Nutrition Support Blog: Staying Current – Tricks for Finding the Latest Nutrition Support Evidence
June 7, 2013
Today, it sometimes feels like we have too much information, but it still can be hard to keep up with the latest data. In a world where everyone is connected, finding yourself naive about a game-changing new study on rounds can be a path to dubious credibility. Although I am no technology guru, and don’t usually rush to the latest social media trend, I have found some useful ways to keep up that many of our trainees have not been utilizing.
The first “trick”--to join your professional society(s) and receive their journal via snail-mail--is one that you might consider to be hopelessly old-school or quaint. However, once I receive a paper journal I feel an environmental responsibility to read the articles, letters and editorial. In a world of electronic information overload it has become refreshing to have one source of material I can literally page through. Also, having a subscription to the journal gives me access to the full online material, such as the JPEN and NCP articles that appear ahead of print.
That leads me to trick number two – identify the key journals in the areas where you practice and sign up to receive an email notice of their tables of content (TOC) when the journal comes out. Email TOC are available for free, and even if you cannot read the full text without a subscription you can usually view the abstract and be aware when a new study is unveiled. In addition to specialized journals in your areas of practice (critical care and GI for me), I strongly encourage dietitians to sign up for the TOC from The Annals of Internal Medicine, NEJM, JAMA, BMJ and The Lancet – if there is a nutrition or nutrition support article in one of these, you should probably be aware, and quick to know the details and deficiencies of the study. I admit that my search for data goes beyond the usual levels of professional engagement, but American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Clinical Nutrition are on my monthly must-review list as well. I read and peruse a number of other great review and commentary sources, but wanted to stick to primary research in this blog.
I highly recommend the data compilation service Amedeo (http://www.amedeo.com). Amedeo organizes medical literature by subject and will send an email of the latest articles in that specialty each week, with a link the abstract. The service is free, easy to register and use and makes me aware of articles in specialty journals (like pancreatitis and liver disease) that even our large medical library does not have.
One way to get advance notice about the research that is going to come out in the future is to read the abstracts that accompany the major nutrition and critical care society’s annual congress. Abstracts often appear at the meeting as a poster or scientific presentation nearly a year before that make it through the review and publication process to print. Even if you are not able to attend the meeting, the journal will often have a supplement featuring the abstracts. These abstracts are usually not available via PubMed searches, and often the only way to find this information is to peruse the titles.
Obviously, if you are reading this, you know that blogs, social media and listserves can be a great source of information. We provided information about using RSS feeds in one of our first blogs – although now that Google Reader will soon become defunct, I will need to update my RSS reader!
Of course, finding the information is the easy step – evaluating and critically appraising the new information is the most important part. Our e-journal club started as a way to update past trainees about what we have been reading, but has evolved to include a brief summary and appraisal of the research.
When an intensivist tells me about “brand new research” and I can elaborate on the limitations, or direct him to our online critique – now that is credibility building.
P. S. If any of our readers have other tricks and shortcuts, drop us a line and we will include them in the future.
“The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot
read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn.”
- Alvin Toffler