Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Clinical Trials Feeds Added to MedWorm - Thanks Lennie!

It was on the 3rd December 2007 that the wonderful Leonard Sender MD, adolescent and young adult cancer oncologist (now Medical Director of the Cancer Institute at Children's Hospital of Orange County as well as chair of on the board of directors on the also fabulous I'm Too Young For This! cancer foundation for young adults) contacted me with an idea for MedWorm - to use it to disseminate information regarding clinical trials. I only spoke to him I think once (or maybe twice), never met him in person, but he was so supportive and enthusiastic about MedWorm he made a big impact on me in the short few minutes that we spoke.

Well, 3 years later, I finally got round to adding clinical trials as new data streams being fed into MedWorm. They only got added properly at the weekend so it will take a while for the data to become significant, but already I'm excited about it. You can of course search on the clinical trial data using the MedWorm search options, but more interesting is to browse MedWorm. Click on any category, condition, treatment, etc, and if there is clinical trial data in MedWorm related to that topic you will be able to click on a Clinical Trials tab with all the latest trials for that topic appearing listed by date order. Of course, as with any topic in MedWorm, you can then subscribe using the RSS feed, say into your Google Reader, or you can get the data emailed to you (if you register to use the free MyMedWorm service).

For example, here's the tab of the clinical trials for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - try browsing MedWorm by clicking on all the different topics that exist, such as medical conditions or specialties, and look out for the Clinical Trials tabs for each topic that you click on. If you know of any clinical trials feeds that you think have not yet been indexed in MedWorm please do let me know so that I can add them.

Many thanks Lennie for the idea and the inspiration - sorry it took so long! (I'm getting there slowly but surely).

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year Resolutions

I gave up making new year resolutions many years ago. I think I was still a teenager, or maybe I had just reached young adulthood, when I decided they didn't work so there was no point in making them. But last week I remembered that naive like optimism I had as a teenager that I really could change whatever I wanted to, with just renewed determination. Some time later in life I think I somehow lost some of that optimism. Well now I have it back, and with better skills and knowledge, I've decided to make some resolutions for this new year, and I really believe that I going to keep these.

Last week I pondered over why new year's resolutions don't work, and I reckon I've worked out why. I think they usually state what a person would like to do, but they don't usually state how the objectives are going to be achieved, and most people don't have a plan, or if they do have a plan in mind it may be unrealistic (I do believe that we can achieve amazing things, but the plan to do something must match the level of motivation and take into consideration other pressing motivations in your life, and most new year resolutions are made with no such consideration).

So my list of resolutions include not only what I am going to do, but how I am going to do those things. Here they are:

- I am going to be tidy, by tidying up as I go along.

- I am going to be on time, by aiming to be early.

- I am going to get more exercise, by walking up stairs instead of taking the lift.

- I am going to eat more fruit, salad and vegetables, by eating a piece of fruit with my breakfast each morning, a side salad every lunch time, and a side plate of vegetables with every evening meal.

- I am going to stop forgetting things to buy when I go shopping, by keeping an updated list of needed items in my kitchen to take with me when I go shopping.

- I am going to get on top of my bookeeping and not leave tax returns to the last minute, by first putting in place an efficient filing system and then allocating a regular weekly and monthly time slot in my working day to do this.

- I am going to move MedWorm into profit, by thinking business mindedly in all that I do.

All the above have had a lot of thought. Likely such thought would bore you, but here are my thoughts for the record:

- I am going to be tidy, by tidying up as I go along.

OK, confession time, I'm not the most tidy of people. Struggled with it all my life, but I am not about to give up and am convinced I am going to crack this one this year - I refuse to be beaten! When I put my mind to it, I can be the tidiest person around. When I do a job I like to do it properly. Problem is that the motivation to tidy is far down my list of priorities. I see my current house as temporary and therefore not something I should waste a lot of time on perfecting. I am so interested in so much other stuff, other than tidying. I take on a lot too so if I am short on time, it is the housework that slips. However, I managed to get myself a husband that does absolutely zero housework, who unfortunately lived all his live before he married me with a mother who was obsessively tidy - a lot of the problem there is related to culture I think, women's liberation in his home country I reckon is about 20 years behind where we are at in the UK (in some respects). But the problem I am looking to address here is not my husband, but myself.

I have over time observed some very tidy people and tried to work out what their secret is. I did wonder whether it was a genetic default that I am not very tidy, or whether it was because I was not conditioned well into tidying when I was a young child. Although I suspect there is an element of this at play, I still believe being tidy is something I can teach myself to be, just a case of finding the right keys to turn.

I asked my old neighbour with an immaculately tidy house what her secret was. She told me 'it takes years'. What did she mean? Did she really mean it takes years to tidy a house? Do you have to wait until the children have left home? Does it take years to learn the secret of tidiness? What she said may have left me in despair with the thought that it would take years for me to ever get tidy, but in fact it gave me hope, hope that she one day was not so tidy and now is, so therefore could I be.

I had another friend who was obsessively tidy. I came to learn that this was actually almost a disorder. She had so many things in her mind that she was unhappy with that by keeping her house tidy was her way of trying to 'keep it together'. I learnt that actually inside her cupboards things weren't so organised - she was great at keeping the mess out of site, but it was mostly just hidden. A few years back I went through a traumatic time and for a while I suddenly found I could be really tidy - I thought, ah, that's it - all those tidy women out there may have experienced a really traumatic event in their life and tidying helps them work through their problems. Only problem was, once I had worked through my problem, the tidiness started to slip again.

I asked another friend of mine how she keeps her house so tidy. She does have a secret weapon - her husband, who is obsessively tidy through conditioning as a child. But I think she is quite tidy herself too. You can drop in at their house at any time and it always looks a little like a show home. Her reply to the question as to how they keep it so tidy was that they 'tidy up as they go along'. After thinking about this for a few years, I figure that is the key, hence my resolution to to 'tidy up as I go along'. Whenever I do something now, once I've finished doing the job I take extra time to check that I am leaving no mess behind me - which is what I do easily whenever say visiting the beach - so it actually isn't that hard to remember. And it is amazing the mess that I realise I was leaving behind me at every task - just little things that one hardly notices at the time, but which build up over time. And of course when in a bit of a hurry I can quite easily leave a trail of destruction behind me. So I've been trying this for 3 days now - house is getting tidier and tidier without much effort at all - quite excited about this, figure this really is going to work.

OK now I have a 6 year old son pestering for my attention, so the rest of the points will probably never get written. Not that important anyway. The method in reaching my conclusions on how to do things are similar for each.

Happy New Year!