Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve: Iceland

Pretty chaos, originally uploaded by BeggaSnorra.

Links for 2006-12-31

Friday, December 29, 2006

Links for 2006-12-29

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"A Virtual Reprise of the Stanley Milgram Obedience Experiments"

Torturing someone for an experiment is unethical -- but what if it's performed in a virtual environment?

Via PLoS ONE (published under a Creative Commons license):


Stanley Milgram's 1960s experimental findings that people would administer apparently lethal electric shocks to a stranger at the behest of an authority figure remain critical for understanding obedience. Yet, due to the ethical controversy that his experiments ignited, it is nowadays impossible to carry out direct experimental studies in this area. In the study reported in this paper, we have used a similar paradigm to the one used by Milgram within an immersive virtual environment. Our objective has not been the study of obedience in itself, but of the extent to which participants would respond to such an extreme social situation as if it were real in spite of their knowledge that no real events were taking place.


Following the style of the original experiments, the participants were invited to administer a series of word association memory tests to the (female) virtual human representing the stranger. When she gave an incorrect answer, the participants were instructed to administer an ‘electric shock’ to her, increasing the voltage each time. She responded with increasing discomfort and protests, eventually demanding termination of the experiment. Of the 34 participants, 23 saw and heard the virtual human, and 11 communicated with her only through a text interface.


Our results show that in spite of the fact that all participants knew for sure that neither the stranger nor the shocks were real, the participants who saw and heard her tended to respond to the situation at the subjective, behavioural and physiological levels as if it were real. This result reopens the door to direct empirical studies of obedience and related extreme social situations, an area of research that is otherwise not open to experimental study for ethical reasons, through the employment of virtual environments.

Links for 2006-12-27

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Googling for a Diagnosis: Using Google as a Diagnostic Aid"

Actually, I'm shocked that Google revealed the correct diagnosis in only 58% of cases. (Using Google Scholar instead might have increased the yield.) From the British Medical Journal (Free Full Text):
Objective To determine how often searching with Google (the
most popular search engine on the world wide web) leads
doctors to the correct diagnosis.
Design Internet based study using Google to search for
diagnoses; researchers were blind to the correct diagnoses.
Setting One year’s (2005) diagnostic cases published in the case
records of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Cases 26 cases from the New England Journal of Medicine;
management cases were excluded.
Main outcome measure Percentage of correct diagnoses from
Google searches (compared with the diagnoses as published in
the New England Journal of Medicine).
Results Google searches revealed the correct diagnosis in 15
(58%, 95% confidence interval 38% to 77%) cases.
Conclusion As internet access becomes more readily available
in outpatient clinics and hospital wards, the web is rapidly
becoming an important clinical tool for doctors. The use of web
based searching may help doctors to diagnose difficult cases.

Links for 2006-12-26

Monday, December 25, 2006

Flickr: James Brown

Links for 2006-12-25

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Links for 2006-12-23

FDA MedWatch - Update on MRI Contrast Agents Containing Gadolinium and Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy

The FDA has issued a Public Health Advisory to notify healthcare professionals
that it has received additional information about a new disease, known
as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis or Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy
(NSF/NFD), which may occur in patients with moderate to end-stage kidney
disease after they have had a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) scan with a gadolinium-based
contrast agent. FDA has received reports of 90 patients with moderate to
end-stage kidney disease who developed NSF/NFD after they had an MRI or
MRA with a gadolinium-based contrast agent. FDA is notifying health
care providers and patients that: 1] Patients with moderate to end-stage
kidney disease who receive an MRI or MRA with a gadolinium-based
contrast agent may get NSF/NFD which is debilitating and may cause
death, 2] Patients who believe they may have NSF/NFD should contact
their doctor, 3] When a patient with moderate to end-stage kidney
disease needs an imaging study, select imaging methods other than MRI or
MRA with a gadolinium-based contrast agent for the study whenever
possible, and 4] FDA asks health care professionals and patients to
report possible cases of NSF/NFD to the FDA through the MedWatch

Read the complete MedWatch 2006 Safety summary, including links to the
updated information page, Public Health Advisory, and previous June 2006
alert, at:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Links for 2006-12-22

Rank the Best Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Nephrology Books using Amazon's Mechanical Turk and Unspun

Amazon's Mechanical Turk is an experiment in "Artificial Artificial Intelligence" -- human intelligence that looks like artificial intelligence. Unspun is a service that uses Amazon's Mechanical Turk in order to create "best of" lists. Here are three sample lists:
You can rank other lists (and be paid a small amount) using the Mechanical Turk here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Flickr: Gouda City Hall Fog, I

Gouda City Hall Fog, I, originally uploaded by doogie.

Links for 2006-12-21

A Selection of Best Posts of 2006

Dissect Medicine and Social Bookmarking
New Target Hemoglobin for Anemia of Kidney Disease
Lists of Favorite Podcasts
Musings on Vasculopath
Nephrology Case #11
Useful Tools for Blogging, Medicine, Getting Things Done
While You're Tattoing "Do Not Resuscitate" on Your Chest
Sopranos and Zosyn
How Not to Get Bitten By Your Dog
High Blood Pressure Due to Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WikiMapia: Central Park

Links for 2006-12-20

Flickr: navidad de diseño

navidad de diseño, originally uploaded by cmedrang.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Links for 2006-12-19

Monday, December 18, 2006

Flickr: Space Station Over New Zealand

They fly over my house, originally uploaded by Brenda Anderson.

Links for 2006-12-18

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Quote of the Day: Those Things Are Addictive

Random person in hospital hallway as I'm looking at my Treo: "Those things are addictive. I threw mine away. You should throw yours away."
Sent via Treo

What Happened to Ariel Sharon?

Back in July, I wrote about how Ariel Sharon was being treated with hemofiltration (similar to dialysis) for kidney failure. I had assumed he was doing poorly, but as far as I know, he hasn't died, and there isn't anything on Google News about Sharon being on chronic dialysis. Did his kidneys recover?

Links for 2006-12-17

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Nephrology Cases / On Call Musings: Very Different Clinical Situations That Look Alike

A 65 year old man with known congestive heart failure presents with pulmonary infiltrates, respiratory failure, and a low serum sodium of 117. Is it primarily congestive heart failure or is it pneumonia with the low sodium related to SIADH? Surprisingly, it turned out to be the latter. This is a situation where a Swan-Ganz catheter was extremely useful.

Report on Searching Online for Health Topics by the Pew Internet & American Life Project

From Online Health Search 2006:
Eighty percent of American internet users, or some 113 million adults, have searched for information on at least one of seventeen health topics. Most internet users start at a general search engine when researching health and medical advice online. Just 15% of health seekers say they “always” check the source and date of the health information they find online, while another 10% say they do so “most of the time.” Fully three-quarters of health seekers say they check the source and date “only sometimes,” “hardly ever,” or “never,” which translates to about 85 million Americans gathering health advice online without consistently examining the quality indicators of the information they find. Most health seekers are pleased about what they find online, but some are frustrated or confused.

Links for 2006-12-16

Friday, December 15, 2006

KidneyNotes Enhanced with Snap Preview Anywhere

In order to make your browsing more efficient, If you hover over the links on KidneyNotes you'll now see a preview of the website it links to. For more information on Snap Preview Anywhere, see here.

Links for 2006-12-15

Thursday, December 14, 2006

FDA Public Health Advisory: Gadolinium-containing Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Associated with Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy

From the FDA:

The FDA has learned of 25 foreign cases of Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis/Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NSF/NFD) in patients with renal failure who underwent Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) with Omniscan. Omniscan and other gadolinium-containing contrast agents are FDA approved for use in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) but not for MRA. Physicians should carefully assess the need for performing MRI with contrast in patients with advanced renal failure (those currently requiring dialysis or with a Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)≤15cc/min) and administer the minimal needed dose of contrast agent if MRI with contrast is necessary. The FDA is further evaluating the possible link between the use of gadolinium-containing contrast agents and development of NSF/NFD.

Links for 2006-12-14

Flickr: leftover drops

leftover drops, originally uploaded by Steve took it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Links for 2006-12-13

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Add a "Dissect Medicine" Social Bookmarking Icon to Your Blog or Website

Dissect Medicine is Nature Publishing Group's social bookmarking site for medical news. It's a great resource, but it's underutilized, partly because Dissect Medicine has no social bookmarking icon like Digg () or ().

Since there wasn't an icon, I created one: .

(It's actually the NYC "D" train symbol.)

Clicking this icon opens a new window in Dissect Medicine which allows readers to login and submit articles. The URL of the referring post is automatically included.

The blog template code, which may be placed in the footer of each post, is here:

<a href = "<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>" target ="_blank" title="Submit to Dissect Medicine"><img src="" style="border:0" align="absbottom"></a>

Optionally, &title=<$BlogItemTitle$> may be added after <$BlogItemPermalinkURL$> to automatically include the post's title.

If you're using a service other than Blogger, <$BlogItemPermalinkURL$> should be substituted with the permanent link field. For TypePad and MoveableType, it's <$MTEntryPermalink$>. Similarly, <$BlogItemTitle$> would be changed to <$MTEntryTitle$>.

For an example of the icon in action, see the footer of this post.

If you found this post useful, you can vote for it on Dissect Medicine.

Links for 2006-12-12

Links for 2006-12-12

Links for 2006-12-12

Monday, December 11, 2006

The 2006 Medical Weblog Awards

Nominations are being accepted for the 2006 Medical Weblog Awards. (I'm one of the judges.)

Via MedGadget:

Welcome to the third annual Medical Weblog Awards! These awards are designed to honor the very best in the medical blogosphere, and to highlight the diverse world of medical blogs.

Links for 2006-12-11

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Links for 2006-12-10

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Links for 2006-12-09

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Links for 2006-12-06