Magazine article Information Today

Old, Not Dead

Magazine article Information Today

Old, Not Dead

Article excerpt

Old dogs absolutely can learn new tricks. In my new job, I find myself wallowing daily in biomedical-related literature. Until now, it's more Have Not Been Here, Have Not Done This. But experience is truly the best teacher.

For example, in a relatively short time, I've gone from an occasional, largely clueless PubMed user to a competent searcher with the ability to set up alerts. When you use something daily, ipso facto, it finds a comfortable spot in your professional repertoire.

The psychology clinicians I work with are all extremely interested in keeping up with their professional literature, but because they train other behavioral health specialists, they are always traveling, getting ready to travel, or doing the relevant paperwork after they return from traveling.

Research Updates

So what I have done is put together a weekly research update for them, comprising citations and abstracts of relevant journal articles, plus links to media stories of potential interest, as well as an occasional research tip. I send it as a PDF; some of them like to read it on a screen, while others like to print it out. Although it can be time-consuming to pick and choose the best items, it's not as difficult as it could be. Since we work with the active military, their families, and veterans, I focus on a fairly narrow range of topics--PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury, insomnia, and substance use/abuse, which are the various psychological byproducts of war.

I also use Google Scholar and follow a variety of RSS feeds. By the way, I highly recommend ScienceDaily (www.sciencedaily.com) and EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org). For the intellectually curious, which includes basically every knowledge worker, it's easy to get lost reading all the interesting stuff that floats across your radar screen, even if it's not particularly relevant to what you're supposed to be doing.

Occasionally, I happen to find research items that fill me with joy:

* "Popcorn: The Snack With Even Higher Antioxidants Levels Than Fruits and Vegetables" (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120325173008.htm)

* "Regular Chocolate Eaters Are Thinner, Evidence Suggests" (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327091227.htm)

Get Up, Get Going

On the flip side, I may also run into some scary science, especially when it hits close to home:

* "Office Workers Spend Too Much Time at Their Desks, Experts Say" (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210203.htm)

* "Diabetes Risk From Sitting Around" (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302082913.htm)

This one was particularly alarming:

   Those who spend 11 or more hours a day sitting are 40 percent more
   likely to die over the next three years regardless of how
   physically active they are otherwise, researchers say.

   Analyzing self-reported data from more than 222,000 people aged 45
   and older, Australian researchers found that mortality risks spike
   after 11 hours of total daily sitting but are still 15 percent
   higher for those sitting between 8 and 11 hours compared to those
   sitting fewer than 4 hours per day. ("Too Much Sitting Can Kill
   You, Study Suggests";
   http://consumer.healthday. … 
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