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November 29, 2006

Scientific Professions & Diversity

There is an interesting new issue of the online journal The Scientist focusing on diversity as an issue of interest in scientific professions and education.

The Scientist: Special Issue: Diversity: Some Myths, and the Realities

In this issue, there is a call to scientists to apply the scientific thought process to the issues and concerns of diversity and planning for diversity; concerns about the impacts of reverse-discrimination lawsuits; a toolkit highlight NIH resources for measuring the success of diversity programs; and much more. A very interesting read.

Posted by pfa at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2006

Dentists Seeking Information via Google

Here is a very interesting study about dentists and how they use Google (and other information resources), right on the heels of the recent BMJ study of doctors using Google for diagnosing difficult cases.

Landry, Carol Fay. Work roles, tasks, and the information behavior of dentists. JASIST December 2006 57(14):1896-1908.
Link for UM patrons

"Developing an information framework is one technique dentists have applied to their seeking strategies. ... Google was favored by study participants as the means to develop this type of framework."

"Textbooks were the preferred source for the patient management/service provider task, professional associations were favored for CDE/student and patient education/educator tasks, vendors and sales representatives were first for the practice management/administrator task, and colleagues and journals were chosen for the research task."

"Although dentists continue to rely on traditional sources for their authority and accessibility, the Internet has emerged as an important adjunct in the information process because of its convenience and accessibility and the belief in the currency of found information. ... However, despite its ability to provide information quickly and conveniently, the Internet is not considered by dentists to be without flaws. Irrelevant, promotional, and questionable information flourish online. Recognizing these limitations allows one to consider the Internet a tool to augment rather than replace traditional information sources. Cross-referencing and framework building illustrate these findings. Still, the Internet is not embraced by all. An underlying current suggests that maintaining a personal connection with people remains important to a segment of this population and should not be ignored."

Posted by pfa at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

Today's Students & Critical Thinking Skills

As a follow-up to Sharon Grayden's excellent presentation last week in the School's Bootcamp series ("Preparing for a New Generation of Learners"), here are some new reports and data from the Educational Testing Services (ETS) about the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary students.

ETS: College Students Fall Short in Demonstrating the ICT Literacy Skills Necessary for Success in College and the Workplace
PDF [60KB]: http://www.ets.org/Media/Products/ICT_Literacy/pdf/2006_Preliminary_Findings.pdf

"Despite the assumption that today's college students are tech savvy and ICT literate, preliminary research released by ETS today shows that many students lack the critical thinking skills to perform the kinds of information management and research tasks necessary for academic success."

Also of potential interest, the ETS Education Issues 2007 publication.

ETS: Education Issues 2007
PDF [1.3 MB]: http://www.ets.org/Media/Education_Topics/pdf/candbrief2007.pdf

Posted by pfa at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2006

SlideShare.net: Ready, Set, Present!

Dr. X. Pertise agreed to speak to a university group at a meeting that is coming up in two days, on a broad topic peripherally related to his own research, but for which he doesn't have appropriate slides. Dr. P. thought there would be plenty of time to just put together something quick, but something unexpected has gone haywire in the lab at the last minute. He doesn't have time to make presentation slides, so he logs onto SlideShare and looks to see if there is a presentation by anyone he knows on this topic, that he could repurpose for this talk, with appropriate attribution to the original author. A few quick keyword searches, and he has found one presentation that has some good images, another presentation with a good conceptual outline, and some recommended resources that he can easily enrich. He knows the authors, so he contacts them to request a copy of their slides. In the meantime, he sends the links to his assistant, and asks them to start assembling new presentation slides that incorporate these bits. Later, he will quickly reorganize the information the way he wants it for the presentation.


Does this sound too good to be true? Pie-in-the-sky futuring? Well, tah-dah! The future has arrived. SlideShare.net allows people to share their slide presentations. It does not allow people to download the slides, only view them online, but that still can be very useful when assembling ideas in a time-dependent situation. SlideShare is a new service, so the content is still very much growing. Some of the best content is from organizations and government institutions that provide free information as advocates for a specific topic.

Still, you might be surprised what you can find. Examples include presentations on HIPAA and e-mail, four-handed dentistry, medical ethics, professionalism and education, bioinformatics, genomics, the semantic web, craniofacial anomalies, tissue engineering, drug development, and more.

The search interface is particularly sloppy, so you have to do a fair amount of digging once you get to the results. The more specific language is more useful in this circumstance. Like any of the Web 2.0 tools, the quality of what is findable will depend on people who are willing to share their content. If this would be a useful resource to have in the future, consider if it is worth sharing something of yours to make it more useful now.

Posted by pfa at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2006

Health Statistics and Trends: New EBook Available

There is a new electronic book available that provides very useful information on the health statistics and trends in America. It is a chartbook, so includes presentation-ready graphics to illustrate the concepts included. The content is available both in an interactive and searchable online version as well as a formatted PDF version for downloading. Just as a small sampling of the topics included are trends in dental visits, untreated dental caries, mothers who smoked during pregnancy, and much much more.

Health, United States, 2005 (With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans) [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., Director; National Center for Health Statistics, Edward J. Sondik, Ph.D., Director]:
PDF Version: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bookres.fcgi/healthus05/healthus05.pdf

Posted by pfa at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

Oxford African American Studies Center

The Core Electronic Resources Team announces the availability of the Oxford African American Studies Center. This databases combines more than 7,500 articles by scholars drawn from reference works. It includes the complete text of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, The Encyclopedia of African American History, Black Women in America, African American National Biography, and The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature, plus selected articles from many other reference works published by Oxford University Press. Also includes over 1,000 images, maps, charts, tables, and primary sources with specially written commentaries.

For more details see the Oxford website at: http://www.oup.com/online/africanamerican/

This database is accessible through Search Tools and through Mirlyn.

Posted by pfa at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2006

Teeth as the "Black Box" of the Body

When an airplane crashes, the hunt is on for the black box, to descrive the events surrounding whatever went wrong. In today's news are highlights of how teeth can provide detailed information about diet even thousands of years later, through the use of laser ablation. This leads to the analogy of the teeth as the "black box" of the body, a primary resource for information about how or why individuals and species failed or survived.

"Nearly 100 percent inorganic, they resist fossilization and retain carbon deposits that can be traced back to specific edibles. Teeth are veritable black boxes of information."

Philadelphia Enquirer 11/13/06: Ancestral cousin gets an enlightening dental: Two-million-year-old P. robustus of southern Africa wasn't just a vegetarian, teeth show. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/magazine/daily/15998062.htm

Posted by pfa at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2006

Googling for a Diagnosis?

This new article from BMJ has some possibly surprising findings. Previous understanding of web search engines were that simply entering a list of symptoms was as likely to come back with the wrong diagnosis as anything else. Evidently the knowledgebase and results rankings have improved to the point where this is not necessarily the case for a searcher with a strong medical background.


Hangwi Tang & Jennifer Hwee Kwoon Ng
Googling for a diagnosis--use of Google as a diagnostic aid: internet based study.
BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmj.39003.640567.AE (published 10 November 2006)

Objective: To determine how often searching with Google (the most popular search engine on the world wide web) leads doctors to the correct diagnosis.

Results: Google searches revealed the correct diagnosis in 15 (58%, 95% confidence interval 38% to 77%) cases.

Posted by pfa at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2006

Michigan in Higher Ed News

I thought you might be interested in this, not so much for the article
itself as for the commentary that follows and looks as if it might be
gearing up to some interesting discussion.

Three years after Supreme Court upheld consideration of race by
flagship university, voters decide otherwise.

Posted by pfa at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2006

New Articles from UM SoD Faculty: November 06, part 1

Apsey DJ. Kaciroti N. Loesche WJ.
The diagnosis of periodontal disease in private practice.
Journal of Periodontology. 77(9):1572-81, 2006 Sep.
PMID: 16945036

Padbury AD Jr. Tozum TF. Taba M Jr. Ealba EL. West BT. Burney RE. Gauger PG. Giannobile WV. McCauley LK.
The impact of primary hyperparathyroidism on the oral cavity.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 91(9):3439-45, 2006 Sep.
PMID: 16822829

Posted by pfa at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2006

The "White Smile" Diet

From the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, dietary suggestions for a more attractive smile.

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry: First it was Atkins, then it was South Beach, now it’s the White Smile Diet: http://www.aacd.com/media/releases/pr2006_06_27.aspx

Posted by pfa at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)