Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Medicine/Archive 23

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Article on Brain stem death

Could a neurologically trained editor, preferably from the UK, take a look at this article and its discussion page, please? It is, at present, just a polemic by an author pushing a very specific minority viewpoint and needs either a complete rewrite or a merge into the main brain-death article. VEBott (talk) 08:38, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

"preferably from the UK": ummm, really? I can't think of a good justification for that phrase. -- Scray (talk) 14:24, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
The first sentence reads, "Brain stem death has been the criterion in use in the United Kingdom for declaring death on neurological grounds since 1979..." It is not unreasonable to assume that a UK editor is more likely to know something about this UK rule than other people. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:30, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks very much for straightening me out - my comment is stricken and I'm reminded to dig a little deeper before taking a negative tone. I do wonder if the article might benefit from an overtly-national (UK) title, or globalization. -- Scray (talk) 16:47, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Globalization is my preference, since (although I don't know anything about the subject) it certainly seems like the kind of thing that ought to apply to more than just the UK. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:08, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
This may be tricky, given overlap with (analogous, and arguably more global) concept of Brain death. I think nationalizing the page title (in agreement with the initial sentence) would prompt further review of the issue. -- Scray (talk) 17:43, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
The concept of "brain stem death" as a criterion for legal death is actually specific to the UK; the US uses a different definition that does not focus specifically on the brain stem. (I don't know the story for other countries.) So globalization would not be the right approach. It is certainly true though that the existing article is very far from NPOV. Looie496 (talk) 18:07, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
There was a nice review PMID 11781400 in 2002, which had this as the first paragraph of Results: "The United Nations lists 189 member states. Data on adult brain death criteria in 80 countries (42%) were obtained and are shown in the table. European, South American, and Asiatic countries are well represented. The United Kingdom criteria for brainstem death permeate in the previously colonized countries, and Central and South American countries generally follow the United States position on whole brain death." A review like this could provide a basis for a more globalized treatment of the topic. -- Scray (talk) 18:25, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Urinal (health care)

I have been informed that I should seek permission to tag an article with your banner. Should Urinal (health care) have the WPMED banner applied to this device? (Bedpan has your banner) (talk) 05:47, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Seems reasonable, and you don't need permission though it doesn't hurt to ask if unsure. If you add it and someone disagrees, they can revert. If that happens, I would just move on. -- Scray (talk) 14:26, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
WP:MEDA has WPMED's instructions for tagging. You might also like to read Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Guide#Article_tagging. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:15, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Great eye diseases under a license we can use

I have found this page [1] which has couple dozen great images of eye disease. Will work on adding them to Wikipedia unless someone beats me too it. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:10, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

I am going to request a batch upload at commons. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:11, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Raft of new neurology articles

Below is a copy of a message I just left at Wikipedia:Copyright problems/2011 July 20. I figure attention from WPMED can't hurt, either.

Dmbowden (talk · contribs) -- I'm not confident in my copyright skillz to be sure I've adequately evaluated the situation here. Dmbowden (talk · contribs) appears to be Douglas M. Bowden, MD, and has created a slew of new articles (e.g., Heterotypic cortex, Adrenergic cell group C1). The source claims that the content is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. I've attempted to advise based on Wikipedia:Donating copyrighted materials, but could use some backup from editors more knowledgeable regarding copyright.

Scientizzle 16:08, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Answered on user talkpage. CC-BY content can be ported to CC-BY-SA works such as WP. I've tweaked Heterotypic cortex and its talkpage a bit. Similar tweaks will be needed for many of these articles. It would help if the importation made them up front. Also, some of these are instant orphans. A search for the term in existing articles to build wikilinks would help. LeadSongDog come howl! 17:59, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Input needed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Androphilia_and_gynephilia

Discussion has been light thus far; input would be welcome at this link: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Androphilia_and_gynephilia
— James Cantor (talk) 18:08, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

ELN question

I'd be happy to see a few people at Wikipedia:External links/Noticeboard#External_links_in_academic_journal_articles.2C_again. The question is (approximately) whether an article about an academic journal (hypothetically, Journal of Evidence-Based Research) may contain an ==External link== to both the journal's official page at the publisher ( and the society that owns/sponsors it (, or if it should be restricted to only the publisher's website. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:20, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Seems quite reasonable. JFW | T@lk 23:36, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Article feedback tool

I'm sure that most of you have seen the WP:Article Feedback Tool at the bottom of an article by now. The tool puts a simple survey up at the bottom of a page to let people rate it on four measures. It has been discussed and improved for months, and the rollout has finally reached the point where we're seeing it on a sizable number of articles, although it isn't enabled on all articles yet.

Despite a few loud complaints from 'power users', some of whom seem to object to the idea that any mere reader should get to rate their work, WMF reports that the feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive, with 92% of users surveyed earlier this month saying it's useful.

One of the goals is to help turn some of our "mere readers" into editors. After you submit a rating for a page, it sometimes says "Did you know you can edit this page?" and provides a button to let the user begin editing.

Here's a few tips:

  • To rate a page: Click the number of stars you think is appropriate, and then click 'submit'. Re-rate at any time, merely by doing the same thing again. After 30 edits to the page, your ratings will automatically expire (no longer be counted in the current page statistics).
  • To see the ratings for a page: Click on "View page ratings" in the box. (In the future, I hope that someone will write a bot to compile stats for all WPMED's pages.) Special:ArticleFeedback shows the highest and lowest rated pages.
  • To hide it on every page you open: If you don't want to see the rating tool (ever), then go to the "Appearances" tab of "My preferences", and check the "Don't show the Article feedback widget on pages" option in the "Advanced options" panel.
  • To hide it (for everyone) on one specific page: If it appears on a page that seems kind of silly to be rating, then add Category:Article Feedback Blacklist to the end of the page. (This will hide the tool even for users who want to see the tool, not just for your own account).
  • It's completely separate from our WP:1.0 assessments. We still do our WP:MEDA work on the talk page.
  • More information is at mw:Article feedback/FAQ.

If you have comments or suggestions for improvement, you can leave a comment locally at WT:Article Feedback Tool, but the devs seem to be watching the Mediawiki pages more closely. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:30, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

commons:User:Hamsekchen: Modeling immunotherapy of the tumor-immune interaction.

Hi medics! :-) Is there any possible use for commons:User:Hamsekchen? Convertible to an article? Is it a copyvio? I will propose it for deletion in Commons otherwise - it is out of scope there. Thanks for any comment here. Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 22:27, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

It is a user talk page. If not a copy violation would seem reasonable to leave it be. Why propose for deletion? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:43, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
It's actually a Userpage, not a User talkpage. Otherwise I agree with James; it does not require any action. Axl ¤ [Talk] 19:02, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Wait, perhaps you (Saibo) are referring to the individual images on the page? If you think that the image pages should be deleted from Wikimedia Commons, that needs to be discussed there. In any case, I don't see any use for them on Wikipedia or any other wiki. Axl ¤ [Talk] 19:05, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments! I wanted to propose it for deletion since encyclopedia articles are out of scope in Commons. But I thought that this article might be useful for Wikipedia. The user name seems to be a group account for "Jason Hammond, Sekson Sirisubtawee, Michael Kochen" and the contributing IP is from University "University of Colorado" so there is probably no copyvio. But it is misplaced at Commons and could be converted to a useful WP article (should be imported then using "import upload"). Don't you think? Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 14:13, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
"Cancer immunotherapy modelling"? On PubMed, I found these relevant articles: Cara, Joshi, Woelke, Chareyron, Castiglione, Cappuccio, de Pillis, & Kirschner. The Woelke article could be regarded as a secondary source. The others are primary sources. I'm not convinced that we have enough to justify an article on Wikipedia.
The Userpage that you (Saibo) are asking about is written in the style of a journal article primary source. It does not have a place in Wikipedia. Axl ¤ [Talk] 16:43, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Axl: It's not an encyclopedia article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:45, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Not Advice Disclaimer Template suggested

There are a bunch of how to points on WP which purport to render medical opinion or advice. It seems we should develop a standard message box to dissuade misuse.GeoBardRap 21:08, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles.
Actual medical advice ought to be removed, but I rarely run across any. Perhaps we are reading different articles, but I wonder whether your "medical advice" includes a good deal of my "medical information". WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:48, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
On the other hand, anyone with a little time free might like to look at these search results. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:56, 24 July 2011 (UTC)


A few eyes on Krebiozen might be helpful, based on this complaint. I haven't got time to check the article just now. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:41, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Eyes needed: various benzodiazepine articles

An IP alerted me to alprazolam, temazepam, and benzodiazepine overdose being subject to long-term subtle changes being made by various IP. Apparently they "look" reasonable but are actually not supported by claimed sources. DMacks (talk) 13:44, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Individual symptom articles shall NOT be mere constituent redirects to disease articles in which said symptom is the main characteristic

Hi. I've been noticing various redirects, such as Hair lossBaldness (update: I notice that this page now redirects to alopecia) and Gastric refluxGastroesophageal reflux disease. Although the latter articles do have their respective redirects as the main symptom, the diseases themselves are not the only cause of the symptoms. Having these redirects may convince the user that they are becoming bald or that they have GERD simply because they have one of these symptoms. I know Wikipedia is not to provide medical advice. However, these redirects may increase the risk of user hypochondriasis. Here are some suggestions for developing the two example redirects into articles:

Hair loss
  • Cover the main causes of hair loss, such as hormones, as well as any diseases in addition to baldness associated with hair loss.
  • Mention that hair loss without much hair growth leads to baldness, but they are not equal.
  • Have some statistics: normal rates of hair loss based on age for men vs. women, i.e. what are the rates of hair loss for toddlers, adolescents, middle age and beyond, and differences between race?
  • Different types of hair loss, including loss of body hair and other hair, as well as hair loss in non-human animals.
  • The treatments available for hair loss - not just male pattern baldness.
Gastric reflux
  • Explain the mechanism that causes stomach acid to flow into the esophagus, without going into detail about GERD.
  • State that severe gastric reflux symptoms may indicate GERD.
  • Analyze the relationship between gastric reflux and vomitting, as well as certain foods that are known to induce reflux.
  • At minimum, redirect the article to heartburn instead.
  • The treatments available for gastric reflux, including antacids.

Please consider discussion some of these redirects, and bring to attention any further similar redirects you may find. Thanks. ~AH1 (discuss!) 17:39, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes I have fixed many such redirects. We need more people to help. Feel free to join in.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:16, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Positive comments for us here

In the BMJ blog at 239 [2] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:33, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Richard Lehmann has said it succintly. We need to repeat this message again and again. JFW | T@lk 22:24, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Interesting edits by a new user

Can somebody check out the contributions and newly created articles of Akmalhaziq (talk · contribs)? This editor seems to be using Wikipedia as a medical textbook. Graham87 03:22, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the tip, you are right, I'm going to send him a message. NCurse work 13:00, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

can family get paid for being a care giver

can you live at the same address of the person needing care and get paid — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia! Though you're welcome to discuss Wikipedia's medicine-related content here, the question you're asking is not not likely to get a satisfying answer for a couple (at least) of reasons: (i) this is a project page - as stated at the very top - and is not the right place to ask general questions; (ii) an accurate answer to your question is likely to be very locale-specific, and the context for Wikipedia is global. If you reformulate your question specifying a locale, you may find a volunteer who can point you in the right direction at the RefDesks. I hope this helps. -- Scray (talk) 00:56, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Heads up

History tells us the Psych Project won't or can't deal with this, it's unlikely that DYK can, and I know WP:MED is willing and able to get this kind of editing dealt with. [3] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:07, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Urgent Care

I've been trying to update and revise the page on Urgent care. Part of the problem is that most of the article is taken from the UCAOA[4] website, and I am wary of any organization that has "corporate sponsor" ads on its homepage. Does anybody know of good objective sources about urgent care, especially the history of UC? (the earliest ref I can find is a newspaper article from Pittsburgh from 1980). Ace-o-aces (talk) 15:22, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I suspect that the concept of urgent care previously existed under some other name. I have a vague impression, for example, that rural areas and military bases had the equivalent of "urgent care" in their normal clinics (to handle injuries that were bad enough to need treatment now, but not bad enough to justify the long trip to a full hospital) for decades before the doc-in-a-box approach was common. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:13, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure a lot of regular clinics (esp in underserved and rural areas) have a lot of walk-in appointments. What I'm looking for is info on the developmet of Urgent Care as a distinct entity. Info I've found would seem to indicate separate walk-in clinics started in the 1970's, but nothing specific. Ace-o-aces (talk) 16:50, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I think this article should be a good source. Looie496 (talk) 17:20, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Good article and a good starting off point too, and it's nice to have a more objective source. Thanks for the help and feel free to pitch in on the re-write if you get a chance. Ace-o-aces (talk) 18:18, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
You may also find PMID4952918 and PMID 14290587 useful for historical perspective. Other sources go back at least to PMID 13134176.LeadSongDog come howl! 19:23, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Request for additional input

I was wondering if I could ask for more outside input and/or eyes at American College of Pediatricians (this is a splinter group which left the mainstream American Academy of Pediatrics in order to advocate a more socially conservative line on same-sex adoption etc). I'm currently in a back-and-forth and am becoming a bit frustrated. Since the page is low-profile and little-watched, I thought I'd ask for some outside input to help address the dispute. Thanks. MastCell Talk 19:11, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Journal of Visualized Experiments

Could some people with expertise evaluate the correctness and appropriateness of contributions of an editor of the Journal of Visualized Experiments and join the discussion at User_talk:MrOllie#User marked as having conflict of interest. Cheers, —Ruud 21:07, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

All the references fail to meet the basic criteria set out in WP:MEDRS. JFW | T@lk 21:10, 8 August 2011 (UTC)


A few research ideas have come up at Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Research. Please feel free to join in. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:53, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

That's a great idea, we could perform these collaboratively! Thanks for the note! NCurse work 10:53, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

More eyes please

Saturated fat and cardiovascular disease controversy has some issues. Most recently there has been some disagreement about what is the medical consensus on saturated fats, but even more long term, the "article" is basically just a listing of various positions by various parties; what would be the best way forward to make it an encyclopedia article? Thanks! Yobol (talk) 12:58, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I'd suggest redirecting it to lipid hypothesis, where the minoritarian view on saturated fat/cholesterol already gets undue weight. MastCell Talk 20:19, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
One loses respect for the medical profession when one realizes bodybuilders know more and keep more up-to-date about developments in nutrition than most doctors. Lambanog (talk) 16:50, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Or maybe one gains respect for bodybuilders? :P MastCell Talk 19:26, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
The evidence on diet is poor. They are hard studies to do. We have recommendations from the WHO. There are reliable sources that deal with this topic indepth such as UpToDate.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:52, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
I would agree that "Although there is a scientific consensus in the mainstream heart-health, government, and medical communities that saturated fat is a risk factor for CVD..." is far from uncontroversial. Seems to be focused in the wrong direction, I doubt anyone would be cured from anything by telling him to eat healthy unsaturated fat instead of butter & eggs.Richiez (talk) 23:18, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Saturated fat intake is generally accepted as a risk factor. A risk factor need not be causative: driving a red car is apparently a validated risk factor for getting into a wreck. The color of the paint doesn't make the car less safe, but it is a marker for a risk-prone personality in the owner. Similarly, tobacco use is a risk factor for breast cancer, even though it is not (at all) causative (it's only a marker for excess alcohol consumption, which is causative). Saturated fat intake could be nothing more than a marker for a diet filled with doughnuts, potato chips, sausages, and ice cream rather than a diet that focuses on vegetables and fiber (and eggs, which the mainstream community apparently isn't worried about any longer). WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:15, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I think that your view regarding breast cancer & smoking is a little outdated. There is increasing evidence to suggest that smoking is an independent causative factor. Here is one article; it includes the statement: "Until recently, most scientists agreed that there was not enough consistent evidence to determine whether active smoking plays a causal role in breast cancer. However, a Canadian panel of experts reviewed the extensive new research in this area and concluded that the relations between active smoking and breast cancer, both premenopausal and postmenopausal, are consistent with causality, based on the weight of evidence from epidemiological and toxicological studies and on an understanding of biological mechanisms."
Regarding saturated fat & CHD, systematic reviews from Cochrane and several other groups showed that reduction/substitution of saturated fat intake led to a reduction in cardiovascular events. In my opinion, the evidence is conclusive. Axl ¤ [Talk] 23:22, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
Substituting with what? Polyunsaturated fats, yes. But it is unclear whether saturated fats are bad or polyunsaturated fats are good. There were even concerns about polyunsaturated fats not so long ago that still may not have been fully addressed. How about monounsaturated fats? Maybe but still inconclusive. Carbohydrates? Depends on the carbohydrate, some give worse results than saturated fats. [5]. If even carbohydrates are no better then the assertion against saturated fats is only a little bit more meaningful than saying eating is a risk factor for CHD. Also what saturated fats are we talking about? Are we talking about all of them? But not all of them produce the same effects. The less favorable views emphasize the effect on CHD events, but look at CHD mortality and it is insignificant. Previously that would have been the focus because the evidence at hand was aligned to say so, but now that has been contradicted it is now being glossed over. There is also a Japanese study involving more than 50,000 participants that shows an inverse relationship: [6]. The latest Cochrane study I am aware of that I think you are referring to involved only slightly more at 68,000 and uses results from older studies. The argument against saturated fats is not framed neutrally or logically. Lambanog (talk) 05:25, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
The Cochrane study is tentative stating "The findings are suggestive of a small but potentially important reduction in cardiovascular risk on modification of dietary fat, but not reduction of total fat, in longer trials. Lifestyle advice to all those at risk of cardiovascular disease and to lower risk population groups, should continue to include permanent reduction of dietary saturated fat and partial replacement by unsaturates. The ideal type of unsaturated fat is unclear." Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:41, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Regarding the Jakobsen paper, I'm not surprised that high glycemic index carbohydrates increase the risk of CHD. These sugars promote insulin resistance and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Of more interest is the finding that low glycemic index substitution reduces the risk.
Regarding mortality, many studies, not just epidemiological ones, struggle to reach the numbers required to demonstrate mortality differences. Perhaps this implies a weaker correlation. Nonetheless, primary endpoints are usually composite CHD events.
Unfortunately I am not able to view the Yamagishi article in full. However from the abstract, I see that it is a cohort study in Japan. This is inherently weaker and less relevant than multicentre randomized controlled trials, let alone systematic reviews of RCTs. Yamagishi's findings are interesting and merit further investigation. Axl ¤ [Talk] 17:47, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
RCTs seem to have a better general reputation but I've been looking at some criticisms of RCTs that have historically been deemed relevant in this debate and their weaknesses. The Oslo Diet-Heart Study was mentioned by a commentator in The New England Journal of Medicine as one of the better studies but it had participants who smoked and that were distributed unevenly in the control groups. Other studies have various weaknesses from participants not completing the studies, revolving door participants, or carbohydrates and trans fats not being accounted for. Publishing bias has also been brought up as a concern with one of the largest meta-analyses saying that if publishing bias was taken into account the data would be even more in favor of saturated fats. It is worth noting that the Cochrane study seems to be an update on one conducted in 2001 that suggested even if hesitantly that total fat should be reduced. Since then the Mediterranean diet with its higher fat content has cemented its reputation and the large Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial and a whole host of large studies have seriously undermined the notion that reducing total fat as a percentage of total intake is beneficial. On this issue RCTs do not seem to have clearly exhibited their theoretical superiority. Lambanog (talk) 13:42, 11 August 2011 (UTC)


I've started a Portal:Psychiatry. Any help would be appreciated especially if anyone could set up a proper newsfeed from Wikinews.

Sorry for cross-posting but I've also posted a similar message at the psychiatry taskforce's talk page. I'm not sure how active that taskforce is at the moment. FiachraByrne (talk) 00:27, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

This portal should however not be added to every page that deals with a psychiatric issue, especially not in a see also section.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:36, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
It's been added to the psychiatry navigation bar (where there are a lot of red links for psychiatric organizations incidentally), so that will handle all the main articles. For the rest as you suggest and where relevant I'll add it after the references.
I don't think the newsfeed will work so I'll just add manually.
I have another query. The WPMED project box on the talk pages of relevant articles includes a box for the Medicine Portal. Would it be possible for this also to include the Psychiatry Portal when the "psychiatry=yes" option is also entered?
Also, is it ok if I add the Psychiatry Portal to the related portals box of the Medicine Portal? FiachraByrne (talk) 16:03, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I see no problem with adding the psych portal to the medicine portal. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:46, 10 August 2011 (UTC)


I suspect that the image in Microvillus is wrong, because it illustrated villi, not microvilli. Please check this as I am not anatomist. --Vojtech.dostal (talk) 14:52, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Looking at google images it does appear correct to me. What do you think it should look like?Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:35, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Cell enterocyte.png
The picture is a micrograph of a cross-section through the duodenal epithelium. The brush border is distinguishable on the micrograph. Individual microvilli cannot be seen because of the limited resolution of light microscopy. I agree that this is not an ideal image for the article "Microvillus". Perhaps a sketch would be better if an electron micrograph isn't available? Axl ¤ [Talk] 17:52, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
A modification of this picture (right) might be better. Axl ¤ [Talk] 18:06, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

IMHO the image depicts intestinal villi. These are microvilli. I have changed the picture. --Vojtech.dostal (talk) 18:21, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

The new picture is indeed an electron micrograph of microvilli. However the image quality is grainy, as is often the case with TEM. I am not convinced that its presence at the top right of the article really helps the general reader to understand what microvilli are. Axl ¤ [Talk] 18:51, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Falx cerebelli or Falx cerebri

Lobotomy 1.jpg

Does anyone know whether the falx referred to in this description of a prefrontal leucotomy (lobotomy) is the falx cerebelli or the falx cerebri? Thank you.

I have generally taken that point 3 cms. behind the lateral margin of the orbit and 5 to 6 cms. above the zygoma as the centre of my 2 to 3 cm. incision. The incision is made down to the bone and a self-retaining retractor inserted firmly to give a wide exposure and a bloodless field. A 1 cm. burrhole is then cut in the line of the coronal suture and a cruciform incision made in the dura. The instrument used for the section of the white matter is the least damaging of all, an ordinary brain needle, with a side eyelet just short of the blunt point and close-fitting stilette. This is introduced in such a direction as to pass close in front of the anterior horn of the ventricle to a depth sufficient as to pass clase in front of the grey matter of the inner aspect of the frontal lobe. The stilette is withdrawn and the needle made to pivot about the point of entrance through the dura so that the blunt inner extremity travels upwards towards the superior surface of the frontal lobe. As the point is made to travel upwards the needle is pushed more deeply into the brain so that the line of the section runs parallel with the falx and does not, as it otherwise would, become steadily more distant from it. When the needle has reached sufficiently close to the upper surface of the hemisphere it is withdrawn and reintroduced along the original line in order to deal with those fibres running from the lower part of the frontal pole; on this occasion the point of the needle is made to travel downwards, again parallel with the falx, and is then brought laterally across the anterior fossa roughly in the same vertical plane as the lesser wing of the sphenoid until it reaches a point just short of the lateral aspect of the skull. During this part of the section the needle is progressively withdrawn for fear of damaging the grey matter of the orbital surface of the frontal pole.

— Wylie McKissock quoted in Sargant, William and Slater, Eliot, An Introduction to the Physical Methods of Treatment in Psychiatry (2nd ed., Edinburgh, 1948), pp 163-4

FiachraByrne (talk) 13:56, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

It is the falx cerebri. Axl ¤ [Talk] 18:41, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Wait, are you asking for medical advice? :-O Axl ¤ [Talk] 18:44, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Ah thank you. FiachraByrne (talk) 05:31, 12 August 2011 (UTC) *Reaches for leucotome*

Requesting news item review

Good day, WikiProject Medicine editors. There is growing consensus at WP:ITN/C to post a news item on the findings of a recent clinical trial for the treatment of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I have made the necessary updates at the "Research directions" section of the page. If an editor can review the updates for accuracy, since I have no medical training, it would be greatly appreciated. —Arsonal (talk + contribs)— 03:25, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

This therapy appears to have been used in 3 patients so far, and been successful in 2. I'm impressed that the research team has managed to publish two papers on these three patients (a patient/publication ratio of 1.0 is the goal of every clinical researcher). And it's clearly been picked up far and wide by the popular press, so it's appropriate for In The News. I'm just not sure how much space to give it at B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. MastCell Talk 04:13, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I've never heard of that goal before, but it sounds great. :) There is a year-old discussion in the talk page of the article that may help give the section some more balance. Someone with a better medical background than me should probably do that though. —Arsonal (talk + contribs)— 04:26, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Cool... it's been on my to-do list for a long time, and maybe some of the other regulars here can help out as well. Thanks for the heads-up. :) MastCell Talk 04:34, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Bibcode Bot

Bibcode Bot adds Bibcode links to citations. These links are to an astronomy journal database. It is adding these links to medical articles, among many other non-astronomy subjects. Please contribute to the discussion on the Administrators' noticeboard as to whether this is a good thing for an automatic bot to be doing. Colin°Talk 14:27, 12 August 2011 (UTC)


Need further advice please.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:41, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Template talk:DorlandsDict

This Template does not seem to work... Does anyone have online access? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:42, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Looks like those links were indirect via - and that has been discontinued by Merck, replaced with Not sure whether there's a way to link directly to Dorland's. I don't use these resources much, so others may have better-informed answers. If not, it might be worth asking Dorland's directly. -- Scray (talk) 23:46, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes the link may just need to be converted into a standard ref based on the ISBN. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:37, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Spammy refs from

User:Nicola Swanborough is adding refs to epilepsy related articles from the above website [7]. They work for said website. It is a little too spammy for my liking. The website is requesting donations. Comments?Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:03, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

The other issue is that the ref does not actually support some of the text it is associated with. For example if one looks at ref 38 here it links to this page which says nothing about this diet being resurrected in the 1990s.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:31, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Next issue is that this ref is not always right. For example it states "Epilepsy is more likely to occur in young children, or people over the age of 65 years; however, it can occur to anyone at any time" [8] However this is not completely correct. It is most likely to begin in the young and the elderly but the prevalence increases with age. Have corrected with better refs. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:48, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
As you can see from my comments at Nicola's talk page, I'm aware of this issue and have pointed out the COI problems with her edits. I've been trying to WP:AGF and not WP:BITE. Not everyone begins editing WP with a complete understanding of what is acceptable/desirable. Colin°Talk 08:23, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

I need a "fun" example of vandalism

I am giving another Wiki presentation, and I want to give an example of vandalism, preferable involving a medicine page, something entertaining. Can anyone provide me with a diff link to something an audience of doctors might find interesting and amusing? ---My Core Competency is Competency (talk) 23:20, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Most vandalism is dead boring.
There used to be WP:BJAODN. I don't recall any good medical ones. JFW | T@lk 00:40, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Not medical, but certainly entertaining:

Wawot1 (talk) 03:56, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

This one made me laugh.
--DO11.10 (talk) 19:54, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
From an article about a book that discusses suicide methods.[9] Jesanj (talk) 19:59, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
there are some notorious case like slugs have hymen. Richiez (talk) 22:23, 5 August 2011 (UTC) (talk) 05:08, 16 August 2011 (UTC)


The people at MedPix are interested in collaborating with us. They are willing to release certain images under a creative commons license for our use. The website can be found here [10]. I have added them to our page of image resources Wikipedia:WikiProject_Medicine/Resources#Suitable_images.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:24, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

It seems like it has been added as an external link to may pages.[11] I would be much happier to see the images brought over here. Attribution given within the image to the author and to MedPix and the external links removed.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:30, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
If by "attribution within the image", you mean some sort of watermark, then it's not permitted. Image author attribution happens on the image description page, not in the images themselves or in the captions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:52, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
By attribution I mean on commons under author.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:27, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

RFC on identifiers

There is an RFC on the addition of identifier links to citations by bots. Please comment. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 15:53, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Is the Courage study notable?

We could have an article on the Courage study, couldn't we?

It's been cited almost 1000 times, the WSJ is where I found the common name, and the NYT called it a landmark study.

Thanks. Jesanj (talk) 14:10, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

We could... Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:47, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I thought so. I'll ask for eyes if I do start it, or if someone else starts it let me know. Thanks again. Jesanj (talk) 16:53, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Could someone correct/clarify this...

Three terms: onychophagia, nail biting, and onychotillomania

I believe the latter two are synonyms, but the articles and redirects are confusing the terms at this time. Perhaps I am wrong? ---My Core Competency is Competency (talk) 16:42, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Female genital mutilation - RfC

People here may be interested to know about a RfC which is currently active :-

Female genital mutilation - RfC

I came across this by chance today. There is a discussion going on around whether or not it is appropriate for Wikipedia to use the term "female genital mutilation" (FGM). Some people think it would be preferable to use the term "female genital cutting" (FGC) on the grounds that this would be more neutral. They say that "mutilation" is POV. They acknowledge that the vast majority of academics use the term FGM, but they argue that the lack of neutrality in the term FGM outweighs this consideration.

Rubywine . talk 06:49, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Evidence-based pharmacy in developing countries

Article in dire need of de-OR, neutralising, etc.  Chzz  ►  00:50, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


Could someone check the queue? Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 13:09, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

You have a response there from Casliber, who is not convinced that the article quite makes B class. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:24, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Female genital mutilation - a B class article?

I question the classification of this article as B class. The sections on psychological and psychiatric effects, and sexual effects, are woefully inadequate. They suggest that FGM is psychologically beneficial for some women. There is no mention that some women experience a total loss of sexual feeling. Please see the talk page for more details and discussion. Could the members of this project please consider a rethink on the grade? Thanks. Rubywine . talk 17:43, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Just for informative purposes, the article was rated on 11 December 2007 by WhatamIdoing (talk · contribs), when it looked like this. I personally don't think these ratings are very important -- they are much more a measure of completeness than of accuracy, and aren't intended to be taken as authoritative. Looie496 (talk) 21:33, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Genetic something spilled over at ANI

There's a discussion about some genetic studies that (allegedly) failed to be replicated at Talk:Beta Israel#No permanent tags, and it spilled over to ANI. Perhaps someone with a content clue can comment there, with respect to WP:MEDRS? FuFoFuEd (talk) 20:21, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

It's not a content issue, it's a policy issue: whether editors who disagree with article content but either can't or won't fix it shall be able to deface it indefinitely with maintenance tags until somebody else gives in and makes the changes they want. Looie496 (talk) 21:43, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
My quick reading of that thread is that they disagree with a Wikipedia section because it's based on the primary studies and contradicts the sole review article on the matter. YMMV as they say. FuFoFuEd (talk) 22:22, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


Does the project need an ethics group? This debate Talk:Smallpox#Sick Child Picture has raised important issues. Would it be useful to appoint a group of respected editors, lay and professional, that uninvolved contributors could turn to for guidance? Does the project already have a policy on medical ethics? Graham Colm (talk) 19:14, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Commons has Commons:Patient images#Medical practice, but aside from that I don't know anything else about Wikipedia's attitude towards ethics. Wikipedia:Ethics is outdated and not terribly useful. I'm not sure about having an ethics group, but I think it would be nice to have a guideline at the very least. I don't think that we have ever really sat down and examined the ways that professional ethics and WP:BLP can clash with WP:NOTCENSORED. NW (Talk) 19:45, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
If you look up a scary as hell disease do not be surprised to get a scary as hell picture. Google image search has images I consider more disturbing [12]Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:54, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that people with an interest in ethics should certainly form a taskforce. However, this discussion is not really about ethics but about the tension between WP:NOTCENSORED and the gross factor of a child with severe smallpox. It is a perennial discussion that has also taken place around anatomy articles.
I understand there is soon going to be an option to selectively turn off images (at wiki level, not at browser level). JFW | T@lk 20:23, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes and this will allow users to self sensor which I have no problem with.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:25, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
What the reader will see, if he chooses to enable any filters
Since some of you probably haven't heard much about it, there's a plan for a WMF-wide referendum on an optional, user-controlled image filtering system. More information is at meta:Image_filter_referendum/en. The idea behind this is that WMF gets a lot of complaints from readers about certain classes of images that they find offensive and therefore do not want displayed on their computers. What those images are vary by culture, but generally the complaints focus on:
  • images of violence (e.g., from people with PTSD who do not want to see images of mutilated corpses),
  • certain religious images (e.g., from those Muslims who do not wish to view images of Muhammed), and
  • pornographic/sexual images (apparently, this complaint comes from men, women and children around the world—except for the younger, single white males who happen to dominate the English Wikipedia, some of whom have been terribly upset at the WMF for even thinking about enabling readers to avoid such images).
Other filters or categories could be added if desired (e.g., corporate logos for the anti-consumer activists, medically gross images for the squeamish, cats for people who have a cat phobia...), but these seem to be the "big three".
Please keep in mind that this is not a protect-the-kiddies kind of system: if you enable the filter (affecting only your account/your computer), and you happen to navigate to a page that has an image in your filter, then it will display a large "Show image" button (to see this particular image today) plus a link to change your filter settings. Clicking on the link will show you any image you want to see. The sole purpose is to give you a choice about whether to load such images on your computer at the time the page initially loads.
If you're interested, please keep an eye out for the referendum. If you have ideas about it, then please feel free to comment at Meta (follow the link above, and go to the talk page. Don't forget to login to your account on Meta.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:40, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I think it would be useful to have an ethics discussion group as part of this project (my interest has picked up since I became concerned about the use of a photo of an aborted fetus without evidence of consent from the mother). We would need to recognize that such a group would essentially be a non-binding discussion forum, and that in practice any sort of ethical concern would likely be shouted down by a chorus of "WP:NOTCENSORED!!" Still, I would definitely value a venue in which to bounce these sorts of issues off the other members of this project. I would be willing to take the lead in setting up the relevant subpages, assuming there is sufficient interest. MastCell Talk 23:17, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Issues of medical ethics are going to need to be dealt with on a case by case basis. As we are a small group most issues should continue to be brought to this main venue. Not sure what creating another place will add. Improving the page on medical ethics may be a good place to begin though and would be interested in reading a well written overview of the topic.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:17, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

MastCell, I would be interested in working with you and others on exploring the ethical issues WP faces wrt medical topics and photographs. I'm not sure whether the smallpox photo is an ethical issue or just one of taste and common sense. WP Germany showed a complete absense of both when it ran a photograph of genitals on the main page. What that unethical or just stupid? Perhaps I'm missing something where there is an ethical argument here.

The discussion surrounding the aborted fetus image on Commons highlighted to me the fact that Commons has no moral or ethical framework. It barely and reluctantly complies with the law. When the Foundation Board voted 10:0 to (amongst other things) "Strengthen and enforce the current Commons guideline on photographs of identifiable people"[13] what happened? Here's the sum of the subsequent edits to that guideline. Nothing but the addition of a few unsourced examples of legal issues for countries round the world. Commons suffers from the the problem that in terms of community it is a hamlet compared to Wikipedia's city.

The Patient Images essay linked to by NW was started by David Ruben, and extended by me recently to include the ethical guidelines put out by various medical bodies. I'm a great believer in building on the work of experts where possible. I'd like to see that, or parts of it, turned or incorporated into a Commons guideline. Though it may be best to explore something on WP first if it attracts a bigger discussion. Colin°Talk 08:11, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

About the referendum, which is now underway: There've been some problems with people not following the imperfectly clear directions. If you work mostly at the English Wikipedia, then you need to vote from here, not from Meta (where the explanatory pages are hosted). So if this is your "home" wiki, log in here and then click here to vote.
Apparently a lot of people are going to Meta to read the proposal and then trying to vote from Meta (where most of them don't even have an account). They're then told that they don't qualify to vote. In fact, it means that they don't qualify to vote from Meta, but the message suggests that they don't qualify to vote from anywhere. So if you've gotten that message, please try again, but from the English Wikipedia, rather than from Meta. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:46, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

If someone's got a minute...

Hyper IgM syndrome has some odd changes from 2010 (click here for a large diff) that make me wonder whether we might have a copy-paste problem. The sentences and paragraphs all have extra line breaks and the quality of the prose is definitely higher/more science-y sounding than typical. I'm out of time, but if someone else would please take a look, I'd appreciate it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:52, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Looks like a copyvio, which I have reverted. The editor who introduced that also committed copyvios on other pages, some of which I have nominated for speedy deletion. Yobol (talk) 00:40, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Cancer pain

I've just posted Cancer pain. I'd appreciate it if anyone interested in the subject could take a look. It still needs to address physical, surgical and psychological interventions, which I'll get to over the next fortnight. It's based on two textbooks and several reviews. I'll compare it with another two textbooks in the near future, but thought it was complete enough now to be of some use. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 00:19, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

I think you should nominate it for WP:DYK. I think they'd be glad to have something that isn't yet another American pop culture article or yet another obscure species. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:17, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Article merger

I'm sure that this won't engender a lot of excitement but I have proposed that the article Einheitspsychosen (the German for "unitary psychosis") should be merged into the article Unitary psychosis. As almost everyone who contributed to the original article, Einheitspsychosen, appears to have fallen off the face of the earth, I'd appreciate it if anyone could quickly stop by and post their opinion on the merger, here. Thanks. FiachraByrne (talk) 20:09, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the rapid response :)

Linking of lung

Do people think the linking of lung such as in these edits [14] is over linking? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:18, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

That was part of a pattern of edits to change an already existing link such as "Part of body" to the new destination "Human part of body", which have been showing up on my watchlist for some time. In the case of Human lung, the article was spun off in February 2004, so it's nothing new. I suspect that Nono64 (talk · contribs) is gnomishly working through 'What links here' for body parts and changing links to the 'Human' prefixed article where appropriate - but he makes the odd mistake, since DCS for example applies to animals as well as humans (goats were used to test early decompression schedules).
Nevertheless, James' question is pertinent. We do seem to link to Foot and Mouth and other well-known parts of the body in many articles. We have no specific project guidance on linking to parts of the body, but I'd recommend the logic behind the phrase should not be linked unless their content is germane (relevant and appropriate) and topical to the subject as found in Wikipedia:Manual of Style (linking)#Chronological items which governs the linking of dates (and took an Arbitration case to sort out). I personally think that common body parts are linked far too often in articles, without any pretence of being germane, and I'd have no qualms in supporting any project members who took an axe to such links. It may be sensible to hear what others think though, before embarking on any crusades. --RexxS (talk) 01:24, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this editing pattern has been going on for a long time with this particular editor. Please see: Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive674#Mass link moving from Brain to Human brain by User:Nono64. At this point, Nono64 has been warned to be careful about such edits, sufficiently that the recent continuation may be sanctionable. When there is editorial concensus that a given link is not specifically about the human version, it gets to be disruptive to put other editors in the position of having to go back and do a massive clean up. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:19, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
This is indeed a long-term well-meaning but now clearly disruptive pattern, and I would support an immediate (though short) block to stop it if it happens again. The carelessness (whether it's mindless human-acting-as-a-bot or actual selective editing) is high and the editor has been well warned about it. DMacks (talk) 19:59, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Pubmed Health

I remember reading someone that the US government pay Google to be ranked first for Pubmed Health? Does anyone know if this is true? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:05, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

I think it was alleged on a blog after Pubmed Health suddenly started getting a top google search rank. Given the culture, it seems unlikely, however. See this: NLM to Google: Please Ignore Us ... SEO Not! FiachraByrne (talk) 09:58, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Google says that they do not accept payment from anybody for any rankings. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:05, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Although they sell "Sponsored Links" that show up at the top and right of the results page (unless you have an ad-blocker). --RexxS (talk) 01:24, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Questionable edit

This isn't (to me) obviously vandalism, but it seems likely to be such. If it's complete nonsense, would someone remove it? Thanks. --Tardis (talk) 21:49, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Reverted. Even if it isn't entirely vandalism, it certainly has to be rewritten and other content needs to be added before we can readd it. NW (Talk) 21:54, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

EHF – therapy

Could someone look over EHF – therapy aka "millimeter wave therapy"? Discussion was started at FTN. - LuckyLouie (talk) 22:26, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

WP:REDFLAG would seem to apply here. This also applies, it seems. Needs to be stripped down and rewritten. Yobol (talk) 22:29, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Medical guideline

The article currently reads "A healthcare provider is obliged to know the medical guidelines of his or her profession, and has to decide whether or not to follow the recommendations of a guideline for an individual treatment". Is anyone aware of countries/treatments/situations where the provider is required to follow a guideline? I'd guess that happens sometimes/somewhere. Thanks. Jesanj (talk) 14:13, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

If the practitioner is required to follow the "guideline", then it isn't a guideline. It's a policy or protocol. Axl ¤ [Talk] 21:08, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Rasa shastra

Found a mention of this at WP:FTN - the editor there is concerned that although it says that 'modern medicine' says consumption of mercury it toxic, the article still suggests it can be beneficial and safe. Dougweller (talk) 13:20, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Its claims have been solidly unsourced for three years. I've nominated it for deletion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Rasa shastra. Comments welcome. --RexxS (talk) 13:50, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

SafetyLit Database

The SafetyLit database article has been greatly expanded recently. It is currently rated by ProjectMedicine as stub. I wonder if it it time for it to be reassessed. Allow me to also request comments about or edits to the article. I am responsible for the SafetyLit project and would be pleased for any suggestions or comments about SafetyLit itself. How might it be made more useful to you? (SafetyLit is a free weekly literature update service and database of articles relevant to injury prevention and safety promotion. SafetyLit, presented without advertising, is a project of San Diego State University in cooperation with the World Health Organization. Medicine is only one of the 30-plus professional disciplines that publish relevant information. SafetyLit indexes articles from more than 11,000 scholarly journals.) - David Lawrence, Ph.D.; San Diego State University 19:44, 30 August 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davidl53 (talkcontribs)

Origin of the Azeris DRN thread

Hi everyone, I was wondering whether I could take your advice. There is a thread at Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard#Origin of the Azeris about the genetic origin of the Azeri people, and being the lowly musician/linguist that I am, I have no idea who is right or what the most reliable sources are. I would be very grateful if somebody could take a look at the noticeboard thread and the article talk page and point us in the right direction. All the best. — Mr. Stradivarius 13:37, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Folks, it looks like we need someone with two possibly unusual characteristics over there:
  1. You must not get a headache when you see terms like Y-DNA haplogroup thrown about.
  2. You need to know enough about the infant field of genetics of ancestry to know how easy it is to exceed the tentative conclusions of the sources.
The dispute is between two plainly good-faith, but possibly politically motivated, editors who basically want Wikipedia to endorse WP:The Truth that the Azeri people are definitely descended from this or that Middle Eastern neighbor. I believe that the regulars at DRN would really appreciate the appearance of knowledgeable editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:12, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

RFC again

It's the endless discussion about whether the lead image of Pregnancy must be an identifiable nude woman, or if we could move that picture to another place in the article and put something else in the lead. Please join Talk:Pregnancy#Lead_image_RfC if you have an opinion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:49, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

A re-write and a few new articles... looking for more eyeballs

I re-wrote atypical ductal hyperplasia. That said, I think it could use a few more eyes.

I have also created articles for the super obscure cystic tumour of the atrioventricular nodal region and the more common entities of villitis of unknown etiology, and fetal thrombotic vasculopathy. Nephron  T|C 04:05, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I looked over the first; thank you for your substantial work on it. I think that it would benefit from a little more plain English, though. I suspect that many readers' eyes will glaze over. Also, I wonder if it's strictly accurate to say that open surgical biopsy is exactly the same thing as a lumpectomy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:00, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
I think "lumpectomy" and "surgical (excisional) biopsy" is the same... if "excisional" is in there. AFAIK, biopsy usually implies that the margins aren't important... though "excisional" implies the abnormality is completely removed. Nephron  T|C 03:17, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Passive smoking

An editor has removed this ref Tong, EK; Glantz, SA (2007 Oct 16). "Tobacco industry efforts undermining evidence linking secondhand smoke with cardiovascular disease.". Circulation 116 (16): 1845–54. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.715888. PMID 17938301.  Check date values in: |date= (help) which was supporting this sentence "Currently, the health risks of secondhand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus." The ref is a review is a well known journal and states "The scientific consensus that secondhand smoke (SHS) increases cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk by 30% is based on epidemiological and biological evidence" The editor in question has replaced it by a Spanish article that is not a review. I am still struggling to figure out why. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:19, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

The full text of the "Spanish article" appears to be available in English[15]. It's not a narrative review, but it is a secondary source.
I'm not sure why Dessources believes that a source which begins "The scientific consensus [is] that secondhand smoke (SHS) increases cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk..." may not be listed (with other citations, discussing other types of health risks) in support for the statement "Currently, the health risks of secondhand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus". WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:26, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
This user has now removed this paper about 6-8 times. Wondering if someone could wight in further.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:48, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that I provided very elaborate explanations for why I replaced the reference with a better one both on the Talk page of user Jmh649 (see [16]) and on the Talk page of the article (see [17]). Each time, user Jmh649 has either ignored my explanation or has summarily dismissed it, and has kept hammering the same peremptory statement: "it's appropriate" - which is hardly a way of establishing a constructive dialogue to resolve a difference of views. I got the feeling of being slapped on the fingers for touching the reference he had inserted.
My motivation for replacing the Tong and Glantz reference, which I tried hard to communicate to user Jmh649, is as follows:
  • The paper by Tong and Glantz addresses a different subject: how the tobacco industry tried to undermine the science on secondhand smoke (SHS) by creating a false controversy. I agree that it is a paper of high standard, and this is why I have left it as reference to the last sentence of the summary section, which says "the tobacco industry coordinated a scientific controversy with the aim of forestalling regulation of their products" since this matches quite well the subject of the paper. So the paper is not removed from the list of references.
  • The Tong and Glantz paper is of low relevance as reference to support the assertion that "Currently, the health risks of secondhand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus," since its purpose is not to review such consensus. The paper makes only a brief reference to the scientific consensus in the first paragraph of its introduction.
  • The main limitation of the Tong and Glantz paper is that it does not deal with the overall scientific consensus about the health effects of SHS, and therefore is inadequate as a source supportng the assertion that "the health risks of secondhand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus." It's important to note the plural in the word "risks". There is a wide range of risks, as can be seen in the Effect section of the article (see [18]), while the Tong and Glantz paper only provides a rather superficial review of the consensus related to one type of risk among them (namely the risk of CVD). The Tong and Glantz paper is particularly inappropriate in the summary section of the paper. It would be more suitable in the body of the article, in particular in its Evidence section, where it's not currently referenced.
  • It should be observed that user Jmh649 himself, when he added the reference (see diff [19]) indicated, in the Edit summary, "added more refs that are not really needed". He was therefore not fully convinced that his reference was appropriate.
  • Having made the observation which I just described, I tried to improve the article by replacing the weak reference with a better one, that would achieve the same purpose of providing a good source for the factual assertion made in the summary. Initially, I opted for the text of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an international treaty now ratified by 174 countries, which states in its Article 8.1: "Parties recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability." However, I managed to find an even better paper, by Jonathan Samet, which actually contains an elaborate review of the status of knowledge of the health risks associated with exposure to SHS. The paper has exactly the content required to do the job: "This paper begins with an overview of the current state of the evidence with regard to the health effects of inhaling SHS, based largely on recent reviews, including the 2004 monograph of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization, the 2005 report of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the 2006 report of the U.S. Surgeon General." It's written by one of the most authoritative experts in the subject. Jonathan Samet is chairing the Departmnent of Epidemiology at the The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the same institution. Furthemore, Samet was the senior scientific editor of the 2006 Surgeon General Report on the health Effects of Seconhand Smoke, and was awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion, the highest honor bestowed by the Surgeon General, for his contribution. Prof. Samet also was one of the key expert witnesses in the USA vs. Philip Morris and al. trial. His name being mentioned over 60 times in Kessler's document (Elisa Tong's name is not mentioned, while Glantz's name appears only once). The Samet paper dedicates almost two and a half pages to review the consensus, and provides on page 430 a table that nicely summarizes the state of knowledge, by type of risk.
I therefore propose to replace the Tong and Glantz reference with the Samet reference, which is a great improvement over the Tong and Glantz reference, and which more fully supports the assertion that "the health risks of secondhand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus". This is what I have been trying to communicate to user Jmh649, but he has responded either by ignoring my position or summarily dismissing it, as if what I wrote was not worth of his consideration. This is a bit frustrating for someone who has dedicated a lot of time and energy in the past contributing to improving this article (see [20]).
As for the edit warring, I got the feeling that Jmh649 was staging an edit war against me, since my edits, which I elaborated with care, taking the time to reflect and write explanations on the Talk page, were each time, almost instanteneously reverted with virtually no explanation from him, or with explanations that clearly indicated he had not taken the time to examine the reference (claiming that the Samet reference is in Spanish and that it's not a review). Looking at his log of contributions, one can see that he did not spent more than a few seconds before jumping to conclusions.
I admit that the subject of this particular reference is a minor issue, but the underlying principle is important, because if the editing practice of Jmh649 became accepted as the norm, it could dissuade many competent and qualified editors (I unmodestly pretend to be one with respect to this article), who may not be as superficially prolific as him, to continue to contribute to Wikipedia, with devastating consequences for the encyclopedia.
Dessources (talk) 01:54, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
(Modified)Dessources (talk) 09:42, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your comment. You believe that your source is "better". I'm telling you that your source is not actually "better". Do you understand that we disagree on this point? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:22, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
We have a user who is attempting to completely WP:OWN this article. I do agree that it is a minor issue. But this sort of action will definitely keep anyone else from contributing there. I have not removed the reference this editor has added... Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:52, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing, please elaborate. I'm ready to accept that it is not better, but not simply on the ground of an editor telling me "it's not better." I listed my arguments very specifically in favour of replacing the reference, and perhaps it might be good for contributors to contemplate each one of them and indicate in what sense my arguments are valid or invalid, so that I could learn. So far, I got only peremptory replies of the type "it's not better", which are not very helpful to say the least, or reverts with the erroneous explanations objecting that the reference I proposed was not in English. This is probably what is at the root of the current dispute, as we are probably all on the "same side, i.e. dedicated to constantly make Wikipedia better.

Let me also add that I was one of the key contributors of this article for several years, as it falls within my area of professional expertise, and that the discussions were then very animated, with lots of people contributing. I'm sad to observe that now these traditional editors seem to have flown away. Perhaps the type of superficial editing by a senior editor who seems to spent no more than 10 seconds considering a proposed edit before reverting it explains this desertion.

The problem also with Jmh649 is that, rather than addressing my explanations and arguments in a positive way, he seems to be systematically denigrating them, by either ignoring them or distorting them, and he replies now by throwing accusation such as that I am a WP:SPA editor (I explained that I am not) and that I try to WP:OWN the article. These are red herring arguments. I simply demand that my explanations be given due consideration. I have no problem accepting that my change be reverted if I am given a reason which is not simply based on the peremptory declaration of a contributor who (mis)uses his status of senior editor as giving him authority to change edits without the need to discuss the issue.

Dessources (talk) 16:18, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Since the dispute is about the removal of the reference, it would seem that the question is whether or not the paper in question is appropriate as a source for the sentence cited; as a review in a high impact journal, it clearly is a reliable source per MEDRS, and I see no compelling to remove it as a reference, and so would support returning the Tong and Glantz article as a reference. Whether or not it is "better" than another reference cited seems to be a pointless discussion. Yobol (talk) 18:21, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I have added my justification a number of times. The ref that I added in question is 1) a review article 2) was published in a very well known journal 3) is recent 4) specifically supports the content in question 5) was requested by a fellow editor 6) is freely accessible. If one does not like the look of too many blue links one can combine multiple sources into a single blue link. The first sentence of the abortion article for example is support by nearly 20 sources. Currently the sentence in question at the passive smoke article is supported by the final opinion of a judge and a paper published in Salud Publica Mex a journal I have never heard of which is also well a secondary source is not described as a review by pubmed. But this I have already explained. I have not removed Dessources refs thus I find the accusation of "reverting good faith edit" strange as it was in fact Dessources who has repeatedly removed my contribution.[21] I requested an outside opinion. WAID and now Yobol supports its inclusion thus I hope Dessources returns the content in question. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:51, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Doc, please see the NLM cat entry and the journal's about page. LeadSongDog come howl! 21:27, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

I have no issue with Circulation being a high impact journal and a reliable source, but, please, would it be possible for any of you to address my points specifically:

  • 1) The paper by Tong and Glantz addresses a different subject: how the tobacco industry tried to undermine the science on secondhand smoke (SHS) by creating a false controversy. I agree that it is a paper of high standard, and this is why I have left it as reference to the last sentence of the summary section, which says "the tobacco industry coordinated a scientific controversy with the aim of forestalling regulation of their products" since this matches quite well the subject of the paper. So the paper is not removed from the list of references.
  • 2) The Tong and Glantz paper is of low relevance as reference to support the assertion that "Currently, the health risks of secondhand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus," since its purpose is not to review such consensus. The paper makes only a brief reference to the scientific consensus in the first paragraph of its introduction.
  • 3) The main limitation of the Tong and Glantz paper is that it does not deal with the overall scientific consensus about the health effects of SHS, and therefore is inadequate as a source supportng the assertion that "the health risks of secondhand smoke are a matter of scientific consensus." It's important to note the plural in the word "risks". There is a wide range of risks, as can be seen in the Effect section of the article (see [22]), while the Tong and Glantz paper only provides a rather superficial review of the consensus related to one type of risk among them (namely the risk of CVD). The Tong and Glantz paper is particularly inappropriate in the summary section of the paper. It would be more suitable in the body of the article, in particular in its Evidence section, where it's not currently referenced.

This is why I proposed the Samet paper as replacement. I am surprised that such a small and simple improvement proposal is creating such resistance and animosity.

I don't want to mobilize the debate on this issue any further, and I will stop here my contribution and leave it to you to decide. Let me dispell one thought you may have - I have no hidden motivations. Actually, Glantz is one of my friends and I'm a great supporter of his work, but I have also a great deal of respect for Jonathan Samet. Both are key scientists in the field of tobacco control and public health.

Dessources (talk) 21:33, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Unless I'm missing something, CV risk is a type of risk, and as such, this source can be used with other sources to support the sentence in question. I see nothing inappropriate in its use here. As an aside, I note other publications like this may be equally useful, if not already cited in the article. Yobol (talk) 22:00, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Is there a problem with including both references, or something from the US Surgeon General/Institute of Medicine? It may not really be what anyone wants, or what's entirely best for the article (I haven't read it), but every minute saved here is a minute spent working on something more useful. NW (Talk) 22:09, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Dessources, I thought about explaining how your preferred article is not better, but it wasn't clear to me that you realized there were differing opinions on the point. Now that we've agreed that "it's better" is an opinion that is not widely held, let me answer your questions in more detail:

For better or worse (and you are entirely free to think that this is "worse"), the Wikipedia community has decided that a general or narrative review paper is a superior source compared to any non-review journal article. Thus, on this measurement, the Tong and Glantz review is "better than" the Salud Publica Mex non-review paper.

Neither of these papers are perfect. Tong and Glantz deals with one subset of risks (and thus must be combined with other sources to support the whole statement), and its primary focus is misbehavior by the tobacco industry. The Salud Publica Mex non-review is not a review, appears in a low-impact journal, and its primary focus is also misbehavior by the tobacco industry[1] and how to combat it in a single country. Tong and Glantz deals with scientific consensus briefly, but the Salud Publica Mex paper does not deal with it very extensively; it is largely contained in a single three-paragraph section.

Both papers have some different faults and some similar faults. As a result, it is not reasonable to say that one is better than the other overall: Each is better in some respects and worse in others.

However, in my opinion, both are good enough for nearly any reasonable purpose. We don't need to let the "best" be the enemy of the "good enough" here. There's no good reason for that sentence to be limited to a single citation. Two or three might well be better—and IMO there's no solid reason why both of these papers can't be in that list. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:09, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ See, e.g., the abstract: "This paper addresses industry tactics against tobacco discredit the scientific foundation for promoting smokefree environments, the efforts by the industry to propose ventilation of indoor spaces and separation of smokers from nonsmokers as an effective alternative to smokefree places, and finally, the strategy of raising fear of economic losses on the part of the hospitality industry and thereby gaining this sector as an ally in campaigning against smokefree policies are considered."

Many thanks, WhatamIdoing, this is very helpful. At last someone has addressed my points. This is what I have been asking for since the beginning, and my insistence was only motivated to have the discussion come down to such a substantive level. This is great progress. I agree with almost everything you say: both papers are not perfectly suited as references. Circulation has (unsurprisingly) a higher impact factor than Salud Publica Mex. We agree that the Samet paper covers the consensus in its whole (i.e w.r. to all risks) while Tong and Glantz only deal with one risk. We also agree that Samet goes into greater depth (more than you say, because his review of causality is also part of the review of the consensus - if the scientific community does not agree on causality, there cannot be a consensus). The last thing for which I would need clarification before we can agree 100% is your statement that "The Salud Publica Mex non-review is not a review". Could you clarify this statement, which puzzles me. What do you mean exactly and on what source do you base your assessment of the Mexican journal? Dessources (talk) 23:53, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

The journal itself doesn't classify it as a review. Click on PMID 18852940, and then on "publication types". Reviews are normally marked as such. You can see the difference by comparing it to PMID 17938301 (the Circulation article) or PMID 21243216 (another article on smoking in SPM). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:22, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
I am happy to see both journals cited. And have never removed the Salud Publica Mex ref. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:43, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, many thanks for taking the trouble of answering my question. Wikipedia editing is a two way street: it's not only contributing information to the encyclopedia, it's also, and foremost, a learning process, which I highly value - thus my apparent obstination with this minor issue. I am now satisfied that my points have been substantially and satisfactorily addressed.
Dessources (talk) 12:24, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

PMC link on article title

There is a discussion about whether or not this feature is desired with cite journal: Template_talk:Cite_journal#Recent_edit_to_remove_URL_generation_from_PMC_parameter. Jesanj (talk) 12:59, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Are Becker's Hospital Review lists worth including at hospital pages, and if so, how much weight is due?

Becker's Hospital Review seems to have nowhere the level of acceptance as U.S. News and World Report hospital rankings, so I'm of the opinion it's probably not worth including (until other reliable sources give us an independent assessment of its worth). I looked for such an assessment in newspaper archives and google scholar but came up empty. If we do include it I think giving it equal weight with U.S. News and World Report is undue. A google scholar search comparison of "Becker's Hospital Review" hospital rankings vs. "U.S. News & World Report" hospital rankings yields 1 hit from a random website vs. many hits in respected medical journals. Sure, some of those hits in medical journals could criticize U.S. News and World Report, but it appears nearly no one cares about Becker's to cite it. So how can we cite it without being undue? I had a previous discussion with a new editor (User talk:Tgoldst5) about this and I just saw this version of a hospital page, prompting this thread. I thought about posting this at WP:NPOVN but I decided to do it here. Thanks. Jesanj (talk) 14:59, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Gene-related articles

Editors who are interested in genetics may want to know about the partnership proposed at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#.22Gene_Wiki.22_partnership_with_an_academic_journal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:02, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Sounds very exciting! Thank you for the tip! NCurse work 09:42, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Article issues again over safety of use of mercury in Ayurvedic treatments

We could use some help at WP:FTN#Mercury is good for you, and other Ayurvedic nonsense splattered all over Wikipedia.. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 16:07, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Promotional edits for BAHA hearing adds

This user is adding a bunch of promotional material and continues despite being asked to use review articles. [23] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:39, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

The tone of the text feels promotional, but at least the refs are journal articles instead of a particular manufacturer's website or a human-interest story in a local newspaper.
I think you're going a bit overboard. Reviews and textbooks are often the best choice, but the fact is that we need adequate sources, not the best possible sources for fairly basic information. There is no rule that says people "must" use review articles.
There's also no rule that says refs must contain PMID numbers, or even that they have to be "correctly" formatted, and there is a definite rule that they are not required to use citation templates. If a newbie gets the format wrong, then just fix it for them. One of the reasons I'm here today is that Arcadian quietly and non-judgmentally cleaned up the mess I made with refs as a newbie.
Our coverage of hearing loss in associated conditions as almost as weak as our coverage of pregnancy in associated conditions. While this isn't "best", I think it does constitute a small improvement overall. I think we need to be more encouraging, perhaps by suggesting a particular review article, without telling the new editor that s/he is doing everything wrong. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:14, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Scholarship now open for applications

The poster

A scholarship for Canadian post secondary students is now open for applications. I have created a poster to advertise it. Wondering if those from Canada can place it around their respective Universities? Have also recently had published this paper [24] in an effort to get more of our colleagues involved. If this is effective we at Wikimedia Canada will hopefully look at branching out to other subject areas (other than medicine) and other countries / languages. Applications are found here [25] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:14, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

See also links at late termination of pregnancy

Eclipse of Reason is a relatively obscure pro-life polemical film about late-term abortion. Two editors believe that it should be linked as a "See also" from our article on late termination of pregnancy. I do not. We seem to be bogging down with fundamentally different interpretations of site policy, and I'm not convinced that the current talk-page participation represents a cross-section of neutral and informed opinion on the topic. So I would like to invite any outside views at Talk:Late termination of pregnancy#Eclipse of Reason, as this article is rated as High Importance to this WikiProject. MastCell Talk 04:27, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Leonard syndrome

This ring any bells with anyone? I googled it and can't find anything (but then I'm not that sort of Doctor...) --Cameron Scott (talk) 13:33, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Looks like a hoax -- somebody is tweaking a friend named Leonard. I have prodded it -- feel free to go for a speedy if you are so inclined. Looie496 (talk) 14:51, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps LEOPARD syndrome? ---My Core Competency is Competency (talk) 18:58, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Edits to viral articles

Would someone please have a look at these edits? [26] by User:Ce-boHemFe. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:16, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

A lot of them are minor edits and the only one thats weird is the change of genus name, which I think is supposed to be Filovirus and not Ebolavirus but im not entirely sure. Je.rrt (talk) 02:09, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
This user is making improvement just needs some guidance in Wikipedia formatting.--Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:45, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Good practice procedure for Wikipedia medicine articles

I am Kay Wesley, Global Director of an organisation called Complete Digital, part of Complete Medical Group Worldwide. We work with physicians, patients and pharmaceutical companies, many of whom are concerned about some of the medical information on Wikipedia because it can become out of date quickly due to advances in medical science.

I'm working with a group of stakeholders to try to figure out how we can responsibly update medicine articles (perhaps with industry sponsorship, even by employees of the industry) in a fair, balanced and transparent way, a bit like the process for peer-reviewed publications (except recognising that in Wikipedia's case the "peers" are anyone who would like to contribute). In other words a way to keep within the strict regulations of the industry and also within Wikipedia's own standards and guidelines, in the interests of providing higher quality and more up-to-date information for patients, physicians and everyone else.

If you'd like to help or contribute to this, or if you have any ideas or comments, please let me know here Pkwesley (talk) 08:08, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for offering to help improve Wikipedia. There's certainly a lot that could be done to improve Wikipedia's medical articles, and expert writers are badly needed. What areas would you work in? I'm guessing pharmaceutical therapies but perhaps wider than that? Are these "advances in medical science" new drugs that Wikipedia currently doesn't cover or cover in detail, or are they just any advances in medical science?
I'm concerned that if the focus is on adding new material on recent stuff that the existing text will not be improved to go with it. For example, a new drug is approved to treat X. Would your team help write the drug article? Would they help add to the treatment section in article X to say that this drug was approved? Or would they work on the whole treatment section of X to ensure it was an up-to-date and comprehensive text that mentioned the drug in proportion to its coverage and importance documented in reliable publications?
My second concern relates to the fact that Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia that should be sourced generally to secondary literature such as review articles, medical guidelines and professional books (See WP:MEDRS). A recent advance in medical science that was so new it is only documented in a primary research paper, the press release issued by the hospital/company, and some industry press, might be too new for Wikipedia. Since our editors are generally anonymous (or we don't trust they are who they say they are), Wikipedia editors aren't allowed to used their judgement as to the importance, notability and relevance of a fact/issue/opinion. So we rely on the published expert writings and opinion as sources and we wait for the experts to respond to medical advances in respected publications. Would this cause a problem? For example, your team shouldn't be trying to incorporate a press release into Wikipedia.
Many of our medical articles are uncomprehensive, poorly written, badly sourced or too hard for a lay reader to read. (There are some excellent ones too). Would your team be interested in fixing all these shortcomings, or just the "not up to date" aspect? I hope if you expand on the details of your offer, we'll see better how we can work together. -- Colin°Talk 12:40, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I share Colin's concern about WP:RECENTISM. Many articles are deficient not because they lack the very latest news but because they lack the very basic core information. Often, they started as stubs or copy&paste jobs from US Government health content, followed by the non-stop addition of one "novel treatment" or "breakthrough" after another. When I try to improve an article, I often find that the historical and epidemiological aspects are very poorly treated.
In other words, your initiative is welcomed, but we would expect your writers to make a commitment to avoid WP:WEIGHT and ensure that articles remain true to the standard outline (WP:MEDMOS is the relevant guideline), avoid "news-type" coverage, remain readable for the general public, retain appopriate focus on non-pharmacological treatments (e.g. where lifestyle modificaiton is often advised) etc.
Kindly keep us updated about your group's intentions. JFW | T@lk 15:09, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Second the comments and concerns of the two above and welcome the group thinking of getting involved. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:49, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments and I agree completely. Perhaps I did not explain well enough that indeed our primary concern is the quality of many of the drug articles and the fact that they often do not adhere to the standard of a good quality encyclopaedia - as you say even the basic, core information is often deficient. The procedure we plan to use is one that we will make available of course and anyone can follow it if they wish, but our own organisation has a great many highly-qualified medical writers (medics, pharmacists, biochemists etc) across most therapy areas who are very experienced in research and writing balanced, factual articles. We commit to follow the standard outline and all the guidance mentioned, including the consideration about recency of information. Indeed we will refer to these standards in our procedure. Pkwesley (talk) 11:25, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

This is an encouraging response. What's your timeframe and state of development of this proposal? Would you be interested in developing your procedure on-wiki? There are quite few external organisations that run projects on Wikipedia (such as schools) and they arrange their own set of pages with their plans, procedures, members and achievements. The advantage is that you can get feedback from Wikipedian's, easily link to policies and guidelines, and the whole business is transparent. There's a lot to pick up and bit of a mindset shift to make when moving from professional or academic writing to writing on WP. I'm sure the Medicine project members would be willing to help mentor or be available to answer questions and review edits. Another suggestion is to pick a neglected article to work on to get to Good Article status or even Featured Article. Then this can be used as an example to follow, as well as providing a reward to those involved. -- Colin°Talk 13:35, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
You'll want to read WP:MEDCOI. You might also like to look over Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Google Project, a previous group that attempted to review and improve some articles.
Also, it might be helpful if you "warn" your group about some of our quirks: We like good-quality systematic reviews, narrative reviews, and graduate-level text books from the last five or ten years better than patient-oriented websites or manufacturer's publications. We aren't a drug formulary, so laundry lists of side effects aren't desirable. We're international, so "the FDA approved exactly this" isn't the sole scope of our information. Our "audience" is something closer to a bored undergraduate student than a patient, so we don't insist that the prose be intelligible to 12 year olds, although it's best if at least the introductory material be understandable by as many people as possible.
There are also problems: Removing information about adverse effects, even if truly justified (e.g., based solely on a local newspaper story about an alleged case), can provoke a backlash. Telling people that you work in the industry—which we officially encourage—can result in time-wasting complaints about conflicts of interest. Experts are not automatically accorded respect.
I say this only because I want any good-faith improvement project to be successful, and if they can step over these pitfalls, they'll have a more pleasant experience. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:38, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
For the WikiProject Pharmacology, I too would like to thank you for your offer. I can only endorse what the fellow editors from the WikiProject Medicine have said above. --ἀνυπόδητος (talk) 13:31, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Restricted growth

I'm going through filling in redirects for topics that are already covered by Wikipedia articles, but called by other names elsewhere. The term "restricted growth" seems to me to used solely to mean dwarfism (for example, see the Restricted Growth Association). Since this is a potentially-sensitive subject, I wanted to double-check here before making a redirect from one to the other. Does this seem to be a legitimate redirect? Are there any other potential meanings I'm missing? -- The Anome (talk) 13:51, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm unfortunately not answering your question, but anamnestic response is another red link that could use a redirect. It seems like a fairly basic concept in immunology, so I guess I'm surprised we don't have an article on it, but it should at least be a rediect. SDY (talk) 16:44, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Ingrown nail

My apologies if this is the wrong place to ask, but I was wondering about the Management section of the Ingrown nail article. Except for the surgery subsection, it looks to me like an unsourced how-to/opinion, but I didn't want to go and chop off a third of the article without getting a second opinion on this. - SudoGhost 08:11, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Agree needs work. Will look at it again at some point.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:39, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Fixed. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:17, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Some eyes please

Can you some watch list Occupational therapy, Allied health professions and Speech language pathology? User:Physiogod1 (perhaps earlier also as an IP) has been editing to include unsourced opinion about how physio is the "King of the Hill" and various other professions are "'non-important'." Sample [27]. Somr pages don't appear to be much watched. --Slp1 (talk) 12:06, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Article Re cancer information on Wikipedia

Not sure if anyone has seen this[28] yet....may be of interest.

  • "Conclusion: Although the wiki resource had similar accuracy and depth as the professionally edited database, it was significantly less readable. Further research is required to assess how this influences patients' understanding and retention."

The full text can be accessed under 'external links' here: [29]
Puhlaa (talk) 17:34, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes it did not take into account our blue links. Thus I do not consider the reading levels they came out with to be accurate.--Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:38, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
They did comment on the blue links: "An important distinction is that whereas the PDQ hypertext linked to a dictionary written in plain English, the Wikipedia hypertext most often linked to highly technical articles". Per, WP:NOT PAPERS our articles should not be relying on wikilinks to help the reader follow the text -- they are added-value should the reader want to grow their understanding of an unfamiliar term. The "hard to read" criticism is common and I don't dispute it. We're not aiming for patient-information-leaflet levels of basic English (we have another Wikipedia for that) but "could do better" is a fair assessment IMO.
I'm puzzled at their method for assessing how up-to-date the articles are. They say "We noted whether the relevant Web sites referred to the results of the 10 most recent clinical trial manuscripts of solid tumors in adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine (April 2011 to February 2011). This assessment was performed in mid-February 2011." I assume there's a typo in there. But it works on the assumption that we're the news and that all clinical trials in one major journal are potentially of encyclopaedic note. Colin°Talk 18:09, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Publications are often available several months in advance. The full text of PMID 21904682 is available today, but it's scheduled for official publication in 2012.
I think they are correct about the reading level. Unlike professionally edited patient-oriented sources, we do not dumb down our prose to make it accessible to 12 year olds. I agree with Colin that we shouldn't aim for that level, but we clearly could do better. For example, many of these pages use the technical term renal when kidney would be perfectly adequate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:44, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
This is precisely the area where non-expert editors are most useful - it's easy to overlook high level terminology when it's part of the everyday vocabulary of the expert. Yobol (talk) 23:05, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

(undent) That we've never established a target audience makes it hard for anyone to say something is "too technical." One idea, just from a [[WP:MED}] standpoint, is maybe to set a target readability based on the importance of the article, where top importance articles are required to avoid technical discussions and complicated technical discussions would go into the lower priority articles, which would be allowed to be progressively more technical. The cancer article is frighteningly technical, and the "big picture overview" should be accessible to teenagers. For example, describing a symptom as "not diagnostic" means very little to your average reader. Articles on angiogenesis and such can be more technical, BRCA1 and p53 should have an accessible lead but making the rest readable to a layperson is lower priority. SDY (talk) 23:28, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree that this is exactly what we should be trying to do. Have an overview and than deal with complicated issues in subarticles. This has been do to some extent at schizophrenia but there is currently a lack of volunteers.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:47, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't think importance is a useful measure of required accessibility. There are lots of low importance articles (for example, rare diseases or third-line drugs) that have no reason to differ in readability from high importance articles (common diseases or the top 10 drugs). The medical articles, that this project deals with -- diseases, therapies, procedures, etc -- can be made quite readable to the general reader. I'm glad that this project values making that effort and we should be proud that our best articles can be read by anyone, not just physicians or researchers. But I agree with SDY that once you start looking at things at the cellular, chemical or genetic level, then it becomes much harder to balance being comprehensive with being widely accessible. The WP:TECHNICAL guideline offers some advice. Colin°Talk 08:05, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I think SDY's proposal works on the upper end of the scale: There is basically no excuse for our top-importance articles to be unintelligible to a teenager. A paragraph here or there may be very technical, but overall, they ought to be accessible because they are chosen to be basic subjects. It's just that some low-priority articles, especially about rare diseases and medical equipment, could likely be made equally accessible.
(Speaking of our top-importance articles, if a couple of you would keep an eye on that category, it would be helpful. We occasionally see the most unreasonable entries in it, as somebody decides to use the rating as a kind of "fan vote". And our target is to be close to 100 entries, so if you see something important missing, like a major cause of death or disability, then please suggest it at WT:MEDA.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:58, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

UK person wanted

Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is not therapy#Questions appears to have an person who believes that Wikipedia is legally obligated under UK law to quietly suffer any level of disruption, if banning the disruptive user has the potential to cause the user significant psychiatric harm. Perhaps someone who knows more about UK law would like to take over the discussion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:43, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Great hypothetical discussion. I've given some hypothetical answers. Suicide by Wikipedia anyone? JFW | T@lk 22:22, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I assume that they are joking? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:00, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Injury lawyer troll. Axl ¤ [Talk] 23:46, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
That dude is making my mental health worse. I can haz lawsuit? MastCell Talk 23:51, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps we can make it a class action. Kidding aside, the craziest thing I heard is - an engineer in Germany suing the parents of someone that committed suicide for mental anguish.(Google translated)(Original) Nephron  T|C 03:12, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

AfD pointer: Dermatome (embryology)

Let me give a pointer to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Dermatome (embryology), which could use more input from people who actually know what a dermatome is. Looie496 (talk) 05:00, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

External links

Summary of points in favor of and against MedMerits as an EL (through 16 Sept 2011)

Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC) This subsection presents the essential elements of the discussion through 16 Sept 2011 (numbered for ease of reference). The next subsection is intended for subsequent comments. The complete discussion follows thereafter if anyone wants details. Please comment—preferably below, under “Discussion after 16 Sept 2011.” (There is nothing to my knowledge in WP policies and practices that precludes acceptance of MedMerits. If you know of any, please provide specific references or quotes. General statements about limiting the number of ELs do not in themselves have bearing on a specific case. Each valid instance should be judged on its merits and in comparison with competing ELs and prevalent practices.)

Points in favor of adding MedMerits as an EL

  1. The articles on the MedMerits website are authoritative and validated.
  2. MedMerits brings restricted clinical articles into the public arena.
  3. MedMerits is a free web resource, providing comprehensive coverage of a large variety of neurologic disorders.
  4. MedMerits offers information not available in WP nor in eMedicine or GeneReviews, two similar resources which are featured in infoboxes in many WP neurologic articles.
  5. “The site seems to be accessible and stable, has more detail than we would want if our articles achieved FA status, yet the content is encyclopedic.
  6. “I'm glad this commercial site is willing to provide the content to the world….”
  7. “The KD [Ketogenic diet] article is certainly comprehensive. Possibly too comprehensive in places…”
  8. “The epilepsy article I saw was writen by a well known expert.”
  9. “Ok so they buy the text in, but it isn't available on the original site (MedLink) for free.”
  10. “[I] would find it useful when writing….”
  11. “The eMedicine links are varied in quality…. This new site is certainly better than most of those links [other ELs currently in infoboxes in neurologic articles].”
  12. “MedMerits is the only free encyclopedic secondary source for neurologic disorders.”
  13. “MedMerits uniquely provides both physicians and the lay public with free access to clinical information on neurologic disorders written for physicians.

Points against adding MedMerits as an EL

  1. “[It is a] website that is not maintained by a large representative or professional organisation.”
  2. “[It] Buys its content elsewhere.”
  3. “I would prefer to see those interested in improving the quality of information available to the public come improve Wikipedia's content rather than using use to drive traffic to their own site.”
  4. “IMO all external links not to major organizational statements should occur within DMOZ.”
  5. “…anyone related to the organisation is strongly advised not to add links per WP:COI and WP:ADV.”
  6. “I am cautious about adding further external links across the board without full analysis of the site.”
  7. “We are looking for people to improve Wikipedia not one to turn us into a collection of external links.”
  8. New and has not stood the test of time.

Discussion after 16 Sept 2011

Please provide reasons why external links to MedMerits should or should not be accepted or comment on the previously stated points. Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

  • I don’t think there is a conflict-of-interest issue here. I have proposed that MedMerits be accepted as an EL and disclosed that I have a connection to the company. I hope that’s acceptable, especially as there is no reason why any other editor would know about it. MedMerits is a new company, and it just launched its public content at the end of July 2011. I just brought the news and made a proposal for discussion. The community will decide. But I do believe that EL’s to it would serve editors and the public well. Please express yourself and help spread the word to anyone who has written or edited clinical articles, so they are aware of this discussion and can give their input. Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Nobody wants to turn WP into a collection of external links. However, well chosen ELs are of great help to editors, professionals, and the general public. The question before us is whether MedMerits is desirable as an EL or not. Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Whether ELs drive traffic to a commercial site should not be a consideration. The accessibility, legitimacy, and desirability of the information on the site should be decisive. Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I've been reading up on this issue, looked at MedMerits website,
      • I do agree with the statement "Whether EL's drive traffic to a commercial site should not be a consideration", in all frankness i would question the "commercial" character of Medmerits - from a point of view of a general public user, that doesn't imply anything about the mode of operation (cq business model) that might be driving the site: for a user this site provides free information, that is information I don't have to pay for.
      • I do agree with the statement that "there is no conflict-of-interest issue here"
      • As the MedMerits material is copyrighted, I cannot be included in wikipedia, The only way to make it available is through referencing and external linking.
      • The information provided is authorative, and of high scientific content.
    • Considering the above arguments I feel that I support the fact that MedMerits qualifies as a valid EL, and certainly as a source of referencing.
    • It might be a suggestion that MedMerits, after disussions with the Wikipedia-community drafts a statement which clarifies how Medmerits and Wikipedia agree on the use of MedMerits material : on how to quote, reference, and linking to individual articles on the the Medmerits site. upon mutual agreeement that statement could be published on the Medmerits site under "About", and any editor could check how he should use the material. --DerekvG (talk) 11:56, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

The whole issue is utterly boring. You are bloating the talkpage with a discussion that very few people are interested in. I would like Presto54 to stop wasting our time; you are by far the most persistent of the "external links warriors" who turn up here from time to time.

We are here to write useful content, not direct people to other resources. Encyclopedia articles are meant to be self-contained. If you need to go elsewhere to get a comprehensive view, then obviously the article itself is flawed and needs improving. Why should we direct to MedMerits and not to recent peer-reviewed reviews in mainstream journals, which are by far more authoritative in the end of the day. JFW | T@lk 12:27, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Indeed, why should we direct to MedMerits, {{eMedicine}}, {{DiseasesDB}}, etc? What's the difference? — John Harvey, Wizened Web Wizard Wannabe, Talk to me! 15:49, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Now that you've mentioned it, these are established and widely respected reference tools (more than just "additional information"). eMedicine and DiseasesDB (and indeed OMIM, GeneReviews etc) have never been controversial because nobody doubts their additional value. With regards to external links, I am a longterm skeptic of endless external linkage; long external link sections rarely add anything to a good article. JFW | T@lk 20:16, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Presto54 has solicited my opinion by leaving a message on my talk page. I think that the quality of the articles on the site merits its consideration, once the site has been up for a few years and has become a routine reference for lay people as well as physicians. If the free content has been online only since July this year, it is clearly far too early to have such a discussion. Neurotip (talk) 16:35, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

  • There is indeed conflict of interest. The site is new and has not stood the test of time. Thus I oppose its addition. Come back in a few years.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:32, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Generally speaking, if you are connected to a website, then promoting links to it is considered a conflict of interest on Wikipedia. A good external link, by definition, provides more information than the article ought to, not just more than it currently does. (See WP:ELNO#EL1 for the official rule.) OMIM and GeneReviews always do this; eMedicine sometimes does. I suspect that MedMerits falls into this second category.
    Presto, I think you might want to read WP:ELBURDEN and think about its implications. Anyone who wants to add a link needs to be winning friends and influencing people, not irritating them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:50, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I would agree the there is a COI here, though I am somewhat conflicted on the issue of linking to articles there. Perhaps using it a source to build our articles would be the better option. Ronk01 talk 13:25, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Presto54 also solicited my opinion, and I want to know why we are having such an in-depth discussion about EL regarding a small medical website owned by a private company focused only on neurology and neurological disorders. Also, I have not heard this discussed in professional circles as a trusted source of information for research or by clinicians that I have worked with so I agree with Doc James. It needs to grow or just survive in its niche, but not be used for our purposes. I oppose its addition as well. WiiAlbanyGirl (talk) 01:01, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Since Presto54 asked for my opinion, it is not clear that the material on this site is a "unique resource beyond what the article would contain." If the provenance/quality of the information is verifiable it might be useful as a source. I am not clear how valuable it is to link directly to what is essentially another encyclopedia entry on the same topic. I think that using an intermediary directory would make more sense. Zodon (talk) 22:16, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Original proposal to add new external link (short version)

Presto54 (talk) 22:46, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Here are the principal assertions I made in my longer message in the next subsection. The longer version of my query provides supporting statements and links.

  1. The information provided on the MedMerits website is verbatim the same as that offered on a restricted website, which is accredited by the ACCME, the principal national CME accreditation organization in the US.
  2. MedMerits is pioneering a business model that brings restricted medical information written for physicians into the public arena.
  3. MedMerits uniquely offers open access to comprehensive information on hundreds of neurologic disorders on a single website.
  4. In each general area it covers, MedMerits offers information not available in Wikipedia or in two sources of the same genre as MedMerits that are prominently featured in Wikipedia (eMedicine and GeneReviews).

Original proposal to add new external link (with supporting statements/links)

I am posting this request on the suggestion of Doc James. I am a board certified neurologist and an unpaid advisor to MedMerits, without any actual, contingent, or promised ownership stake in the company.


To determine if there is a consensus whether Wikipedia users would be better served by inclusion of external links to MedMerits where appropriate or whether they would be better served by excluding such links. (Reasons to keep out external links to Medmerits might include the following: it is not a reliable source; it doesn't add substantially to what is already available in Wikipedia; it is redundant and inferior to existing external links; or it is not sufficiently differentiated from other external sources, so that if it were included, too many other sources would have to be included as well, thereby diminishing users' ability to spot the most authoritative sources.)


MedMerits was founded in 2010, initially as a closed site available only to qualified physicians. It currently has about 2,500 physician users in Canada and the US. MedMerits launched freely accessible public pages providing the public with free access to about 500 articles on a large variety of neurologic disorders. MedMerits licenses its content from MedLink, which is an ACCME accredited provider of CME. MedLink offers CME credits to its subscribers for accessing its website for educational research.

Having access to authoritative information developed pricipally for neurologists, MedMerits offers comprehensive information on neurologic disorders in hundreds of clinical articles, in a depth that is not matched elsewhere on a freely accessible website, including Wikipedia and two websites that are prominently featured in Wikipedia, eMedicine and GeneReviews, two resources of the same genre as MedMerits.

Judge for yourself

I invite you to judge for yourself. Take Multiple sclerosis, for example, as it is one of the strongest neurologic entries in Wikipedia and its sister article, Multiple sclerosis signs and symptoms, and compare them to Multiple sclerosis in MedMerits. The Wikipedia articles merely cover the highlights of MS symptoms, whereas the clinical manifestations alone of the MedMerits article has a word count of nearly 7,000; in addition, MedMerits offers a full-length article on fatigue in MS, another full-length article on the neurobehavioral aspects of MS, and yet another full-length article on the management of MS symptoms. The Wikipedia article has no differential diagnosis section, whereas the MedMerits article has an extensive and annotated list. The Wikipedia article barely mentions MS and pregnancy, whereas the MedMerits article has an entire page on this subject. The Wikipedia article does not mention considerations for MS patients who have to undergo general anesthesia or electrode implantation to control abnormal movements, whereas the MedMerits article offers a paragraph.

MedMerits also covers MS-related conditions not covered or barely mentioned in Wikipedia. For example, there are a few sentences on the clinically isolated syndrome in the Wikipedia MS article, which links to what is hardly more extensive than a stub under that heading. By contrast, MedMerits has a full-length article on that subject. The Wikipedia MS article mentions Balo concentric sclerosis in passing, but MedMerits has a full-length article on it. Again, Wikipedia has a separate entry on this subject that is hardly more extensive than a stub. The Wikipedia MS article does not mention tumefactive MS at all, whereas, again, MedMerits has a full-length article. (Wikipedia does have an entry for tumefactive MS but it’s a stub and labeled as such.) To get a broader overview of the coverage of MS in MedMerits, please visit the MedMerits Multiple Sclerosis Center.

This pattern is repeated in all areas covered by MedMerits. I don't mean to be critical of Wikipedia by these comparisons. On the contrary, Wikipedia is usually the starting point for my own research for subjects not in my field of expertise. However, we have to concede that Wikipedia has greater limits than specialized works, leaving the more inquisitive and intellectually capable readers yearning for more. I see MedMerits as the kind of resource I would like to see when I research any subject. In fact, two similar resources are shown prominently in Wikipedia (above).

The availability of links to eMedicine and GeneReviews in Wikipedia should not preclude MedMerits as a suitable target for further research, as MedMerits is similarly complementary to them and, more often than not, exceeds their coverage in the general areas it covers. If you compare MedMerits with eMedicine, you will find that MedMerits articles have far greater depth and much broader coverage (of neurologic disorders) than eMedicine. GeneReviews partially overlaps the content area covered by MedMerits. However, MedMerits covers many other neurologic disorders as well, appropriately not included in GeneReviews.

In addition to its premium clinical articles, the MedMerits website offers an array of neurologic information resources (eg, Community forums, external links, context-specific news, expert analysis of key journal articles) adding further value for Wikipedia users.


There is no freely accessible resource on the web that offers as much as MedMerits to the general public and physicians in the area of neurologic disorders. It is therefore an unusual and highly suitable target for research on such disorders. Wikipedia already includes external links to eMedicine and GeneReviews, which are of the same genre as MedMerits and not redundant with it. MedMerits licenses its information from MedLink Neurology, an authoritative, ACCME accredited, fee-based resource with a distinguished slate of authors and editorial board. (Click on About MedLink Neurology in the menu). MedLink Neurology is cited in 16 independent Wikipedia articles. Neurologists worldwide pay subscription fees of 400 USD for accessing MedLink Neurology. A large subset of the same information is now available to the public for free at MedMerits. Rather than looking at MedMerits as weak for licensing its information, it should be viewed as pioneering a way to bring premium medical information into the public arena. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration. Presto54 (talk) 01:48, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Original community discussion (through 16 Sept 2011)

Note that I moved the following three comments from the top of this section to this location to improve the layout of the section. They were the initial comments in this section. Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

I see lot of external links and removed them. What do people think about this one? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:13, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

An "information", "news" and "community" website that is not maintained by a large representative or professional organisation. Buys its content elsewhere. Ticks my boxes as being unsuitable. JFW | T@lk 12:39, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Although I'm not sure not sure if MedMerits would be of interest to Wikipedia readers, I can tell you that it is used by just about every neurology resident in the US.

. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

WP:TLDR. JFW | T@lk 11:08, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
The foregoing comment was made on the original "long" version of the proposal (below) Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I added a short version ahead of the long version. Presto54 (talk) 22:51, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with JFW that this post could be shorter. However, I've (quickly) read through the MedMerits article on the ketogenic diet and browsed their coverage of epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis, to pick a few examples I'm familiar with. The KD article is certainly comprehensive. Possibly too comprehensive in places (the relative importance of some details isn't necessarily reflected by their coverage). It drops the clanger about Jesus recommending that people with epilepsy should fast (ask me if you are interested) but otherwise looked good up to about 2008. Although MedMerits is aimed at making professional information available to non-professionals, the articles aren't rewritten, so they aren't particularly lay-friendly and in places come across as lecturing the physician on how to do his or her job. The epilepsy article I saw was writen by a well known expert. Ok so they buy the text in, but it isn't available on the original site (MedLink) for free. I'm tempted to add it as an EL myself and would find it useful when writing (though I don't know if I'd use it as a source). What a shame the list of references at the end of the article had no hyperlinks.
However, this discussion raises the issue of our rather automatic inclusion of external links in disease/disorder infoboxes. I've always felt these tend to bypass the WP:EL policy scrutiny because they are not in the appropriate section at the end. Perhaps we should start a discussion on those. Anyone interested in looking into that issue with me? Colin°Talk 12:21, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
What's your vision for this project? Presto54 (talk) 02:22, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
You mean the two link we provide in the disease box? One to pubmed and the other to emedicine? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:21, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for continuing to think about this. It was eMedicine and GeneReviews that I mentioned, but yes, in the info box near the top of the page. Presto54 (talk) 01:10, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Support with some reluctance. Though I find off-putting the verbose presentation here, my reading of the external links policy provides only support for this. The site seems to be accessible and stable, has more detail than we would want if our articles achieved FA status, yet the content is encyclopedic. I'm glad this commercial site is willing to provide the content to the world, and I hope it's a long-term situation. We've already been burned by Dorlands/Merck Manual, so there are some raw nerves when it comes to commercial-but-free ELs. -- Scray (talk) 23:21, 5 September 2011 (UTC) I moved the foregoing comment and the reply (next comment) to this position in order to consolidate comments.
Thanks for your support but cut me some slack on the verbosity. I'm new to this game and didn't understand my audience. Presto54 (talk) 02:48, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
We link to at least six sites (ICD-9, ICD-10, OMIM, DiseaseDB, MedlinePlus, eMedicine (often multiple times), MeSH. The MedlinePlus link is probably the least likely to survive WP:EL scrutiny as the information there is certainly inferior to what an FA should contain. The eMedicine links are varied in quality and we over use them uncritically. That site carries adverts. OMIM, where relevant, appears to be a valid EL. I'm not sure the ICD and MeSH links meet WP:EL even if some researchers might find them useful (useful isn't a valid EL quality). This new site is certainly better than most of those links. Colin°Talk 07:59, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments and support. The ELs you mention (and others) link to different kinds of resources. eMedicine and GeneReviews are secondary sources that provide overviews suitable for physicians but comprehensible by many laymen. MedMerits falls into this category. eMedicine tends to be rather superficial and, as far as I know, has no professional review process. GeneReviews is great but limited in scope to genetic disorders. OMIM is great for genetic disease nomenclature, technical genetic information, and brief summaries of key research reports tracing the evolution of knowledge of the target disorder, including clinical features. It's scope is limited to genetic diseases, but it covers them all. MedMerits is the only free encyclopedic secondary source for neurologic disorders. MedlinePlus is an authoritative compendium of medical disorders and related topics for laymen. ICD, Diseases DB, Open Directory (dmoz), PubMed, MeSH are very useful directories. PubMed, of course, also has abstracts of primary publications. Advertising by itself should not automatically disqualify an information resource. That's the only way a free commercial site can survive. We benefit a great deal from commercial medical publishers and many are scrupulous in putting out valid information without biased statements or biased omissions. Presto54 (talk) 16:00, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Direct hyperlinks to cited publications and abstracts are coming. MedMerits uniquely provides both physicians and the lay public with free access to clinical information on neurologic disorders written for physicians. There are plenty of sources for information written expressly for the the lay public but they are insufficient for people desiring comprehensive information. Re-writing technical articles is problematic (eg, cost, scarcity of expertise combined with writing ability, keeping up with updates). MedMerits is a secondary source. It offers informative overviews, but I agree with you that writers should check and cite the primary sources provided in MedMerits and perform additional literature searches and literature reviews before writing their own articles. That's precisely the rationale to include MedMerits as an external link rather than an in line citation. Presto54 (talk) 22:31, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

I would prefer to see those interested in improving the quality of information available to the public come improve Wikipedia's content rather than using use to drive traffic to their own site. IMO all external links not to major organizational statements should occur within DMOZ.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:24, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

If I were to become quite diligent contributor to Wikipedia, it would hardly make a dent. Of course, all those little dents do add up. But even concerted effort by hundreds of part-time volunteers would take years to render MedMerits superfluous, and I have my doubts that they would ever get to that point and then keep what they actually completed up to date. The practical question for now is whether Wikipedia users are better off with a high-quality external link that is central to their immediate need or would they be better off without such a link? MedMerits is de facto a publisher of mainstream medical information. So what, if it happens to gain by getting referrals from Wikipedia? It's giving plenty back to the public in return. And one more user will be happy to have been satisfied by coming to Wikipedia instead of running into what might seem like a dead end if their question is unanswered. DMOZ is great for people searching through that pathway, but if MedMerits is the ideal target for a user reading a particular article or it's among the top 3 or 5, why exclude it? Presto54 (talk) 01:10, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
DMOZ is hopeless. I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to look up medical links via that. You're better off with Google. While we have an WP:EL policy that allows a restricted set of links, we need to judge any medical site according to policy, not according to our own individual preferences. This site meets WP:EL as far as I can see. However anyone related to the organisation is strongly advised not to add links per WP:COI and WP:ADV and as James says, adding content is far more beneficial to WP than adding links. Most of us hardly make a dent too. Colin°Talk 07:59, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Are they mutually exclusive? Does the ideal of promoting contributions to Wikipedia preclude placement of ELs to valid sites that extend Wikipedia's reach? Presto54 (talk) 04:23, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

This is a great paper on the topic of external links in general. [30] I am cautious about adding further external links across the board without full analysis of the site. Here is a list of topics MedMerits includes [31]. We are looking for people to improve Wikipedia not one to turn us into a collection of external links. We have had a couple of editors attempt to add these. [32] This proposal might be good as a WP:RfC to get broader input. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:23, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

It would be helpful to separate the immediate issue of whether MedMerits should be accepted as a legitimate target for ELs in appropriate Wikipedia articles on neurologic topics from the broader issues you raise, which have wide ranging policy implications and therefore not likely to be resolved anytime soon. As this forum appears to be the ideal place to have this discussion, I hope that other interested parties will express their opinions over the weekend. Short of that, I hope that you will consider the arguments I made and the opinions that others have voiced and reverse your position on MedMerits. Presto54 (talk) 07:02, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Please make additional comments above in section, "Discussion after 16 Sept 2011" Presto54 (talk) 04:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Motion to close

I don't see this going anywhere. While some users have been sympathetic to the specific hypothetical situations, it appears that the consensus is that this content is not anything that would be absent from an FA-class wikipedia article, which is WP:ELNO's first criterion. SDY (talk) 15:10, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

I disagree strongly with the summary. There is content on that site that meets WP:EL and contains material that would be absent from any FA-class WP article. Nothing hypothetical about it. I haven't seen any policy-based arguments against having ELs to this site in principle. Just personal opinion. Some of the pages on the site may fall below WP:EL but that's probably true of many. Indeed, this discussion has raised this issue of the current set of external links we almost automatically add to info boxes without much consideration. Many of them fall far below EL. We should be aiming to do better than MedlinePlus for a start. The conclusion should be that editors can add links to this site, as with any reputable site, but only when the value of the link for a given article has been assessed -- never automatically. Much of the hostility towards adding the links seems to be related to the COI of the editor adding them. We already have guidelines/policy that effectively prevents folk adding links to sites they are involved with. Colin°Talk 16:01, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
There are some broader WP:WAX issues that really could be addressed, but I guess I'm not seeing what this "material that would be absent from any FA-class WP" article would be. Medical advice, I guess? Honestly, I think we should be very reserved about intentionally linking medical advice. SDY (talk) 16:11, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I think this whole discussion is problematic. Presto54 seems to be wanting sanction to widely add external links to a website he is involved with. Both Doc James and JFW's arguments are essentially that we're not in the business of adding external links. These two polarised opinions will not meet. What will not come out of this discussion is a change to policy banning external links from medical articles, nor approval from the project to add links to all/many of our articles that have corresponding pages on the MedMerits site.
Generally, the material I've seen on that site is very good. The level of comprehensiveness varies and ranges from below, to matching, to greatly exceeding the level we'd have at FA. In that regard, I don't see it any different to eMedicine. Arguments that eMedicine have been around a while and this one hasn't are really not relevant. eMedicine has a significant problem in that if I use the search box then I'm requested to register (for free) which is disallowed per WP:ELREG but fortunately the actual linked-to articles don't suffer from this (at present). MedlinePlus articles are always inferior to FA and are often at the patient-information-leaflet level. A saving point for MedlinePlus IMO is that their topic pages (linked to from their encyclopaedia pages) offer a good range of external links. That resource is much better than DMOZ, which I'm surprised is still going because it is awful.
External links should always be added with per-article per-link considerations. The disease-disorder info box encourages over linking and could do with trimming. But that's an argument for another day. Colin°Talk 19:25, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Looking at the MS article on MedMerits in more detail it is fairly comprehensive. My question is how many pages is the proposer wishing to at MedMerits too? Adding this EL just to have them disappear is a concern but not one mentioned in policy.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:47, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

National Programme for IT (UK) cancelled

Daily Mail (a major UK tabloid) had as front story today that £12billion NHS IT scheme scrapped today. As The Guardian pointed out, this old news from 9th September (UK docs will be familiar with accuracy & impartiality of Daily Mail on health issues), but it is true that remaining software systems (not clear to me quite which bits) are being cancelled, with established systems on the hardware infrastructure to remain... and oh yes, no significant saving on that £12billion spent. I've updated lead on NHS Connecting for Health but this will need a major section within the article.

With previous government's spin on this, and the bland marketing claims of the involved contractors seemingly being divorced from any practical reality, does anyone have any meaningful understanding of this "biggest civilian IT programme of its kind in the world" ? David Ruben Talk 18:48, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

All I know is we have seen some poor health IT choices here in Canada. Seems to be a global issue.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:42, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Andrew Wakefield

There's clearly been some off-wiki event that is causing IPs and others to try to cleans the Wakefield article of strongly negative adjectives. Please watchlist. Any admins reading this: I think semi-protection might be in order. Colin°Talk 20:11, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

It seems Michele Bachmann made a statement implying the HPV vaccine had caused "mental retardation". It's become a political talking point in the Republican race. LeadSongDog come howl! 00:56, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Caffeine FAR

I have nominated Caffeine for a featured article review here. Please join the discussion on whether this article meets featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Delist" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here.Doc James (talk · contribs ·email) 07:52, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

BMJ article: Speed of updating online evidence based point of care summaries

Dear all,

Just read this article:

If anyone has time (not me anyways; and has access to ACP JournalClub and other source), it could be very interesting to copy their methodology and compare Wikipedia for speed of updating againt Dynamed, UpToDate, eMedicine etc. as mentioned in this article, e.g. in a Rapid Response/Letter to the Editor

cheers, --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 18:42, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

New revelations regarding XMRV, showing that tests are unreliable, and a partial retraction of Lombardi et al. (Science 2009)

A large amount of relevant history (regarding XMRV) is summarized in this extensive commentary (published 23 Sept 2011), including:

  1. a peer-reviewed article in Science, by nine laboratories including the main proponents of the XMRV-CFS link, stating prominently that "These results indicate that current assays do not reproducibly detect XMRV/MLV in blood samples and that blood donor screening is not warranted"
  2. a partial retraction by Silverman and Das Gupta (of the Cleveland Clinic) in which they report that "some of the CFS peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) DNA preparations are contaminated with XMRV plasmid DNA" (referring to the Lombardi paper from Oct 2009 Science). Specifically, they state that "The following figures and table were based on the contaminated data: Figure 1, single-round PCR detection of XMRV sequences in CFS PBMC DNA samples; table S1, XMRV sequences previously attributed to CFS patients; and figure S2, the phylogenetic analysis of those sequences. Therefore, we are retracting those figures and table."

This information has relevance for a number of the articles of interest to WPMED, including XMRV, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Whittemore Peterson Institute. I am posting here because I might overlook some, and more eyes will be helpful. There are still some strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but the scientific consensus seems clear - XMRV, and MLV-like viruses, have not been shown to be linked convincingly to CFS, prostate cancer, or any other disease; in addition, contamination with XMRV and related sequences has occurred in the course of investigating these putative links. -- Scray (talk) 19:44, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up. Reinforcing once again why we should generally avoid using primary research.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:07, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Finally, this nonsense is going to be wrapped up. JFW | T@lk 10:30, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Health disasters by year categories proposed

I propose to make categories for health disasters by year eg Category 2011 health disasters; an alternative would be Category:Health disasters in 2011. This is the only category of disaster which does not have a “by year” category. An alternative name could be “Health accidents and incidents” but “Health disasters” seems to be accepted as the overall category. To be subcategorised by century eg 21st-century health disasters. Initially to be for 2000 to 2012; there seem to be enough incidents or disasters to populate every year!

The category should include Epidemics, Pandemics, Flu outbreaks, Faulty or contaminated equipment, food or medicines etc. Also animal outbreaks like swine fly, foot and mouth outbreaks and pet food contamination. Also perhaps incidents of toxic metal/chemical poisoning and radiation poisoning. Possibly the categories Category:2000s medical outbreaks and Category:2010s medical outbreaks could be renamed to Category:2000s health disasters etc to be a subcategory by decade? PS: I will put this on several Wikiproject pages, so could you add comments to my talk page please. Hugo999 (talk) 01:31, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

How does one define a health disaster?--Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:35, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Not sure, but we do have Category:Health disasters. NW (Talk) 02:13, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
If it's been mentioned in the Daily Mail? Axl ¤ [Talk] 11:03, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Notification of RfC

Talk:Suicide#Image RfC

  1. Should Henry Wallis's painting The Death of Chatterton be used to illustrate the article Suicide?
  2. Should the article Suicide contain an image depicting suicide?

--Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:26, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

WP:Articles for deletion/Scarborough General Hospital

There is discussion at the above AfD as to which NHS hospitals should or should not be considered notable, and how the bar should be assessed for passing WP:GNG, that could do with wider input.

Wikipedia talk:WikiProject National Health Service seems slightly moribund, but I have posted there saying that it might be useful for that project to set out a note of what sort of things a basic entry-level article on an NHS hospital should aim to contain; and perhaps co-ordinate a drive to turn List of hospitals in England blue, at least for as many hospitals as are considered do pass notability, in case anyone would be prepared to put a shoulder to the wheel on this. Royal Surrey County Hospital seems to me a reasonable example of the sort of facts a basic stub article should aim to contain. Jheald (talk) 09:18, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

You might also stop by WP:WikiProject Hospitals.
Basically, I've never seen an article about a hospital get deleted at AFD. Perhaps we should, but we don't. As a result, the notability advice (which I wrote) at WikiProject Hospitals focuses on the advantages of bold merges instead of deletions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:15, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Viewing all medical article with a specific tag

I am trying to figure out how to view the medical articles with the Template:Refimprove . Does anyone know how to do this? Thanks. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:19, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

See (warning: large page). It's linked on WP:MED under #How you can help#Other ideas.
NB that a significant minority of the tagged articles don't actually deserve them any longer. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:17, 29 September 2011 (UTC)


I am working on a major overhaul of the Dermatillomania article. Anyone that wants to help out with this can work on it here -User:Remember/Dermatillomania. Also, if anyone has access to PubMed articles, I would greatly appreciate any articles you could send me regarding this condition (since I can't access them for free). Remember (talk) 15:52, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Best to work on it at the main page rather than your user page... Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:22, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Please let me know what articles you want/need Kallimachus (talk) 03:51, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Probable spam

We have a new editor, Heybuddysup (talk · contribs), adding links to the articles Pudendal nerve and Spigelian hernia that I believe are disguised spam. After I removed the links, the editor reverted them back in. Since it is against my policy to multi-revert for any reason except blatant vandalism, I am bringing the problem here for others to look at. Looie496 (talk) 01:37, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

I've reverted the addition of the links per WP:ELNO, particularly #11, as both sites are Wordpress blogs which, to no surprise, were both registered on the same day through a private domain registration service. Looks to be spam, pure and simple. - SudoGhost 02:26, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
If the problems continue, then the domains can be handled per WP:BLACKLIST. You can also get help at the WP:External links/Noticeboard. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:25, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Cochrane reviews and CoI

This is sort of odd. Normally Cochrane reviews are things we want to see in articles... not sure if this is bitey or what the issue is. SDY (talk) 15:14, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes it is odd and there are quite a few more such deletions. There is a discussion under way whether a Cochrane volunteer has a conflict of interest. More eyes welcome: User talk:Karenblackhall. pgr94 (talk) 16:11, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for posting. This was indeed horrible. These are exactly the collaborations that we need. I am speaking at the Cochrane North American center this coming week regarding editing Wikipedia. Will send them an invite. [33] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:31, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

List of plants used as medicine

We can use a lot more eyes to watch over List of plants used as medicine, especially as far as sourcing of medical claims is concerned. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 14:02, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

List of important publications in medicine up for deletion

List of important publications in medicine has been nominated for deletion, with the implicit argument that such a list is original research; the discussion is at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of important publications in medicine.  --Lambiam 21:17, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia & pathology

Is there a way to gauge the number of pathology-related articles in Wikipedia?

I am doing a little project on Wikis and trying to get an estimate... such that I can compare it to the tiny wiki sites devoted exclusively to pathology.

The Pathology Taskforce template appears to link to 128 articles:

The number of links to the Pathology Taskforce is approximately 300.[34]

The totals (128? 300?) seem quite low, when one considers the estimate in Heilman et al.[35]; it pegs the number of medical articles in Wikipedia at around 20,000. Which brings me to the question... does any one know how they got the 20,000 number in that article?

"CatScan"[36] looked like it might give me the answer... but I seem too dense to use it or don't have enough patience.

As an aside, in my research, I came across this:

Wood, A.; Struthers, K. (2010). "Pathology education, Wikipedia and the Net generation.". Med Teach 32 (7): 618. doi:10.3109/0142159X.2010.497719. PMID 20653388. 

It compared Wikipedia entries with information in Robbins (Kumar V, Abbas AK, Cotran RS, Fausto N. "Robbins and Cotran pathologic basis of disease". Saunders/Elsevier (2010) ISBN 1416031219.), a standard text used in medical school and by pathology residents, and has this to say about Wikipedia:

"We have identified Wikipedia as an informative and accurate source for Pathology education and believe that Wikipedia is potentially an important learning tool for of the ‘Net Generation’."

Nephron  T|C 03:21, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Here is all the info for you in an easy to digest format [37] The only task force which has been active is "dermatology" with User:My Core Competency is Competency leading it. Would be great to see other task forces become this active. Would also be interesting to see Wikipedia:Books for each medical specialty which would put together all articles in a specialty into a textbook format.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:51, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the link Doc James. I don't think the assessment stats are an accurate picture of how much pathology is presented in Wikipedia.
Is it possible to search Wikipedia for frequency of keywords? I would like to search for the presence of "micrograph", "histomorphology", "microscopic appearance", "pathology" within articles.
I have done micrographs of approximately 300-400 cases (~1100-1200 images - count, gallery of images) and most of the cases have a picture or two in the relevant Wikipedia article. Looking at pages I've recently added images for (Endosalpingiosis (no), Strumal carcinoid (no), Struma ovarii (no), Atypical ductal hyperplasia (no) and Salpingitis (no), Glassy cell carcinoma (yes)) -- only Glassy cell carcinoma is contained within the Pathology WikiProject assessment.
More generally, I am not really sure where to draw the line for the WikiProject. Pathology seems a bit unique to me in that almost all (non-psychiatric) disease has a component of pathology. In other words, there isn't a neat separation between "medicine" and "pathology" like one could make for, say dermatology and medicine or cardiology and medicine. Nephron  T|C 16:21, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Generally speaking, a WikiProject (or a taskforce within it) defines its own scope in a way that includes articles that its members are interested in maintaining. You seem to be a key editor in the area and there really is little reason why you shouldn't mark articles as part of the Pathology WikiProject, as you seem likely to want to work on them. Searching wikipedia can be done using a Google search – for example: ' micrograph' returns about 2,840 results, but that includes all namespaces. Using our internal search on article space only gives 949 results, but that includes articles like Scanning electron microscope and Andrew Paul Leonard. If you want to discuss how to get better targeted results, I'd recommend dropping a note at User talk:MZMcBride who is very savvy about what the toolserver can do and can be extraordinarily helpful if you ask nicely :) --RexxS (talk) 18:22, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Left a message for MZMCBride.
It would be interesting if one could run SQL queries on the database underlying Wikipedia. Any hoo, I added a few more articles to the WikiProject Pathology. Thinking very ambitiously, Wikipedia ought to have an image of every pathology that can be diagnosed from an image. Nephron  T|C 17:12, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes that is what I am trying to say. The only taskforce which accurately reflects a sub specialty is dermatology due to the hard work of a single editor.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:45, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes, the numbers at WP:MEDA#Statistics are only as accurate as some individual human chooses to make them. My Core Compentency did a lot of manual work to get the derm articles tagged. To do the same for the path articles, you just need to paste |pathology=yes into the {{WPMED}} banner on the article's talk page. As a starting point, you might look at the stuff tagged for |hemonc=yes, because there's probably a lot of overlap. As for which articles to tag: start with the obvious ones, and proceed from there. On borderline cases, you might consider whether the current version of the article actually contains path information, rather than merely whether it's possible.
Also, compared to a plain text search, you might be happier with a list of articles that link to relevant subjects, which you can get from Special:WhatLinksHere/Micrograph (for example). WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:55, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I think a good deal of the things could done automagically. We have standard set of section headings, e.g. Signs and symptoms, Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, Treatment, See also, References. If it doesn't exist already, it would be nice if we had a tool that scanned the articles for these headings and generated stats on compliance. I am sure such a tool could be created. Nephron  T|C 17:12, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Disease Wikiproject/taskforce

That is a great idea. The first thing we need to do however is generate a list of disease articles. Right now Wikiproject medicine covers more than just diseases. Thus I am not sure without tagging all articles as disease how we would run a bot. There are I guess a couple of ways we could do this. One would be to create a disease Wikiproject or taskforce. The other would be to create a category. Would be interested in doing this if others think it reasonable.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:11, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

If we can get a list, then we can filter it manually. The steps would look something like:
  • Make list (automated)
  • Remove unwanted stuff from list (by hand)
  • Tag all items remaining in the list for the task force.
User:MZMcBride did some work for me a while back on making lists filtered by WPMED banner info (to identify items that are redirects, but aren't tagged that way by us). You can see the list at User:WhatamIdoing/Med redirects. It has a snip of code at the top that could probably be adapted to identifying pages that are tagged by WPMED and include <some word>, but are not tagged for the Path task force. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:10, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
The vast majority of WPMED articles are about diseases. I think this is completely the wrong move. We already group articles by the relevant branch of medicine (e.g. cardiology, dermatology) and I believe that is quite sufficient. JFW | T@lk 10:33, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
For a list of medical conditions, use this: Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Infobox_disease. --Arcadian (talk) 17:33, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I tend to think it makes sense to have some metadata that allows automatic searching. If you look at something like MEDLINE -- they have people define keywords for the the articles. As the medicine content in Wikipedia has gotten so big... it makes sense to have something like this to help categorize and subdivide content and into groups. Categories capture this to some degree... but I feel I can't get an overview of the structure. Based on comments MZMcBride made, I suspect one cannot automagically construct a (limited) hierarchy of the categories automatically. I think this would be interest to get the technical people to think about. Stated in other words, if you go to liposarcoma... and click on Category:Sarcoma it ought to be evident it is a cancer, i.e. sarcoma is in Category:Cancer (Category:Oncology). It is possible to figure this out-- if you click a couple of times at the bottom... Category:Connective/soft_tissue_tumors_and_sarcomas ... Categories: Types of neoplasia.
If the Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Infobox_disease list is complete... a bot could be created to automatically mark all the articles... but I'm not sure if that in itself would be of additional value.
I think expanded infoboxes would be interesting to consider... that summarize and group diseases. With time... I think the articles are getting so long you start losing the context. Nephron  T|C 05:25, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
Template:Infobox disease appears in about 5500 articles, which is about a fifth of our current articles. Is the path task force really interested in supporting every single article about diseases? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:22, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
Ideally, everything that has pathology in it ought to see support. Also, if it is diagnosed by a pathologist... it ought to have an image. A significant number of entities are named after their histomorphologic appearance... these especially should have an image. At the moment, I don't think there are enough editors... but I'm optimistic that will change and I don't think it takes very many. Nephron  T|C 01:53, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Your previous post has placed this talk page in the oncology category. I don't know if that was the intention? Hidden in () behind sarcoma is in Category:Cancer DS Belgium (talk) 19:13, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I've fixed that by supplying the missing ':' - maintenance edits of this kind are usually acceptable, although the general rule is not to refactor other editors' comments. (Hope you're ok with that, Nephron.) --RexxS (talk) 20:09, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

External Editor

Can anyone recommend a good external editor that works well for you. Going through these pages with large numbers of references with extensive metadata is tedious. Kallimachus (talk) 04:03, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

What do you mean by "external editor"? Axl ¤ [Talk] 09:51, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, was talking about a wikipedia editor that did particularly well with extensive references that are in a lot of our medical pages. It's somewhat painful to try and edit pages with extensive in-line references. Wanted to make sure I was making it as painless as possible. Kallimachus (talk) 05:50, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Like Notepad on Windows OS = a text editor. Notepad is obviously poor for editing Wikipedia pages because it's so basic. @Kallimachus: You don't tell us what operating system you are using, so it's hard to make recommendations, and everybody will have their favourites. I've used Programmer's File Editor for Windows NT for many years, but it's obsolete now as it doesn't handle unicode. Have you looked at WP:wikEd that works inside a browser and is OS-independent? --RexxS (talk) 12:48, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Windows 7 Kallimachus (talk) 05:50, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Just tried wikEd, love it! thx Kallimachus (talk) 05:59, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Notepad 2 is a bit better, and can handle all sorts of programming code (though not Wiki code). For Mac OS X, try TextWrangler. vi also works well on a Mac, too. ;-) WTF? (talk) 13:23, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Anything for linux (Ubuntu)? DS Belgium (talk) 21:07, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
At least Kate, Eclipse, Emacs, Vim and gedit can be configured to do nice things with mediawiki syntax, so if you are familiar with one of these editors give it a try. Richiez (talk) 21:09, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know Ubuntu uses gedit, since Ubuntu uses GNOME (although the recent Unity change might have changed that), but gedit is a pretty simple editor that has tabs and allows plugins, as it would already be on the Ubuntu system, I'd recommend giving it a try. - SudoGhost 21:52, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Also see Wikipedia:Text editor support. --WS (talk) 17:42, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Cause of Alzheimer's Disease

In re: discussion of simple statement on Alzheimer's causation at Talk:Alzheimer's disease#Causation. Update: There's a 2011 date on the page and I'm sure NYU Medicine is a reliable source. The page has this:

The cause of Alzheimer's disease is not yet known, but scientists are hoping to find the answers by studying the characteristic brain changes that occur in a patient with Alzheimer's disease. In rare cases when the disease emerges before the age of sixty-five, these brain changes are caused by a genetic abnormality. Scientists are also looking to genetics as well as environmental factors for possible clues to the cause and cure of Alzheimer's disease.

I plan to update the Alzheimer's disease page to say that the cause is unknown except for 1% to 5% of cases where genetic differences have been identified. Please respond at Talk:Alzheimer's disease#Causation if you see problems with this. (Cross-posted at WikiProject Neurology) -- Jo3sampl (talk) 19:16, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes I think it is fair to say the cause is unknown except for a few cases. The pathophysiology is fairly well understood though but not the cause. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:26, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Agree Kallimachus (talk) 21:53, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Methamphetamine-induced delusional parasitosis

There's a bit of a dispute brewing in regards to the wording in Faces of Meth. One user removed what he saw as a disputed etiology[38] and another user (myself) restored it based on the preponderance of sources supporting it.[39] A small discussion about the problem can be found here. I would greatly appreciate it if someone knowledgeable about methamphetamine-induced delusional parasitosis could review the two diffs listed above and the discussion, and then boldly solve the problem. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 00:54, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Find a good ref. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:09, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I've listed six on the article talk page. This dispute is about the concept of "meth bugs", which is covered by the sources. The other editor claims it is propaganda, yet there is nothing indicating it is such, other than their personal opinion. The sources support the idea of "meth bugs" (delusional parasitosis). The article says that the facial scarring from picking scabs depicted in the Faces of Meth images is "caused by the delusion that there are "bugs" under the skin". This is supported by the source cited: "For doctors like Tom Barrett of the Howard Brown Health Center, who treats a dozen meth patients a week, the pictures reveal meth’s punishing effects: Facial scarring, for instance, as users scratch at the bugs they think are under their skin."[40] This is also supported by five sources on the talk page, three peer-reviewed journal articles and two textbooks. The user is questioning whether meth users in general experience delusional parasitosis, but that kind of questioning and dispute is outside the scope of the article. Viriditas (talk) 14:35, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
My propaganda remark was about the difficulty of finding sources, the meth bug thing has been taken up by the media, quoted in so many news articles, blogs, on anti-drug sites etc. that any google search returns loads of results saying the same thing, making it hard to find other sources that specifically deal with skin picking and methamphetamine. DS Belgium (talk) 18:06, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm questioning that most meth users who pick their skin do it because of delusional parasitosis. Drug induced repetitive behavour, itchting, increased OCD behaviour, impulse control disorders are all causes that do not involve the user believing there are bugs under their skin. DS Belgium (talk) 18:12, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
But are you the one who's questioning that, or is it also to be found in a reliable source? It may be true that "Drug induced repetitive behavour, itchting, increased OCD behaviour, impulse control disorders are all causes", but without a reliable source that says so, we have no right to bring forward that argument ourselves. To do so would elevate our analysis to the level of a reliable source, and unfortunately none of us are reliable sources. Without a source that makes your argument, we have to go with what is said in the sources that Viriditas quotes. --RexxS (talk) 20:00, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

(outdent) DS Belgium, you may be right (although you might be wrong to ;-P), it might be a similar repetitive behaviour to 'face pulling' or 'teeth grinding' (which are not delusion driven) that is very common in meth and XTC users, (and why meth and XTC users often use chewing gum when they are high) but wikipedia is not about the truth, it is about reliable sources. If sources say the behaviour is due to delusions then that is what we must write in wikipedia. When you believe you are correct but no good quality sources say 'the truth' it can be frustrating but it is the way wikipedia works. If you feel very strongly about it you could do a short review of the medical literature and get it published in a peer reviewed medical or such like journal and then seek consensus on talk page for its inclusion. Ok this is getting a bit wordy, but just trying to explain that editors here aren't trying to be annoying but are just trying to follow wikipedia policies and guidelines (which occasionally are annoying lol). :-P--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 22:22, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Face pulling is like where a person tugs and pulls at their face with their fingers and unintentionally keeps pulling 'funny faces', just for those who do not understand what I mean. :-)--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 22:38, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Brain is now at FAC

The title says it all -- any opinions are welcome at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates. Looie496 (talk) 02:00, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Prolymphocytic leukemia

Assessed as Mid importance, but still unreferenced. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:28, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Pubmed is a good place to find review articles if you want to give it a try... --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:35, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Not my sphere of interest unfortunately. I was just pointing out that although the med project has assessed the article as Mid importance, it still has no references.--Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:42, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
I'll take a look as time allows. Because PLL is a close relative/subset of CLL, it's hard to write a detailed standalone article without duplicating a lot of material from the CLL article. It's tempting to just merge the article into CLL, but I'll see what I can turn up. MastCell Talk 03:14, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
PLL is only one of about a thousand articles tagged as being in the project but unreferenced, including a couple hundred mid-importance and even a few tagged as high importance (Eye chart, Electrical conduction system of the heart, Graft (surgery), Uroscopy, Specific developmental disorder, and Tuberculosis vaccines: I'm not convinced that the priority ratings are correct on all of these). Unlike a few projects with much smaller scopes, "Mid" importance does not mean "something we'll get to GA status this year". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:52, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


Does this WikiProject support biography articles of physicians, e.g. George Canellos? Thanks. Jweiss11 (talk) 00:40, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Hippocrates and Avicenna have WP:MED tags, so it's not outside the realm of possibility, but while those articles may be in scope, I've never seen a discussion about biography on this page other than a request for input on an AfD, so I don't know if I'd say we really support them. Given that "the father of modern medicine" (kind of a big deal) is of low importance, that might give you an indication... SDY (talk) 01:00, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
The guidance says "Physicians or other healthcare workers: {{WikiProject Biography |s&a-work-group=yes}}. Add WPMED only if the person is notable for substantial contributions to medicine, and set | importance=Low.". Hippocrates is down as "High importance", if Avicenna is rated incorrectly then that can be fixed. Fences&Windows 19:14, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I have fixed the priority rating for Hippocrates. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:02, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Health effects from noise

The article on health effects from noise reads like a fork from noise pollution, and considering that the noise pollution article is only 15,210 bytes, it seems reasonable to merge the former into the latter. Are there any objections to this merge? Viriditas (talk) 09:26, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Seems reasonable. JFW | T@lk 20:03, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I think it's better to keep them separate. Occupational health involves noise problems that aren't really "pollution." SDY (talk) 20:43, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Which occupational health problems caused by noise are not classified as "noise pollution"? More specifically, what is the difference between the two articles? Noise pollution is a topic about the health effects from noise. That's what the "pollution" refers to in the term. Viriditas (talk) 00:12, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
For example, this article here refers to noise and worker safety in the construction industry and never uses the term "pollution." I'm doing google searches for "noise effects worker safety pollution" and not seeing "pollution" in any of the snippets that google is putting together where "workers" also appear. It may be dogmatically correct, but it doesn't appear that that's the term that's used. Noise pollution isn't just health effects, it's also environmental (i.e. disrupting ecosystems, animal behavior, etc...). I agree that the current content of that article should probably be merged, but I disagree that the two terms are synonymous. SDY (talk) 00:44, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Having thought about it, this also sounds separate to me. Some natural noises (e.g., volcano eruptions) can have health effects, but they wouldn't normally be considered "noise pollution". WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:07, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Dry needling

Dry needling is a therapy used by chiropractors and others that was developed in the 1970s - it involves putting a needle into what are called trigger points in muscle to relieve pain. Because of the similarity to acupuncture, acupuncturists often say it is the same and there's a dispute at the article at the moment over this issue. I revamped the article last year and I'm trying to make sure that the text is neutral. The recent dispute in particular involves a court case about whether dry needling=acupuncture in Oregon, but the sources aren't good at all. I can't find decent secondary sourcing. User:Compchiro is engaging with me and on the talk page, User:BenjaminPO11 seems to be pushing the acupuncture POV and I've warned them for edit warring. Help with sourcing and keeping advocacy out of the article would be appreciated. Fences&Windows 18:53, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


This rather disastrous article appeared on the main page at DYK: Stab wound. Maybe someone can do something to fix it up (other than blank it). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:11, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Phytolacca americana

Does Phytolacca americana really have all the medical uses and/or promising pharmacology claimed in the article? Or is it just another case of overuse of primary sources and/or non-WP:MEDRS-compliant sources to make speculative claims? Deli nk (talk) 20:50, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

A typical example of primary source overuse. I'd move the whole lot to the talkpage. JFW | T@lk 20:58, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
OK, I moved it to the talk page for discussion. Deli nk (talk) 14:46, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

How much detail should be in the main ADHD article

Wondering if people could comment here [41] Should the comparison to cocaine for methyphenedate be in the main article? Supported by an alternative medicine paper from 2000? --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:32, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


I started Health care rationing off of a redirect to a U.S. centric article. I'd like for it to become a DYK, so I plan on expanding it some but I don't care if I get credit or not. Contributions welcome. Jesanj (talk) 16:56, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

User:Ks0stm/Discourse Community 1

This is a quick interview intended for participants in this WikiProject; one of the people in my Principles of English Composition class is doing her essay over Wikipedia and it's medicine community. If anyone would like to take a look and answer some questions that would be much appreciated. I will be leaving a message on participant's talk pages tonight, so if you get another notice then I apologize in advance. Ks0stm (TCGE) 18:39, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


Wondering if I could get some more input here Escitalopram? --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:01, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


What about this as a sexual orientation? You all want to support its inclusion at the Sexual orientation article? Homosexuals and zoosexuals, in the same boat. You can come in and comment on the talk page. (talk) 01:26, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

TeenScreen merger proposal

For anyone who is interested: I've proposed a merge between TeenScreen and Columbia University TeenScreen Program, because they are duplicative. Because the former is the more common name, while the latter is not actually correct, the resulting article should be TeenScreen.

Meanwhile, because neither article is very good, I've written a new draft combining the best of both, scrupulously cited, and following all relevant Wikipedia policies and guidelines. You can see it here: User:WWB_Too/TeenScreen. I need an administrator's help with the merge because I am not an admin, and I would like another editor to consider my replacement draft because I am engaging these pages on behalf of TeenScreen, so I have a potential COI issue with the topic.

A similar version of this explanation can be found on the TeenScreen Talk page, where the merger proposal lives. Note also, I'm posting this same request to WikiProject Psychology, because the primary article is also listed within its scope. Cheers, WWB Too (talk) 02:32, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

With modest support on the Talk page and at Help desk, I've gone ahead and made this change. WWB Too (talk) 17:01, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia and its relationship to the outside world

This is intended as my concluding post on a discussion about ELs, now archived (External links). Sorry I was unable to get back to this till now. In a nutshell, I made a case for acceptance of ELs to MedMerits. MedMerits, to which I am a medical advisor, is a new company, whose business model is to bring high-quality medical content into the public arena and make it freely available. MedMerits licenses its content, currently limited to neurology, from MedLink, which is an established ACCME accredited medical publisher, well known and respected in the neurologic community. Suffice it to say that I received some well-thought out support, but also strong opposition. I am writing now because the discussion led me to a new take on the issue of ELs and on the relationship of WP to the outside world, and it reaches beyond MedMerits to issues that we in medicine and those in other disciplines should really grapple with. I apologize for another lengthy post, but please bear with me. I hope to make it worth your while. Then I’ll hold my peace.

How to think about ELs

The previous discussion led me to believe that the informed opposing views reflect different visions of the relationship between WP and the outside world. WP policies and guidelines recognize that aside from supporting information presented in the text of WP articles with inline citations, it is appropriate to link to external resources (ELs). WP policies and guidelines provide criteria and examples of what is suitable as a WP EL, but they have not presented a carefully considered rationale for the inclusion of ELs, thereby opening the door to disagreement. In order to arrive at a clearly formulated rationale for ELs, it would be useful to consider the various constituencies that make up the audience for WP, their reasons for coming to WP, how the ELs can benefit each constituency, and how all this fits into WP’s strategic plan and responsibility to society.

Who comes to WP? There are three basic constituencies for WP content. By far the largest and most important is the general public. Then there are “students,” by which I mean people who desire to acquire more than casual acquaintance with a subject area, whether they are enrolled in an educational program or not. In the area of medicine, they include patients, caregivers, and their service providers, including doctors and nurses, who have a great desire to learn more about a particular symptom or disease or have questions about the accuracy of a diagnosis or a treatment they heard about elsewhere. Finally, there are experts, people who by virtue of their formal or informal education and experience have mastered a particular subject area. We may be experts in some subject areas, students in some others, and just part of the general public in most. We may become students after reading a WP article in a subject area we previously knew nothing or little about. Or we could become experts in the process of writing or editing WP articles. We might add some special groups, such as children of various ages, and the intellectually or physically challenged, including those with visual impairment or dyslexia, but they are not relevant to this discussion.

Why do they come? I think that most people in the general public come to WP to get some basic information about something they have a curiosity about or a need for, regardless of how that came about. Some people come directly to WP, because they already know that WP is a vast storehouse of information on virtually any notable person, organization, fact, idea, or creative work, and the information is nearly always trustworthy. Others come because a WP article came up high on an organic search, or because someone linked to it in another article on another site. Students may come to WP because it’s a good starting point for (or a place to continue) their education on a subject. Experts may come for the same reason, ie, to learn, or to look up something they need for a professional reason, like an ICD code in the case of medical practitioners. Any of these constituencies can also come in order to participate in the WP project or decide to participate after coming for some other reason.

What do they look for? Most people probably just want some basic information about their subject and will be satisfied by a high-quality WP article or sometimes even by a sketchy article or even a stub. If they don’t find what they want, they will want to go elsewhere. The general public is most likely to look for external referrals when a subject is entirely missing or is represented just by a stub. Students and experts are likely to want such referrals to a much greater extent, although experts might already know where to go. Some of their needs might be met by inline citations, especially if they have access to them. However, if a subject is not covered in WP, is represented just as a stub, or if relevant citations are not freely and easily available, they will want secondary (or tertiary) reference sources.

Why should WP (or rather the participants in the WP project) care? WP’s vision statement proclaims, “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.” To achieve that goal, the Wikimedia Foundation set some ambitious strategic goals through 2015, including increase WP’s reach and participation. In my opinion, there is no better way to attain these goals than by improving user experience. WP was hardly more than a vision in the rough a decade ago. It is now the dominant content platform on the web. As such WP has a serious responsibility to society. In my opinion it has a moral obligation to direct its users to other legitimate sources of information, when its own content is lacking in some way and even when it isn’t. Consider that as we drill down into greater and greater detail on a well-known disease or turn over every stone to find the rarest of rare diseases, the people who have the ability or inclination to write about them become fewer and fewer. So WP may have to realize the vision of sharing in the sum of all knowledge by including other legitimate sources. More importantly, perhaps, truth cannot be guaranteed by verifiability, neutral point of view, and common sense alone, even in an open platform like WP (which is not exempt from control, as this discussion illustrates, and is therefore subject to selection bias). It is guaranteed only by the availability of independent sources. Each WP writer/editor should feel obligated to review and publicize legitimate competing sources. There is really nothing against that in the WP vision. That does not mean opening the floodgates to external links but does, in my opinion, mean an obligation to identify and place valid ELs that meet this objective.

A rational approach to ELs: Consider each WP constituency and how it can best benefit from ELs. The general public, students (as defined herein), and experts each have unique although overlapping needs. Each constituency should all be accommodated. Let’s look at what ELs are actually placed in medical articles with any degree of regularity. I reviewed the ELs in a dozen haphazardly selected WP articles. I came up with the following ELs: ICD codes, Diseases database, MedLinePlus, eMedicine, PubMed, MeSH, OMIM, Gene Reviews, Open Directory Project, disease focused organizations, referral centers, clinical trials, and abstracts of the Cochrane library. Some of these ELs are actually considered inappropriate by WP EL guidelines or are improperly cited but have merit, in my opinion. (I also found instances of inappropriate links, which have little merit, but that’s for another day.) I’ve read some negative comments in this discussion about several of these resources. For example, two editors pointed to MedLinePlus as a weak source. It is weak for an expert and even for a student, yet it’s an excellent resource for the general public, including patients and caregivers. Of these EL’s, which are hardly excessive in number, only eMedicine, GeneReviews, and OMIM have a substantial amount of content of any substance. The others are tools or have content limited to abstracts. I invite anybody to compare corresponding articles in each of these resources and MedMerits. I am sure that that MedMerits would fare well in any such comparison.

Summary of new comments and my replies for the period 18SEP2011-1OCT2011

- In favor of adding MedMerits as an EL

  1. “Whether EL's drive traffic to a commercial site should not be a consideration”
  2. “i would question the "commercial" character of MedMerits”
  3. “I do agree with the statement that ‘there is no conflict-of-interest issue here’”
  4. “I haven't seen any policy-based arguments against having ELs to this site”
  5. “There is content on that site that meets WP:EL and contains material that would be absent from any FA-class WP article.”
  • First, I want to thank everyone for participating in this discussion and Colin, DerekvG, and Scray for their outspoken support.

- Against adding MedMerits as an EL

  1. “Encyclopedia articles are meant to be self-contained.”
  • The immediate reason to list MedMerits as an EL is that it contains information on relevant disorders that may not be WP topics and may go into greater depth than is desirable in articles that are WP topics. (See the “Original” sections in the archived discussion for examples. Then there is the vision issue, discussed above.)
2. “If you need to go elsewhere to get a comprehensive view, then obviously the article itself is flawed and needs improving.”
  • Not necessarily. Other resources may have a broader or more comprehensive scope.
3. Why should we direct to MedMerits and not to recent peer-reviewed reviews in mainstream journals, which are by far more authoritative in the end of the day.”
  • By all means, do cite reviews in the primary literature. However, keep in mind, that many people may not have free access to journals, that journal reviews on major disorders are usually limited to specific issues or recent developments, whereas minor disorders may not have reviews published in the previous few years. Moreover, as an editor, you will be saddled with regularly replacing aging reviews. MedMerits, eMedicine, and Gene Reviews take care of that problem for you. I would dispute the remark about journal reviews being more authoritative. More comprehensive perhaps. MedMerits articles aim to balance the needs for detail and brevity. They draw on the same author pool from which authors of journal reviews come and are peer reviewed. See the “Original” subsections in the archived discussion or go to MedMerits and judge its quality for yourself.
4. “long external link sections rarely add anything to a good article.”
  • Maybe so, but let’s be reasonable about what you mean by “long” lists. There are only a handful of encyclopedic medical resources of a scholarly nature freely available on the web.
5. If the free content has been online only since July this year, it is clearly far too early to have such a discussion.” “The site is new and has not stood the test of time.”
  • MedMerits content is produced by MedLink, which has been around for longer than eMedicine but is a site restricted to paying subscribers. WP has achieved immortal status or as close to it as one can get. No other content platform can guarantee its longevity.
6. “There is indeed conflict of interest.” “I would agree the there is a COI here.” “if you are connected to a website, then promoting links to it is considered a conflict of interest on Wikipedia”
  • I don’t think that we are talking about the same thing. Neither I nor, presumably, the other editors who don’t see a COI issue fail to perceive the COI aspects of my posting ELs to a company to which I have ties. That is why I started this discussion by disclosing my ties. I have not posted any ELs. This is a discussion page. I don’t see any problem with informing WP editors of a new site that they might find useful and that they might want to link to, and I see nothing in WP policies and guidelines to the contrary. Having been given notice of my ties, I believe that all members of this group are sufficiently sophisticated to judge the issue on its merits.
7. “A good external link, by definition, provides more information than the article ought to… I suspect that MedMerits [may sometimes do so but not consistently.]”
  • There is going to be some variability in any multi-authored compendium, but I invite anybody to conduct a head-to-head comparison of any MedMerits article with its counterpart in WP and see how MedMerits measures up.
8. “a small medical website owned by a private company focused only on neurology...”
  • I don’t think that private ownership in itself disqualifies a publisher. MedMerits content is controlled by MedLink's independent editorial board. The focus on neurology would not be regarded as a shortcoming by the millions of people afflicted with neurologic diseases. If you look at the volume of content freely available on the website, you can hardly characterize it as small for a single specialty site.
9. “I have not heard this discussed in professional circles as a trusted source of information”
  • MedLink, the producer of the content on MedMerits, is an ACCME accredited organization. Have you actually asked neurologists about MedLink? Regardless, I suspect you have the sophistication to judge for yourself, rather than rely on hearsay.
10. “it is not clear that the material on this site is a ‘unique resource beyond what the article would contain.’"
  • You can look at the example in the “Original” subsections of the archived discussion or judge for yourself.
11. “I am not clear how valuable it is to link directly to what is essentially another encyclopedia entry on the same topic.”
  • Discussed in the preceding subsection.
12. “I'm not seeing what this ‘material that would be absent from any FA-class WP’ article would be. Medical advice, I guess?
  • Examples are given in the “Original” subsections in the archived discussion and you can always go to MedMerits and judge for yourself. MedMerits and its (MedLink’s) authors do not give medical advice as a matter of policy, but authors do provide evidence-based discussions of diagnostic and treatment options.

In my own defense

I have been characterized in the now archived portion of this discussion as boring, conflicted (as in COI), irritating, premature, superfluous, uninformed, time-wasting, and verbose. It’s futile to address these characterizations directly, but I do want to explain how this discussion came about and evolved. Just to repeat in this context, I am a medical advisor to MedMerits, a one and a half year old company, whose business model is to bring high-quality, restricted medical content into the public arena and make it freely available.

It came to my attention in August 2011 that someone placed external links to MedMerits in 2 WP articles. That’s the first I heard about this. It never dawned on me to place such links in WP, but I immediately saw the mutual benefit of doing so. I took a look and noticed that the explanatory note associated with the EL was not very helpful. So I did some background reading and edited the explanatory text for one of the links. That was the one and only time I edited anything in a WP article. I was (naively) surprised that within a couple of days both links were gone. That prompted me to read WP policies and guidelines and everything else related to ELs, COI and dispute resolution that I could find. I learned for the first time that ELs were a third rail in WP. I learned about EL spamming and other abuses, which is no doubt a major nuisance and, indeed, a time waster for editors. Nevertheless, I believed that MedMerits was a legitimate external source and that ELs to it would benefit both MedMerits and WP, so I followed the recommended procedure and contacted the editor who deleted the links—or maybe it was the other way around. Regardless, he mentioned that I can try to get a consensus by posting on this page. I did so quite innocently, not yet realizing that I stepped on the third rail, and got quite a jolt by the less than welcoming comments I referred to above. I took to heart the vehemence of my opposition and thought about it long and hard. At first I thought it was just a reflex reaction to what they thought was another self-promoting EL nut, but some of the comments indicated that it was more than that. Not doubting the motives of the opposition, and knowing that my own motives were proper and that WP policies, guidelines, practices and common sense favored MedMerits as an EL, how could there be such vehement opposition? That’s what led to the considerations expressed under the first subheading, above.

The loudest and most unwavering voices against me have been those of the most active and committed editors, who are justifiably fed up by EL spammers. I harbor no grudges against them or anyone else who may have misconstrued my motives or disagrees with me on principle. There was no reason, a priori, for them to view me any differently from the many spammers and troublemakers they must have encountered over their years of service. The original editor to delete these links has, in fact, demonstrated openness to engaging on this issue. The burden is on me to convince them and the rest of this group that I have a legitimate case that deserves a fair hearing—not for my benefit or MedMerits’ but for improving WP. I believe that I acted responsibly and appropriately by pointing to MedMerits’ existence and to its benefits for this group and for the public and for choosing this forum for this discussion. I also believe that this discussion has been constructive in that it led me to identify issues that WP should really grapple with, namely whether it should be self-contained or integrated into the universe of knowledge, whether it should limit itself to scholarship or to serve the public’s need for other kinds of information (eg, in medicine, the names of legitimate patient support organizations, centers of excellence, relevant clinical trials, etc) and, in general, whether WP has an obligation to society and what that might be. (Perhaps these issues have been considered, but I haven’t encountered anything about them.)

Where do we go from here?

I‘ve been asked what I’m really proposing. I’d like to see an EL to MedMerits in every WP article on a neurologic topic that has an EL to eMedicine. But that’s not for me but for the community to say. If there is a consensus to do anything at all, I’ll be happy to do whatever it is I’m asked or authorized to do. I expect that there will follow new comments from people already involved in this discussion and from others who have not followed it previously. I’ll reply to specific comments if that seems to be called for. Otherwise, I’d just as soon leave further discussion to others. Presto54 (talk) 06:34, 5 October 2011 (UTC)


It might be better if the reader looked further below for my concluding statement before reading any individual replies. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

  • I don't think public relations is your strong point. MedMerits will no matter how good a resource in the future always be associated with circular arguments and extremely huge walls of text and its advocate refusing to get the point. I did not read the above because it really is too long in the extreme. Sorry if I sound rude, but sometimes these things need to be said.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 13:45, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
No offense taken. I concede that PR is not my strong suit. I can see why people would not welcome an unsolicited and relatively lengthy intrusion, if they see it as self-serving or old hat. I'm sure I would have received a more sympathetic hearing if I had first built a good track record. But that takes time, and I didn't think it was too much to ask to get a reading on a few paragraphs, especially after being encouraged to try to seek a consensus here. (That recommendation did not specify the number of words to be used. I did it as succinctly as I could.) Please point out what's circular about my argument. Actually, I got the point pretty quickly. Did you get mine? Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • If you wish to win the hearts and minds of the people here what you need to do is bring a neurological article to good article status which is not currently there. For each one that you do I would at that point support adding MedMerits as an EL. Others however may still disagree. The continued denial of COI with respect to Medmerits I find strange. With respect to "should Wikipedia be self contained" I would answer yes as much as possible. We are here to provide the sum off all human knowledge free. Linking to MedMerits which is not free in that it is not freely reusable and under a similar license as us does not advance our ultimate goal. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:02, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I understand what you mean about hearts and minds, but shouldn't a proposition stand on its own merits? I have not denied COI. I just don't think it's an issue here for reasons already stated by me and others. COI should raise the flag of skepticism but, to mix metaphors, don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. And (for those who were less than eager to hear me on the previous round) don't shout me down just because you didn't like my approach. (You didn't in the end--thanks for listening.) I have a slightly different vision of WP, described above. It is not very realistic to think that WP will ever contain "the sum of all human knowledge." Of course, it all depends on what you mean by "all." It's probably a good idea to try to define that in the context of the various consituencies we serve, their motives and needs. If "all" is less than everything, you might want to consider how the various consituencies can be best served with respect to what's not there. Nor is it very imaginative to view an open web-based information platform as an island that's cut off from the lands beyond it like a printed encyclopedia. WP already is a gigantic information platform and it will grow to be much larger, but that's still a far cry from having everything. WP could also serve as a very powerful tool by anticipating user needs and providing context-specific validated guideposts that would be very difficult for a user to duplicate via search engines. I don't think that any of this contradicts WP's vision, policies, guidelines, or practices.

I'm not an expert on intellectual property, but I don't see what the problems is with a free source that's copyright protected. You can quote from it, you can paraphrase key points, and you can get permission to reproduce tables or figures--but, if you have to, you can avoid those and still benefit from the rest. If it's more of a philosophical problem, ie, it's a commercial site, I think you should make a distinction between a medical publisher with an independent editorial board and say a car dealer. Haven't you used any medical textbooks and don't you read any journals? Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

  • You have asked for a fair evaluation, and honestly, we've talked about this for quite a while now, but that doesn't change the basic problem: we shouldn't be linking an encyclopedia article to another encyclopedia article. You can say "judge for yourself" and I have - almost all of the content that you describe is just articles and subsarticles that could be here or haven't been written yet. Wikipedia doesn't exist to direct people to sources of information (it's not a search engine), so that we're not linking to your site isn't a failure at a "moral obligation." Are there individual cases where it might be a useful external link? I'm sure there are, but as far as a carte blanche "let's add this to every possible Wikipedia article" the answer in my mind is a clear "no." SDY (talk) 15:12, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
You've given MedMerits a fair evaluation, and you're entitled to your opinion. That's all I asked for. Whether WP has any moral obligation to society and what that might be is debatable but should not be dismissed out of hand. I predict that within 5 years WP will become so dominant on the web that many people will think of it as the first and last stop in their search for information. As much as I am true and longstanding user and fan of WP, I think that would be highly undesirable and unfortunate. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • My colleagues' points above are well-made and I won't disagree with them. I read what you wrote, Presto, and I would have to say that if your argument is based on revising the general established consensus on ELs, them you probably ought to be making your case at the Village Pump. However, I'd like to give you the same consideration that everyone who has COI issues should receive. If you find a stubby, underdeveloped article that you feel would benefit from an EL to MedMerits, make your case concisely on the Talk page of the article. If you convince others, then they will place the EL in the article. You may choose to write up a generic argument and a COI disclosure on your user page (or a sub-page) and link to it when discussing ELs on article talk pages. At present, that's the best I can suggest if you want to move forward with your goals. Demonstrate what good you can bring; build yourself a reputation for positive contributions. On Wikipedia there is no deadline, and I hope you're not afflicted with one either. Cheers, --RexxS (talk) 15:16, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Those are good and constructive suggestions. Thank you. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • P.S. I tried "to conduct a head-to-head comparison of a[ny] MedMerits article with its counterpart in WP and see how MedMerits measures up", but couldn't find a MedMerits article on decompression sickness, oxygen toxicity or nitrogen narcosis (the only neurological topics I know anything about). --RexxS (talk) 15:32, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Medmerits focuses on a dozen or so major neurological areas. It does not cover all of neurology because of licensing restrictions MedLink, which is the source of MedMerits articles has broader coverage but is restricted. So it's true that there will be WP articles that don't have corresponding articles in MedMerits. The reverse is also true--I checked. There are nevertheless many topics that are covered in both and MedMerits has more in-depth coverage. It's also fairly common that on a topic in common, WP covers certain aspects and MedMerits covers others. MedMerits nearly always covers the essentials. That's not always the case in WP, although WP often has some very interesting stuff, including controversies that concern the public but not necessarily neurologists. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Presto54, firstly, thank you for your frank and honest declaration regarding your aim and affiliation. Much of your generic statement "How to think about ELs" isn't directly relevant to your aim; rather it is a build-up to your justification.

"It [Truth] is guaranteed only by the availability of independent sources. Each WP writer/editor should feel obligated to review and publicize legitimate competing sources."

I don't agree with either of those statements. "Truth" is not guaranteed by the presence of independent sources, even "reliable ones". This is even more pertinent in the field of medicine where "Evidence" is really only evidence, not truth. Nor do I believe that WP editors should be publicizing competing sources. This is not the intent of Wikipedia.

"Let's look at what ELs are actually placed in medical articles with any degree of regularity. I reviewed the ELs in a dozen haphazardly selected WP articles. I came up with the following ELs: ICD codes, Diseases database, MedLinePlus, eMedicine, PubMed, MeSH, OMIM, Gene Reviews, Open Directory Project, disease focused organizations, referral centers, clinical trials, and abstracts of the Cochrane library."

In my opinion, Wikipedia already has too many external links of this nature, including the ones that you list above. If those external links contain information that would be relevant to the article, they should be included as in-line citations.
Several people (during both discussions) have referred to point 1 here: "Any site that does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article." However this does not mean that the converse statement applies.
Point 3 here: "Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that is relevant to an encyclopedic understanding of the subject and cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks), or other reasons" could possibly apply to MedMerits' multiple sclerosis article.
In summary, some of MedMerits' articles could be justified as ELs under Wikipedia's guidelines. However in my opinion, Wikipedia already has too many ELs and I'm not convinced that adding more would help readers. Axl ¤ [Talk] 18:37, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the extensive and thoughtful comments. I concede the distinction between "truth" and "evidence." I was using "truth" loosely, ie, as best as a prudent and educated person can deduce from the available evidence. I also concede that the existence of competing sources is no guarantee of truth. The benefit competing sources provide is an independent assessment of the evidence, especially for non-experts. In the best of all possible worlds competing sources would be in agreement with each other. But authors/editors are imperfect human beings who can err, overlook, or have biases. WP is self-correcting so should in theory overcome these shortcomings, certainly errors and omissions. But WP's operations aren't perfect either. Regardless, biases are be more difficult to eliminate. Our whole society is subject to bias, as we have seen repeatedly, including refusal to accept innovative ideas by denial of the validity of evidence or its interpretation. The serious student will consult multiple sources. Whether WP should publicize competing sources is debatable. That proposition is worthy in my opinion of careful consideration.

I've read the EL rules carefully. I think as well as a few other here that MedMerits passes on that count. I and others have already elaborated on this, so I doubt that we can convince you. I'm certainly happy to debate this further if anyone is so inclined. Whether WP has too many links is also debatable. I think each article should probably have 10-20 ELs. It's easy enough to scan through such a list and one can help out further by subclassifying them by type. There is no practical space limitation. It's a disservice to users not to provide all relevant and valid ELs for those who might want information WP does not provide or just happened not to. I would even extend that to valid redundant sources. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Sorry, we on the internet have a short attention span; I have not read your long note. We have an external links policy, and we've had a long discussion already about the merits of MedMerits links. Consensus is essentially against. Please try to become a productive editor of Wikipedia content. JFW | T@lk 21:23, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I recommend Adderoll. Sorry, that was a joke. I think you're doing plenty of stuff already and most other people are probably overcommitted as well. So I have no expectation that everyone is going want to take the time to listen. I think I actually got a fair hearing and now have a good sense about where the group stands. Nevertheless, I hope that at some point you'll find the time to consider the main points. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Just adding to Axl's last point: My interest is pain, so I looked at MedMerits' article and found one page has a seemingly comprehensive list of analgesics and adjuvants. Pain management presently does not contain such a list, and probably won't, even when it's an FA. It would be, in my opinion, entirely appropriate for Pain management to link to that MedMerits page. If someone from MedMerits chooses to add links to the EL section at the bottom of a lot of Wikipedia articles, provided they are linking to content that is relevant but too detailed for the article, there should be no problem. In fact, that would be a very good thing. But please make absolutely sure they have fully grasped the WP:EL guideline. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:36, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments and support. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • The above lengthy discussion makes a simple algorithm (unnecessarily) complicated - see Wikipedia:EL#What_can_normally_be_linked. Simple. If the external site has copyrighted graphic or video material we could not use, then we can link. Otherwise I'm not seeing a case for linking. Agree with above comment about reviewing or writing some neurological content here. Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:45, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
There is a division of opinion here on whether MedMerits passes muster on these counts. My sense is that the people who looked at MedMerits carefully agree that it does. I do understand that there are other reasons why one might not want to link to it, although there might be exceptions.
  • Life's too short to read all that. Like most editors, I lead a full and busy life outside Wikipedia. We already have a policies and guidelines on this, which I see no reason to revise. I detest Wikipedia's being used as a conduit to other websites that are found wanting. Why not contribute directly to Wikipedia? Graham Colm (talk) 21:27, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad you have a life, but it's not desirable to go over ground already covered. How about just reading the

subsection, "How to think about ELs," above? Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

  • I am new to this discussion, but my feels are broadly in line with those above. Why link one encyclopaedia article to another encyclopaedia article? Links should be to primary sources. This is contrary to the stated aims of Wikipedia. --Gak (talk) 08:10, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for chiming in. Same reply as above. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)


  • I concede that after having a fair opportunity to make a case for MedMerits there is a preponderance of opinion against placing blanket ELs to it, but ELs under limited circumstances and conditions might be acceptable. Some of the opposition is not solidly grounded, leaving open the door to reconsideration. I urge all of you who did not have the time or inclination to read this discussion and to visit MedMerits to do so at your leisure. In the meantime I consider this discussion closed. I will use the approach suggested above by RexxS, ie, post proposals to the discussion pages of candidate articles with a link to a statement and disclosure on my Talk page. I will return soon with some brief forwardlooking comments. I'll take the ideas I raised here that are not specifically this group's concern to the Village Pump and, maybe the EL board (before too long). You're welcome to follow discussions that may result and comment. Thank you all for your patience. Presto54 (talk) 15:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Links to online lectures

Links to online lectures are being added to a number of pages by User:Orangutans. Here is an example of one added to virus [42] What are people feelings on this?Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:47, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

I have been adding the links to the online seminars in the External Links sections of relevant pages. I think these seminars are useful for continuing education and learning more about a person or scientific field. The online lectures are all free, publicly funded, and are given by leading scientists (including Nobel Laureates and National Academy of Sciences members) who are talking about their area of expertise or their own discoveries. I will go with whatever the Wikipedia community feels, but the whole point of Wikipedia is to disseminate free and accurate knowledge and I believe these seminars are a useful education resource. Orangutans (talk) 04:52, 7 October 2011 (UTC)Orangutans
I have added a few online video External links as well as references, and they've been allowed to stand for months. Carefully chosen, they should be allowed IMO. --Hordaland (talk) 07:20, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm a little skeptical that we should be encouraging these kinds of links. Again, from a WP:ELNO standpoint, what do they include that the article should not or cannot? Text or speech, the same ideas should apply. It might be useful to have these as links in the articles about the scientists in question, since there it's a little clearer why they're relevant. I'm not saying "no" in general, but Wikipedia is not a link farm, however worthy the content might be. SDY (talk) 07:26, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Per WP:EL, an article can link to a site that contains neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to the amount of detail. If a lecture goes into more detail than the Wikipedia article can include, I see no problem with linking to it, provided it is neutral and accurate.
If a site does not provide a unique resource beyond what the article would contain if it became a featured article, then a straightforward reading of WP:ELNO rules it out as an external link. Personally, I'm in favor of linking to neutral and accurate videos, sparingly and judiciously, when they can be found, in all articles, for the benefit of people with reading problems, even if they contain nothing more than what the article says. But I gather the present consensus at the external links noticeboard opposes such inclusion. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 09:48, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I have watched a significant number of these online lectures and I really do believe they add a unique resource/aspect to a particular subject or person. For example, I added a link to a talk by Martin Chalfie discussing his discovery and use of GFP in model organisms, which he won the Nobel Prize for, on the Martin Chalfie page. The links cited above on the virus page were links to talks by David Baltimore, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on virus replication, and Ari Helenius, who is a leading scientist in the field of viruses (both were talks on viruses and research on viruses). I was however, adding a fair number of links to this source of online lectures, but it is because in my opinion they are high quality, given by well-known/leading research scientists, and went into a nice level of detail about a subject. I'm not sure if anything else like this exists, at least as a free educational resource. Frank Schulenburg, Wikipedia's Head of Public Outreach, even gave a talk on this site [43] encouraging scientists to edit Wikipedia. Anyway I will stop here. I'm happy to be more sparing in adding links if the consensus is that too many links is a bad thing, but hopefully there is also consensus that free online lectures (that are in agreement with WP:EL) are a useful addition to appropriate External Links sections. Orangutans (talk) 17:13, 7 October 2011 (UTC)Orangutans
Video links, especially very long videos like these, are discouraged at WP:ELMAYBE #2. They should only be added case-by-case (e.g., not links to most of the videos offered by one group), and only after very carefully considering the benefits and the problems they create. Additionally, they must be properly labeled as being large pages.
These kinds of questions can also be discussed at WP:External links/Noticeboard. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:59, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Not having viewed the videos, they sound like a rare and wonderful resource. It's hard to imagine how they would have nothing to add to a WP article to which they have relevance. Even if they don't, the stature of the speaker would increase the credibility of the WP article. There is also merit to the view that videos might be very helpful to people with certain kinds of disabilities. There is logic in linking to these lectures in the articles about the lecturer's in question, in which case internal links could be placed to them. Regardless, it would be easier to find such links if they were grouped together in a customary location rather than buried in text. Presto54 (talk) 05:15, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
It is unfortunately common for videos to contain very little information at all. They're great for some purposes (e.g., my first choice if you want to illustrate Patrick's test), but so many contain so little information. Many contain nothing more than talking heads, and sometimes nothing more than someone reading a textbook aloud or a video recording of a PowerPoint-style slide show.
The bandwidth costs here are not trivial. I saw recently a podcast that offered you a choice between 40 minutes of audio or 20 paragraphs of plain text. You can read the whole thing in three or four minutes, but when you add music, etc., and slow things down to speaking rates, it takes ten times as long. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:03, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate everyone's comments on whether the addition of these seminars will add value to the Wikipedia articles in question. I was hoping to get a consensus on the following: it is appropriate to add links to talks on the Wikipedia page of the person giving the talk (e.g. A Martin Chalfie talk on Martin Chalfie's Wikipedia page), it is also appropriate to add links to talks in WP:EL on subjects sparingly, if the person is considered to be an authority on the subject by the community at large (e.g. Nobel Laureate on the topic) and if the talk is accurate, neutral, and of high quality (excellent/useful content) and of course open access. I hope this incorporates most people's opinions and/or concerns. As for the bandwidth issue, it is not a problem for WP:EL as the site linked to is absorbing the bandwidth costs. Best, Orangutans (talk) 00:15, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
You've completely missed the point about bandwidth: ELs are about our readers, not about us. A link that is useless to a significant fraction of our community—say, because it requires certain software, or it only works well for people with high-speed Internet access—is a Bad Idea.
Put more directly: External links are not just for people who live in wealthy countries and have expensive computers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:36, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I understand now. I think this all goes to the fact that EL should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In this particular case, the talks are available to download in a variety of formats and watch online in a variety of formats and they state their goal is to make access as open/easy as possible to anyone with an internet connection. I don't really know what more I can say to address this issue. I still think they would be of educational value to the community at large. Orangutans (talk) 17:52, 14 October 2011 (UTC)