An interesting study by Tann, et al (2010). They argue that, once the preserve of the medical profession, prescribing rights have now been extended to others including pharmacists. However in this paper the authors concentrate on one form of “non medical” prescribing by pharmacists, namely supplementary prescribing, which is carried out in partnership, with mostly, [...]... Read more »
Tann, J., Blenkinsopp, A., Grime, J., & Evans, A. (2010) The great boundary crossing: Perceptions on training pharmacists as supplementary prescribers in the UK. Health Education Journal, 69(2), 183-191. DOI: 10.1177/0017896910363300
I recently came across a new editorial in Analytics Chemistry by Royce Murray entitled, Science Blogs and Caveat Emptor. The main thesis of the editorial is that you can trust peer-reviewed literature, you can trust mainstream science news, but when it comes to science blogs – caveat emptor. Murray states the following: “I firmly believe... Read more »
A study that shows that values affirmation can help female students do better in a calculus based Physics course.... Read more »
Miyake A, Kost-Smith LE, Finkelstein ND, Pollock SJ, Cohen GL, & Ito TA. (2010) Reducing the gender achievement gap in college science: a classroom study of values affirmation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6008), 1234-7. PMID: 21109670
The American Medical Association (AMA) just released a policy on Social Media and Medical Professionalism. It focuses more on the negative aspects of social media, and much can be averted by just by using common sense:Physicians should weigh a number of considerations when maintaining a presence online:Physicians should be cognizant of standards of patient privacy and confidentiality that must be maintained in all environments, including online, and must refrain from posting identifiable patient information online.When using the Internet for social networking, physicians should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the extent possible, but should realize that privacy settings are not absolute and that once on the Internet, content is likely there permanently. Thus, physicians should routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate.If they interact with patients on the Internet, physicians must maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship in accordance with professional ethical guidelines just, as they would in any other context.To maintain appropriate professional boundaries physicians should consider separating personal and professional content online.When physicians see content posted by colleagues that appears unprofessional they have a responsibility to bring that content to the attention of the individual, so that he or she can remove it and/or take other appropriate actions. If the behavior significantly violates professional norms and the individual does not take appropriate action to resolve the situation, the physician should report the matter to appropriate authorities.Physicians must recognize that actions online and content posted may negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues, may have consequences for their medical careers (particularly for physicians-in-training and medical students), and can undermine public trust in the medical profession.On the flip side, Greysen et al wrote a nice commentary piece in the Journal of General Internal Medicine about the positive applications of social media in Medicine. Free article PDF downloadProvide insightful and respectful reflection narratives about clinical experiences that maintain patient anonymity.Promote quality improvement and patient safety guidelinesServe as a trustworthy source of medical information to balance less-reliable online resourcesTo quote the authors: "Much like a mirror, social media can reflect the best and worst aspects of the content placed before it for all to see."Social media is here to stay. Let's figure out how to work with it rather than avoid it.ReferenceGreysen SR, Kind T, & Chretien KC (2010). Online professionalism and the mirror of social media. J Gen Int Med, 25 (11), 1227-9. ... Read more »
Greysen SR, Kind T, & Chretien KC. (2010) Online professionalism and the mirror of social media. Journal of general internal medicine, 25(11), 1227-9. PMID: 20632121
Social software or the use of Internet (Web 2.0) for generating your own content, to connect with one another and to share and manage content with each other is used by young people. How do first year medical students use this social software? This could be important because these networks could become networks of learners [...]
Related posts:Social Media in Health and Medicine: Medlibs Round 2.7
The Risks of Online Social Networking for Students
Disclosure of substance use on social media websites
... Read more »
Sandars, J., Homer, M., Pell, G., & Crocker, T. (2010) Web 2.0 and social software: the medical student way of e-learning. Medical Teacher, 2147483647-5. DOI: 10.3109/01421590701798729
In times of financial difficulties, health reporters are usually the first to be let go. This is especially true if they actually know something about health (it makes them more expensive). Financial cutbacks mean that media outlets have to rely on news agencies or have non-specialist journalists report health. The authors of "Does it matter who writes medical news stories" are familiar with such problems (and their consequences), since they are reviewers of health news stories for the Australian Media Doctor site.Media doctor sites are the media's health news watch dogs. They rate health stories according to criteria like "Quantified the benefits of intervention" and "Did not rely heavily on a media release". Today there are several media doctor sites in Canada, Hong-Kong, and United States (called Healthnewsreview, but works according to the same principles. However, my favorite health stories watchdog is the British NHS "Behind the news" service: it takes a news story and discusses its sources, the type of study behind the story (cohort, double-blind, etc.), how it was conducted, the results and their interpretation, and the conclusion. All that in everyday language. It's brilliant.Back to the study at hand: over the years (February 2004 to March 2009) 1,337 stories from 12 Australian media outlets have been reviewed. Out of those, 320 stories didn't have a byline; 193 were written by nonspecialist journalists; 415 came from news agencies (Australian Associated Press [AAP], Associated Press [AP], Agence France Presse [AFP], and Reuters) and 39 came from foreign media outlets (BBC, The New York Times, Washington Post, etc.); 142 stories were written by health/science journalists, and 228 stories were written by specialist health journalists (journalists who had 10 or more stories posted on the Media Doctor web site during the period of the study).(Figure based on the paper's categories of authorship).Quality speaking, stories by specialized health journalists scored the highest (59.6) while stories without bylines had the lowest score (44.1; you know it's bad when nobody wants to take credit for it). From the news agencies, AP scored highest on quality. Is there a solution for low-quality health journalism?The authors suggest, of course, that future journalists should be trained better regarding evidence-based medicine while they're still in college, and that major media outlets should invest in specialized health journalists. However, since the authors are aware these suggestions are costly, they suggest that some of the responsibility for good health reporting should lie with research institutions, funding bodies, and the researchers themselves, who all have to supply the media with accurate and balanced information about their studies. They see the promotion of good science as part of the requirements from those conducting health research, and believe better scientists-journalists collaboration will lead to better health reporting. Wilson, A., Robertson, J., McElduff, P., Jones, A., & Henry, D. (2010). Does It Matter Who Writes Medical News Stories? PLoS Medicine, 7 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000323... Read more »
This is part of a title of a commentary in the JAMA. Would have reacted in the JAMA but found my blog more appropriate. The subtitle is a neurobiological perspective. This commentary does provide an update on the neurobiological findings on empathy but they’re not new and can also be read on this blog. What [...]
Related posts:Patient Doctor Relationship Series: Empathy
Patient Doctor Relationship: Can We Teach Empathy at Med School?
Empathy for the Mentally Ill in Medical Education
... Read more »
Riess, H. (2010) Empathy in Medicine--A Neurobiological Perspective. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 304(14), 1604-1605. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1455
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?” . 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 »
Dr. Kevin Mitchell, a neuroscientist at Smurfit Institute of Genetics, University of Dublin, posted at his excellent blog Wiring the Brain about a weird, interesting study* that points to a possible genetic explanation of synaesthesia** (e.g., hearing a word and experience the color red). The authors were studying pain mechanisms in fruit flies (turns out the mechanisms are similar to us mammals, whuddathunk?). Once they identified a particular gene they dubbed straightjacket*** which is "involved in modulating neurotransmission," they systematically deleted it in test flies and discovered that the test subjects**** no longer processed the pain stimuli, even though the pain stimuli was following the pathway. In Mitchell's words: Somehow, deletion of CACNA2D3 alters connectivity within the thalamus or from thalamus to cortex in a way that precludes transmission of the signal to the pain matrix areas. This is where the story really gets interesting. While they did not observe responses of the pain matrix areas in response to painful stimuli, they did observe something very unexpected – responses of the visual and auditory areas of the cortex! What’s more, they observed similar responses to tactile stimuli administered to the whiskers. Whatever is going on clearly affects more than just the pain circuitry (emphasis added).So, if I understand this, they turned off the ability to recognize pain, but when they administered painful stimuli (heat), the test subjects had visual, auditory, and tactile experiences. Imagine putting a flame to your hand and seeing purple. Pretty frikkin awesome. Dr. Mitchell's post does more justice to this complex study, I just thought it was awesome.*Geez! Take a look at the author list of the publication. Do you have a place for 12th author on YOUR CV?**FYI: Synaesthesia is NOT the same thing as sound symbolism, necessarily. True synaesthesia is a rare phenomenon that appears to have biophysical roots. Sound symbolism is mostly hippie-dippy bullshit exploited by marketing professionals to sell stuff.***I have no clue why they called it this, but it's a hell of a lot more awesome than CACNA2D3.****There were multiple studies referenced, some involving fruit flies, some involving mice, and it wasn't clear to me which evidence came from which studies, so I have chosen to use the cover term "test subjects."Neely GG, Hess A, Costigan M, Keene AC, Goulas S, Langeslag M, Griffin RS, Belfer I, Dai F, Smith SB, Diatchenko L, Gupta V, Xia CP, Amann S, Kreitz S, Heindl-Erdmann C, Wolz S, Ly CV, Arora S, Sarangi R, Dan D, Novatchkova M, Rosenzweig M, Gibson DG, Truong D, Schramek D, Zoranovic T, Cronin SJ, Angjeli B, Brune K, Dietzl G, Maixner W, Meixner A, Thomas W, Pospisilik JA, Alenius M, Kress M, Subramaniam S, Garrity PA, Bellen HJ, Woolf CJ, & Penninger JM (2010). A Genome-wide Drosophila Screen for Heat Nociception Identifies α2δ3 as an Evolutionarily Conserved Pain Gene. Cell, 143 (4), 628-38 PMID: 21074052... Read more »
Neely GG, Hess A, Costigan M, Keene AC, Goulas S, Langeslag M, Griffin RS, Belfer I, Dai F, Smith SB.... (2010) A Genome-wide Drosophila Screen for Heat Nociception Identifies α2δ3 as an Evolutionarily Conserved Pain Gene. Cell, 143(4), 628-38. PMID: 21074052
Where have all the data gone, long time passing? Where have all the data gone, long time ago? Where have all the data gone? Disk crashed, new project, postdoc gone. Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they … Continue reading →... Read more »
A clump on barnacles on one of my cinder blocks in Shinnecock Bay, NY
If you ever needed to know one thing about barnacles, its that they have large penises. Sure, you might be thinking barnacles are so small. But relative to total body size, they have the largest penises. It is a . . . → Read More: It’s not the size of the boat (or barnacle), but it’s the motion in the ocean (literally)... Read more »
J. Matthew Hoch. (2010) Effects of crowding and wave exposure on penis morphology of the acorn barnacle, Semibalanus balanoides. Marine Biology, 2783-2789. info:/10.1007/s00227-010-1536-z
I am preparing material for an employability module, and I’ve been getting myself into it by exploring different definitions and concepts of employability. What is employability? Coming at that question from a careers adviser’s perspective, I tend, by default, to think about employability in terms of the awareness and attributes of the individual job seeker. [...]... Read more »
Fugate, M., Kinicki, A., & Ashforth, B. (2004) Employability: A psycho-social construct, its dimensions, and applications. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65(1), 14-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2003.10.005
Pool, L., & Sewell, P. (2007) The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education Training, 49(4), 277-289. DOI: 10.1108/00400910710754435
Discussion of R01 grant proposals submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), after they have received an initial funding priority score, generally has little effect on ultimate funding probability.... Read more »
Martin, M. R., Kopstein, A., & Janice, J. M. (2010) An Analysis of Preliminary and Post-Discussion Priority Scores for Grant Applications Peer Reviewed by the Center for Scientific Review at the NIH. PLoS ONE, 5(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013526
Ivan Oransky on his Retraction Watch blog pointed to a paper by R. Grant Steen looking at numbers of retraction and whether they were due to fraud or error. Ivan pointed to a news item on The Great Beyond by...... Read more »
Steen, R. (2010) Retractions in the scientific literature: do authors deliberately commit research fraud?. Journal of Medical Ethics. DOI: 10.1136/jme.2010.038125
We did present at ASSETS 2010 as I previously said and I must say that I think this years conference was solid.... Read more »
Shari Trewin, Bonnie E. John, John Richards, Cal Swart, Jonathan Brezin and John Thomas. (2010) Towards a Tool for Keystroke Level Modeling of Skilled Screen Reading. Proceedings of the 12th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 1(1). info:/
The dissemination of science follows the conventional route of rigorous peer-review followed by publication in an accredited scientific journal. This process has been the standard foundation from which the general public can trust that the science is, at the very least, valid and honest. Of course this system is not without its flaws. Scientific papers of questionable authority, [...]... Read more »
Flor Lacanilao. (1997) Continuing problems with gray literature. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 1-5. info:/
Which is the best answer?A. YesB. NoC. MaybeD. 2 of the 3 aboveE. None of the aboveWait, what?! What a terribly written test question! Have you encountered similarly poor questions on exams? It turns out that writing multiple-choice test questions is actually pretty difficult. There are some basic rules to follow and pitfalls to avoid.In an article, the authors (hey, I know most of them! Wait, why wasn't I invited?!) talks about the lack of a National Board Medical Exam in Emergency Medicine. Such "shelf exams" exist in other specialties but in EM. Frankly, it has to do with how expensive it is for medical schools and clerkships to purchase these tests. Within EM, 59% of clerkships are using an end-of-clerkship exam, most of which are designed by the local institution.The authors also provide an excellent review on the art of writing multiple-choice test questions. So what are the basics in writing a good multiple-choice test question?There are 2 parts to each test item:The stem: The question itselfThe answer choices: Keyed response (correct answer) vs Foils/Distractors (wrong answers)The StemThe test question should be clear and answerable without looking at the possible choices.The test question should have only one undisputable answer.Avoid being too wordy. State the question concisely.Avoid "negative" questions (eg. Which of the following is NOT a cause for...)The Answer ChoicesThere are smart test-takers out there. For instance, choices which have the word "always" or "never" are usually foils and thus incorrect answers. Grammatically incorrect choices are usually wrong. When choosing between 2 answers, the really long one is often the right choice, because the test-writer wants clarify and ensure that the answer is correct. Be aware of these when writing the keyed response and foils.When listing the choices, put the responses in logical order (alphabetical or numerical).The authors also discuss the importance of determine test reliability and content validity. Are the students performing poorly because you just suck at writing test questions? Perhaps a better solution than having all the clerkships working in isolated silos is to have a single validated exam.Thus, the authors conclude the need for a standardized, national EM final exam, now that a formal EM curriculum has been created by CDEM this past year.ReferenceSenecal E, Askew K, Gorney B, Beeson M, Manthey D. Anatomy of a Clerkship Test. Acad Emerg Med, 2010, 17: S31-37. DOI: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00880.x.... Read more »
Academic dishonesty is any type of cheating that occurs in relation to a formal academic exercise. Examples are:
Plagiarism: The adoption or reproduction of original creations of another author (person, collective, organization, community or other type of author, including anonymous authors) without due acknowledgment.
Fabrication: The falsification of data, information, or citations in any formal academic exercise.
Related posts:Adolescents’ Narcissism on Facebook
Narcissism on Facebook
Facebook and Academic Performance
... Read more »
Brunell, A., Staats, S., Barden, J., & Hupp, J. (2010) Narcissism and academic dishonesty: The exhibitionism dimension and the lack of guilt. Personality and Individual Differences. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.10.006
These days medical journals are rigorous when it comes to getting researchers to declare any associations with industry that might influence how a trial is reported. Before agreeing to publish a paper, many of the top medical journals require authors to sign a comprehensive conflicts of interest form that outlines any financial or personal relationships [...]... Read more »
Lundh, A., Barbateskovic, M., Hróbjartsson, A., & Gøtzsche, P. (2010) Conflicts of Interest at Medical Journals: The Influence of Industry-Supported Randomised Trials on Journal Impact Factors and Revenue – Cohort Study. PLoS Medicine, 7(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000354
Should a scientific paper be retracted because it is mistaken?
We’re not talking here about misconduct, or deliberate fraud. We’re talking about a result that is, for whatever reason, wrong.
At the Retraction Watch blog, Tom DeCoursey argues that papers that are wrong should be retracted from the scientific record. His main argument is that people waste a lot of time trying to reproduce results that later papers have been unable to confirm.
This may be a rather different view of retraction than has typically existed. My impression is that previously, retraction occurred primarily when there was scientific misconduct: fabricated data, or an editor doing an end run around the peer review process. In the medical literature, retracting could also occur in case of an error that might kill people from mistreatment (“lethal error”; Horton 1995).
I get the impression that papers are getting retraction for a much wider range of reasons than ever before, for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the science (e.g., authorship squabbles; embargo violations; pressure from bloggers).
I went looking for whether anyone has conducted research on the reasons for retraction. A quick search turned up work by Snodgrass and Pfeifer (1982). Of the papers they looked at, 94% of the retractions they studied had a reason given, but they don’t break down those reasons into any categories.
Six percent of retractions were not explained at all. I’ve seen papers much more recently with no reason given, so the practice hasn’t stopped.
If we widen the use of retractions, all sort of questions are raised. What level of evidence, of failure to replicate, should be enough to warrant a retraction? One of my own recent papers was an extended attempt to replicate another experiment, without success. But it would be presumptuous of me to demand the original paper be retracted.
In the case of honest mistakes, how should a retracted paper factor into promotion, tenure, or funding decisions? And how should journals seek to notify readers? Remove the paper from the record, which is how retraction was supposed to work? Label it as retracted?
Another take on this from Biochem Belle.
Horton R. 1995. Revising the research record The Lancet 346(8990): 1610-1611. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(95)91935-X
Snodgrass GL, Pfeifer MP. 1982. The characteristics of medical retraction notices Bull Med Libr Assoc 80(4): 328-334.... Read more »
Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.
If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.
Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.
To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.