Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Aberdeen typhoid outbreak of 1964

I worked in Aberdeen before moving to Leicester, and knew about this, so my eye was caught by a piece in Lancet Infectious Diseases about E.S. Anderson, who worked at Colindale and was involved in investigating this typhoid outbreak. His work investigated the strain of Salmonella typhi that was responsible for the outbreak, in which over 500 people were affected and in which a can of corned beef (a large one) was implicated.

PubMed search on the subject pulls up some interesting looking further reading. There is also a research project at Aberdeen investigating the event.

Hurricane Katrina

I made a couple of entries late last year about this, listing things about it. Pediatrics has just produced a supplement called "Hurricane Katrina, Children, and Pediatric Heroes: Hands-on Stories by and of Our Colleagues Helping Families During the Most Costly Natural Disaster in US History". Go to to read more.

Early introduction of solid food and development of allergic disease

This is the subject of a systematic review in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. It concludes that early solid feeding may increase the risk of eczema, but that there is little data to support a link with other allergic conditions.

Read the paper (password may be need to read full text: University members can contact me)

Epidemiology of group A Streptococcus in Ethiopia

Clinical Infectious Diseases has published a major article on this subject, looking at the GAS isolates taken from schoolchildren in Addis Ababa, Gondar and Dire Dawa. The authors are from Addis Ababa, Gondar, Harar and the Karolinska Institut in Stockholm.

>> Read the paper (full text available on campus only)
>> Read about the Leicester Gondar Link


Ganfyd is a collaborative medical textbook, a wiki, to which anyone can contribute. It is for medical professionals. Ganfyd is at

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Malaria and climate

Researchers working as part of the AMMA (African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis) project have built a thatched hut in Niger, West Africa, to monitor climate, soil conditions and other factors that have an influence on mosquito behaviour. The project hopes to examine the effect of these factors on malaria epidemics.

One of the researchers is Dr. Paul Monks of the Department of Chemistry here, and there is more information in the University eBulletin.

NICE guideline: tuberculosis

NICE have issued a guideline on Clinical diagnosis and management of tuberculosis, and measures for its prevention and control. The guideline itself, in full and condensed versions, and a quick reference guide, is available from There are also links to background information and to information to help you implement the guideline.

Alternative/complementary medicine and the NHS

The BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning drew my attention to a letter to the Times, from 13 senior academics, to the chair of St George's NHS Trust in south London, arguing that the NHS promotes homoeopathy and other complementary therapies too much. Part of their argument is that there have been no systematic reviews of homoeopathy that indicate that it has any benefit, and part is that there are substances that have serious side effects that are being promoted as complementary remedies.

The Today programme specifically mentioned Professor James Black as a signatory of the letter. One signatory who struck me particularly is Professor Edzard Ernst, who is Director of Complementary Medicine at the Peninsula Medical School.

The full letter is (today, anyway) at,,2-2191985,00.html. There is also a debate at,,564-2192740,00.html.

Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society

This is a relatively new journal (2006 is vol. 3) and is available online to University members (on campus only, I think) via

Vol. 3 no. 3, for May 2006, includes material from an NHLBI / Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Workshop and presentations from a symposium entitled Linking outcome and pathology in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Clinical Sciences Library is also receiving this journal in print.

American Thoracic Society on stem cell research

You can find the official statement of the ATS on human embryonic stem cell research in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 173(9), 1043-. This is the issue of May 1st. If you are on campus, this will be available online at .

National Knowledge Week for Asthma

This started yesterday, and takes place from 22-26 May, within the Respiratory Specialist Library of the National Library for Health. There will be specially written information in the Library, linking to the latest evidence. Topics will include the impact of the SIGN/BTS guidelines on asthma management, asthma inhaler devices and the role of respiratory function laboratories.

See for more details.


This is a weekly podcast from Dr. Alan Cann in the Department of Biology here at Leicester University. I have downloaded several issues onto my MP3 player and listened to it on my daily train journey to work. Recent issues have talked about the biology of influenza viruses, tamiflu, and hepatitis in the refugee camps in Darfur. I've remembered all that, so it must be a good way to assimilate information, for me, at least! There are often "links" to further information, using links which are easy to write down as you listen.

VirologyBytes is at The site also has regularly updated news, and an RSS feed, which will alert you to a new issue, and give you a link to download it from.

Friday, May 19, 2006

New look for browsing

This blog has a new look. Time for a change, I thought. I hope to get back into the habit of posting things I have found that relate to my subject interests as a librarian, and to other professional interests. Those interests are listed in my profile. Because I believe in browsing, there may well be other things as well! Sometimes you do find what you did not know you were looking for.


The BMJ is running this series, today's article is the second in the series and covers Pathology, pathogenesis and pathophysiology. The article is at

Diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis

Is the subject of a review in today's BMJ: available at The review is written by Ian Campbell, chest physician at Llandough Hospital, Cardiff, and Oumou Bah-Sow, of the Conakry University Teaching Hospital in Guinea.

Journalological things in the BMJ

Today's BMJ includes news pieces about the launch of PLoS Clinical Trials, about the recent goings on at the Canadian Medical Association Journal, about the addition of backfiles of 16 medical journals to PubMed Central, and about a JAMA study that finds that clinical trials funded by profit making bodies report more positive results than those funded by non-profit organisations.

The table of contents for that issue is at

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Change to my responsibilities

As from June 7th I will no longer be information librarian for the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences here.

I have been internally seconded for some months, to launch and manage our institutional repository,
Leicester Research Archive. There are only so many hours in the day, and so my responsibilities for CVS are passing to my colleague Sarah Whittaker.

I will remain information librarian for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, and retain my interest in operating department practice.


The Guardian has a story about this new class of antibiotic, which may be effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria. Platensimycin was discovered at Merck in New Jersey, and is derived from Streptomyces platensis. It inhibits an enzyme called FabF, which is involved in forming fatty acids in bacterial cells.

The original report is in Nature and if you are a University member on a CFS computer, you can access it here. There is also an editorial, which talks about some of the obstacles that need to be surmounted before this substance can become a prescribable (I may have invented this word) drug.