Saturday, March 11, 2017

#Visual Abstracts: History and Future in Medicine and Nephrology

Visual abstracts have flooded the social media world in the last few months. Where did this come from and how does it impact nephrology sharing of knowledge?

Looking back I found that these existed for many years in Chemistry journals –also called graphical abstracts.  Visual or graphical abstracts are visual elements that are clearly and in short figure formed conveying the main message of the research( or review) paper.  They are self explanatory and together with the title of the paper convey the main message of the article. Given the current attention spans of readers being short and many learners being “visual”, this method can be quite effective. Journals in medicine are trying to play with this concept for their specific fields.

Dr. Andrew Ibrahim(https://www.surgeryredesign.com/) , creative director of Annals of Surgery began this revolution in Medicine. As per a twitter chat, he mentioned “ We pitched this idea to the editors of Annals of Surgery and they loved it. It was clear in June 2016 that it disseminated faster. This led to a case control cross over of 44 articles between July and Dec 2016 and results are preliminary results are promising.  The articles got read three times more if they had a visual abstract!! Once in Dec 2016, I shared my primer, there are around 20 other journals doing this.”






In the world of Nephrology, Joel Topf took on this venture for Nephjc.com and visual abstracts appeared for the first time in renal world at recent journals club in Fall of 2016.






Following that, the #nephmadness 2017 has featured many visual abstracts, some pasted below




To top it all, CJASN is the first renal journal to enter in the visual abstract world. Great start and totally amazing to have a renal journal embrace this!


Here is an image showing early leaders of visual abstracts ( courtesy Andrew)



Few that I have done




How to create them? Check  out this primer by Andrew
You can create both static and animated abstracts- both can be very important in relaying your message.  I would urge all educators to try this out.

This could make fellowship journal club more fascinating. Make your residents/fellows create them. All researchers should simplify their ideas using such techniques.  All medicine journals should strongly consider this modality.

A new wave of presenting research has arrived- #visual abstracts!

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