Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Woo Suk Hwang

This is the Korean scientist who has published apparently groundbreaking papers in the field of stem cell research, including producing stem cells from a cloned human embryo, cloning a dog, and work on producing patient specific stem cell lines.

Science has now published an editorial retraction of the two papers that they published

A mouse phenome database

The Mouse Phenome Database is a database of phenotypic and genotypic data for the laboratory mouse, hosted by the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA.

How much pneumococcal disease is there?

A paper in the Journal of Infection investigates the burden of pneumococcal disease in England and Wales. They estimate the incidence, number of hospitalisations, deaths and GP consultations, using national data sources and GP data sources. This they do as a preliminary to evaluating the impact of possible vaccination strategies.

Read more in the Journal of Infection (Athens authentication required off campus).

Banning authors who don't declare conflicts of interest

The BMJ reports (21 January) the decision by the editors of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery to ban authors who fail to declare conflicts of interest. Such authors will be banned from publishing in that journal for at least a year.

This follows the discovery that an author failed to declare that he held shares in a company whose product came out well in a trial of inteventions for atrial fibrillation. The author concerned did declare that he had had grants from the company, but did not disclose the 18000 shares that he owned.

>>>Read more in the BMJ

African Health Sciences

Articles from this journal are now available in full text at http://www.extenza-eps.com/MMS/loi/afhs

The journal is published in Uganda.

Is data protection hampering medical research?

The Guardian reports that the Academy of Medical Sciences has issued a report saying that large scale studies, involving large populations, are becoming difficult because researchers are finding it difficult to access the data. Researchers are being denied access to data becuase of data protection concerns, but what is not clear is whether it is the law itself or an interpretation of it that is preventing access. It is not possible to obtain informed consent in this type of study because the numbers of patients are too high, or because they are scattered.

>>>Read more in the Guardian.

>>>Read about the report on the AMS website (has link to the report itself).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

No more Virtual Hospital

The excellent Virtual Hospital website, containing links to textbooks and materials for health professionals and the public, has closed. This is a great shame. In compiling our Subject Rooms I made good use of VH material, and material from the related Virtual Children's Hospital.

The editors are now maintaining the Virtual Pediatric Hospital, at http://www.virtualpediatrichospital.org/

Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society

This is being digitised and put into the open access archive PubMed Central. So far vol. 102, 2004, is there, and other volumes will be added in due course. Go to http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/tocrender.fcgi?action=archive&journal=308

Group B streptococcus

Last Thursday's Guardian (12th January) carried a feature on this bacterium, which is carried by 25-30 percent of people in their genital or intestinal tracts with no adverse effects, but which is the commonest cause of severe infections in newborns in the UK.

There is a support group, Group B Strep Support, based in Haywards Heath, whose website is at http://www.gbss.org.uk/.

Avian influenza

I have been updating my own page of web resources on this subject, at http://www.le.ac.uk/li/khn5/birdflu.html. After one of my email mailshots for my own pages, my attention was drawn to a blog, called Avian flu - what we need to know. It reviews the news, can be searched by category, and has links to other resources. I am not quite clear who is maintaining it, but you can see it at http://avianflu.typepad.com/

Some other things:

The Times of the 12th January reports a study by Maplecroft, a risk consultancy, using WHO data, that Britain is at greatest risk from an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of the virus. The report includes an interactive map.

Nature, on 12th January, looks at the debate around whether the H5N1 virus will jump to humans.

Archives of Internal Medicine published a study recently that argued that the virus is being transmitted to humans more frequently that originally thought, but not causing any severe symptoms. This is discussed in a Science and Development Network news article. The abstract of the study is at http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/166/1/119 and I have the University's password for full text access.

Clostridium difficile

The BMJ reported a report from the Healthcare Commission and the HPA (can you report a report...? Anyway...) that found that one third of hospital trusts in London were not following government guidance on the management of C. difficile.

Guidance includes restrictions on the use of broad spectrum antibiotics and the isolation of cases into a ward set aside for that purpose. There is concern that the bacterium is mutating. Statistics suggest that C. difficile kills more people per year in the UK that MRSA, although it infects more people. The BMJ report is at http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/332/7532/10-e?etoc

Has Pneumocystis carinii been renamed?

This is a "viewpoint" in Clinical Infectious Diseases, about the proposal to rename this organism. There is an abstract at http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CID/journal/issues/v41n12/36436/brief/36436.abstract.html, with a link to a related editorial. University members on campus should be able to follow the link to full text. The article wonders if the proposed new nomenclature is an improvement over the old.

English football is full of surprises

I have just got around to mentioning this item from Nature News, published on 3rd January. A team of researchers from New Mexico found that English premiership football is more likely to produce upsets than matches in the major American football, hockey, baseball or basketball leagues.

Read the full news item at http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060102/full/060102-1.html
Read the paper itself at http://www.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0512143

UK National Screening Committee

I don't think I had come across this until recently. It advises UK health ministers on screening policy, and has two subgroups, on antenatal and child screening. The website links to reports and policy documents, and has links to websites for specific screening programmes, as well as to the National Electronic Library for Screening.

I came across a report in the Times about routine screening of men over 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysm. That newspaper said (from a report in Pulse) that the NSC was going to recommend routine screening. There was nothing obvious on the NSC website at that time, and there still is not, as far as I can see.

Tuberculosis control

The challenges of TB control are the subject of a paper in CMAJ, 2006, 174(1). Five areas of concern are identified: inadequate diagnostics and treatment, the need for expansion of the WHO DOTS programme, multidrug resistant TB and co-infection with HIV.

Nucleic Acids Research Database Issue

Each year this journal publishes a database issue, with papers on databases in the field of molecular biology. The 2006 database issue carries a paper on NCBI databases (as did last year's issue), and papers on all sorts of individual databases.

The journal is now open access, so everything is free to read. The contents page of this issue is at http://nar.oxfordjournals.org/content/vol34/suppl_1/index.dtl

Early signs of meningitis

Last week the Lancet published this early online publication detailing early warning signs of meningitis, which can be seen before the "classic" symptoms. Problems with our subscription to the Lancet via the Lancet's own website mean I can't give a URL which will work. The paper ought to appear in the regular journal soon, and then we ought to have access via ScienceDirect.

The current copy of the Nursing Times (sorry, no online access!) has a summary (102(3): 6).

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

ER is back!

ER (season 12) has arrived on UK terrestrial television. I thought last night's episode (Canon City) had something to say about clinical education and about the need to look out for antelope while driving. There is a review on the ERHQ website (an unofficial site), and you can find your way to information about episodes as yet unseen on terrestrial television in the UK. I am not going to tell you how, though, as I do not want to know!

Coughs and sneezes

ArchivesHub is a website that gives you access to descriptions of archives held in universities and colleges in the UK. They have a Collections of the Month feature, which for January 2006 is Coughs and Sneezes. This gives details of archival collections with material relating to the 1918 pandemic outbreak, other outbreaks, and other related public health resources. There are also details of four handkerchiefs held in UK archives, for catching the coughs and sneezes in.

Go to Coughs and Sneezes
Go to ArchivesHub

PubMed enhancements

PubMed has some new features. I knew they were on the horizon (through reading the NLM Technical Bulletin) but they are definitely now live.

Print friendly format. In PubMed you can now send selected references to the printer. This opens a new window, with a Print button, and the references are printed without all the side bars and boxes that are on the standard PubMed screen. Click the Send to... box to see the Printer option.

There's something on the Clipboard. Once you have sent some references to the Clipboard (the Send to... box again), an asterisk appears on the Clipboard tab, so you know that there is something there.

Training materials. I may have mentioned this before, but I will mention it again. There is a lot of training material for PubMed, including a new version of the online tutorial, at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/pubmed.html.

"Bird flu" terminology in Medline

The National Library of Medicine has revised the Medical Subject Headings for Influenza A viruses.

Read more in the NLM Technical Bulletin.

If you would like to know more about searching Medline or PubMed using MeSH headings, please contact me. MeSH enables you to search very specifically.

New international guidelines on CPR

An editorial about this was published online in the BMJ on the 29th November and appears in print in the issue of the 5th December. There is a consensus statement, and then guidelines produced by the European Resuscitation Council (and adopted by the Resuscitation Council (UK)) and the American Heart Association.

The editorial has a summary of the UK guidelines and links to the other things mentioned.

NEW: The guidelines themselves are also online.

Avian and pandemic influenza

I have updated my webpage of resources. I have flagged up sources that seem particularly up to date regarding the situation in Turkey, as well as adding several new things, many of which I found out about through ResourceShelf.

In addition:

If you can read Turkish (I can't) you can find links to Turkey's newspapers through PaperBoy. Use the Newspapers by Country drop down box at the top of the screen, and you will get a list of links to 34 different Turkish papers.

The Lancet is carrying a paper on the first confirmed human case of avian influenza in China. (You will need Athens authentication off campus).

The Science and Development Network is carrying news of a UN plan to have an alert system for North Africa.