Category: Uncategorized

Watch out for the journal ‘Advances in Diabetes and Metabolism’ – it’s on Beall’s list

Jeffrey Beall keeps an eye on academic journal publishers and has a list of open access journals that are ‘predatory publishers’. He also blogs about new publishers and I was only slightly surprised to see a journal about diabetes in the 66-strong list of shiny new journals from ‘Horizon Research Publishing Corporation’ in his latest (2 May 2013) post.

Advances in Diabetes and Metabolism has two web addresses

I don’t think anything’s been published in it yet (it seems they’re still trying to get the editorial board together so it might be a while) but be cautious…


Communicating science face to face – public speaking

Sunday 26 April 2009

Disclaimer: all posts are my own opinions and not necessarily those of my employer’s

This post relates to giving talks on charity-funded medical research and in other circumstances may not be relevant.

As part of my job I’m occasionally asked to give presentations on the diabetes research that we fund – this is an opportunity to do a spot of face to face science communication which I rather enjoy. I thought I’d share my way of putting a presentation together, in case it’s useful. Although I enjoy giving talks I do get (though I don’t suffer from) the typical nerves beforehand and a lot of my preparation is intended to minimise anxiety by being as well prepared as is humanly possible 🙂

Have you got enough time to prepare the presentation?A couple of weeks’ notice sounds like plenty of time but may not be sufficient to manage your time for other work – I’d rather say no to giving a talk than turn up with a half-baked presentation.

Who is your audience?I want to talk about things that are definitely of interest and hopefully of relevance to as many as people in the audience – something for everyone really. We have a number of voluntary groups (support groups which also raise money for research) around the country and if there is a project happening at a local university I will try and include some information about that.

Also if the audience is likely to be a predominantly older crowd then information relevant to children may be less appropriate (though of course some of the audience may have children or grandchildren with the condition so nothing wrong with mentioning it). Similarly a talk to teenagers might focus more on research into future technological developments.

Watch out for acronyms and jargonMany of the people in my audience are familiar with diabetes jargon however they may be accompanied by friends or partners who aren’t so it’s worth including an explanation for someone who knows less about diabetes.

Is a PowerPoint (or equivalent) presentation appropriate?
For the sort of talks I give, yes but sometimes telling a story is all that’s needed. I want my slides to do two jobs – underpin my talk’s structure and also to act as an adjunct to what I’m saying.

I try not to put too much information on the slide – but I need enough to remind me what it is I’m talking about (I don’t like speakers’ notes or reading from a script!) and for the audience to have something to look at which gives my talk a bit of structure.

My general rule of thumb is to divide the number of minutes I’m to speak (generally 40) by two to get a ballpark for the number of slides. I’ve most recently given a fifteen-twenty minute talk with seven slides (the first was just a title slide). I might spend longer on one or two slides than others but generally avoid speaking about one slide for less than a minute or more than five minutes. It varies.

Telling a story, with or without PowerPoint
It’s a lot easier if the talk has a logical structure and narrative as it’s easier to link between slides and makes the presentation less disjointed. I do spend a bit of time in the ‘editing phase’ trying to make things flow and I will make significant changes to a pre-planned running order if necessary.

Sometimes I’m going to talk about entirely separate topics in which case I’ll just make clear by actually saying to the audience that I’m now going to talk about something quite different.

This can ‘refresh the palate’ of everyone (including you the speaker and gives an opportunity to have a sip of water if you need one) by changing the pace a bit, but also acknowledges that what they’re seeing and hearing is different. When people hear talks, however fantastic they might be :), their concentration can waver, particularly if the talk is happening at the end of the day, in a warm room with the lights lowered. If they’re ‘rejoining’ you after a moment’s zoning out it can be disconcerting to find the speaker talking about something else if they’re not sure how it linked to the previous information.

Analogies, metaphors and explanationsI’m talking about complex science / medical things to people who understand all sorts of other complex things but which might happen not to include science or medicine. In other words don’t ‘dumb down’ – ignorance of a topic just means that you don’t know about something, not that you’re stupid. There are plenty of aspects of the topics in my own talk about which I’m ignorant too.

I think it helps to orient people during the talk (it helps me too!), for example something along the lines of “so we’ve heard about W and X and how that leads to Y, let’s now consider Y’s role in leading to Z” – basically a “you are here” guide.

Storing the talk for transfer

This will be on a USB stick, or possibly a CD-ROM. Sometimes I’ll use a work laptop and so will just load the presentation straight onto the desktop. I’ve highlighted this bit in orange as it’s easy to forget but really important!

Rehearsing the talkI really only feel confident about doing a talk if I’ve rehearsed it a minimum of three times before delivering it – I have no idea if this is normal! I want to become very comfortable with how it flows and not be surprised by anything on the day. Clearly I’m not going to be surprised by the slides themselves, as I’ve written them, but in the process of rehearsal something might occur to me that makes me want to edit the running order or the content. Rehearsal, for me, isn’t just about getting the ‘performance’ right, but about making sure the content makes sense.

This is also the time for me to make notes of what I think people might ask questions about and make sure I can either answer them or am able to signpost them to where they can find out more.

I always practise the talk from a computer, ideally one set up to a projector (we have this facility at work) as this is likely to be how the talk situation will be when I give it ‘for real’. It’s important to me to have the slides appearing behind me so I can get the ‘stage directions’ right for the talk as well – I may need to move to the slides to illustrate something by pointing at it (I prefer to go and point with a finger where possible but this depends on the angle of the projector and whether or not by doing this you’d block the picture out! Laser pointers are good though) and then come back to the laptop / computer to advance the presentation to the next slide.

I will happily do paper based practices, and on a computer without a projector attached of course but really prefer to do at least one ‘final’ version on a projector. Of course if I’m doing a presentation in a venue that has an OHP facility for acetates only then I’ll focus on the paper practice as more similar to the real-life scenario.

Polishing the presentation
Once I’ve run through the entire presentation a couple of times and have created the ‘patter’ that goes with it, I record myself giving the talk so that I can listen to it later. I have a low-budget mp3 player that has voice recording facilities – if mine has it I imagine most of them do. I’ve since bought a cheap microphone and downloaded Audacity (free, fantastic) onto my laptop – I can record myself on computer and export it as a better quality mp3 to my player.

Some versions of PowerPoint also let you record an audio track as an accompaniment to the presentation, but I don’t think you can uncouple the two and listen to the audio track as an mp3 while on the move (anyone?)

Possibly this is ‘overkill’ but I like to hear where the talk is flowing well and less well and make mental edits to the talk for later.

By the end of this process I know the substance of my talk off by heart but I don’t have a formal script – I’m not a fan of scripted talks. I have all the phrases I’m likely to use at the front of my mind but the exact words will vary of course.

The final thing I like to do is to print out my slides (and to save paper, I print them as handouts so I can get 2 or more on a page) and go through them to make sure that I know, for each slide, the slide that comes next. This helps with the linking and makes me feel that the talk has been polished a bit more. It’s easy enough to put up a slide and start talking about it, but I think it’s nice to be able to introduce the next slide from within the previous one*.

Depending on the time when I’m giving the talk I might do this just on the train beforehand. A lot of my talks take place in the evening, and involves some cross-country travel, which brings me nicely* to my next point.

Getting to the venue

Obviously this bit isn’t specific to giving talks, and works for any kind of meeting where you have to go somewhere else to have it!

A minimum of a week before the talk I’ll have confirmed the details with the person organising the meeting, googled anything I need to know and found answers to these questions.

  • who is the audience? [I’ve usually asked this earlier as it will determine the talk content]
  • what day and time is the talk?
  • what train station do I need tickets for – any info on which exit to choose? (Yes, I have been standing at exit A with the person fetching me at exit B in a mobile-signal desert)
  • where is the actual venue (postal address and any bus info or taxi instructions?
  • what hotels are available nearby?
  • what are the train times like?

Of course seeing these written down it seems like a bit of a palaver! I’ll also have with me, on one or two pieces of paper, any maps (of the venue, the directions to the hotel) and details of train times and contact details of anyone I’m meeting.

After all that I’ll have a nice sleep in the hotel!

NICE guidelines for #diabetes: Diabetic footcare (update of CG10 and CG119

There's a new / updated NICE guidance thingy going on for footcare in people with diabetes.
More details here

Diabetic footcare (update of CG10 and CG119

The current versions of the guidelines are:

NICE guidelines
Diabetic foot – inpatient management of people with diabetic foot ulcers and infection (CG119) (March 2011)

Type 2 diabetes: prevention and management of foot problems (CG10) (2004)
Full guideline (PDF)

All diabetes guidelines are here

[CLOSED] UK #Diabetes Research Network, Study Support Officer, ??28.2-32.1k, closed 5 Nov 2012

Admittedly it's only just closed but alas I only just spotted it. One for the archives.

Study Support Officer

Study Support Officer

UK Diabetes Research Network Coordinating Centre ??? Department of Medicine, St Mary???s Campus.
Salary: ??28,200 – ??32,100 per annum
Hours: Full-time. The post is until March 2015

Closing Date: 5 November 2012 (midnight GMT)

Interview Date: 14 November 2012

Applications are invited for a Study Support Officer to work in the NIHR Diabetes Research Network (DRN), part of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism within the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London.

This is an exciting opportunity for a motivated individual with experience in clinical research coordination, to provide high level and diverse administrative support to a dynamic and highly successful national initiative, the NIHR Diabetes Research Network (DRN).

Under the overall direction of the Assistant Director for the NIHR Diabetes Research and responsible to the Research Manager, you will provide support for studies on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Portfolio. In addition you will provide administrative support to the Industry Adoption Committee, coordinating meetings, ensuring the required area experts are present and providing the detailed clinical papers for the meetings. This post has a broad remit and will include a significant level of liaison with pharmaceutical company representatives (UK & International), Chief Investigators and clinical key opinion leaders across the UK. The timely collection and follow up of data and information will also be an essential part of this post.

With relevant experience in the field of clinical trials administration and coordination, and proficiency using Microsoft Office Suite you will have effective communication and organisational skills. Familiarity with database systems is essential. Preferably you will be educated to a degree level (or equivalent). Experience of financial administration and contracting is also desirable.

The post is until March 2015. The post holder will be based at St Mary???s Campus, Paddington, but will also operate within a national framework.

How to Apply:

Our preferred method of application is online via our website at (please select ???Job Search??? then enter the job title or vacancy reference number into ???Keywords???). Please complete and upload an application form as directed quoting reference number HM2012178.

Alternatively, if you are unable to apply online, please email to request an application form.

Administrative and Support application form

Job description and person specification

Should you have any queries please contact: Recruitment ???

London-based pw T1 #diabetes (&T2 on insulin) wanted for focus group on tech / software

When I worked at Diabetes UK I’d not have posted this in case it would have implied endorsement-by-association, so just to be clear this has nothing to do with them. There are good reasons for being a bit cautious with focus groups though because it’s not *always* clear which company’s behind the request, or what support might be available if it’s needed (for example something might come up in the discussion that raises worries for someone, and there might not be follow-up support available).

Anyway I’m sure you can make your own mind up about this 🙂

Begin forwarded message:

From: Focusforce CRM <>
Date: 1 November 2012 06:59:47 GMT
To: (me)
Reply-To: Focusforce CRM <

We are looking for Diabetes 1 patients who are confident using technology. We may be able to consider some Type 2 Diabetes patients if you using insulin regularly

This study will be running between November 5th and January 5th. This study will consist of you participating in between 1-3 interviews

These interviews will be taking place in Paddington

Those who are required for 1 interview will receive ??100

If you are required for all 3 interviews you will receive ??390

If you would like to apply for this project please apply direct to with your full name, age, contact no, occupation

Please confirm the following to him in your email:

Are you a diabetes 1 or diabetes 2 patient?

How many times a day are you injecting insulin?

How many times a day are you testing your blood glucose levels?

Are you using glood glucose software (e.g. iPhone app, Glucofacts Deluxe, iBGStar) OR have you created your own spread sheet torecord and understand blood glucose levels and either carb and/or insulin intake?



Please note we will only phone you if we can offer you a place on this project. If we do not call then unfortunately this would mean that you either did not fully fit the criteria our client was looking for, the places have all been filled or you may have attended a research too recently. If so please accept our apologies and we do look forward to hearing from you in the future when another research interests you

Focus Force |

#Diabetes UK Professional Conference Named Lectures 2014: call for nominations


Diabetes UK Professional Conference Named Lectures 2014: call for nominations

Diabetes UK is calling for Named Lecture nominations for the Diabetes UK Professional Conference in 2014. The Named Lectures are a central feature of the conference which is the largest event of its kind in the UK for diabetes healthcare professionals. Previously they have attracted some of the most forward-thinking scientists, researchers and healthcare professionals in diabetes care. They are considered to be one of the highest accolades for anyone working in the field of diabetes.

The deadline for nominations for the Named Lectures 2014 is Friday 30 November 2012. The successful applications are to be announced at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2013.

To nominate yourself or a colleague, email or call 020 7424 1000. For more details, including a nomination form, visit


Info on the 2013 conference is here

Named lectures means that they’re named after someone important in the history of diabetes, eg Banting memorial lecture after Frederick Banting who was one of the discoverers of insulin back in the 1920s and who received (with JRR Macleod) the Nobel prize for its discovery.

The named lectures are:

  • Arnold Bloom Lecture
  • Banting Memorial Lecture
  • Dorothy Hodgkin Lecture
  • Janet Kinson Lecture
  • Mary MacKinnon Lecture
  • RD Lawrence Lecture

I mention this because I just happened to remember the first time I came across this phrase and wondered what it meant – it’s immediately obvious once it’s explained of course. Similarly I knew about eponymous diseases before I knew they were called eponymous diseases 🙂 Anyway… I digress…

This is for the lectures at the “DPC” or Diabetes UK Professional Conference taking place next year. This used to be called the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference or “APC” but after clashes with the Annual Pistachio Conference the conference was rebranded*.

*this might not be exactly true (although there really is an Annual Pistachio Conference, and some confused tweets on the #apc2010 hashtag).

How I got this message
It’s from CHAIN, membership’s free:


If you wish to publicise information on the CHAIN Network please email your request to:

CHAINContact, Help, Advice and Information Network – is an online international network for people working in health and social care. For more information on CHAIN and joining the network please visit website:

Follow CHAIN on Twitter: @CHAIN_Network ; Find us on Facebook; Connect with CHAIN on LinkedIn

Fulbright / @DiabetesUK Research Award

Oh this is a bit cool and the first I’ve heard of it (sadly I don’t work there* anymore so somewhat out of the loop). I confess I got a bit excited because Josh Lyman from the West Wing was also a Fulbright scholar…

Anyway, this came to me via CHAIN


CHAINContact, Help, Advice and Information Network – is an online international network for people working in health and social care. For more information on CHAIN and joining the network please visit website:

Follow CHAIN on Twitter: @CHAIN_Network ; Find us on Facebook; Connect with CHAIN on LinkedIn


See also

*Diabetes UK, not the Fulbright Commission – I’ve never worked there 😉


Fulbright Diabetes UK Research Award

Diabetes UK and the Fulbright Commission are pleased to announce, each year, one award to be offered to a UK citizen in support of research at any accredited US institution into the clinical or biomedical aspects of diabetes or the social or economic issues faced by people with diabetes.

Application deadline: 15 November 2012

For further information see website: