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Interesting links

Photo of a snow-covered forest

Photo: Sandra Woods

This is a summary of some of the articles that I’ve read and found interesting; in most cases I posted them elsewhere (e.g. Twitter) and got posititive feedback from folks who found them helpful:

My favorite(!):

  • What happens when patients know more than their doctors?: 13/11/2013; By Rosamund Snow, Charlotte Humphrey & Jane Sandal; BMJ Open
    “Patients who have in-depth knowledge of their condition encounter problems when their expertise is seen as inappropriate in standard healthcare interactions, and expertise taught to patients in one branch of medicine can be considered non-compliant by those who are not specialists in that field”

Other interesting articles, mainly from medical journals:

  • Do Words Matter? Stigmatizing Language and the Transmission of Bias in the Medical Record. P. Goddu, A., O’Conor, K.J., Lanzkron, S. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2018) 33: 685.
  • Better healthcare must mean better for patients and carersde Iongh Anya, Erdmann Sibylle.  
  • Physical activity, even in small amounts, benefits both physical and psychological well-being. 2017 (undated); University of Cambridge
    “researchers found that modest levels of physical activity – even if it couldn’t be classified as exercise – can increase a person’s reported emotional well-being, regardless of their baseline level of happiness. They also found that people reported being happier when they were physically active”
  • Complex regional pain syndrome: a recent update. En Lin Goh, Swathikan Chidambaram, and Daqing Ma. 19 Jan 2017. Burns Trauma. 2017; 5: 2
    “The complex pathophysiology of CRPS remains a challenge for clinicians and researchers alike in developing treatments to successfully combat this severe, life-threatening condition. Due to the multifactorial nature of this condition, animal models that can simulate the disease process are lacking, which is further compounded by our limited understanding of the mechanisms involved. This has hindered the development of new therapies, leading clinicians to adopt a trial and error approach towards managing this syndrome. Hence, the majority of studies evaluating novel approaches have been restricted to case series or small pilot studies.”
  • How to See What the Internet Knows About You (And How to Stop It): 03/07/2017: by Tim Herrera; The New York Times
    “Let’s go down this rabbit hole. Start with this neat and medium-scary site, which our friends at Gizmodo flagged, that shows you everything your browser knows about you the second you open it. Here’s another one.”
  • Complex regional pain syndrome: a long overlooked condition. Swathikan Chidambaram. 10 Feb 2017. BioMed Central Ltd.
    “Over the years, the complex nature of CRPS has proved an enormous challenge for clinicians and researchers alike…”
  • Pathological pain and the neuroimmune interface. Peter M. Grace, Mark R. Hutchinson, Steven F. Maier  & Linda R. Watkins. 28 Feb 2014. Nature Reviews Immunology: Vol 14, pages 217–231.
    “Pain has been associated with the immune system since the time of Celsus, who identified pain (dolor) as a cardinal sign of acute inflammation. Though acute pain may occur in relative isolation from broader syndromes, it was identified in the mid-twentieth century as one of a constellation of adaptive behaviours, collectively termed the sickness response
  • How to read and understand a scientific paper: A guide for non-scientists: 25/08/2013; by Jennifer Raff (PhD in Anthropology and Genetics); her blog
    “to help people become more scientifically literate, so I wrote this guide for how a layperson can approach reading and understanding a scientific research paper. It’s appropriate for someone who has no background whatsoever in science or medicine”
  • Patient Engagement: 14/02/2013; by Julia James; Health Policy Briefs
    “People actively involved in their health and health care tend to have better outcomes – and, some evidence suggests, lower costs…
    shared decision making involves several essential elements. First, providers and patients must recognize that a decision is required. Next, they must have at their disposal, and understand, the best available evidence. Finally, they must incorporate the patient’s preferences into treatment decisions”
  • Neuroinflammation, Neuroautoimmunity, and the Co-Morbidities of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Mark S. Cooper and Vincent P. Clark. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology 8.3 (2013): 452–469. PMC.
    “Recent discoveries have helped to elucidate possible mechanisms for the initiation and progression of CRPS. In general, neuroautoimmune responses are determined by how infiltrating leukocytes react to autoantibodies, which bind to autoantigens located on the surfaces of neuronal and glial cell targets (Fig. 1). For a substantial fraction of adult CRPS cases (Kohr et al. ), initiation of CRPS may lie in a breakdown of immunologic self-tolerance, and the development of autoantibodies to the β2AR and M2R neurotransmitter receptors. Once autoantibodies have been generated to these neuroantigens in a given individual, an ongoing progression of stereotyped autoimmune-mediated neuroinflammatory responses might become initiated”
  • Proposed New Diagnostic Criteria for Complex Regional Pain SyndromeBy Harden RN, Bruehl S, Stanton-Hicks M, Wilson PR. Pain Medicine, Vol 8 (4), 326-331. 01 May 2007 (Published: 12 Feb 2007). Web:
    “After much debate in the literature and at scientific meetings, the name was ultimately changed to complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) at a consensus workshop in Orlando, Florida, in 1994, with the new name and diagnostic criteria codified by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) task force on taxonomy”
  • Glial activation and pathological pain. J Wieseler-Frank, SF Maier, LR Watkins. Neurochem Int. Jul-Aug 2004: 45(2-3):389-95.
    “for patients with pathological pain, the pain experience is unending, with little hope for therapeutic relief. Pathological pain is characterized by an amplified response to normally innocuous stimuli, and an amplified response to acute pain. Pathological pain has long been described as the result of dysfunctional neuronal activity. While neuronal functioning is indeed altered, there is significant evidence showing that exaggerated pain is regulated by the activation of astrocytes and microglia”