Thursday, December 23, 2004

Medical students' knowledge of renal transplantation

This paper in BMC Medical Education reports a survey of final year students at Bristol University medical school. 46% of respondents had examined a renal transplant recipient, but only 14% had ever witnessed the surgery. 25% of the respondents were unable to name a drug that the transplant recipients might take. BMC Medical Education is an open access journal, and the full paper is available by following this link.
Journal of Medical Internet Research

This online journal publishes papers about e-health (use of Internet related technologies in health care). It is included in Medline, and HTML files of published papers are freely available.

Recent papers include:

Feasibility of Collecting Diary Data From Asthma Patients Through Mobile Phones and SMS (Short Message Service): Response Rate Analysis and Focus Group Evaluation From a Pilot Study


Knowledge and Utilization of Information Technology Among Health Care Professionals and Students in Ile-Ife, Nigeria: A Case Study of a University Teaching Hospital

Web-Based Targeted Nutrition Counselling and Social Support for Patients at Increased Cardiovascular Risk in General Practice: Randomized Controlled Trial

Parents of Urban Adolescents in Harlem, New York, and the Internet: A Cross-sectional Survey on Preferred Resources for Health Information

Monday, December 20, 2004

The 100 most useful websites

In the opinion of the Guardian's journalists, at,3605,1374155,00.html

Approval books

I forgot to post the latest list, I think. Apologies. I have emailed highlights to you, and the full list is available here and the books will be available for viewing until 10th January, during staffed daytime hours.

Embryonic stem cell cloning

A summary of the issues is on the BBC website (following their drama-documentary last week):
Clinical Trials: free trial

This journal is running a free trial via until 31st January 2005.

The publishers say "Clinical Trials is the leading international journal that aims to be a primary focus for the dissemination and development of knowledge about the design, conduct, analysis, synthesis, history, ethics, regulation and clinical or policy impact of all types of clinical trials and related medical research methodologies. Clinical Trials is the official Journal of the Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) and is published by Hodder Arnold."

Please let me have any comments, if you do have a look.
Respiratory syncytial virus

Daily Mirror today reports a "surge" in the occurrence of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and quotes Alun Elias-Jones of the LRI.
Bad Science Awards

The Guardian announces the winners of its Bad Science Awards.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Where to send donations of physiotherapy material

Where to send donations of books and journals is a subject that is close to my heart (as anyone who has worked with me will testify). The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have produced a list of organisations which can accept donations of books, journals, computers and equipment. It is available on the CSP website. Many of the organisations could be useful for material in other subjects, too.
Some other Google news

According to the most recent Nature, the American Chemical Society is taking Google to court over Google's use of the name "Scholar". The ACS produce a database called "SciFinder Scholar" and are concerned that users will get confused. The American Library Association has been asked by
Google Watch to ask Google to ensure that users of the recently announced digital books are ensured anonymity. Google records information about each visitor (IP address, and so on) to its sites.

Google Watch's letter to the ALA

The ability of the eye to detect the offside position

This, along with Pooh Sticks as a model for the formation of embolisms and a paper on how to get your paper rejected, can only mean one thing: the Christmas BMJ.

Full table of contents (until it is not the current issue any more, at least)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

National Institutes of Health public access policy

The NIH has produced a draft policy that requests that NIH-funded investigators make a copy of their research available for inclusion in PubMedCentral, and so publically available. There is an article by Elias Zerhouni of the NIH in Science (10 December, p. 1895).
Thank you

Nature is reporting a study published in PNAS, which analysed data on who had thanked whom in a set of 335000 papers in computer science. Acknowledgement is a separate thing from citing someone, and is another indicator of who is important in a study. Text mining software makes this study possible.

See: PNAS 2004 101, 17599-17604; and Nature 16 December, p. 790.

The HapMap database of haplotypes is now freely available - go to The database is a collaboration designed to help researchers find genes linked to human disease. See also Nature 16 December 2004, p. 788.
**ASM journals**

We will have an online subscription to all 11 American Society for Microbiology journals, from 2005. Access will be on campus only, although after a period of 6 or 12 months, issues are freely available and so will be available off campus.

The titles are:

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
Clinical Microbiology Reviews
Eukaryotic Cell
Infection and Immunity
Journal of Bacteriology
Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Journal of Virology
MMBR - Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
Molecular and Cellular Biology

The titles will be put into Leicester e-link and the library catalogue in due course.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

SARS vaccination

Report of a vaccine being tested in China, from SciDev.Net.
Getting grant applications funded

This is the subject of an editorial in Thorax - G.J. Laurent (of the Rayne Institute) outlines ways to attract more funding to respiratory research, which is comparatively underfunded. Read the full text.
Stem cells in cardiovascular medicine

See this paper in Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation:

Cardiovascular disease in renal patients--a matter of stem cells?
Danilo Fliser, Kirsten de Groot, Ferdinand Hermann Bahlmann, and Hermann
Nephrol. Dial. Transplant. 2004 19: 2952-2954.

The University has online access. The same issue has an article on renal failure in SARS patients and one on defibrillation.
NICE guidance on laser eye surgery (LASIK)

(Information from email bulletin sent by NICE)

In summary the guidance states that:

Current evidence on LASIK for the treatment of refractive errors suggests that it is effective in selected patients with mild or moderate short-sightedness. Evidence is weaker for its effectiveness in severe short-sightedness and long-sightedness.

There are concerns about the procedure's safety in the long term and current evidence does not appear adequate to support its use within the NHS without special arrangements for consent and for audit or research.

Clinicians wishing to undertake LASIK for the treatment of refractive errors should take the following actions:
Ensure that patients fully understand the specific risks associated with the procedure and provide them with clear written information. Use of the Institute's Information for the Public is recommended.
Audit and review clinical outcomes of all patients having LASIK for the treatment of refractive errors.
Have adequate training before performing the technique. The Royal College of Ophthalmology has produced standards for Laser Refractive Surgery. For further information please click here.

Further research will be useful in reducing the current uncertainty and clinicians are encouraged to collect longer-term follow-up data.

For further information and to read the full recommendations please click here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Promising new TB drug

Report in SciDev.Net about R207910, a diarylquinoline drug active on the ATP synthase of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The SciDev.Net report links to the original report in Science Express.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Coronary heart disease in people of South Asian origin

The subject of a "comment" article in the Lancet by Kamlesh Khunti and Nilesh Samani of this University. We have online access but you may need to register to see full text. Registration is free.
The eye in systemic inflammatory disease

Is the subject of an article in the Lancet (2004; 364: 2125-33) . We have online access but you may need to register (free) to see full text.
Using material from the Internet in teaching or learning?

See this article in the latest Computer Centre newsletter about copyright of Internet materials. Lots of other interesting things in the same newsletter.
Health and human rights organisations

A new WHO database of organisations is available. It can be searched by health area (e.g. AIDS, access to medicines) or geographical area.
UK Government prepares for outbreak of bird flu

According to the Times (as reported in the BMJ's daily health news) the government is drawing up plans , following a warning from the WHO of a global pandemic.

There is a report in the Observer as well.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Emerging infectious diseases

Nature Medicine 10(12) Supplement is devoted to this. It includes a review on SARS. We currently have no online access to this title - the library can supply a photocopy of articles (at a charge) - contact me for more details.

You can access the contents pages of this supplement and the main December issue online.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Christmas tree aspiration

Is described in this article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal: the patient was a 21/2 year old boy.

The same issue of that journal also has a paper on the occupational diseases associated with being Santa Claus, and one on the incidence of nodding off at scientific sessions. There is also one on how to read pharmaceutical advertisements, that well known source of medical information (not that any of the readers of this blog would do such a thing, of course).

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Commission for Africa

The Commission is keen to hear from scientists. Full details in an article on SciDev.Net. The deadline is the 17th December. Commission for Africa website.
Health websites in the Guardian

The Guardian lists ten good reliable health websites, and they are all ones I would have chosen!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Reporting outbreaks of infectious disease

Nature (2nd December 2004) has a feature on ProMED-Mail, a global reporting system for reporting outbreaks of infectious disease. It has been able to report outbreaks much more quickly than other sources, and is independent.

ProMED-MAIL website

The Nature news feature (access appears to be free to this article)
Donate your computer's free time

The World Community Grid can use your computer's idle time for projects that benefit humanity (on the same computing principles as the SETI @ Home project). Current projects include the Human Proteome Folding Project.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New guidance on Prodigy

Prodigy is a source of clinical information for primary care, available at

New topics:

Dental abscess
Eating disorders
Eczema – atopic
Gingivitis and periodontitis
Leg ulcer – venous
Seborrhoeic dermatitis

Recently updated:

Aphthous ulcer
Colic – infantile
Herpes simplex – oral
Malaria prophylaxis
Sore throat - acute
Thymosin promotes cardiomyocyte migration, survival and repair

Read an
abstract of this Nature paper (25th November 2004, 432(7016): 466-72). The University has access online to Nature through Ovid, but this issue is not there yet.
Writing informative abstracts

Advice in an editorial in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Follow this link for an extract of the editorial. You will need a password for full access - I have it.

Asthma and lung function 20 years after wheezing in infancy

A study in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine that followed people who were hospitalised for bronchiolitis or pneumonia up to age 2 up to age 19. Article is available free online.
NHS "University"

Last week's Higher section in the Education supplement of the Guardian has an article on the future of NHSU. Meant to mention it before, but lost the clipping at the bottom of a bag...

Monday, November 29, 2004


There is a useful-looking overview of robotic surgery in urology in the supplement to November's issue of BJU International. (The link takes you to the abstract - if you are on campus or have University of Leicester Athens login, you will be able to see the full article). The supplement is European Urology Update Series no. 6.
Can antibiotics reduce the incidence of UTI subsequent to the removal of a urinary catheter?

This is the subject of a RCT in November's BJU International. The link takes you to the abstract. If you are on a CFS machine or have University of Leicester Athens, you will be able to see the full text.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Google Scholar

A search engine that indexes academic material. Read about it in Nature (25th November 2004) and, probably, on a discussion list near you.

My first impressions are that it could be useful, although I am not sure it will always link to the University's full text. Google Scholar is currently in beta test.

More here when I have had the chance to give it a proper test. It's at

Read the article by Simon Crouch, who spent his elective at Warner Studios. (I knew I was in the wrong job...) The article, in the Student BMJ, looks at the impact of the programme on public health.
World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day and find out more by clicking on this image.

Support World AIDS Day

British Thoracic Society

The programme and abstracts of the 2004 winter meeting, being held 1-3 December, is available as a supplement to Thorax. Supplements to Thorax are available online but I can't see this one there yet.

The Clinical Sciences Library has it.
Doctors in the movies

December's issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood (vol. 89, no. 12) has papers on:

Hindu birth customs

Doctors in the movies

Nursery rhymes: could they cause violent behaviour?

The journal is available online to the University (a University Athens username may be needed if you are off campus).

Approval books

There is a new selection of approval books available for inspection at the Clinical Sciences Library. A list of books is available and I will be sending an email with highlights.

Please let me have any comments about any of the items on the list.
Sir John Vane

An obituary of the pharmacologist John Vane appears in today's Guardian.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What happens to patients with respiratory disease when they fly?

A question considered in November's Thorax, in an article that refers to another study in the same issue, as well as to guidelines.
Nature Publishing Group in China

NPG is holding two public forums in China, to coincide with a Chinese language supplement to be published with the journal on 18th November. Read the details in the
UK Serials Group e-news.
Ovid AutoAlerts

If you have autoalerts running in Ovid Medline you may like to know that no autoalerts will be sent until Medline has been reloaded. The reload is an annual event, and is necessary to update the MeSH thesaurus.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

The autoalert feature will run a search automatically for you every time the database is updated. You can run autoalerts in any Ovid database, and many other databases have a similar feature. Please ask me for more details.

The latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (guess what I have been reading today!) includes three papers on SARS:

SARS outbreak in the Greater Toronto Area: the emergency department experience

Initial viral load and the outcomes of SARS (authors are based in Hong Kong)

The impact of SARS on a tertiary care pediatric emergency department (authors based in Toronto)
Tips for learners of evidence based medicine

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) is running a
series of articles on this. The latest covers measures of observer variability. There is additional information online for teachers of EBM.
Sports dermatology

Is the subject of two papers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The papers cover
common dermatoses and swimming and other aquatic sports. CMAJ is freely available.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Embase is a European database of reference to biomedical articles, especially strong on pharmacology and biochemistry, and very up to date. Find out more by coming to a Resource of the Month session in December. If you cannot make the session but want to find out more, contact your information librarian.

Friday, November 19, 2004

In today's British Medical Journal (dated 20th November 2004)

  • Community pulmonary rehabilitation after hospitalisation for acute exacerbations of COPD
  • An editorial on legislation smacking
  • News items on smoking bans in England and Scotland
  • A news item on International Health Partners UK, a charity which will distribute drugs from pharmaceutical companies to the developing world
  • Two letters about the Children's NSF

Access the BMJ through Leicester Elink
Today's Lancet (dated 20-26 November)

Contains articles on:

Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq
Co-trimoxazole as prophylaxis against opportunistic infections in HIV-infected Zambian children - this has been reported in the media today, for example in the Guardian.

There is also comment on the implications of defibrillation (including out of hospital defibrillation).

Access the University's subscriptions to the Lancet via Leicester Elink.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The pharmacology of cough

Find out about this in:

Sandra M. Reynolds, Auralyn J. Mackenzie, Domenico Spina and Clive P. Page, The pharmacology of cough, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Volume 25, Issue 11, November 2004, Pages 569-576. (You may need a University Athens username to access the full text).

(Found through the Elsevier Life Science Review Magazine)
Public Health White Paper

"Choosing health: making healthy choices easier" is available on the Department of Health website, in full, or in summary.
ISI Web of Science

Is back operating normally again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

National Prevention Research Initiative

A major multi-disciplinary initiative sponsored by a range of bodies.
There is a call for proposals.
National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services

Available online: includes a version for children, and an exemplar showing how the NSF applies to asthma.
Academic stress

Guardian article reporting a survey of stress among academics. The full report, called Working to the Limit, is available on the Guardian website although I could not get it to work...
Research Assessment Exercise

Guardian article on pressure from academics to axe the RAE after the one in 2008.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Scotland will ban smoking in public places

The Scottish Executive wants to introduce legislation to ban smoking in enclosed public places. Report in the Guardian.
Rate of first recorded diagnosis of autism

A study of this in the UK, 1988-2001, has appeared in BMC Medicine. Provisional abstract available at The article has been accepted for publication: the final version may differ in formatting. BMC Medicine is an open access journal, so no subscription needed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Can guideline-defined asthma control be achieved? (the GOAL study)


Bateman ED, Boushey HA, Bousquet J, Busse WW, Clark TJ, Pauwels RA, Pedersen SE; GOAL Investigators Group.

Can guideline-defined asthma control be achieved? The Gaining Optimal Asthma ControL study.Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004 Oct 15;170(8):836-44

Click on the link for the PubMed abstract and follow the link for full text (on campus only)
Stem cells

JAMA, 292(18): 2202-4 (10th November 2004), reports studies that show that stem cells can prevent vision loss in mice with a blinding eye disorder, and that they can restore heart rhythm in pigs with abnormally low heart rate. The original reports are in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2004, 114: 765-74 (eye) and Nature Biotechnology (heart rate). Check
Leicester elink for availability of these journals online.