the metablog

Posts written by Daniel Jolley.
Daniel Jolley

About the author

Daniel Jolley is an anesthesiologist, founder and CEO of metajournal, providing personalized medical research recommendations to fellow doctors.

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The 1st Horseman: Publication Overload

The number of new medical articles published each month is accelerating. PubMed has over 23 million indexed going back to 19661, adding around 500,000 every year – but that's just the articles they index. There are an estimated 50 million scholary articles in total ever written 2, and currently over 28,000 peer-reviewed journals in print, publishing almost 2 million new articles in 2012 – and that's growing by 3% every year.3

If we focus only on MEDLINE® citations (publications indexed with MeSH, Medical Subject Headings) the number of publications each year is increasing exponentially. The graph below shows annual (not cumulative) MEDLINE® citations. The trendline in orange highlights the challenge of staying-up-to-date: annual medical publications is not just increasing, its accelerating.

Publication Overload

source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/medline_cit_counts_yr_pub.html

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  1. Wikipedia: PubMed. 

  2. Jinha, Arif E. Article 50 million: an estimate of the number of scholarly articles in existence. Learned Publishing, Volume 23, Number 3, July 2010, pp. 258-263(6). 

  3. The STM report 2012 - An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing

Five things I love about the C-MAC

Ah, videolaryngoscopes – wonderful toys increasingly common in operating rooms, intensive care units and emergency departments throughout the world.

After the first video laryngoscope was conceived by New York emergency physician Jon Berall in 1998, commercial success quickly followed with the 2001 Glidescope (designed by a vascular surgeon nonetheless!). Our love of the videolaryngoscope has grown ever since.

Like many anaesthetists and anesthesiologists I've used several different videolaryngoscopes over the past few years. The character that sets apart the videoscopes I like to use from those I do not is how well they enhance airway techniques I use every day rather than requiring a new technique specific to their device.

Overwhelmingly this comes down to how similar the laryngoscope is to a standard Macintosh blade rather than inventing a whole new shape. While there may be theoretical (or even real!) benefits to increasing the angle of the blade or adding extra conduits, when I have a difficult airway I want to augment the tools and techniques I use every day rather than change to something completely different. (When I want to change to something completely different I'll pick up a fibreoptic bronchoscope or something sharp!)

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The Four Horsemen of the Medical Research Apocalypse

The evidence-based medicine movement started excitedly in the 1990s, filled with much promise and hope. The way we practice medicine has been improved by EBM, along with the health of our patients. However it has not been all smooth sailing, and the challenges to evidence-based medicine are growing not lessening.

While we know more about the human body, critical care, anesthesia, and resuscitation than ever before, it is conversely more difficult to integrate evidence and guide decisions where they matter: for an individual patient.

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Improved article CPD reporting

Metajournal's CPD reporting feature has been fine-tuned in response to some great feedback from metajournal users. This will better track the articles you read, either online or those metajournal suggests to you in your emailed metajournal article digest. Perfect for providing to your professional college, specialty board or institution.

Previously metajournal did not consider an article 'read' by default until you explicitly clicked through to the article full-text when logged in. Now metajournal will also include abstracts you read and article abstracts emailed, so as to more accurately reflect your true continuing education. (Of course you can still generate custom CPD reports via the CPD reports page.)

Metajournal subscribers can download their latest, updated quarterly CPD report with one click!

Threshold concepts: a gateway drug for clinical teaching

I recently learned of something in educational theory that lead me to a small epiphany: threshold concepts.

Critical care specialties are full of threshold concepts.

What is a threshold concept?

The idea of a threshold concept in learning was first introduced by Meyer and Land1, focusing on economics education. They described this as concepts that "...once understood, transform perception of a given subject."

A threshold concept provides a gateway to a greater, more in-depth understanding of an area – but is often difficult to master. Meyer and Land described a threshold concept as having:

"...the notion of transformation (in which students change the way they perceive and practice aspects of their discipline), irreversibility (once learnt rarely forgotten or 'unlearnt'), integrative (whereby connections are made to concepts or knowledge of previously unknown or concealed areas), bounded (in that they help define the boundaries of a subject area) and potentially troublesome." K. Connan (2014)

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  1. Meyer J H F and Land R 2003 "Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge – Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising" in Improving Student Learning – Ten Years On. C.Rust (Ed), OCSLD, Oxford. [ pdf

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