Friday Link Pack

If you enjoyed Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Society you may want to check out his latest work Upheaval. Watch the brief interview with Bill Gates to get a sense of what Diamond learned during the research and writing his new piece.

Here are a few other things that peaked my interest this week:

Stanford engineers develop an efficient prosthetic foot.

Two types of drugs you may want to avoid for the sake of your brain via Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

The Lancet releases a new series on Gender Equality, Norms, and Health.

Can tech objectively assess pain? via Wired.

UBC is hosting #Congressh next week!

Steroids can reduce lung cancer risk in COPD patients via UBC.

Augmented reality app teaches empathy via UBC.

Ottawa2020 registration and abstracts are now open! Consider submitting an abstract on your Scholar Project 🙂

What’s the best way to reheat coffee? And if you insist on using a microwave, here’s what you need to know.

We have our Pub & Papers 2019: Scholar & Preceptor Appreciation Evening next week! Looking forward to the event!

Have a great weekend!


Open Insulin Project

“Diabetes has become the most expensive disease in the United States, reaching $327 billion a year in health care costs, $15 billion of which comes from insulin. And the cost of insulin keeps climbing: It tripled in price from 2002 to 2013 and nearly doubled again between 2012 and 2016. For instance, in 1996, a vial of Humalog, a standard insulin produced by Eli Lilly, cost $21. Today, the list price is $324, an increase of more than 1,400%. Without insurance, costs from diabetes care can tally up to thousands of dollars per month. As a result, 25% of the 7.4 million Americans on insulin have started to ration the drug, which can result in deadly consequences.
Open Insulin estimates it will take at least $10,000 to purchase the equipment, including pumps, plumbing, pH and oxygen sensors, and a sterilization system, to produce insulin on a large scale. But once the system is up and running, all you have to do is provide the yeast with sugar and growth medium, which cost next to nothing. And a 10-liter culture of yeast can make enough insulin for 10,000 people. Based on these rough calculations, Di Franco estimates that an insulin factory for 10,000 people could be created with an initial investment of just $1 per person.
Jean Peccoud, the chair of synthetic biology at Colorado State University who has written about the project, is more optimistic. ‘A lot of the pieces are missing, and I don’t know what the solution looks like, but it’s not unreasonable to think about developing it,’ he says. ‘The technology is there to make it possible to think a little bit outside of the box.'”

More on Biohackers With Diabetes Are Making Their Own Insulin: Diabetes is a punishingly expensive disease. In an Oakland warehouse, scientists are going DIY by Dana Smith via elemental

The Open Insulin Project: A Case Study for ‘Biohacked’ Medicines (2018) by Gallegos et al via Trends in Biotechnology.

#OpenInsulinProject #OutsideTheBox

Athletes Return to Pre-Injury

Big game coming up tonight! FiveThirtyEight’s Elo rating system narrowly predicts the #Warriors. What’s heavily influencing the outcome of the series are injuries plaguing some of the top performers and their clearance to play during the finals. Here’s an interesting piece on the topic Well-Come Back! Professional Basketball Players Perceptions of Psychosocial and Behavioral Factors Influencing a Return to Pre-injury Levels (2019) by Conti et al via Front. Psychol.

“Moreover, of the studies examining psychosocial factors influencing return to competitive sport levels, few have focused on professional athletes, and to our awareness, none have focused on the sport of basketball. As Heil (1993) asserts, elite athletes can serve as templates for others given their strong achievement orientation, their task focus, and ability to handle pain.” ~ Conti et al (2019)


AMEE CPD Webinar

The next webinar in the AMEE CPD series will be presented by Simon Kitto on the topic Knowledge translation, patient safety, continuing education, faculty development and quality improvement: opening up the CPD imagination” on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 14:00 (2pm) BST/UK (0600 PST).

This presentation explores the relationship between knowledge translation (KT), patient safety (PS), continuing education (CE), faculty development (FD) and quality improvement (QI) with a view to stimulating new conceptualizations and effective operationalization of continuing professional development (CPD) across the health professions. Together, the forementioned individual modes of intervention activity committed to the improvement of patient care and health outcomes through the enchancement of healthcare professionals’ knowlege skills and clinical practice behaviour.

The AMEE webinar series is currently free of charge and you can register to view the webinar here.

Engaging Primary Care Physicians in System Change

“This study suggests that when a health authority attempts to achieve whole system change in a rural primary care context, approaches based on relations of trust, flexibility, adaptability and compromise appear to have been effective in engaging physicians as partners in reform. These approaches have been aided by structures to engage physicians, approaches that allow tensions to be surfaced and a commitment to honest conversations.

This is a qualitative study in one health authority in a northern and rural area of Canada. While research like this is highly sensitive to local contexts, such as geography and climate, and to national contexts, like remuneration and employment models, there may still be elements which are transferable to other settings contemplating system change. For example, the concepts of relationship building, surfacing tensions and working with structures for engagement may be relevant to those contemplating large-scale change in primary care, including larger urban settings.”

Learn more on Engaging primary care physicians in system change – an interpretive qualitative study in a remote and rural health region in Northern British Columbia, Canada by Drs. David Snadden, Trish Reay, Neil Hanlon, & Martha MacLeod via BMJOpen.

Vancouver’s Overdose Prevention Society


What do you think leads to controversy around these sites, and should they be controversial?

“The language. The ‘enabler’ language, ‘facilitating illegal activity,’ ‘harm production’ instead of ‘harm reduction.’ There’s a sort of self-righteous posturing behind the idea that everyone should be a contributing member of society, have a job, pay their rent or mortgage. This fails to recognize the limits of our cultural organization. There are people here who will never fit into that mold because of mental illness, mental capacity, or trauma. We need to acknowledge that harm reduction is an important care model, and we need to protect it.

I’ve been living and working in this neighborhood for a long time. So, in some ways, I don’t have an effective barometer for controversy. On the other hand, I have a really effective barometer for suffering and needless tragedy. We can respond to this, but the primary barrier is drug policy and access to a clean and safe supply. Let’s say that the decriminalization model is trustworthy: instead of a lethal drug supply, one can access a managed, prescribed supply. Let’s say that access to care increases, and the associated stigma, violence, and crime decreases. Then maybe it’s not that bad to have in my neighborhood, right?

Vancouver has been a global leader in the response to the HIV/AIDS crisis and the experience of HIV/AIDS, and harm reduction. Those are two deeply compassionate experiences, and we’ve informed policy around the globe. I want people to be proud of that. It might be ugly, it might be confusing, and it might seem chaotic, but we can take care of people in profound ways. I think that’s a flag we should wave.”

Learn more on Harm reduction throughout the opioid crisis: A community responds by Jacob L. Stubbs via BCMJ. #MustRead #HarmReduction #OpioidCrisis #RonnieGrigg #OverdosePreventionSociety #PeerModelofCare