Council Quotes

Communications from the Colorado Council of Medical Librarians

In which knee pain and Han Solo meet

Posted by richardmaxwell on November 18, 2015

Some believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence, while others think that coincidences are everywhere and include the fact that humans are here and having such discussions.  Regardless of where you might stand, it’s clear that occasionally there are confluences of events that are nearly poetic.

Such a confluence, I suggest, begins with the recent report of a study comparing knee joint replacement surgery with noninvasive options.  Skou et al described in the New England Journal of Medicine their study which looked at 100 patients who were randomly assigned to surgical treatment plus nonsurgical follow-up versus a group which received only nonsurgical treatment.  

At the same time, a commercial is running on various television channels in which spokesperson and former game show host (Love Connection, Dating Game, etc.) Chuck Woolery speaks with deep feeling about a device called the Willow Curve. The Willow Curve is shown to feature a dazzling display of sequentially flashing lights inside the titular curved object, which fits nicely over one’s knee (or as later images show, just about any part of the body you can imagine).  According to a report of a 2013 phase I clinical trial, the Curve “emits thermal kinetic energy and photonic energy” and was developed to treat chronic knee pain. A laser is involved, which is always a plus. This may not be scientific, but the only way to describe the Willow Curve is that it looks wicked cool and as if it came straight out of Star Trek (it looks like a close cousin of Bones McCoy’s tricorder), or Star Wars.

That, of course, brings us to the third element of the poetic confluence.  In mere weeks (December 18, 2015…tickets selling fast already) the next installment of the Star Wars franchise will be arrive in theaters.  

There is no apparent marketing connection between the movie and the Curve, but that will remain an open question until the film is actually released. It’s easy to imagine that the aging Princess Leia or Han Solo or even Chewbacca would be suffering from knee osteoarthritis.  As a result, it would make sense if something very much like or exactly like the Willow Curve were suddenly whipped out by a medical person (played by former actor, libertarian, and gun advocate…thanks Wikipedia…Chuck Woolery), applied to said knee or knees or elbows or whatever, with the patient then leaping up ready to dance around and wield a lightsaber as in the old days.

(Blaster noises)

Han: “Leia! Look out behind you!”

(Leia spins, leaps aside to avoid a blaster ray and uses her lightsaber to hack off the arm of an Imperial Stormtrooper, who stares at the arm in disbelief)

Leia: “Thank the Force for the Willow Curve. I could never have made that move the way my knees used to feel!”

Han (leaping to deliver a kick to another Storm Trooper): “Ditto!”

Marketing Nirvana.

Someone not given to choosing flashy over mundane in treating her joint pain might want to consider the TenDlite, which looks like a pocket flashlight producing red instead of white light. The company says that it is an “Anti-Inflammatory & Analgesic LED Light Therapy Device.” Note that a laser isn’t involved here but a red LED light is. Much more economical no doubt (and available on Amazon). Their promise: “joint pain relief is possible by using TenDlite®.” The emphasis is mine, intended to highlight the company’s admirable willingness to recognize life’s many uncertainties. There is no mention of clinical trials or studies, but there is a nice photo of a group of people with lab coats and stethoscopes.

Posted in fyi, musings by maxwell | Leave a Comment »

September Quarterly Meeting

Posted by memorizingmo on November 6, 2015


National Jewish Health

Molly Blank Conference Center*

Room J105

1400 Jackson St.

Denver, CO 80206

PARKING: Use the visitor lot, directly West of the main hospital building, off of Colfax Ave.

*Molly Blank is the building just South of the main hospital entrance.


8:00-8:30: Networking and light breakfast

8:30-9:15: Educational Program, CCML members share continuing education experiences from the past year

9:15-9:30: Break

9:30-10:30: Main Program, Tamara Terzian, Ph.D. from the Colorado Melanoma Foundation

Dr. Terzian is Assistant Professor for the University of Colorado’s Department of Dermatology and she is Treasurer for the Colorado Melanoma Foundation. She will present on the unique melanoma risks that Coloradans face living at high altitude in sunny weather.  Due to heightened UV exposure, the rate of melanoma in Colorado is higher than the national average. Dr. Terzian will share how the Colorado Melanoma Foundation helps residents through increased prevention, screening, new patient services and research.

10:30-10:45: Break

10:45-11:45: Business Meeting

Posted in meeting announcements | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

ONLINE CHIS and MLA CE OFFERING: Results Reporting, Unique Evidence, & the Role of Medical Librarians

Posted by memorizingmo on October 30, 2015

Interested in getting Consumer Health Information Specialization or Medical Library Association CE in the comfort of your own home, workplace, or favorite coffeehouse? We’ve got you covered with a 4 credit hour CE online class on Read on for the details:

CLASS: Results Reporting, Unique Evidence, and the Role of Medical Librarians.

This 4 credit hour CE course explains what a clinical trial is and why is a significant resource; demonstrates ways to search and interpret studies with results on; and discusses the unique position of health science and consumer health librarians to provide education and to advocate for the results database and submission requirements.

INSTRUCTORS: Dana Abbey (NN/LM MCR), Holly Burt (NN/LM GMR), Meredith Solomon (NN/LM NER).

COURSE STRUCTURE: This course is self-paced; there are no set class hours for you to attend. The course is divided into 3 weekly modules, beginning the week January 18, 2016. The units build upon one another, with Module 1 providing the foundation for the rest of the course.  Time commitment: plan on an average of 2 hours per week.

Week of January 11, 2016 – set up Moodle account, review class materials, create/update profile, and introduce yourself.

  • Week of January 18, 2016 (Module 1) – will explain what a clinical trial is and why is a significant resource.
  • Week of January 25, 2016 (Module 2) – will demonstrate ways to search and interpret studies with results from
  • Week of February 1, 2016 (Module 3) – will discuss the number of records with results and the unique position of health science librarians to provide education and to advocate for the results database and submission requirements.


MLA CE CREDIT AND/OR CHIS CE CREDIT: This course has been certified for 4 contact hours of Medical Library Association (MLA) CE credit. If you are taking this course for MLA CE, there are specific requirements to satisfy the 4-hour instruction requirement. The coursework also provides everything you need to for Level 1 or II CHIS – the Consumer Health Information Specialization from MLA. For information on CHIS ( For information on MLA CE (

REGISTRATION: Registration is open to NN/LM MidContinental, Greater Midwest, and New England Region Network members. Space is limited, so register soon.

Not sure if your library is a Network member, or do you want to become a Network member? Contact Dana Abbey (, Holly Burt (, or Meredith Solomon (

COST: No charge for online class.

QUESTIONS: Please contact Dana Abbey (, Holly Burt (, or Meredith Solomon (

Posted in educational opportunities | Leave a Comment »

call for volunteers to share about this year’s professional development in November meeting

Posted by mariestpierre2525 on September 29, 2015

In November, we devote the education part of the quarterly meeting to sharing about professional development experiences that we have participated in during the past year, each person who signs up just speaking to the group for a few minutes (perhaps 2 to 10 minutes, depending on total of volunteers and how much you would like to share)-

Thank you!

Please sign up here :

Posted in fyi | Leave a Comment »

Participate in the MCMLA 2015 Virtual Connections Meeting at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Library, October 8 and 9, 2015

Posted by mmclurerams on September 18, 2015

Join CCML’s Education Committee at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Library (HSL) to participate in the MCMLA 2015 Virtual Connections meeting on October 8 and 9, 2015. Thanks to the generosity of HSL and the support of the CCML Education Committee, all CCML members are invited to attend at no individual cost.

On both days, meet and greet from 11:30-noon and enjoy the virtual programming from noon-4 p.m.

Please feel welcome to bring your lunch with you. Light snacks and cold drinks will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Merinda McLure, on behalf of the CCML Education Committee

Posted in educational opportunities, meeting announcements, special events | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

You Must Remember This

Posted by richardmaxwell on August 31, 2015

It’s possible that the reason a large number of people seem to reject what science tells them on a number of topics is that science is just a giant conspiratorial party pooper.  There are few things more comforting than a long-standing unchallenged belief in something or other or a simple explanation for a complex question shouted loudly by some supremely confident and arrogant blowhard with no actual basis for what he or she is saying.  Fill in the name with your own suggestion.

That said, it’s hard not to be annoyed by the evolving research into how we actually observe the world around us, and how days or years later we inaccurately recall what we think we observed.  In brief, science is telling us that we are not walking, talking video recorders with unlimited storage capacity.  How dare it?

A summary by the public relations department at Northwestern University of a 2012 study by Donna J. Bridge and Ken A. Paller was titled “Your Mind is Like the Telephone Game.”  This is much snappier and ultimately more chilling than the title of the paper it referred to, published in the Journal of Neuroscience as “Neural Correlates of Reactivation and Retrieval-Induced Distortion.” It seems that each time we recall an event we are actually recalling our last recall of that event rather than the original.  Over time, Bridge said, leaving scholarly language behind briefly, “A memory is not simply an image produced by time traveling back to the original event — it can be an image that is somewhat distorted because of the prior times you remembered it. Your memory of an event can grow less precise even to the point of being totally false with each retrieval.”

Now if you add this to the research behind the very entertaining book The Invisible Gorilla, it becomes clear that we are much more impressed with our abilities to observe and remember than we should be.  The book by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons describes their research into how little we actually absorb of what’s going on around us.  Their classic experiment, replicated several times, found that people given the task of counting basketball passes in a video were so focused on that assignment that at least 50% missed noticing a person in a gorilla suit marching into the middle of the scene, pounding its chest, and dancing around for a few seconds. That and other examples should leave most readers of the book (e.g. me) with a much lower opinion of their own ability to observe and recall with much accuracy.  It calls into question important things such as eyewitness testimony and somewhat less important ones such as the stories we tell about ourselves.

This is why it’s hard not to be annoyed with science and its insistence on fact versus comfort.

As a result, lately I’ve been forced to reassess some fairly important milestones in my life.  It’s just possible…not likely but just barely possible, that I’ve been incorrect about a few things that I’m pretty sure I remember accurately.

For example, I might not have pitched four consecutive no-hitters as a ten year-old Little Leaguer.  In fact, most of my pitching appearances were greeted with eager anticipation by opposing hitters, who found me less challenging than the coach who gently lobbed the ball to them in batting practice. This comes from the testimony of family and friends who watched some of the games.  The possibility remains that all of them suffer from distorted memories and that mine is the accurate one.

During my time in the Air Force in North Dakota I received some ribbons to pin on the nice uniform I was allowed to wear.  After wowing a number of people in over the years with descriptions of how I earned them, it was with real trepidation that I looked over my actual records from those four years.  This led me to a search in the public library’s database, unearthing the stark fact that I have apparently been describing a character in an early Tom Clancy novel.  My ribbons were basically for showing up on time.  Still…I usually was on time.

I’ve frequently looked back fondly on the month of October, 2003, when I clearly recalled getting nothing but positive feedback on satisfaction surveys and no requests for further work on the many literature searches I did that month.  I had considered it my winning Super Bowl.  There was unfortunately a logbook that we allegedly filled in at the time, and the surveys were scanned.  I’m forced to admit that there might be more than one way to interpret phrases such as: “is English your first language?” or “you must be very new at this” or “I get more clarity from my three year-old” or the more ambiguous “really?? really???”  

I look forward to ten years or so in the future when I’ll be able to recall the Pulitzer or at least Webby Special Achievement award that this essay earned.

Posted in fyi, musings by maxwell | Leave a Comment »

Join us Friday, September 11, for CCML’s Quarterly Meeting!

Posted by memorizingmo on August 26, 2015


University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus

Health Sciences Library

Reading Room (3rd floor)

12950 East Montview Boulevard

Aurora, CO 80045

When: September 11th, 8:00-11:45am


8:00-8:15: Networking and coffee

8:15-9:00: Educational Program, Annie Epperson

True Confessions: a new method for gathering qualitative data.

Annie Epperson, Head of Library Research Services, University of Northern Colorado Libraries

Annie will discuss the video booth method that she has used to gather data from patrons, including outlining the simple steps for setting up the booth and recruiting participants. Administrative details like securing appropriate permissions, as well as practicalities and paradigmatic considerations, will be covered.  Gather data quickly, leaving more time for analysis!

9:00-9:30: Networking and breakfast

9:30-10:30: Main Program, Jeanne Abrams

Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health

Jeanne Abrams, Director of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and the Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, University of Denver Libraries

Jeanne will discuss her book, Revolutionary Medicine (NYU Press, 2013), which details the lives of George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, and Dolley Madison. Learn how illness affected early American lives, in a time before antibiotics and how this period shaped modern public health initiatives.

“Revolutionary Medicine…is a readable and eye-opening account. We know so much about the Founders, but we rarely pause to think just how difficult ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ can be when you lack a good doctor or science-based care.”-The Wall Street Journal

10:30-10:45: Break

10:45-11:45: Business Meeting

Posted in fyi | Leave a Comment »

MLA’15 Updates

Posted by mmclurerams on April 13, 2015

NPC Members, here is a brief update on MLA’15.  Please share parts of this on the official meeting blog and on listservs that you subscribe to.

Register for MLA’15, Librarians Without Limits

At MLA ’15, “Librarians without Limits,” in Austin, you will network with 2,300 friends and colleagues who share your passion for the value of using health information to improve health and get reenergized with new ideas and understanding of new opportunities. There is no limit to what you can learn, including:

  • latest trends in technology
  • best practices in service
  • effective leadership techniques
  • ways to enhance intellectual growth
  • ideas to improve services at your library
  • new, innovative resources for efficiency and cost savings

Build your case to attend the meeting by focusing on these and many more benefits.

Online Meeting Scheduler
MLA’s online scheduler will help you navigate the meeting: It includes an online program, exhibit hall floor plan, lists of exhibits and lists of attendees. Note, access to My Plan and Online Meeting Content (session recordings) is limited to only paid annual meeting registrants. If you would like access, signup for e-Conference Registration (package D) at For information about Online Meeting Content, see:

MLA ’15 Mobile App
MLA will be launching the MLA ’15 mobile app in the coming weeks. Attendees will be able to search exhibitor listings in a similar way as they currently do on the MLA online scheduler. Stay tuned for more information on the MLA ’15 mobile app.

Welcome Reception / Opening of Exhibits – Celebrating Austin’s Culture
The theme of Saturday night’s opening of the exhibit hall will be “Celebrating Austin’s Culture.” Whether dressing like your favorite Austin City Limits performer or kickin’ back in your boots and bandana, the Opening Reception will celebrate all that is Austin – the live music capitol of the world.  Attendees are invited to enjoy the flavors of southwest food and some local music while reconnecting with colleagues old and new. Exhibitors are encouraged to incorporate the theme into their opening night plans.

Sharing on behalf of MLA,
Merinda McLure

Posted in educational opportunities | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

CCML Education Committee has openings for two new members

Posted by mmclurerams on April 10, 2015


As was shared at today’s CCML meeting, our CCML Education Committee has two spaces for members to serve during the coming year. The committee plans educational opportunities for the membership, organizes an education program (typically a speaker) for the September and February CCML meetings, and at the November meeting facilitates member reports of professional development experiences enjoyed during the past year. Marie St. Pierre and I are continuing as members for the coming CCML year.

Please email me by April 30 if you have questions or would be interested in serving. We’ll appoint two new members by May 15.

Merinda (current CCML Education Committee chair)

Posted in fyi | Leave a Comment »

But It’s Supposed to be a State of Mind

Posted by richardmaxwell on April 9, 2015

Probably the worst time to look into what science says about health in retirement would be about a year and a half into such a change in lifestyle, since it’s a little late to panic, but let’s give it a try and see how depressing it might be. The word “delusion” turns up in one report from NPR, an organization that I once considered a friend. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conspired to poll pre- and post-retirees on how the former expect their health to be in retirement and how it is actually turning out for the latter.

Thirteen percent of pre-retirees say their health will be worse once they retire than it was during the five years prior to retirement, while 39% of actual retirees say that it is worse. This leads to snarky comments from some researchers, such as “the poll results look to me like a lot of that optimism was drawn from a deep well of self-delusion” and “Hello. That’s what getting older is eventually about. We’re all going to have serious health problems in retirement, and eventually really serious health problems.” Thank Jeff Goldsmith, a health care futurist and author of The Long Baby Boom: An Optimistic Vision for a Graying Generation, a book about aging baby boomers, for being so tactful.  Jeff himself graduated from college for the first time in 1970, putting him, if I’m not deluding myself about my dwindling math skills, smack in the middle of the boomers he’s writing about.  He is, in other words, entitled to his informed and evidence-based opinion. Damn.

In the same poll the pre-retirees were also more optimistic about how happy they’d be in retirement, with 5% saying they expected to be less happy, while 17% of post-retirees reported that in fact they were unhappier than in the preceding five years. Maybe they somehow managed to get a peek at the health portion of the same survey.

A metanalysis from 2013 might be reassuring to folks spending most of their day in front of a computer screen, such as…just to choose a random example…a lot of librarians.  It found that while some retirees follow up on their good intentions by actually increasing their physical activity level, that still “did not make up for the loss of work-related physical activity, especially for those who previously worked in physically demanding occupations.” Based on that, for many of us simply getting vertical and not spending seven or eight hours glued to a monitor would qualify as a step in the right direction. Pacing while binge-watching something on Netflix could be seen as the equivalent of training for the Iron Man Triathlon.

Even strenuous exercise such as that can’t delay forever the downward march of the line on life’s graph, as our friend Jeff Goldsmith suggested earlier.  What about that?  Any progress in delaying the inevitable final exit? A search on the term “anti-aging” in Google turns up an amazing number of creams (one even endorsed by the interesting Dr. Oz) guaranteed to remove/control facial wrinkles. Now this would be intriguing if a high percentage of elders died of facial wrinkles, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, so a little more digging was required.

“Extending life” seems to be the term that succeeds in Google, producing a number of hits that appear to range from science to sciency to the domain of Professor Marvel, who is (spoiler alert) the Wizard of Oz (not the same as above, probably), and also the snake oil selling counselor to Dorothy. You’ll find seven ways to extend life as well as the possibility that humans could live 500 years or 800 years…take your pick. It could be gene manipulation or it could be dietary or it could be a pill or it could be as simple as closing the shutoff valve and opening the drain at the bottom…wait…. That last one seems to be to extend the life of your water heater, which was mixed in with the human longevity articles along with one for extending the battery life of your IPod and another to extend the life of your dog.  Useful if you do pass 150 and beyond but not directly pertinent.

In what appears to be real science, David Sinclair of Harvard reported that his research team “had been able to drastically reduce the functional ‘age’ of muscle tissue. Treating the mice with the metabolic co-enzyme NAD+ effectively reversed the aging process within the skeletal muscle by increasing muscle tone and producing effects similar to eating a healthy diet and exercising.” While human testing is now ongoing, the original laboratory and specimens are inaccessible since the newly muscular mice overthrew their masters and have blockaded the doors.  Negotiations are taking place via Twitter, which the mice quickly became as adept at as most human users.

Posted in musings by maxwell | Leave a Comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers