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Medical Bloggers Survey Resume

It has been ten days since our “Examining the Medical Blogosphere: An Online Survey of Medical Bloggers” article was published in Journal of Medical Internet Research. During this period we have received numerous supportive e-mails from various bloggers and researchers. Also, many bloggers have written about our research, posted our abstract or slideshow presentation on their blogs. Interestingly, a lot of these post were written in languages other than English. There are posts out there about our research written in Italian, German, French, Russian, Spanish and Danish. All of these webpages were archived and are accessible at my Iterasi page.

We, the authors of the article, would like to thank everyone who wrote to us or wrote about or research on their website. Furthermore, we would like to announce that very soon we will be publishing the results of our follow-up medical bloggers survey, which will be available on this blog.

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Examining the Medical Blogosphere: An Online Survey of Medical Bloggers

Journal of Medical Internet ResearchI am very proud to announce that my colleagues Ileana Lulic, MD and Gordana Brumini, Phd from Rijeka University School of Medicine and myself have published a new scientific paper. Title of the paper is “Examining the Medical Blogosphere: An Online Survey of Medical Bloggers” and it was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR).

JMIR is the leading peer-reviewed transdisciplinary journal on health and health care in the Internet age. It is top ranked as the #6 journal in the health sciences category (out of 57 leading journals) and #2 in the health informatics category (out of 20 journals). Most importantly, JMIR is an open access journal, meaning that you do not have to pay to access and read articles.

To read our paper just visit the following link:

We have also summarized our findings in a slide show presentation which you can see below.

We would like to thank all the bloggers who participated in our survey and made this research possible.


Digg-like open peer-review

Medicine 2.0™ is an international conference on Web 2.0 applications in health and medicine, organized and co-sponsored by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the International Medical Informatics Association, the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, CHIRAD, and a number of other sponsoring organizations.

This conference, to be held in Toronto from 4th to 5th September 2008, is a successor of a highly successful “Mednet 2006: 11th World Congress on Internet in Medicine” Congress. It will be smaller and oriented only on Web 2.0 in medicine. However, these are not the only differences, because the organizing committee decided to completely change the peer review selection process of the submitted papers.

Consistent with the Web 2.0 theme of the conference, we are experimenting with a new “Digg”-like open peer-review mechanism, allowing any user to vote for submitted abstracts using a simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system, with the additional ability for anyone to sign up as a peer-reviewer for a submitted abstract.

Go ahead and vote for your favorite papers.

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Peculiar medical research – round 2

Article titled “Lying to Each Other: When Internal Medicine Residents Use Deception With Their Colleagues” was published by Dr Micheal Green and others in the Archives of Internal Medicine. I decided to present it, despite the fact it was published exactly eight years ago, because the subject it explores is still very real, and the article itself is thought provoking and well written.


Authors wanted to answer 3 questions:

  1. What is the likelihood that resident physicians say they would deceive other physicians in various circumstances?
  2. What factors increase the likelihood of using deception?
  3. Who do residents believe are more likely to deceive a colleague – themselves or their peers?

Subjects and Methods

Survey to assess physicians’ attitudes toward using deception with colleagues was designed in the form of 5 vignettes. These vignettes, each with two versions, addressed 5 reasons a resident may be motivated to use deception:

  1. To avoid extra work
  2. To protect a colleague
  3. To avoid embarrassment
  4. To protect a patients’ confidentiality
  5. To cover up a mistake

In the first vignette, residents were asked to exchange call with a colleague who either wanted to (1) attend a bridal shower or (2) be with her sick father. In the second, residents were asked to substitute their own urine for a colleague’s urine drug screen, when the chance of being caught was either (1) 0% or (2) 20% to 25%. In the third, residents were asked by an attending physician to report a laboratory result, when the likelihood of being ridiculed or reprimanded for not recalling the result was either (1) high or (2) low. In the fourth, residents were asked by a patient to protect the patient’s privacy by falsifying a diagnosis in the medical record, when the diagnosis was either (1) rheumatoid arthritis or (2) genital herpes. And in the fifth, residents who failed to perform a rectal examination were asked about the presence of blood in a patient’s stool, when the patient either (1) had an uneventful night or (2) had an acute myocardial infarction due to anemia from an upper gastrointestinal tract hemorrhage.

Access the article (free full text) to read the actual content of each vignette (Figure 1) and test yourself.

Survey was distributed among all internal medicine residents at the 4 teaching hospitals.


Figure 2 from the article summarizes a large part of the results.

Results / Figure 2

Additionally, women were found to be 8 times more likely to indicate they would fabricate a laboratory value when they were likely to be ridiculed than when they were not.

When it comes to witnessing deception, 22 % reported having seen a resident intentionally lie to (or deceive) a medical student in the last year, 43% had witnessed a resident lying to another resident physician, and 41% had witnessed a resident lying to an attending physician.


Many residents say they would lie to a colleague to avoid doing that person a favor. Deceiving colleagues
about clinical issues is less likely, but far more serious. A small percentage say they would falsify a medical
record to protect patient confidentiality, fabricate a laboratory value to avoid ridicule, and lie about performing a neglected aspect of the physical examination to cover up a mistake.

Authors offer some advice to medical educators:

  1. Address the issues of professionalism and collegiality as part of the ethics curriculum that is required for all medical residents.
  2. Be aware that residents, like any group of people, exhibit a wide range of moral behaviors, and, sadly, the possibility that the resident is not telling the truth should be included in the differential diagnosis.
  3. Educate yourself about the potential impact of teaching styles on residents’ behavior, so you can reduce the risk of being lied to.
  4. Become aware of the particular circumstances under which residents may be more likely to deceive, so you can take appropriate measures to reduce incentives for this behavior.
  5. Residents need to be exposed to excellent role models who demonstrate not only the technical skills expected of physicians but the moral ones as well.

Hope you enjoyed, and better yet found usefull the article presented in this round of peculiar research series. Be sure to read the round 1 too.

Images copyright © 2000 American Medical Association.

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Recently I wrote about PubReMiner, an online application designed to help you search PubMed. Now I present a similar and even more powerful application named GoPubMed.


When you search PubMed the conventional way, via the Entrez system, two things happen. First your query is translated with identification of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms and secondly this translated query is matched with words from all the abstracts. The second part is performed by term matching, which ultimately means that keyword synonyms are not used in the search. This way you can lose a lot of important articles. Finally, found abstracts are listed in the reverse chronological order. In most of the cases this is not what you want, and you are forced to manually go through all the abstracts to find those relevant to you.  

GopubmedGoPubMed can help you with the mentioned problems. When you submit the query, it retrieves the abstracts from PubMed but then does something extra. It categorizes them based on the relevance provided by the ontology terms used in MeSH and Gene Ontology (GO). Results are sorted in 4 categories: what, who, where and when. The what category is where abstracts are sorted according to the concept hierarchies of GO and MeSH enabling the combined search in molecular biology and medicine. This helps to systematically explore the results. The who category helps you identify leading scientists and centers in specific biomedical areas. The where category provides information about geographic localization of persons, centres, universities, together with journals in which found papers were published. Finally, the when category is all about distribution of publications through time.

To use GoPubMed simply enter the search query like you were using Entrez. After completing the search GoPubMed will inform you of the total number of articles found, and by default analyze the latest 1 000 abstracts. You can then go through these abstracts, choose to show statistics for these results or refine your search using the 4 categories (what, who, where and when). Choosing to show statistics will analyze results according to the 4 categories and present them in a clear manner. Especially interesting are graphs, depicting publications over time, and maps, indicating localizations of authors.  World map

I like the design of the application, it feels very web 2.0. It takes some time to get used to it, but after a short learning period you start to enjoy it. This feeling is even more reinforced when you get good search results and ideas how to use it creatively start popping to your mind. 

Here are some examples of the ways you can use GoPubMed, as proposed by the authors. I am sure you can come up with others to really boost your PubMed search. 

Which diseases are associated with HIV?

Type “HIV”. Go to “What” and click on “more of Diseases”. Among others hepatitis and tuberculosis are mentioned. Clicking on tuberculosis retrieves the relevant articles including statements such as “Despite the synergy between the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics, the public health responses have largely been separate”.

Where are leading centers and who are scientists for liver transplantation in Germany?

Type “liver transplantation Germany[AD]”. At the top of the “Who” category the result shows the top author “Neuhaus P” and the city is “Berlin”. Prof. Peter Neuhaus works at the Charite Hospital in Berlin, Germany, is a leading specialist in the field.

Do you know in which topics Craig C. Mello and Andrew Z. Fire are working on?

Search for “Mello C[au] Fire A[au]”. Now inspect What, Where, Who and When categories!
Following the top categories the answer is automatically extracted:
Caenorhabditis elegans
RNA, Double-Stranded
RNA interference

Which disease is rhodopsin involved in?

Search for “rhodopsin ” and in just one mouse click on “Diseases ” your question is quickly found.
The group of more important diseases related to rhodopsin are shown under this ontological category.
Retinal Degeneration
Retinitis Pigmentosa

Which biological processes are inhibited by aspirin?

Search for “aspirin inhibits ”.
By inspecting the most frequent term “biological processes ” you can very quickly understand that “cyclooxygenase pathway ” is the pathway related to this biological process. GoPubmed found more than 30% papers verifying that “cyclooxygenase pathway ” is inhibited by aspirin.

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Ten simple rules for…

Professor Philip E. Bourne has been writing a series of “Ten Rules” editorials in PLoS Computational Biology for almost three years now. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the mentioned open-access scientific journal, who came up with this idea after giving a presentation on getting published to a group of students. Since then a total of 9 such articles were published, written by him alone or with a little help from his fellow colleagues. These articles are basically lists of ten simple rules, with some additional explanation, on various subjects mostly aimed at young researchers. Rules which professor Bourne and his coauthors propose are a product of rich personal experience and are written in a honest, concise and simple manner.

I am listing all the rules here, sorted by the publishing date. However, I strongly recommend that you visit and read the whole articles, as the short commentaries accompanying each rule are most valuable.

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published

  1. Read many papers, and learn from both the good and the bad work of others
  2. The more objective you can be about your work, the better that work will ultimately become
  3. Good editors and reviewers will be objective about your work
  4. If you do not write well in the English language, take lessons early; it will be invaluable later
  5. Learn to live with rejection
  6. The ingredients of good science are obvious—novelty of research topic, comprehensive coverage of the relevant literature, good data, good analysis including strong statistical support, and a thought-provoking discussion. The ingredients of good science reporting are obvious—good organization, the appropriate use of tables and figures, the right length, writing to the intended audience—do not ignore the obvious
  7. Start writing the paper the day you have the idea of what questions to pursue
  8. Become a reviewer early in your career
  9. Decide early on where to try to publish your paper
  10. Quality is everything

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Grants

  1. Be Novel, but Not Too Novel
  2. Include the Appropriate Background and Preliminary Data as Required
  3. Find the Appropriate Funding Mechanism, Read the Associated Request for Applications Very Carefully, and Respond Specifically to the Request
  4. Follow the Guidelines for Submission Very Carefully and Comply
  5. Obey the Three Cs—Concise, Clear, and Complete
  6. Remember, Reviewers Are People, Too
  7. Timing and Internal Review Are Important
  8. Know Your Grant Administrator at the Institution Funding Your Grant
  9. Become a Grant Reviewer Early in Your Career
  10. Accept Rejection and Deal with It Appropriately

Ten Simple Rules for Reviewers

  1. Do Not Accept a Review Assignment unless You Can Accomplish the Task in the Requested Timeframe—Learn to Say No
  2. Avoid Conflict of Interest
  3. Write Reviews You Would Be Satisfied with as an Author
  4. As a Reviewer You Are Part of the Authoring Process
  5. Be Sure to Enjoy and to Learn from the Reviewing Process
  6. Develop a Method of Reviewing That Works for You
  7. Spend Your Precious Time on Papers Worthy of a Good Review
  8. Maintain the Anonymity of the Review Process if the Journal Requires It
  9. Write Clearly, Succinctly, and in a Neutral Tone, but Be Decisive
  10. Make Use of the “Comments to Editors”

Ten Simple Rules for Selecting a Postdoctoral Position

  1. Select a Position that Excites You
  2. Select a Laboratory That Suits Your Work and Lifestyle
  3. Select a Laboratory and a Project That Develop New Skills
  4. Have a Backup Plan
  5. Choose a Project with Tangible Outcomes That Match Your Career Goals
  6. Negotiate First Authorship before You Start
  7. The Time in a Postdoctoral Fellowship Should Be Finite
  8. Evaluate the Growth Path
  9. Strive to Get Your Own Money
  10. Learn to Recognize Opportunities

Ten Simple Rules for a Successful Collaboration

  1. Do Not Be Lured into Just Any Collaboration
  2. Decide at the Beginning Who Will Work on What Tasks
  3. Stick to Your Tasks
  4. Be Open and Honest
  5. Feel Respect, Get Respect
  6. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate
  7. Protect Yourself from a Collaboration That Turns Sour
  8. Always Acknowledge and Cite Your Collaborators
  9. Seek Advice from Experienced Scientists
  10. If Your Collaboration Satisfies You, Keep It Going

Ten Simple Rules of Making Good Oral Presentations

  1. Talk to the Audience
  2. Less is More
  3. Only Talk When You Have Something to Say
  4. Make the Take-Home Message Persistent
  5. Be Logical
  6. Treat the Floor as a Stage
  7. Practice and Time Your Presentation
  8. Use Visuals Sparingly but Effectively
  9. Review Audio and/or Video of Your Presentations
  10. Provide Appropriate Acknowledgments

Ten Simple Rules for a Good Poster Presentation 

  1. Define the Purpose
  2. Sell Your Work in Ten Seconds
  3. The Title Is Important
  4. Poster Acceptance Means Nothing
  5. Many of the Rules for Writing a Good Paper Apply to Posters, Too
  6. Good Posters Have Unique Features Not Pertinent to Papers
  7. Layout and Format Are Critical
  8. Content Is Important, but Keep It Concise
  9. Posters Should Have Your Personality
  10. The Impact of a Poster Happens Both During and After the Poster Session

Ten Simple Rules for Doing Your Best Research, According to Hamming

  1. Drop Modesty
  2. Prepare Your Mind
  3. Age Is Important
  4. Brains Are Not Enough, You Also Need Courage
  5. Make the Best of Your Working Conditions
  6. Work Hard and Effectively
  7. Believe and Doubt Your Hypothesis at the Same Time
  8. Work on the Important Problems in Your Field
  9. Be Committed to Your Problem
  10. Leave Your Door Open

Ten Simple Rules for Graduate Students

  1. Let Passion Be the Driving Force of Your Success
  2. Select the Right Mentor, Project, and Laboratory
  3. Independent Thinking Is a Mark of a True Scientist
  4. Remember, Life Is All about Balance
  5. Think Ahead and Develop Your Professional Career Early
  6. Remain Focused on Your Hypothesis While Avoiding Being Held Back
  7. Address Problems Earlier Rather Than Later
  8. Share Your Scientific Success with the World
  9. Build Confidence and a Thick Skin
  10. Help Select and Subsequently Engage Your Thesis Committee
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