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A recent essay in Science makes the case that, at least when writing up research on endangered species, complete transparency could be harmful. The prolific increase in online publishing, whether it be articles, reports, or data, creates significant problems in this field, namely:
- Unrestricted access to species location information is facilitating a surge in wildlife poaching, with many species at risk. Poaching has been documented in species within months of their taxonomic description in journals.
- Unrestricted access to location data and habitat descriptions can disrupt the often delicate relationships between scientists and landowners. Trespassing has occurred when location data is published.
- Unrestricted access to species information has the potential to accelerate habitat destruction and create other negative disturbances. The digital age has brought a desire among many nature enthusiasts to observe, photograph, and sometimes remove animals and plants.
Some fields such as paleontology and archaeology have long maintained restrictions on the publication of site locations and promoted government policies and regulations to limit collection and trade in fossils, artefacts, and culturally sensitive and/or scientifically important material. Organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service do not disclose geospatial data in order to protect research sites. Other solutions include modification of research permits so that endangered species locations are not automatically uploaded into wildlife databases and masking such records on private land, as presently occurs in some states in the United States.
Is this relevant to any public health research? Other than personally identifiable information, what types of health data should not be made widely available?
The UCB Library recently purchased access to JAMAevidence.
JAMAevidence is a resource of evidence-based tools and more, including Users’ Guides to the Medical Literature. This online guide includes Education Guide slide sets, audio summaries, calculators, and critical appraisal and information cycle worksheets – these are not included in the print version.
The Users’ Guides 29 chapters are under these headings:
- The Foundations
- Harm (Observational Studies)
- Summarizing the Evidence
- Moving From Evidence to Action
Sage Research Methods, recently purchased by UC Berkeley, is an essential online resource for anyone doing research or learning how to do research. With more than 800 books, reference works, and journal articles from SAGE’s research methods list, SAGE Research Methods provides information on writing a research question, conducting a literature review, choosing a research method, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up the findings.
Sage Research Methods will help you:
- Plan a research project
- Explore research methods (quantitative and qualitative)
- Determine which statistical test to use to answer your question
Highly recommended, try it!
Use Community Commons to quickly build a report about any state, county, or group of counties in the USA! Within a minute or so, you will see information on 141 indicators (as of today) including health outcomes, physical environment, clinical care, social and economic factors, and demographics. Use this information for assessment, case-making, advocacy, grant applications, presentations and much more.
Information can be displayed as a table, pie chart, map, or downloaded to Excel.
To get started click here.
Big Data to Knowledge
Open Data Science Symposium: How Open Data and Open Science are Transforming Biomedical Research; Details at http://event.capconcorp.com/wp/bd2k-odss/
The Open Data Science Symposium is open to the public and will be available through a webcast.
Big Data is an underutilized resource for innovation and discovery in biomedical research and the NIH is committed to unleashing its full potential by making it an open and easily accessible resource. The Open Data Science Symposium will feature discussions with the leaders in big data, open science, and biomedical research while also showcasing the finalists of the Open Data Science Prize, a worldwide competition to harness the innovative power of open data.
Please Register for the Open Data Science Symposium by November 18, 2016.
Registration is free.
Who Should Attend:
Join us for this meeting if you are interested in:
- Learning how NIH and other agencies are utilizing new models and funding approaches to support open innovation and open science
- Exploring the challenges, opportunities, and implications of a changing biomedical research landscape in which openness is the default across the globe
- Seeking to use open data in your own research and looking for inspiration from international teams who have developed award-winning prototypes
- Watching live demos of all six Open Science Prize semifinalists, and participating in the awards process through casting your vote for your favorite innovation
- Dialogue between current NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, and former NIH and former NCI Director, Dr. Harold Varmus, on open science at the National Institutes of Health
- Live demonstrations of six award-winning prototypes developed by international teams competing for the Open Science Prize.
- Panel discussion on new models for advancing data sharing capability through innovative infrastructure and initiatives with perspectives from leading international organizations such as ELIXIR, Wellcome Trust, and Global Alliance for Genomics and Health.
- Keynote by John Wilbanks, Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks, who has been named by Seed Magazine as one of the “revolutionary minds” and featured in Scientific American for his visionary thinking.
This symposium is funded through the NIH Big Data to Knowledge Initiative, which was launched in December 2013 as a trans-NIH program with funding from all 27 Institutes and Centers as well as the NIH Common Fund.
The Open Science Prize is made possible through a collaboration between NIH and the Wellcome Trust. The Howard Hughes Medical institute is also contributing funds for this effort.
The 2016 Ig Nobel Prize winners were recently announced. Each year, scientists (and others) vie (or are chosen without their knowledge or consent) for this sought-after prize.
This year’s winners include:
REPRODUCTION PRIZE [EGYPT] — The lateAhmed Shafik, for studying the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex life of rats, and for conducting similar tests with human males. REFERENCE: “Effect of Different Types of Textiles on Sexual Activity. Experimental study,” Ahmed Shafik, European Urology, vol. 24, no. 3, 1993, pp. 375-80. REFERENCE: “Contraceptive Efficacy of Polyester-Induced Azoospermia in Normal Men,” Ahmed Shafik, Contraception, vol. 45, 1992, pp. 439-451.
MEDICINE PRIZE [GERMANY] — Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas Münte, Silke Anders, and Andreas Sprenger, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa). REFERENCE: “Itch Relief by Mirror Scratching. A Psychophysical Study,” Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas F. Münte, Silke Anders, Andreas Sprenger, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no 12, December 26, 2013, e82756.
PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE [BELGIUM, THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, CANADA, USA] — Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers. REFERENCE: “From Junior to Senior Pinocchio: A Cross-Sectional Lifespan Investigation of Deception,” Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon D. Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, Acta Psychologica, vol. 160, 2015, pp. 58-68.
PERCEPTION PRIZE [JAPAN] — Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs. REFERENCE: “Perceived size and Perceived Distance of Targets Viewed From Between the Legs: Evidence for Proprioceptive Theory,” Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, Vision Research, vol. 46, no. 23, November 2006, pp. 3961–76.
… and several more.
Embase is a biomedical and pharmacological database with over 30 million citations. Don’t forget to use Embase, and not solely PubMed, when doing literature reviews on health topics.
Besides strong coverage in pharmacology and toxicology (including economic evaluations), Embase covers biochemistry, biomedical engineering & medical devices, clinical medicine, genetics, healthcare policy & management, infectious diseases, microbiology, molecular biology, and occupational and environmental health. Over 8,500 journals from over 90 countries are indexed, as well as conference abstracts from over 6,000 conferences.
Use Embase’s indexing system, Emtree (pdf), to build strong and precise searches, particularly on disease and drug/substance topics. In addition, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Numbers are generated for all drug/substance terms in each citation.
Use Embase off-campus via proxy server or VPN. Use UC-eLinks to get full text of articles.
For help learning how to search Embase, download this quick guide (pdf).
The journal Public Health recently published a set of articles on the so-called Nanny State that came out of a mini-symposium. Makes for interesting reading!
Here’s a list of the articles, they are all in Public Health, Volume 129, Issue 8 (August 2015):
- Who’s afraid of the nanny state? Introduction to a symposium
- Relational conceptions of paternalism: a way to rebut nanny-state accusations and evaluate public health interventions
- Which nanny ? the state or industry? Wowsers, teetotallers and the fun police in public health advocacy
- Informed choice and the nanny state: learning from the tobacco industry
- Public health and the value of disobedience
- Freedom and the state: nanny or nightwatchman?
- Food reformulation and the (neo)-liberal state: new strategies for strengthening voluntary salt reduction programs in the UK and USA
- Case studies in nanny state name-calling: what can we learn?
- Of nannies and nudges: the current state of U.S. obesity policymaking
- A balanced intervention ladder: promoting autonomy through public health action
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has been conducting experiments in rats and mice on potential health hazards from cell phone radiofrequency radiation. Today, the NTP released a report on some important study findings.
Here are some key points about the cell phone study:
- The nomination for the NTP to study cell phone radiofrequency radiation was made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- These are the largest most complex studies ever conducted by the NTP.
- For the studies, rodents were exposed to frequencies and modulations currently used in cellular communications in the United States. Rats and mice were exposed for 10-minute on, 10-minute off increments, totaling just over 9 hours a day from before birth through 2 years of age.
- The NTP found low incidences of tumors in the brains and hearts of male rats.
- NTP has provided these findings to its federal regulatory partners to enable them to have the latest information for public health guidance about safe ways to use cellular telephones and other radiofrequency radiation emitting devices.
Likewise, the NTP is providing the findings to the public. A report has been posted at http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/05/26/055699. The report is titled, “Report of Partial Findings From the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD Rats (Whole Body Exposure).” Studies in mice and further evaluations of the rat studies are continuing. The complete results from all the rat and mice studies will be available for peer review and public comment by the end of 2017.
– from NTP News, May 27, 2016
A recent study published in Environmental Rsearch Letters concludes that a relatively small number of polluting facilities is responsible for the greatest amount of pollution. And, this promarily affects communities of color or low-icome areas.
This research relies on two data sources?the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Screening Environmental Indicators-Geographic Microdata (RSEI-GM) from 2007 and the US Census of Population and Households from 2000. Results of the analysis provide strong evidence that toxic outliers exist. And, as they isolated the points with the highest exposure estimates, a greater density of low income households and nonwhite populations were found. "In an analysis of all permitted industrial facilities across the United States, we show that there exists a class of hyper-polluters – the worst-of-the-worst – that disproportionately expose communities of color and low income populations to chemical releases."
Linking ‘toxic outliers’ to environmental justice communities Mary B Collins, Ian Munoz and Joseph JaJa Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 1 (in a special issue, Focus on Environmental Justice: New Directions in International Research).