PEN eNews 10(4) April 2020
eNews is a monthly e-newsletter shared with the global PEN Community and created to help dietitians position themselves as leaders in evidence-based nutrition practice. In addition, users of the PEN System will find articles on the new evidence, resources and features available and how to maximize one's use of PEN.
OPEN ACCESS: The PEN® System and COVID-19
With the spread of COVID-19, the day-to-day practice of dietitians, dietetic students and interns around the world has changed fundamentally. Many dietitians are on the front lines while others are now working virtually. During the next few weeks, access to the PEN System should not be one of your stressors. We believe this so strongly that the team at PEN: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition has decided to provide open access to the PEN System to dietitians and dietetic students worldwide. The hope is that by eliminating barriers to practice questions and client resources, your life becomes a little easier as you continue to provide care, support and evidence-based nutrition information to your patients and clients around the world.
During this period, open access to the PEN System will be available through a special login page: www.pennutrition.com/COVID19
. NOTE: Open Access is not the same as PEN individual access. To use Open Access and not your individual account, you must log into the Open Access portal.
Please review the Disclaimer prior to log in.
For current subscribers who use personal access credits - your access credits will not be affected when accessing the PEN System from the special login page. However, if you wish to access the My Favourites feature and other personalized features of the PEN System, you will need to login to your personal individual account using your existing username and password. Your access credits will be used in this case.
- New content related to infant feeding during emergencies
- Various handouts, including recipe and grocery shopping.
Yours in Health,
The PEN Team
DISCLAIMER: PEN®: Practice-Based Evidence in Nutrition is a system developed for dietitians, those in the process of becoming a dietitian and nutrition professionals. Dietitians are health care professionals with specialized knowledge in food and nutrition. The information found on the PEN website is not intended for the public nor should it replace the advice of a health care professional. Dietitians of Canada is the owner or authorized licensee of all trademarks and copyrighted material on the PEN website. Our organization is committed to protecting its intellectual property rights by enforcing them against unauthorized use. PLEASE NOTE: In using the temporary open access link, you represent that you are 18 years old or older and you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions laid out in the PEN License Agreement and the Privacy and Security Policy. PLEASE READ BOTH CAREFULLY BEFORE ACCESSING OR USING THE OPEN ACCESS PEN SYSTEM. We acknowledge that the license agreement, as written, does not describe the process for logging in using our open access link and that all fees in relation to access to the PEN System will be waived during this period. Dietitians of Canada reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to suspend or terminate operation of or access to the open access PEN System at any time without notice to you.
Colorectal Cancer and Nutrition: The Latest
What is the role of nutrition in the prevention and risk management of colorectal, colon and rectal cancer? See these updated practice questions to find out:
How Do I....Find Tools and Resources?
The PEN system contains many tools and resources that dietitians can use within their practice. Resources for the professional may include practice guidelines, web links and articles related to a knowledge pathway topic and client education resources may consist of PEN-developed client handouts, fact sheets, brochures and videos.
Here’s how to find and sort the tools and resources in the PEN system:
Go to any Knowledge Pathway of interest (example: Immune System), and click on Related Tools and Resources
on the right hand side of the screen.
You can click on one or all three of the orange boxes (audience, country, language) to sort through the results and find the tools and resources you need:
Available options you can sort by:
: consumer or professional
: Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States
: English, French, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Indigenous Australian languages, Japanese, NA Aboriginal native languages, NZ Maori, Pacific Island languages, Punjabi, South Asian, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh
You can also access all PEN created consumer handouts through the PEN Handout Collection on the PEN home page:
After clicking on the handout collection icon you will be directed to a variety of collections. Each contains PEN-developed client handouts in English with most translated into French, and some are also available other translations and cultural adaptations.
Here's an example of handouts available for the Reactive Hypoglycemia under the Health Condition Collection:
Parkinson’s Disease and Dietary Protein – Does the Amount Matter?
- What are the energy and nutrient needs of individuals with Parkinson's disease?
- Are any dietary supplements (e.g. vitamin D, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, caffeine, creatine, herbal supplements) effective in managing symptoms or slowing the progression of Parkinson's disease?
- What are the indications for alcohol consumption in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD)?
Looking for ways to keep up on new and updated PEN content?
PEN® Content Alerts
Individual subscribers can log in and check off any of the more than 200 knowledge pathways as well as Trending Topics and the Upcoming Content sections to be alerted weekly, monthly or quarterly to what is new and updated in the PEN database. To find out how, click here
This feature lets you save the direct links to knowledge pathways, practice questions, backgrounds, practice guidance toolkits, summaries of recommendations and evidence, handouts and other related tools and resources within one place in the PEN database. For instance: if you are working on a presentation, you can keep all of the relevant direct links to PEN content in My Favourites for as long as you need to refer to this content. Or perhaps you are a clinician who needs information on diverticular disease for a new client. You can do your search and then store the direct links to relevant content to peruse when you have time. If the content is updated while you have it in My Favourites, the updated version will appear, as the same direct link is used. To learn more, click here
Now, More than ever, evidence matters
This is not the editorial that I envisioned writing back in February as part of accepting "the torch" in my new role, but my introduction to readers is secondary to continuing the conversation about COVID at this time.
In the face of a global pandemic, researchers around the world have stepped up to the plate. As of April 17th, according to LitCovid
, a literature hub for COVID-19 research from the National Library of Medicine, a whopping 4,929 articles have been published on the topic of COVID-19 transmission, diagnosis, treatment and prevention since mid-January. This extensive mobilization of research networks is nothing short of spectacular when one considers that it often takes years to construct, conduct and publish a single research study. This is certainly a fascinating time for health research and a dramatic time for me to jump in as the new Director of Knowledge Translation for the PEN®
While the incredible response by the scientific community to COVID-19 is encouraging, we need to remain vigilant with critical appraisal during this time. No research study is perfect and those conducted quickly and under extreme circumstances are likely at higher risk of biases and limitations. Here are a couple things to look out for when searching for evidence-based answers to your COVID-19 questions:
- Indirect Research – If the study doesn’t specifically examine COVID-19 or SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), then the research is considered "indirect" and our confidence in using the results to answer COVID-19 questions must decrease. Many of the current studies examine SARS (SARS-CoV), MERS (MERS-CoV) or coronaviruses in general, but it remains to be seen whether these results will apply to COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2.
- Preprints – In an effort to expedite the sharing of urgent information, researchers are posting their articles online as “preprints” before they have been peer-reviewed (1). This permits fast access to research results, but without prior validation from the scientific community these studies need to be evaluated and interpreted with extra caution.
- Author Conflicts of Interest – It is important to be alert for authors who have vested interests in the recommendations that they are making to prevent or treat COVID-19, especially when it comes to food and supplements. It’s sad but true that some individuals view the pandemic as an opportunity to make money.
As always, your PEN Team is hard at work. Check out our new Knowledge Pathway, COVID-19 and Nutrition
, that contains a background on Food, Nutrition and Health During COVID-19 as well as a curated collection of professional- and consumer-focused tools and resources. We’ve also been busy updating our Trending Topics
page and we’re working on new content related to infant feeding during emergencies.
None of us saw COVID-19 coming (except, possibly, Bill Gates
), but we’re all in this together. As a dietetic community, let’s continue to collaborate, stand firm in the evidence and combat misinformation.
Mary Anne Smith RD, PhD
Director of Knowledge TranslationReferences
- Majumder MS, Mandl KD. Early in the epidemic: impact of preprints on global discourse about COVID-19 transmissibility. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 Mar 24;S2214-109X(20)30113-3. Online ahead of print. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32220289/
thank you to our PEN® volunteers
Our global PEN® partnership has benefited from volunteer efforts around the world. Please take a moment to read and acknowledge your colleagues who served as authors or peer reviewers for PEN content published during the last six months.
Maria van der Merwe
Want to see your name amongst dietetics thought leaders from around the world? Become a PEN® author or reviewer! Please click here to send us your contact information.
April 2020 Volume
A Publication of the PEN® System Global Partners,
a collaborative partnership between International Dietetic Associations.
Learn more about PEN.
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. All Rights Reserved.