Archive for October, 2010

Friday Foolery #108: My Happy Angry Bird

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Last week had the big splash about the plush Angry Birds that are on the horizon. Unanswered questions include whether or not a slingshot comes with the birds and if the blue one splits into three like a Russian nesting doll.

I have my own Angry Bird for Halloween though.

He is a Pidgeot, currently his favorite Pokemon character. If you look carefully in his diorama to the left what Pidgeot evolved from (Pidgeotto) is in there next to his well along with Beedrill hanging from the sky and other characters are towards the corners.

For the crafty among us, this is a modified version of the Simplicity Child Bird Costume pattern. In order to avoid disaster my mom did the vast majority of the sewing; I just picked out the fabrics, made design modifications & sewed the black and white felt eyes. They were tricky to sew with the machine through the multiple layers of fabric in the hood while avoiding snagging the craft foam feathers.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Redesign of the Office of Dietary Supplements Website

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Just saw the newly redesigned Office of Dietary Supplements website announced via Twitter this morning and am impressed by the easy navigability and clear adjustable font size options.

Screenshot of Office of Dietary Supplements website

The Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets in particular are very helpful resources and I appreciate the inclusion of agency names and home webpage links to the original sources when they are not contained within ODS, such as for Evening Primrose Oil to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

Melatonin leads to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), although an evidence report isn’t the same as a fact sheet. Looking around the other NIH agencies they don’t seem to have melatonin resources that aren’t derived from outside agencies either, and I see that as an opportunity for improvement considering that supplement’s popularity.

Friday Foolery #107: Buttery Math Goodness?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010


Unbelievable! by Wm Jas

When I saw this in Berci’s post on Wednesday I just knew it was destined for Friday.

Are you seeking to increase your math test speed by milliseconds, and not afraid of consuming a half stick of butter a day?

Do I ever have the study for you: Will Butter Make You Smarter? It runs between October 23rd – November 12th so act fast to participate.

There is no daily 4 pieces of bacon option so I’m out.

On a serious note, I’m marinating a bunch of stuff about scientific research that I’ll write about next week.

Friday No Foolery #106: Sailing twice exceptional seas

Friday, October 15th, 2010

If you’re looking for the usual bacon, library videos & insanity of Friday around here they’ll be back next week. Every once in a while a Friday needs to cover some out of scope topic and today is one of them. Yesterday I unexpectedly won a prize for the second October in a row. Last year was this amazing graphics and blog makeover, which I am still so thankful for.

This year I won the Emotional Intensity Giveaway. I think I’m more thankful about this  because we need the information in the book Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students right now.

Our son is gifted. Our current education system, focused on No Child Left Behind when so many are, often does not provide gifted students with adequate resources since they tend to do great on standardized tests. Other assumptions include that we parents are pushing him, that we are snooty elitists, or otherwise have lives to be envied because surely we don’t have any problems at all by having a really smart kid because the gifted don’t need help.

Nothing could be further from the truth. A quick rundown of the myths & realities about the gifted are over here, and in addition to those realities our son also has several learning difficulties including a puzzling processing delay that is not related to autism, ADHD or anything else the psychologists can clearly identify yet. Having two standard deviations up from the norm does not exclude other areas for the same person going down two. Both at the same time is often referred to as being twice exceptional. We have been exhausted and overwhelmed trying to best support our son’s needs in both directions and fight prevalent misinformation, misdiagnoses and misunderstandings for years. I can’t imagine where we’d be without help.

I’m writing this not just because I won a book but to bring awareness of resources such as such as Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG), which has a great resource library of free articles and some audio recordings; and Hoagie’s, which is the Yahoo directory of all things gifted. SENG was founded in response to a very bright, talented teen committing suicide in 1981. One thing I have heard nothing in the media about  Tyler Clementi’s suicide is if he was supported well as an obviously gifted teen over the years.  No one can ever point to a single thing that ’causes’ suicide (it’s about pain), and there were several obvious factors at once for Tyler, but I can say that the expressions of ‘he didn’t seem depressed’ makes sense to me: Some highly gifted teens can mask even severe depression. The emotional highs and lows for gifted (and especially teen gifted) are quite sudden and don’t really follow a path that is obvious or even logical to others.

I know. I was identified as gifted and lived through those highs & lows myself along with masking depression as a teen, and now am watching our son go through highs & lows on an even more intense level than I did. Thankfully depression has not entered the equation and he is incredibly enthusiastic about everything in life. I’m keeping an open communication channel and eye out to watch for even subtle changes in the future though. He is even smarter than I am.

PNC/MLA Coverage – Day 2

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

A great conference wrapped up too quickly with a presentation by Jeff Crump, digital librarian of MercyCorps, showing the challenges and opportunities of managing and accessing health information for an international relief organization. A lot of their structure involves strong core knowledge management concepts and I will definitely be reflecting on his presentation. Having information organization “starting to look like a shared drive instead of a knowledge sharing site” really resonated with me since I see way too much of that across the library field.

Updates from the Medical Library Association (MLA), the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region (NN/LM PNR) are also included in the Google Doc with the same caveat that my notes aren’t necessarily accurate, coherent or complete – I’ll go back and edit later.

I missed the stat talks but grabbed the Twitter broadcast below:

Thanks to the PNC/MLA 2010 planning committee for a great time in Portland!!

PNC/MLA Coverage – Day 1

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Today was day one of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association conference in Portland, OR.

Are you interested in the goings-on of public health discourse (Lawrence Wallack), the selective publication of drug trials (Erick Turner), perspectives about library research, and paper presentations about emergency preparedness, improving health literacy for rural elderly and Open Science?

All is available from the perspective of my notes on Google Docs, not necessarily 100% accurate, coherent or complete.

Health Literacy and Twitter Synergy: #healthlit

Friday, October 8th, 2010

On October 4th, the Twitter accounts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social media (@CDC_eHealth) and healthfinder.gov (@healthfinder) proposed a chat on October 7th with a hashtag of #healthlit to discuss the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy developed by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

What happened on Twitter during that hour still blows my mind away 20 hours later as I’m writing this.

I and quite a few librarians, library-related folks & library Twitter accounts (medical and others) were there along with federal, state &  local/county-level agencies with health information interests, hospitals, regular media, healthcare social media strategists, health information vendors, health educators, public health educators, and countless others.

We were probably supposed to follow a semi-structured question/discussion format centering on the health literacy action plan that is gently cattle prodded moderated as most scheduled Twitter chats are.

That’s not quite what happened.

The energetic passion that resulted from everyone seeking to connect, share and learn about each other’s strategies and approaches for health literacy were contagious to the point of being an instant online pandemic. It was chaotic. It was overwhelming. It was the first time I saw the MedlinePlus Twitter account (@medlineplus4you) be quite engaged in a hashtag chat including direct replies to others… putting the social in a National Library of Medicine social media channel.

It was one of the most unexpected and amazing community flashmob experiences I’ve been a part of on Twitter. I was just one small voice contributing the Medical Library Association’s and the National Network of Libraries of Medicines’ health literacy resources and supporting the discussion about MedlinePlus, NIHSeniorhealth and the Information RX program.

Other health literacy resources I managed to gulp from the firehose (besides the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy) were

  1. Health Literacy Online (fantastic ODPHP resource covering how to write & design easy-to-read websites)
  2. The Plain Language Medical Dictionary Widget (University of Michigan)
  3. Clear Communication: An NIH Health Literacy Initiative (National Institutes of Health)
  4. Talk To Your Doctor (part of NIH Clear Communication)
  5. Talking With Your Doctor (National Institute on Aging)
  6. Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults (PDF, CDC)
  7. Improving Communication with Older Patients (AAFP)
  8. Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals (online health tutorial, CDC)
  9. Health Information for All by 2015 (HIFA2015)
  10. Health Literacy Studies (Harvard)
  11. MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information Resources (NLM)

For me, the most exciting thing was having people from so many perspectives coming together with so much enthusiasm to discuss health literacy. Not a single one of us (or the agencies we work for) has The Only Right Answer: if we did, everyone would already understand medical information and there wouldn’t be a national action plan to improve it.

With everyone continuing to come together and all perspectives being heard, that is very likely to change. I can’t even begin to cover the multiple threads addressing accessibility, jargon, acronyms, disparities, specialized health needs (rural, seniors, etc) that were part of the conversation beyond resource sharing. There is a WTHashtag archive but it’s very hard to follow these threads there. I am excited about additional discussions and future collaboration opportunities though and will keep writing as I learn more about how to get involved.

Friday Foolery #105: Time to be icked out by something else

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Are you as icked out, not to mention increasingly paranoid about traveling, by hearing about bedbugs no matter where you turn for information as I am? I don’t know when the MedlinePlus bedbugs page was launched. I’m cringing at the thought of clinical trials involving bedbugs.

Would you prefer beautiful works of art instead?

How about combining icky with the creative arts through…

Maggot Art!

Yes, watch for yourself how it is important to pick the right maggot and the right type of paint -

Friday Foolery #104: Double feature!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Oops. Back on #98 I gave you the happy pills prescription then didn’t share what I promised to deliver, didn’t I?

My bad.

Our class promotion video (it’s been awesome to teach & just about done now) shows just another day of trying to get things done at the office. Did you think I was joking about how close I sit to the coffee? Think again.

Now to see the impressive results of the happy pills taping, check out the University of Washington Health Sciences Library orientation video that is actually a hybrid screencast using Camtasia. The production team did a great job with that! Note my greatly improved professional mannerism with those happy pills about 5 minutes in.