Information In Practice


BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 31 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1604
  1. Mark Pallen (m.pallen{at}

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    Neuropsychology Central

    Medical education

    • If your students are panicking about exams (or, worse still, re-sits), you could try directing them to Birmingham University Medical School's Computer Assisted Assessment site on They can try their hand at the short clinical cases and multiple choice questions, which get marked on line.

    • Alternatively, pathology students might like to work through David Bowyer's Pathology Lectures at Cambridge University on

    Hong Kong medicine on line

    Cancer on line

    • There are plenty of cancer sites on the web. The Imperial Cancer Research Fund's web site on has both general and specific information about cancer, including details of laboratory and clinical research sponsored by the fund into all aspects of cancer–causes, prevention, and treatment. You can even investigate employment opportunities or make a donation on line.

    • However, the definitive source for cancer information on line is CancerNET, produced by the United States National Cancer Institute, but available in Britain on The site contains authoritative information on all aspects of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. You can even access it in Spanish if you prefer.

    Writing a thesis?

    • Having trouble writing a paper or a thesis? Then visit the Indispensable Writing Resources page on for links to almost every writing resource on the web. The major risk is that you spend so long exploring the sites that you never finish the thesis.

    Coshing COSHH

    • If you have to fill in COSHH assessment forms, you might find the web site of the United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry useful on The site houses ToxFaqs, a set of fact sheets on toxicity profiles of hazardous chemicals, and HazDat, the Hazardous Substance Release/Health Effects Database.

    • You can also take a peek at other people's efforts on implementing COSHH with this URL: or check out the official blurb from the Health and Safety Executive on And if you didn't already know that COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 1994, you are probably already breaking the regulations.

    Netpoints: Patient randomisation on the web

    Third party randomisation is the best way to reduce bias in clinical trials. In our multicentre trial, the growth restriction intervention trial (GRIT) in which the intervention is timed delivery, participants require 24 hour entry, and we need to collect considerable data on fetal and maternal condition before randomisation. However, manned telephone or fax services are expensive, and automated telephone dialling is complicated and permits only a small amount of data to be entered. We have therefore recently set up and successfully used an alternative trial entry service on the internet.

    Any collaborator with access to the internet and a Java enabled web browser can use it. The publicly available Java software is at, and the GRIT web site is at The trial entry program consists of an “applet” that loads from the GRIT server onto the client computer via the internet. The peripheral user sees a data screen and enters the clinical and demographic details. These are validated locally and sent to the GRIT server, which issues a trial number and treatment allocation. The process takes minutes, is cheap, and minimises transcription errors. The internet is used only to transmit the Java applet and for two brief messages, the validated data and the trial allocation. Users require a centre name and password, and, as added security, patients are identified only by their centre code and local hospital number.

    J Hornbuckle, J G Thornton, M Kelly, C R Welch, J Oldham for the GRIT Study Group, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9LN

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