Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weekend variety post: EBM, Open Medicine, safety, research reproducibility

Cleaning out some of my saved Google alerts...

- BBC News: "Busting modern medical myths" - brief quotes from Andrew Booth and Paul Glasziou about evidence-based medicine
- News item, "Cochrane researcher admits lid law may decrease bike use," about a recent Cochrane review which found that legislation to promote helmet use among bicyclists was associated with a reduction in injuries, but noted that the lack of high-quality evidence on the topic made it impossible to rule out the possibility that the reduction was due to decreased bicycling rather than safer bicycling.
- a news item, "Now you can read what doctors see," marketing the new Canadian open access title Open Medicine to patients
- An Annals of Internal Medicine piece, Reproducible Research: Moving toward Research the Public Can Really Trust," discussing one strategy for reducing the possibility of research improprieties making it into the peer-reviewed literature, the concept of research reproducibility, defined briefly in the paper: "Reproducibility involves methods to ensure that independent scientists can reproduce published results by using the same procedures and data as the original investigators. It also requires that the primary investigators share their data and methodological details. These include, at a minimum, the original protocol, the dataset used for the analysis, and the computer code used to produce the results. "
- Related to the above Annals piece, the authors of the Iraq mortality study published in Lancet last October have made their dataset available to other researchers, with some restrictions on use that are also causing controversy (see this post by Tim Lambert of Deltoid and the associated comments)

And finally, a public service announcement-type link (via Boing Boing): why you should wear your seatbelt - Author Jim Macdonald, who is also a paramedic, sums it up nicely -
In a collision, you have three or four sub-collisions all taking place in sequence. First, the vehicle hits some object. The vehicle abruptly slows, but unrestrained objects inside it continue at the same speed, in the same direction. Then the unrestrained body hits the interior of the vehicle, and starts to slow. That’s the second collision. That body’s internal organs are still moving at speed until they hit the inside of the chest (or get cheese-sliced by their supporting ligaments—and that’s where you get things like bisected livers or aortas). The fourth collision is when the bowling ball you left on the rear deck hits you in the back of the head, because that continued at the same speed in the same direction. Newtonian physics: Learn it, live it, love it.

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