Turning Up the Volume on Journal Clubs

Hilda Bastian is cartoonist and writer at StatisticallyFunny blog

Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health comics album on Flickr. Image via @Hildabast

” … But other than conferences, the most intensive group engagement with scientific research is still the face-to-face journal club. What are they like then, and what works well? Food might increase attendance “and conviviality” – but given how passionate or social it can get, alcohol might not be the best idea!….” 

Read: Science’s Water Coolers: Turning Up the Volume On Journal Clubs, PLOS Blogs Absolutely Maybe, December 17, 2014.
Hilda Bastian is author and cartoonist behind Statistically funny.
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Email your photos to des.daughter@gmail.com with a short description and title :-)

The Full Snow Moon #FullMoonEngageMe Social Media Event N°10 #EmpireAvenue #SocialNetworking

In February 2015, between the 3rd and the 9th, join our free social media event taking place at each Full Moon – via #EAv – and give a boost to your social networking!

full-snow-moon image
In February 2015, between the 3rd and the 9th, join our free social media event taking place at each Full Moon – via #EAv – and give a boost to your social networking! Image by Petr Tomasek on Flickr.

The Full Snow Moon

February is traditionally the month with the most snow ; it’s easy to see how native Americans got the name for this full moon. February’s full moon is sometimes called full hunger moon because when the snow was high, it was very hard to hunt and find food.

#FullMoonEngageMe Social Media Event N°10 Schedule

The event will start on Tuesday the 3rd of February 2015 at 19:00 UTC and will last until Monday the 9th in HERE.

What is this about?

A great opportunity for you to super charge your social networking, to meet Empire Avenue Leaders, to connect with top social media engagers and more

What about the previous events?

May 2014 initial SoMe event was followed by the strawberry, the buck, the sturgeon, the harvest, the hunter, the beaver, the cold and the wolf full moons. In the Empire Avenue EAv Gangstas community, you can still access all the conversation threads.

  • Read our FAQs and use the comment section to ask any question about the event.
  • Join – for FREE – Empire Avenue at anytime – before and after any #FullMoonEngageMe social media event. You can use this link – with no strings attached – to get some extra “eaves” at start ! See you soon 😉

Antibiotics daily use in livestock help superbugs spread from farms into our communities

When the meat industry routinely misuses and overuses antibiotics, it threatens public health when essential drugs no longer work to treat infections, making us all less safe

Did you know that superbugs — dangerous bacteria resistant to antibiotics — are spreading from farms and into our communities? When antibiotics are used day after day to raise animals, drug resistant bacteria flourish, making antibiotics less effective for people. Take a look at a day in the life of this pig to learn why this is happening on industrial farms around the country.

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Y: The Descent of Men

The Decline in Male Fertility

Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health books album on Flickr. Y: The Descent of Men, by Steve Jones.

Few chemicals confer maleness, but many take it away. Which, if any, are responsible for our own troubles is hard to say.

The Pill changed men’s lives in more ways than one. It caused reproductive hormones to leak into tap water and has been blamed both for the sex changes in freshwater fish and for the drop in our own sperm count. The jury is still out on the issue, but other hormones have had a disastrous effect.

A drug called diethylstilbestrol was once thought – in error – to prevent miscarriage. Five million mothers took it and for a time it was even used as a chicken food supplement. A third of the boys exposed to the drug in the womb suffer from small testes or a reduced penis. In rats, the chemical causes prostate and testicular cancer (although there is as yet no sign of those problems in ourselves).

To give a powerful steroid to pregnant women was at best unwise, but the effects of other chemicals were harder to foresee. The 1950s saw a wonderful new chemical treatment for banana pests. Soon the substance was much used. Twenty years later the workers noticed something odd: they had almost no children. Their sperm count had dropped by five hundred times.”

Sources: Quotes About Diethylstilbestrol, goodreads.

Book Summary:

In his highly entertaining and enlightening book, the acclaimed geneticist and author Steve Jones offers a landmark exploration of maleness. With effervescent wit, Jones argues that men, biologically speaking, are the true second sex. Here he lays out the cases for and against masculinity — exploring every biological aspect from the genesis of the Y chromosome onward — based on the recent explosion of biological research. Along the way, he offers pithy commentary on topics such as male hormones, hair loss, and the hydraulics of man’s most intimate organ. Fascinating and often surprising, Jones’s evidence offers fresh fuel for the battle of the sexes.

Book reviews on GoodReads and Amazon.

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Prenatal Exposure to EDCs and Obesity

By the Collaborative on Health and the Environment

The incidence of childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally and there is an urgent need to better understand the impact of early life exposure to chemical obesogens on the development of obesity.

The incidence of childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally and there is an urgent need to better understand the impact of early life exposure to chemical obesogens on the development of obesity. The European OBELIX (Obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals: linking prenatal exposure to the development of obesity later in life) project examined the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) plays a role in the development of obesity later in life using a multidisciplinary approach that combined various approaches, including epidemiology and toxicology.

The project focused on assessing prenatal exposure to major classes of EDCs including dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls, non-dioxin-like PCBs, brominated flame retardants, organochlorine pesticides, phthalates, and perfluorinated alkyl acids. Toxicological studies in OBELIX demonstrated that perinatal dietary exposure to representatives of these EDC classes resulted in metabolic changes that persisted into adulthood, long after termination of exposure at weaning, and that effects were compound- and sex-specific. The observed effects were not consistently towards an obese phenotype; a lean phenotype was also observed in animal studies for some compounds. Epidemiological studies in birth cohorts throughout Europe indicated associations between pre- and postnatal exposure to EDCs and early growth trajectories and body mass index in children up to 7 years.

This call reviewed the main findings of the largest project up to now to examine the obesogen hypothesis.


Additional resources of interest:
  • The OBELIX project website.
  • The OBELIX project: early life exposure to endocrine disruptors and obesity, PDF, 2011 May 4.
  • An Integrated Approach to Assess the Role of Chemical Exposure in ObesityPDF, 26 JUL 2013.
  • Birth Weight and Prenatal Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE): A Meta-analysis within 12 European Birth Cohorts, PDF, Oct 13, 2011.
  • Transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms underlying enhanced in vitro adipocyte differentiation by the brominated flame retardant BDE-47, PDF2014 Apr 1.
  • Programming of metabolic effects in C57BL/6JxFVB mice by exposure to bisphenol A during gestation and lactation, PDF, 3 July 2014.

New transparency for drug company payments to doctors in the UK

Member companies of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have amended the ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry to require increased disclosure of payments within the healthcare community

ABPI logo
Rebecca Coombes the BMJ, sums up the new UK system for public disclosure of payments from drug companies to doctors, made available by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Since the new year drug companies in the United Kingdom have begun recording any payments they make to doctors for certain services, such as chairing a meeting, in advance of plans to disclose the data to the public. This move echoes similar initiatives in the United States and the Netherlands designed to bring transparency to financial relationships between doctors, teaching hospitals, and drug companies. The information gathered over the next 12 months, and in subsequent years, will be uploaded to a publicly searchable database due to launch in July 2016… ”

Continue reading New year brings new transparency for drug company payments to doctors in UK, BMJ 2015;350:g7748.

Find more information about Disclosure of payments to individual healthcare professionals and Individual disclosure on the abpi website.

Know Your Terms Initiative

The NICHD NIH Pregnancy InfoCard

Know Your Terms infocard
Raising Awareness about the new full term pregnancy definition.
Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health posters album on Flickr.

Sources: The Know Your Terms Initiative, website and sharing information.

Sadly for many DES daughters having their own children is not possible! Many of us who have experienced miscarriages, want to have kids but are struggling or unable to… Find out more about DES pregnancy risks and studies about DES and pregnancy.

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What is a Genome?

Find out in this short animated video

Eleven new centres across England have been chosen to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project. The 100,000 Genomes Project involves collecting and decoding 100,000 human genomes – complete sets of people’s genes – that will enable scientists and doctors to understand more about specific conditions including rare diseases and cancer. But – what is a genome? Find out in Department of Health short animated video.

More information

A gloomy or a realistic prospect for epidemiology and public health?

Reaffirming the role of epidemiology in the decade of the epigenome

The cancer “bad luck” story confuses group and individual risk, with naive adding-up of attribution across levels “… said george davey smith

IJE banner image
The International Journal of Epidemiology is an essential requirement for anyone who needs to keep up to date with epidemiological advances and new developments throughout the world.

Epidemiology, epigenetics and the ‘Gloomy Prospect’: embracing randomness in population health research and practice

2011 Paper Abstract

Epidemiologists aim to identify modifiable causes of disease, this often being a prerequisite for the application of epidemiological findings in public health programmes, health service planning and clinical medicine. Despite successes in identifying causes, it is often claimed that there are missing additional causes for even reasonably well-understood conditions such as lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Several lines of evidence suggest that largely chance events, from the biographical down to the sub-cellular, contribute an important stochastic element to disease risk that is not epidemiologically tractable at the individual level. Epigenetic influences provide a fashionable contemporary explanation for such seemingly random processes. Chance events-such as a particular lifelong smoker living unharmed to 100 years-are averaged out at the group level. As a consequence population-level differences (for example, secular trends or differences between administrative areas) can be entirely explicable by causal factors that appear to account for only a small proportion of individual-level risk. In public health terms, a modifiable cause of the large majority of cases of a disease may have been identified, with a wild goose chase continuing in an attempt to discipline the random nature of the world with respect to which particular individuals will succumb. The quest for personalized medicine is a contemporary manifestation of this dream. An evolutionary explanation of why randomness exists in the development of organisms has long been articulated, in terms of offering a survival advantage in changing environments. Further, the basic notion that what is near-random at one level may be almost entirely predictable at a higher level is an emergent property of many systems, from particle physics to the social sciences. These considerations suggest that epidemiological approaches will remain fruitful as we enter the decade of the epigenome.

Sources and more information

Epidemiology, epigenetics and the ‘Gloomy Prospect’: embracing randomness in population health research and practice, Int J Epidemiol; 40(3):537-62. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyr117, PMID: 21807641, 2011 Jun.

Read the full study in Oxford Journals Int. J. Epidemiol. (2011) 40 (3): 537-562. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyr117 – by George Davey Smith including:

  • Same origins, different outcomes
  • Why are siblings so different?
  • Why might the role of shared environment be under-estimated?
  • Reasons for over-estimating or over-interpreting the non-shared environment
  • The ‘gloomy prospect’ after all?
  • Mechanisms of chance events: epigenetics to the rescue?
  • Chance encounters: the advantages of being random
  • A gloomy or a realistic prospect for epidemiology and public health?
  • Lay and professional epidemiology: catching up with common sense?
  • Learning to live with randomness: reaffirming the role of epidemiology in the decade of the epigenome

Cervical Health Awareness

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Cervical Health Awareness Month
You can share this @StopHPVCancer poster during the January Cervical Health Awareness Month.
More information
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