Saturday, November 1, 2008

The DNA Network

The DNA Network

Blogging from Bangladesh [Tomorrow's Table]

Posted: 01 Nov 2008 08:29 PM CDT

The posts this week will be from Bangladesh and India. I have temporarily moved the blog to

Nature networks, link to be posted soon

Webicina: Free E-Courses [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 01 Nov 2008 02:40 PM CDT

Webicina is an online service that aims to provide medical professionals and patients with e-learning tools and personalized solutions focusing on how to enter the web 2.0 era. Now you can access our free e-lessons, the samples that can give you some details about the full e-courses, without registration.


10 Reasons Why I Use Twitter [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 01 Nov 2008 02:21 PM CDT

Yesterday, Dan Weberg was curious how and why medical students use Twitter, a microblogging service. Jen McCabe Gorman directed him to me so now I thought I should list my reasons here.

1. I can contact fellow medical students and professors easily.

2. I get answers for my medicine-related questions from educators from around the world.

3. I get feedback easily so I always post there my ideas and projects.

4. I’ve recently started to read the Presentation Zen book and I really liked the foreword from Guy Kawasaki. Today I could contact him on Twitter. It feels good to be so close to the world.

5. It can replace RSS as bloggers share their newest posts with us (e.g. Kevin, MD). I can also follow health news aggregators and services on Twitter. (e.g. Eye on FDA, ICMCC)

6. I will graduate from medschool next September. That’s why I’m glad I can follow doctors and see what their everyday lives are like. This way, I can prepare myself for practicing medicine.

7. I cannot be up-to-date about the lives and careers of all of my friends and collegues by e-mail, but on Twitter it’s a piece of cake to know their important steps and milestones.

8. In order to check all the important health news of Second Life, I only have to follow Patricia F Anderson and Mal Burns.

9. It serves as a universal chat service. I can contact anyone while flying in Second Life, blogging live or writing e-mails.

10. I can watch and follow interesting discussions focusing on health, web 2.0 or medicine. I feel I’m in the middle of an active group or community consisting of medical students, patients, doctors, nurses, healthcare lawyers and medical librarians.

Follow me on Twitter and join the community…


Collaboration in Second Life - a nice example [Discovering Biology in a Digital World]

Posted: 01 Nov 2008 10:01 AM CDT

I was in in Washington D.C. this last week attending the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technology Education conference. During the conference, I attended one workshop and one talk on Second Life. Both of the presentations were focused on Teen Second Life, which was interesting, but neither presentation did a very good job of illustrating how I would use Second Life as a teaching tool.

Julian Lombardi's blog has a short YouTube movie that comes pretty close. Be patient, the marketing pitch doesn't last forever.

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In case you don’t want to deal with RSS [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 01 Nov 2008 05:23 AM CDT

It’s quite hard to keep up with the medical literature and the numerous medical news aggregators. In order to solve this problem, you have several tools in your hand:

  • keep going back to all of the sites you’d like to visit (I don’t have to say that is the worst solution)
  • Use RSS and let the information come to you (details here)
  • Visit, where you can find all the medical articles and news you need (from medical journals, websites, medical blogs, Flickr images, Youtube videos, tags, and many more)

You can also find a free e-lesson about how to keep yourself up-to-date on


What’s on the web? (1 November 2008): Nylon-eating bacteria [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 01 Nov 2008 04:56 AM CDT

  • Scientific Blogging: Now the site entered the web 2.0 era with a nice layout and a lot of useful features.

  • PharmaSurveyor is live now. It “creates a personalized risk assessment for you which shows not only drug-drug interactions but the much more common and often dangerous adverse drug side effects”.

Nylon-eating bacteria are a strain of Flavobacterium that is capable of digesting certain byproducts of nylon 6 manufacture. This strain of Flavobacterium, Sp. K172, became popularly known as nylon-eating bacteria, and the enzymes used to digest the man made molecules became collectively known as nylonase.


Melamine Open Secret [Sciencebase Science Blog]

Posted: 01 Nov 2008 04:03 AM CDT

melamine-eggsIn September, news emerged from China that thousands of babies had taken ill having drunk formula milk to which the organic compound melamine had been added. The melamine was being added by unscrupulous operatives somewhere in the milk supply chain, to artificially boost the nitrogen content of the product, and so spoof higher protein levels than are actually present.

Subsequently, lists of contaminated products appeared in the media and on the web and as the melamine scandal widened, the Chinese government issued an apology and promised to crack down on the problem.

However, with news this week that batches of eggs imported into Hong Kong from China have tested positive for melamine, which is suspected of causing kidney problems, it now appears that the compound is being added routinely to animal feed in China. According to the BBC, this news has been released into the Chinese state media by a government realising it has far less control over food standards that it ought to have.

The melamine scandal is not new. It is essentially an open secret in China that the compound is added to all kinds of foods, particularly animal feed and pet food to artificially inflate the protein readings at the so-called quality control stage. Melamine was at the heart of the petfood scandal in 2007, but that was simply the first time that the West learned of the problem. It seems obvious that melamine could have been in the food chain much longer than that.

But, whether the open secret of melamine in the food supply is actually as serious a problem as the media would have us believe is down to toxic dose. AP quotes Peter Dingle, a toxicologist from Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, who says that aside from the tainted baby formula that killed at least four Chinese infants and left 54,000 children hospitalized in September, it is unlikely humans will get sick from melamine. The amount of the chemical in a few servings of bacon, for instance, would simply be too low, he said. But he is not recommending that the practice continue unchecked. China should have cracked down sooner on feed companies he and others have said.

However, if the melamine open secret is as big as it appears from the outside, it is unlikely to be stopped any time soon, particularly because of the heirarchical government system in China. “It could take five or even 10 years” before some companies stop adding the chemical to food products, Jason Yan of the US Grains Council is quoted by AP.

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Melamine Open Secret

In the New England Journal Again! CRP genetics! [The Gene Sherpa: Personalized Medicine and You]

Posted: 31 Oct 2008 06:25 AM CDT

Trick or Treat..... That's Russ Altman, Disguised as a Wolf-Man!!! First the Treat! Ok, so I hate to say it, but I am firmly convinced that the New England Journal of Medicine has been taken over...

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Dumping on Fly Research [The Daily Transcript]

Posted: 30 Oct 2008 11:36 PM CDT

This is what happens when a politician gets advice from political operatives instead of professionals who have dedicated their lives to understanding the topic in question.

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