Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of 2010

Dettol protects: fact or fiction?

Readers in the UK (and possibly further afield, for all I know) will probably have seen a TV advert for a household disinfectant called Dettol, which has the strapline "Dettol protects: fact".

We are generally shown pictures of mummies with cute little kids and told how important it is to keep the kids protected, so the mummies clean their kitchens with Dettol. There is a clear implication that doing so will keep the little ones protected from nasty germs and therefore healthier.

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Pharma companies, patients, and social networking

Last week I spent a fascinating day in Oxford at the MedComms Strategic Forum 2010. It was a varied day, in which many aspects of medical communications were discussed. Apart from the ever-welcome opportunity to catch up with old friends, make some new ones, and also to be able to put faces to names I had previously only known in places like Twitter, I took part in some thought provoking exchanges of ideas about how the role of medical communications is evolving.

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Autumn EMWA conference now open for booking

I'm pleased to see that the next EMWA conference, which will take place in Nice in November, is now open for booking. Nice is a lovely city, so it should provide a great environment for a couple of days of meeting other medical writers from around Europe. I'll be teaching 2 workshops this time round, one on basic concepts of clinical study design (a nice gentle introduction, aimed at those new to clinical research) and a more advanced one on ANOVA and regression analysis for those wishing to brush up their statistical knowledge.

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Evidence that medical writers improve papers

It is widely believed in the medical writing community that professional medical writers write better papers than people who are not professional medical writers.

It seems a logical proposition, doesn't it? After all, it's generally accepted that brain surgeons are better at doing brain surgery than people who are not brain surgeons, that airline pilots are better at flying planes than people who are not airline pilots, and that bankers are better at running banks than people who are not bankers (OK, maybe that last example wasn't such a good one, but you get the idea).

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Medical writing courses

We still have places left for our introduction to medical writing course on 17 September, but be quick if you want to register! Please click here for more details.

We also have places left on our more advanced course on 28 October.

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My application for a job in homoeopathy

Those of you who follow homoeopathy stories in the blogosphere will be aware that NHS Tayside are currently advertising for a "Specialist Doctor in Homeopathy". If you are not familiar with this story, and some of the excellent job applications it has generated, you might want to catch up with it here, here, or here (and probably many other excellent blogs as well, apologies to anyone I've missed out).

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More on industry vs non-industry publications

Yesterday I wrote about a recent paper in Annals of Internal Medicine, comparing publications funded by the pharmaceutical industry with those from different funding sources. The main focus of that post was on the reasons why industry publications were more likely to report favourable results.

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Research on industry vs non-industry publications

An interesting paper, by Florence Bourgeois and colleagues, was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last week (sadly behind a paywall, but the abstract is available here).

The paper looked at outcomes of trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov, and compared those funded by the pharmaceutical industry with those funded by other sources. The results make interesting reading.

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An economic analysis of which journal to choose for your publication

I saw a fascinating question asked on Twitter the other day about choosing a journal for submission of your latest research paper. The question was asked by @deevybee (aka Prof Dorothy Bishop from Oxford University), who had been discussing the best target journal with a colleague (let’s call him “Al”, as we all know that a great many co-authors on papers seem to have that name).

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More dodgy statistics

Back in April, I wrote that perhaps I should start a "dodgy statistic of the month competition". OK, May and June have been and gone with no more nominations, so I'll make up for it by nominating 3 for July.

The first nomination goes to Vince Cable. This surprises me, as he is one of the few politicians we have who more often than not actually talks sense. Nonetheless, earlier this month he gave a speech in which he gave the statistic that "graduates, on average, could expect to earn £100,000 more in their life-time than non-graduates".

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