communication technologies

How new technology can create a healthier public: Bridging Science and Policy

communication technologies

Our Mendeley Advisors are one of the groups continuing to participate in the global conversation launched by Atomium — The European Institute for Science, Media, and Democracy — on increasing collaboration and cooperation between policy makers, scientists and other people.

This week we are featuring an essay by Angelo Basteris, a postdoc at Griffith University in Australia, and a Mendeley Advisor, on this week’s topic: New Technologies and Innovation.

You can also participate in this conversation by filling out weekly questionnaires on chronic disease at the REISearch forums.

 

What would you do if you had a stroke? I’d be playing with my smartphone

Have you ever thought “What would I do if I had a stroke?”. I have, quite often. Perhaps because I worked on a project for letting people with chronic stroke do rehabilitation while playing videogames, at home, with a robotic glove [1].

Our group was not the first to design robots for rehabilitation: thousands of researchers have been working on rehabilitation robotics, for at least thirty years [2]. Robots can help the rehabilitation of several diseases such as stroke[3], multiple sclerosis[4], and Parkinson’s Disease[5].

Very likely, you have a facility administering robot-therapy in your city, or in the head city of your region. And if I had a stroke (or if in general I needed rehabilitation), I would definitely try to visit one of these.

Unfortunately, we know that “robots work well only for some people” – and if you are among those who need treatment, I hope it works for you. We also know that not many people can buy a robot for rehabilitation, because of the high costs.

The good news is that you may not need a robot for rehabilitation. While robots are enabling those people with a severe impairment to exercise by providing “extra force” to their bodies, we can do much for our health with other technologies.

A very rapidly growing sector, the industry of smartphones and wearable devices, represents a goldmine for health in general. You can have your sleep monitored by your smartphone, have it checking how far you walk (and warning you if you’re being lazy!) – even on the basic models. Forone or two hundred dollars more you can have your heart rate monitored by a wristband connected to the phone.

A famous slogan was “there’s an app for that” – it’s time for an update to: “there are many apps for that.” This is true even if you are after something more specific, like a pill reminder, something to help you cope with pain, or you want to try a geeky way to quit smoking. Don’t you trust me? Just search some of these terms on your app store.

We do not know yet which of these work and which do not, nor what for. So when you find that something works (or doesn’t work for you), try to share your findings. And look for a different solution, which will hopefully work better.

[1] S. M. Nijenhuis, G. B. Prange, F. Amirabdollahian, P. Sale, F. Infarinato, N. Nasr, G. Mountain,
H. J. Hermens, A. H. A. Stienen, J. H. Buurke, and J. S. Rietman, “Feasibility study into self-
administered training at home using an arm and hand device with motivational gaming
environment in chronic stroke,” J. Neuroeng. Rehabil., vol. 12, no. 1, p. 89, Oct. 2015.
[2] A. Basteris, S. M. Nijenhuis, A. H. Stienen, J. H. Buurke, G. B. Prange, and F. Amirabdollahian,
“Training modalities in robot-mediated upper limb rehabilitation in stroke: a framework for
classification based on a systematic review.,” J. Neuroeng. Rehabil., vol. 11, no. 1, p. 111,
2014.
[3] N. Norouzi-Gheidari, P. S. Archambault, and J. Fung, “Effects of robot-assisted therapy on
stroke rehabilitation in upper limbs: systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature.,” J.
Rehabil. Res. Dev., vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 479–96, Jan. 2012.
[4] I. Lamers, A. Maris, D. Severijns, W. Dielkens, S. Geurts, B. Van Wijmeersch, and P. Feys,
“Upper Limb Rehabilitation in People With Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review.,”
Neurorehabil. Neural Repair, Jan. 2016.
[5] A. Picelli, S. Tamburin, M. Passuello, A. Waldner, and N. Smania, “Robot-assisted arm training
in patients with Parkinson’s disease: a pilot study.,” J. Neuroeng. Rehabil., vol. 11, p. 28, Jan.
2014.

You can also participate in this conversation by filling out weekly questionnaires on chronic disease at the REISearch forums.

 

Previous week’s essays
“Prevention is the Better Cure”

 

Mendeley Presentation in Iran

Congratulations February Advisor of the Month!

Mohammad Khorsand-GhayeniCongratulations and thank you to Mohammad Khorsand-Ghayeni, our February Advisor of the Month. Mohammad is a Researcher at Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR) in Mashhad, Iran, where he regularly hosts Mendeley trainings.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I studied experimental science in high school and after that I did a BSc in Applied Chemistry, after which I did and MSc Polymer Science and Technology. I was eager to use all my knowledge, recently I have been working on preparation of polymeric scaffolds in tissue engineering.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

I like to work in a multidisciplinary fields and do team work in the field of human health.

How long have you been on Mendeley and what were you using prior to Mendeley? How does Mendeley influence your research?

I start using Mendeley in Spring 2012. Before that, I was working a little with Endnote. When you have a good instrument, you can work very quickly and very effectively. Now I have a big Mendeley Library that I consult every day!

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?آموزش مندلی_0002 copy

Mendeley worked very well for me, so I decide to speak about it with my colleagues, coworkers and every researcher. I wanted to be an Advisor because I liked making research methodology easier for others.

What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

I like to work with countryman Ali Khademhosseini. He is alive and works at Harvard Medical School, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and Associate Faculty at Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Principles of Tissue Engineering (2014) it is one of the best books in the field of my interest.

What is the best part about working in research?

Achieve something that make people’s lives easier.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

Trying to start up something or go on a path where others do not want to take the risk to do it.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

This software can change the way you do research very fast. You can see your achievements in the first year of using Mendeley.

“Prevention is the Better Cure” — Bridging Science and Policy

prevention is the better cure
by Claudia Stocker/vividbiology.com

Our Mendeley Advisors are one of the groups participating in the global conversation launched by Atomium — The European Institute for Science, Media, and Democracy — on increasing collaboration and cooperation between policy makers, scientists and other people.

This week we are featuring an essay by Thembelihle Hwalima, a librarian at Lupane State University in Zimbabwe and a Mendeley Advisor, on why Prevention is the Better Cure.

You can also participate in this conversation by filling out weekly questionnaires on chronic disease at the REISearch forums.

 

“Prevention is the Better Cure”

by Thembelihle Hwalima

Chronic diseases have well been researched on their cause, treatment and how best to avoid them but still individuals still find themselves faced with a myriad of these, suffering till some die or get diagnosed at a very late stage.

Researchers, citizens and policy makers have dealt with these in more detail. This has been shown by the increased amount of workshops, conferences, and research fellows but still members of the public still suffer from these ailments because most of these forums target those who already know and not those who are most vulnerable. This essay seeks to dwell on the dissemination of such public health information to the populations. Many a times such information dissemination is done when an outbreak has occurred hence there is need to change mindset from having to cure than prevent. Correct, appropriate and relevant information should be disseminated to the public such that they always have knowledge of how best to prevent such diseases, and ensure that they don`t perpetuate to becoming chronic.

Information dissemination is defined as a proactive information service designed to educate and inform focused groups of users on social, economic and educational issues, problems and opportunities of interest to them (Dhawan). By disseminating information, an organization can reach members of its target audience and have a greater impact on policy and programming. In instances of having prevention being better than cure, the internet serves as an “in-viable” tool to communicate health information across a wide audience. This should especially be targeted towards third world countries where use of internet has not yet been very effective due to issues of illiteracy, lack of IT skills, hardware, software, and high costs to set up to mention but a few challenges.

When disseminating information there is need to establish communication messages that is what is to be said? This assists to define the audience to send the communication to. Understanding or knowledge of target audience then enables one to determine the channel of communication or medium to be used, and how best it will be marketed. Thereafter there is need to evaluate the impact. For instance, many a times do we receive flyers written about a disease alert, that is, Cholera or Ebola, but that doesn’t guarantee that the message has been understood.

Also, basic understanding of population variations, infants, teenagers, young adults, and the old assists also in information dissemination; level of literacy understanding of geographical location and culture existing in the location. This is highly important as it helps in understanding behaviors and informs strategies and designs of information dissemination.

Hence, yes prevention is better than cure by ensuring proper information is disseminated to the right audience, using understandable media and having evaluated the feedback of the dissemination and above all using future predictions from past experiences as preventative arenas.

 

Over the next five weeks, we will publish guest blog posts by Advisors on each of the five topic areas, alongside an exclusive art by science illustrator Claudia Stocker. The five subtopics are:

Prevention is the better cure (week of 15 Feb)
New technologies and innovation (week of 22 Feb)
Citizens’ rights and responsibilities (week of 29 Feb)
Diabetes and nutrition (week of 7 March)
More and better data (week of 14 March)

The REIsearch platform  is available in six languages: French, Italian, English, Polish, Portuguese, and German. The platform asks researchers and others to answer short weekly questionnaires on five different topic areas on a weekly basis. Though the launch is in the EU, researchers from all parts of the world are encouraged to join the conversation.

newfeed

So why does my Mendeley Newsfeed look like this?

newfeed

Welcome! Perhaps you’ve come to this post because you are a loyal follower of the Mendeley Blog. But more likely you are seeing this because it is showing in your new Mendeley Newsfeed. So what’s changed, besides the look, and why?

While research hasn’t changed in its essentials, how we keep track of what is happening in our fields is always evolving, and Mendeley is evolving with it. Your new Mendeley Newsfeed is a curated way to keep updated about your field and about the world of research.

Your Newsfeed is your window into your network, covering moments like:

  • When documents are added to one of your groups
  • Changes to the position or institution of people you follow
  • When someone you follow adds a new personal publication
  • Tailored article recommendations from Mendeley Suggest, based on last read and trending in your discipline
  • Updates to the Mendeley Blog
  • If someone you follow has followed someone else

You can now share new publication updates, documents added to a public group and your personalized document recommendations with your followers, so if you see something useful, you can draw other people’s attention to it.

This is just the first step we are taking in making sure Mendeley is showing you a variety of interesting content tailored to your interests and research network. We’re working behind the scenes to continue to enhance this experience, so please let us know what else is relevant to your research needs by completing the survey at the top of your newsfeed.

REIsearch

Connecting Science and Society

REIsearch

Research doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The greatest impact of research has always been how it connects science and society and helps us understand the world we live in. Mendeley was started to “change the way we do research” by making it easier to disseminate these ideas through publication and to create a way for researchers to connect with one another.

But it can sometimes feel there is a disconnect between research and researchers and policymakers and fellow citizens — the dreaded Ivory Tower affect. How do we bridge the perceived gap between scientific knowledge and those that set direction for our world?

Mendeley, as part of Elsevier, is supporting a new initiative with Atomium — The European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy, that seeks to increase collaboration and cooperation between policy makers, scientists, communicators, educators, and other people. The REIsearch platform officially launches today in the EU and is available in six languages: French, Italian, English, Polish, Portuguese, and German. The platform asks researchers and others to answer short weekly questionnaires on five different topic areas on a weekly basis. Though the launch is in the EU, researchers from all parts of the world are encouraged to join the conversation.

Our Mendeley Advisors are also participating in the conversation. Over the next five weeks, we will publish guest blog posts by Advisors on each of the five topic areas, alongside an exclusive art by science illustrator Claudia Stocker. The five subtopics are:

  • Prevention is the better cure (week of 15 Feb)
  • New technologies and innovation (week of 22 Feb)
  • Citizens’ rights and responsibilities (week of 29 Feb)
  • Diabetes and nutrition (week of 7 March)
  • More and better data (week of 14 March)

Learn more about the REIsearch project and its background (republished with permission from Elsevier Connect):

The recent announcement by President Obama of the so-called “cancer moonshot” to cure cancer is a prime example of the importance of collaboration among policy makers, scientists, communicators and educators. These are the very pillars behind the new REIsearch platform created by Atomium – European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy(EISMD) and supported by Elsevier.
“Innovation and new scientific discoveries are improving people’s lives and making our economy more competitive,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. “Science should be open and freed from its traditional ivory tower to be discussed, submitted to critique and fed with new perspectives. That’s why I warmly welcome efforts such as the REIsearch initiative to get Europeans engaged in the debate about science and research and inspire fresh ideas about how to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems.”
The platform aims to:

  • Create a responsible and informed multi-stakeholder debate on an issue affecting. millions of European citizens, researchers, policymakers and stakeholders.
  • Create and promote access to reliable information on the issue.
  • Increase international, inter-disciplinary and inter-sectorial debate.
  • Bridge the gap between science, society and policy, also by involving the media.
  • REIsearch seeks to connect the experience of European Union citizens with the expertise of EU researchers to support policy makers with decisions that affect society.

“To win such an ambitious challenge,” said Valéry Giscard d’Estaing Bonvicini, Honorary President of ATOMIUM (EISMD). “Together with our partners, we have opted for a gradual approach, aiming at developing initiatives linked to specific scientific topics starting with those of greatest impact, limiting the platform’s functions to the essential. In the coming years additional functionalities will be available, allowing citizens to directly interact with experienced researchers at both national and European level.”

The platform will function as a discussion hub on global societal issues. The first topic is chronic disease; discussions on aging, climate change and energy will follow. As the world’s population ages, the treatment, cure and prevention of chronic disease and its priority as a global challenge prompted its selection as the first initiative. The scope of the problem is enormous. In Europe, chronic disease affects more than 80 percent of Europeans over 65, and 10 percent of GDP is spent on health. Solutions need support from all sectors to be successful.

REIsearch’s ambition is to bridge the gap between research, policy and the public by providing a place where these members of the community can engage with each other and where the general public is given an opportunity to be part of the conversation about how chronic diseases should be managed. The public voice should ideally be a highly influential one when it comes to policies that impact local, regional and international issues such as chronic disease management.

The platform, which is currently receiving the majority of its funding from the European Commission, will be launched today in Austria, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Luxembourg. It will be available in six languages: French, Italian, English, Polish, Portuguese and German.

Elsevier has been a key player in supporting the initiative, helping with funding and the platform itself, which has benefited from the use of Mendeley. Elsevier will help in the sharing of information to the public as well as driving researcher traffic to the REIsearch platform.

“Elsevier has a responsibility to support the research community,” said Elsevier CEO Ron Mobed. “In this case, we can serve by facilitating ways in which viewpoints and information about pressing global issues can be shared. It will be especially important to encourage researchers to participate in the dialogue with the public on the subject of chronic disease.”

While REIsearch is being launched in the EU, researchers from all parts of the world are encouraged to join the conversation. When the platform is live, short weekly questionnaires will encourage visitors to share their knowledge on key issues related to five subtopics. These five subtopics are:

  • Prevention is the better cure (week of 15 Feb)
  • New technologies and innovation (week of 22 Feb)
  • Citizens’ rights and responsibilities (week of 29 Feb)
  • Diabetes and nutrition (week of 7 March)
  • More and better data (week of 14 March)

Researchers and the general public who would like to participate in REISearch forums on chronic disease can do so by visiting the platform: reisearch.eu