Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Social Media: A Guide for Researchers

Social Media: A Guide for Researchers


From the March 1 2011 Resource Shelf item

The International Center for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby has produced a social media guide to help researchers understand the range of social media tools. The 48-page guide has links to a variety of resources including academic and research blogs and collaboration tools. Also included are case studies profiling ten researchers and their use of social media.

From Research Information Network:

One of the most important things that researchers do is to find, use and disseminate information, and social media offers a range of tools which can facilitate this. The guide discusses the use of social media for research and academic purposes and will not be examining the many other uses that social media is put to across society.

Social media can change the way in which you undertake research, and can also open up new forms of communication and dissemination. It has the power to enable researchers to engage in a wide range of dissemination in a highly efficient way.

Contents include

Web materials 1: Links and resources

Audio and video tools
Blogging and Microblogging tools
Examples of academic and research blogs
Social networking services
Location based tools
Social bookmarking, news and social citation tools
Research and writing collaboration tools
Presentation sharing tools
Project management, meeting and collaboration tools
Information management tools
Virtual worlds

You can access the full list of the above resources here, or download below.

Web materials 2: Researcher case studies

The guide is rooted in the practical experience of its authors and that of the ten social media users that we interviewed as part of the project.  You can read their individual case studies below:

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

ASA launches new journal focused on mental health and illness

ASA launches new journal focused on mental health and illness

From the March 1 2011 Eureka news alert item

WASHINGTON, DC, March 1, 2011 — The American Sociological Association (ASA) announced today that it has launched a new journal dedicated to research on the sociology of mental health and illness.

The Society and Mental Health (SMH) journal features original, peer-reviewed studies that apply sociological concepts and methods to the understanding of the social origins of mental health and illness, the social consequences for people with mental illness, and the organization and financing of mental health services and care. Sage Publications will publish the journal three times a year—in March, July, and November.

“The creation of this journal offers the ASA the prospect of asserting its intellectual influence on a spectrum of issues concerning mental health and illness from a sociological perspective that is distinct from solely biomedical, psychiatric, or psychological views,” said SMH Editor William R. Avison, a sociology professor at The University of Western Ontario.

SMH’s inaugural March 2011 issue includes studies touching on parenthood, mental health services, the stigma of mental illness, and developments in the diagnosis of major depressive disorder.

“Mental health and illness is an issue that impacts individuals, families, and communities as well as the health care system and its ability to serve the public,” said Sally T. Hillsman, ASA’s Executive Officer. “In that light, we felt it was essential to create a special outlet for high quality research on the sociology of mental health and illness.”

SMH is the journal of the ASA’s Sociology of Mental Health Section—one of the Association’s 51 special interest sections—and the third ASA section journal. The Association also has nine ASA-wide, peer-reviewed journals—including the American Sociological Review, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Psychology Quarterly.

“We are confident that SMH will be a great addition to our already robust suite of sociology journals that advance scholarship and public well-being,” Hillsman said.

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More information about SMH can be found at http://www.asanet.org/journals/smh.cfm.

About the American Sociological Association

The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

 

 

 

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | Leave a comment

Effectiveness of wastewater treatment may be damaged during a severe flu pandemic

Effectiveness of wastewater treatment may be damaged during a severe flu pandemic

From the March 2 2011 Eureka news alert

Existing plans for antiviral and antibiotic use during a severe influenza pandemic could reduce wastewater treatment efficiency prior to discharge into receiving rivers, resulting in water quality deterioration at drinking water abstraction points.

These conclusions are published this week (2 March 2011) in a new paper in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which reports on a study designed to assess the ecotoxicologic risks of a pandemic influenza medical response.

The research was carried out by a team from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UK), the Institute for Scientific Interchange (Italy), Utrecht University (Netherlands), the University of Sheffield (UK), and Indiana University (USA).

The global public health community closely monitored the unfolding of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic to best mitigate its impact on society. However, little attention was given to the impact that the medical response might have on the environment.

In order to evaluate this risk, the research team coupled a global spatially-structured epidemic model that simulates the quantities of antiviral and antibiotics used during an influenza pandemic of varying severity, with a water quality model applied to the Thames catchment in southern England to predict their environmental concentrations. An additional model was then used to assess ecotoxicologic effects of antibiotics and antiviral in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and rivers.

The research team concluded that, consistent with expectations, a mild pandemic (as in 2009) was projected to exhibit a negligible ecotoxicologic hazard. However in a moderate and severe pandemic nearly all WWTPs (80-100%) were projected to exceed the threshold for microbial growth inhibition, potentially reducing the capacity of the plant to treat wastewater. In addition, a proportion (5-40%) of the River Thames was similarly projected to exceed key thresholds for environmental toxicity, resulting in potential contamination and eutrophication at drinking water abstraction points.

Lead author Dr Andrew Singer, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, “Our results suggest that existing plans for drug use during an influenza pandemic could result in discharge of inefficiently treated wastewater into the UK’s rivers. The potential widespread release of antivirals and antibiotics into the environment may hasten the development of resistant pathogens with implications for human health during and potentially well after the formal end of the pandemic.”

Dr Singer added, “We must develop a better understanding of wastewater treatment plants ecotoxicity before the hazards posed by a pandemic influenza medical response can be reliably assessed. However, the production and successful distribution of pre-pandemic and pandemic influenza vaccines could go a long way towards alleviating all of the identified environmental and human health problems highlighted in our paper, with the significant added benefit of reducing morbidity and mortality of the UK population. This latter challenge of vaccination is probably society’s greatest challenge, but also where the greatest gains can be made.”

 

 

 

 

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Herbal teas may provide health benefits

Herbal teas may provide health benefits

Antioxidants Research Laboratory scientists Diane McKay and Oliver Chen discuss the results of their hibiscus tea study, which showed the effectiveness of this beverage in reducing blood pressure: Click here for photo caption.
Antioxidants Research Laboratory scientists Diane McKay and Oliver Chen discuss the results of their hibiscus tea study, which showed the effectiveness of this beverage in reducing blood pressure.
(D1814-8)

From the March 1 2011 Science Daily item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 1, 2011) — Those who enjoy the caffeinated lift that comes from drinking traditional coffees and teas may tend to overlook the benefits of drinking herbal infusions. Now, as explained in this month’s issue of Agricultural Research magazine, the idea that herbal teas may provide a variety of health benefits is no longer just folklore….

Chamomile tea has long been considered a brew that soothes. But when Blumberg and McKay reviewed scientific literature on the bioactivity of chamomile, they found no human clinical trials that examined this calming effect. They did, however, publish a review article on findings far beyond sedation, describing test-tube evidence that chamomile tea has moderate antimicrobial activity and significant antiplatelet-clumping activity.

The researchers also describe evidence of bioactivity of peppermint tea. In test tubes, peppermint has been found to have significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities, strong antioxidant and antitumor actions, and some antiallergenic potential. Based on a human clinical trial, the team also has reported that drinking hibiscus tea lowered blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.

McKay and Blumberg have concluded that the available research on herbal teas in general is compelling enough to suggest further clinical studies.

 

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

World’s most powerful optical microscope: Microscope could ‘solve the cause of viruses’

World’s most powerful optical microscope: Microscope could ‘solve the cause of viruses’

Scientists have created a microscope which shatters the record for the smallest object the eye can see, beating the diffraction limit of light. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Manchester)

 

 

From the March 1 2001 Science Daily item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 1, 2011) — Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the team have created a microscope which shatters the record for the smallest object the eye can see, beating the diffraction limit of light.

Previously, the standard optical microscope can only see items around one micrometre — 0.001 millimetres — clearly.

But now, by combining an optical microscope with a transparent microsphere, dubbed the ‘microsphere nanoscope‘, the Manchester researchers can see 20 times smaller — 50 nanometres ((5 x 10-8m) — under normal lights. This is beyond the theoretical limit of optical microscopy.

This hugely-increased capacity means the scientists, led by Professor Lin Li and Dr Zengbo Wang, could potentially examine the inside of human cells, and examine live viruses for the first time to potentially see what causes them.

The existing microscopes which have the capacity to examine tiny items — electron microscopes — can only see the surface of a cell rather than examining its structure and there is no tool to see a live virus visually….

 

 

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

   

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