochrane Collaboration.

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  • July 9, 2013
  • 07:39 PM

No, Google Scholar Shouldn’t be Used Alone for Systematic Review Searching

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

Several papers have addressed the usefulness of Google Scholar as a source for systematic review searching. Unfortunately the quality of those papers is often well below the mark.

In 2010 I already [1] (in the words of Isla Kuhn [2]) “robustly rebutted” the Anders’ paper “PubMed versus Google Scholar for Retrieving Evidence” [3] at this blog.

But earlier this year another controversial paper was published [4]:

“Is the coverage of google scholar enoug........ Read more »

Gehanno Jean-François, Rollin Laetitia, & Darmoni Stefan. (2013) Is the coverage of Google Scholar enough to be used alone for systematic reviews. BMC medical informatics and decision making. PMID: 23302542  

Giustini Dean, & Kamel Boulos Maged N. (2013) Google Scholar is not enough to be used alone for systematic reviews. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 5(2). DOI: 10.5210/ojphi.v5i2.4623  

Chou Wen-ying Sylvia, Prestin Abby, Lyons Claire, & Wen Kuang-yi. (2013) Web 2.0 for Health Promotion: Reviewing the Current Evidence. American Journal of Public Health, 103(1). DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301071  

  • February 24, 2013
  • 07:34 PM

Of Mice and Men Again: New Genomic Study Helps Explain why Mouse Models of Acute Inflammation do not Work in Men

by Laika Spoetnik in Laika's Medliblog

A recent paper published in PNAS [1] caused quite a stir both inside and outside the scientific community. The study challenges the validity of using mouse models to test what works as a treatment in humans. At least this is what many online news sources seem to conclude: “drug testing may be a waste of time”[2], “we are not mice” [3, 4], or a bit more to the point: mouse models of inflammation are worthless [5, 6, 7].

But basically the current study looks only at one ........ Read more »

Seok, J., Warren, H., Cuenca, A., Mindrinos, M., Baker, H., Xu, W., Richards, D., McDonald-Smith, G., Gao, H., Hennessy, L.... (2013) Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory diseases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222878110  

Hotchkiss RS, Coopersmith CM, McDunn JE, & Ferguson TA. (2009) The sepsis seesaw: tilting toward immunosuppression. Nature medicine, 15(5), 496-7. PMID: 19424209  

van der Worp, H., Howells, D., Sena, E., Porritt, M., Rewell, S., O'Collins, V., & Macleod, M. (2010) Can Animal Models of Disease Reliably Inform Human Studies?. PLoS Medicine, 7(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000245  

  • February 4, 2013
  • 12:59 AM

BAD Science or BAD Science Journalism? – A Response to Daniel Lakens

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

Two weeks ago there was a hot debate among Dutch Tweeps on “bad science, bad science journalism and bad science communication“. This debate was started and fueled by different Dutch blog posts on this topic.[1,4-6]

A controversial post, with both fierce proponents and fierce opposition was the post by Daniel Lakens [1], an assistant professor in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

I was among the opponents. Not because I don’t like a new fresh point of view, but because of a w........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2012
  • 12:32 PM

Why Publishing in the NEJM is not the Best Guarantee that Something is True: a Response to Katan

by Laika Spoetnik in Laika's Medliblog

Katan also states that “publishing in the NEJM is the best guarantee something is true”.

I think the latter statement is wrong for a number of reasons.*

First, most published findings are false [6]. Thus journals can never “guarantee” that published research is true.
Factors that make it less likely that research findings are true include a small effect size, a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships, selective outcome reporting, the ........ Read more »

de Ruyter JC, Olthof MR, Seidell JC, & Katan MB. (2012) A trial of sugar-free or sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight in children. The New England journal of medicine, 367(15), 1397-406. PMID: 22998340  

Fang, F., & Casadevall, A. (2011) Retracted Science and the Retraction Index. Infection and Immunity, 79(10), 3855-3859. DOI: 10.1128/IAI.05661-11  

  • October 12, 2012
  • 12:15 AM

Sugary Drinks as the Culprit in Childhood Obesity? a RCT among Primary School Children

by Laika Spoetnik in Laika's Medliblog

Childhood obesity is a growing health problem. Since 1980, the proportion of overweighted children has almost tripled in the USA: nowadays approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese. (Source: [6])

Common sense tells me that obesity is the result of too high calory intake... Read more »

Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Chomitz VR, Antonelli TA, Gortmaker SL, Osganian SK, & Ludwig DS. (2012) A Randomized Trial of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Adolescent Body Weight. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 22998339  

Qi Q, Chu AY, Kang JH, Jensen MK, Curhan GC, Pasquale LR, Ridker PM, Hunter DJ, Willett WC, Rimm EB.... (2012) Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Genetic Risk of Obesity. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 22998338  

Caprio S. (2012) Calories from Soft Drinks - Do They Matter?. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 22998341  

  • May 17, 2012
  • 09:35 PM

The Scatter of Medical Research and What to do About it.

by Laika Spoetnik in Laika's Medliblog

Paul Glasziou, GP and professor in Evidence Based Medicine, co-authored a new article in the BMJ [1]. Similar to another paper [2] I discussed before [3] this paper deals with the difficulty for clinicians of staying up-to-date with the literature. But where the previous paper [2,3] highlighted the mere increase in number of research articles over time, the current paper looks at the scatter of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews (SR’s) accross different journals cited........ Read more »

Hoffmann, Tammy, Erueti, Chrissy, Thorning,Sarah, & Glasziou, Paul. (2012) The scatter of research: cross sectional comparison of randomised trials and systematic reviews across specialties. BMJ. info:/10.1136/bmj.e3223

  • May 12, 2012
  • 09:56 AM

Can Guidelines Harm Patients?

by Laika Spoetnik in Laika's Medliblog

Recently I saw an intriguing “personal view” in the BMJ written by Grant Hutchison entitled: “Can Guidelines Harm Patients Too?” Hutchison is a consultant anesthetist with -as he calls it- chronic guideline fatigue syndrome. Hutchison underwent an acute exacerbation of his “condition” with the arrival of another set of guidelines in his email inbox. Hutchison:

On reviewing the level of evidence provided for the various recommendations being offered, I was s........ Read more »

Hutchison, G. (2012) Guidelines can harm patients too. BMJ, 344(apr18 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e2685  

Tricoci P, Allen JM, Kramer JM, Califf RM, & Smith SC Jr. (2009) Scientific evidence underlying the ACC/AHA clinical practice guidelines. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 301(8), 831-41. PMID: 19244190  

Menéndez R, Reyes S, Martínez R, de la Cuadra P, Manuel Vallés J, & Vallterra J. (2007) Economic evaluation of adherence to treatment guidelines in nonintensive care pneumonia. The European respiratory journal : official journal of the European Society for Clinical Respiratory Physiology, 29(4), 751-6. PMID: 17005580  

Sackett, D., Rosenberg, W., Gray, J., Haynes, R., & Richardson, W. (1996) Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ, 312(7023), 71-72. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71  

  • May 11, 2012
  • 01:50 AM

What Did Deep DNA Sequencing of Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs) Really Reveal?

by Laika Spoetnik in Laika's Medliblog

A recent study published in PLOS genetics[1] on a genetic audit of Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs) was widely covered in the news. The headlines are a bit confusing as they said different things. Some headlines say “Dangers of Chinese Medicine Brought to Light by DNA Studies“, others that Bear and Antelope DNA are Found in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and still others more neutrally: Breaking down traditional Chinese medicine.

What have Bunce and his group really done and wh........ Read more »

  • October 18, 2011
  • 11:45 AM

Evidence Based Point of Care Summaries [2] More Uptodate with Dynamed.

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

This post is part of a short series about Evidence Based Point of Care Summaries or POCs. In this series I will review 3 recent papers that objectively compare a selection of POCs. In the previous post I reviewed a paper from Rita Banzi and colleagues from the Italian Cochrane Centre [1]. They analyzed 18 POCs with respect to their [...]... Read more »

  • October 13, 2011
  • 01:19 PM

Evidence Based Point of Care Summaries [1] No “Best” Among the Bests?

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

For many of today’s busy practicing clinicians, keeping up with the enormous and ever growing amount of medical information, poses substantial challenges [6]. Its impractical to do a PubMed search to answer each clinical question and then synthesize and appraise the evidence. Simply, because busy health care providers have limited time and many questions per day. As [...]... Read more »

Banzi, R., Liberati, A., Moschetti, I., Tagliabue, L., & Moja, L. (2010) A Review of Online Evidence-based Practice Point-of-Care Information Summary Providers. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 12(3). DOI: 10.2196/jmir.1288  

Goodyear-Smith F, Kerse N, Warren J, & Arroll B. (2008) Evaluation of e-textbooks. DynaMed, MD Consult and UpToDate. Australian family physician, 37(10), 878-82. PMID: 19002313  

  • September 8, 2011
  • 11:28 AM

FUTON Bias. Or Why Limiting to Free Full Text Might not Always be a Good Idea.

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

A few weeks ago I was discussing possible relevant papers for the Twitter Journal Club  (Hashtag #TwitJC), a succesful initiative on Twitter, that I have discussed previously here and here [7,8]. I proposed an article, that appeared behind a paywall. Annemarie Cunningham (@amcunningham) immediately ran the idea down, stressing that open-access (OA) is a pre-requisite for the TwitJC [...]... Read more »

Björk, B., Welling, P., Laakso, M., Majlender, P., Hedlund, T., & Guðnason, G. (2010) Open Access to the Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009. PLoS ONE, 5(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011273  

Matsubayashi, M., Kurata, K., Sakai, Y., Morioka, T., Kato, S., Mine, S., & Ueda, S. (2009) Status of open access in the biomedical field in 2005. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 97(1), 4-11. DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.97.1.002  

WENTZ, R. (2002) Visibility of research: FUTON bias. The Lancet, 360(9341), 1256-1256. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(02)11264-5  

Murali NS, Murali HR, Auethavekiat P, Erwin PJ, Mandrekar JN, Manek NJ, & Ghosh AK. (2004) Impact of FUTON and NAA bias on visibility of research. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Mayo Clinic, 79(8), 1001-6. PMID: 15301326  

Carney PA, Poor DA, Schifferdecker KE, Gephart DS, Brooks WB, & Nierenberg DW. (2004) Computer use among community-based primary care physician preceptors. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 79(6), 580-90. PMID: 15165980  

  • August 21, 2011
  • 04:21 PM

PubMed’s Higher Sensitivity than OVID MEDLINE… & other Published Clichés.

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

Is it just me, or are biomedical papers about searching for a systematic review often of low quality or just too damn obvious? I’m seldom excited about papers dealing with optimal search strategies or peculiarities of PubMed, even though it is my specialty. It is my impression, that many of the lower quality and/or less relevant papers are [...]... Read more »

Leclercq E, Kramer B, & Schats W. (2011) Limitations of the MEDLINE database in constructing meta-analyses. Annals of internal medicine, 154(5), 371. PMID: 21357916  

  • June 19, 2011
  • 08:37 PM

HOT TOPIC: Does Soy Relieve Hot Flashes?

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

The theme of the Upcoming Grand Rounds held at June 21th (1st day of the Summer) at Shrink Rap is “hot”. A bit far-fetched, but aah you know….shrinks“. Of course they hope  assume  that we will express Weiner-like exhibitionism at our blogs. Or go into spicy details of hot sexpectations or other Penis Friday NCBI-ROFL posts. But no, not me, [...]... Read more »

Lethaby A, Marjoribanks J, Kronenberg F, Roberts H, Eden J, & Brown J. (2007) Phytoestrogens for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. info:/10.1002/14651858.CD001395.pub3.

  • March 13, 2011
  • 08:48 PM

A New Safe Blood Test to Diagnose Down Syndrome

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

The established method to prenatally diagnose chromosomal gross abnormalities is to obtain fetal cells from the womb with a fine needle, either by Amniocentesis (a sample of the fluid surrounding the foetus in the womb)  or by Chorionic villus sampling (CVS, a sample of the placenta taken via the vaginal route). The procedures are not to be sneezed [...]... Read more »

LO, Y., CORBETTA, N., CHAMBERLAIN, P., RAI, V., SARGENT, I., REDMAN, C., & WAINSCOAT, J. (1997) Presence of fetal DNA in maternal plasma and serum. The Lancet, 350(9076), 485-487. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(97)02174-0  

Papageorgiou, E., Karagrigoriou, A., Tsaliki, E., Velissariou, V., Carter, N., & Patsalis, P. (2011) Fetal-specific DNA methylation ratio permits noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 21. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2312  

  • February 8, 2011
  • 11:16 PM

Much Ado About ADHD-Research: Is there a Misrepresentation of ADHD in Scientific Journals?

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

The reliability of science is increasingly under fire. We all know that media often gives a distorted picture of scientific findings (i.e. Hot news: Curry, Curcumin, Cancer & cure). But there is also an ever growing number of scientific misreports or even fraud (see bmj editorial announcing retraction of the Wakefield paper about causal relation beteen MMR vaccination [...]... Read more »

  • November 23, 2010
  • 05:15 PM

Implementing Twitter in a Health Sciences Library

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

Twitter describes itself as “a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” [2]. The “answers” are equally simple, because the tweet (that what is being “said”) must fit in 140 characters. The tweet does not only [...]... Read more »

Cuddy, C., Graham, J., & Morton-Owens, E. (2010) Implementing Twitter in a Health Sciences Library. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 29(4), 320-330. DOI: 10.1080/02763869.2010.518915  

  • October 6, 2010
  • 04:45 PM

How will we ever keep up with 75 Trials and 11 Systematic Reviews a Day?

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

An interesting paper was published in PLOS Medicine [1]. As an information specialist and working part time for the Cochrane Collaboration* (see below), this topic is close to my heart. The paper, published in PLOS Medicine is written by Hilda Bastian and two of my favorite EBM devotees ànd critics, Paul Glasziou and Iain Chalmers. Their article gives [...]... Read more »

  • September 28, 2010
  • 07:38 PM

A Filter for Finding “All Studies on Animal Experimentation in PubMed”

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

For  an introduction to search filters you can first read this post. Most people searching PubMed try to get rid of publications about animals. But basic scientists and lab animal technicians just want to find those animal studies. PubMed has built-in filters for that: the limits. There is a limit  for “humans” and a limit for “animals”. [...]... Read more »

  • August 30, 2010
  • 12:32 AM

Does the NHI/FDA Paper Confirm XMRV in CFS? Well, Ditch the MR and Scratch the X… and… you’ve got MLV.

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

The long awaited paper that would ‘solve’ the controversies about the presence of Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-related virus (XMRV) in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was finally published in PNAS last week [1]. The study, a joint effort of the NIH and the FDA, was withheld, on request of the authors [2], because it contradicted [...]... Read more »

Lo SC, Pripuzova N, Li B, Komaroff AL, Hung GC, Wang R, & Alter HJ. (2010) Detection of MLV-related virus gene sequences in blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy blood donors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20798047  

Erlwein, O., Kaye, S., McClure, M., Weber, J., Wills, G., Collier, D., Wessely, S., & Cleare, A. (2010) Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008519  

Groom, H., Boucherit, V., Makinson, K., Randal, E., Baptista, S., Hagan, S., Gow, J., Mattes, F., Breuer, J., Kerr, J.... (2010) Absence of xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus in UK patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrovirology, 7(1), 10. DOI: 10.1186/1742-4690-7-10  

Lombardi VC, Ruscetti FW, Das Gupta J, Pfost MA, Hagen KS, Peterson DL, Ruscetti SK, Bagni RK, Petrow-Sadowski C, Gold B.... (2009) Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Science (New York, N.Y.), 326(5952), 585-9. PMID: 19815723  

  • August 8, 2010
  • 01:52 PM

Collaborating and Delivering Literature Search Results to Clinical Teams Using Web 2.0 Tools

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

There seem to be two camps in the library, the medical and many other worlds: those who embrace Web 2.0, because they consider it useful for their practice and those who are unaware of Web 2.0 or think it is just a fad. There are only a few ways the Web 2.0-critical people can be convinced: by [...]... Read more »

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