The persistence of myth

Once again, a study has confirmed that there are significantly more risks associated with not vaccinating children than there are with vaccinating them. The study — published on September 30 in Pediatrics — looked at rates of pertussis (whooping cough) in California, and compared them to rates in areas where parents withheld vaccines from their children. The findings? People who weren’t vaccinated were 2½ times more likely than the norm to live in an area with high levels of whooping cough.

Why is this important? Because as the study states in its background, “In 2010, 9120 cases of pertussis were reported in California, more than any year since 1947.” How could this happen in the United States in the 21st century? Why would parents withhold one of the most effective preventers of communicable diseases in the world?Read full post...


Quick tip on how to get staff to wash their hands

Institutions that exhibit strong compliance with hygiene show strong declines in infections of all types

Institutions that exhibit strong compliance with hygiene show strong declines in infections of all types.

In a recent article on FierceHealthcare, the editors compiled four videos from health care providers that encourage staff—everyone from custodians to physicians—to wash their hands. These videos had been posted on YouTube, and one of the points of the article is that hospitals and other institutions are turning to social media to cut down on hospital-acquired infections.

Why is this still a problem? It’s not as if we haven’t been taught from childhood that washing our hands is an important part of staying healthy.

The American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute conduct “A Survey of Handwashing Behavior” every few years. The most recent study included a telephone survey, in which 96 percent of people said they always washed their hands after using a public bathroom. But reality tells a different story. In the latest survey, restroom observers reported that 85 percent of men and women observed at public places in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Francisco washed their hands after using a public bathroom.Read full post...


Life sciences marketing: the two brains revisited

Reason and imagination actually reside in both hemispheres of the brain.

No doubt you — like millions of others — are an avid follower of my posts on this site. Cast your memory back about a year ago. In “Feeding the thing with two brains,” I blogged about the attraction to life sciences marketing, likening it to balancing the “needs” of the two sides of the brain — the rational and the emotional. Well, now I’m writing about another aspect of this field that continues to fascinate: the potential to learn something new — or unlearn a “fact” you have known forever.

Imagine my amazement when I viewed a presentation via TED of an RSA Animate talk given by noted psychiatrist, author and brain expert Iain McGilchrist. In this artfully animated talk, he disposes of the old paradigm I quoted in my previous post: “The right brain is the seat of all that is rationale, and the left brain is the seat of the emotions.”

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Feeding the thing with two brains

Feeding the thing with two brains.

Are you feeding both brains adequately?

What makes someone choose to work in life sciences marketing? Maybe it’s a case of feeding the two brains we’re blessed with — our left and right brains. Almost 30 years ago, I read Robert Ornstein’s The Psychology of Consciousness. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated by how we can approach the world on different planes, from different perspectives — due to the differences in our “two” brains. So how does this relate to life sciences marketing? With apologies to Dr. Ornstein, I will use his framework to explain our own.Read full post...


R U texting responsibly?

It's dangerous to text while driving.

Don't mix texting and driving!

Of all the new media, texting has exploded in the last year and, together with its sibling, twittering, it may now come with a caution label attached. While many of us are accustomed to listening to the radio in the car, very few of us watch television in the driver’s seat. The logic is obvious, and yet many of us engage in texting behavior that defies that same logic.

According to The New York Times (7-18-09; 7-28-09), two studies have shown that this new media and driving don’t mix. A study conducted by Virginia Tech showed texting truckers (on actual runs) were 23 times more likely to have a crash, and a University of Utah study showed that college students (in simulators) were eight times more likely to crash.Read full post...


And another thing … unintended copy points


I sometimes wonder whether some agencies even read the copy aloud before it’s approved.

Two examples come to mind: A prominent lizard has been the spokes-reptile for an auto insurance giant that frequently tells viewers that they can save “… hundreds of dollars or more on car insurance.” Moron car insurance? I don’t want that! Or how about the pharmaceutical hair remedy whose ads claimed that in clinical studies, “most grew some hair.” Most gruesome hair? I want none of that either.

My point? Just remember that you need to look at the creative product from all angles before it leaves the agency. You never know who may look at the work the wrong way.