Official Cureus Fall 2012 Poster Competition Winners

Official Cureus Fall 2012 Poster Competition Winners



PALO ALTO, CA – Oct. 30, 2012: Cur&#275us, the new generation medical journal, today announced the winners of its Fall 2012 International Poster Competition sponsored by Varian Medical Systems.

The inaugural competition resulted in over 500 poster submissions from all over the world including Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, Canada and medical schools all across the United States.

Medical students and residents competed for prize money in 40 different categories and a separate prize for the participant who garnered the most votes.

Matthew LaVelle from Wayne State School of Medicine won the $1,000 Grand Prize for a poster he created while at Columbia University entitled: An Alternative Membrane to Improve Extracorporeal Gas Exchange and Biocompatibility

Cynthia Mosher of Alfaisal University in Saudi Arabia won the People’s Choice award receiving the most votes for her poster entitled: Improving Breastfeeding in Saudi Arabia The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

Top 5 medical schools based on total posters submitted:

  1. University of Central Florida
  2. Alfaisal University
  3. Stanford University
  4. University of Washington
  5. University of Pennsylvania

The complete list of winners is available at our Cur&#275us Fall 2012 Competition Website.

“Our team is incredibly impressed with the quality of the posters submitted for the competition,” said John Adler MD, Editor in Chief, Cur&#275us. “We were equally impressed with the enthusiasm demonstrated by participants as they promoted their work as demonstrated by the votes they generated from peers and professors. Promoting one’s scientific ideas is critical to success in medicine and we want the poster competition to reinforce this principle.”

About Cur&#275us
Based in Palo Alto, California, Cur&#275us is the new generation medical journal. Leveraging the power of an online, crowd-sourced platform, Cur&#275us promotes medical research by focusing the publishing process on the people who create it, resulting in better research, faster publication and easier access for everyone. Leading physicians from all over the world have joined the unparalleled Cur&#275us Editorial Board to lend their support to the medical publishing revolution. For more information, visit

Sugar May Be Making Kids Fat — Not Hyper

Sugar May Be Making Kids Fat — Not Hyper

It’s been a long standing myth that sugar makes kids hyperactive, but several studies have shown that kids (or adults) consuming large amounts of sugar does not inherently cause them to start bouncing off the walls.

Dr. Tom Robinson, director of the Center for Healthy Weight Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, is convinced that the expectation of sugar  making a child hyper can actually become a self-fulfilling prophecy for many parents.

“The way we think we should feel has a lot to do with how we do feel,” he said.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a review of 23 studies on the effects of sugar, and the results support Dr. Robinson’s theory.

One study randomly divided 35 boys, ages 5 to 7, and their mothers into two groups. The boys were reported by their mothers to be behaviorally “sugar sensitive”.

Although both groups of children actually received a placebo (aspartame) — researchers led one group of Mothers to believe that their sons had consumed a drink which contained a large concentration of sugar.

The study revealed that Mothers who believed their sons had consumed sugar rated their children as significantly more hyperactive.

“I would never try to convince parents the sugar high doesn’t exist,” says Dr. Robinson, “You can’t tell them it doesn’t happen because, for them, it does happen.”

Extensive research has not found a connection between sugar and hyperactivity, despite a widespread belief to the contrary. But even though eating handfuls of Halloween candy may not be making your kids act crazy, Robinson recommends that parents limit candy and other sugary treats for weight control and proper dental health.

While high-sugar foods contain unnecessary calories that can lead to obesity — sugar may be making kids fat, but not hyper.

Video Game Avatar Inspires Gamer To Get Fit

Video Game Avatar Inspires Gamer To Get Fit
One of them is a pilot in space, the other an ad director. Which one is which?


According to a 2011 Parks Associate study, there are over 135 million gamers in the USA. We all are aware of the “overweight gamer” stereotype, but what is surprising is that a video game can actually inspire someone to get fit. Witness Marcus Dickinson, an EVE Online player who was inspired by his Avatar to get into the best shape of his life.

Created by CCP Games in 2003, EVE Online is a multi-player role playing game with a vast universe that boasts over 7,500 star systems. Its 400,000 subscribers are immersed in a universe where players build ships, trade or manufacture goods, form corporations and juggle for power. Occasionally killing each other off.

There even was a giant banking scam surrounding EVE Online that was covered in the New York Times. This caused a huge scandal worthy of the Lehman Brothers.

This all illustrates that people take EVE Online seriously. Very Seriously.

When Marcus Dickinson started playing EVE Online he was a 230 pound obese advertising director in Canada. A complete opposite of his online character, Roc Weiler – a ripped ex-pilot from… no idea where. You can read Roc’s bio here. He even makes his own music.

The more time Marcus spent playing as Roc Weiler, the less true he felt to his “brand.” The final straw was when he met real EVE Online players in 2009 in Iceland at a FanFest event. He realized that his real identity was completely different from his online identity.

“Something snapped inside me, and I realized I wasn’t being true to my brand. Why can’t I be this character? Why can’t I look like this? He acts and talks like me because he is me. I’m the one who gave him life.”

This began a positive change in his diet and fitness regimen. Workout programs (P90x), healthy diet and weightlifting helped to transform Marcus Dickinson to look more like Roc Weiler.  He shed 50 pounds and now boasts a lean figure of only 14% body fat.

“The reason Roc worked was that he was a fantasy hero of my creation, so I was already part way there. I just had to get the physical.”

While Marcus may look more like his avatar every day there is one major difference. Roc Weiler is a badass pilot from the Minmatar Republic and now travels the star systems of EVE Online, Marcus Dickinson lives in Canada.

via CNN.

One In Four U.S. Doctors Access Social Media Daily

One In Four U.S. Doctors Access Social Media Daily
Neither age nor gender had a significant impact on adoption or use of social media among doctors.

There’s a stereotype that doctors are technophobes who shun technology in fear of threatening the privacy of their patients.

But a Pfizer-funded study recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research revealed that nearly one-fourth of U.S. physicians engage in social media to “scan or explore” medical information on a daily basis — with some citing the use of social media many times daily.

That number jumped up to 61% when measured on a weekly basis. While many physicians are still approaching social media with caution — the study found that physicians who “contribute” to social media, rather than merely scan information pushed past 14-percent daily and 46-percent per week.

Writing in the Journal, study authors said: “Based on the results of this study, the use of social media applications may be seen as an efficient and effective method for physicians to keep up-to-date and to share newly acquired medical knowledge with other physicians within the medical community and to improve the quality of patient care.”

The study also revealed that 57.5-percent of physicians perceived social media to be beneficial, engaging, and a good way to get current, high-quality information. It’s important to note that study authors defined social media as “Internet-based applications that allow for the creation and exchange of user-generated content,” which included blogs and services such as social networking, professional online communities, wikis, and microblogging in the mix.

“The amount of information that a practicing clinician must learn, understand, and apply in practice is growing at unprecedented levels and has long surpassed our cognitive capacities.” the study authors concluded.

“Social media and social learning models in general provide an important opportunity to manage this information overload, but only if the media are being used effectively.”

Is Text Neck Really A Global Epidemic?

Is Text Neck Really A Global Epidemic?
He’s buff. But not buff enough to fight text neck.

Move over tennis elbow, text neck has arrived.

There are plenty of maladies in our modern world, but a new one has been introduced as a by product of the smartphone revolution.

And it’s not just a malady any longer, it’s been classified as a world-wide health concern by Dr. Dean L. Fishman, Chiropractic Physician.

The Text Neck Institute talks about the added risks of this repeated stress injury and warns if left untreated, it can eventually cause permanent damage.

Hunching over to read on a tiny portable device causes undue stress on your neck and shoulders — resulting in headaches as well as creating a huge pain in the neck. It’s so common that it has been coined “text neck” by Dr. Fishman.

“The average human head weighs 10 pounds in a neutral position — when your ears are over your shoulders. For every inch you tilt your head forward, the pressure on your spine doubles. So if you’re looking at a smartphone in your lap, your neck is holding up what feels like 20 or 30 pounds.”

While we’re not convinced yet that text neck is a “global epidemic” — the remedy is remembering to take frequent breaks from your devices (about every 20 minutes to stretch). And if you can’t, the Text Neck Institute created a mobile app, “Text Neck Indicator” to keep your device correctly positioned while reading.

If you happen to suffer from text neck, has a helpful list of simple exercises aimed at relieving your symptoms.

“Text Neck is not just a texting problem,” says Dr. Dean Fishman. “Text neck is a gaming problem. Text neck is an e-mailing problem.”


Making Blown Glass Art Out of Arteries

Making Blown Glass Art Out of Arteries


California-based artist Gary Farlow is far more prone than most to suffering from a broken heart  — several times a year.

Farlow’s Scientific Glassblowing skillfully merges art and science with anatomically correct glass sculptures which include the human heart and body’s circulatory system in addition to the brain’s circle of Willis. But Farlow’s glass masterpieces are things of beauty designed with a greater purpose in mind.

With guidance from cardiologists, Farlow’s team creates intricate blown glass organs, veins and arteries fused together to simulate blood flow. The finished works of modern art are an invaluable tool used to test catheters for stent placement and other medical training purposes.

“We do almost every part of the body, it can take a pretty artistic mind to make some of these things.” says Farlow.

A full-size demonstrator sculpture of the entire human body known as “Mrs. Einstein, costs around $25,000 which is not cheap if you were thinking about grabbing one as a fantastical liquor decanter.

[via Wired Science]

Cureus People: Austin Nakatsuka, University Of Hawaii

Cureus People: Austin Nakatsuka, University Of Hawaii

Team Cureus spoke with Austin Nakatsuka, about his poster research on redesigning football helmets, his spearfishing adventures and passion for helping underserved communities both at home and abroad.

Austin is second year med student at the University of Hawaii-John A. Burns School of Medicine and volunteers at a rehab clinic working alongside his father for the past year at the Salvation Army Ola Kino Clinic in Honolulu.

Mannequin gets helmet on helmet action in Austin’s experiment.

One of the posters that caught the attention of Cureus members was Austin Naktsuka’s Redesigning Football Helmets To Reduce Concussion Risk. Not only is football the most popular sport in America, concussions have become a hot button issue for the NFL. The union and the league are both trying to find ways to change the culture of concussions from the grass roots up.

“It’s a really big issue going around the NFL right now,” Austin told us. “Especially because you find out more information on concussions, preventing concussion risks, and then we were wondering if it’s modifications to the helmet or modifications to the rules that needs to happen.”

His conclusion is that adding a soft exterior layer of foam onto helmets can actually reduce the potential of concussion injuries on the football field. While we’re sure that the NFL is not going to return to leather helmets of old, as Austin would suggest, it will be interesting to follow how and if the league will make significant changes to their helmet design.

Even though he called himself more of “an NBA guy” than a football fan, it was interesting to learn that Austin is very passionate about spearfishing. It’s one of the things that kept him sane through the rigorous program at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii.

While he tries to get out two or three times a week, his favorite time to go spearfishing is Friday afternoons after his anatomy lab because “It gets the smell of formaldehyde off.”

My friends and I in med school would go on Fridays after anatomy lab around  4pm or so and we’d go for maybe two to three hours,” said Austin. “The nice thing is it’s a sort of an escape or release because you’re finding fish and focusing on the environment.”

We asked Austin what else he’s passionate about. He told us that “serving underserved” communities is a big part of what he does as a student with his father who set up a program for the Salvation Army which serves as a drug rehab center for the homeless as well as recently released prisoners. In fact, serving the underserved was one of the reasons he went into medical school.

Austin washes the formaldehyde off with a vigorous spearfishing session.

“I realized that medicine was a really great avenue mainly because you kind of have this unlimited potential to help people. I wanted to have as many skills and abilities as I could to serve people around the world,” Austin told Cureus.

“But I do want to be more established in my community and serve Hawaii, especially because we currently have a shortage of doctors in Hawaii and it’s growing and especially because I’m highly connected here and I know the people — you know I grew up here.”

Austin admitted that volunteering at the clinic has been a great way to stay connected with the community and do what he’s most passionate about — helping people.

“It’s a good teaching ground for me on how to practice medicine. I see the patients, perform medical exams, present it to my Dad, write up a history and things like that.”

Team Cureus asked Austin what he would want friends and colleagues to know about the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

“We’re given a lot of clinical experiences. We do a type of learning called, “Problem Based Learning,” Austin said. “We base our learning around specific cases about patients that they have and so we can associate our learning to those cases. Our school does a really great job with that.

“They also do a really great job of facilitating team work within, between classmates — kind of dampening down the competitive atmosphere and focusing more on an integrated togetherness sort of feel that I really like”. Austin added.

“We’re moving toward the trend of doctors joining up in groups and having to partner together and we’re kind of gearing more away from that single doctor kind of thing.”

Austin Nakatsuka is one of the 10,000+ members of our online Cureus medical publishing community. Check out his profile and the poster on football helmets he authored for our Fall 2012 Poster Competition.

Changing The Rules of Traditional Medical Publishing

Changing The Rules of Traditional Medical Publishing

We don’t typically associate rejection with elation but a recent article in The Scientist suggests that getting your academic paper is not be such a bad thing.

A study of rejected academic papers compared their citation history after eventual publication with those never having been rejected. Somewhat surprisingly there appears to be upside to the initial repudiation.

Vincent Calgano, an evolutionary biologist and ecologist at the Institute for Agricultural Research in Sophia Antipolis, France gathered and studied data from The Thomson Reuters Institute for Scientific Information Web of Knowledge citation indexing service. They studied papers from 16 different fields published between 2006 and 2008 and emailed more than 200,000 corresponding authors from the papers. Not surprisingly, papers that were rejected tended to be resubmitted to journals with a lower Impact Factor.

Wikipedia killed me.

What did surprise researchers was the fact that these previously rejected papers tended to be cited more frequently than papers that didn’t go through the submission gauntlet.

The research group concluded that papers that get rejected are often rewritten and polished more than others. This continued editing may have improved the paper, therefore enhancing its likelihood to be cited. Alternatively, authors only went to the effort of resubmitting a manuscript when they were convinced the paper did have merit.

Regardless of why rejected papers might get cited more frequently, this study illustrates the absurdity of the traditional review process in an era where technology has allowed us to evolve. For instance, it has been convincingly demonstrated that Wikipedia is at least as accurate as the “expertly” edited Encyclopedia Britannica and that Top Songs on iTunes are far more reflective of broad public interest than the Billboard 100.

Cureus has designed its medical publishing system so that editorial capriciousness, which is common to traditional peer review, is replaced by intelligent crowd-sourced scoring. The Cureus Scholarly Impact Quotient (SIG) is designed to separate the wheat from the chaff.

So while all papers are published, only the best articles with the highest SIQ tend to be read by the most number of people. Lower quality papers are still available to the public online. While they may not be as popular as the higher scored paper, they will serve as a valuable resource for a niche segment. And all of this content is good for the scientific community at large.

Ultimately the Cureus SIQ system facilitates a process for a much wider body of ideas to enter the conversation of scientific discourse. Unlike the traditional review process where individual papers can be “killed” as a result of personal bias, politics or a bad day at the office, crowd intelligence becomes a core filter.

U.S. Hospital Workers More Likely To Be Hospitalized

U.S. Hospital Workers More Likely To Be Hospitalized
Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas requires 70 percent of all food options to meet healthful criteria.


If you were to think of jobs where the employees might be the least healthy — all kinds of jobs come to mind. The toll booth worker on the New Jersey turnpike sits in a booth and breaths exhaust all day. A casino worker is exposed to smoke, epileptic lights and broken dreams. And there are tons of tech companies where loyal coders hunch over screens 12 hours a day living off of Mr. Pibb and 14 month old Cheetos from the vending machine.

But not so. Truven Health has come out with a study that shows U.S. hospital workers are the least healthy in our workforce. They are more likely to develop chronic illnesses and more likely to be hospitalized (5%). This adds to increased healthcare costs of about 9% more than the rest of our population.

One surprising aspect of the study was despite being surrounded in a facility where highly effective preventative screenings are easily available, hospital workers are much less likely to engage in them.

According to the study, compliance with “common preventive service measures (lipid testing; breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening) were consistently lower among hospital employees and their dependents.”

What was not surprising is that hospital workers tend to have unhealthy diets, therefore battling obesity more than others. It’s not unthinkable that the stress and the pace of the job combined with standard hospital cafeteria fare leads an employee to make less healthy decisions.

This has a significant impact on the financial health of a hospital. A one percent reduction in health risk saves $1.5 Million per 16,000 employees annually. Considering that health care benefits are 4% of the hospitals operating revenue, a few percentage point reduction could result in significantly larger revenue.

Not only that, but a hospital with healthy employees is good business. The study quotes Becker’s Hospital Review:

“Employee health management is an opportunity for hospitals to put their money where their mouths are. When a large employer asks how a hospital plans to manage population health, a successful organization should be able to illustrate that answer by referring to its own workforce.”

With a healthy work force, everybody wins. The study concludes that “Hospitals and health systems have a historic opportunity to lead the change in healthcare, beginning with their own employees… according to Raymond Fabius, MD, chief medical officer for Truven Health, ‘Ideally, the healthcare workforce would be a model for healthy behaviors and the appropriate use of medical resources. Hospitals that tackle this issue can strengthen their business performance and community service.’”




Interactive Data On Science Behind Popular Health Supplements

Interactive Data On Science Behind Popular Health Supplements

Information Is Beautiful has a nifty interactive chart that shows the science behind the effectiveness of popular health supplements. You can select various conditions to find out if a certain supplement does anything to help.

The remarkable feature is that all of those circles are actually hyperlinks that connect to an abstract of the study. Pretty impressive.

So for example, the chart shows Evening Primrose Oil is worthless in fighting PMS, but garlic is effective for lowering blood pressure.

There’s a lot of conflicting information on these popular food supplements, but this chart at least makes sorting the strong and less promising data look cool.