[Editorial] Politics, medical journals, the medical profession and the Israel lobby

From the 12 May 2015 BMJ editorial

Criticism of the Israeli government does not necessarily equate with antisemitism

In April, Reed Elsevier, publishers of the Lancet, received a complaint written by Professor Mark Pepys and signed by 396 physicians and scientists, including five Nobel Laureates.1 They protested that the Lancet was being used for political purposes and for “publication of deliberately false material which deepens polarization between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The most recent example of what was termed this “political vendetta” was the July publication, during the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, of an “Open letter for the people in Gaza.”2 They wrote that the letter “contains false assertions and unverifiable dishonest ‘facts,’ many of them libellous,” and that its authors had failed to declare possible conflicts of interest. The complaint insisted that the July letter be retracted (disagreeing with the Lancet ombudsman’s decision3) and that it contravened the code of the Committee on Publication Ethics (disagreeing with a former chair of the committee4). It asked for the support of all scientists and clinicians “on whom they [Reed Elsevier] depend for their business,” adding “none of us is under any obligation to submit and review material for publication in their journals or to serve on their editorial or advisory boards.”

Read the entire editorial (with responses) here

Disclaimer: This BMJ editorial is included for informational purposes only and does not reflect the position of the University of Toledo or necessarily individual Mulford Library employees.


Share on Facebook

OhioLINK Service Disruption on 6/12/15 and 6/13/15

OhioLINK will soon be moving to a new data center which will result in a higher grade of services. Even though every attempt has been made to minimize the disruption to OhioLINK end users, there will be one scheduled outage which will involve a significant disruption to OhioLINK hosted services. This will occur between Friday, June 12, 6:00 p.m.  and  Saturday, June 13, at 12:00 p.m. (noon).

Share on Facebook

Extended Final Exam Hours: Starting Sunday May 3rd & Memorial Day Hours: Monday, May 25th

Starting May 3rd, Mulford will stay open 1 extra hour**
May 3rd (Sunday) – (9:00 am -1:00 am Monday)
May 4th (Monday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Tuesday)
May 5th (Tuesday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Wednesday)
May 6th (Wednesday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Thursday)
May 7th (Thursday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Friday)
May 17th (Sunday) – (9:00 am – 1:00 am Monday)
May 18th (Monday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Tuesday)
May 19th (Tuesday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Wednesday)
May 20th (Wednesday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Thursday)
May 21st (Thursday) – (7:30 am – 1:00 am Friday)
Memorial Day Hours
Monday, May 25th – 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
**We will return to our regular hours on Friday, May 22


Share on Facebook

New AHRQ Report Shows Patient Safety and Access Improvements, but Disparities Remain

From the 20 April 2015 report from AHRQ (US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

Today, more Americans than before get safer care, more effective treatments for their illnesses, and better access to care, a new report from AHRQ finds. The 2014 National Quality and Disparities Report provides clear evidence that long-standing efforts to make our health care system better, including enactment of the Affordable Care Act, are making a difference.

While welcome news, quality is still far from optimal, and the benefits aren’t shared by everyone.

Patient safety showed sustained improvement, particularly in the hospital setting. As reported by AHRQ in a December 2014 report, hospital care was safer in 2013 than in 2010, with 17 percent fewer harms to patients and an estimated 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions, 50,000 fewer deaths, and $12 billion in cost savings over three years (2011, 2012, and 2013). This is a remarkable improvement in safety and clearly represents great progress. However, in 2013 there were still 121 adverse events per 1,000 hospitalizations. Much more work is needed to lower that rate.


Share on Facebook

New Name for PubMed Related Citations Discovery Tool

Canese K. New Name for PubMed Related Citations Discovery Tool. NLM Tech Bull. 2015 Mar-Apr;(403):e6.   2015 April 22 [posted]

To be clearer, the PubMed “Related citations” feature will soon be renamed to “Similar articles.” User interviews revealed confusion about the definition of the “Related citations” listed in the results set. “Similar articles” was chosen because “Related citations” is ambiguous. There are several types of relationships that articles may have. The algorithm to generate the results has not been modified. The link name will be updated on the Summary results (see Figure 1).
ame will be updated on the Summary results (see Figure 1).

PubMed Summary Display
Figure 1: PubMed Summary Display.

The Abstract display discovery tool title will also be renamed (see Figure 2).

PubMed Abstract Display
Figure 2: PubMed Abstract Display.
Share on Facebook

WHO Launches Open Access to the WHO Global Medicines* Safety Database

WHO Launches Open Access to the WHO Global Medicines* Safety Database

Pharmacovigilance, or drug safety, is the primary method used to identify hazards associated with medicinal products and with minimizing the risk of any harm that may come to patients.

VigiAccess is a new web application that will allow anyone to access information on reported cases of adverse events related to over 150 000 medicines and vaccines. More than ten million cases from over 120 countries are held in VigiBaseTM , the WHO database of suspected adverse reaction reports maintained by the Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Sweden.

* The term ‘medicines’ refers to medicinal products, including vaccines

Information includes adverse drug reactions and geographic, sex, and age distributions.

Share on Facebook

Nature Outlook: Cancer supplement tackles the latest advancements and findings on the medical treatment of cancer

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2015. https://www.scout.wisc.edu


Presentation2      May 2014

Nature Outlook: Cancer

This special supplement to the international weekly science journal, Nature, tackles the latest advancements and findings on the medical treatment of cancer. Are we closer than ever to finding a cure for cancer? Will it come from nanotechnology or bioinformatics or some other field entirely? This special issue is divided into two equally fascinating sections, Outlook and Collection. For readers looking for a quick but learned look at what cancer is and how it functions, Herb Brody’s excellent introduction can provide some orientation to the special section. From there, the Outlook section hosts a number of readable articles that broadly examine the topic from a range of angles, such as the contribution of statistics to o ur understanding of cancer, the role of prevention in treating cancer, and a look at cancer in the developing world. The Collection section then offers rigorous peer-reviewed literature on cancer treatment. [CNH] (Subscribe to the Scout Report at http://scoutr.pt/subscribe)

Share on Facebook

Health Data now available at Toxmap

Slide2TOXMAP classic provides an Advanced Search as well as the ability to save search results and to build custom regions to focus your search. It does not require Flash and is accessible to users with disabilities. No new features are planned.

The beta version of TOXMAP is in active development. It has an improved map appearance and interactive capabilities as well as improved U.S. Census layers, availability by Census tract, and additional and updated datasets.

From the 22 April 2015 EPA news item and ToxMap News

Both versions of TOXMAP—classic and beta—now include the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) 2013 National Analysis data, as well as recent cancer and disease mortality data from NCI SEER. *

This is the first version of the TOXMAP beta with health data, whereas mortality data in TOXMAP classic has been updated.

To view national county-level cancer and disease mortality data from 2007-2011 in TOXMAP beta, bring up the US Census & Health Data window and navigate to the Mortality tab.  Two sub-tabs list cancer and disease mortality layers that can be overlaid on the map (one at a time).

TOXMAP maps the TRI chemicals reported to the EPA, as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported to the EPA can be found on their website.


*National Cancer Institute SEER – TOXMAP uses the NCI’s SEER*Stat database for its cancer and disease mortality data. Underlying mortality data is provided by the NCHS, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.


Share on Facebook

WHO calls for increased transparency in medical research

From the 14 April 2015 WHO news release

WHO today issued a public statement calling for the disclosure of results from clinical trials for medical products, whatever the result. The move aims to ensure that decisions related to the safety and efficacy of vaccines, drugs and medical devices for use by populations are supported by the best available evidence.

“Our intention is to promote the sharing of scientific knowledge in order to advance public health,” said Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation. “It underpins the principal goal of medical research: to serve the betterment of humanity.”

“Failure to publicly disclose trial results engenders misinformation, leading to skewed priorities for both R&D and public health interventions,” said Dr Kieny. “It creates indirect costs for public and private entities, including patients themselves, who pay for suboptimal or harmful treatments.”

Unreported trials lead to misinformation

For example, in a study that analysed reporting from large clinical trials (more than 500 participants) registered on ClinicalTrials.gov and completed by 2009, 23% had no results reported. These unreported trials included nearly 300 000 participants. Among clinical trials of vaccines against 5 diseases registered in a variety of databases between 2006-2012, only 29% had been published in a peer-reviewed journal by the WHO recommended deadline of 24 months following study completion.

“We need the collaboration of all these actors to enforce transparency in their jurisdictions in order to increase the benefits and decrease the risks for patients, clinical trial volunteers and the general public,” concluded Dr Kieny.

Share on Facebook

CDC has created dynamic infographics to support the CDC National Health Report

Small steps/big difference infographic. Text follows image.

CDC has created dynamic infographics to support the CDC National Health Report, which provides recent trends in the nation’s health.

The CDC National Health Report 2014 offers a snapshot of our nation’s health, highlighting recent successes and challenges in fighting critical health problems in the United States (U.S.). The report finds Americans are living longer, healthier lives, but suggests that more work is needed to ensure that all Americans can achieve optimum health.

Share on Facebook