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Project Tycho: Open access to U.S. weekly surveillance data, 1888 to the present

The University of Pittsburgh has released Project Tycho, a collection of surveillance reports about diseases in the United States going back 125 years.

"The researchers obtained all weekly notifiable disease surveillance tables published between 1888 and 2013 - approximately 6,500 tables - in various historical reports, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. These tables were available only in paper format or as PDF scans in online repositories that could not be read by computers and had to be hand-entered. With an estimated 200 million keystrokes, the data - including death counts, reporting locations, time periods and diseases - were digitized. A total of 56 diseases were reported for at least some period of time during the 125-year time span, with no single disease reported continuously."

Details on the methodology, levels of data, and more are available on the Project Tycho website.

Dec 03, 2013 | Categories: New Resources | msholinb

Free Epidemiologic Software

From the latest Epidemiology Monitor.

"With improvements in commercial software, such as SAS, SPSS, Stata, and others, is there still a need for free epidemiologic software?

Commercial software can be expensive, may have a steep learning curve, and may not provide certain types of desired analyses. In this article information on three free epidemiologic/statistical programs is provided: Epi Info, OpenEpi, and WinPepi."

In addition, you may also be interested in perusing Wikipedia's List of Statistical Packages and Comparison of Statistical Packages.

Oct 30, 2013 | Categories: Tips and Updates | msholinb

Populations at Higher Risk: When Mainstream Approaches Don't Work

This 24-page booklet from The Best Start Resource Centre (Canada) was designed to help service providers consider strategies to reach populations that are at higher risk for maternal, newborn, and child health concerns. It is useful for other types of public health and social welfare interventions, however. It includes information on why and how to focus on higher risk populations, examples, and tips for specific populations. It also includes a chart, "Things that Isolate / Things that Connect." For example, instead of referring to people as "clients," refer to them as "participants;" don't ask "Do you plan to breastfeed your baby," ask "How have you decided to feed your baby?" The latter facilitates opening the door to discussion.

This guide is freely available at http://www.beststart.org/resources/howto/pdf/HowTOGuide_2c.pdf.

Oct 24, 2013 | Categories: New Resources | msholinb

UC Open Access Policy

The Academic Senate of the University of California passed an Open Access Policy (PDF) on July 24, 2013, ensuring that future research articles authored by faculty at all 10 campuses of UC will be made available to the public at no charge. The policy covers more than 8,000 UC faculty at all 10 campuses of the University of California, and as many as 40,000 publications a year.

Open Access (OA) is scholarly literature that is free, digital, and available to anyone online with no embargo period. Anyone with access to the Internet may read, download, and copy an OA article. The new UC policy follows more than 175 other universities who have adopted similar so-called "green" open access policies. Green OA allows authors to publish, as they always have, in traditional commercial or society journals and then post an author's version on eScholarship. That research then becomes widely available and discoverable via tools like Google.

In the full Academic Senate statement on the new policy, Richard A. Schneider, UCSF Professor and chair of the Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication at UCSF states, "The ten UC campuses generate around 2-3% of all the peer-reviewed articles published in the world every year, and this policy will make many of those articles freely available to anyone who is interested anywhere, whether they are colleagues, students, or members of the general public."

What does this mean for UC Berkeley faculty? Three campuses (UCSF, UCLA, UCI) will move forward with the policy this fall, with Berkeley joining in Fall 2014. The Library will develop supporting materials to assist Berkeley faculty.

For more information on the new policy see:

For questions, contact the Library's open access group.

Originally posted to the UC Berkeley Scholarly Communication News blog.

Sep 25, 2013 | Categories: News, Scholarly Communication | msholinb

2013 Ig Nobel Prize Winners Announced

The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize winners were announced and awarded on September 12, 2013, at the Ig Nobel Ceremony. The event was webcast live.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Masateru Uchiyama [JAPAN], Xiangyuan Jin [CHINA, JAPAN], Qi Zhang [JAPAN], Toshihito Hirai [JAPAN], Atsushi Amano [JAPAN], Hisashi Bashuda [JAPAN] and Masanori Niimi [JAPAN, UK], for assessing the effect of listening to opera, on heart transplant patients who are mice.

REFERENCE: Auditory stimulation of opera music induced prolongation of murine cardiac allograft survival and maintained generation of regulatory CD4+CD25+ cells, Masateru Uchiyama, Xiangyuan Jin, Qi Zhang, Toshihito Hirai, Atsushi Amano, Hisashi Bashuda and Masanori Niimi, Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, vol. 7, no. 26, epub. March 23, 2012.

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Laurent Bgue [FRANCE], Brad Bushman [USA, UK, the NETHERLANDS, POLAND], Oulmann Zerhouni [FRANCE], Baptiste Subra [FRANCE], and Medhi Ourabah [FRANCE], for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.

REFERENCE: 'Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder': People Who Think They Are Drunk Also Think They Are Attractive, Laurent Bgue, Brad J. Bushman, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra, Medhi Ourabah, British Journal of Psychology, epub May 15, 2012.

JOINT PRIZE IN BIOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY: Marie Dacke [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA], Emily Baird [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA, GERMANY], Marcus Byrne [SOUTH AFRICA, UK], Clarke Scholtz [SOUTH AFRICA], and Eric J. Warrant [SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA, GERMANY], for discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way.

REFERENCE: Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation, Marie Dacke, Emily Baird, Marcus Byrne, Clarke H. Scholtz, Eric J. Warrant, Current Biology, epub January 24, 2013. The authors, at Lund University, Sweden, the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and the University of Pretoria.

SAFETY ENGINEERING PRIZE: The late Gustano Pizzo [USA], for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers - the system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the encapsulated hijacker through the airplane's specially-installed bomb bay doors, whence he parachutes to earth, where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival.

US Patent #3811643, Gustano A. Pizzo, "Anti hijacking system for aircraft," May 21, 1972.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Alberto Minetti [ITALY, UK, DENMARK, SWITZERLAND], Yuri Ivanenko [ITALY, RUSSIA, FRANCE], Germana Cappellini [ITALY], Nadia Dominici [ITALY, SWITZERLAND], and Francesco Lacquaniti [ITALY], for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond - if those people and that pond were on the moon.

REFERENCE: Humans Running in Place on Water at Simulated Reduced Gravity, Alberto E. Minetti, Yuri P. Ivanenko, Germana Cappellini, Nadia Dominici, Francesco Lacquaniti, PLoS ONE, vol. 7, no. 7, 2012, e37300.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Shinsuke Imai [JAPAN], Nobuaki Tsuge [JAPAN], Muneaki Tomotake [JAPAN], Yoshiaki Nagatome [JAPAN], Toshiyuki Nagata [JAPAN, GERMANY], and Hidehiko Kumgai [JAPAN], for discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realized.

REFERENCE: Plant Biochemistry: An Onion Enzyme that Makes the Eyes Water, S. Imai, N. Tsuge, M. Tomotake, Y. Nagatome, H. Sawada, T. Nagata and H. Kumagai, Nature, vol. 419, no. 6908, October 2002, p. 685.

ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE: Brian Crandall [USA] and Peter Stahl [CANADA, USA], for parboiling a dead shrew, and then swallowing the shrew without chewing, and then carefully examining everything excreted during subsequent days - all so they could see which bones would dissolve inside the human digestive system, and which bones would not.

REFERENCE: Human Digestive Effects on a Micromammalian Skeleton, Peter W. Stahl and Brian D. Crandall, Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 22, November 1995, pp. 789?97.

PEACE PRIZE: Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.

PROBABILITY PRIZE: Bert Tolkamp [UK, the NETHERLANDS], Marie Haskell [UK], Fritha Langford [UK, CANADA], David Roberts [UK], and Colin Morgan [UK], for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.

REFERENCE: Are Cows More Likely to Lie Down the Longer They Stand? Bert J. Tolkamp, Marie J. Haskell, Fritha M. Langford, David J. Roberts, Colin A. Morgan, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol. 124, nos. 1-2, 2010, pp. 1?10.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde, for the medical techniques described in their report "Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam" - techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck. [THAILAND]

REFERENCE: Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam, by Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde, American Journal of Surgery, 1983, no. 146, pp. 376-382.

Sep 23, 2013 | Categories: News | msholinb

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