Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Google Quick Tip #26

Since we're all lined up at the office/classroom door ready to charge out to get a head start on our holiday vacation, I'll make this tip short and sweet.


Those special occasion Google logos always put a smile on our faces. Care to go down memory lane of past logos?

Go to http://www.google.com/logos to see the full archive.

Here's wishing you all a clean ending to 2009 and get ready to ring in a new decade! Be merry, be safe, be thankful, and be well!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

PubMed Quick Tip #12: Running an Author Search

The new PubMed interface makes it easier to directly search for an author's publications.

(1) Under the Advanced Search link to the right above the search box, scroll down to the "Search by Author, Journal, Publications Date, and more" section

(2) On the first line that defaults to the "Author" search, begin to type in the author's last name

(3) Choose amongst the auto-suggest list that appears as you type

(4) Click on the "Search" button


To ensure that you retrieve the author's most recent and all publications prior to 2002, select the listing with the Last Name First Initials format (rather than the one listing the Last Name Full Name spelled out - that one only retrieves publications after 2002)

For other alternative ways to search for an author, watch this narrated PubMed tutorial.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Six Second ECG Simulator

Who doesn't love a game to ease the bitter pill of learning how to read ECGs? The Six Second ECG Dynamic Cardiac Rhythm Simulator was created by SkillStat Learning, Inc.

This learning tool provides a way to "Explore. Review. Play" as their site describes. Contents cover:

- Twenty-two of the most common cardiac rhythms (lead ii)
- Watch, listen and read dynamic rhythms that you can freeze and resume

The best way to explore this site:

(1) Click on any of the name of any rhythm

(2) Click on the yellow "Start" button on the top right to listen to that rhythm and see it dynamicly scroll across the screen. Information appears at the bottom blue section describing the rhythm.

(3) Use the aqua "Freeze" button to stop the scrolling. Press the "Start" button to resume sound and scrolling.

(4) The red "Game" button tests your knowledge.

(5) The green "Settings" button lets you set the time allotted per question and the audio and motion options.

(6) Clicking on the orange "Learn" button is equivalent to the Home button to return you to the silent homepage of the site.

Thank you to Clinton Pong, a reader of this blog, and student at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, for recommending this ECG learning game.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Google Quick Tip #25

Flu season isn't over yet. Have you gotten your seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccine shots?

Here's an alternative to hitting the speed dial on your phone to your local health clinic or pharmacy to find out.


Google has created a Flu Shot Finder mash-up search in Google Maps to help you find the closest locations to get your flu shots.

Searching by zip code, city, or address are good ways to find the different options. You'll be linked to directions and websites with more information.

So, if you haven't gotten your flu vaccinations yet, there's no better time than the present. Here's to your health!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PubMed Quick Tip #11: Exporting Citations to Bibliographic Software

With the new PubMed interface, there are a few things to note for how to export citations into bibliographic software such as RefWorks or EndNote.

The basic steps are generally the same as with the old PubMed interface. Here's a quick run down of what to do.

(1) Select the box(es) of the citations you want to export

(2) Under the "Send to:" dropdown menu, on the upper right of the results list, select "File"

(3) Under the "Format" dropdown menu, choose "MEDLINE"

(4) Select "Create File"

(5) Save the file to your Desktop

(6) Import the file into your bibliographic software (ie, RefWork or EndNote)

View PubMed's narrated tutorial showing you how to do this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

3D Brain App

Whether you're a novice or an advanced learner studying the brain, I think you'll find the 3D Brain a worthy free app to download to your iPhone or iPod Touch.

(1) Select the "Structures" icon to view different regions of the brain

(2) Select the "L" Labels option to view the labelled version of the brain region

(3) Selecting the "T" Info provides an overview, case study, associated functions, cognitive disorders, damage, substructures. The Research Reviews at the very bottom of the Info page lists research articles that link to PubMed.

Download this app for free from the iTunes apps store.

Swiping your finger to the right/left or up/down on a brain image allows you to rotate the view. Pretty cool stuff!

Your brain will thank you for downloading this handy app.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Google Tip #24

Every now and again, you may want to find a video describing some topic in which you're interested. You could do a quick search on Google Video or YouTube.

For example, if I search in Google Video for the phrase h1n1 cdc, I get 3,990 results. That's too many for me to want to comb through.

Searching YouTube with the same phrase, I get 2,890 results. Still too many to sift through.


Here's how to get around the results overload when you're looking for a video on a certain topic.

In a regular Google search, you can type in some specific commands to look for different video formats.

Here's what the search phrase pictured above is looking for:

whatever follows behind the colon has to be in the URL of the webpage; this is indicated by the + sign

wmv OR avi OR mpg
these are examples of movie filetypes; connecting them with OR will look for any of these filetypes that must occur in the URL of the webpage

this will look for our search exclusively in just the CDC's website

this will look for the topic of h1n1 anywhere on the webpage

When I run this search in Google, I get 101 results. A very manageable set to browse through to find some good videos on the topic.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free Mind Mapping Tools

Oh boy - I've found some scrumptious free mindmapping tools that I need to share with you!

Mind mapping is a way to visualize concepts by drawing out associations between your ideas. It can be extremely useful as a brainstorming tool and even for teaching. It combines the textual and visual cognitive senses we use to help us understand concepts.

Two absolutely free and absolutely easy to use mind mapping tools are:

(1) bubbl.us - you don't need to set up an account. Simply click on the "Start Brainstorming"button.

The controls are intuitive. For example, hovering over the first box allows you to type in text. You can hover over parts of that box to show crosshairs that allow you to reposition the box wherever you want. The other hovering options allow you to add boxes stemming from the original. You can change the color of the boxes.

When you're done mapping, click on the Menu button at the bottom right of the screen. You can export the map you've created as an image, XML, or HTML file. Below is an example of a mind map I created using bubbl.us:

(2) SimpleMind Xpress - this is a free app for your iPhone or iPod Touch. There is a paid version, but I find the free one does a good job. You can upload your final mind map to your iTunes and then download it to your computer as a document.

This presentation below gives some helpful pointers on how to maximize the effectiveness of your mind mapping exercises.

These tools produce such graphically appealing mind maps that you'll feel compelled to map out just about anything. Knock yourself out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Navigating PubMed's New Interface

PubMed has gotten a facelift as of Oct. 27, 2009. With this sudden jolt, it may initially feel as if someone's gone into your house and re-arranged all your furniture and left you to figure out where everything now is.

Not to worry. Here are a few basic pointers to get you oriented:

The key items in the left blue menu bar of the old PubMed are now below the big image on PubMed's homepage.

Helpful key features in that section are:

(a) Single Citation Matcher - enter information to get directly to the article's abstract
(b) Clinical Queries - quickly find clinically relevant articles
(c) MeSH Database - find the terminology, medical subject headings (MeSH), that PubMed uses to index articles
(d) Journals Database - find journals on specific topics and detailed information about the journals

The Limits, History, and Clipboard tabs that were on the old PubMed no longer exist as tabs. They are now found under the Advanced Search link to the right of the search box.

For example, when you run a search and get to the results, click on the Advanced Search link to see:

(a) Search History - archives your searches for the next eight hours
(b) Search option boxes you can fill out to refine or run another search
(c) Limits - narrow your results by such factors as Type of Article, Age, Gender, Language

When viewing an abstract:

(a) Select the Display Settings link on the left above the abstract to view other formats of the abstract
(b) To send items to the Clipboard, check the box of the articles you want, and select the Send to link to the right above the results and select the Clipboard option
(c) A Clipboard icon appears when you've sent items to the Clipboard. You can save, email, or print those items.

View this short non-narrated tutorial that demonstrates the features described above.

The National Library of Medicine has made tutorials that show you through more detailed examples of how to use the new PubMed interface. These are located on PubMed's homepage, in the white space below, listed as PubMed Tutorials under the Using PubMed section.

Feel free to comment to this posting if you feel strongly one way or another about the new PubMed interface changes.

Download the Clinician's Toolbar to Your Browser

Kudos to you if you've already downloaded the UCSF Library's Clinician's Toolbar to your desktop browser. If you've used our toolbars in the past, you may not know that there is a new and improved version of our toolbars.

Apologies for this mouse-sized image of the Clinician's Toolbar, but I wanted to point out what the advantages are of downloading this toolbar to your browser.
(1) Get quick access to the Library by clicking on the blue UCSF Library logo on the far left of the toolbar

(2) Go straight to frequently used resources, such as UpToDate

(3) Gain additional one-click access to our online journals, find articles, or get to Drug Info and Clinical Resources on the Library's web

If you click on the dropdown arrow on the left inside the toolbar's search box, you can choose to search PubMed and Google Scholar and even Google Images as some key resources available.

If you've got the old version of the Library's toolbar on your browser, uninstall that before installing the new version.

To download and find out more about the Clinician's Toolbar, go to http://www.library.ucsf.edu/services/browsertools and scroll down the page to see more info.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Google Quick Tip #23

Behold - there's a way to sort through the data dump you get when
you run a Google Images search!


The next time you run a Google Images search, click the Show Options link on the left above your list of results.

A list of options will appear in the left menu. You can filter the image results to your own specifications, such as size, color, and image type.

Click on the Reset options link at the bottom of the left menu if you want to return to your original set of image search results. And last but not least, remember to always site your image sources!

View this quick narrated tutorial to see this feature in action.

Monday, September 28, 2009

EdHeads Virtual Surgery Games

If you're not a real surgeon, but you want to play one (on the web), EdHeads.org has created a site that's just for you.

The EdHeads team creates educational interactive web modules. There are currently nine activities to choose from. The medically related ones are surgical deep brain stimulation, hip replacement, hip resurfacing, and knee surgery.

Once you've entered one of the surgical activities, you'll be taken from the Reception Desk into the hallway of the OR. A virtual surgeon will orient you to your patient and have questions for you to interact with and answer throughout the tutorial. You will be asked to select different surgical instruments and use them during the surgery.

The tutorial is narrated, but you can also select the Subtitles icon to see closed captioning. If you want to skip ahead to different parts of the tutorial, select the Activity Site Map icon.

If you have the stomach to view actual photos of the surgeries being described, click on the Surgery Photos icon.

Included with each activity is a Teacher's Guide to give you ideas of how to make the activities a useful learning tool for your students. There are sample quiz questions and answers, a glossary, and additional helpful resources on the topic.

If you're in the mood for something non-medical, check out the others, such as Designing a Cell Phone or learning how to predict and report the Weather.

Be inspired to have fun!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cultivating Creativity in the Classroom

As a student, you know that rote memorization is no way to learn something well if you want to remember it in the long run.

As a teacher, you know that overloading your students with facts during an hour-long lecture without giving them a chance to engage in discussion is no way for you to get your message across to them effectively.

As more and more medical students opt to not attend lecture and instead watch or listen to recorded lectures at their own pace, what is an instructor to do?

There are many debates going on in the world of higher education trying to creatively answer this question. There has been no magic solution to this recent conundrum. Educators are forced to be more creative.

Therein lies the answer - instructors must cultivate creativity in the classroom. The following presentation, Cultivating Creativity in the Classroom, was put together by Jamie Tubbs, a 5th grade teacher in Ohio.

As educators, I hope that we can find inspiration in how to engage learners at any age. Tubbs' ideas are well presented in this quick slideset. May it give you pause and food for thought as you think up ways to re-engage with your students and the content you are teaching.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Academic Search Complete database

Let's say you've run a search in PubMed. You've found some key articles relating to your research, but you're left wondering what else is out there on your topic.

You may have not thought of this before, but non-medical publications could provide you with a different scope on your topic. For example, you might want to find what's been published in key newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times or industry magazines.

That's where Academic Search Complete database can come in handy. It searches:
  • Multidisciplinary topics
  • Scholarly peer-reviewed journals, popular magazines, newspapers, books, book chapters, book reviews, government documents, conference proceedings, and reports
  • Full text articles, books, and reports
  • Coverage from 1887 to the present

View this narrated tutorial to see how you can find information in trade publications to enhance your research.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Google Quick Tip #22

Ever wish that Google could do more than just give you a data dump of results? Well, prepare to be dazzled by Google Squared.


The folks down at Google are bubbling with ideas, many of which they post in the Google Labs section of their site. Google Squared is one of the coolest things to pop out of the labs lately.

Google Squared is at http://www.google.com/squared . When you type in a topic, Google will generate a table of information populated with results from various sources on the web.

This tool can be a handy way to get more details on a broad topic. Columns are usually populated with images and then additional columns of data that they believe would be of interest.

You can modify the initial set of results:

(1) There is the option to add more results
(2) Click inside an Add items or Add columns box and either select from their suggestions or type in your own addition
(3) Delete any unwanted column or row by clicking on the corresponding "X" for that item

Results can be exported as an Excel file. You can also save your table if you have a free Google/Gmail account.

Explore their list of "squared" topics below the Google Squared search box.

View this short non-narrated video tutorial to see how I generated a list of antibiotics and a list of Renaissance artists.

Keep in mind that the information generated in these tables may not be 100% accurate. Take this more as a quick tool that you would definitely not depend on as your main source of data, especially with topics dealing with health and science. Using reliable database resources for those topics is the safest bet for reliable information.

But in the meantime, knock yourself out with Google Squared!

Medical Games for your iPhone/iPod Touch

I finally caved in last month and got an iPod Touch. (Actually, it was part of a package deal with a MacBook laptop at the campus bookstore.) Wow! I must confess - the little device is power packed with goodies. There are a mind-boggling amount of apps for just about everything.

I stumbled upon two medically related games that can help you have fun while you study. Both are free from the iTunes apps store.

Diagnose the Disease

This game is from the makers of the Epocrates drug resource. You can race the clock to test your knowledge based on the images provided. You can compete with top clinicians and submit your scores. This game is also available to play on Facebook.

Speed Bones Lite

This game tests how well you know your bones. Race the clock and earn points when you answer the questions about skeletal anatomy. Using the Practice Mode lets you learn specific regions. Review Mode replays your mistakes so that you can learn from them.

Since I neither know my diseases nor bones in great detail, let me know if you try out these games and tell me what you think. I believe that having fun will facilitate learning when put to good use. Let's hope these games prove true.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Test Your Medical Knowledge Using Case Files in AccessMedicine

Looking to understand how to put all your medical knowledge into the bigger scheme of things? Tired of reading and memorizing facts and ready to put them to the test?

The AccessMedicine database is a good source to find Case Files to test your knowledge on real life clinical cases.

(1) Select either the Case Files tab or the Case Files for Students link (see image below)
(2) View the cases by Organ Systems or by Specialty
(3) After reading the details of the case, proceed to the Questions tab; select the View Answers link on the bottom of the page to see if you were correct
(4) The other topics covered with the case are Clinical Correlation, Comprehension Questions to further test your knowledge, clinical Pearls, and References to find out more information

The cases are from the LANGE Case Files series edited by Dr. Eugene C. Toy.

There is also a link to listen to free audio cases.

This Clinical Cases feature in AccessMedicine is ideal for teachers and students alike:

- browse the cases to get an idea of how to write your own case files for students

STUDENTS - apply and assess your knowledge of material you've covered; use these cases as a group discussion project to help you understand concepts.

View this brief non-narrated tutorial
to see the Case Files feature in AccessMedicine.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Epocrates and Lexi-Comp Drug apps for mobile devices

For those of you techy mobile users out there in the health care field, it may not be a mystery that Epocrates is a very popular free app available. For those of you not yet in the know, here's what's to know.

The free version includes:

- Over 3300 drug monographs, updated weekly - Adult and pediatric dosing - Pill ID - Drug interactions - Tables/Calculators - Formulary information

Epocrates is downloadable on the iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry, Palm, Win Mobile, and Win Smarthone.

Lexi-Comp Individual Application is also a free mobile app for drug information. It is compatable with iPhone/iPod Touch, Palm OS, Pocket PC, and Blackberry.

If you are on the UCSF network, you can access the complete Lexi-Comp database for UCSF, SFGH, Laguna Honda and Medi-Cal formulary information, as well as site-specific drug therapy guidelines.

Let me know if there are any other mobile drug apps that you would recommend. In the meantime, these two should cover quite a bit of ground.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Google Quick Tip #21

Eh... did you notice that Google has slipped in a tiny link that sits just above the left side of the results of your search?


After weeks of ignoring the link that looks like this: , I finally got around to clicking on the "+ Show options" link to see what was hiding under there.

Well, what to my wondering eyes did appear was a stroke of genius that I've been waiting for from Google for ages! There is a list of options to limit your results. It's fantastic! When you click on the Wonderwheel category, you get a fun way to visually search your results via a concept map that re-sorts itself when you click on a topic.

Ooh - exciting! Have a ball exploring these new hidden features!

Clinical Cases and Images blog

The Clinical Cases and Images blog is a "free case-based curriculum of clinical medicine." I stumbled upon this resource three years ago and have recommended it as a reference to students for finding clinical images that are accompanied by helpful discussions.

The blog was created in 2005 and is a joint effort of physicians at the Cleveland Clinic and the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. It is well organized by specialties along the top menu bar.

The topics covered include:

Allergy & Immunology -- Cardiology -- Pulmonology -- Gastroenterology -- Nephrology -- Endocrinology -- Hematology & Oncology -- Rheumatology -- Infectious Diseases -- Neuorology -- Geriatrics -- Pain Management

Other categories offered provide more information and links in the right menu bar:

-- Physical Examination Videos
-- Procedure Guides Step-by-Step
-- Electrocardiograms, X-rays, CT scans
-- Clinical Images from NEJM
-- Clinical Cases in Test Format (test your knowledge based on details of a case)

In the lower part of the right menu bar is a link to many of the images found in the blog that are housed on the photo hosting site Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/clinicalcases/.

The comments made on the content are helpful discussions. An encouraging feature to note is that all entries have a "Published" and "Last Updated" dates that you'll find by scrolling down the page. This can help you evaluate the usefulness and timeliness of the content.

To get a sampling of what you can learn from this well done blog, take a look at EKGs with Dr. Koch: It's Not Only Educational It's Also Fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Diagnosaurus app for your handheld device

If you've used the Diagnosaurus tool for (DDx) differential diagnosis in the AccessMedicine database, you'll know how handy it can be. Now, it can actually be "handy" literally in the palm of your hand.

Diagnosaurus allows you to browse by symptom, disease, organ system, or view all of the 1000+ differential diagnoses. There are versions of this tool for the iPhone/iPod Touch, as well as PDA's.

iPhone app is $0.99 from the App Store on iTunes. The PDA version is a free download.

If you'd like more advice on finding medical apps for mobile devices, please visit this site.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Google Quick Tip #20

You've found a webpage that looks intriguing, but the text is in a foreign language. What do you do?


(1) Select the Language Tools link to the right of the Google search box

(2) Scroll down the Language Tools page to the Translate a web page section. Copy & paste in the URL of the web page you want to translate.

(3) Select the corresponding languages you want to translate from and to (ie, French to English).

(4) Select the Translate button, and
voilà, the page will be hopefully comprehensible. Google's translator tool does its best to give you something that can convey the content in a language that you can understand.

If not accurate, the results can sometimes be quite amusing.

DoctorCalc's Recommended Medical Apps for the iPhone

I recently found myself having dinner with a table full of medical residents and half of them owned iPhones. This came to light when it was time to calculate the tip for the dinner bill. The iPhone owners were scrolling to the Tip Calculator app on their phone.

Once the tip was squared away, I asked if they had any medical applications on their iPhone. There are a few that seem pretty nifty. So I looked to see if there are any listings of other medical apps for the iPhone and iTouch.

I found DoctorCalc.com - a site that provides nine different medical apps for the iPhone/iTouch. They look all to be free of charge.

The nine specific applications cover:

Medical Calculator, Normal Lab Values, Rapid Sequence Intubation, Vaccines, Sedation, Jaundice, Lab Unit Converter, Patient Tracker, and Swine Flu Tracker.

I know that there are plenty more medical apps out there for the iPhone. Some free and some for a purchase fee. I have not jumped on the iPhone bandwagon yet, so if you do have an iPhone and are curious to test out any of these apps, please leave a comment as to what you think of these. And feel free to provide your own recommended medical apps.

Perhaps someone out there can convince me that I need to become an iPhone convert. Until then, I'll be sitting on the front porch with my laptop and blog waiting to hear from you all!

Highlight webpages with The Awesome Highlighter

Sometimes you may want to send someone a link to a webpage. Instead of typing what's interesting about the content of that page in the body of your email, imagine that you could actually highlight the text or section of the webpage and annotate it. Well, there IS such a tool out there that allows you to do this.

The Awesome Highlighter is just as its name implies - awesome. In a few simple steps, you can generate a URL that will take people to your highlighted webpage.

(1) Copy and paste in the URL of the webpage you want to highlight

(2) The page will appear inside an editing window. Use the yellow highlighter that appears in place of the cursor to select parts of the webpage you want to highlight.

(3) Click on the + add a note link at the upper right to place sticky notes that describe why you've highlighted that region. The notes can be moved around by holding them down and dragging them to another location on the page if you wish.

(4) Select the Done button at the top to complete the process.

(5) A URL will be generated that you can copy and paste or email. This URL will allow the viewer to get straight to the highlighted and annotated webpage.

For example, I highlighted a page from the Association of American Medical Colleges' Outcomes Project webpage that covers the residency competencies. Check it out at http://awurl.com/LsbVWSv6i

Now go out there and dazzle your friends and colleagues by what you can create with The Awesome Highlighter!