Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 232 - ducks are funny. Ducks and snow are even funnier.

A couple of fun intellectual thing are happening in my life. I recently got to review an Article for Annals and that was fun. I'd never done a review before so I really had no idea of what I was doing. Obviously, I know how to read journal articles and how to evaluate them and to decide if the info in them should change practice or not, but it's very different to think about it for oneself and even to write about it in an informal venue like this compared to writing semi-formally about it for an editor, to try to convince them an article is worth printing or deserves an editorial or not, as the case may be. You also write a summary that goes directly to the authors of the article. That was actually the very hardest part for me to try to figure out what to say that would be constructive, not nit-picky and hardest to imagine--useful. These are people who are so together they can produce a nice little clinical trial, run it for a couple of years, analyze the results and then write them up. I come up with ideas for little research projects all the time and then when I imagine trying to do them, forgedaboudit! it's way too much work! Also, the authors are from a country where I don't know many people from and I have a hard time imagining to whom I might be writing. Anyway, that was my big intellectual activity for the weekend and I really enjoyed it.

My other non-work interesting thing that I am thinking about is PCORI (patient centered outcomes research institute). The idea of patient centered outcomes research is that a lot of research is focused on topics that are of importance to doctors and health care administrators, not to patients. For example, the diligent blog reader will recall that Marian asked what I knew about probiotics in neutropenic patients and I told her that there was zero research on it and that some neutropenic diets even disallowed yogurt so by extension, probiotics would probably also be on the no-list. Some neutropenic diets, however, allow yogurt with active cultures. There is very little actual research on neutropenic diets and you better believe that what you can and cannot eat when you are feeling crappy to begin with is a huge issue for patients. Anyway, the Institute tasked by congress for studying this sort of stuff is looking for people to sit on panels to help them define their priorities. That seems like fun so I'm going to write a 500 word blurb about why they should choose *me* and have been thinking about that, brushing up my CV, etc. So, that kind of sounds interesting, huh?

In the family realm, no real news. Ellie's hair is still red. Emily is still happy at U Mass. Maggie and I went for a three mile walk in PEA where it seemed 2 of every 3 dogs was a big black dog. She still is totally entranced when you wave a tennis ball in front of her. You know one thing that is funny about small towns is that even when you are in the woods with your dog, you run into people you know! For dinner tonight, our friends Rob and Louise invited Terry and I over for home cooked Ethiopian food. Wow! Delicious! Actually, the invitation included Ellie, but she rarely budges out of the house on weekends and especially not for adults she has not met.

These are duck footprints in the snow on the frozen river. The skids are where the ducks landed!

The little teeny black dots in the distance on the river is a flock of ducks waddling along, clearly with a mission in their collective mind.
I think these photos are funny.

For tomorrow, I will hope for all of us to see something that delights us.

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