Medical writers are only useful because they process data into readable forms that are targeted at specific audiences. Medical writers rarely produce the original data, more likely is they work from databases and use data therein to describe trends. Databases regulatory writers use are mostly generated from clinical trial data. Databases CME writers use can be generated from clinical trial documentation, and from government databases. Government databases are considered in this topic.
Primary data is the only type of data that is permissiible in MJoTA articles. Secondary data is hearsay in courts of law. Secondary data is quoting from a review article.
Dr Dodgson spent 3 days at the National library of medicine in October 2008, in live tutorials and talking with staff. Very friendly and helpful, and doggedly trying to enter all the life sciences data in the universe. They are is in the National Institutes of Health. Go to the site and take their tutorials so you learn search strategies. Go through all the tutorials, if you don't understand them the first time, repeat them. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/pubmed.html
The National Library of Medicine maintains a number of databases, here is their list http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/index.html. The Gateway to the National Library of Medicine is at http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/gw/Cmd, through which multiple databases can be searched.
The National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov) gives out research grants, you can search the CRISP database and see Dr Dodgson was awarded a R01 in 1986. Search for an enzyme, eg carbonic anhydrase, or a disease, eg Alzheimer's, and you can get an idea of the range of US government funded research and the use of the database.
Data is collected daily from health professionals and funeral directors and posted on the CDC website, http://www.cdc.gov. The CDC processes these data into articles and tables and published them in MMWR. MMWR is primary data. Very interesting videos on HIV/AIDS describing the history of the disease, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/hiv_video.html. Read MJoTA pages on HIV/AIDS as a medical writer,
USPTO. You can read through this incompehensible page, http://www.uspto.gov/main/profiles/acadres.htm. Or you can watch videos on searching for patents and trademarks, http://lib.utexas.edu/engin/patent-tutorial/index.htm
FDA is at www.fda.gov. This site is huge, they never remove pages and when they update their front page, you cannot search internally to find pages. The whole Regulatory Documentation course (MAF2) is really about communicating with the FDA, however, the FDA site has a lot of information about drugs, devices and vaccine, and foods, that are original data and can be used in articles about diseases and their therapies. The FDA patient safety page is extensive, and has a lot of videos, watch them, http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/psn/viewbroadcasts.cfm
Things we put in our mouths as food can kill us if they are contaminated with bacteria or viruses, or heavy metals or other toxins. The government website https://www.foodsafety.gov/ is a consumer-friendly website with press releases on food warnings rom the FDA and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and referencable-information on threats from foods.
Clinical trials data are compiled on http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. This website is a huge source of data, a huge database for information about which drugs are in clinical trials, which indications are being considered for therapy.
Go to NYC health data site, New York City health data http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/hlthtops/hlthtops.shtml
Go to the Medicare and Medicaid website, http://www.cms.hhs.gov/, every policy, manual about the drugs and services given to the sick and over 65. Find the rules for the drugs in Medicare Part D, find out what Part D is. If any part of the Democrat Health Bill passes, this site will change rapidly. Keep watching it! A lot of medicare videos, http://www.medicare.com/video-library/.
Federal statistics page, everything collected by the Federal Government that can be accessed by the public: http://www.fedstats.gov/
The goal of these assignments is to use them to build your portfolio, and to show that you understand clinical data. We give you plenty of assignments, you can do all of them at once, or you can come back to them. If you have already written something that is equivalent, that will be accepted. You can write these articles with another MJoTA medical writer; just connect on Skype. No other topic has as many assignments.
Write an essay for a professional audience for publication in MJoTA using data from the CDC web-site. Look at the trends in deaths from cancer since 2000. Go to the Cancer Institute site and look at the trends of diagnosing cancer., pick a form pf cancer Is there more of that specific cancer now than 10 years ago? Can you trust the data? Where did the data come from that is posted on the CDC site and on the Cancer Institute site? Formulate a question to ask, and write a 500-word essay using these sources for MJoTA.
Watch Alzheimers video. Write a 500 word essay about the data presented in the video, and validate it, with references, from the FDA site, the NIH site, the CDC site. Every data point needs a source. It may not be up to date. An Alzheimers drug failed in development in March, see if you can find from clinicaltrials.giv which drugs are in development.
Find out how many clinical trials are being conducted throughout the US in diabetes. Find out how many clinical trials are being conducted on diabetes in a) South Africa; b) Nigeria; c) Kenya; d) India. Write a 300-500 word essay on your findings.
Go to WHO site, http://www.who.int and look up the statistics pages. Find out how many people died from malaria in 2006, in 2002. Can you believe these data? Write a 100-500 word essay on your findings.
Go to CDC site, http://www.cdc.gov, and look up statistics pages. Find out how many people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2005. Can you believe these data? Write a 100-500 word essay on your findings.
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