Bioethics & Bias — Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of January 6, 2014)


During last night’s #HCSM Twitter chat, the conversation began with what changed in healthcare social media during 2013. What I particularly noticed was the shift from including ethics and bioethics in broader Twitter conversations (on health, medicine, policy development, palliative medicine, and so forth) to Twitter chats explicitly focused on bioethics.

I’m particularly impressed that the #BIOETHX chat was just founded in October of last year and has rapidly become one of the “always-trending” influential hashtags in healthcare on Twitter. The most recent #BIOETHX chat was on sexuality and gender, with prior chats on research ethics, competence & decision-making, CAM, disability ethics, and medical disclosure. They meet at 8:30PM Eastern Time for their weekly Twitter chats, so please drop in tonight for their chat on brain death.

On a related note, the medical librarians community this year founded another Twitter chat on a related topic – healthcare disparities (#MLAdisparities), for which the inaugural topic in December was implicit bias. In today’s post, I’d like to highlight tweets from these two hashtags as an indication of the growing maturity of Twitter for discussing the hard issues in healthcare.



#OutbreakWeek — Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of December 23, 2013)

Proof of Party

Heading home for the holidays? Going to parties? Meeting up with old friends? All of these are potential ways in which infectious diseases are transmitted across the country, and across the globe. In preparation for this, there was a major public health outreach effort on Twitter last week called Outbreak Week, with the obvious hashtag. Here are some highlights and tips from that initiative.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Social Oncology Project (Week of May 27, 2013)

This will be my last post for some time as I leave campus to complete an internship for the remainder of the summer. It has been a pleasure writing this feature and I hope everyone enjoys reading as much as I enjoyed investigating.

Nothing was really turning my crank this week until I came across this post:

Then I clicked on the link. They aggregated 16+ million tweets for this study (that’s a lot of data, Batman)! They also talk about the impact of awareness days/months/weeks and celebrity mentions on the social media cycle for oncology. I went to the hashtag mentioned, #soconcology, to find out more.

Because the report was released just a few hours before I began writing this post, there wasn’t as much reaction as I expected. I think there will definitely be increased awareness and attention in Twitter and blogs as people have an opportunity to digest all of the content. Today also starts the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (#ASCO13), themed “Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer.” There were already presentations scheduled surrounding social media, but the conversation really exploded after this report was released. It’s also beginning to bleed over into the #hcsm hashtag.

Happy trails everyone. I’ll see you again in the Fall.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Stem Cells, Cloning and Publishing, Oh My! (Week of May 20, 2013)

I’m sure most of our readers know that a groundbreaking article was published on May 15th regarding patient specific stem cell cloning. What has come to light since then about the publishing process for the article has been slightly disturbing. First, I looked at the original announcements and information about stem cell research, then I went on to explore issues surrounding science communication and scholarly publishing. It all started (as far as I could tell) with this announcement:

This immediately lead to ethical and policy questions being raised. Many discussions were found on the following hashtags #bioethics, #stemcell, #stemcells, and #cloning.

What we found out this week was that the paper was pushed through the publication process so quickly that some (minor) mistakes were found through post-publication peer review including a manipulated image. These conversations are still unfolding.

This has lent some steam to the conversations that were already focused on the publishing process and its role in research, faculty status, and science communication.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): National Women’s Health Week and Prophylactic Mastectomies (Week of May 13, 2013)

While I was preparing last week’s post, I saw some tweets about National Women’s Health Week this week. I thought that was quite appropriate considering the week started with Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day itself was full of trials and triumphs as noted in these tweets:

From there, I looked to #NationalWomensHealthWeek and #NWHW to find the most interesting tweets about Women’s Health.

I don’t know if Angelina Jolie decided to hold her press conference because it was National Women’s Health Week, or because she just felt is was the right time, but the revelation of her prophylactic double mastectomy certainly had people talking about women’s health issues. It started with an outpouring of support and well wishes for Jolie and evolved to include conversations surrounding Supreme Court cases, economic and healthcare realities, and patent law. You can follow these conversations on #brca and #breastcancer.

Finally, I came across a reference to #WD2013 which is the annual Women Deliver conference. This global conference is being held in Kuala Lumpur May 28-30, 2013. While you may not be able to attend in person, they will have online streaming content. The conference focuses on the “health and empowerment of girls and women” through political and economic engagement, particularly as it relates to maternal and newborn health and wellness.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Oh DSM, How We Love to Hate You (Week of May 6, 2013)

I’ve been hearing more and more stories about the upcoming release of the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statical Manual of Mental Disorders). While there have always been points of contention regarding the structure and contents of the DSM, this month introduced a tangible split from the use of the manual. Here’s what I found under the #DSM hashtag about the dispute.

I decided to explore #Psychology further on Twitter and see what else might be going on around the world.

In exploring the #psychology hashtag, I found out that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I went on to review hashtags related to that effort including #mhm2013, #mhmwellness and #mentalhealthmatters.

Thursday was Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Sadly, there was not a standardized hashtag for it, so the information ended up being spread between a variety of conversations including #MentalHealth, #SpeakUpForKids, #HeroesofHope, #pediatrics, and #endstigma.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Spring has Sprung (Week of April 28, 2013)

Some of you may be able to venture outside the walls of your study cubes and offices now. You may feel somewhat like a mole coming out of hiding; I know that’s how I felt this week. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, people were wearing sandals and shorts. What a change from the rest of the month of April and a harbinger of May weather (we hope). Still stuck in your windowless cell? Try the library cam for a little slice of the outside to hold you over until closing time:

Don’t forget there is still sunshine to be had even after closing time now too!

With all of the blooming, budding and sunshiny things, I couldn’t help but think about what might be going on in the world of #gardening. It’s a good way to burn some calories as well as adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your table.

Considering vegetable gardens put me in mind of a story I heard on the radio this morning about the under-reporting of deaths from malnutrition in Somalia, so I went looking for more information about #FoodInsecurity and #malnutrition.

In the tradition of all things hyperlinked, this lead me to investigate a multitude of hashtags including #slowfood, #nutrition, #SustainableAgriculture, #nutrigenomics, #GMO, and #GMCrops.

I rounded off my tour of twitter with a couple of recent news stories. The first was a flurry of activity on #AgGag about the first person charged with violating Agricultural Gag laws and the subsequent dismissal of the case. These laws are starting to come up for vote in several states including Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Here’s a quote from the tweeted article:

Ag-Gag is the term given to legislation that targets undercover investigations of animal operations. There is disagreement over the purpose and impact of these laws. Facilities that raise animals for food and others in the food industry believe the laws protect food producers from the backlash that can arise when the public sees how their food is produced, even when done in a lawful manner. Others see this legislation as an impediment to the public’s ability to obtain information regarding their food supply and an effort by industry to hide animal welfare abuses.

The final story was about the increase in food and skin allergies in children. The scary part is where they can’t identify the cause of the increase, but the article does have some theories that are being tested. If you would like more places to start talking about nutrition, agriculture, and other food related topics, check out these other hashtags: #agchat, #glutenfree/#gf, #urbanag

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): DNA Day Closes the Semester (Week of April 22, 2013)

This week was the end of regular classes for the winter semester. As exams loom, you may consider stopping by the library for last minute references or a quiet study space, and just be glad that it is no longer the 19th century.

And if you just need a quick break from it all, check out the Umich Study Break Tumblr that is crammed with pictures and gifs that no doubt will summarize your feelings exactly at this time of year. In the wider world, this week marked the 60th anniversary of the discover of DNA. Thursday was #DNADay and several hashtags celebrated this major discovery.

The top two hashtags associated with DNA Day were #DNA60 and #DNADay. They are paying homage to Watson & Crick, Rosalind Franklin, and the Human Genome Project.

Personal Genomics is gaining ground in the conversation spaces surrounding DNA. The GET Conference (Genomes, Environments, Traits) had its own hashtag for DNA Day that explored current trends and issues surrounding genomics research. You can follow their coverage at #GET2013.

Finally, for those of you graduating this semester, happy trails and best wishes. Go Blue!

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): TEDMED and National Day of Silence (Week of April 15, 2013)

There is an awful lot going on this week and Twitter is buzzing about all of it. The annual TEDMED Conference is running from April 16-19 in Washington D.C. Our own Patricia F. Anderson is live-tweeting the stream of the event. Today is Great Challenges day, so there should be a spectacular amount of activity in the #TEDMED hashtag throughout the day. Here is what is being buzzed about so far:

On a different note, today is National #DayofSilence. Traditionally, participants take a vow of silence for one day to highlight the fact that LBTQIA (Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Ally) are often bullied or endure hate speech which seeks to silence their voices. I visited a few hashtags related including #LGBT, #LGBTQ and #Trans. There was a lot of news about LGBT issues this week including the legalization of gay marriage in New Zealand as well as some insurance equity closer to home.

Tuesday was also National Healthcare Decision Day, #NHDD, which highlights the need for End of Life planning early in adulthood.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): World Autism Day (Week of April 1, 2013)

This has been a whirlwind of a week. We started with April Fools Day, which seemed to involve a lot of cats and alternative search methods this year. April is Autism Awareness Acceptance Month and Tuesday was World Autism Day. Tuesday was also the groundbreaking announcement of the BRAIN Initiative that was outlined yesterday on the THL Blog.

I decided to focus on the autism portion of the week, although, as you’ll see from the tweets, the other two are related. I started with the most obvious hashtag #autism. I focused on research and personal stories about autism. As you can see, Twitter delivered.

I clicked through into the #neuroscience and #psychology streams to see what scientists and researchers were talking about this week as well.