But of course changes also took place inside our editorial board, we said goodbye to Dr. Kim Hurkens and Prof. dr. Wolter Mooi, and have welcomed our new members, Tim de Back and Marthe Ribbink. In like manner, we are sad to announce that Yvo Smulders, our Editor in Chief VUmc, is leaving the journal. Although he will be sorrowly missed, our new Editor in Chief VUmc will soon receive a joyful welcoming. Together we hope to improve and expand the journal even further.
It could not be missed the last months; the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or in Dutch ‘Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming (AVG)’. Many fields, including our medical research field, are impacted by this regulation. Since the introduction of this regulation at the 25th of May, we have to be much more careful with our patient data.
P-hacking, data dredging, data fishing. These terms imply use of data mining to uncover patterns in data that can be presented as statistically significant, without first devising a specific hypothesis as to the underlying causality.1 An example: the number of people who drowned by falling into a pool correlates with the number movies Nicolas Cage appeared in from 1999 to 2009 (r=0.67).2 This seems bizarre but these kind of practices, in a far more subtle way of course, occur in research groups. Data files are thoroughly analyzed in the hope of finding significant results. P-hacking is often followed by HARKing (hypothesizing after the results are known), which defies the founding principles of empiricism.3 The hypothesis and method get altered after the results are analyzed instead of the other way around. The incentive for this behavior is driven by many factors; for instance by the amount of pressure to publicize and journals mostly publishing positive results. These malpractices have already been described in statistical literature in the previous century, but the awareness slowly seems to increase in medical sciences. Different solutions to tackle these problems are named; using ‘clinical relevance’ instead of ‘significant’ results, preregistering research plans before collecting data and all kinds of statistical solutions.4 I would like to encourage students to study these ideas
Since 1901 the Nobel Prize praises excellent researchers for their contributions in various disciplines in the (bio)medical field. Until now, three Dutch scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Willem Einthoven, who discovered the mechanism of the electrocardiogram, was the first of them to receive the golden medal and prize money to the value of what would now be about 1 million euros in 1924. Shortly after, Christiaan Eijkman received the award in 1924 (together with Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Great Britain) for his discovery in the role of vitamins in Beriberi. The last Dutch researcher who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was Niko Tinbergen, who received the award together with Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz (both from Austria) in 1973 for their analysis of social behaviour in animals. Over the years researchers worked tremendously hard to understand our world a little better. Sometimes things are discovered by accident, such as the discovery of the world’s first antibiotic, by Alexander Fleming. In either case, multiple steps are required to eventually find the last piece for ground-breaking research.
A patient in ill health, an amazing night out with some friends, an article being rejected for the second time, watching a dorky movie with the one you love, your bike getting stolen, an offer to participate in research. Life is full of ups and downs. The same can be said about the life of AMSj. Periods of uncertainty followed by great opportunities; lots of articles being sent in for review, an amazing dinner to honour one of our founding members, uncertainty whether there would be a next issue, inspiring ideas from new board members. These ups and downs keep us motivated and inspire to work hard for progress in the long run. Without mentioning some timeworn quotes by Silvester Stallone or Sun Tzu, I think the most important thing is to stay balanced as an individual and as an organisation. This could be accomplished by opening up to people close to you, reflecting on yourself (or as an organisation) and sometimes to prioritise by giving up a dream in order to reach closer to another.
The older population is growing rapidly and is already a substantial part of our current patient population. Their part will increase over time and we will see more and more differences in older patients compared to their younger counterparts. Therefore, we devoted this AMSj edition to this particular field of medicine: Geriatric Medicine.
I am staring at a blank page, trying to figure out what my last contribution to AMSj will be. I have the honour of writing this editorial, as it will be my final contribution to this amazing journal. Recently, for the first time in my life, I discovered how hard it is to let go of something that is so close to your heart.
Although we learned a lot, some habits never change. One of those habits is deadlines and the other one is working during holidays. While enjoying the sun in Florence, I am trying to write our editorial, an old Italian man passes by and says something in Italian to me. I reply in English and the man looks surprised and asks me, in his best English, whether I am on a work visit. No I am not, I am on a holiday. He laughs ‘ah you love your work’. He is, like most (truly) old people, right. Every edition we have deadlines and an amazing editorial board that, from time to time, forgets those deadlines but somehow do not mind to catch up during their holidays. With a team of over 50 people, from different generations and disciplines, there is one thing that connects us and that is the motivation that once got us on board. Mentioning this makes us obligated to express our gratitude towards our leaving members, who worked so incredibly hard in establishing this journal.
A major event for us has been the AMSc congress last May. We are very happy to see enthusiasm for developing scientific skills and taking scientific writing to the next level. We are also glad to notice the growing interest in our journal, hoping it to be the accessible first step to scientific writing for every student. In this volume you will find a personal note by Jordy Jurgens, the winner of our award for best published article in AMSj. Read about his struggles and victories in research and writing a scientific article!
An anniversary is always special: it is a moment of reflection and looking back on accomplishments of the past year. The very first edition of the Amsterdam Medical Student journal (AMSj), and the three that followed, the rise of the first Amsterdam Medical Student conference (AMSc) but also the new collaborations that evolved, particularly with the ‘Co-raad’. Together with the Co-raad we arranged the recent workshop on scientific writing and we expect many more collaborations in the near future. As for now we are preparing a workshop on how to get involved in research while bridging time for the start of your internship.
A wise man once wrote: “So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop writing Introductions and get on with the book.” Although there is no disagreeing with this statement, there are a few things to mention before kicking off the 3th edition of the Amsterdam Medical Student journal.