Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve been eavesdropping these last few days on Digestive Diseases Week 2011, billed as “the world’s largest gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.” And I’ve been doing so thanks to the miracle of the Twitter hashtag.
Want to know what was going on? You don’t even need to have a Twitter account. Pay a visit to Twitter Search and enter #ddw11, the identifier (when people remembered to use it) for at least hundreds of tweets about and from the conference.
Most of it went by me in a blur of medico-speak and, distressingly, advertising. But keeping an alert running through the day brought a few tidbits about eosinophilic esophagitis in adults that piqued my interest.
There was this, which may not bode too well for my trying out an elemental diet in order to clear things out:
My understanding is that these are previews of papers yet to come, so I’ll be curious eventually to read them and, if they still look pertinent, to discuss with Dr. Eos. Who, of course, was at the meeting himself, and perhaps will have some good and perhaps even more relevant things to bring up anyway at my next appointment.
It’s mind-boggling, really. When my eosinophilic gastroenteritis was first diagnosed nearly thirty years ago, my family had access to some of the relevant literature only because my father, an academic physician, could retrieve articles from the medical library. Then he went off to his own opaque conferences in another specialty entirely.
Now, even patients like me can get at least a tiny glimpse—albeit without much nuance—of research on the march.
It does feel like eavesdropping, because I don’t think any of the physicians, scientists, marketers, or conference organizers on social media had me (that is, us, the patients) in mind as they reported and reflected. Mixed in with the professional tweets were plenty of comments about coffee and the conference hall and the bus schedule.
But here we are, and we’re cheering you on.