Archive: Feb 2016

  1. Merck Manuals Now Available in Spanish

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    Merck Manuals Now Available in Spanish

    2/8/2016. By Robert S. Porter, MD, Editor-in-Chief, The Merck Manuals

    We are proud to announce the launch of Spanish translations of both the Professional and Consumer versions of the Merck Manuals. These are available in the United States on, and in the rest of the world on This launch is part of The Manuals’ Global Medical Knowledge 2020 mission – a worldwide initiative to make the best current medical information accessible to nearly 3 billion consumers and health care professionals by 2020 (what our mission is all about).

    The U.S. is home to 52 million Spanish speakers, making it the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, yet the availability of accurately translated medical information is not keeping pace with the growth of this population.

    Click to enlarge

    Many medical resources are loosely translated into Spanish using automated services that don’t reflect key language nuances. A 2014 study in the British Medical Journal found that Google Translate is only 57.7% accurate when translating medical phrases. As you’re all well aware, inaccurate translations can lead to confusion in treatments or dosages, sometimes even creating disastrous consequences.

    We believe credible health information is a universal right. That’s why we’ve partnered with leading professional translators to ensure that all medical information found on is accurate, complete and tailored to Spanish speaking consumers and health care professionals.

    Here are the steps we’ve taken to ensure you and your patients have accurate information to access and discuss:

    Consumer Version Translation Process

    • The consumer translation was coordinated by a global translations company, which identified a number of native Spanish-speaking medical doctors and experienced medical linguists.
    • We then selected a team of the best writers and editors from this group to translate the Manual’s content. The translators used a three-step process (translate, edit, and quality control) to ensure accuracy and completeness.
    • Finally, selected content was reviewed again by an independent, native Spanish-speaking physician reviewer as an additional check of content.

    Professional Version Translation Process

    • The professional version was created in partnership with Spanish medical publisher Editorial Médica, Panamericana’s Medical Publishing Division.
    • Translations were prepared by physicians and reviewed by medical editors to ensure accuracy.
    • All content then underwent a separate quality control review by native Spanish-speaking physicians.

    These measures give us, and we hope you, a sense of comfort that the Spanish medical information on our site has the same high quality, reliability and readability as the English versions of The Manual.

    You and your patients can now search and access more than 10,000 medical resources – including articles, quizzes and videos – in Spanish. Our unique toggle feature that lets you switch from an article written for professionals to one written in layman’s terms is also available on the Spanish pages, to make it easy for you to find information you can print out or share electronically with your Spanish speaking patients.

    We spoke with Dr. Hector Gonzalez Usigli, physician in Guadalajara, Mexico and author of The Manuals’ chapters on movement disorders, who provided his thoughts on the launch of the Spanish translations.

    “As healthcare professionals know, the latest medical information and developments are documented in English worldwide, but a basic translation does not take into account the key language nuances that are important to fully comprehending medical concepts. It is important for the wellbeing of our patients that healthcare professionals and the general public have access to medical information in their native language, which is why I’m proud to be part of The Manuals’ mission to give Spanish speakers around the world the opportunity of knowledge.”

    Please note the dropdown language menu in the upper right corner of every page that you can use to choose English or Spanish (and soon other languages) as you visit our site. We’re proud to be able to offer this latest addition to our all-digital platform and hope it will benefit you and your patients.

  2. Entire class learns sign language to communicate with deaf classmate

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    Entire class learns sign language to communicate with deaf classmate

    Just three months later they can chat with six-year-old Zejd Coralic

    An entire class of pupils in Bosnia are being taught sign language so they can communicate with a deaf classmate.

    Teacher Sanela Ljumanovic decided to help the children in her class at Sarajevo’s Osman Nakas primary school learn to sign, after noticing six-year-old Zejd Coralic had become isolated from his peers.

    It comes after Bosnia adopted laws in 2003 that meant children with disabilities should be fully integrated into the classroom.

    Ms Ljumanovic said: “We are all happy as we are learning a new language. The goal, however, is also to teach Zejd to read lips … he is a good kid, a smart kid.”

    After just three months, the children have learned the basics of sign language and are learning to communicate with their classmate.

    “Zejd,” said Uma Nadarevic, 6, crossing her arms to sign his name.

    “Please,” she then put her palms together as if she would be praying. “Can … you …show …me …our …homework …in … math?” Uma waved the signs with her little arms as she slowly pronounced each word.

    His mother said he was now excited about going to school.

    She said they tried to learn sign language together before he went to school but that he was not very interested.

    “Now he is happy and motivated,” she said.

    Still, Zejd is an exception in Bosnian society, said Anisa Setkic-Sendic, the class’s sign language teacher.

    “When he sees how much others insist on communicating with him, it is motivating. This should be normal. ” she added.

    Zejd’s classmates are enjoying learning the language.

    “I like to learn Zejd’s language so I can talk to him and to other deaf people,” said Tarik Sijaric, one of Zejd’s best friends. “It is fun.”

    Ms Ljumanovic explained that learning was good for Zejd, but that it was also good for children to generally be more sensitive to those with disabilities.

  3. Learning a Language is Like Falling in Love

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    From the Huffington Post:

    Learning A Language Is Like Falling In Love

    Posted: 02/08/2016 3:01 pm EST  Updated: 02/08/2016 3:59 pm EST 


    To my latest language flame:

    Language learning is like falling in love. In fact, I have to be in love to learn a language, and I’m in love with you, my newest language.

    It’s just an affair, though. I don’t have to marry you to get to know you. I can even have an affair with you now, and then move onto another language affair later. But while I’m learning about you, I’ll be faithful to you. I know I learn faster when I’m faithful to one language.

    Just like anybody in love, I want to spend as much time with you as possible, to hear your voice and read your thoughts. I want to learn the many words and phrases you use to express yourself. I think of you wherever I am.

    I try to notice all the little things you do and every day discover new things that I hadn’t noticed before. Some of your habits seem peculiar or confusing but I am slowly getting used to you. I hear you, see you and even repeat some of your words and phrases to myself, throughout the day .

    Just as in any love affair, there are things about you that I don’t like, but I don’t let these things bother me. I focus on the things that I like. I don’t want to question why you behave the way you do. I just accept you. I just want to spend time with you and imitate you — the highest form of appreciation, by the way.

    I know my love is one-sided. I know you don’t love me back. But I know you won’t criticize me, no matter how badly I use you.

    I also know that you are not jealous of me, not of my previous language affairs nor of my future language affairs. I know you don’t really care if I carry on an affair with another language at the same time as I am with you. But I won’t.

    As with any relationship, this can can create problems… On the other hand, I’m not jealous of other people who love you. In fact, I love to meet people who are in love with you, and to compare notes with them.

    Being in love with you is its own reward. I don’t care what you think of me. I’m enjoying carrying on an affair with you and really don’t expect anything in return. But I know from experience with other language affairs that I get more out of my relationship than I put in. The rewards are personal, cultural and even professional. The rewards are immense.

    When I’ve tried to get to know a language without loving it, it hasn’t worked. It hasn’t been enough to just want to get to know a language for some short term goal, a job or a test.

    I always try to find something I can like or love in a language. It doesn’t have to be everything, just some things. There always are some things to love in the culture, history or some of the people associated with a language.

    So please understand me, dearest Language. I want to get to know you as well as I can. For the longest time I hung around you, listening and reading and getting used to your words and phrases, enjoying your personality. I didn’t start to speak until I knew you fairly well.

    At first it was difficult to figure you out. You’re quite hard to get to know, a real coquette. But now I understand you better. As is always the case, the better I know you the more I love you, and the better I can use you.

    So, happy Valentine’s Day, dearest Language, and thanks for everything. I am not about to let you go anytime soon.

  4. Zika virus infection ‘through sex’ reported in US

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    A rare case of the Zika virus being transmitted through sex, not a mosquito bite, has been reported in the US.

    A patient infected in Dallas, Texas, is likely to have been infected by sexual contact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) told the BBC.

    The person had not travelled to infected areas but their partner had returned from Venezuela.

    Zika is carried by mosquitoes and has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

    It is spreading through the Americas and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease linked to the virus a global public health emergency.

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    More on the Zika crisis:

    What you need to know Key questions answered about the virus and its spread

    Travel advice Countries affected and what you should do

    The mosquito behind spread of virus What we know about the insect

    Abortion dilemma Laws and practices in Catholic Latin America

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    The American Red Cross has meanwhile urged prospective blood donors returning from Zika-hit countries to wait at least 28 days before donating their blood.

    The “self-deferral” should apply to people returning from Mexico, the Caribbean or Central or South America during the past four weeks, the Red Cross said in a statement.


    • Two cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in Australia. Officials said the two Sydney residents had recently returned from the Caribbean.
    • Zika has also been found in two unrelated cases in the Republic of Ireland, officials there said. A man and an older woman, who have both recovered, had a history of travelling to a Zika-affected country.
    • The UK has announced people will not be able to donate blood for 28 days after returning from a Zika-affected country.

    Meanwhile, Brazil – the country worst hit by the outbreak – has revealed it is investigating 3,670 suspected cases of microcephaly in babies linked to the Zika virus.

    A total of 404 cases have so far been confirmed – up from 270 last week – while 709 cases have been discarded, the country’s health ministry said.

    The ministry also said 76 infant deaths from microcephaly, either during pregnancy or just after birth, were suspected.

    Map locator

    Analysis: James Gallagher, health editor, BBC News website

    The main way Zika is spread is by mosquitoes.

    But if Zika can also spread through sex, then it poses a risk to every country not just those with the Aedes mosquito.

    So far, authorities have said sexual transmission is rare, but last year they would have said any case of Zika was rare, too.

    This explosive outbreak has caught the world by surprise and many key questions remain unanswered.

    Exactly how common or rare is sexual transmission? Can it be spread by the 80% of people who show no symptoms? How long does the virus persist in semen? When is it safe to have sex again?

    What should men do after visiting affected countries? Can women also spread the virus through sex?

    However, this is not a new HIV/Aids moment. HIV infection is incurable and dramatically shortens lives without daily medication.

    Zika infections are short, mild and pose a significant threat only in pregnancy.

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    Texas has seen seven other Zika cases all related to foreign travel.

    But Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for CDC, said this was the first case it had dealt with involving a “non-traveller”.

    “We don’t believe this was spread through mosquito bites, but we do believe it was spread through a sexual contact.”

    A statement issued by the CDC said the best way to avoid Zika virus infection was “to prevent mosquito bites and to avoid exposure to semen from someone who has been exposed to Zika”.

    WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said the latest development would be discussed at its daily meeting later on Wednesday.

    “We certainly understand the concern,” he told Reuters news agency. “This needs to be investigated to understand the conditions and how often or likely sexual transmission is, and whether or not other body fluids are implicated”.

    Graphic showing babies' head size

    It is not the first known case of sexual transmission in the US. A doctor from Colorado returning from Africa in 2008 is thought to have passed on the infection to his wife. There was a case in 2013 in French Polynesia, according to the CDC website.

    The CDC recommends that pregnant women avoid travel to more than two dozen countries with Zika outbreaks, mostly in the Caribbean and Latin America, including Venezuela.

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her government was focused on eradicating the mosquito that transmits the virus and has pledged considerable funds to do so.

    World map showing past and present cases of Zika virus

    European countries were warned on Wednesday that they too needed to make preparations once the Aedes mosquitoes become active on the continent during the spring and summer months.

    WHO’s Europe Director Zsuzsanna Jakab urged countries to act in a co-ordinated way to control the mosquitoes, inform people about the risks, keep a check on cases, step up research to understand the disease and develop vaccines.

  5. The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for the ATA Annual Conference in San Francisco, California, November 2-5, 2016.

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    FYI: ATA 57th Annual Conference: Call for Proposals

    The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for the ATA Annual Conference in San Francisco, California, November 2-5, 2016.

    Proposal submission is open to everyone. ATA membership is not required. You may submit multiple proposals, but a maximum of two proposals will be accepted per speaker.

    Proposals must be received by March 4, 2016.

    New idea: If you do not want to present a topic, which medical topic would you like to see?

    For more information