Today I run, and my uterus didn’t fall out



Today I went for a run. Just 5km, at a leisurely pace. While running, I kept thinking of a video I just had seen on Facebook, featuring Kathrine Switzer who, in 1967, decided to enter and run in The Boston Marathon.  She faced an outrage of verbal abuse and assault, but she finished the damned thing and her courage and determination paved the way to all long-distance women runners ever since.

The arguments against her running were that long-distance running would make her uterus fall out, she would grow a moustache, and a hairy chest would develop. This statements, mostly discredited in our days (but some of them still lingering in lighter versions), belong to a long list of myths, distorted ideas, and generalised ignorance about biology in general and women’s reproductive system in particular. However, they are all rooted in ferouscious male-based needs to control women’s bodies, their reproductive lives and, overall, maintaining a status quo of male dominance.

Well, Kathrine, I salute you and I bow to you. Above all, I thank you, for being so brave and for being such an awesome role model. I doubly enjoyed my run today because I kept thinking of you.

My uterus didn’t fall out, I don’t see any hair sprouting from my chest, and my Mediterranean moustache is trimmed and under control.


Research outputs. What to do with them?


This post constitutes another attempt to find the perfect way to make the most out of my research outputs. It started almost a year ago when I posted Congratulations. Your paper has just been published! Now, tell the word about that.  Some details have changed since that post. I am now using Visual CV as my anchor-online CV, with which I am much happier. An additional change, that provides a great boost in my organisation efforts, is that I am using Mindmeister to plan, plot, draft, and make sure I don’t miss a beat in the endless effort of increasing my h-index score.

Mindmeister is so awesome I almost have no words to describe it. We can plan anything easily and neatly and, afterwards, when we are happy with it we can export the output in many formats. The hidden beauty of it (but the one that doesn’t come for free) is that when exporting to WORD or PDF  we not only get the diagram, but also the full layout converted into sections and bullet points. My PhD students and I have been using MindMeister to do their research planning. When we are done with it they basically have their methods chapter written.

The example I am giving here today – because I am so attached to the idea of finding a perfect way to disseminate my research –  is, unsurprisingly, my Mindmeister Plan that shows, in detail, all the steps I follow to record, store, and disseminate anything I do research wise. See below the diagram and note that the notes connect with the hyperlinks. The added bonus is the file that it generates. See it here (Research_output WORD file).




Which site is better for sharing the research: Comparing vs

This post comparing ResearchGate and complements greatly my post “Congratulations your paper has just been published. Now tell the world about it“.



Hello Everyone,

I am a young researcher and like everyone else, I am also interested in making my research more visible and connecting with other fellow researchers. The two major social networking sites for sharing academic research are and It will be interesting to find out which site is better for sharing research papers. I did join these two networking sites and uploaded my papers and analyze theses two sites for around 20-30 days. The papers which were uploaded are almost the same. I give them points for certain important services such as making profiles, simplicity and easy handling of the sites, help section, sharing and tagging papers, visibility of the research, connecting with peers, interaction process, credibility of the provided research papers

  1. Joining and making profile

Both are sites are quite similar with joining these sites. providing logging in with google and facebook account on the…

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Congratulations. Your paper has just been published! Now, tell the world about it!

Dissemination of science

In the Jurassic, pre-internet era, the odyssey of publishing a paper would end when the said paper was, well…published. The authors were informed of the fact and would get a package with printed copies. Eventually, eager requests for reprints would start coming in the mail. And that was lovely and restful.

Now the odyssey starts once the paper has been published online, usually on the Early View section.

I just spent most of my morning going through all the steps that, hopefully, will give my most recent publication the best shot at being noted…and I am exhausted!

I have been keeping, for a long time, a Word file on my laptop that reminds me of the “Sequence for Updating CV, University Websites, Professional Websites, Social Media and Others”. And because I already lost most of my morning doing exactly this I thought I might just go the extra mile and write a blog post about it (never missing a chance of a retweet!). My main hope is that someone, more enlightened than me in the obscure arts of disseminating research outputs, can read this and explain what I have been doing wrong. Because it can’t take this long. I am, most certainly, missing some important dissemination trick. I am sure there is a magic button hidden on the internet that we click and the whole world will instantly know about our most recent contributions to science. As it currently stands, my sequence of tasks is long and not pretty:

1. Online CV: I am using Live Career, which does a good job in terms of personalization of fields, but the formattings are not stable and, sometimes, the online versions are a bit messed up. Plus, to be able to download the CV as a PDF or a Word/RichText document one has to pay a yearly fee. So, overall, not great. Suggestions for alternatives are welcome.

2. University online tools: This step is crucial because items not logged on the University system do not officially exist. This system includes my personal University research webpage, the  institutional repository to which we have to add all the outputs, and the database of current and historic research outputs which will aggregate all relevant information for performance assessments and promotions. It is vital that these are, at all times, updated to the latest detail.

3. Mendeley: I use Mendeley as my one and only reference manager system and I love it. I don’t see myself going back to any other. I use it all the time for research writing purposes, PhD supervisions, and reading lists for teaching and engagement. Mendeley is brilliant for research discussions in shared closed environments. However, Mendeley is also an academic social network that provides a public research profile and that’s where I fail. The public profile needs regular updating and a considerable amount of LTC, which I haven’t been able to provide. Boo!

4. LinkedIn: We are all on it, whether we like it or not! And I don’t particularly like it because it’s a time sucker. There is not a way to just drag and drop the pdfs of the new publications, the information needs to be added one field at a time and it makes me ask incessantly why? why? why?…And I always weep for a while before getting back in the saddle and move on to the next one.

5. ResearchGate: Is a social network for academics, scientists and researchers that never ceases to surprise me. It scores me in many different ways, asks me about my co-authors, allows for intense downloading, is the royalty of endorsements and it is not picky or annoying. It floats around me without interfering too much and it has provided, in many occasions, useful bits of information, new contacts and great research papers that otherwise would go unnoticed. Well done!

6. Figshare: Holds mysteries way beyond my understanding and, as a consequence, I have a crappy profile and a bunch of badly organized resources.

7. Academia.eduI am not sure how I ended up with an active account here but I do have one and people download stuff from it. There is always someone, in a distant land, looking at my profile. Every week I receive an email telling me which of my papers got downloaded the most! Who can shed some light on this one?

This is my self-imposed sequence of tasks that I follow every time I have something good to share about my research production. And then, I Facebook it and Tweet it –  not just on my personal feed but also on the feeds of the Human Biology AssociationSociety for the Study of Human Biology, The Maya Project, and the Centre for Global Health & Human DevelopmentI use TweetDeck and Hootsuite but, by the time I am done with it, I inevitably ask myself any possible combination of, at least, three of the following questions: “Was it worth it?”, “How dumb are you?” “Seriously?”, “Why?”, “Did you fall on your head as an infant?”, “Why are you not recapping all the seasons of Game of Thrones instead?

And then I weep a bit more!

Climate change and negative effects on human growth

los ninos1

On the 25th November 2014, a research paper by Danysh et al (2014) was published in the journal Climate Change Responses (Open Access). The  paper  El Niño adversely affected childhood stature and lean mass in northern Peru associates extreme weather variability, heavy rainfall and flooding – caused by the 1997/98 El Niño phenomenon –  with decreases in stature and lean body mass among Peruvian rural children. Children  born during and immediately after 1997/98 were, on average, shorter and with less lean body mass than expected. These children were measured in 2008/09 – 10 years after the El Niño episode – showing that its negative effects linger for a long time. This study also shows that the poorest children were the most affected by the phenomenon. The authors concluded by pointing out the need “…to design prevention strategies and target aid and relief during future El Niño episodes (pp.9). They emphasise that when so many young children are affected the whole country will be affected –  and this can only be a very bad thing.

I strongly recommend the reading of this paper, its inclusion on lectures, and the promotion of further debate about climate change and health outcomes. I also welcome collaborations to engage in further discussions on how to include climate change variables on studies focusing on child growth and health.

I work with The Maya from Guatemala, Mexico and Belize. They too are poor, marginalised and disproportionately affected by climate change events. The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is on the Atlantic hurricane pathway and every year many Maya families lose their homes, their crops and they all suffer.

I have no knowledge of any studies that associate health outcomes, among the Maya, with climate change but I have photos that show how devastating it is. These photos are part of The Maya Project collection that I direct  – and they speak louder than my words.

Photo by Francisco Martin (2005)
After hurricane Wilma | Photo by Francisco Martin (2005)
Photo by Cuauhtemoc Moreno (2012)
Photo by Cuauhtemoc Moreno (2012)
Photo by Cuauhtemoc Moreno (2013)
Photo by Cuauhtemoc Moreno (2013)