Friday, 26 December 2014

Beer can help you solve problems!

Problem Solver Beer Tells How Much To Drink To Boost Your Creativity.

Getting your alcohol level to the correct (low) level may help focus on problem solving but any more and it all goes wrong. Much more experimentation is clearly required.

http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/eJW1lXSZgyI/story01.htm


The Myth of the Brain Game

"Puzzles designed to sharpen mental acuity may not actually do much to improve memory or intelligence in the long run."

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/12/the-myth-of-the-brain-game/383356/?single_page=true


This piece from The Atlantic quotes a consensus paper published by the Stanford Centre for Longevity.

http://longevity3.stanford.edu/blog/2014/10/15/the-consensus-on-the-brain-training-industry-from-the-scientific-community-2/

"To date, there is little evidence that playing brain games improves underlying broad cognitive abilities, or that it enables one to better navigate a complex realm of everyday life."

3D printing as art

8 metre Long Boat 3D Printed In 100,000 Different Pieces

http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/LEU3k-xK1tY/story01.htm

Reminds me of the art installations 6 years or so ago that focused on social media. Tweets with a particular hash tag relayed to a display - that sort of thing.

Artists always seem to lead the way. 3D printing is going to be huge. Demonstrating that a complex piece of art can be generated from 100,000 separate parts what is stopping those parts being printed in different places and then brought together? What about if this process becomes quicker and cheaper?



68 ... Yes 68 ... Blogging tips

OK it may be nearly a year old but it is a nice list for the evolving blogger in you.

http://www.twelveskip.com/guide/blogging/1090/blogging-tips-ultimate-checklist


Having fun seeing why Khan Academy founder's ideas might not work

Khan Academy founder has two big ideas for overhauling higher education in the sciences ... and the insightful Stephen Downes has fun critiquing them.

Would an objective test be any more valuable than - say - a degree from Stanford? Would a portfolio of achievements replace what everyone would easily recognise as a BA?

http://www.downes.ca/post/63164


Diabetes Patients Are Hacking Their Way Toward a Bionic Pancreas

"How diabetes patients are breaking into their gear and bending it to their will."



http://www.wired.com/2014/12/diabetes-patients-hacking-together-diy-bionic-pancreases/

Metformin in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and Kidney Disease A Systematic Review (JAMA)

"Available evidence supports cautious expansion of metformin use in patients with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease, as defined by estimated glomerular filtration rate, with appropriate dosage reductions and careful follow-up of kidney function."

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=2084896

Inzucchi SE, Lipska KJ, Mayo H, et al. Metformin in patients with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease: A systematic review. JAMA 2014;312:2668–75. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15298

The review was published in JAMA by a team lead by Professor Silvio Inzucchi of Yale University School of Medicine.

"The researchers said they are petitioning the FDA to update its guidelines, to make metformin available to more than 2.5 million Americans with type 2 diabetes."

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2014/12/23/diabetes-drug-metformin-safe-for-patients-with-kidney-disease-review

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Virtual Reality is a medium not a gadget: 7 learning principles that work in VR.

Some thoughts on the use of virtual reality in learning from Donald Clark.

http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com/2014/12/vr-is-medium-not-gadget-7-learning.html

Virtual reality he explains provides attention (total focus), intense emotion, learning by doing, context, transfer of matched tasks, cognitive swap (seeing ourselves as others see us), and improved retention.

"Learning theory backs up VR as a learning medium ... The business model is the same as that of games, with cheap devices and low cost games, sold at volume."

Medicine certainly benefits from learning that has realism. Simulation of resuscitation, anaesthetic emergencies, and trauma all also benefit from the role playing of the team members.

We have exciting opportunities for learning cognitive skills (knowledge, analysis, creativity), physical skills (surgery, cannulation, etc.), and perceptive skills (seeing, hearing, feeling). Virtual reality is one tool that can help.

"Virtual reality simulators provide basic skills training without supervision in a controlled environment, free of pressure of operating on patients ... future research efforts should focus on the effect of virtual reality simulation on performance in the context of advanced surgical procedure, on standardization of training, on the possibility of synergistic effect of virtual reality simulation training combined with mental training, on personalized training" (1)

Virtual reality training demonstrates transfer validity (transfer of training) "residents trained to proficiency on a high-fidelity realistic virtual-reality arthroscopic knee simulator showed a greater skill level in the operating room compared with the control group." (2)


1 Yiannakopoulou E, Nikiteas N, Perrea D, et al. Virtual reality simulators and training in laparoscopic surgery. Int J Surg 2014;13C:60–4. doi:10.1016/j.ijsu.2014.11.014

2 Cannon WD, Garrett WE, Hunter RE, et al. Improving Residency Training in Arthroscopic Knee Surgery with Use of a Virtual-Reality Simulator: A Randomized Blinded Study. J Bone Joint Surg Am 2014;96:1798–806. doi:10.2106/JBJS.N.00058

How to guess at Multiple Choice (MCQ) tests

Blog from Donald Clark on "How to outguess Multiple Choice Tests"

http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com/2014/12/how-to-outguess-multiple-choice-tests.html

Delivering some tips in evidence-based fashion and bemoaning the fact that we live in an age of 'inefficient assessment'.

We can only beat these types of tests if they are written badly. Going through the list of tips reminded me of revising for the MRCP part 1 in the good old days when it was a negatively marked true / false quiz. There was lots of discussion on courses about strategies, counting, confidence with answers, educated guessing and so on. I remember drawing little graphs of subject areas I seemed to guess better in ... then it dawned on me ... if I just read more on the subject then I 'guessed' better. Reading more comes from knowing where to focus and hence started writing and sharing MCQs for other docs which eventually led to developing onexamination.com


On-the-fly English Spanish translation with Skype?

Translate between English and Spanish speech on-the-fly with Skype Translator


"Remember the Babel Fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? The tiny organism that automatically translates any spoken word into your native tongue? While that continues to remain limited to the realm of snarky British science fiction, Microsoft is working hard to make on-the-fly translation feasible for everyone. The Skype Translator preview is currently available for download, and offers Windows users the ability to voice chat with each other using two different languages. It still has a long way to go before it’s ready for prime time, but this is a major step forward for worldwide communication."

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/195960-translate-between-english-and-spanish-speech-on-the-fly-with-skype-translator


Sunday, 21 December 2014

An implantable WiFi Hotspot using silk and magnesium?

Green implants are coming, and paving the way for implantable WiFi devices.

"What Rogers and his group have now done is to use near-field inductive coupling to wirelessly control a bioresorbable implant that releases antibiotics on demand to cure an infection. Up to 500mW of power at 80MHz is sent to the device from an external primary coil. It is received by an implanted secondary coil fabricated from mere 28 micrograms of magnesium. When the secondary coil heats up, it released the anitbiotic ampicillin which has been embedded in the matrix of the silk shield surrounding the coil. The rate of antibiotic release is controlled by the input power while the rate of breakdown of the silk is controlled by how crystalline the silk is."



http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/195674-green-implants-are-coming-and-are-paving-way-for-implantable-wifi-devices

Call to use NHS data on patient reported outcome measures (PROMs)

Interesting NHS data no-one is looking at.

"The PROMs programme deserves the full and passionate support of policy makers, and a renewed commitment to putting health outcomes at the heart of healthcare decisions. Key to this is looking beyond the logistics of data collection, to ensuring the data drives real improvements in quality for patients – and a commitment to expanding routine outcomes measurement beyond the initial four surgical procedures."



http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2014/12/03/nancy-devlin-john-appleby-david-parkin-why-has-the-proms-programme-stalled/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30382395#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

There may be life on Mars

There may actually be life on Mars, according to Curiosity’s new methane data.

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/196060-there-may-actually-be-life-on-mars-according-to-curiositys-new-methane-data


The OmniCarb Randomized Clinical Trial

Low glycaemix index foods may not improve cardiovascular risk or insulin resistance.

Effects of High vs Low Glycemic Index of Dietary Carbohydrate on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Insulin Sensitivity The OmniCarb Randomized Clinical Trial (1).

"In this 5-week controlled feeding study, diets with low glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate, compared with high glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate, did not result in improvements in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, or systolic blood pressure. In the context of an overall DASH-type diet, using glycemic index to select specific foods may not improve cardiovascular risk factors or insulin resistance."




1 Sacks FM, Carey VJ, Anderson CM, et al. Effects of high vs low glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate on cardiovascular disease risk factors and insulin sensitivity: The omnicarb randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2014;312:2531–41. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.16658

Big Data in medical records and test results

A new University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) institute is to help medical and biology researchers make sense of 'big data'.

""It's figuring out the signals from the noise," said UCLA Division of Life Sciences Dean Victoria Sork, who said that the university had invested $50 million altogether in the field of computational biosciences so far, hiring new faculty and improving facilities.

"UCLA has all these experts, but we were lacking the people and thinkers to say, how do we develop the tools to make the discoveries?" she said."

"The trouble with big data, [Professor Alexander] Hoffmann [head of the institute] said, isn’t volume. It’s complexity.

“I may have genetic data, or imaging data. I may have sleep-pattern data, or exercise data. I may have data on what people eat," he said. "Figuring out how the pieces go together takes computer science.""

Complexity certainly is a challenge. I doubt there is enough data to really make sense of it and what sense is made relies on assumptions about how we think genetic codes work (which we are starting to realise are a whole lot more complex than we thought they would be if we just sequenced everything). However, there is big money in big data and the promise of incredible insights. What hypotheses might we be chasing with the findings of this type of analysis?



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Finding additional value in collections of case reports

Just blogged about a paper that used BMJ Case Reports in its methods.

By analysing the case reports the authors looked at the value of radiology in clinical decision making.

http://blogs.bmj.com/case-reports/2014/12/16/the-value-of-case-reports/

What other value may be lurking in case reports waiting to be discovered? Would be very interested in seeing what other potential papers may be out there!



The Flipped patient?

Move over flipped classrooms ... medical students could now be using flipped patients.

A viewpoint article (paywalled I'm afraid) in JAMA (1) explores the concept of 'flipping' the experience of medical students meeting patients - presenting them with an electronic health record derived construct before seeing the real thing.

The flipped patient model might be described as seeing an electronic patient presentation first (the iPatient). In this article a virtual construct of the patient is described, generated from the electronic health record. After reviewing this construct the students then head off to see the real patient in the emergency room to better understand how the history, examination, and investigations relate to a real-world presentation.



The authors describe the reality of 'unflipped' classrooms in their introduction. "A common sight in the first 2 years of US medical education is that of a professor speaking in a lecture hall that is only half full. An hour later, in the library or elsewhere, students who did not attend the lecture can be seen wearing headsets, watching the recorded lecture at 2× to 4× speed on a desktop, while looking up reference material on their laptop. This trend should not be surprising, because the much-talked-about “millennial” generation has many distinguishing characteristics—but it is their facility with technology and their attitudes toward learning that stand out and that have changed the educational landscape."

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/Mobile/article.aspx?articleID=2020379

This flipped patient is an interesting way of separating the cognitive skills required in learning the complex task of taking a history, examining a patient, reviewing the results, and considering the differential diagnoses. Whether this semi-automated method of constructing a brief from the electronic health record is any better than a good introduction to the case by a clinical teacher is yet to be seen. Certainly it also adds the experience of the workplace reality of making sense of electronic records.


1 Chi J, Verghese A. Clinical education and the electronic health record: The flipped patient. JAMA 2014;312:2331–2. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12820

Introducing BPG - Better Portable Graphics (better than JPEG)

BPG: A new, superior image format that really ought to kill off JPEG

"For all of the massive technological advances that we’ve seen over the last few years, there are still a number of dinosaurs from a bygone era that, rather unfortunately, just won’t die. JPEG is one of the most prominent examples: It was created more than 20 years ago, and yet its antiquated, bloated, blocky algorithm still dominates the web. You would think, with the modern web being so image-oriented, that we would replace JPEG with something better — but no, it’s 2014 and JPEGs (and multi-megabyte GIFs!) still reign supreme."

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/195856-bpg-a-new-superior-image-format-that-really-ought-to-kill-off-jpeg




Infusionarium ... making chemotherapy that little bit easier.

"Like most patients who get intravenous medication at a pediatric clinic, Nick typically receives treatment in a small, curtained cubicle with hospital-green walls, outdated video games that are often broken, tiny TV monitors, and dividers that don’t muffle hallway clatter or the wails of a child in the next cubicle.

But now Nick, whose baseball cap doesn’t disguise his gleaming bald head, emerges from his cubicle, holding his IV pole. He saunters down the hall toward velvety black curtains. Parting them, he slips inside and eases into a reclining chair.

Adrenalized thumping music fills the makeshift space, called the Infusionarium. Roiling close-ups of extreme sports spring across four high-definition monitors, each five-feet tall: skateboarding stunts, parachute-skiing, kayaking over waterfalls."

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/chemo-kids-infusionarium/



5 Reasons Your Portfolio Should Be A Blog

"Blogging for me has been hugely beneficial for my learning, because of the power to not only think of an audience (making me think deeper about what I write), but also about connecting with the audience.  For the past few years, we have been working on this project in Parkland School Division (Our Digital Portfolio Project), and it takes time because it is meant to showcase learning over a long period of time.  If learning is non-linear and takes time to develop, so should the work that aligns with it.  Patience is necessary." George Couros

http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/11030

I agree with George Couros's post (via Stephen Downes). Blogging has been very useful for my personal learning. Being able to go back, reference, and reflect on posts is a real advantage. Controlling your own posts is much better than leaving it to your favourite social media platform's news feed. We recently had a strategy meet at BMJ Case Reports and getting back to blogging regularly there would be useful too!

Blogging
Source: https://flic.kr/p/dUnZaM

Thursday, 11 December 2014

3D virtual models with haptic feedback could be good for teaching skills

"Computer scientists from the University of Bristol have devised a machine that generates floating 3D shapes that you can feel, but can’t see."

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/195394-3d-shapes-with-ultrasound

This type of technology could be a great addition to teaching simulations making the experience more realistic for physical examination or surgical skills.

"We present a method for creating three-dimensional haptic shapes in mid-air using focused ultrasound. This approach applies the principles of acoustic radiation force, whereby the non-linear effects of sound produce forces on the skin which are strong enough to generate tactile sensations. This mid-air haptic feedback eliminates the need for any attachment of actuators or contact with physical devices. The user perceives a discernible haptic shape when the corresponding acoustic interference pattern is generated above a precisely controlled two-dimensional phased array of ultrasound transducers. In this paper, we outline our algorithm for controlling the volumetric distribution of the acoustic radiation force field in the form of a three-dimensional shape. We demonstrate how we create this acoustic radiation force field and how we interact with it. We then describe our implementation of the system and provide evidence from both visual and technical evaluations of its ability to render different shapes. We conclude with a subjective user evaluation to examine users' performance for different shapes."

Long B, Seah SA, Carter T, Subramanian S. Rendering Volumetric Haptic Shapes in Mid-air Using Ultrasound. ACM Trans Graph. 2014 Nov;33(6):181:1–181:10. (Author copy also available)



Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Flipped professional development

Infographic on how to 'flip' a professional development session.

Nice ideas starting with learners' needs.

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/12/awesome-visual-on-flipped-professional.html?m=1

How could this work for CPD in medicine? An online quiz or survey ahead of a session could be useful.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The NHS needs problem solvers not vague calls for innovation.

"In an environment where efficiencies desperately need to be gained and lives are at stake, we don’t just need innovators who look to fix something that is not broken. Instead we need problem solvers who can focus on existing real-world issues that NHS staff and patients face every day."

http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2014/nov/25/nhs-innovation-problem-solving

Dulaglutide

Once-weekly Lilly diabetes GLP-1 agonist wins EU approval

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/11/25/us-diabetes-lilly-idUKKCN0J925220141125?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews

"Regulators in Europe have given the green light to Eli Lilly’s Trulicity, its once-weekly glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist for type 2 diabetes."

http://www.pharmatimes.com/mobile/14-11-25/eu_approves_lilly_diabetes_drug_trulicity.aspx?r=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulaglutide



vOICe: the soundscape headsets that allow blind people to ‘see’ theworld


"Using sound to help blind people to create images in their heads can prove more effective in enabling them to perform everyday activities, such as picking up a cup or even reading, than invasive surgical operations, according to groundbreaking new research.

A joint project involving a team of psychologists and computer scientists at the University of Bath is assessing how the brain can use sensory substitution to help blind and partially sighted people to “see”."

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/07/voice-soundscape-headsets-allow-blind-see


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Is Yik Yak the new Facebook? Hyperlocal, mobile and anonymous.


"the way Yik Yak works today is ... pretty similar to Twitter’s stream of updates.

The major difference is that updates are tied to certain locations which makes Yik Yak a hyper-local version of Twitter which could be used in many ways to drive revenue down the line. If a student shares an update about a craving for tacos, restaurants in a 1.5 mile radius could offer coupons to give you just one fairly obvious use case.

Like Facebook pivoted from a location based social network for universities into a global social network, it is not that much of a stretch to predict the same for Yik Yak. It has the potential to become the next big social platform, natively mobile and anonymous."

http://elearningfeeds.com/is-yik-yak-the-next-facebook/

You can only see anonymous Yaks within certain geographic locations. There are a set of rules you agree to when you start using the app.

How could this work for learning or healthcare?

Anonymous comments / feedback for conferences or on a campus. Like a virtual guestbook for places perhaps. Anonymous whistleblowing app for the NHS? Leave anonymous tips for junior docs rotating to your hospital?




Tips for Engaging Students in Meaningful Discussions – Infographic

http://elearningfeeds.com/tips-for-engaging-students-in-meaningful-discussions-infographic/

Friday, 5 December 2014

The British Geriatrics Society asks what we think of physician-assisted dying.

In a blog post "Physician-assisted dying: the BGS, the RCP, and the law", David Oliver, President of the BGS, asks "what do you all think? We would love to know – not via a poll, but by all means through social media and correspondence."

http://britishgeriatricssociety.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/physician-assisted-dying-the-bgs-the-rcp-and-the-law

I am still opposed to it. I support alleviating pain and distress with appropriate treatments and should they have the consequence of shortening life then so be it. However, being able to purposefully end life under regulation would raise the unwelcome outcome of some people encouraging the elderly to consent or some tyranny choosing arbitrary conditions.



The Skype Psychologist: What video-chat therapy sessions offer that in-person visits don't

"If you're a Russian married to a Spaniard living in Dubai, what are your chances of finding a compatible in-person therapist? ... In the pre-Internet days, travel would have meant lots of missed sessions. Now they take me along on their business trips."

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/12/the-skype-psychologist/382910/

Today there is the ability to have live video professional services - such as the psychology therapy sessions described here. Devices and connectivity are such that the right therapist can support the right client.

This works for teaching and supporting healthcare staff, and many forms of health consultations.

Picture from https://flic.kr/p/xMWBw

Shell 'art' made 300,000 years before humans evolved

"THE artist – if she or he can be called that – was right-handed and used a shark's tooth. They had a remarkably steady hand and a strong arm. Half a million years ago, on the banks of a calm river in central Java, they scored a deep zigzag into a clam shell.

We will never know what was going on inside its maker's head, but the tidy, purposeful line (pictured above right) has opened a new window into the origins of our modern creative mind."

http://feeds.newscientist.com/c/749/f/10897/s/411698a4/sc/38/l/0L0Snewscientist0N0Carticle0Cmg224299830B20A0A0Eshell0Eart0Emade0E30A0A0A0A0A0Eyears0Ebefore0Ehumans0Eevolved0Bhtml0Dcmpid0FRSS0QNSNS0Q20A120EGLOBAL0Qonline0Enews/story01.htm

This would have been by Homo erectus two or three hundred thousand years before humans evolved.


12 apps of Christmas #RUL12AoC

"Twelve Apps of Christmas is an online programme ... for academic staff (lecturers, librarians, student support staff and others) at Regent’s University London. We will be covering the basics and some more advanced tips on using 12 educational apps. However, if you are from a different institution or do not work in Higher Education at all, you are welcome to join the course."

https://openeducation.blackboard.com/mooc-catalog/courseDetails/view?course_id=_98_1

Nice idea of using a mini MOOC sort of approach to teaching staff. With a few steps to register with Blackboard anyone can get in to spend 10 minutes a day on the course too.



Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New Moodle Integrations with Microsoft

"Remote-Learner is working with Microsoft Open Technologies to build and provide integrations between Moodle and Office 365, OneDrive for Business and Consumer, OneNote and Outlook Calendar. These integrations will provide seamless workflows between Microsoft products already used by organizations, and Moodle, one of the most popular Learning Management Systems (LMS) in use today."

http://elearningfeeds.com/new-moodle-integrations-with-microsoft/

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Software equal to or better than humans at cataloging published science data

"A computer system called PaleoDeepDive has equaled (or bested in some categories) scientists at the complex task of extracting data from scientific publications and placing it in a database that catalogs the results of tens of thousands of individual studies."

"The project required a million hours of computer time. It also required access to tens of thousands of articles, says Jacquelyn Crinion, assistant director of licensing and acquisitions services at the UW–Madison General Library System. And the download volume threatened logjams in document delivery. Eventually, Elsevier gave the UW-Madison team broad access to 10,000 downloads per week.

As text- and data-mining takes off, Crinion says the library system and publishers will adapt. “The challenge for all of us is to provide specialized services for researchers while continuing to meet the core needs of the vast majority of our customers.”"

http://www.kurzweilai.net/software-equal-to-or-better-than-humans-at-cataloging-published-science-data

Open Source Brewing

"Open Source Craft Brewery Shares More Than Recipes"

http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Va4KjPU-w4g/story01.htm

All very American with weird units but an interesting (marketing) resource. Doesn't add much as far as I can see.

http://twbrewing.com/beers

The downside of EMRs

... data breaches.

http://healthcare-economist.com/2014/12/01/the-downside-of-emrs/

Nature makes all articles free to view

... but in a proprietary format (Windows and OS X only), shared by subscribers, free as in speech but not as in beer (as Slashdot comments point out).

"All research papers from Nature will be made free to read in a proprietary screen-view format that can be annotated but not copied, printed or downloaded, the journal’s publisher Macmillan announced on 2 December [2014]."

http://www.nature.com/news/nature-makes-all-articles-free-to-view-1.16460

Wonder how long it will take before download apps are developed or the handshakes by the software (Readcube) are hacked?


Playing action video games can boost learning

"A new study [1] shows for the first time that playing action video games improves learning capabilities more generally, not just the skills taught in the game."

http://www.kurzweilai.net/playing-action-video-games-can-boost-learning

Surgeons seem to have all the gaming fun in medicine with a number of hand-eye coordination skills being studied and perhaps honed by video game. [2,3,4]




1. Bejjanki VR, Zhang R, Li R, Pouget A, Green CS, Lu Z-L, Bavelier D. Action video game play facilitates the development of better perceptual templates. PNAS 2014 Nov;111(47):16961–16966. Available from: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/47/16961

2. Jalink MB, Heineman E, Pierie JPEN, Ten Cate Hoedemaker HO. The effect of a preoperative warm-up with a custom-made Nintendo video game on the performance of laparoscopic surgeons. Surg Endosc 2014 Nov;

3. Rosser JC, Jr, Lynch PJ, Cuddihy L, Gentile DA, Klonsky J, Merrell R. The impact of video games on training surgeons in the 21st century. Arch Surg 2007 Feb;142(2):181–186. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.142.2.181

4. http://www.medicaldaily.com/wii-surgery-nintendo-game-console-boosts-surgeons-skills-244546

Monday, 1 December 2014

How People’s Political Passions Distort Their Sense of Reality

"Though people might disagree on how to solve a problem, they can at least agree that the problem exists. Or can they? A new study finds that deeply held beliefs can undermine rationality: When confronted with solutions that challenge deeply held values, people may be inclined to disbelieve the problem.

Psychologists tested hundreds of American adults on their beliefs about climate change and violent crime after proposing solutions involving, respectively, government regulations and gun ownership. Spooked by legally mandated fossil fuel restrictions, conservatives were less likely to accept the best scientific estimates on global temperature changes. Conversely, after being told that looser gun control laws reduced violent crime, liberals were less likely to believe that crime is a problem.

Solution aversion, as the researchers call it, seems to know no partisan bounds. “In any issue where people’s cherished beliefs and identities are in play, you’re probably going to see some amount of solution aversion,” said Troy Campbell, a consumer behavior researcher at Duke University’s business school. “We alter our view of reality to be as flattering as possible.”"

http://www.wired.com/2014/11/solutions-shape-factual-belief/

Campbell TH, Kay AC. Solution aversion: On the relation between ideology and motivated disbelief. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2014;107(5):809–824.

Robotic Walker for Improved Rehabilitation

"Assistant Professor Yu Haoyong and his team from the National University of Singapore have created a robotic walker to assist physiotherapists. This newly designed device promises not only to improve the quality but also the productivity of therapy sessions. The most important aspect of this machine is that it allows the patient to practice walking on the ground instead of a treadmill."

http://www.medgadget.com/2014/11/robotic-walker-for-improved-rehabilitation.html

"Survivors of stroke or other neurological conditions such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and Parkinson’s disease often struggle with mobility. To regain their motor functions, these patients are required to undergo physical therapy sessions. A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Engineering has invented a novel robotic walker that helps patients carry out therapy sessions to regain their leg movements and natural gait. The system also increases productivity of physiotherapists and improves the quality of rehabilitation sessions."

http://news.nus.edu.sg/press-releases/8343-novel-robotic-walker-invented-by-nus-researchers-helps-patients-regain-natural-gait-and-increases-productivity-of-physiotherapists



Saturday, 29 November 2014

Birthday treats

Just a selection ... for boys of a certain age.

Seeing glucose through the skin

"Scientists in Germany have developed a spectroscopy method to measure diabetics' glucose levels through their skin.

When a sample is irradiated with IR light, it produces a temperature increase and when this heat diffuses to a material in contact with the sample, a temperature gradient is created, causing a thermal lens – just like the mirage effect you see in the air on the surface of a hot road. By examining the deflection of a probe beam across this lens, you can study the thermal and optical properties of the sample."

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2014/11/diabetes-glucose-through-skin-spectroscopy



Pleitez MA, Hertzberg O, Bauer A, Seeger M, Lieblein T, Lilienfeld-Toal H v, Mäntele W. Photothermal deflectometry enhanced by total internal reflection enables non-invasive glucose monitoring in human epidermis. Analyst 2014 Nov; Available from: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2015/an/c4an01185f

The palaeolithic diet and the unprovable links to our past

Good account in "The Conversation" of our current understanding (or lack of it) of our ancestor's diets and how human genes did not simply stop adapting at some point in the past.

"We still hear and read a lot about how a diet based on what our Stone Age ancestors ate may be a cure-all for modern ills. But can we really run the clock backwards and find the optimal way to eat? It’s a largely impossible dream based on a set of fallacies about our ancestors."

http://theconversation.com/the-palaeolithic-diet-and-the-unprovable-links-to-our-past-34605


The Paleolithic Nutrition debate was kicked off in the 1980s with a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine (1). A recent review questioned the restricted focus on a single era of our evolutionary past(2).


1) Eaton SB, Konner M. Paleolithic Nutrition. New England Journal of Medicine 1985 Jan;312(5):283–289. Available from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM198501313120505

2. Turner BL, Thompson AL. Beyond the paleolithic prescription: incorporating diversity and flexibility in the study of human diet evolution.. Nutr Rev 2013 Aug;71(8):501–510. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4091895/

Birthday cycle - blue skies in Cornwall.


Great birthday cycle with the 'Grampound Go-ers' to Mevagissey. Here is the 29.1 km route on Strava.


Cake and coffee



Mevagissey harbour


Honorary Grampound-go-er member.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

'Semipermeable' nature of graphene could revolutionise fuel cells

"Researchers have discovered that graphene allows positively charged hydrogen atoms or protons to pass through it despite being completely impermeable to all other gases, including hydrogen itself.

...

The breakthrough raises the prospect of extracting hydrogen fuel from air and burning it as a carbon-free source of energy in a fuel cell to produce electricity and water with no damaging waste products."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-predict-green-energy-revolution-after-incredible-new-graphene-discoveries-9885425.html

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Classic NHS style dictaphone - gift for a blind friend.


Remember these? My friend says the newer ones just don't have the same easy-to-feel mechanism. Must say I agree.

Geriatrics in NZ: Like the UK 20 years ago - but way ahead in other areas.

Geriatric medicine in New Zealand: the doctors - a blog by Vicky Henstridge on the British Geriatrics Society website.

"[I]s Geriatrics in New Zealand like that in the UK 20 years ago? In terms of starting from a blank sheet and developing more acute services, then definitely Yes, there is huge scope and these are exciting times. In terms of looking at healthy aging across society, health and social care then I would humbly suggest that New Zealand is years ahead of the UK."




http://britishgeriatricssociety.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/geriatric-medicine-in-new-zealand-the-doctors