Monday, October 29, 2012

ASBH 2012

I just returned from attending the annual conference for ASBH, and was once again impressed with the scope of the conference, the dedication of the speakers and even the small amount of chiropracticc representation there (My colleague Stu Kinsinger from CMCC had a poster accepted for presentation. Just to give you an idea of how wide-ranged bioethics si, here are some of the sessions I attended.
  • Establishing a Research Ethics Consultation Service: Core Features and Tailored Approaches
  • Attitudes Toward Professionalism Among First-Year Medical Students: Bridging the Generation Gap as a Challenge in Professional Education
  • Professionalism Endangered: Critical Reflections on Work, Relationships, and Responsibility in Science Production
  • Representing Bioethics and Freedom of Speech
  • Responsible Stewardship: The Role of National Commissions in Shaping the Public Discourse of Bioethics
  • Black Swans, Zebras, and the Strangeness of the Everyday” Low-Probability Events in Biomedicine
  • How “Representative” are Institutional Review Boards?
  • The Ethics of Research in the Global Health Environment
  • Observational Research in Medically Indigent Hospice Patients: A New Tuskegee?
  • Bioethics Representation in Today’s Media: The Trouble with Sounds Bites
  • Ethics and Healthcare Administrators in Popular Culture
  • Social Media and Medicine: (Mis)Representing Physicians and Patients Online
  • The Want Ads: Representation, Ethics, and the Presentation of Foster Children
  • The Wild West of Incidental Findings
  • Moral Science: Protecting Participants in Human Subject Research
  • Medicine’s Favorite Doctor: “Oslermania,” Bioethics and the Medical Humanities
  • A Genealogy of Persistent Vegetative State
  • Who Speaks for Whom? Representation, the Medical Humanities, and the Social Context of Health
  • Forced Ethics: From Old Moral Theory to New Moral Reality
  • Evidence-Based Medicine: Representation or Misrepresentation of Medicine?
  • Patients, Practitioners, and Conscience: A Fresh Approach to Representing  Moral Pluralism in Medicine
  • Moral Panic, Moral Monsters and Justice in Health Care
  • Social Justice, Health Inequalities, and Methodological Individualism in US Health Promotion
  • The Duty to Buy Health Insurance
  • Organizational Ethics: Speaking the Wrong Language or Lost in Translation


Monday, October 15, 2012

End of Term Youtube Extravaganza Redux

As each term comes to an end, I like to provide you a bit of fun and relief from the stresses of regular work. Here are some fun youtube clips to enjoy (apologies for any bad comments located in the "comment" section, which may change over time and can be rather profane).

1.       Human-Powered Free-Running Machine: Some people have way too much time on their hands:

2.       Insane Dodge-Ball Kill: it is pretty impressive, I have to say:

3.       Babies Tasting lemons for the First Time- I’m sorry, this is just funny.

4.       Mythbusters, Coke and Mentos: See what happens. I love these guys (and Kari Byron):

5.       The Hillary Step, Mount Everest: No way, man. No way!

6.       Girl’s State Meet 4x800 race, 2009: This is 10 minutes long but the last 2 minutes are worth it all to watch Stephanie Brown come from nearly 300m behind:

7.       Highlights of the 2012 Tour De France: The best race in the world, with the fittest athletes ever.

8.       Adelle: Rolling in the Deep. Not my usual cup of tea, but what a voice.

9.       Clara Does Ballet- this is a viral video that is incredibly touching. Clara, the 10-year-old girl here, has DiGeorge’s Syndrome, but here dances Coppelia nearly perfectly.

10.   Goodbye until next term:

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Few Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows (From Microsoft:

Windows system key combinations

·         F1: Help

·         CTRL+ESC: Open Start menu

·         ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs

·         ALT+F4: Quit program

·         SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently

·         Windows Logo+L: Lock the computer (without using CTRL+ALT+DELETE)

Windows program key combinations

·         CTRL+C: Copy

·         CTRL+X: Cut

·         CTRL+V: Paste

·         CTRL+Z: Undo

·         CTRL+B: Bold

·         CTRL+U: Underline

·         CTRL+I: Italic

Mouse click/keyboard modifier combinations for shell objects

·         SHIFT+right click: Displays a shortcut menu containing alternative commands

·         SHIFT+double click: Runs the alternate default command (the second item on the menu)

·         ALT+double click: Displays properties

·         SHIFT+DELETE: Deletes an item immediately without placing it in the Recycle Bin

General keyboard-only commands

·         F1: Starts Windows Help

·         F10: Activates menu bar options

·         SHIFT+F10 Opens a shortcut menu for the selected item (this is the same as right-clicking an object

·         CTRL+ESC: Opens the Start menu (use the ARROW keys to select an item)

·         CTRL+ESC or ESC: Selects the Start button (press TAB to select the taskbar, or press SHIFT+F10 for a context menu)

·         CTRL+SHIFT+ESC: Opens Windows Task Manager

·         ALT+DOWN ARROW: Opens a drop-down list box

·         ALT+TAB: Switch to another running program (hold down the ALT key and then press the TAB key to view the task-switching window)

·         SHIFT: Press and hold down the SHIFT key while you insert a CD-ROM to bypass the automatic-run feature

·         ALT+SPACE: Displays the main window's System menu (from the System menu, you can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the window)

·         ALT+- (ALT+hyphen): Displays the Multiple Document Interface (MDI) child window's System menu (from the MDI child window's System menu, you can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the child window)

·         CTRL+TAB: Switch to the next child window of a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) program

·         ALT+underlined letter in menu: Opens the menu

·         ALT+F4: Closes the current window

·         CTRL+F4: Closes the current Multiple Document Interface (MDI) window

·         ALT+F6: Switch between multiple windows in the same program (for example, when the Notepad Find dialog box is displayed, ALT+F6 switches between the Find dialog box and the main Notepad window)




Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Articles from Biomed Central

Cramer H, Haller H, Lauche R, Dobos G. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for low back pain. A systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:162 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-162


Background: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is frequently used for pain conditions. While systematic reviews on MBSR for chronic pain have been conducted, there are no reviews for specific pain conditions. Therefore a systematic review of the effectiveness of MBSR in low back pain was performed.

Methods: MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, CAMBASE, and PsycInfo were screened through November 2011. The search strategy combined keywords for MBSR with keywords for low back pain. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing MBSR to control conditions in patients with low back pain were included. Two authors independently assessed risk of bias using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Clinical importance of group differences was assessed for the main outcome measures pain intensity and back-specific disability.

Results: Three RCTs with a total of 117 chronic low back pain patients were included. One RCT on failed back surgery syndrome reported significant and clinically important short-term improvements in pain intensity and disability for MBSR compared to no treatment. Two RCTs on older adults (age >= 65 years) with chronic specific or non-specific low back pain reported no short-term or long-term improvements in pain or disability for MBSR compared to no treatment or health education. Two RCTs reported larger short-term improvements of pain acceptance for MBSR compared to no treatment.

Conclusion: This review found inconclusive evidence of effectiveness of MBSR in improving pain intensity or disability in chronic low back pain patients. However, there is limited evidence that MBSR can improve pain acceptance. Further RCTs with larger sample sizes, adequate control interventions, and longer follow-ups are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Callahan M, Green S, Houry D. Does mentoring new peer reviewers improve review quality? A randomized trial. BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:83 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-83


Background: Prior efforts to train medical journal peer reviewers have not improved subsequent review quality, although such interventions were general and brief. We hypothesized that a manuscript-specific and more extended intervention pairing new reviewers with high-quality senior reviewers as mentors would improve subsequent review quality.

Methods: Over a four-year period we randomly assigned all new reviewers for Annals of Emergency Medicine to receive our standard written informational materials alone, or these materials plus a new mentoring intervention. For this program we paired new reviewers with a high-quality senior reviewer for each of their first three manuscript reviews, and asked mentees to discuss their review with their mentor by email or phone. We then compared the quality of subsequent reviews between the control and intervention groups, using linear mixed effects models of the slopes of review quality scores over time.

Results: We studied 490 manuscript reviews, with similar baseline characteristics between the 24 mentees who completed the trial and the 22 control reviewers. Mean quality scores for the first 3 reviews on our 1 to 5 point scale were similar between control and mentee groups (3.4 versus 3.5), as were slopes of change of review scores (-0.229 versus -0.549) and all other secondary measures of reviewer performance.

Conclusions: A structured training intervention of pairing newly recruited medical journal peer reviewers with senior reviewer mentors did not improve the quality of their subsequent reviews.

Bayrampour H, Heaman M, Duncan K, Tough S. Advanced maternal age and risk perception: A qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2012, 12:100 doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-100


Background: Advanced maternal age (AMA) is associated with several adverse pregnancy outcomes, hence these pregnancies are considered to be "high risk." A review of the empirical literature suggests that it is not clear how women of AMA evaluate their pregnancy risk. This study aimed to address this gap by exploring the risk perception of pregnant women of AMA.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive study was undertaken to obtain a rich and detailed source of explanatory data regarding perceived pregnancy risk of 15 women of AMA. The sample was recruited from a variety of settings in Winnipeg, Canada. In-depth interviews were conducted with nulliparous women aged 35 years or older, in their third trimester, and with singleton pregnancies. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and content analysis was used to identify themes and categories.

Results: Four main themes emerged: definition of pregnancy risk, factors influencing risk perception, risk alleviation strategies, and risk communication with health professionals.

Conclusions: Several factors may influence women's perception of pregnancy risk including medical risk, psychological elements, characteristics of the risk, stage of pregnancy, and health care provider's opinion. Understanding these influential factors may help health professionals who care for pregnant women of AMA to gain insight into their perspectives on pregnancy risk and improve the effectiveness of risk communication strategies with this group.