Monday, April 30, 2007

NICE guidance on life threatening blood clots in surgical patients

NICE have issued new guidance on preventing blood clots in surgical patients. The NICE website says:

"New guidelines launched today by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are set to tackle the continuing problem of potentially life-threatening venous thromboembolism (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) in patients who have undergone surgery. The guideline, produced for NICE by the National Collaborating Centre for Acute Care (NCC-AC), is the culmination of the most comprehensive review and analysis of the available evidence on ways to reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) yet carried out. The guideline covers all patients admitted to hospital for an operation requiring an overnight stay."

Seven hundredth posting!

No postings for a week: we were in Boston, MA, for a week's holiday (vacation) - highly recommended, with lots of history, whale watching, a baseball game, a concert at the Boston Symphony, and more. Also visited Ipswich, MA - since I am from Ipswich, England, this was very good!

Now back to work.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Open Medicine

Open Medicine is a new open access medical journal, based in Canada, and founded by former members of the editorial team of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The journal will accept no pharmaceutical advertising, brooks no embargoes, and will fund itself by donations and "ethical" advertising. Everything published is open access by a Creative Commons non commercial licence.

Vitamin D - edited post

Saturday's Independent newspaper had vitamin D on its front page: studies indicating that there are great health benefits, and that it may be more useful in preventing colds and flu than using vitamin C.

I couldn't locate the study in Epidemiology and Infection that they are referring to, but it turns out to be an item of correspondence. I am very grateful to Mandy Guest, Knowledge Service Manager at the Islington Primary Care Trust in London, for the DOI of the item, which is

The December 2005 systematic review in American Journal of Public Health is, I think, this:

Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED, Lipkin M, Newmark H, Mohr SB, Holick MF.
The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention.Am J Public Health. 2006 Feb;96(2):252-61. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

This appeared as an advance online publication in December 2005.

Phylogeography of avian influenza

Yesterday I found a paper on the phylogeography of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and today have found one on the phylogeography of H5N1 avian influenza.

This came to me in a Web of Science search alert - I tend not to blog things from this although I do use the alert to identify new information sources for our avian influenza webpage.

Anyway, this paper is in PNAS and looks at how the virus has spread, using information about genetic sequences of the virus found in different places.

Report into Suffolk bird flu outbreak

Defra and other agencies have published reports into the outbreak earlier this year of avian influenza at the Bernard Matthews turkey farm/factory in Holton, Suffolk.

There is a Defra press release, detailing what has been published, namely a Defra epidemiological report, and a joint final report by the Food Standards Agency and others.

There is another Defra press release about their epidemiological report, which links to the epidemiological report itself.

There is an FSA press release about their investigation. I cannot immediately find this final FSA and other agencies report.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pediatrics, April 2007

Here is what caught my eye in Pediatrics 119(4), April 2007:

An article about the journal Pediatrics online - it is ten years since it went online;
An article about parental knowledge of antibiotics - how often are they used for a particular condition, are they helpful in treating bacterial or viral infections, that sort of thing;
Articles about "intimidation" (the title word) of British paediatricians and about the role of the GMC in child protection.
Clinical report from the Committee on Infectious Diseases (of the American Academy of Pediatrics) on Antiviral therapy and prophylaxis for influenza in children.

Lancet Infectious Diseases, latest issue

Vol. 7, no. 5 of this journal is available online and includes news about a meningitis outbreak and vaccination programme in Sudan, Burkina Faso, DRC and Congo, and about sharing of influenza data; letters about white coats and hospital acquired infections, and articles about the role of statins in modulating inflammatory responses in sepsis, imported malaria in children (who have visited malarious areas and then returned home infected), and the global phylogeography (differences between strains found in different places, I think?) of M. tuberculosis.

See the contents page

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

John Crofton

Issue 37 of the DFID magazine Developments has an article about Professor John Crofton, who is now 95, and has been working in tuberculosis research and treatment for 70 years. He devised the "Edinburgh Method", the combination of three drugs that was the standard treatment. The use of that regimen apparently led to TB being virtually wiped out in Edinburgh within 6 years.

Failure to comply with the course of treatment led to the development of multidrug resistant TB, which in turn has led to the development of extreme drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Main Library entrance arrangements from Monday 23rd April

Of interest only to visitors to the University of Leicester main library, related to the Library building project:

The front entrance to the existing Main Library building will no longer be in use after the building closes at midnight on Sunday 22 April. From Monday 23 April, for the duration of Phase 2 of the New Library Project, entry to the Library and to AVS Design & Print will be through the extension at the back of the existing building. When the whole project is completed, entry to the Library will revert to the front of the building.

To get to the new entrance from the former entrance to the existing building there is a signposted route. This takes you past the front of the Fielding Johnson Building (FJB) towards Cannons Health Club, with a left turn before you reach the Security Lodge towards a covered walkway between the side of the FJB and the builders' compound which leads to the temporary library entrance, which is ramped for accessibility.

(Please note that the roadway between the existing building and the Engineering Building is part of the builders' site, and there is no way through in that direction.) From campus Entrance 1 on University Road, go down the road towards Wyggeston & QE College and turn left beyond the Security Lodge, to join the route to the covered walkway mentioned above.

For detailed information about the arrangement of the collections and services during Phase 2, please see the links from the Library home page at

Monday, April 16, 2007

Genetics website (Glaxo Smith Kline)

The Internet Scout Project (mentioned before in this blog) has alerted me to this site produced by Glaxo Smith Kline.

The GSK site includes an introduction to genetics, information on chromosomes and heredity, genes and diseases, genes and medicines, and a timeline. Definitions of hyperlinked terms appear in little pop up boxes, which is quite neat (you need to turn off any pop up blockers in order to enjoy this feature!).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Science, 13th April - macaques, and obesity

Science for the 13th of April is a special issue on the macaque genome.

It also contains news about the research that is all over the radio news today about a gene for obesity. This is research by people at Peninsula Medical School (Exeter) and Oxford, which has found that people with two copies of the FTO gene are on average 3 kg heavier than people who do not. There has been earlier work on obesity genes, according to a "News of the week" column in this issue of Science, and that column discusses the significance of this latest work. The research itself is in "Science Express" and so you will need a subscription to Science Express to read it in full. This University does not have such a subscription. Once the paper is published in print copies of Science, it will be available to us online.

Read the table of contents for this issue of Science

Read the "News of the week" about the obesity gene

Read the paper on the obesity gene (see note above) - paper now available to UoL members at (note added 24th May)

BMJ, 14th April

The BMJ for the 14th of April has these articles, which might be of interest:

An editorial and a "head to head" debate on whether stockpiles of smallpox virus, held in Russia and in the United States, should be destroyed;

A research article interventions to improve water quality to prevent diarrhoea;

A 10 minute consultation on COPD;

Netlines, which includes the Medicines Dispatch literature alerting newsletter that is published at the Leicester Royal Infirmary -

A piece about Keats' La Belle Dame sans Merci.

The table of contents is at:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Genetics Resources on the Web (GROW)

Genetics Resources on the Web is at, and is maintained by the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG), based in Maryland. It is aimed at health professionals and the public and aims to provide high quality information related to human genetics.

It was mentioned in:

Guttmacher AE, Porteous ME, McInerney JD. Educating health-care professionals about genetics and genomics. Nature Reviews Genetics 2006; 8: 151-7

which also talks about OMIM and Entrez Gene.

Scopus downtime 14th April

Scopus is likely to be unavailable this coming Saturday, 14th April, for four hours starting at 1200 GMT, that is, 1300 British time. Scopus have scheduled maintenance for this time.

New version of NCBI Entrez - beta test

Entrez is the search engine for the NCBI suite of databases, and there is a new version, with enhancements, in beta test. There is more about this in the NLM Technical Bulletin.


I am reminded about DIRLINE by something I read in an email update from the NLM.

DIRLINE ( is a directory of health organisations - perhaps North American, but still could be useful to track down websites to use when looking for patient information.

Genetically modified mosquitoes and malaria

Edited 12th April 2007.

The Guardian (20th March) reports work done at Johns Hopkins University which has created mosquitoes which cannot pass on the Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria. This has indeed been done by genetically modifying the insects. The work is published in PNAS. There is a report on the BBC website.

I was struck while watching Comic Relief by the enormity of malaria: they reported a village in (I think) Tanzania, where a Comic Relief funded project had given mosquito nets to all pregnant women and mothers of young children. The number of deaths in the village dropped by 80 percent. All that is from memory, so not necessarily a reputable and reliable source!

New bit added 12th April:

SciDev.Net has discussion of other work in this field: mosquitoes have been made that are resistant to malaria and dengue fever. For this to help stop the spread of these diseases to humans, those resistant mosquitoes need to do well in the wild - those mosquitoes need to be dominant there. SciDev.Net discusses a paper in Science (which our subscription does not include, so at present the link does not go to full text) which does similar things with Drosophila. I suspect the Science paper will become available in full when it is published in the print journal.

Yuri Gagarin

Google today has a special logo, which has a spacecraft orbiting the Earth, and which says "Yuri Gagarin" if you point your mouse at it.

Gagarin became the first person in space, and the first person to orbit the Earth, this day in 1961. Read more in Wikipedia (subject to the usual caveats about Wikipedia: lots of debate about this in various places, and maybe I will blog about it. But now I need to do some work).


Wilfing (from "what was I looking for") is apparently surfing the web without any real purpose, being distracted by pop up adverts and the like.

Now, when the web was new, and online journals were still an optional extra, I had concerns that browsing - finding things you did not know you were looking for - would become too difficult and would die out. It would no longer be possible to go to a shelf of journals and just flick through pages of journals you wouldn't think to read. I do that still a little bit with printed journals that make their way across my desk. But of course, we don't take that many journals in print any more, so there are a lot of journals that I cannot see like that.

But perhaps wilfing is the online equivalent? I am not sure if wilfing would work with academic journals, because you can't really flick through pages of journals you did not know you were interested in. But perhaps if you use publisher sites like Blackwell Synergy or Science Direct, or news sites in your field, you can wilf, and start to go places you did not know you wanted to go.

Browsing was and is, of course, the point of this blog, so perhaps this blog can become a starting place for wilfing.

There is an article in the Guardian about wilfing, which refers to a survey by YouGov.

Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative

This was in a Life Sciences magazine email I get from Elsevier, and is described in an article in Trends in Parasitology.

The Initiative was launched in 2000 and pledged to spend 3 billion US$ on combating infectious disease in developing countries. The article describes the achievements of the Initiative, which concentrated initially on Asia and is now moving to look at Africa.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clostridium difficile

Last week's BMJ had an editorial discussing the rise in cases of C. diff in hospitals, and asking if it is appropriate to view outbreaks in the same way as outbreaks of MRSA. Read the editorial at

Today's Daily Mirror, I noticed, had an article telling how a hospital somewhere (Dudley?) had decided not to continue using its hi-tech cleaning equipment, and to go back to using bleach, as the new equipment was not having the desired effect.

There is at present an outbreak of C. diff. at James Paget Hospital, Gorleston. Google finds their press release at . For news sources from the area, try the Eastern Daily Press, East Anglian Daily Times and Lowestoft Journal.

Buzzard sighted from my garden

Nothing to do with any of the interests of this blog, but yesterday while idling in my garden, I happened to look up into the sky and saw a buzzard, which circled round, then moved so I had to go to the front garden, and then got lower in the sky and headed off towards a neighbouring village.

Thought I would share that with you!

Sterilisation of surgical instruments

While I was off work over Easter, this was on the radio news.

The government wants sterilisation of surgical instruments to be carried out in regional centres, rather than individual hospitals. The British Orthopaedic Association is concerned that this will delay operations.

The BBC website talks about this at The British Orthopaedic Association site is at but I have not found any more information there (admittedly I had only a quick look).

Journal of Clinical Pathology

This BMJ published journal is now available online back to vol. 1, 1947. It is the first of the BMJ titles to be made available back to its beginnings. The archives are free to access although registration may be required. (The BMJ publicity says it will be, but I have just accessed the first issue of this journal without registering - is that because we subscribe here? See below).

University of Leicester members can use Leicester e-link to access Journal of Clinical Pathology.

Information added 11th April: registration not necessary if your institution has a subscription. Material less than 12 months old needs a subscription. Information contained in an email posted to the lis-medical discussion list on 5th April.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Journal of Infection - April 2007 issue

This issue has just crossed my desk and contains papers on:

Performance of a predictive rule to distinguish bacterial and viral meningitis;
Risk factors for isolation of low level mupirocin-resistant versus -susceptible MRSA from patients in intensive care units;
Emergence of community associated MRSA in Hawaii, 2001-2003
RSV inhibits interferon-alpha-inducible signaling in macrophage-like U937 cells.

Find the contents page in Science Direct with links to full text (for University of Leicester members, with Athens authentication) at

National Electronic Library for Health

This, NeLH, is now officially retired, replaced by the National Library for Health at

The NeLH site is scheduled to be replaced by an automatic redirect.

Monday, April 02, 2007


This is a National Library of Medicine database covering drugs to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed, and their possible effects on lactation and on the infant. Alternative drugs may be suggested.

LactMed is at

LactMed has been expanded, and there is more information about that, with a link to a fact sheet, at

Registering a clinical trial in is one of the major registries for clinical trials. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors endorse the use of such registries. Chest for March 2007 contains an article from two members of the National Library of Medicine, describing how to register your trial in this registry.

Your local library can help you with choosing MeSH headings: I would certainly be pleased to do that for people in "my" departments here at Leicester.

The Chest paper is available here: