Journal Club

Journal Club


Saul Bellow wrote there is simply too much to think about. A scientist must think and, guided by that thought, do. I think an approach to chosing what to do is to distil knowledge into wisdom. Acquiring knowledge is a skill. Distilling it into wisdom is also a skill. This notebook is my attempt to co-ordinate my reading of the scientific literature and form links between articles, to engage with the literature of my areas of interest just as I have tried to do with the classics.

My approach will be to

  1. Annotate the printed article.
  2. Transcribe the annotations here along with further reflections and a citation.
  3. Filter those notes into other notebooks.

August 29, 2022

  1. (Arillotta et al., 2020):
    • Summary: The authors use NPS.Finder to identify opioids mentioned online but not in govenrment lists of opioids. In essence, they used a program to search a database with keywords and generate a list. Then they compared that list against the benchmark list from the government. The authors do not describe in detail how they identified whether a drug was an opioid or not.
    • My thoughts:
    • Methodological Issues: The authors’ central claim is that an opioid is novel if it appears on one list but not another. They do not discuss how misclassification errors could inflate the number of unrecognized opioids. To me, there is a classification problem. The effects of NPS cross traditional bounds. If the authors judged a substance an opioid but the feds didn’t, the authors could conclude this is a novel opioid, rather than one consciously excluded. Federal authorities might consciously exclude substances because they are less potent than thought or may not actually have opioid effects and, thus, do not merit the limited resource of attention.
    • Misinterpreting Literature Issue: The authors cite Corazza et al. (2013) and Schifano et al (2015) to support the statement Because the online NPS scenario typically predicts the real-life NPS market availability... But, the citations link to a description of implementation of an online surveillance system with no real-world validation and a systematic review. - Concepts the article discussed nicely:
      - References to Read:
      1. Schifano, F., Napoletano, F., Chiappini, S., Guirguis, A., Corkery, J. M., Bonaccorso, S., Ricciardi, A., Scherbaum, N., & Vento, A. (2021). New/emerging psychoactive substances and associated psychopathological consequences. Psychological Medicine, 51(1), 30–42. *One of the authors of this paper created NPS.Finder, I think. The citation trail says one thing. The manuscript says another.

August 30, 2022

  1. (Hearne et al., 2017):
    • Summary: The authors attempted to identify misinformation about home preparation of illicit substances by conducting a qualitative analysis of themes from 614 post across 5 web sites (This n is comparable to the amount I used in my qualitative analysis of the doses and effects of DNP (manuscript under review).)
    • Useful phrases
      • Communal folk pharmacology

    • Methodological Issues: I don’t know how to apply the authors’ metholodology to other data sets becasue the authors do not provide sufficient detail as to how they derived these topics.