Paper rejected and Health2.0

Sorry for the silence these last few weeks! With Jess back in school and Brad back from break, we've had to refocus on our "real world" work again.

To give a brief few updates, the brainSCANr manuscript was not even sent out for review (hooray!) so we decided to do a few presubmission inquiries at journals to see if it's even of interest to anyone. We're sure the paper will find a home, we're just not sure where.

Also, we've set up a Google Group for discussion. You can join it here:

Bradley Voytek Jessica Voytek brainSCANr careMAPr Health2.0

This past Saturday, Brad and Jess spent all day at the Health2.0 Developer Challenge (aka the "code-a-thon") at the Googleplex. This event was intended to pair researchers, developers, designers, and folks from the health industry to provide rapid prototypes to address social and person issues in health and medicine.

Neither of us really knew what to expect when we got there, but it ended up being a really cool experience. We started with Brad giving a brief presentation to the crowd about brainSCANr and why we built it. This piqued the interest of a few people in the crowd, and soon we were off in a group discussing some other possibilities with data-mining PubMed.

After about an hour, we were met by Alex from MEDgle (another great heath data mining service), who recognized Brad from Twitter.

We quickly decided on a tool to map where the primary research on health topics was being performed, and one of the members of the group (Sean) dubbed this "careMAPr".

You can see the rapid demo prototype here:

Bradley Voytek Jessica Voytek brainSCANr careMAPr Health2.0

Right now this only works for ADHD for the USA, but the idea would be to allow anyone to enter any search term, and we would query PubMed for that topic. From the results we can identify where the primary research is being conducted. The user could even search by year to highlight only researchers who have recently published on a topic, for example.

The problem that we are trying to address with this site is how to connect the lay community with research specialists. The use case scenario we presented was this: imagine you are a parent whose child was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Maybe your kid was prescribed a drug as part of their treatment. But maybe your child also has another disease, and you want to know about research looking at the relationship between that disease and ADHD.

Right now, the best most people have is to do some Google searching (which can result in very dubious or even misleading information). You can talk to a psychiatrist, but maybe that doctor doesn't really know much about ADHD. How can you find a clinician in your area who does? We hoped that our site might serve as such a resource.

Anyway, the project was very fun, and we were all pretty surprised with how much we managed to put together in just a few hours. We're not sure if we're going to see this one through the the finish, but we hope to.

What do people think about the idea? Any suggestions?


  1. I really like your site. I just found it and am still exploring. This map idea is interesting but the parent of a recently diagnosed child is probably not as interested in the geography of researchers as they would be in practitioners. The date filter is a great idea, the most recent studies would be most interesting. I have an ADD child and I would use this.
    Thanks, John Mekrut

  2. Thanks, John.

    The issue we're trying to address is how does once find a specialist practitioner? Just because someone is a psychologist/psychiatrist doesn't mean they'll know anything about autism, ADHD, bipolar, or whatever other diagnosis. It's an idea in progress, of course.

    Hopefully we'll get to work on this some more later in the summer. For now, my wife and I are taking a bit of a break on this as we work on other projects.

  3. Bradley,
    Look forward to connecting,

  4. Very interesting site here and I'm a big fan of visualization tools, especially those which link the public with actual science and even the scientists themselves. I love your idea and hope you continue to build on it or something similar.

    Your idea for mapping the knowledg makers is excellent - I encourage students to contact authors directly and like to do so myself. We also need search and information retrieval tools that bypass marketing materials and other sources of noise.

    The ability to "skin" the data and switch display types for the same information is exactly what I think we need for many types of data in general. Overlay, combine, reformat, revisualize to get completely different conclusions and to see common threads. If it is possible to embed/share your display, that too would be very cool. Linking this kind of display with an automatically updating PubMed list for the latest on each topic plus the seminal studies in every area would also be a boon to search. People (myself included) waste countless hours just trying to find the right articles on their interests - anything to help that speed along would remove the busy work and replace it with meaningful results.

    Great that you are a neuroscientist, that was my career for 10 years before switching to teaching and business. I also seek to make knowledge navigation tools for my students and am always looking for new ones to share.

    That's all for now, but I love what you are doing here!

    Paul Greenberg, PhD
    (electrophysiology, fMRI)