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Notes on conference abstracts, 25 Octoer 2011

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  1. 1. Successful conference abstracts (Swales and Feak 2000: 39) High-rated Abstracts Low-rated AbstractsTopics of current interest to Topics of lesser interestexperienced members of thecommunityA problem clearly defined No clear problem definedProblem addressed in a Problem, if defined, receivednovel way less interesting treatmentCurrent and cutting-edge Terminology standardterminology usedExplicit & implicit references Fewer citations & allusionsto scholarly literature used
  2. 2. Is your idea interesting enough?Answer the questions: Is what I have to say… new enough, interesting enough, or important enough to present at a conference?Who does it concern?
  3. 3. Abstracts presented should contain concisestatements of:Background: the study objectives, thehypothesis to be tested, or a description of theproblemMethods: method (s) used or approach takenResults: specific results in summarized form(with appropriate statistical analysis)Conclusions: description of the main outcomeof the study
  4. 4. Can I distill the exact topic into a title?Your title should be simple and descriptive Include the idea, the work and the context in the titleYou don’t need to give away your lessons learned orrecommendations in the title, but you might hint that you’regoing to give them in the presentation The title is your mini-advertisementThe title needs to help the reviewers categorize your presentationand may eventually help conference delegates find your session
  5. 5. Examples of titles, good and bad• Not so good: “Making efforts to increase home based care in rural community.” – Key message in this abstract: In a community in rural Zimbabwe, volunteers in a home-based care program couldn’t keep up with demand.
  6. 6. Examples of titles, good and bad• Good: “Monitoring and evaluating clowning and street theatre-based HIV/AIDS education in Rural Guatemala: guidelines for impact and process evaluations.” – Key message in this abstract: In an HIV prevention program in rural Guatemala, a monitoring and evaluation system was analyzed for a street theatre program. The abstracts tells us that conclusions will be given about a) how effective the program was in increasing HIV knowledge, and b) how to properly set up an evaluation of this sort of program.
  7. 7. Clear: In Mexico, researchers face greatdifficulty in gaining access to a sample sizeof IDUs large enough for a comparativebehaviour analysis study. Laws forcingIDUs to be clandestine and mistrustfulhave thwarted several outreach efforts.(36 words)
  8. 8. Using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound to Disrupt the Blood Brain Barrier &Enhance Drug Delivery to the BrainDespite advancement in the treatment of many cancers, therapies for brain tumors havegone without significant change over the past few decades. One major impediment totreating brain tumors is the blood brain barrier (BBB), which is comprised of tightly alignedendothelial cells lining the walls of blood vessels in the brain. In the central nervous system(CNS) the BBB plays a protective role, restricting the movement of molecules into the brain.As a result, many therapeutic compounds known to be successful in vitro are prohibited fromentering the CNS in vivo. We have found that application of high intensity focused ultrasound(HIFU) to the brain causes disruption to the tight junctions between endothelial cells of theBBB. This technique opens the BBB in a selective, yet reversible manner without causingtissue damage. This capability allows a method for drug delivery to the CNS to destroy bothmalignant brain tumors and isolated residual tumor cells involved in tumor recurrence aftersurgical resection. In order for HIFU-induced BBB disruption to be clinically useful, HIFUtreatment must be shown to provide a means for safe and effective drug delivery to the CNS.It is currently unclear how the HIFU-treated regions of the brain evolve overtime and what, ifany, long-term negative effects are associated with this brief BBB opening. Preliminary worksuggests that it is possible to disrupt the BBB without causing tissue damage. My currentwork aims to replicate these findings by identifying a protocol that reversibly opens the BBBacutely in such a way as to maximize flux into the treatment site, while minimizing damage tothe surrounding tissue. This protocol will be used to assay any long-term HIFU effects to thetreatment site. Successful completion of this work will mark an important step towards theimplementation of HIFU therapy into clinical practice to treat neurological disorders.
  9. 9. "Their War": The Perspective of the South Vietnamese Military in Their Own WordsDespite the vast research by Americans on the Vietnam War, little is known about theperspective of South Vietnamese military, officially called the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces(RVNAF). The overall image that emerges from the literature is negative: lazy, corrupt,unpatriotic, apathetic soldiers with poor fighting spirits. This study recovers some of the SouthVietnamese military perspective for an American audience through qualititative interviews with40 RVNAF veterans now living in San José, Sacramento, and Seattle, home to three of the topfive largest Vietnamese American communities in the nation. An analysis of these interviewsyields the veterans own explanations that complicate and sometimes even challenge threewidely held assumptions about the South Vietnamese military: 1) the RVNAF was rife withcorruption at the top ranks, hurting the morale of the lower ranks; 2) racial relations betweenthe South Vietnamese military and the Americans were tense and hostile; and 3) the RVNAF wasapathetic in defending South Vietnam from communism. The stories add nuance to ourunderstanding of who the South Vietnamese were in the Vietnam War. This study is part of agrowing body of research on non-American perspectives of the war. In using a largely untappedsource of Vietnamese history - oral histories with Vietnamese immigrants - this project willcontribute to future research with a similar perspective.
  10. 10. "Quantifying the Mechanics of a Laryngoscopy"Laryngoscopy is a medical procedure that provides a secure airway by passing a breathing tubethrough the mouth and into the lungs of a patient. The ability to successfully performlaryngoscopy is highly dependent on operator skill; experienced physicians have failure rates of0.1% or less, while less experienced paramedics may have failure rates of 10-33%, which canlead to death or brain injury. Accordingly, there is a need for improved training methods, andvirtual reality technology holds promise for this application. The immediate objective of thisresearch project is to measure the mechanics of laryngoscopy, so that an advanced trainingmannequin can be developed. This summer an instrumented laryngoscope has been developedwhich uses a 6-axis force/torque sensor and a magnetic position/orientation sensor to quantifythe interactions between the laryngoscope and the patient. Experienced physicians as well asresidents in training have used this device on an existing mannequin, and the force and motiontrajectories have been visualized in 3D. One objective is to use comparisons between expert andnovice users to identify the critical skill components necessary for patients, to identify themechanical properties of the human anatomy that effect laryngoscopy, and thus enable thedevelopment of a realistic training simulator. In the future an advanced training mannequin willbe developed whose physical properties will be based on our sensor measurements, and wherevirtual reality tools will be used to provide training feedback for novice users.