Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

This week, thanks to Alex Steffan’s Worldchanging post, I discovered a real gem to help broaden and deepen my nutrition knowledge and take it well beyond its usual geographic and professional interest boundaries. The Weblog is: 

Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

A good place to begin exploring the blog is on the About page. Then, as dietitians, we probably will want to check out the posts in the Nutrition, Organic Agriculture, CookingFruits & NutsVegetables, and Nibbles.

I’m working my way through the nutrition archive today. Here is a sample of well-written posts on various topics: 

Food is good
Kids eat more if fruit and veg are home-grown
School gardens
Heirlooms are better for you


Open Medicine Journal & Blog

Hat-tip and a huge thank you to Gillian for introducing me to the Open Medicine (OM) Journal and Blog.

The blog writer and associate editor of the journal is Dean Giustini, a medical librarian at the University of British Columbia.

Here is an excerpt from one of Dean’s introductory blog posts, which gives me several reasons to keep reading today and revisit the blog regularly:

So, why visit OM blog? What are the benefits? First, blogs play a key role in the evolution of the web; they bring people together to share knowledge and to help them learn about new information technologies. We are, after all, in the information age. Furthermore, blogs are increasingly used to support continuing medical education, and viewed as an enhancement to clinical practice and rapid research dissemination. I hope that the OM blog will facilitate open discussion and collaboration, and function as a completely open repository of useful clinical cases and websites.

As a medical librarian, I will also share my thoughts about locating reliable medical information on the Web. In contrast to the original research published in Open Medicine, the blog will highlight interesting or emerging ideas from the blogosphere that are not covered elsewhere – thereby filling an important information gap. Topics I will cover include perspectives on information technologies, health care systems, research funding, drug releases and alerts, health legislation and government policies.

Who will find this blog useful? Physicians, medical students, residents and other health professionals; information professionals such as clinical/ medical librarians and informationists; health consumers and patients who need information about emerging diseases (e.g. SARS), global health issues and important research published elsewhere. (Link)

Open access to scholarly information is a principle I strongly believe in. I’ve talked about my reasons for blogging in previous posts (#1, #2, #3), but one of them is the desire to freely share new nutrition practice discoveries as well as classic resources because it benefits everyone — practitioners and the patient/clients we serve.

You can read more about the concept of open access here and more about the Open Access medical journal here.

The evolution of fat guidelines

Since taking DC’s evidence-based decision-making course, I have become very selective about my background reading and if I do have some time to scan journals, articles and summaries, I focus on the areas where I practice — e.g, brain injury, stroke, dysphagia. One gem of a newsletter I regularly read is Heart Headlines.  (I always mentally insert “& Stroke” after heart because nutrition advice for health of the organ in our chest also applies to the one in our head.)

The Summer 2007 issue, which I received in the mail today but is also available online, features an interesting review article on how and why dietary fat guidelines evolved to the statements in the 2007 Food Guide.

Marion Nestle’s blog

Usually I add items to my blogroll without comment but today I want to point out the latest addition so you won’t miss out.  The new link is What to Eat, Marion Nestle’s blog where she is commenting on current events, answering questions, and responding to comments.

Here is a sample post that shows Dr. Nestle’s conversational, direct and intelligent writing:

Do Fruits and Vegetables Prevent Cancer Recurrence? 
July 19, 2007

Oh that nutrition and health were that simple. The The WHEL trial results appeared yesterday in JAMA. The sadly disappointing results of that trial showed no difference in rates of breast cancer recurrence among women who typically ate 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day as compared to those who ate nearly twice that amount. I served on the data management committee for this trial and was involved with it for more than 10 years–a fascinating experience and a long saga.  I thought the trial was exceptionally well done. The investigators monitored fruit and vegetable intake by measuring the amounts of carotenes and other nutrients in the blood of the participants. Although there was some convergence of dietary patterns over the 8 years of study, the patterns were distinct enough to show benefits from eating more fruits and vegetables if that had been the case. An accompanying editorial explains why sorting out diet and cancer risk is so complicated. In the meantime, what to do? We know that people who habitually eat fruits and vegetables are healthier than those who don’t. The old “five-a-day” is a reasonable goal and it’s too bad that the promoters of that message messed it up by turning it into “fruits & vegetables: more matters.” As with most things in nutrition, enough is enough and more is not necessarily better.

What to Eat is also the title of Marion Nestle’s latest book. It sits on my bookshelf  between the Omnivore’s Dilemma and 10 Steps to Healthy Eating and is third on my September reading list, to be enjoyed, studied and digested after Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and the 100 Mile Diet.  However, I think I may read all three concurrently and may write a “compare and contrast” essay or series of posts about them for this blog.

Link to Marion Nestle’s home page:
Link to Marion Nestle’s blog: What to Eat

The ethics of eating (American Public Media interview with Barbara Kingsolver)

One of the first books I want to read on my “summer” (that does not begin until September, sigh) vacation is Barbara Kingsolver‘s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. My book choice is partly because I’m a dietitian but mostly because I’m a persevering urban gardener who wants to become more of a locavore.

Until today, this book was further down the “to read” list but it moved to the top after I listened to an engaging interview with Ms. Kingsolver on American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith.

Here is the link to the web page with all your listening and reading options. I downloaded this podcast and listened to it on my ipod. It’s a keeper and one I will be replaying.

Cochrane Review (2006): Nutritional Support for Head-Injured Patients

I have uploaded another Cochrane review on nutrition for neurosciences patients. This one is Nutritional Support for Head-Injured Patients.

The reviewers concluded:

…[T]here have been few trials into nutritional support following head injury, which makes it hard for the clinician to make an evidence-based decision about nutritional support in head-injured patients. Overall the quality of the trials was poor (page 8).

Vancouver Coastal Health’s Food Security Web Page

Kudos to Vancouver Coastal Health for creating this Web page that explains food security and provides links to resources such as farmers’ markets in Vancouver and the rest of BC, community gardens and community kitchens in Vancouver, and food action reports from Bella Bella to Richmond and places in-between.

:: Vancouver Coastal Health Food Security Web page