After about 8 years learning and working in Leiden at the LUMC, it is time for something new. I’ve got a new job as the head of the ‘Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research in Stroke’ unit at the Center for Stroke research in Berlin (CSB, http://www.schlaganfallcentrum.de). This a very exciting opportunity for me: working with new colleagues on new projects, learning more about stroke research and strengthen the epidemiological studies that are executed at the CSB. I am looking forward to work with these brilliant and creative minds especially the guys from the CEHRIS team.
With moving to Berlin I will have to leave Leiden, which do regret. Not only because of the great research, but also because of the students and co-workers. Fortunately, I think that this new chapter in my academic life will provide ample opportunity to start new collaborations between Berlin and Leiden.
Together with my colleague TdC from the department of geriatrics I am working on a workshop for starting PhD students on the topic of scientific integrity under the working title “On being a scientist: a workshop in scientific integrity”
The LUMC code of scientific integrity, the recent KNAW report of cie. Schuyt and the publication of the National Academy of Science “On being a scientist” will form the backbone of the this workshop (see also the video below of the NAS, with the great quote “scientist should be people too!”). We are still developing the actual content, but this workshop will primarily based on several cases that will be discussed, ranging from cases of clear scientific misconduct to cases of conflicting demands of supervisors. How can you spot these problems in advance, solve or preferably prevent them? What additional measure should be put in place to sustain a critical but workable environment?
I am excited that I can be part of the team that develops this workshop. As I said before, I do not believe that this workshop will prevent all possible scientific misconduct, but I do believe that educating PhD students helps to prevent hem from making honest mistaken. Also, I hope that this course will help to create a critical but positive atmosphere in which science will thrive.
This workshop will be part of the PhD training that the LUMC offers free of charge. The first edition of the this workshop will be held on September 18 2013. Please contact me via email for more information.
The Cicero, the monthly magazine of the LUMC, wrote an article on my thesis. During the interview, I was able to bring fort the nuances of the work in the thesis. That is, my thesis does not fully provide all the answers in details for allr esearch questions but it does provide a simple overview: an increased clotting potential is a risk factor for ischaemic stroke but not for moycardial infarction. Unfortunately, space limitations dictated that some remarks had to be left out. Fortunately, the last remarks is about the relevance of teaching experience as a PhD: a great link to one of my propositions.
The picture above was placed in the Cicero to accompany the interview. I like it very much because it has a certain epidemiological feel to it: a group (a cohort?) of women all different, but with certain patterns.
Ben Goldacre, known from the bestseller Bad Science (book and blog) has a new book, Bad Pharma. Goldacre is always fun to read: science, both the method as the social phenomenon, explained for non-scientist while still interesting for scientist. The same goes for his new title Bad Pharma, where he explains what is right and wrong in the field of clinical trials needed to determine what treatment is best given. Before I am going to review the complete book, perhaps this TED talk will explain it all:
Basically, his point is that for good answers to questions on what treatment is best to save lives, it is pivotal that all the results of all trials are published. This sounds a bit old, since there are databases in which trials should be registered. However, only registering the existence of a trial is not enough: all data should become known to the public. This sounds familiar: this standpoint is off course the same standpoint of the AllTrials.net petition, which is initiated by a.o. Ben Goldacre. For more on AllTrials.net, please see a previous post.
While reading the book of Goldacre it started reading about reasearch done in the Netherlands, where 250 students were looking into the adverts for medication: they checked their quality (was the science OK?) and correct use (does it support the claim?) of the trials in major journals and found that half was of good quality and only half supported the claim. And the nice thing about this research? It was executed at our department as part of one of our undergraduate courses! All students scored trials and a couple of students were also engaged in the analyses/writing/submission process. The paper from this research, cited by Goldacre, is available from the website of the Netherlands Journal of Medicine. (pdf, open access) An earlier paper with the same concept but focussed on rheumatoid arthritis medication is also published, also open acces. (pdf)
The LUMC magazine “Cicero” covered our Masterclass in Noordwijk. Its a nice description (in Dutch) of two weekend of undergrad-die-hard-epidemiology. One of the students is also interviewed and she concludes:
“Het lukt de docenten om de studenten de hele tijd
te blijven boeien, gedurende twee weekenden van donderdagavond tot zaterdagmiddag. Ik was bang dat ik dat niet zou volhouden. Maar het ging, en het bleef nog leuk ook.”
The text of the article can be found below and here in pdf (cicero 29 jan 2013). More articles etc can be found on the media page.
The editors of Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions perform perform a periodic ‘Topic Review’ which (and I quote)
summarizes the most important manuscripts, as selected by the editors that have published in the Circulation portfolio. The studies included in this article represent the most noteworthy research in the area of peripheral arterial disease. (Circ Cardiovasc Interv. 2012;5:e39-e44.)
Our research on the effect of activation of the intrinsic coagulation proteins and their effects on ischaemic stroke risk -and not on myocardial infarction risk- was selected as one of the most important manuscripts int he field of peripheral arterial disease. This study was performed in collaboration with the Maastricht University Medical Center. The summary by these editors can be read below.