Monday, 26 November 2007

Listen up!

Where do you find time to keep up to date? It's true, you can read journals in bed, in the bath or on a train, but they are no good if you are driving or jogging. Unless you buy your own copy of the journal you'll find you are stuck with reading it in the library, and even online access ties you to your desk and PC.

One of the answers is to listen to podcasts. These are mini broadcasts on the internet that you can listen to online or using an MP3 player. You'll normally have to subscribe, register or pay to access podcasts. Listening online still ties you to your desk - it's the ability to takeaway podcasts on your MP3 player that really frees you to listen anywhere and everywhere.

Johns Hopkins University has medicine podcasts on its site. They are aimed at the general public, but don't let that put you off. The offerings for week of 23rd November included the effect of obesity on PSA readings, the benefit of pedometers and ultrasound in the diagnosis of ovarian mass.

The New England Journal of Medicine is an old hand at this technology. It offers a range or podcasts and videos. Each week there is an audio summary of the journal, as well as interviews and other material.

Closer to home Dr Mark Porter's splendid Casenotes programme on BBC radio 4 is available in podcast form.

While researching this post I came across MyMedicalPodcasts This looks quite new, and there doesn't seem to be much on it at present. The contributors and editorial board are doctors based at London hospitals.

Finally, Powys Local Health Board (part of the NHS in Wales) has links to health podcasts on its website.

Google for medical podcasts and see what you find. However, as with anything on the net, don't forget to ask where the information is coming from and what bias it may contain. Anyone with some basic kit can create a podcast, and stick it on a website, calling themselves Doctor Whoever and claiming to be a leading consultant somewhere or other. Be as cautious with podcasts as you would with any other piece of information you find on the internet.

If you're curious about podcasting the BBC has some basic information. If you don't have an MP3 player there is still plenty of time to start dropping hints to Father Christmas.

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